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Giants to call up Abiatal Avelino

The middle infielder was acquired in the Andrew McCutchen trade. Yes, that’s literally the only photo we have of him.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at New York Mets Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

According to this tweet from his Dominican Winter League team (coincidentally, los Gigantes del Cibao), shortstop Abiatal Avelino (acquired in the Giants’ trade with the Yankees that murdered Andrew McCutchen’s beard) will be added to the Giants’ 40-man roster and called up to the major leagues.

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has since confirmed this report.

Abiatal played three games with the River Cats (their season just ended) and had 2 hits (zero extra base hits) in 13 at bats.

As Kevin wrote in his prospect analysis from the trade:

After starting the season at Triple-A and moving down, Avelino hit .337/.392/.553 in 49 games with Trenton before moving back up to Triple-A, where his struggles have returned. The biggest difference with Avelino’s Double-A stint was an unprecedented power stroke (he had 10 home runs in those 49 games, after having a career high of 6 in a season previous), but also simply getting hits. That latter skill eluded him in Triple-A, though he still showed better power overall at the higher level. In 74 games at Triple-A this season, he has only five home runs, but he’s added a career-high six triples and six doubles.

Avelino’s defense will keep him going as a prospect. He doesn’t have the range to be an everyday shortstop, but his soft hands and a plus arm will let him do okay there. He can play third and second base as well. That gives him a utility player profile that will help his chances.

And our esteemed minor league guru Roger Munter mentioned in today’s final Minor Lines:

New Giants Abiatal Avelino had a hat trick to finish the year. It will be interesting to see if the Giants add him to the bench for September to help rest Brandon Crawford.

They did!

This makes a lot of sense, given Brandon Crawford’s status — a barking knee, zero offense for almost two months — and minimal depth in the middle infield. Also, Avelino was set to be a minor league free agent by season’s end, the same situation Dereck Rodriguez found himself this past offseason. The Giants certainly traded for him with the goal of adding him to the 40-man roster, so there’s very little difference in doing it now versus the offseason, and doing it this way gives them the chance to get a good look at him. They can move Steven Duggar to the 60-day disabled list to clear a roster spot.

My guess is he’ll start a few games, unless the Giants decide that Crawford’s knee is bad enough to warrant shutting him down for the rest of the season. Then... who knows? Maybe a dozen starts for the kid. Wouldn’t it be something if he became a September surprise?

But, as our esteemed Roger Munter notes,

Still, Roger. The Giants need some good news in this final month. Trading Andrew McCutchen for a couple of prospects and having one of those prospects come up in September and look good is a positive story. It would really help fans who are squeamish about a rebuild or extended bad period feel a little bit better about such scenarios.

Welcome, Abiatal, whom I suspect we’ll wind up calling Abi. If we talk about him at all. Which I certainly hope we do. Because that would be fun.