San Francisco Giants 2014 Minor League Update, Part IV: the Augusta GreenJackets
The Class A Augusta GreenJackets are currently 26-27 in the South Atlantic (Sally) League. Their top hitter so far this season is Tyler Horan, who is batting .276/.345/.503. An 8th round draft pick last year, Horan at age 23 is a little old for this level.
Augusta is a tough place to hit, and no one else has put up numbers that are particularly impressive. Last year’s second round draft pick Ryder Jones (age 20) is hitting well (.262/.306/.421). However, his defense at shortstop and third is a work in progress.
Jeremy Sy is the only other GreenJackets’ player who has not been promoted to a higher level who has an OPS above .700. However, he’s already 24 years old, and I don’t think anyone thinks of him as much of a prospect.
Last year’s 1st round draft choice Christian Arroyo (19) has been completely overmatched at Augusta, batting only .203 with a terrible .497 OPS in 31 games before being placed on the disabled list, probably to heal his ego and self-confidence as much as his body. Given his tender age, it’s not unexpected that Arroyo would struggle at the full season A level.
Arroyo was really ready for short-season A (also called A-) ball this year, but the Giants apparently wanted to get him into game action before the A- season starts in late June. So long as Arroyo’s confidence hasn’t suffered lasting damage, I expect that at Salem-Keizer he’ll put up numbers closer to those he put up in Rookie League ball last year than he has at Augusta so far.
Matthew Lujan (25) has been the GreenJackets’ best pitcher so far with a 1.74 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched, but he’s old for this level. Lujan was apparently signed as a free agent at age 23, so he isn’t going to get any breaks from the Giants. However, he’s pitched well so far as a professional and should be promoted to A+ San Jose now simply because he’s earned it. Luis Ysla (22) and Christian Jones (23) have also pitched well as starters for the GreenJackets with ERAs well under 3.00.
The Giants’ top pitching prospect at this level Keury Mella (20) has a 4.10 ERA but has struck out 44 batters in 48.1 IP with an even 4/1 K/BB rate. The last two starters Carlos Diaz (20) and Chase Johnson (22) have higher ERAs but decent strikeout rates.
Daniel Slania (22), last year’s 5th round draft pick, is probably the GreenJackets’ best relief prospect. He has been pitching well in Augusta, but Jake Smith (24) has been pitching better (1.93 ERA, 33 Ks in 28 IP).
Luis Castillo (21) has been effective but wild. The same for Donald Snelten (22). Steve Messner (24), Carlos Alvarado (24) and Ray Black (24) have all pitched reasonably well but are old for this level.