Infielder Casey Schmitt has ignited the San Francisco Giants, the first young prospect to really take off during the Farhan Zaidi era. It’s assumed that the next one up will be left-handed pitcher Kyle Harrison, who has drawn comparisons to Madison Bumgarner, and is considered the top prospect in the entire system by many.
With anticipation high after Schmitt’s call-up, Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly joined KNBR on Wednesday and projected what it’s going to take to get Harrison in Orange & Black.
“Farhan spoke to me about that about a week ago when I asked about Harrison and he said ‘Look, it could be very much a reaction to what he’s doing immediately,’” Baggs said on KNBR. “If they see he’s controlling the strike zone and his walks are down — currently it’s more than a walk an inning — even though the strikeouts are kind of overwhelming. If we see that he can get a little deeper into games and be more efficient, they’re not going to wait around a whole lot. If he can do that three, four starts in a row, they’ve got a need and I think they’ll be aggressive and they’ll promote him.
“Now he did talk to your own Danny Emerman yesterday, Farhan did, and sounded a little more pessimistic, saying ‘We’re not going to call him up until he shows he can be a demonstrated strike-thrower, cause that’s a very, very important quality they want to have up and down the pitching staff.”
Harrison, 21, is still incredibly raw. He hasn’t thrown more than four innings in any of his first eight starts with Triple-A Sacramento. In those starts, he’s averaging 9.3 walks per nine innings. However, he’s also averaging 16.2 strikeouts per nine innings. With stuff that electric, as long as he’s not letting runs score (his ERA right now is 3.47 through 23.1 innings) he might get the call-up anyway.
“So, he’s not ready right now, but I’ll tell you what if he has a good run of three or four starts in a row, and he really demonstrates that, I don’t think they’re going to necessarily hold his overall walk rate against him,” Baggs concluded. “I think they’re going to be very much reactionary to what they see here and now. I think it’s well within his ability to make a compelling case within a couple starts that he’s ready and I think the Giants will react to that.”
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