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They Might Be Giants

The Prospect Round-Up, 7/23/17

A look at who could replace the guys who might get traded...and the Giants new free (but not free) prospect!

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

Making Trades Make Sense: Who Would Replace The Traded?

Here in trade season, with the Giants as sellers, a lot of names are getting tossed around. Some are those with contracts up this season (Eduardo Nunez, Johnny Cueto*), but others are advocating trading players who are signed for more years since they would be worth more.

Considering the Giants are trying to reload for 2018 and/or 2019, the Giants would probably be unlikely to pursue this…unless they could replace such player easily. With the budget already near max, free agency probably wouldn’t be considered easy. So let’s take a look at the farm system options to replace the rumored.

Brandon Belt - Chris Shaw, Ryder Jones, Jae-gyun Hwang

The most controversial Giant, Belt has a few potential replacements. Shaw started his pro career as a first baseman, but has been in left field mostly this year. He’s probably the closest to ready, offensively. Hwang is in his first season of trying to play at first. All three of these guys would be, at best, average defensively…and with a pitching/defense team, that may not be ideal at first base.

Hunter Pence - Austin Slater, Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker…stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Obviously, big asterisks about returns to health for Slater and Parker. I honestly don’t see Pence being traded. He’s a big fan favorite, he could still recoup some of his lost production, and the rest of the outfield is already a bit of a problem, which the above players might be called on to help with. If the team even wants to call on them at all (sorry, Mac).

Jeff Samardzija (and, for that matter, Cueto) - Tyler Beede, Albert Suarez, Andrew Suarez…maybe Joan Gregorio

Tyler Beede is a consensus top-2 prospect in the system, this makes sense, right? Unfortunately, Beede has been mostly struggling this season, with a 4.79 ERA in Sacramento, though he’s begun to right the ship. Andrew Suarez (the young prospect) recently got promoted to Triple-A, but still seems to have things to work out. Albert is back in SF after an injury-filled season, but still could be a fill-in level starter. The wild card is Gregorio, who was having a great year, but then got busted for steroids. He’ll be back next season, but his status as a prospect, and as a starter, is very much a question mark.

Hunter Strickland - Kyle Crick, Chris Stratton, Derek Law, Tyler Rogers, Dusten Knight

It’s hard to project who could fill in as a reliever, because we could be talking the role (Fire-throwing late inning guy) or just another arm as someone existing in the bullpen steps up. But the bullpen has a range of options. Crick, Stratton and Law all could be the kind of guy ready to step into the late inning, power guy role. Crick in particular has been very promising this year. Law, obviously, was there before but is struggling this year. Dusten Knight is an interesting guy that has put together a good year and a solid case to be a part of things. Tyler Rogers is definitely not a flame thrower, but the submariner has the lowest bullpen ERA in Sacramento and the most appearances (partially since he hasn’t been called up).

Denard Span - Uh…Melvin Upton Jr.? Steven Duggar, Orlando Calixte, Wynton Bernard

Let’s be honest, there are no ready center fielders in the system. Melvin Upton Jr. seems to be made of the new, upgraded glass that Ray Durham was in the end of his career, as he is now battling vague shoulder problems. Steven Duggar was to have spent this year in Triple-A, but he is just coming back from injury and is not there yet. He wouldn’t be ready to start the year in the majors. I’m including Wynton because, well, he’s there.

Joe Panik - Christian Arroyo, Miguel Gomez

Of all the names on this list, this one is the one with a clear, clear fit. Arroyo, though he slumped and will have to comeback from a broken hand, is pretty much MLB ready. Arroyo is even a very similar kind of player as Panik. The only key is, of course, that the Giants were aiming for Arroyo at third. Well, with Ryder Jones, Jae-gyun Hwang, and now even Pablo Sandoval as options there, this might just open up the Giants for such a trade.

I’m not saying I want it to happen. But if the Giants are going to make this kind of trade, either in July or the offseason, Panik makes the most sense to trade.

Jack Conlon - The Man, The Myth, The Extra Prospect

By now, a couple of you may have heard that the Giants picked up an extra prospect. Jack Conlon, RHP, high school pitcher out of Sugarland Texas and 4th round pick of the Baltimore Orioles, now a signee of the SF Giants. But, if you didn’t pay any attention, here’s your quick rundown:

Who Is Jack Conlon?

