After radio silence at the beginning of instructional league play, the SF Giants have begun posting highlights and updates about the prospects in Arizona. Let’s take a look at what we’ve seen from the team’s pitchers.
For the first time since Spring Training, SF Giants fans are getting to see actual highlights of the organization’s prospects. While the team provided no updates on the players at the beginning of instructional league play, they have since picked up their social media presence.
Over the past week, they have shared plenty of highlights from the Giants teams’ action. 2020 third-round pick out of De La Salle High School (CA), Kyle Harrison, already turned heads with a strong outing that included some unexpected premium velocity. Then top prospect Marco Luciano recorded an absurd exit-velocity on a majestic home run.
While Harrison and Luciano have rightfully gotten the most attention, plenty of other prospects are playing at the instructional league. It’s worth keeping tabs on them too.
Let’s dive in!
SF Giants Pitching Prospects Highlights: Cole Waites
Cole Waites was a fireballer at West Alabama who was never quite able to put it together in the Gulf South Conference. Still, he had one of the best fastballs outside the Power-Five conferences and struck out over 10 batters per nine innings in all three of his collegiate seasons.
In college, Waites stuff overpowered opponents enough to work around his erratic control (5.9 BB/9 in college). However, his ERA was over 7.00 in his pro debut last summer even with a high strikeout total, and that obviously won’t get any better if he can’t find more consistency.
While we don’t know how many pitches Waites threw or if he allowed any free passes, it’s still a good sign that even after an extended layoff, he’s striking out professional batters. At the very least, he still can find upper-90s velocity and put hitters away.
SF Giants Pitching Prospects Highlights: Ryan Murphy
Ryan Murphy was drafted in the 5th round but received a well below-slot signing bonus. His prospect status is more equivalent to a pick in rounds 8-12. Still, the Division-II Le Moyne College alum has a fun profile to build off if he can find a plus pitch. While he lacks premium velocity on his fastball, reportedly sitting between 89-92 mph, he’s shown three different secondary offerings that could be average big-league pitches.
His curveball is his most advanced weapon, featuring sweeping 11-5 movement. He’s also shown consistently good control, never walking more than 2.4 batters per nine innings in college, and a good ability to generate strikeouts (albeit against weaker competition).
Murphy’s profile tends to have strong success at the lower minors, but making the jump from a weak collegiate conference, it’s good to see Murphy find strong success.
SF Giants Pitching Prospects Highlights: R.J. Dabovich
R.J. Dabovich was the Giants 2020 fourth-round pick, but unlike Murphy, he was projected to be drafted in that area. A primary reliever in the Arizona State bullpen, Dabovich has flashed premium stuff, and some scouts think it could play in a rotation.
His fastball is easily his best pitch, sitting between 93-95 mph, touching 98 mph, and receiving very high spin-efficiency marks. His curveball is probably the best secondary pitch in his offering at the moment, but his slider has plus potential if he can work out some of its inconsistencies.
He doesn’t have the typical violent delivery you associate with big bullpen stuff and inconsistent control, and so it’s easy to dream him into a more premium role. Still, except for his performance last summer at the Cape Cod League, walks remained an issue for him throughout college.
SF Giants Pitching Prospects Highlights: Seth Corry
Seth Corry remains the top pitching prospect in the organization. Since the Giants drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2017 MLB draft, he’s missed bats and struggled with command. Last year, in his first full-season experience, he looked to begin putting things together at Class-A Augusta.
From the start of July to the end of last season, Corry made 11 starts. During that span, he posted a 0.99 ERA in 63.2 innings, struck out 86 and allowed just 16 free passes.
Corry has always had a better handle on his offspeed pitches than his fastball, which tends to be a better sign than the reverse. His changeup has also taken huge strides in the past couple of years and could give him two potential plus offspeed pitches. His fastball velocity, has always routinely sat in the low-90s, so topping out at 94 mph is right inline with what fans should be accustomed to.
Since the Giants prioritized hitting prospects at the alternate site, Corry worked out on his own all season. Only time will tell how that impacted his development. Given his struggles with control, he seemed like someone who could especially benefit from game action.
On the flip side, Corry has blamed his mentality on the mound for his control. Perhaps some time away from the rigors of a full minor-league season enabled him to find a comfort zone that he can carry with him onto the rubber going forward.
Without complete box scores, or the full context of each outing, it’s unfair to read too much into any of these selective highlights produced by the SF Giants. Still, it’s always good to see Giants prospects doing good things on the field. Ultimately, this instructional league is the first step to getting players back in organized baseball, and hopefully, a (safe and responsible) minor-league season in 2021.