As a National League scout watched a "B" game against the Diamondbacks on Sunday, he paid Giants starting prospect Chris Heston a nice compliment. He said Heston was like a younger version of Ryan Vogelsong.
Heston throws a low-90s fastball and has four pitches that always seem to be around the plate. He led the Double-A Eastern League with a 2.24 ERA last year and struck out 135 in 148 2/3 innings with only 40 walks. The 24-year-old right-hander, taken in the 12th round of the 2009 draft out of East Carolina, could be the next Giants prospect to reach the majors as a starter.
Or it could be left-hander Michael Kickham, another 24-year-old. After Heston threw three shutout innings against Arizona in the "B" game, Kickham allowed one run in two innings.
Manager Bruce Bochy said either of these two prospects could reach the majors in 2013.
"That's the plan," Bochy said. "You need depth in your rotation. These are two guys we think a lot of. We hope they continue their progress. If we need them this year, we hope they'll be ready."
Heston credits his low Class A pitching coach, former Giants left-hander Steve Kline, for a big leap in his development. Kline taught Heston a heavy sinker that gave the young pitcher the confidence to throw the ball over the plate, knowing the late movement would get the swing-and-miss or groundball he desired.
"He's a great guy," Heston said of Kline. "I owe a lot to him. It was my first full year of pro ball and there was a lot of stuff he was able to talk to me about."


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