Analyzing the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Giants' Top 3 Pitching Prospects
During their World Series runs in 2010 and 2012, the San Francisco Giants leaned on pitching and defense to lead the way.
Over the past four seasons, the Giants have had one of the stronger pitching staffs in the National League.
However, with Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong both in their late 30s, San Francisco will experience turnover a year or two from now and the torch will be passed to the next generation of Giants.
Here are the strengths and weaknesses of the team's top three pitching prospects.
Derek Law, RP
Law burst on the scene after dominating the Arizona Fall League in 2013 and could be in line to be the future closer of the San Francisco Giants. With a low-90s fastball, Law heavily relies on his command and off-speed pitches.
In Single-A last season, Law had 102 strikeouts compared to just 12 walks in 66.1 innings of work. He has a very unorthodox delivery, but the Giants are used to a little bit of funk in the closer role.
Unfortunately, Law’s 2014 season may already be over. The 23-year-old has been experiencing forearm tightness and will make a visit to Dr. James Andrews to determine if Tommy John surgery will be needed.
If surgery is the outcome, it would be a huge blow to both Law and the Giants, who might have called him up for bullpen help during the stretch run.
Edwin Escobar, SP
The young lefty was a strike-throwing machine in Single-A and Double-A last season with 146 strikeouts in 128.2 innings and a 2.80 ERA.
Escobar is just 22 years old but has already ascended through the minor league levels up to Triple-A.
After throwing at least 128 innings over the past two seasons, Escobar has proven that he can be a durable starter. If the Giants need help in the back end of their rotation during their pennant race, Escobar could be a nice addition.
Escobar has thrown plenty of innings in the minors but does not have extensive experience at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. He has struggled this year with the Fresno Grizzlies, going 3-6 with a 5.26 ERA thus far.
Growing pains are normal for a pitcher like Escobar, but it is a bit concerning that his walks are up from last year. Has he done enough to join the Giants rotation this year?
Kyle Crick, SP
Crick has had success in the minor leagues due to his mid-90s fastball and ability to strike out hitters. According to Fan Graphs, he averaged 12.45 strikeouts per nine innings in Single-A last season.
This year, Crick has thrown 44 innings and racked up 43 strikeouts.
He challenges hitters with his fastball and has given up a mere four home runs since he was drafted in 2011. If Crick continues to climb through the minors, he could be on the mound at AT&T Park in no time.
Although Crick has a dominant fastball and above-average curveball, he still has to add more to his pitching repertoire in order to have success in the big leagues. Crick developed a changeup last year and if that continues to improve, he’ll have a complete pitching arsenal.