For all the attention that gets paid to top 30 prospect lists, teams often like to keep quiet when a young player has a notable breakthrough. There's value to keeping that knowledge in-house, especially when that player is eligible to be scooped up in the Rule 5 Draft.
The Giants this fall had no choice but to admit that they've seen massive improvement in three of their young pitchers. With the way Camilo Doval, Gregory Santos and Kervin Castro were throwing in the instructional league, there was no keeping the right-handers off the radars in rival front offices.
The Giants added all three to the 40-man roster in November, protecting them from the Rule 5 Draft. On this week's Balk Talk, manager Gabe Kapler became the latest to explain why it was necessary.
Asked which prospects he has his eye on for 2021, Kapler admitted he snuck down to Scottsdale in October to watch the instructional league. His mind immediately went back to those three young flamethrowers.
"I thought Castro was a really interesting dude," Kapler said. "A real strike-thrower, works fast, a little bit of a deceptive delivery, he gets right on top of hitters. He was exciting. I think there's a chance that he can help us at some point in '21. Santos' arm is pretty electric. Camilo Doval is somebody that I think everybody is kind of familiar with. It's big velocity, it's a nasty slider, we've just got to get him to get in the zone and stay in the zone. He has a chance to be really effective as well in 2021."
Doval is 23 years old and Santos and Castro are both 21. They were all hitting 100 mph in instructs, and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has noted multiple times since the roster decision that relievers with a plus fastball and a good secondary pitch can move extremely quickly. All three will be in camp, joining a group that now includes an actual Rule 5 pick, right-hander Dedniel Nuñez.
The Giants also have added Matt Wisler this offseason and Zaidi said Wednesday that they will continue to look for relief help, although they're not looking at the high-end of a flooded market.
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"That's a deep part of the free agent market and we're continuing to talk to a number of different options there," Zaidi said. "We added Wisler, we added Nuñez in the Rule 5 Draft and he effectively fits as a right-handed bullpen piece or he'll get that opportunity to stick in that role. We'll continue to look there. It may be non-roster additions later in the offseason. I can't say for sure that we're going to bring in anybody else on major league deals.
"That's probably an area where we're going to seek to be more creative and out of the box. Things like the Rule 5 pick and somebody like Wisler who we felt like we wanted to act quickly on coming off a non-tender. I would still expect us to be active there, but it may not be until later in the offseason."