A dozen outings into his pro career, Giants prospect Kyle Crick sees a positive in the simple and straightforward.
"I threw my slider for more strikes than balls," he said in his Texas accent, with an audible smirk. "So that's good."
The 49th overall pick in last year's Draft yielded one hit over a career-high six innings on Sunday afternoon in the Class A Augusta GreenJackets' 4-1 win over the Hagerstown Suns.
"I felt like I had an off-speed pitching working for me and I used it a lot," he said. "I have a curveball, but if my slider is working, I don't really go to it."
Ranked as the Giants' No. 16 prospect, Crick (1-1) fanned eight batters -- he struck out the side in the third, his one drama-free inning -- while walking three and plunking two others.
"I had great 'D' behind me. [Third baseman Garrett] Buechele caught a laser down the line and doubled the runner off," Crick said of the inning-ending play in the fourth. "I felt like things were going my way."
Caleb Ramsey collected the Suns' lone hit off Crick, a first-inning single on a middle-in fastball, one of the 79 or 80 pitches Crick estimated he threw.
"He was ahead in the count," Crick said, "and he just threw his hands at it."
Crick hasn't allowed a run over his last 10 2/3 innings, spanning three games. His 1.66 ERA ranks fourth among active South Atlantic League starters.
Control has been Crick's lone glaring issue. The 19-year-old right-hander from Sherman, Tex., has fanned 27 but has issued 17 free passes over 21 2/3 innings. He also struggled with his command last summer in seven relief outings in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
"I'd like to walk less guys. I feel like I should be walking less guys," Crick said. "That's the biggest thing."
What's he doing to correct it?
"Repetition of mechanics, keeping my arm up," he said. "That [adjustment] has been easy. I have one of the best pitching coaches [Mike Caldwell] in the game."
Crick's counterpart, Taylor Hill (3-2), gave up three runs on five hits -- including Michael Mergenthaler's solo homer in the fourth -- over five innings.
Suns cleanup man Matthew Skole singled home Hendry Jimenez with two outs in the eighth to avoid a shutout.