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Giants minor league review: Zaidi found another gem in Kilian

/ by Dalton Johnson
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Caleb Kilian

An off-day couldn't have come at a better time for the Giants. 

The Giants can recharge Monday after being swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park. San Francisco came into the three-game series in first place atop the NL West standings. They left in third.

Anthony DeSclafani had a day to forget in front of the home fans, but it was a former Giants top prospect that truly made this a bizarre first series against the Dodgers. 

Phil Bickford, the Giants' top pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, finally made his San Francisco debut. He wasn't wearing the Giants' home white jersey, though. Bickford now is a Dodger, the third franchise the 25-year-old right-hander has joined. 

Entering the Giants' 11-5 loss in the eighth inning, Bickford got Darin Ruf to groundout, hit Brandon Crawford and struck out Mauricio Dubon, marking the best appearance of his short MLB career thus far. 

Now back to San Francisco's current prospects. Last week, I wrote about what might be Farhan Zaidi's smartest acquisition. This week, it all starts with him finding a gem in the MLB draft from two years ago. 

Here are three things to know in our latest Giants minor league review. 

Caleb Kilian Can't Be Hit 

In the 2019 MLB Draft, Zaidi's first in San Francisco, the Giants selected nine hitters in their first 10 picks. The lone pitcher was Caleb Kilian, a right-hander out of Texas Tech, in the eighth round. So far, that has been a ridiculously good decision. 

 

Kilian didn't give up a single earned run between the Arizona Rookie League and Short-Season Single-A two years ago. He allowed just seven hits and struck out 17 batters in 16 innings pitched. After a year away from the field due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kilian hasn't missed a beat. 

Through 6 2/3 innings Saturday night, Kilian was perfect for the Eugene Emeralds in High-A. He wound up allowing one hit, struck out 10 batters and didn't walk any over seven scoreless innings. This isn't anything new for Kilian, too. 

Kilian improved to 3-0 on the year with a 1.25 ERA. He has thrown 21 2/3 innings for Eugene and has only seen three runs cross home plate. The former Red Raider has 32 strikeouts and has walked, wait for it ... one batter this season. He should soon have his bags packed for Double-A Richmond. 

Not a bad first pitcher to pick by Zaidi. 

Another Pitcher To Know

Kilian is ranked as the Giants' No. 30 prospect by MLB Pipeline, the very last player of San Francisco's top-30 prospects list. Ryan Murphy is nowhere to be found. That might need to change soon. 

With the draft shortened to only five rounds last year, Murphy was the Giants' final pick at No. 144 overall. He was an unfamiliar name for most from an even more unfamiliar school. Murphy became the first Division II player drafted in 2020, after being taken by the Giants out of Le Moyne College in Syracuse.

Many saw Murphy as an under-slot signing so the Giants could keep Kyle Harrison from going to UCLA. While that might be true, Murphy also looks like another great draft pick. Murphy allowed two earned runs and struck out seven batters over six innings Sunday for the San Jose Giants, putting together another quality start. 

Through his first four minor league starts, Murphy now is 1-1 with a 2.18 ERA and 0.68 WHIP. He has 28 strikeouts and only two walks in 20 2/3 innings. 

Health Updates

Two of the Giants' top-four prospects are dinged up right now.

When Joey Bart was pulled from the Sacramento River Cats' game on Thursday, it looked like it could be to replace Curt Casali on the Giants after Casali was hit on the elbow. That wasn't the case. Bart is dealing with a tight groin and hasn't played since. 

The good news is that Bart is off to a strong start at the plate in Sacramento. He had a six-game hitting streak snapped back on May 18, and is batting .351 with three home runs and a 1.076 OPS in 11 games. 

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Hunter Bishop is the Giants' other top prospect hampered by injury. Bishop hasn't played for the Emeralds since May 6, and officially was placed on the injured list with a shoulder injury. It's unknown when he will return. 

Bishop was just 2-for-12 in three games before the injury.

 

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