San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler talks with catcher Blake Sabol after their Cactus League game Saturday, March 11, 2023, at Scottsdale Stadium. (Evan Webeck / Bay Area News Group)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — You probably hadn’t heard of Blake Sabol before the San Francisco Giants acquired him in the Rule 5 draft this past December. Yet his presence commands a room.

“It’s fun to talk to a few guys in this clubhouse with their confidence,” starter Alex Cobb said, recalling a telling interaction with the 25-year-old former Pirates farmhand, whom the Giants are hoping can convert into a good enough catcher to carry his enticing left-handed bat (and infectious personality) on their 26-man roster.

“I talked to Sabol about what his concerns are going into the season,” Cobb said. “He’s very confident in his catching.

“I was like, can you hit?

“He goes, ‘Oh yeah, I can hit.’

“I love that.”

What Sabol has done so far with his commanding presence in Giants camp couldn’t have made a better case for a spot on the active roster, a requirement of his Rule 5 status (if he is not on their roster, they must offer him back to Pittsburgh).

“I don’t think you can ever expect anybody to come in and produce the way he’s produced,” manager Gabe Kapler said Saturday, after Sabol reached base all five times to the plate to improve to 9-for-17 (.529), with a 1.871 OPS.

In his third at-bat Saturday, Sabol launched his third home run of the spring, tying Michael Conforto for the team lead.

But it might have been his other four plate appearances that excited Kapler the most.

In his first at-bat, Sabol saw the third baseman playing back and laid a bunt down the line that he beat out for a hit. He then put himself in scoring position by swiping second base. After lining a single to right in his second time up, Sabol advanced first to third on a hard-hit ball to center. And he resisted the urge to pile on to his stat line by swinging at bad pitches, drawing a pair of walks in his final two trips to the plate.

“Blake knows what we value around here,” Kapler said. “He knows that we’re going to get really excited about waiting a pitcher out and showing discipline at the plate. … Blake is really locked in at the plate right now, (but) this is spring training. So I think we can appreciate the quality of his plate appearances (and) how he’s hitting the ball.

“Really the thing that’s standing out the most is the baserunning. Every ball he hits, he’s …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


Rule 5 pick Blake Sabol making big impression at SF Giants camp. Can he make the roster?

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