SF Giants to promote hard-throwing righty for MLB debut

2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training
2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The SF Giants anticipated that Hayden Birdsong would appear with the club in 2024. Perhaps, it is happening a little sooner than expected but Bob Melvin told Shayna Rubin of the San Francisco Chronicle that one of the Giants' top pitching prospects is set to debut on Wednesday.

SF Giants to promote hard-throwing righty for MLB debut

Birdsong does not currently occupy a spot on the 40-man roster, so the Giants will need to make a move to clear a space and add him to the active roster. He will represent the second Giants player from the 2022 draft class to debut. The first was Wade Meckler last season.

Nonetheless, this represents another rapid rise through the farm system. Birdsong was originally a sixth-round pick out of Eastern Illinois University, so it is fair to say he outperformed his relatively modest draft stock.

The right-handed hurler has quickly thrived at every level so far. He began the 2023 campaign in San Jose but quickly moved through the California League and the Northwest League to reach Richmond by the end of the year.

Birdsong did struggle to a 5.48 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 13 walks in 23.0 innings in his first turn through the Eastern League. As is often the case with pitchers still trying to hone their control, the walk rate tends to creep up against more advanced competition.

The 22-year-old returned to Richmond to start this year and posted a 2.05 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 11.4 K/9, and a 3.05 SO/W ratio in 11 starts. He received a much-deserved promotion to Sacramento where he allowed five earned runs on 14 strikeouts and six walks in nine innings before joining San Francisco.

Perhaps, it is a mild surprise that the Giants did not go with Carson Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt has a little more experience in Triple-A, but it could also be a sign for how highly the organization views Birdsong.

On the mound, the 6-foot-4 pitcher flashes a mid 90's fastball that gets good, armside run. He pairs that with a 12-to-6 curveball that works both in the zone and as a chase pitch to go with a slider that can be a solid offering. Birdsong does have a changeup in his arsenal, but he does not throw it often.

Given the number of injuries the Giants have experienced in the rotation, there is an opportunity for Birdsong to get a few starts.