Tuesday was the deadline to protect eligible prospects from the Rule 5 draft in December. The SF Giants added a trio of pitchers including Erik Miller, Trevor McDonald, and Kai-Wei Teng, per a team announcement.
SF Giants protect trio of pitching prospects ahead of Rule 5 draft
We looked at three prospects who were eligible for the first time earlier in the offseason and one out of three of them was added. Perhaps, a minor surprise is that the Giants did not add speedy outfielder Grant McCray or utility infielder Aeverson Arteaga.
Both prospects finished the year in High-A, so the Giants are making a bet that there is a low risk of losing either prospect through the Rule 5 draft. The difference in competition between High-A and the majors is substantial, so both likely need more minor league seasoning before they can make an impact in the majors. Even if either one is selected next month, the hit rate on Rule 5 prospects is low, especially for position players.
Interestingly, the Giants' 40-man roster stands at 39, meaning that one spot is left open. Could they have a waiver claim up their sleeves? It has been a surprisingly long time since the front office has made a waiver claim.
Miller was an easy decision to add to the 40-man roster. The hard-throwing pitcher has performed well since transitioning to the bullpen in 2022. He began the 2023 season in Double-A, but he was quickly bumped up to Triple-A. With the Sacramento River Cats, he tallied a 2.77 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 12.6 K/9, and a 1.78 SO/W ratio in 48 outings.
On the other hand, McDonald and Teng were a bit more surprising, though both very deserving. McDonald missed the first half of the year with an arm injury, but dominated High-A following his return as he recorded a 0.96 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, and a 4.88 SO/W in nine appearances, including eight starts. There is a good chance that he would have reached Double-A before the end of last year if he did not miss time.
Teng has been in the Giants' farm system for a while and has consistently put up respectable numbers with high strikeout totals. He split time between Double-A and Triple-A last year. Across two levels, the 24-year-old prospect tallied a 4.42 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 11.7 K/9, and a 2.41 SO/W ratio in 29 appearances. All three prospects will be in camp in the spring and should be candidates to help the Giants as soon as next season.