Mid-Season Top 40 Prospects: #10

#10. Heath Hembree – RHP, 24 yo, AAA: Hembree is the crown jewel of power bullpen arms in the system. The Giants drafted him in the 5th round in 2010 out of the College of Charleston, and he burst onto the scene in San Jose in 2011. In 26 games with the little Giants that spring, he (and his 99 mph fastball) was a strikeout machine. He also logged 21 saves and a 0.73 ERA. Ultimately, he saved 38 games between Hi-A and AA in 2011. Those kinds of numbers will get you on the fast track, and they did for Hembree. For the past two years, he’s been called the Giants’ closer of the future. However, he’s seen up and down results for the past season and a half in Fresno, where he’s struggled with his control at times. For what it’s worth, his strikeout and walk rates are much improved this year from last, but it’s the 4.53 ERA and the apparent lack of a good secondary pitch that’s prevented Hembree from helping a struggling bullpen in San Francisco this season. The stout righty still has 18 saves on the season, and 8 of his 19 ER came in back-to-back outings in June. Take those two appearances out, and he’s got a very respectable 2.73 ERA. I’m not sure when he’ll get the call to the show, but I’d have to think it’s coming soon.

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