Giants' catchers battling for position at Spring Training

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants have a capturing issue. Lucky for them, it’s a great issue.

Bart and Wynns provide familiarity, with Bart having actually invested the previous 3 seasons with the Giants and Wynns capturing 57 video games (43 starts) for San Francisco in 2015 — not to discuss his two-year overlap with starter Alex Cobb in Baltimore.

Pérez brings experience and “expertise.” An eight-year Major League veteran and two-time Gold Glove Award winner, Pérez captured a skilled personnel in Cleveland prior to signing a Minor League handle the Giants on Feb. 6.

And then there’s Sabol, a Rule 5 Draft choice and natural outfielder who has actually been getting looks behind the plate and in the outfield this spring.

With Pérez and Sabol being brand-new to the group, the focus this spring has actually been on getting them representatives with the Major League rotation and constructing their self-confidence.

In 2019, Pérez ranked 4th in the Majors with a 51.8% strike rate. The list below year in a reduced ’20 season, Pérez was 12th, with 51.2 percent. The primary worry about Pérez is sturdiness, as he was restricted to 21 video games last season after going through season-ending left hamstring surgical treatment in May, after fighting injuries throughout ’21.

“I’ve thrown to him twice this spring,” Cobb stated, “and it’s been a few times where I’ve been able to maybe expand the zone a little bit or throw some high-quality pitch shapes that you can flirt between, ‘I’m going to try and get this to be a swing-and-miss pitch in this area,’ and you’re not expecting those to be called strikes. He’s able to frame it and make it look like a strike.”

If he can remain healthy, Pérez can provide the Giants a veteran existence behind the meal.

“He’s been great with our pitching staff,” bullpen and capturing coach Craig Albernaz stated. “He listens extremely well, meaning that, when the pitchers want him to execute something, we want him to execute something, he’s able to go out there and execute for us. Sometimes with veteran catchers they have a lot of other organizations that they know, so it’s tough to kind of get past that. But he’s great at doing that in-game.”

On the opposite of the veteran spectrum is 25-year-old Sabol, who has yet to make his major league launching. Despite some early missteps as he gets utilized to the Major League personnel, Sabol is impressing at camp, with his capability to take in info and equate it to video game circumstances sticking out.

“I think the first thing that I notice is his ability to communicate and his confidence in who he is as a player,” Cobb said. “I think that everything that you get to know about him, he has all the qualities that it’s going to take to elevate his game to be a very good big league catcher.”

Even when he’s not behind the plate, Sabol has actually discovered himself entering Cactus League play through the outfield (2 starts) or at designated player (3 starts). Through 13 spring video games going into play Sunday, Sabol is slashing .379/.525/.793 with a 1.138 OPS. In 2022, Sabol struck .284 with 19 homers and an .860 OPS in 123 video games throughout 2 levels (Double-A and Triple-A).

“I think he’s worked really hard and done well,” starter Alex Wood stated. “Still young. The more we throw to each other and I think across the board with everybody, the better he’ll be. But I think he’s done a good job. … Hopefully he keeps swinging it the way he has and just continues to learn as we go, and I think he’ll do fine.”

No matter which mix of catchers the Giants choose — with injuries at other positions and Sabol’s versatility, there’s a great chance they bring more than 2 — the personnel feels that the group can’t fail with its 4 skilled choices.

“It’s been cool to be a part of, and to kind of see these four interact has been cool,” Albernaz stated. “They’re kind of setting the culture standing around here with guys. How they go about their business, their work ethic, in-game, all that stuff. And the guys see it, so the team and the pitching staff have been feeding off it.”

Video: Sergi Roberto with a made up surface to level ball game right prior to the half-time whistle

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