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SF Giants farm system: Updated top 31 prospect rankings

DENVER, CO - JULY 11: Marco Luciano #10 of National League Futures Team bats against the American League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 11: Marco Luciano #10 of National League Futures Team bats against the American League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Will Bednar
Jun 26, 2021; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs pitcher Will Bednar (24) throws against the Texas Longhorns at TD Ameritrade Park. (Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports)

SF Giants prospects: Midseason 2021 rankings
7. Will Bednar, RHP

Age: 21
Highest Level: Rookie (Arizona)
Acquired: Draft (2021)
Future-Value Grade: 45+

Will Bednar was a notable riser throughout this year’s draft process. Aided by Mississippi State’s run to the national championship, Bednar helped lead the Bulldogs through the College World Series and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. He finished the year with 139 strikeouts across 92.1 innings pitched with 26 walks and a 3.12 ERA. Young for the draft class, turning 21 just a few weeks prior to the draft, and having already performed on one of the biggest stages in baseball, the SF Giants selected him with the 14th overall pick in the 2021 MLB draft.

Bednar’s fastball generally sits in the low-to-mid 90s and has touched 97 mph, but it has the characteristics that will help it play above its velocity. His slider is easily his best secondary offering, with sharp sweeping action that consistently left hitters flailing. His changeup remains unproven, but there is cautious optimism in the Giants organization that it’s further developed than many anticipate because Bednar did not have to go beyond his fastball and slider against most amateur hitters.

While many fans were disappointed the Giants passed on prep shortstop Kahlil Watson, those I spoke with around the industry were quite high on San Francisco’s class, particularly Bednar. Bednar’s slider is awfully close to already being a plus pitch and his fastball has that potential as well. Some organizations, particularly those that rely on pitch characteristic data, had Bednar ranked among the top-three college pitchers in the class.

Bednar is a good athlete and has an easy, repeatable delivery that should help him develop above-average or better command. Without a developed third pitch or any track record in the pros, Bednar’s projection comes with high variance and significant caveats. Assuming he isn’t forced to the bullpen down the line, where he could profile as a closer, Bednar projects to be a solid mid-rotation starter.

A lot has gone right since Farhan Zaidi was hired as the Giants president of baseball operations, but neither of the team’s first-round picks has had a breakout season. Both Hunter Bishop and Patrick Bailey are still good prospects, but neither has improved their stock since turning pro. Bednar will likely start next season at High-A Eugene and has the opportunity to turn that trend around with a strong campaign.

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