2016 San Francisco Giants Minor League Update
Every year around this time in the season, I usually do a run-down of what is going on with Giants’ prospects on their top four farm teams. It’s taken me some time to get around to it this year, but here it is:
AAA Sacramento River Cats
With the Giants in the thick of the pennant race, a lot of prospects have been called up this year at one time or another, so I will limit this to those players currently at Sacramento who haven’t had much of a shot with the major league club.
Clayton Blackburn (age 23 this season). He got a very brief call-up, but didn’t get to pitch. At any rate, he has pitched well his last four starts and has his AAA ERA down to 3.55. His pitching line is 66 IP, 64 hits, 7 Hrs and 16 BBs allowed and 52 Ks. His stuff is not overwhelming, but he’s still on track to possibly becoming the next Joe Blanton.
Chris Heston (28) and Matt Lujan (27) have both pitched better than their respective 1-7 and 0-5 AAA records indicate and could get the chance to help the parent club later in the season if a starter gets hurt.
Vin Mazzero (29) got hit hard in a brief call-up with the Giants, but he has pitched well at Sacramento this year, posting a fine 1.95 ERA. He’s another guy would could get another shot if somebody in San Francisco’s bullpen gets hurt.
Austin Slater (23), the Giants 8th round draft pick in 2014 out of Stanford, played so well at AA Richmond, slashing .317/.413/.490, that he earned a quick promotion to AAA. He’s a bit over-matched so far, batting .223 with a .623 OPS in a little over 50 AAA plate appearances.
Joan Gregorio (24) pitched so well in his first five starts at AA Richmond that he was also quickly promoted to AAA Sacramento. He’s also struggling to get up to speed in AAA (5.10 ERA), but has 32 Ks in 30 AAA innings pitched.
AA Richmond Flying Squirrels
Christian Arroyo (21). The Giants first round draft pick in 2013, Arroyo is currently batting .284 with a .719 OPS which is fine for a middle infielder of his age in the AA Eastern League. I wish he walked more though.
Ryder Jones (22). The Giants second round pick in 2013, Jones has hit with some pop at Richmond, but his on-base percentage is a dreadful .274 and his third base defense is equally awful.
Adelberto Mejia (23). Richmond’s top starter, Mejia has a 1.94 ERA, a WHIP below 1.0 and 58 Ks in 65 IP.
Tyler Beede (23). The Giants 1st round pick in 2014 (14th overall), Beede has a 3.05 ERA with a pitching line of 65 IP, 71 hits, 3 HRs and 15 BB allowed and 50 Ks. You’d like to see more from a pitcher drafted this high.
Dan Slania (24). Slania has 50 Ks in 41.2 IP and a K/BB ratio of better than 6, but he also has a 3.46 ERA in relief pitching in a pitchers’ park in a pitchers’ league. The home run ball is a weakness, and I suspect that he gives in to hitters rather than walking them.
Andrew Suarez (23). The Giants 2nd round pick last June, Suarez was great in five starts at A+ San Jose before being promoted to AA. He has struggled at Richmond with an ERA well over 5.00.
A+ San Jose Giants
Chris Shaw (22). Last year’s second 1st round draft pick (37th overall), Shaw currently has an .870 OPS, 8th best in the California League and his 13 dingers is third most. This is what you want to see from your 1B prospects.
C.J. Hinojosa (21) and Steven Duggar (22) have been very pleasant surprises indeed. Hinojosa, a shortstop drafted in the 11th round last year, is batting .313, third best in the league, and has an .852 OPS. Duggar, last year’s 6th round pick, is a right fielder with an .867 OPS and seven assists so far in 2016.
Sam Coonrod (23) has a terrific 1.98 ERA, but his strikeout rate (42 in 63.2 IP) is unimpressive for this level.
Closer Rodolfo Martinez (22) has an 0.65 ERA, 19 saves in 20 opportunities and 28 Ks in 27.2 IP. His ratios aren’t as impressive as his ERA however.
Reyes Moronta (23) has a 2.25 ERA in relief with 42 Ks in 28 innings pitched. That’s the kind of K/IP rate you want to see at this level.
A Augusta GreenJackets
Miguel Gomez (23), a catcher leads the GreenJackets with an .855 OPS. He’s old for this level, but catchers often take longer to develop.
Dylan Davis (22), the team’s 3rd round pick in 2014, is a corner outfielder with a good arm and an .842 OPS so far this season.
Kelvin Beltre (19) and Jalen Miller (19) are a couple of young infielders who aren’t embarrassing themselves at the full-season A level playing in a pitchers’ park. Although Beltre, a former international bonus baby out of the Dominican Republic, is currently on the seven-day disabled list, he has an even .700 OPS in almost 200 plate appearances. Miller, last year’s 3rd round pick, is playing second base this year and has a .625 OPS, which isn’t terrible for a 19 year old middle infielder at this level.
Phil Bickford (20). Last year’s 1st round pick, Bickford has a 2.70 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP and 69Ks in 60 innings pitched. I would expect him to be promoted to A+ San Jose by the All-Star Break.
Cory Taylor (22) has a 1.83 ERA as a starter with 59 Ks in 59 IP. However, his WHIP is higher than Bickford’s.
Tyler Cyr (23) has a 2.14 ERA in relief with 59 Ks in 46.1 IP and WHIP below 1.0. A nice surprise from a 10th round draft pick.
Caleb Smith (23) has a 2.66 ERA as Augusta’s main closer with 31 Ks in 20.1 IP.