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6’-11” 2nd round draft pick Sean Hjelle signs with the Giants

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Was in a jam and couldn’t think of any jelly puns for the headline.

Courtesy of Matt May, Asst. Director, Media Relations, University of Kentucky Athletics

There wasn’t an official statement made regarding this specific signing, but both Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports and Jim Callis of Baseball America/MLB have reported that at some point during the week the Giants did sign their 2nd round draft pick and actual giant, right-handed pitcher Sean Hjelle. Jim Callis has the money details:

So who are the Giants getting in Hjelle (reminder: pronounced “jelly”) besides a massive human being who would tie for the tallest person to ever play major league baseball (with former reliever Jon Rauch) were he to make it all the way through the minors?

Potentially, a mid-rotation starter who can progress through the system quickly. That’s not a wow pick, but if that comes to pass, it’s a good one. It’s not often we sit there and get annoyed at where a serviceable major leaguer was drafted. Usually, we only gripe when a pick doesn’t pan out at all. Are we upset that Chris Stratton was a 1st-round draft pick, or are we upset that his hot start has cooled enough to make us consider that there’s not much separation between his floor and ceiling?

We have no idea how this will all shake out, so let’s focus on what we do know... his physique makes him a curiosity. Until he starts playing, I’m in it for the pictures.

That’s one stretched-out human being. Each limb looks like the arm of a street lamp. Proportionately, it looks like he’s been re-scaled in Photoshop to make him taller and thinner. It’s the thinness that really tickles my brain. My life essence has never seen a baseball player ... designed... like this before. And I’m not the only one who thinks that. But it in no way diminishes the upside.

This is straight from the Giants’ scouting director, John Barr:

“We love the way he’s handled himself. He doesn’t move like he’s a 6-foot-11 pitcher,” Barr said. “You expect him to be gawky but he moves his feet. When he walks past you or you shake his hand, you realize how tall he is. When he’s on the mound he controls his body. He really controls his body well, which shows his athleticism. He’s a good athlete.”

Hunter Pence proves that baseball players can play baseball anyway you can imagine so long as it works. The Giants, though, are some of the stodgiest stodgers to ever stodge, but even they weren’t turned off by Hjelle’s unconventional ... layout. And when you actually see that stick kit put together and in full motion, it looks impressive.

Whoops. Wrong footage. Here is what I meant:

In .gif form:

For reference, #14 Thompson stands 6-2. I mean

That’s to scale.

And here he is talking like a totally normal guy, with no indication that he’s three 7-year olds standing on each other’s shoulders atop wooden stilts.

Baseball America’s review:

What Hjelle lacks is a true out pitch. Hitters rarely square him up and his fastball has good plane, but he generally sits 90-92 mph, touching 94-95 at his best. It’s an above-average pitch because he can locate it and it will sometimes flash arm-side run, but it doesn’t generate many swings and misses. At its best, Hjelle’s 81-83 mph curveball has plenty of power and 12-to-6 movement when he’s staying on top. His 84-85 mph changeup ranges from average to above-average from outing to outing.

If he can add weight and velocity to his fastball, then the stuff will play. Sure, sure, I get all that future projection stuff; but it’s hard not to focus on the other stuff, which is the most important stuff right now:

Indeed, Grant. Indeed.

Special thanks to Matt May of University of Kentucky’s Media Relations for granting photo use permission and providing me with the sweet, sweet Hjelle gifs we all needed to see.