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SF Giants prospects rundown 5/22: Caleb Kilian almost perfect

Texas Tech Red Raiders pitcher Caleb Kilian (32) throws in the first inning against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 2019 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. He was drafted by the SF Giants in the 2019 Draft. (Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports)
Texas Tech Red Raiders pitcher Caleb Kilian (32) throws in the first inning against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 2019 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. He was drafted by the SF Giants in the 2019 Draft. (Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports)
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SF Giants, SF Giants Prospects, Caleb Kilian
Jun 21, 2018; Omaha, NE, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders pitcher Caleb Kilian (32) throws against the Florida Gators in the first inning in the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

SF Giants Prospects Rundown 5/22: High-A

Eugene Emeralds 1 at Tri-City Dust Devils 0
Performance of the Game: Caleb Kilian (7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K)

It was a pretty special night in Pasco, Washington for the Emeralds as the trio of Caleb KilianRyan Walker, and R.J. Dabovich combined to pitch a one-hitter. Kilian retired the first 20 batters of the ballgame before giving up a two-out double to Dust Devils third baseman Brendon Davis in the seventh inning.

It was Kilian’s finest effort as a professional and I want to talk about him a little bit. After four starts, his ERA is a measly 1.24. Want to talk about his peripherals? His strikeout rate is 42.67% while his walk rate is just 1.33%. He has a 32:1 strikeout to walk rate. His opponent’s batting average is just .122 and has induced more groundouts than flyout.

On the eye test, I can see three reasons why Kilian is very successful against High-A hitters. First, Kilian sits in the mid-90s with his fastball, touching 98 MPH. Second, Kilian has the ability to not only fill the strike zone easily with his fastball but also command and execute his heater to the four quadrants of the strike zone. Third, his mechanics are not straightforward: his tempo is tough to time and he has some crossfire in his motion.

Even though Kilian is pitching at a really high level at the moment, I do have some concerns with his secondary pitches. He rounds out his repertoire with a cutter, curveball, and a changeup that all flash as only average. It will ultimately be the deciding factor on whether Kilian can take the next step as a true rotation piece at the big league level.

All in all, Kilian would easily make my Top 30 if I update it after today’s games with his plus fastball, above-average command, and average secondaries all accounting to a 40 FV, even a 45.

On the offensive side of the ball, Franklin Labour‘s first inning opposite-field single to drive in Will Wilson proved to be enough, as the Emerald’s hitters were only limited to just four hits with two belonging to Labour.

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