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They Might Be Giants

The Prospect Round-Up, 7/16/17

Since everyone else is handing out midseason grades, let’s grade the prospects!

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

Midseason Prospect Grades

Since the All-Star Break has led to grades put out by nearly everyone, I figure it’s time for a grading of the Giants’ farm system. But since I can’t get away with being as eloquent as Grant was in his midseason grades of the major league team. I decided to judge the prospects one-by-one, based on Baseball America’s Top 31 Giants prospects.

All stats listed are Minor League stats in 2017 only, except for Ty Blach, who hasn’t been in the minors this year.

Let me know if you think I’m too generous in my grades, or too harsh. I fully expect to be eviscerated in the comments. Don’t disappoint me!

The Hitters

# Name Level Pos. BA OBP SLG OPS Grade Comment
# Name Level Pos. BA OBP SLG OPS Grade Comment
2 Christian Arroyo AAA 3B/SS .396 .461 .604 1.065 B+ Forced the Giants to call him up despite the team being hesitant to with a superb performance in the Minors, but slumped in the Majors, and is out for the season with a broken hand.
3 Chris Shaw AAA LF .300 .357 .525 .882 A- Has begun showing his power and has found a positional home in LF. With each day, he is becoming a bigger part of the Giants future.
4 Bryan Reynolds High-A CF .298 .345 .447 .792 B+ Would love to see a better average and needs to work on his BB/K rate and stealing bases; however, he's shown he’s a hitting machine with all sorts of line drive power.
8 Sandro Fabian Low-A RF .246 .266 .353 .619 D+ He’s still only 19, but he’s not showing the batting ability this year that he had in the AZL. Good candidate to bounce back, but he’s fell flat this year.
9 Aramis Garcia High-A C .274 .318 .511 .829 B He's showing power in San Jose, but many prospects do and it disappears later. Has battled injuries and has stayed productive all the same, however.
10 Steven Duggar High-A CF .200 .333 .400 .733 INC Was bound for Sacramento before a hip injury derailed his season. Has just come back and is still in rehab mode.
15 C.J. Hinojosa AA SS .300 .367 .399 .766 B- Hinojosa has had a solid season in Richmond, most notably 21 walks against 18 strikeouts in 203 at-bats. Not a lot of power, but there’s a bit of upside.
16 Heath Quinn High-A RF .248 .311 .450 .761 C+ When Quinn returned from injury, he was white hot. Now? White cold. The power in San Jose can be an illusion, but it is his saving grace.
19 Austin Slater NL LF .322 .381 .460 .841 A There’s not much more you could have asked from Slater other than health. He forced a promotion to the Majors, and acquitted himself well there. Hopefully the hip injury won’t affect him long term.
26 Kelvin Beltre Low-A 3B .255 .336 .369 .705 C In a tough Augusta lineup, Beltre has been one of the better players, but that isn’t saying much. Beltre's ability to take walks is his upside.
27 Jalen Miller High-A 2B .214 .271 .338 .609 D Miller is young (20), but he continues to struggle. 2 home runs the last week have helped his numbers, but he still struggles for contact.
29 Orlando Calixte AAA 2B .274 .305 .481 .786 B+ Calixte upped a surprising part of his game, his power, with 11 home runs. Like others, he has struggled in the majors, keeping his grade a tad lower.
30 Miguel Gomez NL 2B .305 .330 .458 .788 A- He can hit. And he took what might have been a sip of coffee in the majors and has extended it. With finding a regular position (for now), he’s hit in a tough league.

