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Doval 'as good as anybody' in Giants' bullpen when on A-game originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Camilo Doval hasn't pitched above High-A since the Giants signed him as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Doesn't matter. This is a name Giants fans need to know.
Doval, 23, made his big league spring training debut Tuesday night in the Giants' 1-1 tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and proved why San Francisco sees him as a future closer. Doval walked one batter, had one strikeout and didn't allow any hits in one scoreless inning.
His fastball reached 97 mph, and his filthy slider produced an absolute sword from Omar Estevez on his second pitch of the night.
"He'll hit 100, maybe even slightly better on his best day," Giants director of player development Kyle Haines said Wednesday on KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks" show. "From that arm slot, it is not a fun at-bat, especially for right-handed hitters. He looks like he's throwing from behind you when you're standing in the batter's box and then he's got the sweeping slider. He's upper 90s pretty consistent and you'll see him flirt with triple digits here and there.
"He's absolutely one of the most uncomfortable at-bats for a right-handed hitter in the game, if you ask me. ... I'm hopeful we'll see Doval cement his status on the roster at some point this year. When he's on, he's as good as anybody we've got in that bullpen."
The Giants added Doval to the 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, and for good reason. They clearly see a bright future ahead for the young flamethrower, which he showed against their heated rivals.
Consistency and command always have been the questions surrounding Doval, not his nasty stuff. He had a 3.83 ERA for the San Jose Giants in 2019 while also striking out 80 batters in 56 1/3 innings. But he also walked 34. Doval nearly has 13 strikeouts per nine innings in his minor league career, and opposing hitters are batting just .199 against him.
The issue is he also has walked nearly five batters per nine.
“We’re always looking for him to come out and attack the strike zone,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said to reporters Tuesday night. “Thought he did a really nice job of that, around that walk.”
With the minor league season being canceled last year, the Giants likely will be cautious in their placement of prospects to start the year. When it comes to Doval, though, it's easy to see him making his way to San Francisco in a hurry this season.