The distance between Eugene and Richmond is 2,882 miles, but Kyle Harrison is making that feel shorter and shorter every single time he takes the ball.
The third-ranked Giants prospect continued his domination of the Northwest League with another brilliant outing on Saturday night. Harrison worked around a pair of hits and a walk to fan nine over five scoreless frames to pace High-A Eugene’s 1-0 blanking of Vancouver in eight innings in Game 1 of a doubleheader at PK Park.
It was the fourth outing of the year with at least nine strikeouts for Harrison, and his third straight. The 20-year-old retired the first seven batters he faced — whiffing the side in the second — and exited after tossing 75 pitches, 47 for strikes.
After yielding a one-out single in the fourth, MLB’s No. 73 overall prospect responded with consecutive punchouts to escape the frame unscathed. After notching a pair of outs to start the fourth, the southpaw walked PK Morris on six pitches. But, Morris would be left stranded at first as Harrison locked back in for his eighth strikeout of the game.
The 2020 third-round Draft pick made quick work of his final frame. After recording the first two outs on five pitches, Harrison yielded a double on the first pitch to Zach Britton, who became the only player to reach scoring position with Harrison on the bump. But, a four-pitch whiff by Harrison Ray ended the threat and the inning.
Harrison has allowed one run or fewer in five of his six starts this season — with four of those going for shutouts. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is sporting a 1.88 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and a .172 average against with 51 strikeouts over 24 innings this season.
Harrison earned Low-A West pitcher of the year honors during his pro debut last year after leading the league in ERA (3.19) and strikeouts per nine innings (14.3). The left-hander delivers from a low-three-quarters slot that adds action to his pitches. He blows hitters away up in the strike zone with a mid-90s heater that reaches 98 mph with plenty of armside run. His slider also has gotten sharper and harder, parking at 82-85 mph while proving effective against hitters from both sides of the plate. He’s gaining faith in a changeup with similar velocity and some fade, and it should become at least an average pitch on his quest to The Show once fully developed.
With the two teams locked in a 0-0 tie after seven innings, Giants top prospect Marco Luciano delivered the game-winning knock with an infield single to third in the eighth.