After the rather inconsistent performance the San Francisco Giants have received from their bullpen this season, they are probably hoping they can turn out as many solid relievers as possible from their system at a quick rate.
One possible option may be Tyler Mizenko, a right-handed reliever who was a 28th-round pick in 2011. The 23-year-old Mizenko, who is a product of Winthrop University, is currently dominating the Low-A South Atlantic League with the Augusta GreenJackets and could be in line for a promotion to High-A San Jose.
Mizenko has had (19) saves this year while in the GreenJackets’ closer role, and is overpowering hitters with a 0.94 WHIP and a 1.03 ERA. He also performed very well last year, putting up a 1.99 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP with 13 saves for the short-season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, so he isn’t just a one-year wonder. According to scoutingbook.com, his slider is his go-to pitch, but he uses a mid-90s sinker as well.
It’s difficult to identify what changed for Mizenko between his college career and the pros. He never delivered spectacular numbers at Winthrop, putting up a 3.79 ERA during his final year. It’s not like he was facing fantastic competition there, as the school is a member of the Big South Conference.
It is worth noting that he was used as a starter for a large portion of his college career, and that could have negatively affected his ability to be effective with his limited pitch repertoire.
Mizenko’s dominance throughout his professional career has certainly upped his stock, but he still has three relatively serious obstacles that could prevent him from advancing quickly: his lack of a third pitch, his size (6-foot-1, 200 pounds), and his status as a 28th-round pick.
That’s not to say he has no shot; the Giants took another undersized right-hander in the 28th round several years ago who relied almost solely on his slider to get outs. His name was Sergio Romo, and he is now a World Series-winning, All-Star-worthy closer.
So Mizenko needs to take advantage of San Jose’s bullpen shortage and hope for a promotion this season, which would definitely be a big step up for him. If he can continue putting up great numbers and things go right for him, he has a decent shot of ending up in the big leagues in a few years.