Kyle Harrison was the fifth player the Giants picked in the 2020 MLB Draft. Let's make one thing clear, though: The lefty from De La Salle High School was priority No. 1 for Farhan Zaidi and the rest of the front office.
The Giants signed the former UCLA commit for nearly $2.5 million for a reason. They believe he has the potential to be a true ace down the road, and that was on full display this season with the San Jose Giants.
"I always have to temper my enthusiasm but this is one of the better raw-ingredient players that the Giants have had on the mound in a long time," Giants director of player development Kyle Haines said Friday on KNBR.
Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and so many more. The Giants for a long time were known for their ability to develop in-house pitchers and make them key parts of the rotation. Logan Webb was the latest example of this with his breakout season and star performance in the playoffs this year.
Harrison, who turned 20 years old on Aug. 20, has the talent to be the next in line for San Francisco. His first taste of the minor leagues had its ups and downs this season but the good far outweighed the bad.
Really, from the moment the Giants signed him through the present day, he has done everything right. Whether it's during the season or in the offseason, Harrison has answered the call.
Ahead of the 2020 draft, Harrison threw in the low 90s. He improved mechanically and in the weight room and now sits in the mid-to-upper 90s. Harrison refined his command as the season went on and has a wipeout breaking ball that his high school coach has compared to seven-time All-Star Chris Sale. That work translated into results this year, making him one of the best pitchers in all of Low-A.
Pitching the majority of the season as a 19-year-old, Harrison went 4-3 with a 3.19 ERA for San Jose. His 52 walks and 15 hit batters in 98 2/3 innings can be frowned upon but his strikeout numbers make up for that. Harrison finished the regular season with 157 strikeouts and averaged 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
He struck out six batters in 6 1/3 innings in Game 1 of the Low-A West Championship Series, helping San Jose win it all.
"Kyle Harrison's gonna be as good as he wants to be," Haines said. "If he wants to get after it each and every day and have a great work ethic and continue to grow with a growth mindset, the sky's the limit for this guy. He's the real deal.
"On and off the field, maturity beyond his years. I cannot be anymore excited to have him in the organization. He's got a chance to be a man amongst boys once he settles in, and he's shown that already this past season."
The majority of the Giants' top prospects are hitters. Think about Marco Luciano, Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos and Luis Matos. There's more, too. But Harrison bucks the trend.
It's clear major league pitchers want to learn from Giants coaches and make San Francisco their new home. Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood are just three recent examples. However, there still is a huge advantage to growing stars in-house, and the Giants might have found that with another local prep prospect.
If Harrison's trajectory is anywhere close to Webb's, the sky really might be the limit for the lefty who first made a name for himself as a De La Salle Spartan.