SF Giants pitching prospects rundown (5/14 - 5/20)

Raynel Espinal has been the best pitcher in the River Cats rotation this year.
Raynel Espinal has been the best pitcher in the River Cats rotation this year. / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages
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San Francisco Giants  v Philadelphia Phillies
San Francisco Giants v Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

SF Giants pitching prospects rundown (5/14 - 5/20)

SJ Giants Pitching Prospects

Notable Performances

Mason Black: 1 G (1 GS), 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA
Esmerlin Vinicio: 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 HBP, 1 BB, 6 K, 2.08 ERA
Evan Gates: 1 G, 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 0.00 ERA
Spencer Bivens: 1 G, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0.00 ERA

Mason Black has been the most consistent pitcher in the San Jose Giants team this season. Among pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched this season in the California League, Black is first in ERA, third in xFIP, fourth in groundball rate, and fifth in K/BB. The thing that is a bit concerning with Black is the dip in his swing and miss ability and ability to rack up the strikeouts (13.5% swinging strike rate, 31.9% strikeout rate which is sixth among Giants pitchers with more than 20 innings pitched) which might be a result of his fastball shape but it's working out very well for Black right now in terms of his strike-throwing and pure stuff.

Esmerlin Vinicio was considered as the top pitcher in the 2019 Giants' international FA class but he has not lived up much to the expectations so far. Vinicio has a 4.50 ERA and a corresponding 4.89 xFIP this season with 17 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched. The most worrying thing for me is the lack of physicality on his frame. He has not added much on his frame and that limits him to a relief role. His baggy clothes hide the thin frame that he has underneath. But Vinicio can viciously spin it as his curveball is at least above-average to plus. The issue is that his fastball velocity has not ticked up and he has not develop in terms of fine command. Vinicio is a fit for relief.

Entering this season, I have named Evan Gates as one of the potential breakout prospects and while it might be loud, Gates has been very good reliever in the San Jose bullpen this season. Gates is effective because of his north-south approach with his high fastball, low curveball combination. The velocity reaches 94 MPH and the curveball is very effective in inducing swings and misses. He might be 24 years old but Gates can be a dude who might reach the high-Minors.

Who the hell is Spencer Bivens? How can a 27-year-old pitch in a professional setting for the first time in his career? Well, because Bivens has some potential. Signed to a Minors deal, and Bivens toiled in Indy ball for the past couple of years after coming out of college (Rogers State graduate) but looked like has spent the past couple of years at Tread Athletics. Bivens has a funky delivery with a pretty stiff look at leg kick and a whirling motion that resembles Tim Lincecum. Bivens has a very horizontal movement profile with his pitches similar to Logan Webb and his twirling motion gives him deception. It would be interesting what the Giants plan with Bivens but he might be a potential diamond in the rough.