SF Giants make first minor league promotion of the season, move reliever up to Triple-A

Pittsburgh Pirates v San Francisco Giants
Pittsburgh Pirates v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The SF Giants made their first minor league promotion of the young season. Minor league reliever Clay Helvey has been bumped up to Triple-A after starting the year in Double-A according to a source.

SF Giants make first minor league promotion of the season, move reliever up to Triple-A

The Giants have been an aggressive team with promotions in recent years. In the past, teams would usually wait until after the draft to make a slew of promotions in the minors. However, since the draft has moved to July, it makes less sense now to wait until after the draft given that the minor league season usually ends around the first week of September.

Of course, Triple-A is the exception. The Triple-A season consists of approximately 150 games and usually runs for nearly as long as the major league season.

The Giants have usually announced promotions once performance warrants it rather than waiting to confirm a wave of moves. Teams still usually made a series of promotions by midseason, but that process is more fluid than it was in the past.

Helvey returns to the Sacramento River Cats after struggling to the tune of a 6.23 ERA in 17.1 frames to start last season. The promotion puts him one step closer to the majors. Though, and perhaps this is reading too much between the lines, the 27-year-old was not among the non-roster invitees in camp this season.

Usually, teams extend invites to top prospects or players that the organization feels could help them for the upcoming season. That did not occur with Helvey.

Nevertheless, the right-handed reliever thrived in his brief stint with the Richmond Flying Squirrels to start the year. He recorded five strikeouts with zero walks in three innings in Double-A. Evidently, that was enough for the Giants to move him back to Sacramento.

San Francisco originally drafted Helvey in the 22nd round of the 2018 draft out of the University of Tampa. Despite being a college arm, he has made a deliberate climb through the minors despite posting respectable marks at nearly every stop. In six minor league seasons, he has tallied a 4.86 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 10.9 K/9, and a 2.02 SO/W ratio while working primarily out of the bullpen.

On the mound, Helvey flashes a mid-90's fastball with a quality curveball. The righty pitcher struggles to find the zone at times and often pitches in traffic. He is usually able to get out of jams thanks to above-average strikeout rates.