The Kris Bryant trade is a move that could benefit the Chicago Cubs for the next several years. One of the two prospects traded by the SF Giants last summer was added to the 40-man roster and debuted for the Cubs on Saturday.
Chicago Cubs select contract of former SF Giants pitching prospect
Caleb Kilian yielded three runs on three hits, two walks, and six strikeouts in an impressive debut with Chicago. The right-handed pitcher flashed a fastball that sat in the mid-90's with a sinker and a curve ball.
Since being drafted in the eighth round of the 2019 by the Giants out of Texas Tech University, Kilian has quickly emerged as a legitimate pitching prospect. The 25-year-old pitcher completed 16 scoreless innings in the lower minors in his draft year but did not get a chance to shine until the 2021 season due in part to the canceled 2020 season.
Kilian was assigned to High-A to begin the 2021 season and quickly proved that the assignment was too conservative. In four starts, he allowed just three earned runs on 32 strikeouts against only one walk in 21.2 innings before receiving a promotion to Double-A.
He continued to excel with the Richmond Fly Squirrels, registering a 2.43 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, and an 8.0 SO/W ratio in11 starts. Of course, Giants fans know how this story ends as Kilian was packaged along with outfield prospect Alexander Canario in a trade with the Cubs to acquire Bryant.
The Giants made that trade with the hope of going deep into the playoffs, whereas the Cubs were in the midst of an aggressive sell-off.
Kilian has thrived at every minor league level thus far and this includes an invite to the Arizona Fall League last fall. He even snuck in as the No. 100 prospect in Baseball America's updated rankings from earlier this week.
At this point, there really is not much left for Kilian to prove in the minors. Given that the Cubs are off to a rough 23-31 start, it is fair to assume that the pitching prospect will get an extended look.
In a bit of an oddity, Kilian is the only Giants draft pick since 2019 to advance beyond Double-A. Of course, he did that with the Cubs organization.