The Giants used to be known as the franchise that developed pitching better than almost anyone else. It wasn’t just pitchers like Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner, high first-round picks who didn’t have to be reinvented, either. The relative success of Jonathan Sanchez, Sergio Romo, and Brian Wilson helped that perception, but Matt Cain, Lincecum, and Bumgarner fueled most of it.
Since Bumgarner made the Opening Day rotation in 2011, here are the homegrown pitchers who have debuted for the Giants:
- Dan Runzler
- Eric Surkamp
- Steve Edlefsen
- Waldis Joaquin
- Dan Otero
- Jake Dunning
- Heath Hembree
- Mike Kickham
- Chris Heston
- Brett Bochy
- Cody Hall
- Josh Osich
- Steven Okert
- Ty Blach
- Chris Stratton
- Derek Law
If you’re a glass-half-full person, you might note that two of the bigger successes were Blach and Law, and they’re the most recent. If you’re more of a look-that-glass-is-filled-with-saliva-what-is-wrong-with-you person, you’ll note that, good gravy, that is an unimpressive six years of pitcher promotions. They could use some premium arms.
The #19 spot in the draft is a good place to pick one of these suckers up, then. In the final mock drafts from Baseball America and MLB.com, the Giants were linked to a pair of lefties, so let’s explore them.
There are apparently two left-handed high schoolers who are projected to go in the first round. The first one, MacKenzie Gore, is projected to go within the first five picks. Hall is the other one, and he could go anywhere after that, depending on which team takes a shine to him.
A snippet of his scouting report from BA:
Hall has arguably the highest ceiling of any pitcher in this year’s class. His fastball velocity sometimes settles in in the low 90s but mostly works at 92-95 and touches 96. His fastball command can come and go, but he is a good athlete, and scouts expect him to develop better command as he matures physically. His curveball shows exceptionally late break with 1-to-7 shape; some scouts grade it as a future 60 while optimists have rated it as high as a 70.
That sounds ... really, really interesting. Hall turns 19 in September, so he’s on the older side for a high school prospect, but I’m less concerned with that when it comes to a pitcher. My favorite part of this video is that Hall makes a scout chortle with the first pitch:
Look, when you can make a scout chortle, you’re doing fine work. The Giants haven’t drafted a scout-chortler in years.
Hall isn’t an especially big pitcher, so this would be a stuff-based pick more than a projection-based pick. But the stuff is there, and if you’re into the nerd numbers, you can take comfort in the fact that his spin rate is fantastic.
Or, if you’re looking for a prospect who can entertain you sooner rather than later, you can root for Peterson, who has been a maniac for the Ducks this year. He’s struck out 117 batters in 81 innings, walking just eight. So he’s basically a left-handed Jeff Samardzija. (I’m not even sure if that’s a joke or not. What a weird season.)
Peterson doesn’t have an incredible fastball, usually sitting in the low-90s, which is why he might be available for the Giants to pick at 19, but the strikeout wizardry is clearly there. Here he is striking out 20 hitters who get to use aluminum bats.
Don’t know nothin’ about nothin’, but that’s a right pretty slider. And, considering his command, he would certainly be a lot closer to the majors than most of the pitchers the Giants could draft here.
Peterson has improved his fastball velocity (up to 94 mph early in games) and command this season. He pitches at around 91 mph. His quieter delivery features better direction to the plate this year and a bit more deception, eliciting swings-and-misses from his fastball. His slider earns plus grades from some scouts, and at times he’ll back-foot right-handed hitters with it all night until they adjust.
Hall would seem to have more upside, but Peterson would get here sooner. And I’m not sure if it’s smart to pooh-pooh the upside of a guy who’s striking out 11 batters for every walk he allows, even if it’s happening in college.
As a draftnostic, sure, I’ll take either one. But when I review the list at the beginning of this article, it gets me more excited for Peterson, who could move quickly. While the Giants are almost certainly going to draft a player we haven’t covered yet, just because they look doing that, both of these pitchers make a whole lot of sense for a team that isn’t spitting out pitchers the way they used to.