The San Francisco Giants named their contributions to the Arizona Fall League and Hawaii Winter Baseball on Tuesday.
The Arizona Fall League, one of the most respected showcases for top talent, will get four players who played with San Francisco this season. The biggest name will be shortstop Emmanuel Burriss, who recently was lost for the regular season with an oblique injury. Being named to the Fall League implies that Burriss, expected to start in San Francisco in 2009, is not injured seriously. He will be joined by third baseman Ryan Rohlinger, and relievers Osiris Matos and Alex Hinshaw, all of whom played for San Francisco. Also appearing will be pitchers Kelvin Pichardo, Kevin Pucetas, and outfielder Ben Copeland.
Going to Hawaii to play for the Waikiki Beach Boys will be 2008 top draft pick Buster Posey and 3rd round pick Roger Kieschnick. For Kieshcnick, it will be his first appearance since being signed shortly before the draft’s signing deadline on August 15th. They will be joined by pitchers Waldis Joaquin and Steven Edlefsen, as well as Double-A trainer Dustin Luepker, who will work on the Beach Boys staff.
The Giants’ Coordinator of Minor League Instruction Shane Turner will manage the Scottsdale Scorpions, who the Giants contribute to. The Scorpions will also consist of players from the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations. The Arizona Fall League will begin play on Tuesday, October 7th.
Despite the later season in the name, Hawaii Winter Baseball will start first, beginning on Saturday, September 27th. The league, which usually plays with players from the Single-A levels, features four teams represented from MLB and Japanese teams.
Burriss, 23, had been batting .283/.357/.329 in 91 major league games before his injury. Drafted in 2006 with the 33rd overall pick (the Giants’ first pick after Tim Lincecum), Burriss played just 14 games in the minors this season in Fresno before making it to the majors. He hit .258/.281/.306 with Fresno.
Rohlinger, 24, got some time with the Giants in Spring Training, but did not last long there. He faired better once sent to the minors, batting .285 with seven home runs in 73 games for the San Jose Giants, and then batting .296/.358/.497 with six home runs for the Connecticut Defenders. He is currently with the Giants, after a callup in mid-August, but is batting just .103 in 14 games in the bigs.
Matos, 24, is still in the majors. He has a 4.50 ERA so far in San Francisco, with 14 strikeouts and eight walks in 18 innings. Matos, who signed with the Giants in 2002, had a combined 0.97 ERA in Double-A and Triple-A this season, with 9 saves in 32 games.
Hinshaw, who will turn 26 on Halloween this season, also remains with the big league team, and has a 3.79 ERA in 41 appearances in San Francisco. He has 44 strikeouts and 25 walks in 35 2/3 innings there. Hinshaw, a 15th round pick in 2005, had a 1.96 ERA in Connecticut in 2007, and a 0.57 ERA in Fresno this season before his callup.
Pichardo, who will turn 23 on the 13th of October, may be the Giants’ ace in the bullpen hole for 2009. Pichardo, who was picked up in the 2005 trade of Michael Tucker to Philadelphia, had a 2.48 ERA for the Defenders this season, with 7 saves in 46 games. He struck out 62 and walked 33 in 61 2/3 innings.
Copeland, 24, will be trying to break through after a long couple of years in the minors. The left-hander hit .261/.334/.417 in 103 Connecticut games, but was getting better after a slow start. He was promoted to Fresno and hit .341/.417/.388 in 22 games for Fresno. While he has played in the corner outfield spots for the Giants, he has the ability to play center field. The 2005 4th round draft pick holds the distinction as the lowest pick ever to be a team’s top overall pick of the season (#132, after the Giants lost three picks for compensation).
Pucetas, 23, will be the team’s sole Single-A contributor in the AFL (each team is allowed just one). Pucetas had a 3.02 ERA and a 10-2 record for the San Jose Giants in the regular season, and is still with the team for the playoffs. Pucetas was named the California League Pitcher of the Year after winning the Minor League’s Most Spectacular Pitcher award for lowest ERA in all full-season leagues in 2007. He had a 1.86 ERA for the Augusta GreenJackets that year.
Posey, 21, was the team’s top overall pick in 2008 (#5 overall). He hit .351 in the minor league’s regular season over ten games in the Arizona League and Northwest League, and is currently playing with the San Jose Giants in the playoffs. He is 4 for 16 with 2 RBI, a walk and five strikeouts for the Giants in four playoff games.
Kieschnick, 21, was drafted in the 3rd round (#82 overall) of the 2008 draft by the Giants. He signed shortly before the draft’s deadline, and did not appear in any league for the Giants. For Texas Tech this season, he hit .305/.407/.632 with 17 home runs in 55 games.
Joaquin, 21, had a mixed season this year. He had a 4.33 ERA for the GreenJackets this season, improving later in the season. In late July, he receive a promotion to the San Jose Giants, and posted a 4.66 ERA in nine appearances (four starts). With 72 strikeouts in 71 1/3 innings and 31 walks, he has promising numbers. Joaquin is coming back from Tommy John surgery, which kept him off the mound in 2007.
Edlefsen, 23, had a 3.36 ERA as a middle reliever for San Jose. The 2007 16th round pick has moved quickly so far this season, and is an important cog in the Giants bullpen as they go to the playoffs. Noted for a wicked slider, he has 77 strikeouts and 38 walks in 77 2/3 innings.
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