The Giants spent most of the last homestand with a very strange setup in their bullpen, carrying five lefties and two right-handers who come at you in unique ways. Tyler Rogers is the submariner sitting 83 mph on a good day and Matt Wisler almost exclusively throws sliders.
On Friday, the bullpen got a more traditional right-hander. Camilo Doval is a whippy 23-year-old who throws hard. Really, really hard.
"I concentrate on throwing strikes, and when I let the ball go the ball just happens to go 100 mph, and I'm like, 'Wow, I can't believe it just went 100 mph,' " Doval said through interpreter Erwin Higueros.
Doval sits in the upper 90s, but he's no stranger to triple digits when the adrenaline kicks in, and scouts have clocked him as high as 102 mph. The Giants gave him $100,000 to sign out of the Dominican Republic in 2015 and he has steadily gained velo in the six years since, adding about 10 mph while sharpening a slider.
Doval's rise has been meteoric over the past calendar year. He pitched in High-A in 2019 but was at the alternate site last summer and threw so well that he nearly got called up in September. The Giants added him to the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 Draft and Doval had a solid spring before going back to the alternate site for the first couple weeks of this season. With the need for another righty in the bullpen, as well as an open roster spot as they wait for Alex Wood to rejoin the rotation, the Giants added Doval to the active roster Friday before the start of a three-game series against the Marlins.
Manager Gabe Kapler said the reports on Doval in recent weeks have been strong. The Giants view the Marlins as a good matchup for him, but they're also going to remember that this is his first taste of the big leagues, so Kapler said he would look for the right spot for Doval to show what he's got.
"It's really a two-pitch mix, it's a fastball-slider mix," Kapler said. "It's a really heavy fastball. Even though it's not a sinker, it's still going to impact the hitter's bat. The slider has a chance to be a really high quality major league pitch. He can start it at a hitter's hip and that's a pitch that a lot of major league hitters will take, and it'll end up on the plate for a strike."
Doval was always viewed as likely to be the first to arrive, and by being on the 40-man, he beat several non-roster veterans to the job when the Giants had a hole. He couldn't hide his excitement over Zoom on Friday afternoon, saying he was "laughing with joy" when he got the news.
The first call Doval made was to his mother in the Dominican Republic. He said his whole family was waiting back home on Friday for the game to start, eager to watch him potentially make a debut that came quickly,
"I told myself I was going to be ready," Doval said. "Once I found out I was going to be placed on the 40-man roster I figured this was the opportunity I've been waiting for, and now I had to take care of business and get ready."