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The Prospect Roundup, 5/7

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Help has arrived...so who is going to be the next help for the big league team?

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

The Next Pitcher San Francisco Could See

As San Francisco continues to face some struggles, the team may continue to have calls and pressure to call up some of the younger players on the team. Recently, that seems to be more true on the pitching staff in recent days.

If there’s a new name that Giants fans could see soon, it’s one that is not as well-known despite his experience in the system.

Joan Gregorio.

The 25-year old pitcher is in his seventh year of being in the Giants system, and his rise up the system has been slow yet steady. However, he’s having the kind of season that is giving them impression that he’s ready for new challenges. After his first five starts, he has a 1.95 ERA, with 23 strikeouts and 15 walks in 27.2 innings. At this point last year, he’d had the same amount of starts at Double-A, with a 2.33 ERA but better peripherals. He was promoted to Triple-A, where he struggled to a 5.28 ERA.

What might push him to get challenged, even if he might struggle, is the position he is in: the last of his option years.

Few pitchers are as physically imposing as Gregorio, at 6’7 and listed at 180 pounds (though probably more). But his stuff doesn’t have the power that might be expected for that size. He throws a fastball in the low-90’s, and has a pretty good slider in the low 80’s and a mid-80’s changeup. If all that sounds pretty underwhelming, well, you’d be right. He pairs it with underwhelming control, too, and until last season, underwhelming strikeout numbers.

But with Gregorio, it’s been about his potential. Since he was signed as an 18-year old, the Giants have been banking on him to burst out. He had a couple of good early seasons, but his number since have not been bad, just a bit…well, underwhelming.

With his future on the line, it’s still not clear where Gregorio’s future is. The Giants have steadfastly kept him starting, though many have predicted he may eventually move to the bullpen. With the big league team in need of arms who can take a few innings, and the bullpen’s original long man pressed into service in the rotation, and others moving in and out of the role, Gregorio may soon be the name that gets a chance.

Tyler Beede Update

So we’ve talked about one Triple-A pitcher, and the Giants have already called up one of their two top prospects…so what about the other one?

Beede has been hit or miss in terms of his first few starts, but finally strung two good ones together this week. Early in the season, the earned runs in each start went 1-6-0-3, but he’s put together back-to-back starts of allowing just one run in each.

While Beede has fluctuated between giving up lots of runs and not a lot, his strikeout totals have remained very low. He’s only gotten a season-high of five, and in all but one of his games he struck out just 3 (he struck out 4 in one other). He has 21 strikeouts against 13 walks in 32 innings this season, not the best peripherals, but then he’s never averaged more than a strikeout an inning in his career.

This lack of consistency should not be too concerning. At 23, Beede still has a lot of experience to gain at the Triple-A level, and so far Ty Blach has kept the pressure off of Beede to get promoted (until Cincinnati), even after Madison Bumgarner’s injury. But with a clearer group at Triple-A with Blach promoted and Clayton Blackburn traded, Beede’s time will be coming sooner rather than later.

The Ups and Downs of Bryan Reynolds

To start the season, Bryan Reynolds was 15-for-40 (.375) over 9 games, with multiple hits in five of those games. Then he went 7-for-47 (.149) in 12 games, including a 4-game hitless streak. Since then he’s 8-for-19 (.421) through a brief five-game hit streak.

It’s been a season of streaks for the Giants’ top draft pick of 2016. But the center fielder, who has almost certainly noticed the team’s instability at the position in the majors, has neither dropped the ball nor ran with it yet. With three doubles, two triples and a home run, Reynolds is driving the ball a fair amount, though his slugging percentage is only .382, a bit of a disappointment in a hitter’s league. His 10 walks on top of a .284 batting average shows he is (much like Joe Panik and Christian Arroyo) getting on base at a fair clip, though he has struck out in about 1-out-of-4 at-bats.

But once nice part of being Bryan Reynolds is that he’s hitting in the middle of what is the only well-rounded offense in the Giants’ minor league system, and that’s even with Heath Quinn out with a hamate bone injury. Ryan Howard, Dillon Dobson and Aramis Garcia are all having nice seasons in the young season, allowing Reynolds to hit with men on in front of him and hitting well behind him.

