Giants' 'hungry' prospect Harrison reminds Vogelsong of MadBum originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO -- Kyle Harrison has always drawn comparisons to seven-time All-Star Chris Sale, which makes a lot of sense since the young lefty has tried to mimic parts of Sale's repertoire and demeanor on the mound.
But when Ryan Vogelsong watches Harrison pitch and compete, he also sees hints of another lefty, one of the best to ever wear orange and black.
During an interview that aired on Monday's Giants Talk podcast, Vogelsong said some of Harrison's traits remind him of former teammate Madison Bumgarner. Vogelsong is now a roving pitching instructor for the organization, and knows that comparing anyone to Bumgarner is dangerous. But he loves what he has seen in his time with Harrison.
"There's a lot to like. It's hard to put a finger on one thing. If I had to put a finger on one thing: He's hungry. He wants to be great," Vogelsong said. "I hate doing this to the kid, but he has attention to detail and drive to be great like I saw in Bum. I hate labeling him like that because that's big shoes to fill, but he's hungry and he wants to be really, really good. He doesn't just want to get here. He wants to come here and be really good here and stay here for a long time and you don't see that in every guy.
"I think some of them pretend that they're that person but his is genuine and the work ethic is there, the pitches are there. We just need some minor tweaks, clean up a few things and just let him keep developing a little bit, and he'll be here soon enough."
Harrison, who turned 21 a week ago, is the highest-rated Giants pitching prospect since Bumgarner. He is currently ranked as the 18th-best prospect in the minors by Baseball America and is 22nd on MLB Pipeline's top 100. Both lists have him as the best left-handed pitcher in the minors. Bumgarner got as high as No. 9 before making his big league debut as a 20-year-old.
Harrison almost certainly won't see the big leagues until some point in the 2023 season. The Giants already moved him from High-A to Double-A, and he has continued to dominate, posting a 2.83 ERA in 12 starts with 84 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings.
The front office has not ruled out a promotion to Triple-A later this season, but Harrison does need to show slightly better command to reach the next level. He has averaged 4.7 walks-per-nine in Double-A and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is half of what it was in High-A.
No matter where Harrison ends the year, he should come to camp next spring with an outside shot at pushing for a rotation spot. The staff can't wait for that day, and if Vogelsong is right, it should be a transformative one for the organization.