San Francisco Giants Minor League Update, Part I

A regular feature of my blog in recent years has been a June update on what is going on in the San Francisco Giants’ minor league system.  I’ve had a hard time getting up for it this year, perhaps because the Gints’ farm system has been nearly as bleak at the major league squad.

AAA Sacramento River Cats

The River Cats are currently 35-55, last in the PCL’s Pacific Northern Division, 11 games back of the third place Tacoma Rainiers.  One bright spot has been 1B/LF Chris Shaw, who is now slashing .304/.329/.547, after a slow start following his promotion from AA Richmond roughly six weeks ago.   If Shaw gets his OPS over .900 before the end of this month, it’s that much more likely that the Giants trade Brandon Belt if the right offer is made.

Pretty much every other hitter that’s hit well at Sacramento this year is currently hurt.

Former first round draft pick Tyler Beede hasn’t been terrible.  He has a 5.01 ERA and a pitching line of 97 IP, 108 hits, 14 HRs, 37 BBs and 74 Ks. We can’t give up on him yet, but he’s only a major league pitcher right now if someone gets hurt.  Next year, he’ll be 25 with prospect status rapidly ticking away.

Chris Stratton is another matter.  He turns 27 in August, and I’m really becoming convinced that he was a wasted 1st round draft pick.  With 58 Ks in 65.2 IP at AAA, he’s got the stuff that could eventually make him a serviceable major league pitcher.  It just seems increasingly clear that it will be as a reliever, and not as a starter.  It’s time to move him to the bullpen for good.

Ground ball throwing relievers Tyler Rogers and D.J. Snelton continue to pitch very effectively, and deserve to be promoted to the Show.  If hitters are increasingly trying to hit the ball out of the park, bring on the ground ball pitchers.  It’s fairly clear that the Giants don’t really appreciate either of these two: they’ve got three saves in 54 games pitched between them.  Steven Okert has also pitched well and has better stuff, so he’s back in the majors.

Kris Sitton and Dustin Knight have also pitched well out of Sacto’s bullpen.

AA Richmond Flying Squirrels

The Flying Squirrels are currently 37-52 and in fifth place in the Eastern League’s Western Division, but thankfully a game and a half up on the last place Harrisburg Senators.

Miguel Gomez is the big recent news out of AA Richmond.  He probably isn’t ready for the Show, but I’m glad to see the Giants give a youngster a look in what is now a lost season.  Gomez is 24 this season, so it’s as good a time as any to get him his first major league experience.

C.J. Hinojosa has caught my attention in the last week or so.  A former 11th round draft pick out of major program UT, he turns 23 tomorrow and currently has a .788 OPS, which is fine for a middle infielder his age playing his home games in Richmond.  He’s played at SS, 3B and 2nd this year, after exclusively shortstop his first two pro seasons.  That suggests he might be more of a jack-off-all-trades, utility player when/if he reaches the majors.

Andrew Suarez and Matt Gage both pitched well enough to get promoted to AAA Sacramento three or four starts ago.  Both are 24 this season.  Andrew Suarez has pitched better so far at AAA and is the better prospect in terms of draft pedigree.

Also 24 year old Sam Coonrod hasn’t had a great year, but he has the best strikeout rate among Richmond’s starters.  Jose Flores and Carlos Alvarado have pitched great out of the bullpen, but both are old for this level.  Flores pitched so well, the organization moved him into the Flying Squirrels’ rotation and then promoted him to AAA Sacramento, where he’s also pitched well in two starts.

Tyler Cyr at 24 is younger and has also pitched well out of the Richmond bullpen, although he’s been a little wild.  Cyr has been nothing but great for a 10th round draft pick in 2015, and he’s become the closer since the injury to previously more highly regarded closer prospect Reyes Moronta.  A cursory internet search didn’t turn up his injury, but Moronta hasn’t pitched since June 2nd.

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