San Francisco Giants Minor League Update, Part IV: Class A Augusta GreenJackets
The Augusta GreenJackets are currently 19-14 and in third place in the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division, a game and a half out of first place. Augusta has traditionally been a terrific place for pitchers, and the 2013 GreenJackets have a roster geared mostly at developing young arms.
As such, I’ll start with a run-down of the GreenJackets’ pitching prospects. Chris Stratton, the Giants’ 1st round Draft pick last year (20th overall), has a 3.02 ERA with a pitching line of 35.2 innings pitched, 24 hits, two HRs and 12 walks allowed and 42 Ks after six starts. He’s basically on track for where he should be at this early stage of his professional career.
Last year’s second round pick (84th overall) Martin Agosta is pitching slightly better. He has a 2.01 ERA with a pitching line of 31.1 IP, 22 hits, two HRs and 13 BBs allowed and 45 Ks. Stratton and Agosta are both 22 this year.
21 year old Dominican and former bonus baby Joan Gregorio was terrific in his first four starts, posting a 1.42 ERA and striking out 25 while walking only one in 19 innings pitched. However, he strained an oblique muscle and hasn’t pitched since April 25th. Another 21 year old Dominican Kendry Flores currently has a 2.65 ERA with 28 Ks and only five walks in 34 IP and a WHIP below 1.00.
One thing to note about these four young starters is that none is listed as weighing more than 186 pounds, which is something of a cause for concern. Sure, they’re young and will likely continue to put on weight; however, they’re not that young, and it’s clear that none of the them is going to develop into the kind of big-bodied pitcher who tends to get hurt less than smaller-framed pitchers.
So far, the most impressive of the GreenJackets’ relievers is 22 year old right-hander Derek Law, who has a 2.70 ERA and has struck out 27 while walking eight in 20 innings of work. Righty Tyler Mizenko has pitched even better, having yet to allow a run this season after 14 appearances and 15.1 innings of work. However, Mizenko is a year older than Law and his command appears more iffy.
Among the position players, SS Matthew Duffy is off to the best start, batting .283/.400/.383, as I write this. Duffy is a 22 year old out of Long Beach State, whom the Giants selected in the 18th round of the Draft last year. He didn’t make my list of the Giants’ top 60 prospects compiled last November.
Neither did Shayne Houck, a 22 year old 3Bman who went to the same small college as Ryan Vogelsong (Kutztown University in Pennsylvania). However, he’s currently hitting .347 with a .443 on-base percentage in 23 games. However, Houck has no power to speak of.
One player who made my pre-season list of top Giants’ prospects and is off to a good start in 2013 is Jesus Galindo, whom I ranked 38th. A 22 year old outfielder from Venezuela, Galindo is hitting .280/.384/.346 with 19 stolen bases in 23 attempts.
Youngsters Tyler Hollick, Travious Relaford and Charles Jones, whom I ranked 22nd, 23rd and 44th on my list of prospects, have all struggled at Augusta this spring. Hollick, after hitting .178 with a .512 OPS in 15 games for the GreenJackets, has apparently been sent back to extended Spring Training to await the start of the short-season A leagues. He’ll most likely be assigned to Salem-Keizer in the Northwest League.
Charles Jones, currently hitting .167 with a .483 OPS after 31 games played, looks likely to join Hollick back in Arizona soon. Both Hollick and Jones are only 20 this year, so their failures to hit full-season Class A pitching is not yet a major cause for concern.
Relaford, a 21 year old shortstop, hit .231 with a .516 OPS in 14 games at Augusta and was then promoted up to the AA Richmond Flying Squirrels to take the roster space of the injured Skyler Stromsmoe. Relaford is actually hitting a little bit better in limited playing time in Richmond than he did in Augusta, but you have to think the Giants will return Relaford to a level where he can start every game as soon as the right opportunity presents itself.