The Wednesday news we were all hoping for was that the San Francisco Giants would sign Aaron Judge. That didn’t happen. Which made it a little difficult to get excited about shifting our energy to the scheduled event of the day: the 2022 MLB Rule 5 Draft.
But the show must go on, and it did. The Giants were minimally involved in the Major League portion of the draft, which only went one round deep — no team elected to use a second-round pick, and only half of the league’s teams used a first-round pick. The Giants opted against making a selection, but shortly after the draft concluded, they traded for one: catcher and outfielder Blake Sabol, whom the Cincinnati Reds selected from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Sabol, a 24 year old left-handed hitter, hit .296/.426/.543 in AAA last year, good for a whopping 157 wRC+. He had a very high walk rate of 16.8%, and has some intriguing power that he hasn’t been able to tap into yet.
The Giants did lose one player, as the Chicago White Sox selected right-handed reliever Nick Avila. Avila, a 25 year old who was taken in the 26th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, had a very nice 2022. He started the year in High-A Eugene, where he had a 0.95 ERA and a 2.78 FIP, with 31 strikeouts to 8 walks in 28.1 innings. That earned him a promotion to AA Richmond, where he had a 1.33 ERA and a 3.53 FIP, with 27 strikeouts to 6 walks in 27 innings.
If Avila does not stay on the White Sox active roster (or the active roster of a team he’s traded to) for the entirety of the season, the Giants will have a chance to welcome him back into their system for a mere $50,000. Similarly, if the Giants do not want to keep Sabol on the active roster at any point, he would be returned to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Notable Giants who were eligible to be drafted but were not selected include infielders Tyler Fitzgerald, Will Wilson, and Sean Roby, outfielder Jairo Pomares, catcher Ricardo Genovés, and pitchers Chris Wright, Michael Stryffeler, and Kai-Wei Teng.
The Giants did, however, get a bit gutted in the Minor League portion of the draft, losing eight players, though needless to say, not top-level prospects.
- Armani Smith, a 24-year old right-handed hitting outfielder who had a 131 wRC+ with 4 home runs in 90 plate appearances for High-A Eugene last year, and a 78 wRC+ with 2 home runs in 302 plate appearances for AA Richmond.
- Frankie Tostado, a 24-year old left-handed hitting first baseman who had a 113 wRC+ with 11 home runs in 315 plate appearances for AA Richmond.
- Ronaldo Flores, a 20-year old right-handed hitting catcher who had a 101 wRC+ with 5 home runs in 74 plate appearances for Low-A San Jose.
- Brooks Crawford, a 26-year old right-handed pitcher who had a 3.18 ERA and 4.12 FIP, with 64 strikeouts to 20 walks in 56.2 innings for High-A Eugene.
- Wei-Chieh Huang, a 29-year old right-handed pitcher who had a 4.40 ERA and 4.43 FIP, with 89 strikeouts to 31 walks in 71.2 innings for AAA Sacramento.
- Taylor Rashi, a 26-year old right-handed pitcher who had a 2.83 ERA and 2.10 FIP, with 52 strikeouts to 13 walks in 35 innings for AA Richmond.
- Yoniel Ramirez, a 21-year old right-handed pitcher who had a 2.70 ERA and 2.94 FIP, with 26 strikeouts to 7 walks in 16.2 innings in the Arizona Complex League, and a 5.79 ERA and 5.36 FIP, with 16 strikeouts to 10 walks in 14 innings for Low-A San Jose.
- Willian Suarez, a 24-year old right-handed pitcher who had a 3.60 ERA and 3.56 FIP, with 56 strikeouts to 12 walks in 30 innings in the Arizona Complex League, and a 4.76 ERA and 3.44 FIP with 35 strikeouts to 12 walks in 17 innings for Low-A San Jose.
In all, the Giants accounted for 11% of the players selected on Tuesday, as they lost nine of the 82 players across the two phases of the draft.
The Giants did not take any player in the Minor League portion of the draft, either. It appears that they’ll be looking towards Carlos Correa for upgrades, rather than other team’s disregarded mid-Minors prospects.