Former SF Giants 2nd-round pick may be nearing his end with the team

The SF Giants may have to part ways with a former top prospect.
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The SF Giants have a lot of really good starting pitchers. That is good for the team, but it does not bode well for some of their more marginal arms. One such arm is Sean Hjelle. After a rough start to this season, it may be time to move on from the tall righty.

Former SF Giants 2nd-round pick may be nearing his end with the team

Drafted by the Giants back in 2018, there was hope that Hjelle could turn into a solid starting pitcher for the team. Things have not panned out that way.

He has never been all that dominant of a pitcher. In his minor league career, his ERA sits at 4.49. Despite his tall 6-foot-11 frame, his fastball sits in the mid-90's and his secondary pitches are solid but he does not miss a lot of bats. The Giants hoped that Hjelle's unique, downward plane from his release point would be tough on opposing hitters.

Ultimately, Hjelle just has not performed at the big league level as of yet. In 25 appearances as a big leaguer, he has an ERA of 6.14. And despite primarily being a starter in the minors, he has yet to start a game for the Giants.

Coming into this season, it seemed like Hjelle would have a chance to compete to be a long reliever on the Giants. He had an elbow injury in spring training that set him back a bit, but he was called up after Kai Wei-Teng struggled in the long relief role. Thus far in 2024, Hjelle has given up 3 earned runs in 4 and 2/3 innings pitched.

Hjelle could be sent down very soon if the Giants decide to call up someone like Mason Black who has been pitching great in Triple-A thus far. Hjelle has one minor league option remaining so they would not have to designate him for assignment right away, but it feels clear that he is lower on the depth chart than many pitchers both on and off the 40-man roster.

There is still a chance for Hjelle to turn things around, though. It is not as if the current Giants bullpen is set in stone. Outside of four or five arms, there is a good chance that the Giants mix-and-match to find the right group in the bullpen. Hjelle could still be in the mix for that.

If Hjelle can provide some more consistency for the team going forward, then perhaps he can lock down that bulk relief role. However, if he continues to struggle the way he has thus far in his big league career, then he may not be on the Giants for much longer.