Report: SF Giants 2022 first-round pick expected to make pitching debut on Saturday

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The SF Giants farm system has made some progress in the early going with promotions from several top prospects, including Patrick Bailey and Casey Schmitt to the major league roster. One name is set to return as two-way prospect Reggie Crawford is expected to make his pro pitching debut for the San Jose Giants according to Evan Webeck of the Bay Area News Group.

Report: SF Giants 2022 first-round pick expected to make pitching debut on Saturday

Crawford missed the entire 2022 college season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in October of 2021. Despite this, the Giants selected him in the first round of the 2022 draft out of the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut.

He was announced as a two-way player and agreed to a $2.3 million signing bonus. The Giants knew that it would take time for him to return to the mound but they felt like he would have been drafted even higher had he not sustained the elbow injury. He had been rehabbing in extended spring training and the Giants prospects Twitter account tracked his final outing:

While his return to the mound has been delayed as he recovers from surgery, the left-handed bat has collected a handful of plate appearances as a pro. In his pro debut, he tallied three hits in 19 at-bats with the Arizona Complex League Giants - Black last summer.

The Giants will continue to use Crawford as a two-way player with first base being his primary position in the field. He has already reported to the San Jose Giants where he has recorded three hitless at-bats.

The 22-year-old has not quite demonstrated it yet, but he does flash good power from the left side as he blasted 13 home runs in 232 plate appearances in his final collegiate season in 2021. On the mound, Crawford possesses a fastball that sits in the high-90's that he pairs with a mid-80's slider. Pitching is his carrying skill set, but he is good enough to play on both sides of the ball until a change is needed.

Due to injuries and the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Crawford only logged eight innings on the mound in college. He is one of the more raw players in the Giants' farm system.

San Francisco has been relatively aggressive with promotions this year. This includes promotions for pitching prospect Carson Whisenhunt and outfield prospect Wade Meckler. Both were in the same draft class as Crawford.

If you are wondering if the Giants might follow a similar approach with Crawford, I would speculate against it. Given his relative inexperience and the fact that he is returning from major injury, they will be cautious with his workload in 2023. That said, if he really excels in San Jose, he could land in High-A, which would be an appropriate level for him by the end of the season.