SF Giants: Fast-rising prospect thriving with aggressive assignment

SF Giants hat in the dugout. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
SF Giants hat in the dugout. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
SF Giants, SF Giants Prospects
SF Giants hat. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The SF Giants have plenty of intriguing prospects in the farm system, but one lesser-known prospect is quickly rising up the ranks. Caleb Kilian is not a name that has been associated with the team’s top pitching prospects, but that appears to be changing quickly.

SF Giants: Fast-rising prospect thriving with aggressive assignment

Kilian, who had been previously drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 2018 and did not sign, was selected by the Giants in the eighth round of the 2019 draft out of Texas Tech University.

In that draft, the Giants went heavy on position players, picking one in nine of the first 10 rounds. Kilian being the lone exception. The front office was clearly selective on which pitchers they picked and it looks like that patience has paid off with Kilian.

The right-hander’s arsenal includes a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90’s that he pairs with a curveball, changeup, and cutter. While at Texas Tech, he flashed a slider as well, but that looks like a pitch he has scrapped since then.

As a collegiate pitcher, he had shown an ability to throw strikes with each one of his pitches. He has an easy, repeatable delivery and he is effectively able to throw in all four quadrants of the strike zone:

Following the 2019 draft, Killian made an impressive pro debut as he did not allow an earned run in seven appearances across 16 innings while reaching as high as Short-Season Low-A.

As a college draftee, Kilian might have been a fast riser in 2020, but that season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old has made up for lost time, quickly moving up the Giants’ system.

He began the 2021 season in Single-A with the Eugene Emeralds. As a college arm and being two years removed from the draft, it is fair to say that this was a rather conservative placement for Kilian.

He further demonstrated that point as he allowed only three earned runs with 32(!) strikeouts and one walk in four starts. This was enough to get the front office’s attention and they rewarded Kilian with a promotion to Double-A.

He has handled that challenge well. In five starts, the righty has posted a 2.17 ERA with 27 strikeouts against only three walks in 29 innings. Kilian did not demonstrate this type of pinpoint command in college, but he has improved considerably while maintaining a healthy strikeout rate against advanced competition.

The front office has proven to be aggressive with promotions, so if Kilian continues at this pace, he could reach Triple-A by the end of the year. As a 24-year-old pitching prospect, there might be little minor league development remaining before he is pitching at Oracle Park.

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Kilian has risen quickly in 2021 and he continues to impress with each outing. He has quickly captured the attention of the front office and introducing himself to Giants fans might be one of his next stops.