With a towering 6’11” frame, Sean Hjelle is an imposing figure on the pitcher’s mound.
A second-round pick in 2018, he pitched well at Single-A (2.66 ERA in 40.2 IP) and High-A (2.78 ERA in 77.2) before getting knocked around in five starts at Double-A.
Despite the rocky finish, it was a solid first full professional season for the University of Kentucky product, as he solidified his standing as one of the team’s top pitching prospects.
Former San Francisco Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong has also been complimentary of Hjelle, having spent some time working with him and some other young pitchers in the organization.
“He has the ability to throw the ball where he wants to a lot, he commands the strike zone, he’s able to throw off-speed pitches in hitters’ counts for strikes. He’s on the track. Now it’s just mentality, preparation, executing when things are going in a bad way,” Vogelsong told Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area.
The 22-year-old will likely start the 2020 season at Double-A, and if he impresses and progresses as hoped, there is an outside chance he could see the majors at some point.
It remains to be seen if any of these four pitchers will develop into a future ace, but they all have intriguing potential and will be worth monitoring closely in the years to come.