San Francisco Giants 2015 Minor League Update, Part 2: AA Richmond Flying Squirrels
The Richmond Flying Squirrels are off to an 18-23 start and are in fifth place in the Eastern League’s Western Division. They are only 6.5 games back of first place Altoona (the Pirates’ AA affiliate), so the Flying Squirrels are still in the hunt.
Richmond is a tough place to hit, and the Flying Squirrels’ best hitters’ numbers are underwhelming. The top position prospect is probably soon to be 23 year old shortstop Rando Moreno, who has a .337 batting average, .380 on-base percentage and .790 OPS in 28 games played. Moreno’s hitting last year at single-A Augusta was awful, so it’s hard to know whether his hot start this year is for real.
Mac Williamson is back after losing a season to Tommy John surgery. He’s slashing .316/.372/.468 after 40 games, but he turns 25 on July 15th. He’s played 32 games in right field this season even though MILB’s website lists him as a designated hitter.
2B/SS Kelby Tomlinson is batting .321 with a .380 OBP and .816 OPS, but he turns 25 on June 16th.
Overall the Flying Squirrels’ pitching has been mediocre at best so far this season. Starter Joe Biagini has a terrific 1.76 ERA, but with only 24 Ks in 41 innings pitched, his stuff does not appear to be very good.
Top prospect Kyle Crick has a 2.10 ERA after seven starts with 33 Ks in 30 IP. However, he is still very wild having given up 20 walks. My guess is that Crick won’t be promoted to AAA until August, so he can continue to work on his command at this level.
Former 1st round draft pick (20th overall in 2012) Chris Stratton is off to a poor start with an 0-5 record and a 4.50 ERA after eight starts. His K/IP and H/IP rates aren’t bad, but he’s been wild also, allowing 21 BBs in 42 IP. Stratton turns 25 on August 22nd, and he’s beginning to look like the Giants’ biggest first round best since Gary Brown. A move to the bullpen, however, could kick-start Stratton’s career again when and if the Giants decide he won’t make it as a starter.
Out of the bullpen, Jose Casilla, Josh Osich, Pedro Rodriguez, Joan Gregorio and Steven Johnson have all pitched pretty well. However, none has really impressed in what is certainly a great park for pitchers. At ages 23 and 24 this season, Gregorio and Johnson are the best prospects.