Ryan Howard…But Don’t Think Of Dingers

That’s actually a 14 game hit streak now for Ryan Howard (not related to the longtime Phillie), dating back to April 21st. He is 21-for-59 during the run, with two doubles and two home runs. Howard’s streak has been one of aggressive hitting. In those 14 games, he’s only taken one walk (against 6 strikeouts) in 62 plate appearances (he’s also had two hit batters).

For the 22-year old shortstop and third baseman, it’s been an interesting year. The 5th round pick hit .272/.316/.366 line in 61 games last year. This year, his line is .331/.358/.449, a fairly empty on-base percentage. However, four home runs (Matching his performance in more-than-twice the games last season) has boosted his slugging. And he’s not striking out at a horrible rate, with 14 strikeouts in 118 at-bats.

What it means is someone who bares watching as the season goes on. To see if his batting average comes back to Earth, or whether he finds a way to have more patience in his at-bats and draw walks.

Saturday’s Lines

Saturday’s Boxes

AAA R H E AA R H E High-A R H E Low-A R H E
AAA R H E AA R H E High-A R H E Low-A R H E
Reno 2 4 0 Bowie 5 13 0 San Jose 2 5 4 Augusta 2 7 1
Sacramento 3 6 1 Richmond 0 5 1 Stockton 13 12 0 Greenville 3 9 3

Saturday’s Notable Hitters

TEAM Player Pos AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
TEAM Player Pos AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
SAC Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.314
SAC Chris Marrero 1B 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.250
SAC Austin Slater CF 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.299
RIC Chris Shaw LF 4 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.306
SJ Jalen Miller 2B 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.245
SJ Ryan Howard SS 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.331
SJ Bryan Reynolds DH 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.283
SJ Aramis Garcia 1B 4 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 3 0.350
SJ Johneshwy Fargas CF 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.198
AUG Ashford Fulmer CF 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 2 0.267
AUG Frandy De La Rosa 1B 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 2 0.241
AUG Jacob Heyward LF 5 1 3 0 0 1 1 0 0 0.205

Saturday’s Notable Pitchers

TEAM Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
TEAM Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
SAC Tyler Beede (W, 2-1) 5.0 3 1 1 2 5 0 3.38
SAC Tyler Rogers (H, 1) 1.0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1.47
SAC Kyle Crick (S, 2) 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 4.76
RIC Cory Taylor (L, 1-3) 5.1 11 5 4 1 3 1 5.47
RIC Reyes Moronta 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3.48
SJ Matt Krook (L, 0-4) 1.1 4 6 2 4 3 0 12.46
SJ David Owen 3.1 6 6 6 2 2 1 5.55
AUG Caleb Baragar 6.0 3 1 1 1 9 0 2.81
AUG Patrick Ruotolo (BS, 1) 1.0 2 1 1 1 0 1 1.54
AUG Jose Morel (L, 1-1) 0.2 2 1 1 1 0 0 2.79
  • Ugh. Both in the majors, and the minors.
  • Jacob Heyward’s three-hit game with Augusta was his first three-hit game of the season. He also hit his first home run since April 20th.
  • Caleb Baragar’s 9-strikeout game was easily his most dominant of the season, his previous season high was 5.
  • Patrick Ruotolo has now given up runs in two of his last three games. Also, over those three innings, he has walked three and struck out only two.
  • Not only was Chris Shaw in left field again, he had three of Richmond’s five hits. He is 6-for-11 with a home run and a double, and three walks, in his last three games.
  • Cory Taylor got blasted for a season-high 11 hits. His batting average allowed jumped from .205 to .263.
  • Reyes Moronta bounced back from giving up three hits in his last outing for another one without a baserunner. He’s got 17 strikeouts and 2 walks in 10.1 innings.
  • Aramis Garcia hit his second home run in as many days. He leads the minor league system with 6 home runs this season.
  • Ryan Howard is up to a 14-game hitting streak. He’s batting .356 over the streak so far.
  • Matt Krook’s struggles continued, with his shortest outing of the season (1.1 IP, 50 pitches). He has walked 22 batters in 13 innings, with 16 strikeouts. His WHIP is a nearly unbelievable 3.23.
  • Jae-Gyun Hwang continued his hot run with another two-hit game. He has hits in 8 of his last ten games, going 14-for-41 (.341). Hwang has not yet hit a home run this year, and has stolen just one base. Hwang has played just two games in left field, as opposed to 16 at third and 5 at first.
  • Chris Marrero has hits in 6 of 7 games plaed in Sacramento, though all but one of those games are just a single hit. He is 7-for-28.
  • Tyler Beede allowed just one run on three hits for the second straight start, although he pitched one less inning this time. Beede also reached a season-high with five strikeouts.
  • Tyler Rogers has 8 straight outing without a run allowed, dropping his ERA from 4.50 to 1.47.
  • Kyle Crick has been solid since giving up four runs in one outing not long after coming back from his concussion. In 4 innings since, he’s allowed 2 hits, 2 walks and struck out 6.

