The Giants have officially signed 4th round pick Roderick (RJ) Dabovich to a deal with a $200,000 signing bonus, according to Jim Callis. The assigned slot value for the pick was $507,400, so Dabovich’s agreement saves $307,400 in pool money that will go towards the over-slot signings of Kyle Harrison and Nick Swiney.
The righthanded pitcher was selected out of Arizona State where he primarily pitched out of the bullpen as a high-leverage reliever. In 9 appearances this spring, Dabovich recorded 4 saves and held opponents to a 0.77 ERA across 11.2 innings. However, the peripherals suggest he wasn’t quite that dominant. While Dabovich struck out 17 batters, he also allowed 9 walks and likely benefited from substantial batted ball luck allowing just 3 hits.
With that said, there’s plenty to like about his profile. His fastball sits between 93-95 mph and has touched 98 mph. Over the past month, Driveline remote trainer (and former Giants pitching prospect) Dylan Rheault tweeted out some of Dabovich’s data. In the image, Dabovich was combining impressive spin-rates with velocity above 99 and even touching 100 mph. His curveball is probably the best secondary pitch in his offering at the moment, but his slider has plus potential if he can work out some of its inconsistencies.
His profile isn’t too dissimilar from current Giants reliever Sam Coonrod at this point in his career. Coonrod was an erratic starter at Southern Illinois who the Giants drafted in the 5th round of the 2014 draft. Like Coonrod, Dabovich has the repeatable delivery, stuff, and strength to be a starter, but control will be the issue. After succeeding as a starter in the lower minors, Coonrod stalled out at Double-A before being moved to the pen. We’ll see if Dabovich follows that same trajectory.
Before moving to the back of the Sun Devils bullpen this spring, Dabovich worked as a tweener in 2018 with ASU and on the Cape. If you dream on Dabovich, you probably focus on his time at the Cape Cod League. In his 19 innings pitched (across 7 games and 4 starts), Dabovich struck out 29 batters and walked just 5. Perhaps that’s a sign he’s best suited in an opener/headliner role.
If Dabovich finds a way to stick as a starter, he may have the highest ceiling of any pitcher the Giants drafted. Regardless, his first priority remains locating his premium stuff that profiles into the back of a big-league bullpen.