Check the stats: Harrison dominates in latest Triple-A start

May 7th, 2023

There’s a lot working against No. 1 Giants prospect Kyle Harrison. Then again, there’s a lot working for him as well.

The 21-year-old left-handed pitcher put together an impressive performance Saturday for Triple-A Sacramento, striking out seven batters in four innings while only allowing one hit en route to a 9-3 win. That one hit came in Harrison’s final inning of work, which was preceded by a strikeout and erased by a double play -- a predictable series of events when considering his arsenal.

In his first Triple-A season, the 2020 third-round pick has been held to a pitch count, hovering around 60 pitches. He’s used these pitches wisely, honing in on his ground-ball-inducing sinker. On Saturday, he leaned on the pitch 74% of the time, racking up a whiff rate of 42.8% on those pitches.

Getting hits off Harrison has proven difficult through his first run of the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. In seven starts with the River Cats, he has held opponents to a .162 average against, further improving upon the .179 mark that he amassed in a seven-start stint with High-A Eugene last year that propelled his climb up the organizational ladder. And while a lack of control at times can plague Harrison, he issued no walks in what was his best start of the season.

Fellow pitching prospect Tristan Beck contributes inconsistent starts from Harrison to the Automatic Balls and Strikes system and believes his teammate will weather the storm:

“Obviously, this year I think the main topic of conversation down there has to be the strike zone and the adjustments that we’re all going to have to make going through that," Beck said last month. "But he’s hanging in there. He’s done a great job and anyone who’s gone through Triple-A this year has probably had an outing that hasn’t quite gone according to plan.”

Everything went according to plan for Harrison this time out, including his first two strikeouts being upheld on challenges by the ABS system. MLB's top left-handed pitching prospect has allowed only two runs in 10 2/3 innings while walking eight batters and striking out 22 over his last three appearances. Triple-A will likely bring more challenges and adjustments, but so far Harrison and his sinker are doing just fine.