A pair of SF Giants prospects were rewarded for their impressive play last week when they were selected the Pitcher of the Week in their respective leagues. San Jose Giants reliever Willian Suarez was named the California League Pitcher of the Week and Eugene Emeralds starter Mason Black received the same honor in the Northwest League.
Suarez was fantastic last week out of San Jose's bullpen during their six-game series against the Stockton Ports. In three appearances, Suarez allowed just three baserunners (two hits and one walk) across six innings with 16 strikeouts. Suarez only faced 21 batters in his outings, meaning he struck out 76.2% of the batters he faced. For context, Edwin Díaz (the most dominant pitcher in MLB) has a 49.0% strikeout rate this season.
A 24-year-old righty, Suarez started the season with the Giants Rookie-League affiliate in Arizona. Suarez had a 3.60 ERA in 14 appearances with them and struck out 56 hitters in 30 innings pitched. Since he received a promotion to San Jose in July, Suarez has a middling 4.85 ERA in nine appearances, but his peripherals (31 strikeouts in 13 innings and nine walks) have been far more impressive.
Suarez features a fastball that has reached the upper 90s and flashed a plus slider. Given his advanced age, the Giants would probably like to expedite his climb up the minor-league ranks. However, the player development staff is likely hoping to lower his walk rates before facing more advanced competition.
Black has been one of the Giants breakout prospects this year. Their third-round pick in the 2021 draft out of Lehigh, Black was dominant in eight starts at San Jose to start the season before he was promoted to Eugene. This past week, Black allowed just one hit over six shutout innings in his lone start with nine strikeouts and three walks.
It's been up-and-down for Black at High-A, but he's posted a solid 3.96 ERA with 86 strikeouts and just 24 walks in 72.2 innings pitched (15 starts). The 22-year-old righty appeared to be hitting a wall in his first full minor-league season last month, but has bounced back. In the outing before his impressive start last week, he racked up 10 strikeouts across 7.1 innings.
While neither Mason Black and Willian Suarez are the best pitching prospect in the SF Giants farm system, both of them have had splendid seasons. After excellent weeks, they were rewarded by being named the Pitcher of the Week.