- Full name Hayden Birdsong
- Born 08/30/2001 in Mattoon, IL
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Eastern Illinois
Drafted in the 6th round (196th overall) by the San Francisco Giants in 2022 (signed for $187,500).
View Draft ReportA big righthander with a 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame, Birdsong has been up to 95 mph with his fastball and could have more velocity coming in the future. He has flashed an above-average curveball and changeup and this spring with Eastern Illinois posted a 3.35 ERA in 45.2 innings out of the bullpen. He struck out 66 batters and walked 21, and had excellent peripherals in the Northwoods League this summer—striking out 31 and walking seven in just 17.1 innings.
Organization Prospect Rankings
BA Grade/Risk: 50/High.
Track Record: After a year at Lake Land (Ill.) JC in 2020, Birdsong transferred to Eastern Illinois for his final two collegiate seasons. The Giants popped him in the sixth round, then watched him carve the competition at the lower levels in his pro debut. He put up a 2.67 ERA with 36% strikeouts at two Class A stops. Birdsong continued bullying hitters in his first full season as a pro, moving from Low-A to Double-A and striking out 149 hitters in 100.2 innings along the way. Only one minor league pitcher had a higher strikeout rate than Birdsong’s 34.9% at the 100 inning threshold.
Scouting Report: Birdsong is already a physically imposing presence at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, but the Giants believe there’s even more room to grow and add even more power to his arsenal. He works with a full four-pitch complement, led by a mid-90s fastball with carry through the zone and a potentially plus curveball in the low 80s that hitters simply did not touch in 2023. Birdsong rounds out the arsenal with a slider that averaged around 83 mph and could be an above-average pitch and a fringy, infrequently thrown changeup in the high 80s that is a clear fourth pitch. He will have to refine his control and command, which took a significant hit in terms of both strike percentage and walk rate once he reached Double-A.
The Future: The 2024 season will be key for Birdsong, who will likely spend the entirety of the year at the upper levels. If he can return his control and command to the standards he maintained at Low-A and High-A, he has the ceiling of a rotation piece. If not, he might fit more as an overpowering option in the late innings.
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 50.