SF Giants make minor league deal, sign former top pick Daulton Jefferies

Minnesota Twins v Oakland Athletics
Minnesota Twins v Oakland Athletics / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

While the baseball world awaits the news on two-way star Shohei Ohtani, the SF Giants reportedly made a minor move on Friday. They signed former Oakland A's top pick Daulton Jefferies to a minor league deal. Jefferies confirmed the news on social media.

SF Giants make minor league deal, sign former top pick Daulton Jefferies

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that Jefferies will receive a camp invite. This last detail is encouraging news given his extensive injury history that has limited him to just 232.2 innings as a pro.

Jefferies is local to Northern California. He grew up in Merced County and played collegiately at Cal before being drafted in the first round of the 2016 draft by the A's. Given his draft pedigree, the pitching prospect was often considered one of the top prospects in Oakland's farm system.

It took a long time for his pro career to take off. Jefferies appeared in only two High-A games in 2017 before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He made one appearance in the following season. The 2019 campaign was a promising one as he posted a 3.42 ERA, 1.038 WHIP, 10.6 K/9, and a 10.33 SO/W ratio in 79 frames across two levels, including Double-A.

However, like many prospects, Jefferies lost a year of development time in 2020 due to the canceled minor league season. Since then, the 28-year-old has undergone another Tommy John surgery as well as surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome.

His numbers in the minors have been mostly encouraging as he has tallied a 3.93 ERA, 9.6 K/9, and an 8.22 SO/W rate. He has struggled to a 5.75 ERA in 14 appearances across three seasons with the A's as well. However, the A's outrighted him off of the 40-man roster following the 2022 season as he continued to recover from major surgery.

For someone to continue his playing career after so many injury setbacks is remarkable. When he was healthy, Jefferies flashed a mid-90s fastball that he pairs with a hard changeup and a slider. The changeup is his best pitch and he excels at filling up the strike zone.

The righty pitcher is 18 months removed from major surgery. That timeline usually is within the range for when a pitcher can return to the mound. However, the Giants will want to be cautious.

Not every move is intended to impact the major league roster. Some moves, such as this one, can quietly pay nice dividends down the road if Jefferies is able to stay on the mound.