Derek Law | RHP, 23 yo, 6-3, 218 | 2011 Draft – 9 |
(AZL) 5.2 IP 3.18 ERA, 4 H, 1 BB, 9 K
(Low A) 19 G, 35 IP, 2.31 ERA, 3 SV, 6.9 H/9, 2.6 BB/9, 12.3 K/9
(A+) 22 G, 25.2 IP, 2.10 ERA, 11 SV, 7.0 H/9, 0.4 BB/9, 15.8 K/9
(AFL) 11 G, 12.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 8 H, 6 BB, 16 K
There are nice surprises every year, in every farm system across baseball. The Giants had numerous surprise performances this year, and maybe none better than Law’s ascent onto the national scene. Sometimes, it’s the overlooked guy who rises to the top, which is exactly what happened with Law in the Augusta bullpen this year. With names like Stephen Johnson, Steven Okert and Mason McVay around him, Law seemed to get buried a bit. Heck, even Tyler Mizenko and Ian Gardeck were getting more press than he was at the beginning of the season (Law’s second in the Sally). Ultimately though, the Giants – and the rest of the baseball world – couldn’t ignore him any longer.
Law’s second-half performance was one of the best campaigns we’d seen from a San Jose reliever since Heath Hembree in 2011. While Law’s ERA wasn’t eye-popping by any means (2.10), his 45k/1bb ratio was absolutely insane. So the Giants sent him to the AFL, where he didn’t allow a run, and now he’s on his way to MLB camp… just one year after beginning his season in Augusta. Impressive stuff.
So, what’s this kid’s deal? The BA quote below (which contains a quote from a scout within) puts his game in a pretty nice box. “Downhill with funk and finish.” Now THAT is a scouting report. What does it mean? Watch the video I linked below from the AFL and you’ll find out. If you’re strapped for time, start it at the 0:35 mark. Three pitches – fastball, curve, slider – and it’s over for that hitter. That’s what the Giants will be looking for in Scottsdale this spring. A reliever with a fastball that hits 95-96 (Bernie Pleskoff says it’s more 92-94 in the article below), three off-speed pitches (throws a change as well), and excellent control… how in the world did this guy get so overlooked?
At this point, I would think the only real issue for Law is staying healthy. Not in the sense that he has an injury track record, but his odd arm action really is something worth keeping an eye on. So far, he hasn’t seemed to have any problems staying healthy or repeating his delivery, but he does have a pretty violent delivery. As long as he’s healthy though, I don’t see why Law couldn’t become a solid MLB pitcher. Whether he starts the season in San Francisco remains to be seen, but he might be a candidate to skip over AA completely.
Personally, I’d like to see them stretch Law and his four-pitch mix out a bit. While he hasn’t started a single game as a professional, it looks like he was a starter in college at Miami Dade CC… where he saw pretty fantastic results, as you might expect. Ultimately, the Giants will do what’s best for him, but that kind of stuff seems like it could make Law at least a decent starter. Just a thought. If he can become a steady contributor to the bullpen in the next couple of years, I’d have no problem with that either.
They said it: “Law vexes hitters with an extremely downhill fastball, an ability to elevate it, a bigger breaking curveball and a solid slider…’He’s downhill with funk and finish, and his breaking ball is filthy,’ said an NL pro scout.” ~ JJ Cooper, Baseball America