SF Giants Post-Prospect Prospects:
#5 RHP Sam Coonrod
Acquired: Draft (2014, 5th round)
Future Value: 40
Career MLB Stats: 42 G, 35 IP, 4.37 ERA, 4.94 FIP, 4.9 BB/9, 6.4 K/9
When I started working on this piece Sam Coonrod was in the middle of the 35+ group. A former top pitching prospect in the Giants system, Coonrod had seemed to plateau over the past couple of years. Then after an early-season stint on the injured list, Coonrod returned with the best stuff of his career.
After primarily working from 95-97 and touching 98 mph over the past two seasons, Coonrod was sitting between 98-100, and touching 101 mph. His slider/cutter, his primary secondary offering, was sitting in the low-90s with sharp late movement. It was not just back-of-the-bullpen caliber stuff, but a dominant closer’s repertoire.
Manager Gabe Kapler has begun challenging Coonrod with more high-leverage assignments, including his first career save opportunity. The most important sign has been his ability to hold his velocity gains, even as he’s faced more consistent usage.
It’s a lot easier to foresee his control developing enough to be effective at 99 mph than 96 mph. While only a small change at the macro level, it has such a profound difference in his margin for error. It just gets so much easier around the triple-digits.
Of course, as with most hard-throwers, inconsistent control and wavering command still limit Coonrod from being the player Giants fans are dying to see. Those issues popped up in Wednesday’s outing against the Rockies (that will ultimately distort Coonrod’s numbers for the entire season).
He doesn’t look particularly close to some command breakthrough. Any baseball fan knows you can go a lifetime waiting for the hard-thrower to “figure out where their pitch is going,” but Coonrod’s the type of guy you wait for. Besides, even if he doesn’t, he’s shown enough flashes to warrant a roster spot as a high-variance middle-reliever who could absolutely dominate or get shellacked for 4 runs on any given day.