San Francisco Giants‘ top prospect Kyle Crick is a future big league ace with potential to become one of the best pitchers in baseball. The former first-round draft pick has been outstanding in two full seasons of minor league ball. His 2013 performance was eye-opening as he registered a microscopic 1.57 ERA with 95 strikeouts in 14 starts.
Crick promises to be a top-tier talent at the big league level. He’s one of the most intriguing players to keep an eye on in Giants’ camp this spring specifically because he’s arguably the best prospect San Francisco has had since two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. Crick has the stuff to become a better caliber of pitcher than Lincecum who was entirely reliant upon his fastball during his years of dominance.
Crick’s fastball falls short of electric, topping out at 94 mph. He effectively mixes a full repertoire of pitches to keep hitters off balance rather than trying to blow smoke by them. His best breaking pitch is the curveball. It features sharp sweeping movement and ranges from 76 to 81 mph. Crick isn’t afraid to double-up on his curveball and use it when behind in the count.
Crick’s curveball effectively complements his slider, which features hard downward movement at roughly 82 to 84 mph. At this stage of his development, Crick owns a more complete arsenal than Lincecum did at a similar juncture. Unlike Lincecum, the Giants don’t plan to rush Crick to the big leagues, though. Crick will likely enter camp in 2015 with an opportunity to earn a rotation spot, especially if he continues to turn heads in the minor league ranks.
Lincecum wasn’t immediately dominant in his rookie season, registering a 7-5 record with a 4.00 ERA and 150 strikeouts in 146.1 innings pitched. It wasn’t until Lincecum learned how to become effectively wild that he was able to put up Cy Young-caliber numbers. His unorthodox delivery and electric fastball often over-matched hitters, but Lincecum’s velocity has diminished over the past few seasons and caused him to struggle.
Crick doesn’t figure to have that problem when he arrives in the big leagues, especially considering that he’s already developed four pitches he can use to get outs. Crick’s delivery is conventional in comparison to Lincecum who generates his power from a unique high-leg kick. The Giants’ top prospect doesn’t boast the big-time star craze that Lincecum did when he quickly ascended through the minor league level, but Crick is going to be a better pitcher than Lincecum over the entirety of his eventual big league career.