The Pitchers

# Name Level G GS ERA WHIP Grade Comment
# Name Level G GS ERA WHIP Grade Comment
1 Tyler Beede AAA 18 18 5.12 1.51 D Not a good year to struggle. Beede has been suddenly hittable, and is having a lot of problems keeping the ball away from hard contact. Something isn’t working in his pitches, because his control is about the same.
5 Andrew Suarez AAA 16 15 3.34 1.37 B+ Suarez pushed a promotion out of Richmond, and is now adjusting to Triple-A. This grade turns into an A if he begins to improve with Sacramento
6 Ty Blach NL 21 14 4.60 1.34 A- Forced his way into the Majors, forcing the team to trade away Clayton Blackburn, then got thrown into the rotation with an injured Bumgarner, and performed well enough to stay when Bum came back. He’s done what a prospect needs to do, now he just needs to keep improving.
7 Joan Gregorio AAA 13 13 3.04 1.32 F Was having a fine season until he got suspended for banned substances. That will throw his performance this year into question, and he’ll need to prove himself all over again next year.
11 Sam Coonrod AA 16 16 4.29 1.29 C- Coonrod hasn’t had many horrible games, but he’s consistently allowed runs, and he still hasn’t recaptured the strikeouts from his 2015 season.
12 Reyes Moronta AA 19 0 4.00 1.50 D For being a shutdown reliever last year, Moronta struggled much when he pitched this year. He’s been out since early June with injury.
13 Steven Okert NL 11 0 2.25 0.67 D Okert’s Major League numbers are much worse, leading to this grade. For being hoped to help turn around the bullpen, he’s been one of its biggest vulnerabilities.
14 Rodolfo Martinez AA 8 0 5.63 2.13 INC Rodolfo was hoping to turn around a horrible stint in AA last year, but after a poor start, he’s been injured.
17 Melvin Adon Low-A 14 14 3.71 1.37 C+ Adon has provided signs of hope this year, but hasn’t been overwhelming at any point yet.
18 Dan Slania AA 17 17 6.22 1.63 F After a great season, Slania got to Triple-A and just…well, was terrible. He got both hittable and struggled with walks, and there’s not much positive to see.
20 Cory Taylor AA 16 15 5.14 1.54 D Taylor had an encouraging year in 2015, but an aggressive push to AA has not worked out. His strikeouts are down, and control has suffered.
21 Chris Stratton AAA 14 14 5.33 1.46 C- On one hand, his numbers just haven’t looked good this year, being very hittable as a starter. On the other hand, he keeps getting MLB shots in the bullpen.
22 Clayton Blackburn Not Here - - - - N/A Got traded after being DFAd.
23 Matt Krook High-A 15 15 6.19 1.75 D- Only a recent streak of effectiveness keeps him from an F. Has not responded to an aggressive assignment well.
24 Garrett Williams Low-A 10 9 2.13 1.34 B By far, the best performer in Augusta this year, his score has only been brought down by health issues that kept him out over a month.
25 Chase Johnson AAA 6 0 4.35 1.06 INC Not seen since late April due to injury
28 Matt Gage AAA 16 16 3.18 1.32 B+ A great run in AA has earned him a AAA spot, where he’s struggled in his first 3 starts. Low strikeout numbers bring a little hesitance.
31 Ray Black AA - - - - INC Black has been injured all year.

The Early Returns from the 2017 Draft

It’s fairly early to judge the results of the 2017 MLB draft. I usually don’t think you can really judge one until after the draft’s first full season. But, with a weakened farm system, there’s a lot of pressure put on these kids. The good news is, the top of the draft can get people talking.

Let’s talk about the Top 6

1st Rounder Heliot Ramos - Ramos started his career with a 7 hits in two games, then went hitless in his next two games. In the 7 games since, he’s gotten a hit in at least one each. He’s batting .409, with 10 of his 18 hits going for extra bases (5 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR). He’s 3rd in the AZL in OPS at 1.275.

2nd Rounder Jacob Gonzalez - The son of Luis went 15-for-20 in his first 5 games, with 4 doubles and a triple. He’s cooled a bit since then, but is still batting .442/.538/.628. Although he doesn’t have a home run yet, Gonzalez is 5th in the AZL in OPS at 1.166.

3rd Rounder Seth Corry - The young pitcher has not gotten much work in, and his numbers are notably split. In 3.2 innings, he hasn’t allowed a run or a hit. But he’s struck out 3 while walking three and hitting another batter.

4th Rounder Garrett Cave - The top college pitcher is still just 20-years old, but he’s gotten in some work. In 6 innings, he’s given up one run on four hits, walking one and striking out an impressive 8. Cave is the highest round pick at Salem-Keizer.

5th Rounder Jason Bahr - Bahr’s record is weighed down by giving up 4 runs in 2/3 of an inning in his second game. Half of his hits and walks came in that outing. In 4 total relief outings, Bahr has a 6.35 ERA, with 6 hits in 5.2 innings, but does have 7 strikeouts in that span.

6th Rounder Bryce Johnson - The speedy center fielder is at Salem-Keizer, and has gotten a hit in every start except one. With 4 walks in his 12 games, and just one double, Johnson has a higher OBP (.396) than SLG (.341). He also has 5 steals in 8 attempts.

