SF Giants pitching prospects rundown (4/5 - 4/16)
Flying Squirrels Pitching Prospects
Gray Fenter: 2 G (1 GS), 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 8 K, 4.50 ERA
Kai-Wei Teng: 2 G (2 GS), 9.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 10 K, 1.86 ERA
Tristan Beck: 1 G (1 GS), 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 6 K, 4.50 ERA
One of the most impressive pitching performances of the young season for the Giants comes from Gray Fenter. Facing a talented Altoona Curve lineup that has two of the consensus top 100 prospects in all of baseball in Nick Gonzales and Liover Peguero and other good hitting prospects in their farm system, Fenter made them look like a bunch of nobodies. He even struck out four in the second inning. All in all, he induced 13 swinging strikes. and his breaking balls, specifically his slider were stellar. If he can become more consistent with his strike-throwing, he has serious big-league potential because if he can make top-hitting prospects wave and miss consistently at his breaking balls, it will definitely play against the big boys.
I am not highly hyping him up because I am rather conservative in terms of the Giants prospects (if I was more gung-ho about it, I would've put Luciano and Harrison at 70 FV and Matos and Bart at 60 FV but I'm not like that) but when I see pitches that visually will play against higher levels of hitting, even without the pitch metrics, I will definitely mention about it. I still think about Fenter as a reliever but he's nothing like an organizational player where he does not have anything that sticks out. He does have with his breaking balls.
Let's talk about a couple of the starting pitchers in the Flying Squirrels staff. First off is Kai-Wei Teng. I could consider that Teng is effectively wild in his first two starts of the year. It could definitely be said that the old Teng of 2019, the control maestro peppering the corners and avoiding the nitro zone with rather average stuff, is gone. "New Teng, who this?" is the Teng of 2021 and 2022. Teng now has a legitimately good secondary in his slider which is a consistent above-average offering (there were times last season where he was tinkering with his slider grip and one of the grips did not suit him at all caused for his numbers to balloon) but his control suffered as he will get ahead of the hitters for the most part but then fail to finish them off quickly resulting to a high pitch count. I think that's a net neutral change but it actually helped his chances of reaching the big leagues because stuff matters in the big leagues and Teng now has the secondary pitch to play with the big boys. Let's hope that he will stick to this slider grip this time and enjoy sustained production because the stuff is good enough.
After suffering a back injury that resulted in him missing much of the 2021 season, Tristan Beck is now back and looks as healthy as ever. His 2022 debut is not eye-popping but in terms of watching him on the mound, he looks as flexible and healthy as ever. He looks very spry out there! My buddy Roger Munter told me that when you have any injury like Beck, your focus is more on the "getting back to game shape" rather than focusing on your craft and the lost time hurt Beck that way. In his 2022 debut, Beck topped out at 97 MPH with his fastball and it looks cracking but the feel for the breaking ball was not fully there yet.
My main issue with Beck is that he needs to improve his pitchability in the sense that he does not exactly read the hitter's swing well to take advantage of what kind of pitches to throw. I get that the catcher is the one dropping the signs out there, but the pitcher has the override ability to shake his head off in order to get to the pitch that he ultimately wants to throw. I want to see more of that side of the game improve for Beck and once he unlocks that along with the return of his feel for the breaking ball, he will be a big-leaguer though the role will most likely be in the pen.