The San Francisco Giants made a bold move on Wednesday, promoting left-handed starter Edwin Escobar to the AA Richmond Flying Squirrels, who will resume play as their All-Star break concludes tomorrow. In the wake of the pitching struggles, the Giants have had in their rotation this year, along with the fact that they could be filling as many as three rotation spots next year, this move seems to be part of a fast-tracking of Escobar.
The 21-year-old starter was in his first season at High-A, and had been dominating hitters with the San Jose Giants. He had been particularly electric recently, failing to allow an earned run in three of his past four starts. Overall for the season, Escobar has a 2.89 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 74.2 innings pitched.
This move is the latest in a massive wave of promotions of players from San Jose to Richmond, where Escobar is the fifth player to make the jump in the last month, though he is the first starting pitcher to be promoted. It is possible that the Giants want Escobar to move at a quicker rate since he is now on the team’s 40-man roster, but it is still a very confident decision to move a 21-year-old with half a season in High-A up into the upper minors. It is likely that if Escobar succeeds in Double-A over the second half, he could very well challenge for a big-league rotation spot next spring.
Escobar’s style should allow him to continue to succeed at higher levels, and it is a large reason that he has advanced so quickly thus far. He has very good control for a player of his age, only giving up approximately two walks per nine innings. On top of this, his fastball can touch 94 MPH, and he mixes in an effective changeup.
Escobar’s advancement over the next year or so will be a big story to follow. Though it’s a major risk moving him up so quickly and separating him from his age group, his effective development would give the Giants another viable rotation option in a period where those options seem to be severely lacking.