What to expect with a pair of SF Giants top picks moving up to Sacramento

Reggie is one step away!
Reggie is one step away! / Zac BonDurant/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

Well, I have good news and bad news. Let's start with the bad news first. The bad news is that for the first time this season, there are no SF Giants prospects that won any Player or Pitcher of the Week award. The good news though is that there is a lot of movement in the farm system over the past couple of weeks. This includes both Hunter Bishop and Reggie Crawford moving up to Triple-A.

What to expect with a pair of SF Giants top picks moving up to Sacramento

Some of those moves are done as a reason to cover roster spots. We saw prospects like Turner Hill, Justin Bench, and Drew Cavanaugh hop on the charter plane to Sacramento even though they have yet to play in Double-A (Hill and Bench played in Eugene, Cavanaugh in San Jose) because the distance of the two A-ball teams to Sacramento is quite short. Less fuel, less jet lag.

That is the reason that when we see prospects that get promoted from Eugene to Richmond or from Richmond to Sacramento garner significant attention. They will be in for the long haul. Yesterday, the Giants officially announced that Reggie Crawford and Hunter Bishop had been promoted from Richmond to Sacramento. It is also important because both first-rounders have endured a lot of injuries and ailments over their professional career so far.

Let's start with Bishop. The 2019 first-rounder has seemingly acquired all injuries known to man. That has destroyed his prospect stock over the years but give massive credit to him for having so much persistence to keep it going despite the litany of injuries and the playing time that was lost as a result.

The Richmond lineup has been terrible throughout the 2024 season but Bishop has been one of the players who are close to being an average hitter in terms of production. His .242 batting average and .368 slugging percentage are second among all Flying Squirrels position players with at least 10 games played and his .672 OPS is third. His 95 wRC+ is palatable but the decent walk rate and the high strikeouts are now a norm for the lefty bat and it looks like it will stick long-term. The PCL should serve him well and hopefully boost his numbers to put himself back on the map of notable prospects.

On the other side of the ball, Reggie Crawford has been treated with extra care ever since getting drafted by the Giants back in 2022. He has not had the smoothest recovery after his Tommy John surgery as several ailments have only limited his professional innings count to 28 2/3. What is undeniable though is that he has the stuff.

Since transitioning full-time as a pitcher, the Giants have placed Crawford in the bullpen with the hopes of moving quickly, and quickly he did. The ERA looks inflated but the underlying numbers look phenomenal. Hitters are only hitting at a .147 average off the hulking lefty while striking out nearly 45 percent of the batters that he's faced so far. On the other hand, his walk rate is quite below-average and he's only thrown 58% of his pitches for strikes.

Whenever I watch him pitch, though, the stuff is undeniably legit. He lives in the high 90's with his fastball, dipping to the 95-96 mph range at times but he can get to triple-digits if he wants to let it loose. There is some trouble in terms of accuracy but he's been around the zone which is a good sign. Both his secondaries look good when they are on as he can backfoot his slider and hitters are way out in front of his changeup. The control on both pitches though has been a bit worse compared to his fastball.

If there is one thing that I have learned over the years though is to believe in the stuff, the athleticism, and the strike-throwing in Double-A. That was a hard lesson when I selected the worst pitcher out of the trio of Camilo Doval, Gregory Santos, and Kervin Castro as the potential Giants closer. That's a lesson that I put in Erik Miller in my top 15 Giants prospects entering the 2024 season. He might be a little bit stiff but he's nasty and has shown good strike-throwing tendencies in Double-A. He's been a bit janky in terms of the ERA but there are flashes and a good foundation to build on.

If the plan for the Giants is to get Reggie to the big leagues ASAP to get the best coaching, then having him be "rushed" and have him build innings in the big leagues might be a risky decision. But it's a risk worth trying, given the current dire situation of the San Francisco Giants in 2024.