2013 AFL Stats: 3 SV, 10.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 8 BB, 16 K (10 G)
Signed in the seventh round of the 2011 draft out Yavapai JC in Arizona, Ken Giles' upside as a reliever always has been obvious thanks to a legitimate triple-digit fastball and potentially devastating slider in the upper-80s.
Making his full-season debut in 2012, the 23-year-old recorded eight saves and posted a 3.51 ERA, .209 opponents’ batting average and 111-50 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 82 innings between Low-A Lakewood and High-A Clearwater.
This past season, Giles was expected to continue his quick ascent up the organizational ladder. However, the right-hander landed on the disabled list twice with a strained oblique and then struggled mightily following a return to the pitcher-friendly Florida State League.
Logging only 25.2 innings over 24 appearances at the level, Giles tallied six saves and registered a 6.31 ERA and 34-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
He’s continued to turn heads this fall while showcasing arguably the best velocity in the AFL, working in the 96-99 mph range and scraping 100 mph with his four-seam fastball to go along with his largely inconsistent slider in the upper-80s.
Granted, he has little clue where the ball will end up after it leaves his hand, but Giles should not be struggling in the minor leagues given his elite velocity. With the right-hander’s arm strength, the Phillies will give him every chance to figure things out.
In his nine appearances this fall, Giles has been scored on only once—though, it was an absolute dud on Oct. 19 in which he allowed six earned runs on four hits and three walks without recording an out.
However, if you remove that from his fall totals, Giles has yielded only three hits and has yet to give up an earned run with a solid 13-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Since the forgettable outing, Giles has rattled off six consecutive scoreless appearances in which he’s allowed three hits and struck out 10 batters.