My apologies for a shortened Round-Up this week. Taking on the Minor Lines has left me more overworked that usual.
With the 2017 MLB draft less than a month away, the mock draft circuit is in full effect, trying to predict the first round. These are sometimes a little crazy, as the baseball draft is often one of the hardest drafts to predict in pro sports.
That said, there may be more pressure than normal on the Giants this year. The malaise of the major league team, though lifting, has weighed on the fan base. But the minor league system has gone through a few circumstances that has led it to being a bit barren of top prospects.
- Paying to get top talent inhibited future acquisitions - In 2015, the Giants signed international free agent Lucius Fox, going over their international allotment (intentionally) which meant the Giants would be severely limited on spending a lot of money on international free agents for 2016 and 2017. Meanwhile, the pre-2016 signing of Jeff Samardzija cost the Giants their first round draft pick. That caused quite a block of acquisition of top-shelf talent for 2016 in particular.
- The Giants traded away top prospects - During the 2016 trade deadline, the Giants parted ways (shockingly) with Fox, and 2015 1st round pick Phil Bickford, among others. While those trades got the Giants major league players they could control for multiple seasons (Matt Moore and Will Smith), it effectively got rid of all the top raw talent they acquired in 2015, on top of costing them their 2016 acquisitions.
So, without effectively two years of top talent in the farm system, there are some fans hoping for a home run to be hit with the Giants’ top pick. With #19 overall, it’s highly unlikely that a Buster Posey-type player will be there, but there should be some good players. So who do the major publications think the Giants will take?
Baseball America - 4U RHP Clarke Schmidt - Could be a first round pick despite going under Tommy John surgery in May. Schmidt throws in the low 90’s with an excellent slider, but there’s of course question about whether that stuff returns after TJ surgery.
Minor League Ball - 4U SS Logan Warmoth - A high-floor, safe bet major leaguer with some upside in his hitting, which sounds a lot like a Giants draft pick.
MLB Daily Dish - HS LHP Trevor Rogers - Pitches in the low-90’s but can reach up to 95, and a loopy slider. Committed to Texas Tech.
MLB.com (Mayo) - HS LHP D.L. Hall - A mid-90’s fastball, with a late breaking curve, and Baseball America calls him the pitcher with the highest upside in the draft. Quite possibly won’t last to the Giants pick.
MLB.com (Callis) - 4U 1B Evan White - White is an excellent defensive first baseman who is athletic enough to play the outfield, but there is some question about his power in his bat playing first.
Hero Sports - Warmoth - Previous mock drafts from Hero had SS Dalton Guthrie and RHP Peter Solomon, both college players.
Perfect Game - Warmoth
ESPN (Law) - HS C Luis Campusano-Bracero - A showcase showoff, who had some questions about his fitness and defense, but has cleared them up. He’s got raw power, but is till working on his swing mechanics.
Draftsite - 4U OF Brian Miller - A speedy outfielder with good defense and a line drive swing, but below average power. However, like many of these players, he’s done well in the Cape Cod League.
What’s the takeaway here? Well, a lot of people think Warmoth makes sense, although he may almost be too close to the Panik/Arroyo selections form not long ago. Some interesting pitching variety as well, all of whom seem like longer-term projects, either by level (high school) or injury. And then there’s Campusano, who showed up as “other possibilities” by some other publications other than ESPN. and who nearby journalist David Lee (who used to cover the Augusta GreenJackets) seemed to also suggest should be connected to the Giants.
Now, the usual warnings apply here. No one drafted at #19 overall will help the team right away. The Giants, especially because of this, do not draft based on need (despite last year’s interesting set of outfielders). And if the Giants see a player they really like that they feel won’t be there by the next round, they will do what some consider an overdraft.
That said, but Christian Arroyo and Joe Panik were considered somewhat of overdrafts, and they worked out alright.
Matt Krook’s Crooked Stats
As there is a lack of very talented pitching prosects behind Tyler Beede in the Giants system, Matt Krook may be the most talented pitcher in the system…and yet. one of the most frustrating.
