SF Giants prospects position preview chat: Relief pitchers

SF Giants pitcher Camilo Doval (75) throws against the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning at loanDepot Park. (Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports)
SF Giants pitcher Camilo Doval (75) throws against the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning at loanDepot Park. (Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports) /
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SF Giants, Sam Long, SF Giants Prospects
SF Giants Sam Long poses during media day at Scottsdale Stadium. (MLB photos via USA TODAY Sports) /

SF Giants prospects position preview chat: Relievers (Part 2)

W: I was strict in terms of grading relievers (I do not really put anything higher than 40 FV unless it’s a really elite reliever that should be starting in a rotation instead), but you have them that low it’s interesting.

I think we are pretty much in the same tier as well, although I do have some names to bring up after those three that are in that next tier for me. R.J. Dabovich and Carson Ragsdale are kind of eerily similar in terms of stuff and circumstances. Both are fourth-round picks from last year with a pick separating the two and their M.O. on the mound. Both have a mid to high-90s fastball at the top of the zone paired with a hammer curveball that the Giants love for their relievers it seems like.

M: Ragsdale is in that group of starters, like Trevor McDonald and Sam Long, who it seems like a lot of scouts project them to the bullpen, but it looks like the Giants are giving them a chance to prove they can start, something I’m a fan of. Dabovich is definitely the biggest wild-card to me just because we don’t have a long track record of great control (9 walks in 11.2 innings pitched at Arizona State last season), but he could easily rank alongside Castro, Santos, and Doval given the caliber of stuff he’s shown.

An even lesser-known prospect, Cole Waites, has premium velocity and a good-looking breaking ball of his own too. Who are some of your favorite sleeper relievers in the system?

W: I think it’s a good thing that Ragsdale will be in the rotation early on for him to rack up the innings but that high release point and north-south approach suits him well to become a strong bullpen guy in a couple of years. I agree that Dabovich does not really have the track record, but he’s surely getting good reps and I think he’s a poor man’s Blake Rivera in terms of stuff and deception with their high release point.

It was really interesting though that the Giants envision Long as a starter. I think he could definitely help the MLB squad right now as a 25-year-old with a dazzling fastball-curveball combination from the left side. The changeups that he threw in Spring Training were firm and not exactly big-league caliber at the moment, and that’s why I think it’s a questionable decision for him to be a starter.

Waites has big-league potential because of the improvements he’s made during the quarantine. There are some sleepers in the system but I am going to bring up names that are rather unknown at the moment. Frank Rubio and Ryan Walker might not be your household names in terms of relief prospects but both have deception in their deliveries with sidearm release points, especially Walker with his funky, whirlwind-like mechanics. The stuff is not really mind-blowing but there’s a chance for Walker to be a big leaguer that relies heavily on deception, with Rubio a good step behind.

On the left side, I think there’s a chance that Luis Amaya is going to break out this year. In the organization that’s really light on lefty relief prospects, Amaya’s got the best stuff and the best potential. It’s low-90s from the left side with both sink and cut that can run up to 95 MPH, a solid slider, and a changeup that flashes above-average. He is a strike-thrower and with the current three-batter rule, Amaya’s well-rounded repertoire and control just scream future big leaguer to me. He’s similar to current SF Giants reliever Wandy Peralta.