Hitter of the Week

This was a difficult week. Six Giants’ minor leaguers post 1.000+ OPS this week, though many with slightly smaller sample sizes. There’s a lot of debate to be had, but I’m giving it to the top OPS, Frandy De La Rosa.

De La Rosa went 7-for-16 for a system-leading .438 average, and added two doubles, two home runs and three walks to round out his numbers. Since coming over to the Giants organization in the Clayton Blackburn trade, De La Rosa has hit .241/.368/.444 in 17 games with the GreenJackets. He hit .250 in the SAL last season, albeit it wasn’t with the Giants.

Pitcher of the Week

Although Heath Slatton had more strikeouts in less innings pitched, I’m going to nudge him out by Caleb Baragar. Baragar only made one start this week, which he nailed with a 9-strikeout day in 6 innings of work.

The 23-year old’s line on Saturday was 6 innings, three hits allowed, an earned run, a walk, and those nine strikeouts. That feeds into what has been a solid first month of the season, with a 2.81 ERA in 5 starts, with 10 walks and 19 strikeouts in 25.2 IP. However, despite his success, Baragar has yet to find a win.

For the team capsules, we’ll update you on the standings and records for the first month of the season, with the best hitter and pitcher for each team through one month.

Sacramento Litter Box

Current Standings 11-18 (4th of 4 teams in the division)…Best Hitter: I can’t say Christian Arroyo, so it’s Carlos Moncrief. The 28-year old is batting .327/.422/.455 with four doubles and a home run in 19 games…Best Pitcher: Joan Gregorio, with his 1.95 ERA. Read above…Orlando Calixte has put up a surprising number of home runs, with 4, including 3 in a little over a week. He had 11 last season, and his career high is 14.

Richmond Nuthouse

Current Standings: 11-16 (6th of 6 teams)…Best Hitter: Chris Shaw leads the team in home runs with 4, giving him a team-leading .914 OPS, although Miguel Gomez leads the team with a .313 average…Best Pitcher: The team leaders in strikeouts are 27, 26, 25 and 24, so we’ll give Andrew Suarez (2.93 ERA, 25 K’s in 27.2 IP) the title. Carlos Alvarado, a reliever with 25 strikeouts in 11 innings is right up there though.

San Jose Footprints

Current Standings: 13-17 (4th of 4 teams)…Best Hitter: Aramis Garcia tops out a crowded class. Despite his concussion, he leads the team in doubles (6) and home runs (5)…Best Pitcher: Mike Connolly has a 2.30 ERA after six games, though Conner Menez at 2.63 with similar peripherals is right there as well…

Augusta Putt-putt Course

Current Standings: 10-19 (7th of 7 teams); After I talk about surprising wins, the team goes on a X-game losing streak. My jinx, my bad…Best Hitter: Kelvin Beltre, batting .292, has the only OPS over .750 for the Jackets…Best Pitcher: Patrick Ruotolo, who has a 0.84 ERA in 10 games…Perfect Gamer Domenic Mazza struggled in his first start since the game, giving up 9 runs on 11 hits and a walk in 6.1 IP.

Transaction Log:

4/30:

- RHP Bryan Morris has his contract selected by San Francisco - After the DFA of Neil Ramirez, Morris got the call to fill in for him. Morris had been unscored upon in 5 minor league appearances.

- CF Ashford Fulmer had his roster status changed by Augusta - I honestly missed what this was, it was likely something like bereavement.

5/1:

- RHP Dusten Knight assigned to Sacramento from San Jose - In 16.1 IP at San Jose, the reliever had 24 strikeouts and one walk. Since, in Sacramento, he’s given up 2 runs in 2.2 IP with 3 walks, 3 hits allowed and 3 strikeouts.

