The San Francisco Giants have added another prospect in undrafted free agency, and this time they went with a local product: University of San Francisco catcher Robert Emery. The news was first reported by Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group.
Source: The #SFGiants are signing USF Dons catcher Robert Emery to an undrafted free agent contract.— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) June 25, 2020
The San Francisco native attended St. Ignatius and started his college career at Dartmouth. Emery hit .381 and had an OBP of .451 in 17 games this year.
But before we get to the actual baseball skills of the newest Giant, we need to touch on the most important element. When I say “local,” I mean it. I don’t just mean that he played collegiately in the Giants backyard.
He was born and raised in San Francisco. And when I searched Getty Images for a picture of him, only one came up:
Here’s the image description:
Young San Francisco Giants fan Robert Emery, 6, of San Francisco, yells over the crowd din to get the attention of Giants’ pitcher Jerome Williams for an autograph prior to the start of game one of the National League Division Series against the Florida Marlins.
Look, I’m not trying to say that Emery is bound for All-Star Games, championships, Gold Glove awards, and swooning photoshoots like Brandon Crawford, but I have to point out that the Giants are batting 1.000 with cute pictures of kids at Giants games growing up to be Giants players. Bet against Emery at your own cost. We have some historical precedent here in the form of Crawford and Mauricio Dubón.
A kind Twitter user also sent me the following amazing picture:
Now, onto the baseball skills.
Continuing with the Giants ties, Emery was placed on the Buster Posey Award Watch List for the 2020 season. The eventual winner of that award — given annually to the top catcher in college baseball — was Patrick Bailey, the Giants first-round pick. This came following a 2019 junior season, Emery’s first as the starter for the Dons, in which he made the All-WCC Second Team, and was honorable mention WCC All-Academic.
Like many players that the Giants have been drafting or signing in free agency, Emery’s coronavirus-shortened 2020 season was spectacular, and the team is hoping it represents a serious step forward rather than an outlier.
Not that his junior season was bad. In 2019 he hit .320/.386/.479, good for an OPS of .875. In 215 plate appearances he had 16 doubles, 5 home runs, 18 walks, and 41 strikeouts.
He followed that up by slashing .261/.358/.435 in the Cape Cod League.
But he was a different animal in 2020, hitting .381/.451/.540 in 71 plate appearances, accumulating an OPS of .990, and drawing 7 walks to just 12 strikeouts.
Emery is on the older side for a prospect, coming in at 23.7 years to accompany his 6’0, 215-pound frame. He’s also played a fair bit at first base, and even has reps at third base and in centerfield.
I couldn’t find any highlights of him on the diamond, but here’s a great video if you want to get acquainted with the newest Giant:
Prior to signing with the Giants, Emery was set to use his extra year of eligibility to join Arkansas as a graduate transfer. Instead he’ll stay in San Francisco, but now as a professional baseball player.
Welcome to the Giants, Robert.