Krook has both a plus curveball and a plus slider, with low-90’s fastball with life on it, and with that compliment of pitches, it’s easy to see why people were excited about him, even as a fourth round pick in 2016. But after a college Tommy John operation, his control never came back…and now as a pro, it still hasn’t. He has been a walk machine this season, and has even been given up a number of hits this year.
That said, he had his longest start this week (5.1 IP) and a season-low in walks (2)…but still gave up 5 runs (2 earned).
It was. Didn't issue a walk until the fifth. Threw almost all sinkers tonight - has a chance to be a special pitch for him. https://t.co/mRqxxw39Hq— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) May 20, 2017
There were positives to see, obviously. But with 27 walks in 23 innings, Krook leads a San Jose pitching staff that leads all the minors in walks, and that’s not a great look.
The Return of Quinn
As the Giants continue to suffer through the struggles of their left field hole, the main focus of the 2016 draft came back together.
The Giants took three outfielders among their top 5 picks in the draft last season, including outfielders with the top 2. Bryan Reynolds (2nd round) was the team’s top pick, and widely praised. Gio Brusa (6th round) is a big power hitter who won the home run derby in the Northwest League-Pioneer League All-Star Game. Reynolds has been streaky, and Brusa got off to a slow start but is coming around. But the third outfielder just now is coming back around.
Heath Quinn (3rd Round) has been suffering from a hamate bone injury this spring, and only finally made his first on May 15th of the year. It’s been a mostly successful return for Quinn, with four extra-base hits (3 doubles and a home run) out of his first five of the year.
By the scouting reports, Quinn is a good all-around hitter, with pull power but doubles power to all fields. Bleacher Report named him the top steal of the 2016 draft. So seeing his return, and a good return, bodes well for a Giants system that has not had the best start to the early season.
|AUG||Frandy De La Rosa||1B||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||0.250|
|SAC||Michael Roth (W, 3-3)||6.0||7||3||3||3||4||1||4.54|
|SAC||Kyle Crick (S, 4)||1.1||2||1||1||1||4||1||3.57|
|RIC||Matt Gage (L, 1-4)||4.2||6||5||5||2||6||1||4.23|
|SJ||Mark Reyes (L, 1-6)||2.1||1||4||4||5||2||0||6.38|
|AUG||Caleb Baragar (L, 0-3)||3.0||8||10||7||2||0||0||4.28|
- Can we just stop after discussing Sacramento?
- Ryder Jones’ fourth home run of the year was the big hit of the day, a grand slam. It’s also his second home run in three games.
- Austin Slater had his ninth double and third home run of the season. Slater has had three games with at least three hits in the last nine games.
- Michael Roth put together a solid outing, although he continues to give up hits at a high rate. He has a .329 batting average allowed this season, while holding his ERA at 4.54
- Myles Schroder is having a nice return from his injury. After three more hits, he’s 5-for-9 in his first two games.
- Starter Matt Gage gave up five earned runs for the second time in three starts. His ERA has jumped to a season-high level of 4.23.
- Ryan Howard’s batting has cooled down in May, but he’s gotten hits in seven of his last nine games.
- Bryan Reynolds got himself his sixth double of the year. He’s had three this week, and also his second triple this year.
- Aramis Garcia picked up a two-hit game, but he’s been having a struggling month, batting just .214 in May with two home runs.
- Mark Reyes’ control continues to suffer. He had his shortest start of the year, while giving up a season-high five walks for the fourth time this year. He now has 36 walks in 36.2 innings this year, with just 23 strikeouts.
- Jacob Heyward has been treading water in Augusta this season. He’s had a lot of games with single hits, but today was his first multi-hit game since May 6th.
- Augusta’s pitching staff did not collect a single strikeout today.
- Caleb Baragar had his worst start of the year, going a season-low in innings and strikeouts (it doesn’t get lower than zero), and highs in hits, runs and earned runs.
- Raffi Vizcaino was promoted from extended spring training, and got hit hard in his first game with Augusta. Vizcaino had a 4.34 ERA last year, mostly in Salem-Keizer.
Hitter of the Week - Gio Brusa
It’s been a rough season for the 6th round pick of last year, but Gio Brusa had the kind of week that put his season back on track.
