Who were the most exciting SF Giants pitching prospects in the Cactus League?

It's time for one final look back at the Giants' prospects before they head out to their corresponding assignments, starting with pitchers.
Kyle Harrison leads the charge for the SF Giants pitching prospects this spring.
Kyle Harrison leads the charge for the SF Giants pitching prospects this spring. / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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Now that Spring Training is so over, it's time to look back and see how these prospects perform in the Cactus League. Essentially, what we are looking at in Spring Training is whether these prospects powered up in the time skip that is the offseason. It should help us with our evaluations once the regular season starts. I only pulled up the prospects who pitched at least one appearance for the SF Giants.

Who were the most exciting SF Giants pitching prospects in the Cactus League?

Even if they only mustered just one out or even faced one hitter. To help support their games, we are also going to garner help from the clips taken at Papago from several friends of the site. We are not looking for the stats here. We are only looking at the tweaks in their game to see if those changes would help or hurt them in our evaluations throughout the season.

Hayden Birdsong

We only saw Birdsong early on this spring facing the Cubs and Rangers before getting sent to the Minor League camp in Papago just after the calendar flipped to March. Much of what we saw from Birdsong in Arizona is still pretty much similar to what we saw last season when he shoved his way and reached as high as Double-A. His mechanics with him pitching out of the stretch and a motion akin to Aaron Sanchez is still essentially the same.

His overpowering fastball is still quite overpowering, though he struggled to throw it with consistent precision. Fastball control has been Birdsong's biggest issue last season and you would hope that it improves this year. His breaking balls are still quite nasty, particularly the curveball. He's upped his usage of the slider last season and I expect it to be his second-most thrown pitch this season. The changeup is still a clear fourth pitch so that's something to watch in the regular season.

Spencer Bivens

Bivens was featured quite a bit this spring and there was a minute chance that he could be pitching in the big leagues out of spring training but that is ultimately not the case. The operation was similar to what it was last season, with clean mechanics that have a bit of crossfire where he fires low to mid-90s bowling balls with a solid slider and a changeup.

He is not a big strikeout/swing-and-miss reliever but he generates plenty of groundballs that should play at Oracle Park. No matter what happens with him throughout the season, his journey should be quite sweet considering how it started.

Mason Black

We got a chance to see a good amount of Mason Black in spring training this season and the results were kind of a mixed bag. I was not sure if he was primarily pitching to contact or if the stuff was not that effective so far in terms of generating swings and misses.

The stuff still looked relatively the same with his lively four-seam and two-seam fastball and his sweeper and not-so-sweepy slider variety. One tweak that I noticed is in his mechanics, particularly in how he gets to his leg kick.

Last season, his glove was around his chest and his torso stayed level at the top of his leg kick. This season, his glove is now around waist level and his torso drops slightly as he drives down the mound. The rest of the operation though stayed largely the same. Pitching to contact is worth monitoring for Black to keep his pitch count healthy as the front office believes in him as a starter.

Jack Choate

Choate pitched quite an interesting inning of work against the Dodgers that was televised. It was interesting in a way that there might need a revisit. I did not see any major changes to his approach or his mechanics.

It may just be a minor tweak regarding his slightly quicker tempo and slightly shorter arm action, but I can confidently say the operation is the same. An uptick in overall velocity is what I want to happen with Choate. His inning of televised work did not give any answers but his changeup was in full display. I think it might be a plus pitch, maybe better. The slider is also still there having its moments.

RJ Dabovich

It's nice to see Dabovich fully healthy after undergoing a major hip surgery last June. He did not particularly look good in his outing against the Athletics but at the very least, he was consistently pumping 95 mph fastballs and there are chimes that he's hit the high-90s mark. The curveball is still a mid-80s hammer but the control post-surgery is something that is to be monitored throughout the season.

Blayne Enlow

Enlow is one of the heavily relied-upon pitchers this spring, pitching in a regular four-day routing in his final three appearances. I guess the biggest kudos that I can give to Enlow is that he held his own against the loaded Dodgers lineup for three innings. He even struck out Freddie Freeman so that's a feat to remember. He struck him out with his best pitch, the slider. But he also has a fastball that can touch 95 mph, a curveball, and a changeup. The mechanics look fluid and he could be one of the first guys up to the big league roster during the 2024 season.