SF Giants sending a pair of former top picks to Arizona Fall League

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The Arizona Fall League (AFL) rosters are out. The SF Giants are sending a handful of prospects to join the Scottsdale Scorpions, including former top picks Will Bednar and Reggie Crawford. For Bednar, this will be his second straight assignment in the AFL.

SF Giants sending a pair of former top picks to Arizona Fall League

Melissa Lockard of The Athletic listed the rest of the Giants prospect group, which includes Jack Choate, Marques Johnson, Seth Lonsway, Hayden Wynja, Zach Morgan, and Carter Howell.

Interestingly, Crawford is listed as an infielder. The two-way player split time in the batter's box and on the mound in 2023, but only tallied 19 plate appearances across two levels. If he is going to focus on hitting in the AFL, then the Giants will hope he can get as many plate appearances as possible to make up for lost time.

The 2022 first-round pick underwent Tommy John surgery in his final season at the University of Connecticut. He made it back to the mound this season, posting a 2.84 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 15.2 K.9, and a 3.20 SO/W ratio between in 19 innings split between Low-A and High-A.

In the batter's box, the left-handed bat flashes above-average power. On the mound, he has a high-90's fastball with a slider that gets good vertical and horizontal movement. He is still raw in all facets.

The good news is that Bednar will pitch for the Scorpions again this fall. The 2021 first-round pick missed nearly all of the 2023 season with a back ailment after only completing 43 innings for the San Jose Giants last season. He recorded 3.1 innings of work in the AFL in 2022. He needs to find a way to stay on the mound.

Jack Choate had a solid season as a pro as he had a 2.25 ERA, 11.5 K/9, and a 3.63 SO/W ratio in 68 innings in the lower minors, but did not make a start in the final months of the season. He struggled badly with command in college, but improved upon joining pro ball. He features a low, three-quarter delivery with a fastball that sits in the low 90's and gets good run on left-handed bats. He pairs this with a splitter and changeup.

Wynja and Lonsway had relatively full seasons, so it is a little surprising to see them sent to Arizona. Lonsway had a 5.87 ERA in 89 innings at High-A, whereas Wynja quietly had a nice season with a 4.16 ERA across two levels. Johnson is the last of the pitchers, who came over to the Giants in a midseason trade with the Boston Red Sox. He did not allow a run across 18.1 innings with the San Jose Giants following the trade.

Carter Howell produced an .811 OPS in 551 plate appearances split between two levels. On the other hand, Zach Morgan generated a .759 OPS while demonstrating a good understanding of the strike zone. Teams typically send at least one catcher and Morgan checks the box.

Teams will usually use AFL assignments on players who missed time in the prior season, which was the case in Crawford and Bednar. Or, as a way to reward players for a solid season, which seemingly was the case for Wynja, Howell, and Morgan.