The Giants finished their second round of call-ups on Monday, calling up outfielder Gary Brown, infielder Adam Duvall, right-handed reliever Erik Cordier, right-handed reliever Brett Bochy, and right-handed starter Chris Heston. This is an interesting mix of names.
The one that grabs you immediately: Gary Brown. He was a first-round pick back in the days when the Giants had never won a World Series in San Francisco, and he had a brilliant 2011 in the Cal League. How brilliant? Well, the Mets probably would have loved to have him in exchange for Carlos Beltran, and the Giants were smitten enough to hold on to him. He was so danged good in San Jose.
He got sucked into the Eastern League vortex, though, and never recovered. Our consolation while he was struggling was supposed to be that his floor was as a fourth outfielder, and those are still really valuable. With each season, though, each low-average, high-strikeout, low-success stolen base rate, that floor seemed more and more in doubt.
Brown cut down on the strikeouts this year. The defense is still supposed to be sterling. His CS numbers are hard to fathom, but he can still run the bases real fast-like. The floor doesn't seem out of reach, now. He could be on the Giants, contributing, for the next few years. That's not so bad, considering that a good week can make him one of the 10 most valuable 24th-round picks in draft history.
An aside: There seems to be a perception among some folks that I dislike Brown. I don't. I root for him, just as I root for all Sabean's children. I hope he hits .340 and steals 40 bases and makes us all look like dummies. But if the question is "Who is likely to be the better major leaguer in 2014, Gregor Blanco or Gary Brown?", there's only one logical way to answer. That's all. Also, Blanco got hot and raised his numbers back to his career averages, so neener neener neener.
Brett Bochy has made crappy clay ashtrays for the manager of the Giants, and that doesn't seem fair. He's also a great story, a Tommy John case out of college who performed much better than a 20th-round pick ever should. He was moved slowly -- to the point where it was a little curious, to be honest -- and I thought he was going to be up at the end of last year. His strikeout rate and walk rate both went in the wrong direction this year, but he made the roster on merit, not because his dad knows the guy who makes the roster decisions. I'm looking forward to watching him. If he has success, I hope it doesn't give him a big head.
Adam Duvall you know. He led the Giants organization in dingers, and I still think he can be the player that some people thought Brett Pill really was. Maybe Pill was that player. He did quite well in Korea when he was healthy, after all.
Erik Cordier is a hard-throwing lefty whom the Giants signed to a major league deal, even though he was a minor league free agent. He throws hard, though he's a little wild. It's possible, if not likely, that this is Dan Runzler wearing a fake mustache and trying to collect two checks. Good for him. Shows ambition.
Chris Heston is something of a surprise call-up, as he wasn't on the 40-man roster. The 26-year-old used to be on the roster, and he was supposed to be the designated starter-in-a-glass-case for the 2013 season, but he was absolutely pummeled in Fresno last year. He did much better this season, and he had a 2.25 ERA over his last nine starts. He's never been much of a strikeout guy, but I'll guess that's the sinker's fault. It's always the sinker's fault.
To make room for Heston and Bochy on the 40-man roster, the Giants placed Matt Cain and Marco Scutaro on the 60-day DL.
I think every series in Coors Field should be played with 40-man active rosters and 18-pitcher bullpens. This isn't so bad.
Welcome, players who will have a baseball card next year. Do good things. If you can't do good things on the field, at least sew a dead herring into the Dinger costume as a rookie hazing stunt. Pictures to mccoveychronicles at gmail, please.
Edit: I had Erik Cordier as a lefty in the original post. That's because he sounds like a lefty. He should see about getting that "k" changed to a "c", per baseball naming conventions and regulations.