Brett Auerbach, Utility
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: Signed, Undrafted FA, June, 2020
LAST LEVEL: High-A
GiantFutures 2022 Ranks: #2 Super Utility, #22 Overall
Performance: Undrafted free agents don’t usually make waves, but 2020 was an unusual year, with just five rounds, and a lot of draft-able talent was available. Brett Auerbach became an interesting one. He started his season in San Jose, batting .342/.448/.521, and earning a push up to Oregon where his power came in. He hit just .256 in High-A, but popped 15 home runs over 53 games, after hitting just two in San Jose.
What caught everyone’s eyes, however, was his fielding. Overall, he played 26 games at catcher (including being a midseason replacement in 3 games), 40 games at second base, 7 games at third, 5 games in center field, three games in left, and just to be complete, one inning in right field. The only positions he didn’t play were shortstop, first base, and pitch.
There’s versatility, and Auerbach goes a step beyond. That’s going to catch a lot of attention, more than his offense.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Well, versatility, obviously. He played six different positions, and across 652.1 innings in the field, he had just seven errors, and he had only two passed balls in 202.0 innings behind the plate. His only weakness was catching runners, as he caught 9 of 36 (25%) in two leagues with rules that enhance stealing. He doesn’t have plus speed nor a plus arm, but he outplays his tools. He’s intentionally teaching himself to play multiple positions since high school, so he obviously has a plan.
Auerbach also outplays his size, at just 5’9”, but still has interesting pop. He hits a fair amount of line drives, but in Oregon he showed some pull power to get a lot of balls out. Despite his fringy speed, Auerbach added 30 steals on 37 attempts. He did well with contact, with 89 strikeouts against 40 walks across 368 plate appearances.
2022 Outlook: His use as a super utility player was intentional, and has been since his amateur days, and it doesn’t look to change. Auerbach will likely head to Double-A Richmond, and get to know every edge of that field, and see if his pop holds up in the Eastern League.
Future Profile: It’s doubtful that Auerbach will be playing center field in the bigs except as an emergency. But he’s shaping up to be a utility player that goes all over the infield, and an absolutely ideal player for a team run by Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler.