SF Giants pitching prospects rundown (4/16 - 4/22)
SJ Giants Pitching Prospects
Trevor McDonald: 2 G, 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 0.00 ERA
Jose Cruz: 2 G (1W, 1 SV), 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA
Manuel Mercedes: 1 G, 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 ER), 4 BB, 1 K, 13.50 ERA
There will be a separate piece talking about my first impressions of the 2021 pitching class (should be out during the week) and it gives me the opportunity to talk about the other prospects in the insanely deep Giants squad.
Can we talk about how good Trevor McDonald is? This version of McDonald is nowhere near the McDonald that at least I have seen in his cup of coffee with San Jose late season where he was missing his spots every single time. This season just speaks for itself. Thrown in the same role that Randy Rodriguez occupied as their designated fireman/street sweeper/high-leverage guy, McDonald has delivered throughout the first two weeks with 7.2 scoreless innings, a 42% strikeout rate and just a 6.5% walk rate. Granted that he's still not exactly commanding the ball (or putting it where the catcher's mitt is at) but he's been much more in the zone more often (68% strike rate) and his stuff is good enough as it moves a lot to plainly destroy low-A hitters. I think he deserves top 30 prospect love and would do so in my now monthly rankings update in the first week of May.
It's been wild following Jose Cruz so far this season as he is legitimately wild. This week, though? He's flashed what he could become once his lanky levers are in sync with a dominating performance. Cruz established himself as a respectable relief prospect with his turbo sinker that tops out at 97 MPH from a sidearm slot and with some crossfire that gives him serious groundball rates (85.7% groundball rate this season) as well as deception. He also has a slider and a changeup to boot (he prefers his changeup right now it looks like). His strike-throwing is clearly a whack but when he is right (a nice 69% strike rate this week), he is as dominant of a reliever as they come. Let's continue to follow his progress because he has some serious big-league relief potential as long as the strike-throwing stays strong.
On the other side of the coin though, let's talk about Manuel Mercedes. Mercedes the pitcher and Mercedes the Formula One team has something in common: starting off 2022 on the wrong note. We're not here to talk about Formula One (though personally, I am a McLaren fan) but I'll point out two numbers for Mercedes this season (without context) first: 34.6 and 3.9. Guess which of those two is the strikeout rate. If you think it's the 34.6, you are incorrect as Mercedes actually has a 3.9% strikeout rate and a 34.6% walk rate to begin his 2022 season. His strike-throwing has been abysmal with just a 47% strike rate. It is clear by watching him that he's still super raw in his arm action. He's rotating too quickly and he is not finding his release point as a result. It might be best to push him back down in Arizona to sort his mechanics out there because based on what he's done so far, he's not ready yet for full-season ball.