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Giants minor league review: Bednar off to strong start

/ by Dalton Johnson
Presented By Cadillac
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Will Bednar

Apologies in advance to the Sacramento River Cats, Richmond Flying Squirrels and Eugene Emeralds. 

Last week, our Giants minor league review focused solely on the River Cats. This week, we're going to a lower level, focusing on three San Jose Giants. 

San Francisco isn't the only Gaints gearing for a playoff run. San Jose punched its ticket to the Low-A West Championship Series on Saturday with a 6-0 win over the Stockton Ports. The Baby Giants are full of talent and give a promising glimpse into the future. 

Here are three things to know about three top prospects down in San Jose. 

Bednar On The Bump

The Giants took Will Bednar with their top pick in the 2021 MLB Draft for a reason. He showed his competitiveness and championship pedigree in leading Mississippi State to its first national title in any sport. Now, San Jose is hoping Bednar can help them win a championship as well. 

Bednar was promoted to Low-A San Jose after just two outings in the Arizona Complex League. He threw two no-hit innings while striking out three and walking one in the ACL. And he had a strong first showing for San Jose, too. 

Over two innings in his Low-A debut, Bednar allowed three hits and one unearned run while striking out one and hitting a batter. Bednar sat between 93 and 95 mph for San Jose, and used a nasty right-on-right slider for his first and only strikeout. 

 

The Giants are limiting Bednar's innings and pitch count right now after he threw 92 1/3 innings for Mississippi State earlier this year. It'll be interesting to see just how much he pitches this rest of the season before being challenged next year. 

Best Stretch For Best Pitching Prospect

Kyle Harrison lately has shown exactly why he's the Giants' top pitching prospect. 

Harrison struggled in July, finishing with a 5.82 ERA over five starts. Opposing batters hit .319 off him as he ran into his first bit of trouble in the minors. Harrison then had a strong August where he had a 2.33 ERA and struck out 33 batters in 19 1/3 innings. In September, he has been downright dominant. 

Through his first two starts, Harrison has allowed just one earned run in 11 innings. He has struck out 20 batters in that span. He struck out 12 his first start this month and eight his next, all while walking just three total batters. 

Over his last six starts, Harrison has gone 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA, striking out 47 in 25 2/3 innings. On Monday, Harrison was ranked as Baseball America's No. 84 overall prospect in their latest rankings. 

So Much For That Slump

For the first time in his young minor league career, Luis Matos finally found himself in a slight slump. His batting average dipped below .300 on Sept. 7 after hitting .145 (9-for-62) in 16 games from Aug. 21 through Sept. 9. But he only struck out seven times in that span, and was bitten by a .161 BAbip. 

Yeah, that "slump" is over. And in a major way. 

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Since then, Matos has hit .818 -- yes, you read that right -- in his last three games. In that span, he has gone 9-for-11 with two home runs and two doubles. It gets better, too. 

Matos now has recorded a hit in nine straight at-bats and has reached base in 12 straight plate appearances. His batting average is back up to .311 with 14 homers and an .841 OPS. Matos recently was named the San Jose Giants' MVP for the season, and he rose all the way up to the No. 45 overall prospect in BA's latest rankings. 

The 19-year-old is non-stop fun, and makes the game look way too easy at times.

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