San Francisco Giants Minor League Major Performers: Pitchers of the Year

WASHINGTON, D.C. - JULY 15: Shaun Anderson #32"tpitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on July 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - JULY 15: Shaun Anderson #32"tpitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on July 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Looking back at the San Francisco Giants’ minor league teams in 2018 and finding the top pitchers in the system.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – JULY 15: Shaun Anderson #32″tpitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on July 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

With the minor league seasons over, it’s time for reflection of the San Francisco Giants’ affiliates and prospects. Here are the top three performers from each segment (right-handed and left-hander starters, as well as right-handed and left-handed relievers).

Right-Handed Starting Pitchers

Logan Webb

21-year-old righty Logan Webb began his season in San Jose, the highest assignment at that point in his young career, and the organization handled him very carefully early on as he continued to work his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2016. He started the season going about three innings per start, then stretched it to four, then stretched it further. No matter how many innings he was throwing, he dominated opponents for the San Jose squad.

En route to being named a Cal League All-Star, Webb pitched to a 1.82 ERA in 21 games (20 starts), holding batters to a .207/.299/.287 slash-line to go with a 1.216 WHIP. In his 20 starts, Webb allowed three or more runs only three times. He gave up one or no runs 12 times. In a five-game stretch between May 13th and June 3rd, Webb didn’t allow a single run in 17 innings.

Webb earned his first promotion to AA Richmond in August, and made six starts for the Flying Squirrels. He wasn’t as dominant at the new level, but still put up respectable numbers (3.82 ERA, 1.352 WHIP, .254 average). He used his hard fastball and sharp slider to show more flashes of brilliance in Richmond, including striking out a career-high nine over 5.1-shutout innings on August 17th. In his penultimate start, he threw six complete innings for the first time in 41 appearances post-surgery.

Webb’s excellent, and fairly surprising season got him onto the Giants’ top-30 prospect list at number 11. He’s still young, not turning 22 until November, and he certainly looks like a guy that could play a major role on the big league pitching staff, and soon.

Shaun Anderson

A young man that looks ready to take the next step in the near future is Shaun Anderson. In his first full season in the Giants’ organization, the burly right-hander acquired in the 2017 Eduardo Nunez trade was stellar across two levels.

He began the year in Richmond, his first stint at the level, and Anderson earned a spot on the Eastern League All-Star team with a 3.45 ERA, 1.223 WHIP, and nearly a strikeout (93) per inning (94) in 17 games and 16 starts. He didn’t participate in the league’s All-Star Game, though, as he was selected to pitch in the All-Star Futures Game instead.

While in Washington, D.C. for the Futures Game, he was promoted to AAA for the first time in his young career. He made eight starts and pitched to a 4.18 ERA and 1.247 WHIP across 47.1 innings. His penultimate start of the year was his best, as he hurled seven shutout innings, striking out seven without allowing a walk. 

Anderson showed a ton of promise as he shot through the ranks after the trade. He has a plus fastball with natural sinker and a plus slider to go with an quickly improving changeup, and he commands them all well (2.1 BB/9, 5.6% walk-rate). He’s built for innings at 6’4” and 225 pounds, and he proved his durability. Despite being drafted as a reliever in 2016, he led the organization with 141.1 innings pitched last season. He’s emerged as the Giants’ best pitching prospect, and it’s only a matter of time until he’s taking the mound in San Francisco.

Aaron Phillips

There was one big blemish on Aaron Phillips’ stat-line in Augusta during the 2018 season. Over 101.2 innings in 19 games (18 starts), he surrendered 13 home runs, leading to a slightly-inflated 3.72 ERA.

Other than that, Phillips really turned in an excellent season. He struck out 120 batters, tied for 10th-most in the Sally League and fourth-most in the Giants’ organization. He walked only 16 batters, good for 1.42 walks per nine innings and a 3.7% walk rate. Both totals were third-lowest among pitchers were 100 innings in the Sally League. His 1.082 WHIP was seventh-lowest in the league.

The 21-year-old, who was a ninth-round pick in 2017 from St. Bonaventure, finished his first full season strong. In his last three starts of the campaign, Phillips allowed three runs in 17 innings while striking out 26 batters. To close the year, Phillips punched out a career-high 11 batters in five shutout innings while giving up just one hit.

He’s still raw as a pitcher, having spent his college days splitting time between the mound and first base. Still, he’s shown an excellent blend of fastball command and an above-average curveball, and is coming along quickly. It might take him some time to learn the finer nuances of pitching, but there’s plenty of talent in Phillips’ right arm.

Honorable Mentions:

Before being traded to the Rangers as the worthwhile prospect in a salary dump, Jason Bahr was having a tremendous season. He started the year in Augusta, dominating opposing hitters with a 2.75 ERA, 1.063 WHIP, and 88 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. Bahr then made three starts in San Jose before the trade, allowing three earned runs in 16 innings. He didn’t fare as well in Texas’ farm system and ended the season on the DL, but the team is clearly very high on him. They immediately released Austin Jackson and traded Cory Gearrin for next to nothing, leaving Bahr as the last man standing from the trade.

Carlos Sano is an interesting story. He signed with the Giants as an international free agent last season at 24 years old, and didn’t make his professional debut until he was 25. Still, he pitched very well while spending most of his year in San Jose. In 22 games (12 starts), he owned a 3.61 ERA and 1.235 WHIP while striking out 92 batters in 92.1 innings. He was one of San Jose’s most reliable starters after moving into the rotation, with a 3.32 ERA and 1.203 WHIP.