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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, Kai-Wei Teng, Nick Morreale
Pitchers Nick Morreale, left, and Kei-Wei Teng visit PK Park for the start of the Eugene Emeralds’ 2021 season.SF Giants prospects

SF Giants Prospects Weekly Rundown: High-A

Notable Performers

Kai-Wei Teng: 4 G, 4 GS, 2 W, 23 IP, 16 H, 5 R (4 ER), 9 BB, 35 K, 1.57 ERA
Ryan Murphy: 4 G, 4 GS, 2 W, 22.1 IP, 9 H, 9 R (3 ER), 5 BB, 32 K, 1.21 ERA
Austin Reich: 5 G, 2 W, 10 IP, 7 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 16 K, 1.80 ERA
Chris Wright: 6 G, 1 W, 4 SV, 7 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 10 K, 1.29 ERA

After a couple of months of not having a reliable starting pitcher in their rotation, Eugene finally has two in Kai-Wei Teng and Ryan Murphy as they look to take the High-A West lead.

The biggest story this month is the resurgence of Teng. In a five-game stretch from June 27th to July 21st, Teng’s stock was at its lowest with a 10.80 ERA. However, over his past five starts, Teng is back in the game with a minuscule 1.29 ERA. What was the difference? First, is he enjoyed a 6% increase in his strike rate from 56% when he was struggling to 62%. The second and the biggest difference is the 9% increase in his whiff rate from 31.1% to 40.7%. Upon comparing the two stretches, he was looking to be toying a harder slider but was not an effective pitch for him as it was often “cement mixing” to the middle of the plate. It looks like he reverted to a bigger breaking slider that he employed earlier this season where he has seen decent success with. It’s safe to say that Teng is now back in the conversation to be one of the top 30 prospects in the organization.

The second starting pitcher that excelled over the past three weeks is Murphy. After an exemplary July, the Giants brass rewarded Murphy with a promotion to Eugene. The results were as expected as the right-hander has never pitched below five innings and is giving his team a puncher’s chance to win. After his start in Hillsboro where he went 7 innings of work, Murphy told me that he was not happy with the mound in the first inning where he gave up his first earned runs as an Emerald and having thrown 24 pitches. He asked for the mound to get fixed and dominated afterward, pitching six innings of one-hit baseball with eight strikeouts and having only thrown just 54 pitches. He is still showing the strikeout stuff with a 38.1% strikeout rate and a 31.85% whiff rate and is still leading the entire Minor Leagues in strikeouts with 148. Murphy is the breakout prospect for the Giants this season.

There are a couple of incredible relievers that will anchor the Eugene bullpen on the season’s climax. Austin Reich has continued to be a stellar piece for the Emeralds. the 24-year old right-hander has a 1.75 ERA and a stellar 36:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 25.2 innings pitched. The only knock that I have against him is that he is not being used more often with him having a pretty consistent 4-5 day routine of work pitching multiple innings. It would be interesting if he is going to be used more often in one-inning stints.

The other half of the incredible Eugene bullpen is their closer, Chris Wright. Wright had a 14-game stretch of not allowing an earned run that ended against the AquaSox but during those 14 games, Wright struck out 22 hitters in 18.1 innings pitched. Wright has nabbed 11 saves as an Emerald and has a 41.2% whiff rate in 29 innings of work with a 1.24 ERA.

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