The Story Behind The Heston PTBNL That Was Way Late

There was a bit of initial discussion about whether the Giants’ trade for Tyler Herb was indeed the Player To Be Named Later for Chris Heston, traded at the start of the 2016-2017 offseason. Eventually, SF Chronicle beat writer Henry Schulman confirmed from the team that Herb was indeed that PTBNL.

So why the second transaction for cash? Thankfully, Schulman had the answer for us there, at least on how it worked.

So, that’s the reasoning with the rules for how it happened the way it did. But why? Why did the Mariners still send a player along when it seemed cash would have been technically sufficient, for a pitcher that’s already left the Mariner’s organization?

Well, this is pure speculation, but it’s my speculation: Staying on Good Terms.

Since the start of the offseason, the Giants have shed Triple-A arms. Heston and Clayton Blackburn got traded, Joan Gregorio got suspended, Madison Bumgarner got injured, which contributed to Ty Blach and Chris Stratton spending a lot of time in the majors, and Albert Suarez was injured for the first half.

Whether you want to blame bad planning or foresight, or just bad luck, the Giants got hit hard in the area of starting pitching at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. While Herb didn’t mean much in the Mariners’ system, having never made the prospect lists, to the Giants, at the absolute least, he’s a good arm that can take up innings, and take the pressure off others in the rotations and bullpens to perform.

The Mariners didn’t need to truly “complete” this trade. But the Giants did. So maybe this is a nice way for the two teams to be on nice terms, in case the opportunity for a bigger deal comes along. Sometimes, a little good will can be helpful.

Hitter of the Week - Skyler Ewing

In a week shortened at the highest levels, Skyler Ewing really stood out.

The newly repositioned catcher had 3 home runs this week, part of two different back-to-back days with home runs (one came over the past weekend, over the cutoff date for the week’s stats). Those 3 home runs, while batting 7-for-18 (.389), gives Skyler the best stats of the week.

On the season, it’s been a bit tough for Skyler. He’s batting .256, but does have a .365 OBP and with 4 home runs in the past eight days, his slugging percentage has jumped from .404 to .470. The catcher sports an excellent BB:K ratio of 22:32 in 168 at-bats, giving him room to improve going forward.

Pitcher of the Week - Norwith Gudino

Once again, Norwith Gudino has the great type of game to get noticed.

The 21-year old had unequivocally his best start of the season, going 6 shutout innings, giving up just 5 hits and no walks with 8 strikeouts. It wasn’t his highest strikeout total of the season, but it was just 1 short. It was his longest scoreless outing, however.

On the season, Gudino has a 2.03 ERA in his third season at the Dominican Summer League. He’s also holding opponents to a 0.98 WHIP, thanks significantly to having just 5 walks allowed in 40 innings of work. He also has 45 strikeouts on the year.

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
Sacramento 4 10 2 Harrisburg 5 8 0 San Jose 7 12 2 Augusta 1 4 0
Salt Lake 3 8 0 Richmond 2 6 0 Rancho Cucamonga 5 10 2 Asheville 2 7 1

Saturday’s Other Boxes

Salem-Keizer 4 10 2 AZL Angels 1 4 0 DSL Padres 1 7 2
Spokane 8 9 2 AZL Giants 0 2 2 DSL Giants 14 14 1

Saturday’s Hitters

SAC Orlando Calixte SS 5 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0.274
SAC Jarrett Parker DH 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.197
SAC Justin Ruggiano CF 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.275
SAC Chris Shaw LF 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 0.298
SAC Tim Federowicz C 3 2 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.299
RIC Slade Heathcott CF 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.266
RIC Myles Schroder 2B 4 0 2 1 0 0 2 0 0 0.280
RIC Brandon Bednar 3B 4 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.270
SJ Steven Duggar RF 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.200
SJ Heath Quinn LF 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.253
SJ Ryan Howard SS 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 1 2 0.324
SJ Bryan Reynolds LF-RF 5 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0.296
SJ Aramis Garcia 1B 4 2 2 0 0 1 3 1 1 0.278
SJ Ronnie Jebavy CF 4 3 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.277
AUG Kelvin Beltre 2B 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.255
AUG Jacob Heyward LF 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.219
S-K Malique Ziegler CF 3 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0.343
S-K Logan Baldwin RF-LF 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.317
S-K Dylan Manwaring C 4 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.204
S-K Shane Matheny 3B 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.350
AZL Heliot Ramos CF 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.409
AZL Jacob Gonzalez 3B 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.442
DSL Anyesber Sivira SS 6 3 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 0.261
DSL Ghordy Santos DH 3 2 1 0 0 0 1 1 2 0.145
DSL Alexander Canario RF 4 4 3 1 1 0 3 1 1 0.276
DSL Franklin Labour LF 3 1 2 0 0 1 4 1 0 0.317
DSL Omar Medina 1B 4 0 2 1 0 0 2 0 0 0.238

