SF Giants Prospects Weekly Rundown: Rookie
Sonny Vargas: 1 G, 1 GS, 1 W, 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 9 K, 1.50 ERA
Esmerlin Vinicio: 1 G, 1 GS, 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 HBP, 1 BB, 5 K, 2.25 ERA
Trevor McDonald: 2 G, 2 GS, 8.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R (4 ER), 3 HBP, 6 BB, 15 K, 4.15 ERA
Mikell Manzano: 2 G, 1 GS, 1 W, 7.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 10 K, 1.23 ERA
Four of the top five pitchers that lead the Arizona League in strikeouts are from Giants affiliates. The pitcher who leads the way with 57 strikeouts is left-hander Sonny Vargas. His start to his season was awful with a 9.64 ERA in July but was much better in August with a 2.84 ERA across five starts and a 33:4 strikeout to walk ratio in 25.1 innings pitched. The 20-year old from Venezuela has improved his frame as he matures and has a high arm slot. His 5.60 ERA is tough to look at but his strong peripherals make him a pitcher to follow.
Second in strikeouts with 56 is Esmerlin Vinicio. Vinicio has been usurped by Manuel Mercedes as the top Giants pitching prospect from the 2019 international free agent class but it has not stopped Vinicio from posting solid numbers in Rookie ball with a 2.35 ERA. Vinicio is still super wiry that I do not project to gain a good amount of muscle as he matures but Vinicio throws strikes, has a good baseball IQ, and could be fit in the Nick Swiney mold of junk balling hitters with strong secondaries alleviating his lower fastball velocity.
The third with 55 strikeouts is Trevor McDonald. “Effectively wild” is the best term to describe McDonald’s 2021 with 27 walks allowed and nine hit batters in 51 innings pitched. Based on the new footage that I have seen, McDonald flashes above-average to plus with his slider and his fastball is highly effective at the top of the zone due to the funk in his mechanics and a low 3/4 arm slot. However, his feel for the strike zone is below-average and his command is worse. Nonetheless, McDonald is an uncomfortable at-bat.
One of the more impressive pitching prospects in the Giants’ Dominican complex is Mikell Manzano. Even though it is easy to not trust the statistics in Rookie ball, Manzano is often talked as one of the standout pitchers in the Felipe Alou Academy. If there is one thing that we can trust is his control. Out of 102 batters that Manzano has faced this season, he has only walked one. A feat like that is incredible in its own. I am excited to see what he can do when he hits Stateside.
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