The Giants built a dynasty on developing pitchers like Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, and Matt Cain. With new voices set to guide the Giants, it’s time to move on from World Series nostalgia.
Moving on doesn’t mean never looking back though. The right pieces of the past will build the right puzzle for the future.
Can the Giants develop stars on the mound yet again? Down in the desert, a duo of Giants pitching prospects dominated Wednesday night to open up the Scottsdale Scorpions’ 2-1 win over the Glendale Desert Dogs.
Garrett Williams struggled with his control this season for Double-A Richmond, posting career highs with 6.7 walks per nine innings and a 1.922 WHIP. One week ago, in his first start of the AFL, Williams again searched for his command, walking three batters in two innings pitched.
But on Wednesday, Williams flipped the switch.
Starting on the mound for the Scorpions, Williams tossed the first four innings of the game. He had a scoreless outing, allowing three hits with two strikeouts. Most importantly, the lefty didn’t walk a batter.
To go with his two strikeouts, Williams also registered five groundouts and three fly outs. On the night, he threw 68.6 percent strikes (35 of 51). Over six innings pitched, Williams has now allowed only one earned run, good for a 1.50 ERA.
Following Williams was fellow Giants pitching prospect Melvin Adon. And like usual, Adon brought the heat.
Adon, 24, sat at 98 to 99 mph while hitting 100 mph at least once with his fastball. Backing up his heater, Adon hurls a tight-spinning slider at 90 mph.
The results: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. Melvin has been nearly unhittable in the AFL coming out of the bullpen. In 4.1 innings pitched, he now has 10 strikeouts to no walks while allowing only two hits and one earned run for a 2.08 ERA.
From Adon’s previous relief appearance where all four outs were strikeouts, take a look at his natural movement on his fastball paired with a nasty slider:
Throughout his minor league career, Adon has been used as a starter. But in the AFL, he has solely been a reliever so far and that’s something to watch going forward. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Giants still wanted to develop Adon as a starter, but at 24, he could be a rising reliever as quickly as 2019.
The duo of Williams and Adon are pitching prospects who have been labeled with potential all too much. The label can be a great thing at first, but if it lingers, potential has clearly outweighed production.
There’s also a reason the word has been talked about often with both arms. Each can create high strikeout rates, but the same can be said for walks. So far in Scottsdale though, Adon and Williams have combined for 13 strikeouts, three walks, and a 1.78 ERA.
The AFL is a scale of potential vs. production, and against the Desert Dogs, this duo tipped the right way.