San Francisco Giants 2015 Minor League Update, Part 3: A+ San Jose Giants
The San Jose Giants are currently 19-26 and in 4th place in the California League’s Northern Division, 12 games back of the Visalia Rawhide, which is a pretty lame team name.
The Giants’ top position prospect at this level, 2013 1st round draft pick Christian Arroyo, got off to a great start this year, batting .321 with a 1.045 OPS in seven games before straining an oblique muscle. He hasn’t played again in more than a month.
Arroyo turns 20 in a few days, so losing five or six weeks or even a couple of months at this stage in his career isn’t a big deal. Still, it’s disappointing given the start he had gotten off to at San Jose.
2013 2nd round draft pick and soon to be age 20 Ryder Jones is hitting a respectable .289 with a .724 OPS. However, he isn’t walking enough, and he strikes out too much.
The SJ Giants’ top hitter so far is 22 year old Hunter Cole, who is batting .350 with a .919 OPS in 31 games after being promoted from Class A Augusta ten games into the 2015 season. Cole is a 26th round draft pick out of the University of Georgia, so you have to think that his hot start at A+ San Jose is probably a fluke and that he’ll cool off later this season or when he gets promoted to AA Richmond.
Cole has been splitting time in the field this season between 2B and the corner outfield positions. I don’t know whether this means he is a jack-of-all-trades kind of player or simply a guy without a strong defensive position.
22 year old middle infielder Austin Slater is batting .323 with an .812 OPS. He’s a former 8th round draft pick out of Stanford, so you have to figure his tools are better than Hunter Cole’s. However, the recent major league success of former 18th round draft pick Matt Duffy shows that once in a while a player whom no one considered a legitimate prospect at draft time blossoms once he actually starts to play professional baseball.
The team’s top pitching prospects are last year’s 1st round draft pick (14th overall) Tyler Beede and 21 year old Dominican Keury Mella. After eight starts Beede has a fine 2.58 ERA. However, with only 26 strikeouts in 45.1 innings pitched, his strikeout rate is low for a pitcher with his draft pedigree. It’s too early in Beede’s professional to tell whether the low strikeout rate is just a statistical fluke, rather than a lack of stuff. However, we will certainly find out when Beede hits AA ball, most likely around the 2015 All-Star Break.
Keury Mella has a 3.06 ERA after seven starts and a more respectable 30 Ks in 35.1 IP. 23 year old and 2013’s 3rd round draft pick Chase Johnson has a 2.68 ERA after seven starts and 39 Ks in 40.1 IP.
2012 2nd round draft pick Martin Agosta, after an injury plagued 2014 season, has 33 Ks in 31 IP after three starts and nine relief appearances in 2015.
23 year old Daniel Slania has been the SJ Giants’ most effective reliever, and I expect he’ll be promoted to AA Richmond in the very near future.
Ian Gardeck and Jake Smith have ERAs over 3.00, but both have very high strikeout rates. Jeff Soptic and Jason Forjet have pitched well in more limited work. However, none of these four pitchers in younger than 24 this season.