The SF Giants 2019 draft class has yet to feed the major league team, but one pitching prospect is now just one call away. 2019 18th-round pick Cole Waites earned a promotion to Triple-A after only 18 appearances with the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
SF Giants promote first prospect to Triple-A from the 2019 draft class
To create room on Sacramento's roster, middle infielder Drew Jackson and reliever Cody Carroll were both released, per the team's transaction page. Jackson was signed to a minor league pact just a couple of weeks ago, so his release is a mild surprise.
In his brief time with Sacramento, the middle infielder slashed .200/.226/.533 (69 wRC+) with three home runs, five RBI, and seven runs in 31 plate appearances. He gave Sacramento a versatile glove as he played all around the field.
On the other hand, Carroll began the season with the Giants organization. He tallied a 7.62 ERA with 49 strikeouts against 28 walks in 39 innings in Triple-A in 2022.
It took a while for Waites to get into a groove due in part to the cancelled minor league season in 2020 and the fact that he missed much of last season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Once he got going, the 24-year-old quickly opened a lot of eyes.
He appeared briefly for the San Jose Giants at the end of 2021 where he allowed one earned run on 31 strikeouts against six walks in 13.1 frames. The right-handed hurler carried this momentum into 2022 as he began this season with Eugene, posting a 3.55 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 12.2 innings.
Waites continued to rack up the strikeout totals as he tallied 38 more strikeouts after earning a promotion to Double-A. In total, Waites has generated a 2.41 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 17.4 K/9, and a 3.42 SO/W ratio in 31 appearances split between two levels.
Baseball America (subscription required) believes that he has the best fastball in the organization with a slider that continues to develop.
Waites is the first Giants prospect from the 2019 draft class to reach Triple-A. Technically, Caleb Kilian reached Triple-A ahead of Waites, but he did so as a Chicago Cubs prospect. San Francisco likes what it has seen from Waites as he has been moved aggressively up the minor league ladder.
Pitchers with a good fastball who can rack up a lot of swings and misses tend to become leverage relievers. Triple-A will be a new challenge for Waites, but he should be a candidate to be promoted to the big club soon enough.