On Saturday, the SF Giants received pitching prospect Carson Ragsdale from the Philadelphia Philles in exchange for hard-throwing reliever Sam Coonrod.
The new SF Giants prospect, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2020 draft, brings plenty of intrigue to the table while having little mileage on his arm. The Phillies signed Ragsdale for $225,000, which was significantly below the $497,5000 slot value for the 116th overall pick.
Ragsdale attended the University of Florida and worked exclusively out of the bullpen as a freshman and sophomore, but transitioned to the rotation permanently in 2020. He missed the entire 2019 season after sustaining a UCL injury in his pitching elbow that required Tommy John surgery. In three seasons, the right-hander registered a 3.75 ERA, 1.391 WHIP, 13.8 K/9, and 5.0 BB/9 across 50.1 frames.
However, the 2020 campaign had the makings to be a big step forward for the 22-year-old before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the college season. That said, he was strong in a very small sample as he registered a 2.84 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 17.5 K/9, and a 5.29 SO/W ratio in 19 innings from four starts.
In a way, Ragsdale’s collegiate career arc was similar to fellow 2020 Giants draftee Nick Swiney in that he worked out of the bullpen while battling some command issues and then transitioned full-time to the rotation in a shortened 2020 season.
Prior to the trade, Ragsdale ranked as the Phillies’ no. 30 prospect but is not currently one of the Giants’ top-30 prospects. MLB.Com believes that Ragsdale has a lot of raw talent, and will need to develop a third pitch to stick as a starter:
"“There’s a lot to like about Ragsdale, starting with his 6-foot-8 frame that allows him to throw with a good downhill plane. He features a fastball that’s typically in the 91-95 mph range right now, but there’s room for more velocity in the future. He couples it with a curveball that flashes plus and can be a real strikeout pitch when he lands it in the strike zone. He has a changeup, but it’s a distant third pitch and will need to be developed at the next level… but his size and arm strength, even if it ends up in the bullpen, could be enough for teams to take a chance on him in this year’s Draft.”"
Given that he has two good pitches consisting of a fastball and curveball, it is easy to envision Ragsdale excelling in the bullpen. However, according to Maria Guardado of MLB.Com, the Giants intend to continue developing Ragsdale as a starter.
The Giants are seemingly targeting a different type of skill set with their pitching prospects. Many teams want pitchers with power fastballs, but San Francisco is seeking pitchers who can generate strikeouts without premium velocity but good secondary stuff. This is where Ragsdale falls.
The right-hander is a project and the Giants’ ability to coach and develop his raw talent will be a good indicator of the organizational processes that they have in place. In short, the Giants get an intriguing prospect for a reliever who likely needed a change of scenery.