This is the ninth in a series of articles, here at Around the Foghorn, covering the 22 non-roster invitees joining the San Francisco Giants in their spring training complex this season.
Kyle Crick was drafted in the first round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft out of Sherman High School in Sherman, Texas, by the San Francisco Giants. He has functioned almost exclusively as a starter, with a penchant for striking out the side while having walked the bases loaded. In his career he has 65 more strikeouts than he has innings pitched.
After the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Baseball America ranked the six-two, 220 pound Crick as the Giants’ best prospect. He was also ranked 86th in all of baseball by MLB.com. After a breakout season in 2013, during which Crick posted a 1.57 ERA for the Class A San Jose Giants, despite missing time to injury, MLB.com raised him 54 slots to number 32.
This pitcher was rated the best in the Giants’ organization, after both the 2012 season, and after the 2013 campaign.
He was also ranked 33rd by Baseball America.
Last July 8th, RotoWorld posted that Giants prospect Crick “had struck out ten in five innings, allowing three hits, two walks, and two runs for Double A Richmond on Monday.” It went on to add that in his last nineteen-and-two-thirds-innings, he had recorded 32 strikeouts and 14 walks, while holding opponents to a .147/.293/.250 line.
Because of his poor command, though, he has walked too many batters and it drives up his pitch count so that he cannot go deep into games, most of the time. It may be a situation where he can be converted to a reliever, if his stuff is good at the outset of his appearances, and declines after a few innings but it’s just possible Giants management has considered that option.
Jul 14, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; USA pitcher Kyle Crick throws a pitch during the 2013 All Star Futures Game at Citi Field. USA defeated World 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Here is a glance at some of his minor league stats:
2011: Age 18/Giants/Arizona League/Rookie/1-0/6.43 ERA/7 G/0 GS/7.0 IP/9 H/5 ER/1 HR/8 BB/8 SO/10.29 BB/9/10.29 SO/9/2.43 (!) WHIP
2012: Age 19/Augusta GreenJackets/South Atlanta League/LoA/7-6/2.51 ERA/23 G/22 GS/111.1 IP/75 H/31 ER/1 HR/67 BB/128 SO/5.42 BB/9/10.35 SO/9/1.28 WHIP
2013: Age 20/San Jose Giants/California League/HiA/3-1/1.57 ERA/14 G/14 GS/68.2 IP/48 H/12 ER/1 HR/39 BB/95 SO/5.11 BB/9/12.45 SO/9/1.27 WHIP
2014: Age 21/Richmond Flying Squirrels/Eastern League/6-7/3.79 ERA/23 G/22 GS/90.1 IP/78 H/38 ER/7 HR/61 BB/111 SO/6.08 BB/11.06 SO/1.54 WHIP
Being ranked as the organization’s top dog is heady stuff, but if he can’t bring down his walks total, he will struggle. 2013 saw him miss two months with an oblique injury but he will have more to worry about than injuries if he does not get a handle on his control. His 6.08 BB/9 in 2014 is off the charts in the wrong direction.
Kyle Crick pitching Futures game in Scottsdale on March 8, 2014.
It is such an aberration that it detracts from that sparkling 12.45 SO/9, and that’s a real shame. Add to that the fact that he surrendered a grand total of two home runs total, in his first three seasons in the minor leagues. That is simply astonishing.
Almost twelve and a half strike outs per nine innings going to waste, because of control issues? Well, with a WHIP of over one-and-a-half, strikeouts will get you out of an inning-eventually-but not before some of those walks come home to haunt you, and fans definitively do not like to see walks materialize into runs.
The question is, how long do you give Crick to get it together? Or better yet, will he? Is there enough of a jolt to be had at the MLB level that will stretch his shortcomings out a bit to reduce that hideous BB/9 statistic?
Over six bases on balls per nine innings? Not on the Giants, of that I can assure you.