The minor league season is underway but the SF Giants continue to look at ways to bolster organizational depth. They have added another left-handed hurler with experience in the upper minors.
SF Giants sign former 3rd round pick to minor league deal
The 25-year-old prospect was originally drafted by the Royals in the third round of the 2017 draft out of Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He was moved up the minor league ladder aggressively, reaching as high as Double-A by the 2019 season.
The Royals sent him to the Arizona Fall League following the 2019 campaign where he posted a 6.94 ERA with 11 strikeouts against seven walks with the Surprise Saguaros. Across four minior league seasons, the southpaw has registered a 4.25 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 6.6 K/9, and a 1.68 SO/W ratio.
Tillo came up as a starter, but Eric Logenhagen and Kiley McDaniel (Now at ESPN) of Fangraphs believe that he is better suited for a bullpen role:
"Tillo is a recent velo spike guy who has been up to 97 this spring, but he was often into the mid-90s last summer. Both of his secondaries are capable of missing bats, but he has to locate his slider for that pitch to be effective, and his general feel for the craft is lacking, so that may never happen consistently. Despite his long arm action, Tillo also has a diving changeup that hitters will swing over the top of, or make awkward contact with. It’s No. 4 starter stuff, but we think Tillo’s control means he’ll likely move to the bullpen eventually"- Eric Logenhagen and Kiley McDaniel
The left-handed pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery in July of 2020, but the Royals felt comfortable in adding him to the 40-man roster in the following offseason. This was a move that did not pay dividends for the Royals as Tillo never appeared for Kansas City and became a free agent after going unclaimed on waivers earlier this month.
Tillo represents a no-risk addition for the Giants as they look at ways to improve around the margins. He had enough upside to be added to a 40-man roster and he is nearly two years removed from major surgery. The bullpen looks to be a strength, but there is no harm in bringing another arm into the competition.