It turns out that my Rule 5 predictions for the San Francisco Giants were completely accurate. Not in the sense that I correctly predicted the names, but in the sense that I correctly predicted that I’d be wrong.
Ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to add eligible prospects before December’s draft, the Giants protected a trio of pitchers: right-handed starters Kai-Wei Teng and Trevor McDonald, and left-handed reliever Erik Miller.
#SFGiants Roster Moves— SFGiants (@SFGiants) November 14, 2023
The following players have been added to the 40-man roster:
RHP Trevor McDonald
LHP Erik Miller
RHP Kai-Wei Teng
The Giants 40-man roster currently stands at 39
Miller and Teng were two of the four names I predicted the Giants to protect, and I think the case or them is crystal clear. Miller has a high-90s fastball, and prior to his protection, the team only had three lefties, two lefty relievers, and one healthy lefty reliever (Taylor Rogers) on the 40-man roster. He was thoroughly dominant in AAA Sacramento this year (his first in the organization, after the Giants traded Yunior Marte for him in what looks like an absolute theft). Among 178 pitchers with at least 30 innings thrown in the Pacific Coast League, the 25 year old was 10th in ERA (2.77), third in batting average against (.150), ninth in strikeouts per nine innings (12.6), and 10th in home runs per nine (0.35). He struggles with walks, but nothing else.
Teng is an honest-to-goodness starter who is built to eat innings and strikes out a ton of batters. The last remaining prospect of the three players the Giants acquired when they traded Sam Dyson (Jaylin Davis and Prelander Berroa were the others), Teng was very good in AAA following a midseason promotion. Among 75 pitchers with at least eight starts in the PCL, the soon-to-be- 24 year old was 11th in ERA (4.22), sixth in FIP (4.38), ninth in batting average against (.228), and fifth in strikeouts per nine innings (10.9).
McDonald was a bit more surprising. He has sensational stuff, but injuries have limited him to fewer than 50 innings in High-A. I assumed teams would be too put off by the injury history and the lack of upper-Minors track record, but clearly that’s not the case. McDonald missed the bulk of the 2023 season, but was dominant when healthy: in 37.2 innings with High-A Eugene, he had a 0.96 ERA, a 2.85 FIP, and 39 strikeouts to just eight walks. San Francisco has been high on McDonald forever — he was an 11th round pick out of high school in 2019, but his $800,000 signing bonus was tied for third among the team’s draft class.
Perhaps most noteworthy is that the team didn’t protect center fielder Grant McCray or shortstop Aeverson Arteaga, their consensus two best prospects who were eligible. I’m usually the driver of the “don’t protect position players” bus, but with the team desperate for power and athleticism up the middle, I thought they’d protect those two just in case. Maybe next year.
Welcome to the 40-man roster, Erik, Kai-Wei, and Trevor!