Earlier this week, Baseball America released its preseason Top-100 Prospects (subscription required) list with five SF Giants prospects making the cut. This includes four positions players and one pitcher, and the latter has some of the best tools of any pitching prospect in baseball.
Rising SF Giants prospect has one of the best pitch mixes in minors
Geoff Pontes of Baseball America broke down the pitching side of the Top-100 list by highlighting several qualities such as overall pitch mix, fastball quality, and breaking ball effectiveness, In terms of pitch mix, Pontes rated Giants left-handed prospect Kyle Harrison as having one of the best mixes in baseball, which includes a fastball, slider, and changeup.
The Giants originally drafted Harrison in the third round of 2020 draft out of De La Salle High School in Concord, California. De La Salle High School is known for its football program, but it has produced one of the more exciting prospects in baseball.
The young pitching prospect was projected to go in the first round, but slid due to signability concerns. This proved to be in the Giants' favor as they happily selected Harrison and rewarded him with a significantly over slot signing bonus.
Since Farhan Zaidi took over as team president of baseball operations, they have often targeted under slot first-round picks with the hopes of using that extra bonus pool space to reel in an intriguing prep player later in the draft. It bears mentioning that the Giants were seemingly a fit for catching prospect Tyler Soderstrom, but they selected college catcher Patrick Bailey instead.
Soderstrom has become one of the top prospects in the Oakland A's farm system, and while that may be a bitter pill to swallow, the Giants not would likely been able to sign both Soderstrom and Harrison given that they were coming out of high school. They each had leverage on their side, and that is part of the reason why Harrison slid.
Nevertheless, the Giants ended up with a good arm in Harrison. Geoff Pontes believes that the southpaw's slider has good upside along with his fastball and changeup:
"His slider is another potential plus offering, driving the lowest OPS in his mix as batters hit just .204/.282/.258 against the pitch in 2021. Much like his changeup and fastball, Harrison generates whiffs at a plus rate against his slider. The pitch ranked top 10 in whiff rate among sliders thrown by pitchers in the top 100. Harrison could take a large step forward this year by simply getting his robust three-pitch mix in the zone more."- Geoff Pontes
In his first season as a pro, the 20-year-old pitching prospect impressed as he registered a 3.19 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 14.3 K/9, and a 3.02 SO/W ratio across 23 starts in Low-A. Harrison quickly adjusted to the advanced competition.
The lefty was able to accumulate high stikeout totals, but to Pontes' point, his command was a little erratic at times. Prior to the draft, control and command were some of Harrison's strengths, so it is just a matter of time before it clicks. The Giants have added some pitching potential in recent drafts, but Harrison has as much upside as anyone.