A pair of former Giants first-rounders get promoted to Triple-A

May 15th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Maria Guardado’s Giants Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The numerous injuries that have decimated the Giants are beginning to have trickle-down effects throughout the organization.

With a good chunk of Triple-A Sacramento’s roster now in the Majors, the Giants promoted two of their recent first-round Draft picks -- left-hander and outfielder -- to help fill spots with the River Cats on Tuesday.

Crawford, the 30th overall pick of the 2022 MLB Draft and the Giants’ No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, dealt with a left lat strain during Spring Training, but he showed promise after joining Double-A Richmond in mid-April, logging a 4.66 ERA with 19 strikeouts over 9 2/3 innings in his first seven outings of the season.

All but one of those appearances came out of the bullpen, a sign that the Giants may be eyeing more of a relief role for the hard-throwing Crawford, who sits at 95-97 mph with his fastball and also features a devastating mid-80s slider. San Francisco is relatively thin on left-handed relievers, so it’s not out of the question that Crawford could end up climbing all the way to the Majors this year if he stays healthy and continues to dominate hitters in the upper levels of the Minors.

Crawford, 23, was originally drafted as a two-way player, but he struggled to get consistent at-bats after completing his rehab from Tommy John surgery last year. He opted to shift his focus to pitching this spring, a decision he hoped would not only help him stay healthy, but also potentially expedite his path to the Majors this season.

“There was a point in time where I would have sacrificed time to get back to a spot in the box to where I felt comfortable,” Crawford said in February. “But I sat down and thought about it for a few weeks, and I was like, ‘I’m not willing to sacrifice time anymore to get to that point, rather than just see what’s right in front of me and run with that.’ That was kind of the thought process going into it.”

The road to Triple-A has been longer for Bishop, who became the first player drafted by the Farhan Zaidi regime when he was selected with the 10th overall pick in 2019. A native of Palo Alto, Calif., and a product of Junipero Serra High School, Bishop lost a year of development after the pandemic wiped out the 2020 Minor League campaign and then dealt with persistent injuries over the next three years, including season-ending Tommy John surgery in 2023.

Now 25, Bishop returned to action for the first time in 19 months when he opened the season with Double-A Richmond this year, batting .242 with a .666 OPS, two home runs and six stolen bases over his first 27 games with the Flying Squirrels.

Bishop has fallen off the Giants’ Top 30 prospects list in recent years, but he remains one of the best athletes in the organization and still possesses many of the tools that made him such an intriguing talent earlier in his career. He’ll have a chance to continue rebuilding his stock now that he’s in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, which could help him create more positive momentum in the coming months.