Spring Training is just getting underway, but two SF Giants bullpen prospects could make an impact in 2021.
SF Giants bullpen prospects garnering attention
Doval has been on the Giants’ radar for a couple of years now and is thought to be a potential closer of the future. He was added to the taxi squad late in 2020 and there was some hope that he would debut with the club before the end of the year but it never came to fruition.
The SF Giants originally signed the right-handed hurler in the 2015-2016 J2 signing period and he has been lighting up the radar gun ever since. In four minor-league seasons, he has registered a 3.31 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 12.8 K/9, and a 2.74 SO/W ratio in 118 appearances exclusively out of the bullpen.
He can rack up the strikeout totals quickly, but this comes with some erratic command as well. That said, he has never pitched above Single-A, so the command will need to be refined as he faces off against better competition.
As Kiley McDaniel and Eric Logenhagen of Fangraphs point out, Doval’s fastball is a very unique pitch:
"He also throws a hard, horizontal slider. The Trackman readout for Doval is shocking. His primary fastball/cutter spins in at about 2700 rpm, which is incredible considering how hard he throws. He also generates nearly seven feet of extension, and the effective velocity of his fastball is about 2 mph harder than its actual velo."
On the other hand, Casto has flown a bit under the radar as a pro and that is not necessarily his fault. San Francisco signed him to a $100,00 signing bonus during the 2015-2016 J2 signing period. Interestingly, he tried to make it as a catcher, and is definitely still built like a catcher, but became a pitcher before his pro career began.
Castro missed the 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and, of course, did not pitch in competitive games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In total, the 22-year-old has a shade under 90 pro innings to his ledger where he has registered a 3.81 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, and 3.38 SO/W ratio in 28 appearances. However, the righty really opened some eyes during the Instructional League this past fall.
Both Doval and Castro were added to the 40-man roster in November and could make an impact sooner rather than later. Zaidi has made it a point to maximize the utility of every 40-man roster spot, so neither one was added with an eye towards 2022 or 2023. With the way they are throwing, both could debut at Oracle Park later this summer.