Manuel Mercedes, RHP
DOB: September 21, 2002
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: International Signing, July 2, 2019
LAST LEVEL: N/A
GiantFutures Ranks: #9 Relief Pitcher
Performance: As a 2019 international signee, he likely would have made his debut as a 17-year old in the Dominican Summer League in 2020, but obviously that did not happen. However, he did attend the Giants’ Instructional League in the fall of 2020, as one of the youngest attendees.
Strengths and Weaknesses: The strength is an electric arm, with a fastball that had reached 95 MPH as a teen before he was signed. Some think that Mercedes arm could get fastballs up to 100 mph as he grows and builds strength. He pairs that with a slider that Baseball America describes as having “hard, late tilt.”
On the weakness side, as you might expect, he doesn’t have the strongest control over his fastball. That will be the biggest key for his future.
2021 Outlook: Mercedes is unlikely to be in for a full-season debut, even after a year of waiting and the Instructs assignment. He might go the the DSL for 2021 as he should have in 2020, but it’s more likely he’ll make his debut in the Arizona Rookie League in the summer. At this point, his biggest goal is to get into games, stay healthy, and work on that control.
Future Profile: You can make many, many comparisons with Mercedes profile, including two pitchers in the Giants system, Gregory Santos and Melvin Adon. Both have electric arms and control problems, and both started their careers with starting aspirations and moved to relief. Mercedes could still start, but this two-pitch, big fastball profile is the type teams love to move to the bullpen. The keys will be health, control, and consistency. The potential for a top closer is here, but so is the potential to never make it all.