SF Giants: For years, Giants fans have waited on this generation of prospects to make the big leagues. Kyle Harrisons call up signals the start of a new era.
Hello and welcome to the show, Kyle Harrison is an actor.
All that remains is for you to save the Giants’ season.
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. Nonetheless, the combination of expectations surrounding the Giants’ top prospect and the desperation of a team that has lost five straight series throws the 22-year-old left-handed pitcher right into the fire when he makes his Major League debut in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Whatever happens with the most anticipated pitcher call-up since Madison Bumgarner, his arrival in the big leagues signals a shift for the Giants’ organization.
It took much longer than expected, but welcome to Farhan Zaidi’s administration’s Phase 2: the no-excuses era.
Zaidi’s first few months as president of baseball operations were spent rebuilding a depleted farm system. He did so, and in some of the worst years since he took over — 2019, 2020, 2022 — those prospects gave Giants fans hope.
Who cares if the Giants are unable to sign big-name free agents or make big-money trades? Wait until the kids are awake.
They’re almost all up now.
Harrison, the Giants’ No. 1 prospect, arrives with high expectations and a lot of responsibility.
The Giants lack a reliable starting pitcher outside of the Double-B Boys, Logan Webb and Alex Cobb. They have some innings-eaters, but the team’s rotation is effectively two men.
Harrison may not start right away, but he must be a reliable arm from the start.
Oh, and he’ll make his debut against the Phillies, San Francisco’s main Wild Card rival.
There’s no need to worry, kid. Best wishes against Bryce Harper.
But Harrison is just the latest call-up in a season defined by youth that should end with a playoff berth.
Harrison joins a team that already includes future catcher Patrick Bailey (24), future centerfielder Luis Matos (21), Casey Schmitt (24), and Heliot Ramos (23), the group’s first “just wait” prospect.
Add in No. 2 prospect Marco Luciano, who appeared in four big-league games last month, and you have the present colliding with the future.
“Just wait” no longer rings true now that they’re in the big leagues. These kids must become the Giants’ foundation.
And if that doesn’t happen, the Zaidi regime should come to an end.
It will be some time before we can tell if this group of prospects was worth the wait. Nonetheless, with Harrison’s long-awaited call-up, Zaidi and his team are putting themselves on the line.
Bailey’s success (he should win the National League Gold Glove at catcher) and Matos and Ramos’ encouraging progress point to a bright future for the team. Harrison could — should? — heighten the tension.
At the same time, only Bailey has proven himself to be unbeatable — and that’s just with his glove.
These young players deserve to be given a wide berth as they learn how to play in the Major Leagues. Allow them some time. Success will not be immediate, nor will progress be linear.
But, unlike when top prospect Joey Bart was called up in 2020, there is no one to save the day behind these top prospects.
Because Bailey was in the system and preferred by the brass, the Giants could afford for Bart to fail.
But the Giants — and, by extension, Zaidi — can’t afford to wait until 2026, when the next generation of catcher prospects is expected to be ready for the big leagues.
That’s all there is to it. This is the team.
Harrison and these young Giants (along with Luciano) must be the organization’s next golden generation — the foundation of San Francisco’s perpetual winning machine.
Can they pull it off? Absolutely.
How long will it take for that to happen?
That’s probably more time than the fan base is willing to give. The team will select Zaidi’s option for next season, leaving him and manager Gabe Kapler with contracts that will expire at the end of the 2024 season.
So it’s best to get started right away.
Meanwhile, the kids must assist the 2023 Giants in making the playoffs.
For years, we’ve been told to “just wait.”
The wait is finally over.
The directive is now simple: Just win.