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SF Giants pitching prospects week in review (8/1-8/21)

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 30: Sammy Long #73 of the SF Giants pitches against the Houston Astros in the top of the six inning at Oracle Park on July 30, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 30: Sammy Long #73 of the SF Giants pitches against the Houston Astros in the top of the six inning at Oracle Park on July 30, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Sean Hjelle
SF Giants pitcher Sean Hjelle (84), who is 6’11’ helps out photographers so he so he fits in the seamless backdrop during spring training media day at Scottsdale Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

Make sure to revisit our weekly SF Giants prospect rundowns to keep up with each of the organization’s minor-league affiliates. If you do not feel well acclimated to the prospects throughout the farm system, you might want to revisit our prospect week articles that detailed the system from the top prospects to lower-level fringes. If you’re just interested in the biggest names, then the preseason SF Giants top 31 prospects list is the one-stop-shop for you.

After taking a couple of weeks off, I will be covering the past three weeks of action. Marc’s new mid-season top prospects list is dropping soon so stay tuned for it as well!

SF Giants Prospects Weekly Rundown: Triple-A

Notable Performers

Sean Hjelle: 2 G, 2 GS, 1 W, 12.1 IP, 16 H, 7 R (7 ER), 6 BB, 3 K, 5.11 ERA
Norwith Gudino: 2 G, 2 GS, 1 W, 8 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 7 K, 2.25 ERA
Sammy Long: 3 G, 2 GS, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 5 BB, 10 K, 2.08 ERA

Sean Hjelle is ready for a new challenge in pitching in the hitter-friendly Triple-A West after pitching well for Richmond. After a strong Sacramento debut, he got roughed up in his second start in Salt Lake. For a guy known to rely more on inducing groundballs rather than sheer stuff, Triple-A West could prove to be a tough challenge for Hjelle when he is pitching on the road. Hjelle is inducing a 65% groundball rate across two starts which is great, but inducing more swing and miss could be the goal for Hjelle to see time in the big leagues this season.

After pitching in middle relief in his first five outings as a River Cat, Norwith Gudino transitioned to the rotation this month and did not look bad in my opinion. His pitch count did not matter as he’s still getting the same workload as he was in middle relief of around 65 pitches and his stuff has looked the same in the rotation. Gudino has three competitive pitches with his mid-90s fastball, slider, and split-change with a respectable 7.3% walk rate in Triple-A this season. Gudino deserves to be included in the conversation for the final spots in any top 30 list.

Sammy Long has bounced back and forth between the big leagues and in Sacramento as a stop-gap option for Gabe Kapler’s squad. With his pitch arsenal now publicly available in Baseball Savant, it is much easier to assess Long as a pitcher. His curveball as close to a true 12-6 offering with a way below-average horizontal break but with an above-average vertical break. His fastball is not exactly on the opposite spin axis as his curveball but the pitch has above-average induced vertical break. Those are the only two pitches that have potential however as his changeup is way below-average in terms of both vertical and horizontal movement and his slider is nothing special. I still believe Long is a middle reliever that could see his velocity tick up in one-inning stints and let that curveball play.

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