Tyler Beede needed a roster spot ahead of his season debut tonight and in order to do that, it looks like the Giants have gone ahead and placed backup catcher Erik Kratz on the 10-day injured list with a strained hamstring. That’s not the most surprising move today, though, given that backup Stephen Vogt was added to the roster just the other day.
The Giants also opted to increase the potential offensive output from their outfield by adding this past offseason’s first waiver claim, left-handed hitting outfielder Mike Gerber, back onto the 40-man roster. The 26-year old had been claimed from the Tigers on December 10th and despite a nice spring (.967 OPS in 25 at bats), the team decided to sneak him through waivers and stash him away at Triple-A.
To make room for Gerber on the 40-man and to get him onto the 25-man in time for the start of this Cincinnati series, Gerardo Parra was designated for assignment. Now, before you go cheering in the streets and posting comments in approval, consider that Gerardo Parra was not the problem.
Yes, he was miscast as a starting left fielder, hitting just .198 through 30 games (98 at bats). Yes, he has not had a league average or better season at the plate since 2015 (111 OPS+ between Milwaukee and Baltimore). Yes, he... can be easily replaced. But he still had some utility for these Giants, and on a much better version of this roster, his exceptional defense would’ve meant he’d hold onto a bench spot.
No, seriously. Statcast’s Outs Above Average and Expected Catch to Actual Catch % show him as being slightly above average in the small space of a month. Catching the ball is important for a team that needs pitching and defense to survive, and someone with his defensive instincts can thrive in a place like Oracle Park — but yeah, that bat.
Gerber has all of 42 at bats of major league experience (.095/.170/.119 with Detroit), but this year in Sacramento, he’s posted a 1.048 OPS in 84 at bats with 7 doubles and 6 home runs. He, uh, also strikes out a lot. A NSFW 27:5 K:BB rate. Yikes. That is, uh, not good.
But! He’s been hitting and the upcoming road trip through Cincinnati and Colorado are better places for left-handed hitters than Oracle, so this seems like a prime time to team him up with Tyler Austin in left field for a straight platoon to see what he’s got. He can also play center field, too, giving the Giants another option in case Duggar falls into another slump.
A couple of other notes about Muncy, who may or may not be the next Max Muncy:
Both Muncy and Gerber are left-handed hitters. Both were drafted at age 21. Both made it to Triple-A at 24. Muncy hit 36 home runs and had an OBP in the .380s in his first three pro seasons, Gerber hit 38 home runs and had an OBP in the .360s. I just showed you Muncy’s line in Oklahoma City the year before his debut (when he was 26); Gerber hit .304 / .373 / .496 with 14 home runs across 101 games (92 of which were in Double-A) at age-24.
Both players washed out of their previous organizations at age 25 and fell into the waiting arms of Farhan Zaidi. Mike Gerber looks like... sexy Ken Rosenthal?
Meanwhile, and more importantly, it’s Tyler Beede time. The Giants’ top pitching prospect has dazzled in Triple-A with a 1.99 ERA in 22.2 innings with 34 strikeouts to 10 walks. He’s also allowed just one home run in the offense-heavy PCL.
In two starts last season, Beede struck out 9 in 7.2 innings but, uh, also walked 8 and allowed 7 hits — although, no home runs — on his way to an 8.22 ERA (4.33 FIP!). Still, after that rough debut and , really, a rough couple of seasons, he put it together in the offseason and in spring training. The 26-year old has really righted the ship. Cincinnati is tough for any pitcher, but the Reds’ lineup might be scuffling just enough to give him a shot if he can settle down and settle in early.