Reggie Crawford

Farhan explains risk behind drafting two-way prospects

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Spending a top MLB draft pick on a two-way player can be exciting, but it certainly comes with its risks.

After selecting left-handed pitcher/designated hitter Reggie Crawford with their first-round pick last year, the Giants doubled down on two-way players, selecting right-handed pitcher/first baseman Bryce Eldridge with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2023 draft.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi joined NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic and Laura Britt on the latest episode of "Giants Talk," where he was asked what challenges both two-way players will face throughout their minor league progression as they attempt to balance both hitting and pitching.

"It's interesting, I think from a scouting standpoint, we view two-way guys as just an expression and manifestation of the talent level of these guys that they can impact the game both ways," Zaidi told Pavlovic and Britt. "As you go up through the minor league system, you do have a specialization, but these players love doing it. Reggie and Bryce, they both love pitching and hitting, they want to have some plan in place where they get to do both."

Most players typically put all their time and effort into perfecting their craft as either a hitter or a pitcher and when they're not working, they're resting, recharging and maintaining a healthy routine. That balancing act is more difficult for two-way players like Crawford and Eldridge who each have to develop two separate areas of their game, which presents more opportunities for injury.

"And it's risky from a development standpoint. From a team perspective, if you want someone developing as a pitcher, you don't want them being in the cage or taking days off completely from their pitching program," Zaidi added. "And similarly, for a hitter, you don't want a guy like Bryce who has 40-home run potential in our view to blow out on the mound when we think his bread and butter is really his bat and what he can do from a power perspective. You try and balance what the players want with how you maybe view them in the long term."

Crawford recently earned a promotion from Low-A San Jose to High-A Eugene, while Eldridge officially began his minor league career with the Giants and was assigned to the ACL Giants Orange team.

If all goes according to plan, it only will be a matter of time before both could make an impact at the major league level, which is an exciting thought for Zaidi and the Giants.

"I think it just excites us, because whether it's athleticism, competitiveness, a lot of things that help guys succeed and get to the big leagues are encompassed by what these guys do on the field as two-way players."

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