Late last week, the San Francisco Giants promoted rookie right-hander Derek Law to the major league roster. He's already come out of the bullpen twice, throwing single shutout relief innings on April 15th then again on the 18th, fanning five with no walks and just one hit.
Law should not be seen as just an anonymous relief arm, but first, the basic background.
Derek Law, RHP, San Francisco Giants
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-3 WT: 218 DOB: September 14, 1990
2012: Grade C; 2013: Grade C; 2014: Grade C+; 2015: Grade C
Here's what I wrote about Law in the 2015 Baseball Prospect Book:
A ninth round pick in 2011 from Miami-Dade Community College, Derek Law has always been statistically successful. He has good stuff, too, with a nasty sinker that can hit the mid-90s and an even better breaking ball. Scouts have always worried about his delivery, however, a contraption of over-the-top funk that adds deception to his pitches but looks like it would stress his arm severely. The elbow finally gave out last June, requiring Tommy John surgery. At this point we need to see how rehab goes.
For 2016, I added this:
Rehab went well and Law looked like his normal self once he retook the mound in late June, though he had a couple of rough outings in August that inflated his ERA. He will be in the relief mix at some point within the next year and could provide quality filler innings. Grade C.
After coming back from Tommy John, Law posted a 4.56 ERA in 25.2 innings last year in Double-A; the raw ERA was misleading as his components were much better: 32/8 K/BB, 2.22 FIP. He'd thrown three shutout innings in Triple-A before being promoted last week and his entire minor league track record is one of success and dominance: 2.79 ERA, 251/60 K/BB in 197 innings, 163 hits.
Law has been posting numbers like that since college.
He has plenty of stuff: fastball up to 95-96, a big-breaking curve in the upper-70s, a slider in the 80s. He throws strikes. All of this is well-known but scouts have long been concerned about his arm action.
Here are some different views, first with some pre-injury video from Baseball America.
Now two post-injury shots from Roger Munter.
Then striking out the side in his first major league game.
Back in 2011 he "scared off evaluators with his rough arm action and hard delivery" according to Baseball America's draft review. He's actually smoothed it out some since then but you can see the unconventionality and it seems to add deception to his mix.
With Law already having Tommy John, the hope now is that prudent bullpen usage will keep him healthy. If that turns out to be the case, his track record of performance, stuff, and command should make him a valuable pen asset. He's been very successful closing in the minors and that may hold true in the majors eventually, health allowing.