You can read the full report from Grant posted earlier, complete with video of him throwing his hat off. But here’s the key points:

  • He was ranked #239 by BA prior to the draft, and ranked #175 by He was picked at #128 overall (#23 of the 4th round), two spots after Garrett Cave.
  • Has classic pitcher’s body at 6’4 and 220 lbs, but his mechanics are a problem.
  • Throws a live fastball at 92-95, with growth potential. His slider is slow at 81-84, but he lets it get slurvy by getting underneath it. His changeup needs work.
  • Two different scouting reports mention a head whack.
  • In a common theme for new Giants, he’s praised for his approach and work ethic.
  • Missed much of his junior year in high school with a strained oblique…hm. Hm, because…
  • According to reports, Conlon was not signed by the Orioles because he did not pass their physical.

Who am I kidding, you don’t want to use an extra click to see him throwing his hat off! (It’s on his first pitch in the video):

Why Was He Available For SF To Sign?

Good question.

In a sign the Prospect Round-Up is becoming more about obscure MLB rules than prospects, let’s break down how this happened.

First, obviously, the Orioles drafted him. But they (reportedly) didn’t like something they saw in his physical. Now, high schoolers go unsigned all the time…so what changed?

A thing that most baseball fans don’t see is that even if the high schooler doesn’t sign, the team that drafted him has to offer at least 40% of his slot value for the player to go back into the draft pool, or college, for the following season. This almost always happens. But for some reason, the Orioles did not even offer him a contract at all. His slot value was $409,000, so a quick call to Siri tells me that the 40% offer would have had to been $163.999.60. Without that offer, he didn’t go back to the draft pool, he became an undrafted free agent, now free from any bonus pool limitations a signing team might have.

Note: Some reports suggest that the Orioles would have gotten a compensation pick if they had made the minimum offer, but only picks in the first 3 rounds would get compensation.

So, that’s the how. But why was he left without a contract offer? I have 2 guesses:

  1. There was something in his physical that so scared the Orioles, they didn’t even want to risk approximately $164K on the 18-year old. That seems generally absurd, but it’s been noted that the Orioles have a history of not signing players due to physicals that other teams have passed (though I haven’t found a draftee situation that matches this). It’s more absurd that, with Conlon reportedly demanding more than a million, he likely would have scoffed at a tiny amount.
  2. That the Orioles front office is so inept, they simply lost/forgot/mis-addressed the paperwork. Wait, hear me out. Earlier this summer, the Orioles agreed to terms with their 26th round pick Cameron Bishop. They submitted his paperwork at 5:05 PM ET on July 7th. Unfortunately, MLB’s signing deadline was at 5:00 PM ET on July 7th. However, MLB decided to allow it, as both the team and player had intended for the deal to go through. That’s pretty magnanimous for a sport whose written rules are somehow barely more ridiculously strict than its unwritten rules.

Which is it? Who knows…it could be either. But, in the end, he became available. So, new prospect!

What Will Conlon Mean To The Giants?

This is the key. What will Conlon mean to the Giants, other than adding the term “Head-whack” to the Giants’ Smarks’ Lexicon?

It’s hard to say, of course, with any young player…and an 18-year old pitcher is especially hard to predict. But as exciting as it is to get Conlon, he’s not going to be a sure thing. There’s a reason he lasted until the 4th round. After all, the “Head-whack” is something that needs to be fixed. He’s got a bit of risk, and the Giants haven’t exactly been showing good development of pitchers lately.

Ultimately, a lot of people are calling Conlon an extra draft pick, but I think there’s a better comparison: He’s like the Giants got to sign an International Free Agent again. Due to the Giants signing Lucius Fox, they haven’t been able to sign IFAs to big bonuses. So getting Conlon was pretty similar to signing one of those guys (Many do last until they are 18). So, that helps. Hey, extra prospect. We here at the Round-Up won’t be upset about that.

After all, I got to fill half a column about him!

