SF Giants pitching prospects rundown (5/7 - 5/13)

Mauricio Llovera is having himself a very nice season with Sacramento.
Mauricio Llovera is having himself a very nice season with Sacramento. / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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Make sure to revisit our weekly SF Giants prospect rundowns to keep up with each of the organization’s minor-league affiliates.

SF Giants pitching prospects rundown (5/7 - 5/13)

If you do not feel well acclimated to the prospects throughout the farm system, you might want to revisit this year's Prospect Week article (specifically the SF Giants 2022 prospects depth chart) or purchase the 2022 SF Giants Prospects Primer filled with scouting reports of 150 San Francisco Giants prospects from the best of the best to the unheard-of prospects. If you’re just interested in the biggest names, then the monthly updated 2022 Top 30 Prospects is just what you need.

River Cats Pitching Prospects

Notable Performers

Mauricio Llovera: 2 G, 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA
Joey Marciano: 3 G (1 SV), 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 4 K, 0.00 ERA

Let's start off with the River Cats and the stellar job that Mauricio Llovera has done out of the bullpen so far this season. Llovera has begun the 2022 season by throwing 12.2 scoreless innings of five-hit ball with only two walks allowed (one of which is intentional) and has struck out 17 batters. Llovera's near-five-foot release height gives his fastball that touches 98 MPH a good plane at the top of the zone and the sinker has shown potential below the zone with its good horizontal movement. His slider has late movement that tunnels well with his fastball. It's easy to envision Llovera making it back to the big leagues this season.

Joey Marciano is having himself a nice season with the River Cats with a 1.20 ERA though it comes with a lot of caveats. The first is his career-high 14.5% walk rate and a career-low 21% strikeout rate. Yes, the sinker can touch the high-90s with an above-average spin rate but he's having trouble finishing hitters off leading to plenty of traffic on the bases. Also, there is a distinct difference in terms of his fastball and slider release points that hitters could pick up if they are good at it. All signs point to a regression in the performance in the near future but Marciano has the ability to combat it.

As a side note, it's nice that they finally correctly recognized Sean Hjelle's slider as a knuckle curve.

I'll round out the River Cats rundown by mentioning a few pitching prospects in short bursts. Raynel Espinal's outing might not be pretty this week but he has some traits that are very desirable like his near-five-foot release height and his good fastball-slider combo. Speaking of combo, did you know that Patrick Ruotolo has the fourth-highest strikeout rate strikeout rate out of all Giants pitching prospects while having the lowest walk rate among the top five? I bet you did not, so now you know. On the other hand, Kervin Castro's walk rate ballooned to 31%, the highest in the entire farm system? He's allowed a walk in seven straight appearances which is not doing favors to his prospect stock.