Top pitching prospect Sean Hjelle could be called up by the San Francisco Giants at some point in 2020. When will he make his MLB debut?
However, he performance this spring could set the stage for him to make his MLB debut at some point in 2020.
Given the current lack of clear long-term pieces in the starting rotation, it would not be the least bit surprising to see Hjelle establish himself as a rotation staple by season's end.
Back to Hjelle, the 22-year-old recorded a 3.32 ERA and 1.32 WHIP with 8.7 K/9 across three different minor league levels in 2019. He struggled at Double-A Richmond, posting a 6.04 ERA in five starts, but that's a very small sample size.
The lanky 6'11", 225 pound right-hander will likely start the year back at Richmond, with an outside chance he's pushed aggressively to Triple-A Sacramento,, but a solid spring training could go a long way toward pushing up the date of his MLB debut.
He already turned in an impressive first appearance, pitching a perfect inning to record a save while pounding the strike zone with a mid-90s fastball. It's only one appearance, but it's a good place to start.
The true test will be when Hjelle gets a chance to start this spring. That will serve as a much better indicator for how close to ready he is for a big league call-up.
As long as Hjelle performs well in the minors, we should see him in the big leagues sooner rather than later. It would not be surprising to see him receive a call-up in May or June, perhaps starting out in the bullpen to ease into life as a big leaguer, before moving into the rotation during the second half.
Along with the aforementioned Bart, a possible promotion of Hjelle is one of the biggest things Giants fans have to look forward to in 2020. Both players have a chance to be key pieces of the future, and we could all get a sneak preview of that future sooner rather than later in 2020.