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Mike Krukow assesses whether elite Giants prospect could see majors this year

Photo by Peter DaSilva/MLB Photos via Getty Images

How soon is too soon to call up prospect who’s thriving in the minors?

That’s the question Murph & Mac posed to Mike Krukow on Monday morning about Giants sterling left-hander Kyle Harrison.

At just 20 years of age, Harrison has marauded around the minor leagues. MLB Pipeline has him ranked as the Giants’ second overall prospect behind Marco Luciano, and he was ranked as the 64th-best prospect in the minors by Baseball America earlier this year.

He posted a 3.19 ERA last season with the San Jose Bees (A) over 98.2 innings and struck out 157 batters. In High-A ball with the Eugene Emeralds this season, he posted a 1.55 ERA with 59 strikeouts, allowing a .179 batting average against.

Now, Harrison is with the AA Richmond Flying Squirrels, where he’s been mostly excellent aside from one six-earned-run start at the beginning of June. He’s got a 4.02 ERA with Richmond and has a 2.45 ERA since that blowup, striking out 41 batters over this month.

Krukow raved about him.

“He’s really good,” Krukow aid. “Every level, I mean, A ball in San Jose, High A in Eugene, and now he’s in Richmond, AA ball. And I mean, he had one rough start, and you look at his ERA, it’s in the low fours, but he had one rough start to kind of beef that up. And since that time, he’s been the same pitcher we saw in San Jose and in Eugene.”

He pointed to a domineering, mid-90s fastball that’s hit 98 on the gun, along with a low-to-mid-80s slider, and working to add an offspeed pitch.

Krukow expects the Giants to “tighten” his slider and settle on an offspeed pitch that works for him before he’s promoted to AAA.

That said, he likes what he sees, especially after his latest gem, a seven-inning, 105-pitch outing with just two earned runs.

“What was significant again, 105 or so pitches, he went over the century mark, which they’ve been pretty protective of him,” Krukow said. “Now they’re starting to extend him. So he’s got some things he has to tighten up. But he keeps getting closer every time he goes out there. 11 strikeouts and seven innings in that league? That’s doing it.”

Will he be making his mark in the majors any time soon?

Krukow doesn’t think so. He might have some failing to do first.

“I don’t know. I think it’s too young,” Krukow said. “With him and all young pitchers, you want to make sure, especially when they’ve been dominant, you want to make sure that they’ve got all their pitches, all their different looks that they can give, all their understanding that they can have. Because when you get to the big leagues, you’re talking about different animals at the plate. You don’t want him to come up there and get spanked around especially with the fastball. So you want to give him some other things that he can do that are just sort of arrows in his quiver, and that’s happening right now.

“He’s so good, you have to kind of space out what you’re going to tell him. You can’t dump a lot of stuff on his plate because he’s getting people out his way. So that only comes with a little bit of failure and you know you’ll get that with AA and AAA but when he gets those things tightened up, look out, he’ll be here.”

It’s that last part that sticks. “He’ll be here.”

Listen to the full interview below. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Catch Murph & Mac weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com.

 

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