An SF Giants minor league catching prospect made the web gem of the year behind the dish. Brett Auerbach is a prospect that Giants fans have become familiar as he offers rare versatility by being able to play catcher, second base, third base, and the outfield.
Video: SF Giants minor league catching prospect makes unbelievable catch
There just are not many prospects who can offer that type of versatility. Of course, the Giants have a prospect like that already on the 40-man roster in Ford Proctor.
Auerbach was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 40th round of the 2018 draft of Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California, but he did not sign. He was projected to be picked in the pandemic-shortened five-round draft in 2020, but he was overlooked and signed with the Gants as an undrafted free agent for $20,000.
Since then, Auerbach has done a little bit of everything that could make him a major leaguer one day. He runs well, hits for power, and plays everywhere in the field. Prospects like that tend to get a chance.
In his first full season last year, the 24-year-old prospect slashed .288/.379/.529 with 17 home runs, 56 RBI, and 63 runs in 368 plate appearances split between two levels. This includes a 10.9 percent walk rate, 24.2 percent strikeout rate, and 30 stolen bases in 37 opportunities.
He began last season in Low-A but he was promoted after recording a .970 OPS in 145 plate appearances. Auerbach was assigned to Double-A for 2022, and he has struggled a little more at the plate. The righty has produced a .215/.310/.387 line (90 wRC) with 15 home runs, 50 RBI, and 49 runs in 401 plate appearances for the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
The good news is that he is still hitting for power. 15 home runs is good output considering that the Eastern League is a tough hitter's environment. The bad news is that his strikeout rate has increased to 32.2 percent.
Nonetheless, he can impact the game in a number of ways and that was on display on Saturday. Auerbach leaped to catch a pop up to record the final out in the sixth inning of a 3-1 game:
The Flying Squirrels defeated the Akron RubberDucks by a score of 8-4. Auerbach recorded two hits, including a home run, in five at-bats with three RBI.
Not only was Auerbach's bat and athleticism on display on Saturday, but so was the reminder that minor league baseball has some of the best team names in sports. The Flying Squirrels faced off against the RubberDucks. It is tough to not smile with names like that.