Saturday’s Pitchers

SAC Chris Stratton (W, 4-5) 7.0 6 3 2 1 6 0 5.33
SAC Tyler Rogers (S, 4) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2.13
RIC Sam Coonrod (L, 3-8) 6.2 6 3 3 2 4 0 4.29
SJ Conner Menez 4.2 7 4 4 3 7 1 3.94
SJ David Owen (W, 2-0) 3.1 2 0 0 0 4 0 5.26
SJ Dylan Rheault (S, 11) 1.0 1 1 0 1 1 0 2.72
AUG Domenic Mazza (L, 5-8) 6.0 5 2 2 0 6 0 3.41
S-K Julio Benitez (L, 0-1) 3.1 5 6 4 0 2 0 4.50
AZL Jake Greenwalt (L, 1-2) 5.0 3 1 1 0 6 0 4.50
AZL Greg Jacknewitz 2.0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0.00
DSL Yovanny Moronta (W, 1-0) 5.0 5 1 1 4 5 0 3.18
DSL Janly Fermin 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 8.53
  • Once again back in Sacramento, and as such, once again starting, Chris Stratton had a nice start, giving up just 2 earned in 7 innings. It was Stratton’s first start in Triple-A since late June.
  • Orlando Calixte continues to be the surprising power hitter of Sacramento, with his team-leading 11th, taking the spot from a tie with now-injured Ryder Jones.
  • Catcher Tim Federowicz now has 12 doubles on the season in 51 games.
  • Tyler Rogers picked up the save, his 4th in 7 opportunities.
  • Sam Coonrod gave up 3 runs in 6.2 innings, his first time giving up more than 2 earned runs in 6 five starts.
  • Myles Schroder led the Squirrels offense with his second two-hit game in a row, adding his 12th double of the year.
  • Aramis Garcia’s 15th home run of the year was a 9th inning, 2-run shot that ended up being the winning runs.
  • Bryan Reynolds picked up his 18th double of the year, one behind Garcia for the team lead.
  • Conner Menez gave up 4 earned runs for the second start in a row, bumping his ERA up to 3.94.
  • Augusta’s offense was limited to just four hits and three walks. Both Kelvin Beltre and Jacob Heyward collected one of each. Heyward is batting just .219, but has a .325 OBP.
  • Domenic Mazza took the tough loss, giving up just two runs in six innings, but the Augusta offense let him down.
  • Out of 10 hits, the Volcanoes only extra-base hit was a double by Logan Baldwin, while he went 2-for-4. The 21st round pick has gone 7-for-18 with two home runs and a double over his last 4 games.
  • Julio Benitez was held to his shortest start of the season, just 3.1 innings, while giving up 4 runs for the third time in 6 starts.
  • Bryce Johnson left the game after making a catch in foul ground in the third inning.
  • The AZL team was held to just two hits, one each going to Helio Ramos and Jacob Gonzalez, so at least the top two draft picks got to keep hitting a little.
  • Jake Greenwalt hadhis best start, giving up a season-low 1 run on three hits, but on this day, one run was enough for a loss.
  • The DSL Giants went on a scoring frenzy, with each starter getting at least one hit.
  • Alexander Canario picked up his 8th double and 1st triple of the year. He also has 5 home runs in 34 games.
  • Franklin Labour broke a 3-game hitless streak with his 2-hit game, and hit his first home run in the month of July, his 3rd of the season.

The Wrap-Up:

No tweets today, just a warning…be careful about listening to the sportstalk shows after games these days. I could barely get through two minutes of listening to a caller over and over insist that the Giants farm system hadn’t promoted anyone of consequence in ages…except maybe for some pitchers.

Just remember, the last time the Giants had a successful starting pitcher get promoted and stick was…oh, Madison Bumgarner in late 2009. Since then, Giants position players may be infuriating some of Giants fans, the Giants have four good position player starters that have contributed All-Stars, Gold Gloves, and one MVP award.

There hasn’t been anything recently coming up from the farm that has stuck (sorta), but geeze, can we get some facts straight?