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Giants promote top pitching prospect up a level

© Chris Pietsch/The Re | 2021 May 14

Kyle Harrison made High-A ball look like little league, and so a new challenge awaits him.

The Giants promoted Harrison, their top pitching prospect, up to Double-A Richmond on Tuesday morning. Harrison, 20, had posted a 1.55 ERA in seven starts for High-A Eugene thus far.

In MLB Pipeline’s most recent updated prospect rankings, Harrison jumped from No. 71 to No. 45 in the overall Top 100. MLB.com ranks the left-handed starter as San Francisco’s second best prospect, behind only shortstop Marco Luciano.

Harrison struck out 59 batters in 29 innings for a 50% K rate — best among all qualified minor leaguers. The former third-round pick also led the Northwest League in FIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Four of the five earned runs Harrison allowed with the Emeralds came in one start in which he pitched while feeling under the weather, according to Giants farm system chronicler Roger Munter.

Comparisons to a three-time champion in Madison Bumgarner are premature, but many have noticed the parallels between the ascensions of the two lefty pitchers. Bumgarner was drafted out of high school, spent a full first season in Low-A before graduating from High-A to Double-A after five games. Harrison was promoted in his second year after seven starts.

Bumgarner made the jump to MLB from Double-A after 20 games. If Harrison continues to dominate like he did with Eugene, a similar trajectory would have him making his Giants debut this year.

The Giants like to see a prospect succeed in the upper minors before elevating them to the big-league squad. Harrison, a former third round pick, is still young and likely has plenty of time before reaching the bigs. But Tuesday’s promotion represents an organizational endorsement of his talent.

 

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