Former College of Charleston pitcher Heath Hembree has been called up to the Major League San Francisco Giants, the organization announced Monday night.
A native of Cowpens, S.C., Hembree was ranked by MLB.com as the sixth-best prospect in the Giants organization. Playing with the Class-AAA Fresno Grizzlies this season, he posted a team-record 31 saves with an ERA of 4.07 and a 1.27 WHIP. In his first professional season in 2011, he led all of the minor leagues with 38 saves, playing with the Class-A San Jose Giants and the Class-AA Richmond Flying Squirrels. Baseball America rated him as having the best fastball in the Giants organization after that season.
Drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Giants, Hembree only spent one season at College of Charleston after transferring from Spartanburg Methodist junior college. In that 2010 season, he made 27 appearances out of the bullpen and tallied four saves. He rung up 42 batters while only walking 18.
His fifth round draft selection ties for the second-highest for any College of Charleston player behind Brett Gardner's third-round pick in 2005. Pitcher Brett Harker was also picked in the fifth round in 2005.
Hembree joins Gardner of the New York Yankees and Michael Kohn of the Los Angeles Angels as former Cougars currently on active Major League rosters. Former CofC pitchers Graham Godfrey (A's) and Brian Schlitter (Cubs) have also made Major League debuts.