The Giants announced a huge batch of roster moves prior to today’s Rule 5 protection deadline. One of them was the previously reported acquisition of infielder Brett Wisely from the Rays. He was selected to the club’s 40-man roster along with righties Tristan Beck, Jose Cruz and Keaton Winn, infielder Marco Luciano and outfielder Luis Matos. In corresponding moves, seven players were designated for assignment: righties Sam Delaplane and Drew Strotman, lefty Jarlin Garcia, catchers Dom Nunez and Meibrys Viloria, as well as infielders Jason Vosler and Colton Welker.
Beck, a 26-year-old righty, was drafted out of Stanford in the fourth round in 2018 by the Braves and was sent to San Francisco in the Mark Melancon deal at the following year’s trade deadline. He made only 12 appearances in 2021 due to a herniated disc in his back. Coupled with the lost 2020 season, he had a large period with minimal minor league work. Beck spent most of the season starting at the Triple-A level, posting decent peripherals. However, a .333 batting average on balls in play contributed to an unsightly 5.64 ERA for the Flying Squirrels. If Beck can get off to a solid start back at Triple-A to begin the 2023 campaign, he stands a good chance of seeing time at the Major League level.
Cruz, 22, spent the season in Low A-ball, whiffing an impressive 42.6% of batters faced out of the San Jose Giants’ bullpen. Last week, he was named a California League All-Star. Baseball America named him the best reliever in his league, and also considered his changeup the best in the circuit. Cruz closed out his season with 16 1/3 scoreless innings, and seems ready to take on High-A with the Eugene Emeralds next year.
Winn, a 24-year-old righty starter, pitched at three levels this year as he ascended from Low-A to Double A. A former fifth round pick of the Giants in 2018, Winn had Tommy John surgery prior to the 2021 season. It was a strong comeback season, and Winn reportedly picked up velocity post-TJ. He was able to miss a lot of bats in A-ball and could find his way to the big leagues at some point in ’23.
Luciano, 21, continues to rate as the Giants’ top prospect despite missing two months this year due to a back injury. He was rated as the 17th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America heading into the season, and around his injury managed a 121 wRC+ this year in High-A. Luciano is not necessarily expected to stay at shortstop, but may wind up at third base and should be carried by his impressive power. Luciano is making up for lost time playing in the Dominican Winter League and should open 2023 at Double-A.
Matos, a 20-year-old center fielder, rates as the Giants third prospect according to MLB.com. Signed in the same international class as Luciano, Matos is a well-rounded player who excelled in Low-A last year, leading to a rating of 73rd in the game by Baseball America heading into the season. However, Matos limped to a 73 wRC+ in High-A in 2022, so he picked up some extra at-bats in the Arizona Fall League.
As for the club’s seven DFAs, Delaplane is a 27-year-old righty reliever who was drafted by the Mariners in the 23rd round in 2017. The Mariners booted him off their 40-man roster in May 2021 after he required Tommy John surgery. At that point he was dealt to the Giants for cash considerations. Delaplane dealt with a setback in his recovery this summer, and finds his way off the 40-man once again. Back in 2019, Delaplane capped off his season by dominating Double-A hitters for 37 innings, posting a 36.6 K-BB%.
Strotman, a 26-year-old righty reliever, was a fourth round pick by the Rays back in 2017. He went to the Twins in the 2021 trade deadline deal for Nelson Cruz. Strotman was claimed off waivers by the Rangers in September of this year, and then by the Giants five days ago. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams wrote at that time, Strotman has struggled with walks and was no lock to survive the winter on the Giants’ 40-man.
The Giants claimed Viloria, a 25-year-old catcher, last Thursday from the Rangers along with Strotman. As Adams wrote at the time, Viloria hasn’t hit much in parts of four big league seasons but he’s done better at Triple-A and is “touted as a plus defensive backstop, boasting a 34% caught-stealing rate between the big leagues and the minors, and drawing plus reviews for his framing.”
Nunez, 27, was drafted out of high school by the Rockies in the sixth round back in 2013. Nunez got a decent chunk of playing time in 2021, but managed just a 68 wRC+. Spending his entire season at Triple-A this year, he didn’t fare any better offensively. The Giants picked him up via a waiver claim six days ago and are apparently aiming to pass him and Viloria through waivers and keep them around as catching depth. They’re now back to just Joey Bart and Austin Wynns as catchers on the 40-man, so an addition is likely this winter.
Garcia, 30 in January, joined the Giants via a February 2020 waiver claim from the Marlins. Since then he’s worked 152 innings out of San Francisco’s bullpen with a fine 2.84 ERA, although his 15.5 K-BB% doesn’t catch the eye. While Garcia generally exhibits solid control and was a fairly notable part of the club’s 2021 bullpen, he was entrusted with lower-leverage work out of this year’s pen. With over five years of big league service, Garcia projected for a $2.4MM salary through arbitration. Since Garcia was apparently unlikely to last through Friday’s non-tender deadline with the Giants, they decided to open up the 40-man spot today to give a spot to a prospect.
Welker, a 25-year-old corner infielder, was drafted in the fourth round by the Rockies back in 2016. After giving him a brief big league taste last year, the Rockies let Welker go to the Giants in a July waiver claim this year. Welker, who was suspended for 80 games in 2021 for PED use, was limited to ten games this year due to season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum. After carrying him on their 40-man for part of that recovery process, the Giants have sacrificed his spot due to the Rule 5 deadline.
Vosler, a third baseman, was drafted in the 16th round by the Cubs back in 2014. He was sent to the Padres for Rowan Wick in November 2018. Two years ago he became a minor league free agent and the Giants inked him to a Major League deal. Now 29, Vosler was productive at Triple-A in 2019 and ’21 but managed just an 82 wRC+ this year. He bounced up and down with the Giants this year and did all he could, posting a fine 126 wRC+ in 111 scattered plate appearances that included a home run off Pablo Lopez in June.
After Evan Longoria, the Giants split third base time fairly evenly among Vosler, Wilmer Flores, and David Villar this year at over 200 innings apiece. Flores and Villar remain with the Giants, who preferred Longoria’s $5MM buyout to his $13MM club option. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale back in October, the Giants are one of three clubs Longoria would consider in ’23, which will apparently be his final season.