2 SF Giants 2022 draftees bumped up to High-A
The good news continues for the Giants 2022 draft class. Birdsong and Kempner joined a handful of prospects from their draft class to earn quick promotions in 2023.
Perhaps, the most notable are outfielder Wade Meckler and pitcher Carson Whisenhunt. Meckler began the season in High-A, but earned a promotion after a scorching start with the Eugene Emeralds.
On the other hand, Whisenhunt was briefly teammates with Birdsong and Kempner in San Jose earlier this season. However, he has been bumped up two levels after consistently dominating the competition. Another 2022 draftee, John Bertrand, also received a promotion to High-A after a solid start in San Jose.
The Emeralds really needed extra pitching, so the additions could not have come at a better time. Whisenhunt's promotion created a void as well as Carson Ragsdale landing on the injured list, so there was a need for pitching.
Birdsong received a lot of praise in camp and carried that momentum into the season as he posted a 2.16 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 15.1 K/9, and a 3.18 SO/W ratio in 12 appearances for the Giants. The strikeout numbers are fantastic, but he will need to show better control of the strike zone as he faces off against more advanced competition.
The 21-year-old features a mid-90's fastball that gets some vertical and horizontal movement that he pairs with a quality curveball. He features a slider and changeup, but both of those pitches are still a work in progress. Birdsong will continue to work out of the rotation, but could become a leverage reliever if he is not able to throw enough strikes.
On the other hand, Kempner was selected in the third round of the 2022 draft out of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He began the season as a starter with San Jose, but quickly transitioned to the bullpen. In 14 outings, the right-hander has tallied a 4.67 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, and a 1.93 SO/W ratio.
Kempner flashes a sidearm delivery, which presents an interesting arm slot for opposing hitters but it is also tough to replicate. He features a mid-90's fastball that he pairs with a good slider and a developing changeup. There have been some control issues for Kempner in the early going, but a move to the bullpen feels like the best fit.