SF Giants prospect to play in Australian Baseball League this winter

At least one SF Giants Hope travels to New Zealand to compete in the upcoming Australian Baseball League season this winter in the northern hemisphere. The Auckland Tuatara have signed Giants catch prospect Robert Emery for this upcoming season, according to a post from the team’s official Twitter account.

A native of the Bay Area, Emery played college baseball at the University of San Francisco before signing as an undrafted free agent with the Giants in the summer of 2020. Emery has always been a catcher at the attacking spirit, displaying excellent numbers in the college and minor-league ranks and will look to take that success to a new continent.

Emery made his professional debut in 2021 since the 2020 minor league season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a reserve catcher for the Giants Single-A and High-A affiliates, Emery hit .326/.418/.506 with four doubles, four homers, 10 walks and 18 strikeouts in 103 plate appearances.

Emery appeared in two Triple-A matches in 2022, but split the rest of the season between High-A and Double-A. In 262 plate appearances, he posted a .236/.363/.380 triple slash with 12 doubles, two triples and five home runs with 32 walks and 68 strikeouts.

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Although Emery is older than most prospects – he turns 26 today (October 22) – his offensive productivity over the past two seasons has been remarkable. However, his defensive limitations behind the plate are likely the reason the Giants relegated him to backup duties despite his offensive production.

In his two pro seasons, Emery has knocked out just five of 39 opposing base stealers (12.8%), well below typical targets for receivers in the 25-30% range. Additionally, he was scored for nine passed balls in 33 games behind the plate.

If Emery is limited to first base and designated hitter, he has an uphill battle to reach the major leagues. However, if he becomes a much-improved defensive receiver in Auckland this winter, Emery has the offensive ability to potentially become an MLB reserve receiver.

Most baseball fans probably didn’t know that the Australian Baseball League existed or that there was a team in New Zealand. But SF Giants prospect Robert Emery is heading down to play for the Auckland Tuataras over the next few months.

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