Earlier today, the Giants traded Austin Jackson, Cory Gearrin, and a prospect to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later. The move ostensibly freed up payroll and gave the team a chance to call up two other promising prospects, but what about the one they gave up in order to do so? Did the Giants trade away a player with high potential? Here’s Roger with the definitive analysis:
Jason Bahr, the Giants’ 5th round pick in 2017 out of the University of Central Florida, has been one of baseball’s more inspiring stories of perseverance the last two years. Bahr made all of one appearance in the first three years of his college career. He lasted just 2/3rds of an inning. Unwanted by UCF’s coaching staff, he was red-shirted and cut from the squad, but almost never played. However, after UCF released that regime, the replacement staff brought Bahr’s career back to life.
New UCF head coach Greg Loveladey saw a strong summer league showing from Bahr and invited him back to the UCF team for his senior year to be their swing man. With that second chance, Bahr became one of college baseball’s best stories in 2017, posting a 14.1 K/9 that was second in the nation and helped boost UCF to a conference championship.
That performance is what put him on the Giants’ radar, and the 5th rounder has only increased his visibility in pro ball. Bahr was the top pitcher on a fantastic Augusta pitching staff through most of the first half of 2018. He led the Sally league in strikeouts (88) and posted a 2.75 ERA over 13 starts (68.2 innings). That performance earned him a promotion to San Jose where he continued to excel, with back-to-back 6-inning shutout appearances in his first two starts in the Cal League.
Bahr boasts velocity that can get up to the 96 range in relief, but tends to tends to sit 90-91 during his starts. He also has a nice assortment of pitches with the makings of a good slider and effective change and a curveball that his been his primary out pitch much of 2018. It remains to be seen what his ultimate role will be. He has the potential to be a back-end starter, swing man, or middle reliever. Regardless of role, he possesses a major league arm.
Here’s a recent scouting report on him:
Surprised to see the #SFGiants have traded Jason Bahr to the #Rangers... here's our scouting report on Bahr from just a couple days ago, complete with full game video from his last High-A start in San Jose — https://t.co/OFPEMwyEQb— Baseball Census (@BaseballCensus) July 8, 2018
He’s certainly worked to raise his profile around baseball in the last 24 months though, going from an unwanted part of his own college team to a pro arm interesting enough to Texas to stomach buying out a couple of bad contracts in order to acquire him.