San Francisco Giants Minor League Update: Augusta GreenJackets

The Class A Augusta GreenJackets are currently 27-34, the result of weak hitting and underwhelming pitching.

The top two prospects are 19 year old right-handed starters Clayton Blackburn and Kyle Crick.  Blackburn has a 3.04 ERA and a pitching line of 53.1 IP, 49 hits and 10 walks allowed and 62 Ks.  Crick has a 3.45 ERA with a line of 47 IP, 34 hits and 27 walks allowed and 61Ks.

While Blackburn has pitched better so far this year, Crick is still the better prospect, based on the fact that Crick was a sandwich pick last year (49th overall), has a better hits-to-IP rate and a slightly higher Ks-to-IP rate.  Blackburn was a 16th round pick last year and looks to be the steal of the 2011 Draft for the Giants.

Anyway you slice it, both Blackburn and Crick look terrific for 19 year olds in their first year of full-season A ball.

22 year old right-handed starter Christopher “Thousand Ships” Marlowe has also pitched well, with a 3.20 ERA and 39 K’s (but 27 walks) in 45 IP.  Marlowe was the Giants’ 5th round pick (177th overall) in the 2011 draft.

Last year’s 4th round pick (148th overall), 22 year old lefty Bryce Bandilla got off to a fairly good start, posting a 2.18 ERA (but a 5.22 run average) with a pitching line of 20.2 IP, 15 hits and 16 walks allowed and 28 Ks, before being re-assigned to extended Spring Training on May 16th.

I haven’t been able to find out why the move was made, although Bandilla’s control appears to be an issue.  On May 11, he struck out 10 batters in 4.2 IP but allowed five runs, all unearned.  My guess is that the Giants want to have him start over at Salem-Keizer in the short-season Northwest League, when that season starts this month.

22 year old RHP Derek Law (9th round, 2011) and 24 year old RHP Cody Hall (19th round, 2011) have been the top pitchers out of Augusta’s bullpen.  Each has an ERA below 2.50 with strong ratios.

Among the position players, the best hitter by far in 2012 has been 22 year old outfielder Shawn Payne.  He’s hitting .289 with a .793 OPS and .398 OBP.  He has also stolen 19 bases in 19 attempts.  He was a 35th round pick last year (although he was drafted twice previously, once higher and once lower) out of Georgia Southern University, and looks like another steal.

23 year old catcher Joe Staley is hitting .273 with a .769 OPS and .365 OBP in 32 games.  He was the Giants’ 8th round pick in 2010.  He hit well the last two seasons at the Giants’ two short-season A leagues, but has only this year been promoted to the Giants’ lowest full-season team.

22 year old 3Bman Garrett Buechele is hitting .298 with a .742 OPS in 22 games.  He was a 14th round pick last year.

Last year’s 12th round pick 22 year old SS Kelby Tomlinson is hitting only .243 with a .628 OPS, but has a decent .333 OBP.

The GreenJackets rank 12th in the 14-team Sally League in run scored (and they’re closer to 14th than they are to 11th), but have allowed the fourth fewest runs in the league.   Augusta continues to be an extremely difficult place to hit.

P.S.  If you can tell me what “Thousand Ships” refers to, you will be immortalized in the annals of Burly’s Baseball Musings.

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