Pablo Sandoval - Back

I won’t go on about Pablo Sandoval, though sharing his first hit back, in his first at-bat back, seems appropriate. Here’s a detail about the contract some may not have seen.

Even if the Giants take those options, they only pay the major league minimum for him. So, at least he’d be cheap. BTW, Sandoval’s almost certain to be on the big league roster at the end of the season because, September call-ups.

I’ll just add one personal observation. In the years covering the minor leagues, before I was writing here, the one overwhelming observation that defined Pablo was not his weight, or his free-swinging, or his logic-defying success.

It was his love of playing the game.

It was rare to not see him with a smile on his face, laughing about things, stealing the groundskeeper’s cart and pretending to zoom away at the cart’s maximum speed of Bengie Molina. I even remember in 2010 being at a San Jose Giants game, and Pablo was there. Not as a coach, or a special guest. He just had a ticket, and even the team’s front office had no idea he was coming down for the night game, after a SF day game. I’m assuming he was just wanting to see old teammates/friends playing.

Everything that happened post-2014 seemed out of character for a guy who really did love the game. I’m not going to postulate why all that happened, plenty of others will do that for me, but I really hope that Pablo somehow finds that joy again. By far, it was always his best tool.

Things I’m Tired of Seeing Reported This Year

Also, anyone getting hit in the helmet.

Hitter of the Week - Bryan Reynolds

It was a late-week surge that put Reynolds over the top this week for the award.

In three games since Thursday, Reynolds went 9-for-14 with a double, and no walks or strikeouts getting in the way. This included 6-straight plate appearances collecting a hit. For the full week, Reynolds was 13-for-25 with a double and triple, with two walks against 1 strikeout. That’s a .520/.555/.640 batting line.

On the season, Reynolds is batting .313/.359/.460, with 19 doubles, 8 triples and 5 home runs. He also has 76 strikeouts against 21 walks in 339 at-bats, but has struck out only 10 times in July with about a week left in the month.

Pitcher of the Week - Jake McCasland

It wasn’t a great week for pitching performances, so this week’s winner doesn’t have the lowest run total; he does have a great strikeout total.

Jake McCasland struck out a system-high 10 this week in 6 innings of work. He did give up 2 runs on 6 hits, but he didn’t walk anyone on his total. Unfortunately, in that game on Friday, two runs was still enough to take the loss.

McCasland is 4-10 this season with a 5.04 ERA. He has 86 strikeouts against 28 walks in 89.1 innings of work.

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 1 6 2 Richmond 4 11 0 Rancho Cucamonga 5 9 1 Hagerstown 3 7 0
Tacoma 4 10 1 Akron 5 8 1 San Jose 4 9 3 Augusta 8 11 1

Saturday’s Other Boxes

Vancouver 7 15 0 AZL Giants 11 13 3 Postponed: Rain - - -
Salem-Keizer 6 9 1 AZL Royals 6 9 6 - - - -

Saturday’s Hitters

SAC Ryder Jones 3B 4 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.300
SAC Chris Shaw LF 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.289
SAC Ali Castillo 2B-SS 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.284
RIC Slade Heathcott CF 3 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.263
RIC Jerry Sands 1B 5 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.296
RIC K.C. Hobson DH 5 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 3 0.217
RIC Dylan Davis LF 4 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.233
SJ Steven Duggar RF 3 2 2 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.276
SJ Bryan Reynolds LF 5 0 4 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.313
SJ Pablo Sandoval DH 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.250
SJ Aramis Garcia 1B 5 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 0.281
AUG Cristian Paulino 3B 5 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.293
AUG Jean Angomas RF 4 1 3 1 0 0 2 1 0 0.223
AUG Kelvin Beltre 2B 4 1 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.264
AUG Jose Vizcaino Jr. DH 4 1 2 1 0 1 4 0 1 0.230
S-K Malique Ziegler CF 4 3 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.321
S-K Shane Matheny 3B 3 1 1 0 0 0 1 2 1 0.346
S-K Bryce Johnson LF 5 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 0.339
S-K Michael Sexton DH 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.241
S-K Dalton Combs RF 3 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 0.217
AZL Heliot Ramos DH 6 3 4 1 1 0 4 0 2 0.397
AZL Jose Layer CF 5 0 3 0 0 0 3 1 0 0.538
AZL Beicker Mendoza 1B 5 1 2 2 0 0 1 0 0 0.371
AZL Jose Rivero 2B 5 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.286
AZL Nico Giarratano SS 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.185
AZL a- Jacob Gonzalez PH 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.370

