SF Giants 2023 first-round pick to no longer pursue pitching

Oakland Athletics v San Francisco Giants
Oakland Athletics v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

Reggie Crawford is not the only former two-way prospect in the organization now. SF Giants general manager Pete Putila told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that 2023 first-round pick Bryce Eldridge will only work as a first baseman going forward.

SF Giants 2023 first-round pick to no longer pursue pitching

The Giants selected Eldridge with the 16th overall pick out of James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia. Given that he was drafted out of high school, he has considerable leverage in talks as he had already committed to the University of Alabama.

However, players drafted in the first 10 rounds do end up signing and that was the case for Eldridge. He agreed to a $3.9 million signing bonus, which was slightly below the slot value of $4.3 million. The savings were reallocated to lure second-round pick Walker Martin away from his college commitment with a $2.9 million signing bonus, which was well above slot value.

At the time of the draft, the Giants looked like were taking an interesting development approach by selecting two-way players. However, a year later, both prospects are picking a lane.

In the case of Crawford, it made plenty of sense to scrap hitting. He flashes a mid-to-high 90's fastball with a wipeout slider from the left side. The Giants allowed him to pursue hitting in the Arizona Fall League, but he proved to be very raw in the batter's box. The lefty prospect has some of the highest upside of any prospect in baseball but needs more time on the mound to develop.

However, it felt like Eldridge had a better chance to stick as a two-way player. He had a mid-90's sinker with a slider, curveball and a changeup. He had a repeatable delivery and filled up the strike zone in high school, but he did not pitch following the draft. That approach is not uncommon, especially with high school pitchers.

The left-handed bat did open a lot of eyes in his pro debut as a hitter in 2023. Across two levels, he registered a .294/.400/.505 line with six home runs in 130 plate appearances. This included 69 plate appearances in Low-A. Reaching full-season ball in his draft year and treading water was quite an accomplishment.

The power and plate discipline both looked advanced for someone his age. And, the Giants feel that working out as a position player is where he has the higher upside. Similar to Crawford, they feel like this is the best and fastest way for him to reach the majors.