The switch hitter was 7-for-21 with three doubles and a home run over the week. He had multiple hits in three of his five games played this week, and raised his batting average from .189 to .213 over his five games that he played in.
Brusa now has five home runs, six doubles and a triple on the season. Brusa isn’t likely to have the highest batting average, but he has pure power to back up his hitting. Then again, he also has 47 strikeouts in 127 at-bats.
Pitcher of the Week - Andrew Suarez
Andrew Suarez put up one of his best starts of the year this week, and he gets pitcher of the week honors for it.
Suarez’s start wasn’t his longest, nor his most strikeouts, or least hits allowed. But while going 6.2 IP, and giving up just one run (earned) on five hits and no walks, Suarez showed the kind of command and stuff that has made him one of the top starting prospects in the system behind Tyler Beede.
Suarez now has a 3.12 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 7 walks in 40.1 IP. He’s still giving up hits at an unhealthy rate (.284 average against), but he’s keeping the other peripherals down so they don’t bite them too much.
- RHP Matt Solter assigned to San Jose from Augusta - Solter had a 3.98 ERA in 7 appearances with Augusta before his promotion.
- RHP Wilson Santos assigned to Augusta from Extended Spring Training - Santos had a 5.23 ERA in 8 appearances in 2016.
- LHP Alex Bostic placed by Augusta on the 7-Day DL - Bostic had a 7.71 ERA before going on the DL.
- RF Mac Williamson recalled to San Francisco from Sacramento - Williamson got the callup to cover for Hunter Pence when he went down. He will get a real chance to earn not only to stay, but to end up starting in left field.
- OF Heath Quinn assigned to San Jose - Quinn missed the start of the season with a hamate injury. He hit .344 at three levels in his first half-season.
- C Rene Melendez assigned to Sacramento from Extended Spring Training - Melendez played in San Jose last year, batting .210 in 18 games. He hasn’t appeared in any games yet this year.
- RHP Connor Kaden placed by San Jose on the 7-Day DL - Kaden had a 4.15 ERA in 7 appearances before the DL.
- LF Aaron Hill sent to San Jose on a rehab assignment - Yes, Hill is listed as a left fielder in the official transactions. He was only DH in San Jose though.
- C Jeff Arnold placed by Richmond on the 7-Day DL - Arnold was batting .128 in Richmond over 13 games when he went on the DL.
✅ - C Adam Sonabend placed by Richmond on the 7-Day DL - Sonabend had only been in two games before going on the DL, having gone 2-for-8.
- 2B Kelby Tomlinson optioned to Sacramento from San Francisco - Tomlinson was 6-for-25 with the Giants, before coming down as Mark Melancon came back.
- OF Orlando Calixte placed by Sacramento on the 7-Day DL - Calixte ran straight into a wall, but no specific injuries were announced.
- RHP Raffi Vizcaino assigned to Augusta from Extended Spring Training - Vizcaino had a 4.34 ERA between Salem-Keizer and Augusta in 2016.
- CF Johneshwy Fargas placed by San Jose on the 7-Day DL - Fargas dipped to .194 before going on the DL.
- 2B Kevin Rivera placed by Augusta on the 7-Day DL - Rivera was batting .214 before going on the DL.
✅ - 3B Manuel Geraldo activated by Augusta from the 7-Day DL - Geraldo was batting .155 before going on the disabled list on May 8th.
⛔️ - OF Carlos Moncrief placed by Sacramento on the temporarily inactive list. - Moncrief was batting .300/.371/.438 when he was placed on the inactive list.
- 3B Myles Schroder assigned to Richmond - Schroder hit .253 between Richmond and Sacramento in 2016.
- 3B Conor Gillaspie sent on a rehab assignment to Sacramento - Gillaspie is coming back from back spasms, and went on the DL on May 11th.
- LHP Matt Lujan placed by Richmond on the 7-Day DL - Lujan had given up 18 earned runs in his last 3 starts (13.2 IP) before going on the DL.
- IF Aaron Hill assigned to Sacramento from San Jose - Hill was 2-for-8 with three walks and five strikeouts while rehabbing in San Jose.