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R.J. Dabovich Gets In A Pro Reliever Routine



Righthander R.J. Dabovich struck out 62 batters in 32.1 innings. Perhaps equally impressive was the fact he issued a mere 13 walks in 31 appearances.

“It’s a testament to how good his stuff is that he can attack the strike zone and get swing-and-miss," Giants farm director Kyle Haines said, "and it’s not from just getting young hitters to chase stuff out of the strike zone."

The 2020 fourth-rounder from Arizona State uses mainly a two-pitch mix of mid-90s fastball and breaking ball. He began the 2021 season with High-A Eugene but earned a quick promotion to Double-A Richmond.

About the lone blip for the 22-year-old reliever came in early August, when a back problem sidelined him for about a month. Dabovich came back healthy and effective: He threw a scoreless inning in each of his final five appearances, compiling nine strikeouts and no walks.

The Giants sent Dabovich to the Arizona Fall League, mainly to get more high-level experience.

Dabovich said that in Arizona, he was “working on my pregame routine and all that stuff—just being that professional reliever.”

He was a starter as a freshman at Central Arizona JC in 2018 and began his sophomore season at ASU in the rotation. Midway through 2019, the Sun Devils moved Dabovich to the bullpen.

“I think the pen life fits me a lot better,” Dabovich said. “I think I had a little bit of that starter’s anxiety . . . (I) started to overthink things a little too much.

“Whereas coming out of the pen, you really don’t have time to overthink anything.”

It’s understandable if Dabovich is thinking about reaching San Francisco sooner than later. This season, the Giants had three relievers—Camilo Doval, Kervin Castro and Gregory Santos—who hadn’t pitched above Class A before 2021 make their MLB debuts.

Haines said “it would be incredibly premature” to project Dabovich pitching in Oracle Park in 2022, “but at the same time, I think if he develops over the next year the way he has over the last year, I think the sky’s the limit for him.”

GIANTICS

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Zach_Deloach (Courtesy of Meghan Murphy-Falmouth Commodores).jpg

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