The Giants signed right-hander Raynel Espinal to a minor league contract earlier this week, according to the team’s official transactions page. Formerly a member of the Red Sox organization, Espinal elected minor league free agency back in November, as was his option as a non-40-man player with at least seven years on a minor league roster.
Espinal made his Major League debut in August and appeared in exactly one game with the Red Sox before he was removed from the 40-man and sent back to Triple-A. While a brief stay in the Show, Espinal can at least say he got a cup of coffee in the big leagues after seven pro seasons, and the 30-year-old now heads to San Francisco looking to build off an overall solid 2021 Triple-A campaign.
Over 117 2/3 innings and 23 games (21 of them starts) for the Worcester Red Sox, Espinal posted a 3.44 ERA, 23.7% strikeout rate, and 8.8% walk rate. It was enough for Espinal to be named the Worecester pitcher of the year, and a nice comeback for a pitcher who see any official game action in 2020 due to the canceled minor league season.
The Yankees originally acquired Espinal as an international signing back in 2012, and he spent six seasons in New York’s farm system before Boston selected him in the minor league phase of the 2019 Rule 5 draft. Over 465 total innings in the minors, Espinal has a 3.35 ERA, 27.18% strikeout rate, and 7.34% walk rate.
While he has started only 51 of his 162 minor league appearances, 33 of those starts have come over Espinal’s last two seasons. The Giants could therefore see him as a potential depth starter in the minors, or perhaps a multi-inning reliever or swingman. It’s easy to see why the Giants (or any team) would be intrigued by Espinal’s interesting track record, and given San Francisco’s recent success at finding hidden gems, we shouldn’t be surprised if Espinal were to emerge as a contributor to the club’s 2022 roster.