The Reds announced they’ve acquired minor league pitcher Jake Wong from the Giants. The deal completes a swap the teams orchestrated in the hours after the Rule 5 draft, when Cincinnati sent outfielder Blake Sabol to San Francisco.
Wong was a third-round pick of San Francisco out of Grand Canyon in 2018. His progression up the minor league ladder was delayed after the 2019 season, as the canceled minor league season wiped out his 2020. The Arizona native spent the following year on the minor league injured list, returning in 2022. He played this year at High-A Eugene, starting 17 of 25 appearances. In 97 2/3 innings, the righty pitched to a 4.52 ERA with a solid 25.3% strikeout rate and a slightly elevated 10.3% walk percentage.
Now 26 years old, Wong has still yet to reach the high minors. Given that lack of upper level experience, it’s not surprising he was left unprotected for and went unselected in this month’s Rule 5 draft. The Reds liked him enough to take a shot on him now that they need not dedicate him an active or 40-man roster spot. He’ll presumably start next year in Double-A or Triple-A and add some rotation depth to the organization.
Sabol has a much better chance of breaking camp in the big leagues. Cincinnati nabbed him out of the Pirates organization with the fourth pick in the Rule 5 draft. They presumably had worked out an understanding with the Giants — who didn’t select until 16th — that they’d flip him to San Francisco before making the pick, since the selections themselves cannot be traded. San Francisco will have to carry Sabol on the MLB roster or injured list all season or place him on waivers and, if he goes unclaimed, offer him back to Pittsburgh without requiring a 40-man spot.