Catching prospect Blake Sabol will be Rule 5 Draft eligible this offseason and is pushing for a spot on the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster spot
Once a position of major concern within the fair system, catcher has become a strength for the Pittsburgh Pirates among their minor league clubs. Endy Rodriguez is one of the fastest rising prospects in baseball and Henry Davis, the no. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft, is a consensus top 100 prospect as well.
An often times overlooked third catching prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system who should also be garnering attention is Blake Saobl. The 24-year-old Sabol will be Rule 5 Draft eligible this offseason and is pushing to earn a 40-man roster spot.
Friday night Sabol continued to swing a hot bat for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. In four trips to the plate Sabol drew a walk and drove in the lone Indian run of the night with a 9th inning sacrifice fly, a sacrifice fly that was just a few feet shy of being a game-tying grand slam.
In 88 plate appearances across 24 games played at Triple-A this season Sabol has hit for a .296/.420/.577 slash line to go with a 15.9% walk rate, just a 20.5% strikeout rate and a wRC+ of 162.
These strong results have come after he also terrorized Double-A pitching. With the Altoona Curve, Sabol hit for a .281/.347/.486 slash line to go with a 124 wRC+ and 9.6% walk rate 412 PAs in 98 games played.
What has been most impressive from Sabol this season is his power. In 500 total PAs he has hit a career best 19 home runs. Sabol has slugged .501, posted a .217 isolated slugging (ISO), and has collected extra base hit at a 10.2% clip.
Sabol’s power potential comes from the left side and he has the ability to play multiple positions. While Sabol is an average at best defensive catcher, and will never be an every day catcher in the majors, having the ability to play behind the dish adds to his value in a big way.
In addition to catcher, Sabol can also play the outfielder. He has played both left field and right field in his minor league career. Obviously, designated hitter is also an option for Sabol. Barring the Pirates doing something unforeseen and making a ton of additions this offseason, there should be at-bats available for Sabol in 2023.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will be facing a decision with Sabol this offseason. That decision should be an easy one though. Sabol can catch, play the outfield, and work in at designated hitter. Add in his left-handed power potential and it should not be difficult for Ben Cherington to find a 40-man roster spot for Sabol. In fact, there could be an argument to be made for Sabol to potential open the 2023 season on the Pirate active roster.