5/2:

- LHP Josh Osich recalled by San Francisco from Sacramento - Osich got the call to replace Stratton on the Major League squad, to provide left-handed support against Los Angeles. Osich had a 7.71 ERA with Sacramento through that time.

- RHP Chris Stratton optioned to Sacramento by San Francisco - Stratton had one great outing, and one awful one, in San Francisco. Along with the need for left-handed arms, Stratton came back and started again for the River Cats with 4.1 shutout innings.

- OF Christoph Bono assigned to Augusta from San JOse - Bono had been hitting .125 over 4 games in San Jose.

- OF Ryan Lollis placed by Richmond on the 7-Day DL - Lollis had been batting .210 over 19 games for the Squirrels.

- 2B Michael Bernal placed by San Jose on the 7-Day DL - This is Bernal’s second stop on the DL this season. He was batting .250 over 11 games.

- C Zack Bowers placed by Augusta on the 7-Day DL - Bowers had been batting just .108 over 12 games with Augusta.

- LHP Sandro Cabrera placed by Augusta on the 7-Day DL - Cabrera had a 4.50 ERA in 9 appearances for the GreenJackets.

- OF Anthony Marks placed by Augusta on the 7-Day DL - Marks had a .182 batting average in 20 games.

✅ - LF Tyler Horan activated by Richmond from the 7-Day DL - Horan had been batting just .172 when he went onto the DL on April 23rd. He hit a triple and a home run on his first start back, on May 5th.

✅ - LHP Carlos Diaz activated by San Jose from the 7-Day DL - Diaz had a 2.57 ERA when he went on the DL on April 24th.

✅ - RHP Cesar Yanez activated by Augusta from the 7-Day DL - Yanez had been on the DL since April 14th, when he had a 10.13 ERA in 4 appearances.

5/3:

- 3B Jose Vizcaino Jr. placed by San Jose on the 7-Day DL retroactive to 5/2 - Vizcaino Jr had been batting .192 in 22 games on the DL.

✅ - C Aramis Garica activated by San Jose from the 7-Day DL - Garcia went on the DL with a concussion back on 4/21. He had been batting .348 when he was placed on the DL.

✅ - CF Ashford Fulmer activated by Augusta - Fulmer had missed three days.

5/4:

- C Matt Pare assigned to San Jose from extended Spring Training - Pare last hit .222 in 44 games for Augusta in 2016.

- LHP Caleb Smith placed by San Jose on the 7-Day DL - Smith has struggled this season, with a 9.45 ERA in five appearances. This is his second DL stint of the yar.

- C Connor Sabanosh placed by San Jose on the 7-Day DL - Filling in for Garcia as he was injured, Sabanosh had been hitting .242 over 10 games.

✅ - RHP Caleb Simpson activated by San Jose from the 7-Day DL - One Caleb hits the DL, another comes off. Simpson had been on the DL since 4/25, and had a 9.00 ERA when he went onto it.

5/5:

No Transactions Listed.

5/6:

- San Francisco selected the contract of OF Justin Ruggiano from Sacramento - The 35-year old Ruggiano is next to get his shot to fix SF. He was batting .259/.298/.352 in 15 games at Triple-A

- OF Drew Stubbs designated for assignment by San Francisco - Stubbs was the unlikely DFA recipient, after batting 2-for-22 (.091) in SF. He had hit .256/.348/.436 in Sac before getting the call.

- RHP Tyler Cyr placed by Richmond on the 7-Day DL - Cyr had a 2.38 ERA and a save in 10 appearances this season, though he had 8 walks in 11.1 IP.

✅ - RHP Rodolfo Martinez activated by Richmond from the 7-Day DL - Rodolfo will finally get to make his season debut, to waste out some bad taste from the mouth of the last second half.

The Wrap-Up:

Finally…the Japan Times this week indicated that the Los Angeles Dodgers were given a “Serious Warning” in regards to slugger/fastballer Shohei Otani, who received gifts from Adrian Gonzalez, including an autographed (Mexico) jersey saying “Looking forward to seeing you in the States” and also Dodger paraphernalia.

That’s it. The Giants must now sign Otani. Even if the only reason is to rub it in the Dodgers’ faces after their attempted tampering. It’s just a matter of pride.

You know what to do, Bobby Evans.

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