Saturday’s Pitchers

SAC Andrew Suarez (L, 3-4) 6.0 7 3 2 3 4 0 4.69
SAC Kraig Sitton 1.0 2 1 1 0 1 0 3.21
RIC Nate Reed (L, 1-2) 5.0 6 4 4 5 3 0 7.32
RIC Seth Rosin 1.0 1 1 1 0 0 0 2.70
SJ Conner Menez (L, 6-5) 3.0 5 5 3 2 6 0 4.11
SJ Dylan Rheault 1.0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2.74
AUG Domenic Mazza (W, 6-8) 7.0 6 3 2 2 4 0 3.35
AUG Sandro Cabrera 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 3.61
AUG Patrick Ruotolo 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.67
S-K Matt Lujan 3.0 6 2 2 1 2 0 3.38
S-K John Russell (L, 1-1) 2.0 3 2 2 1 3 0 4.00
AZL Seth Corry 2.0 3 2 2 2 1 0 2.84
AZL Weilly Yan 3.0 2 1 1 3 5 0 2.41
AZL Franklin Van Gurp (BS, 1)(W, 1-0) 2.1 2 1 1 0 4 0 4.05
  • Sacramento had a weak day at the plate, with Ali Castillo having the only 2-hit game, and Ryder Jones’ double being the only extra-base hit.
  • Andrew Suarez bounced back to have a good start, allowing just 2 earned runs in 6 innings. It was enough for a loss, but it was an encouraging sign after a couple of rough starts.
  • In Richmond, Dylan Davis had his first 3-hit game in the last 9 games, which helped keep his batting average hovering around .230.
  • Slade Heathcott got on base 4 times out of 5 plate appearances. He’s got a .344 OBP on top of his .263 batting average.
  • Minor league vet K.C. Hobson, one of the team’s many signees of such vets, hit his 6th home run for the team in just his 19th game.
  • Nate Reed, another one of those minor league vets, had a rough day with control, giving up 5 walks over 5 innings. The former 40th round pick has 10 walks against 11 strikeouts in 19.2 innings.
  • Bryan Reynolds continued his hot hitting with a 4-hit game. His .313 batting average is now the highest it’s been since April 19th.
  • Steven Duggar is looking more like his old self, getting on base 4 times out of 5.
  • Pablo Sandoval singled in his first at-bat back in the Giants organization and drew a walk, though he did not play the entire game despite being the DH.
  • Conner Menez suffered through his shortest start of the year, going just 3 innings. He still got a respectable number of strikeouts (6), but gave up a lot of runs. He was hurt by his own error and two wild pitches.
  • Lots of hits by Augusta! What happened? I can’t remember the last time I saw three 3-hit games from the team.
  • Cristian Paulino raised his batting average to .293 with his three hits, and also added his 5th double in 43 games with the team.
  • Jean Angomas had a much-needed three-hit game, moving his batting average away from the Mendoza Line, and also added his second double of the season.
  • Kelvin Beltre had his second multi-hit game in a row. This were his first multi-hit games since July 4th and 5th.
  • Jose Vizcaino Jr. didn’t get three hits, but he made up for it with his 9th double and 1st home run as a GreenJacket.
  • Domenic Mazza continues to be the relative Rock of the Augusta rotation with another good start. He did give up 2 walks, bringing his season total to 15 (compared to 75 strikeouts) in 102.0 IP.
  • In Salem-Keizer, Malique Ziegler picked up his 7th double. He has at least one hit in 10 of his last 11 games, but since most of those games are with just 1 hit, his average has actually dropped from .347 to .321 in that span. Ziegler also stole his 15th base of the season.
  • Bryce Johnson’s 2 hits continue a hot trend for him. He is 7-for-16 with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts in his last 4 games.
  • Matt Lujan went 3 innings, giving up 6 hits, in part of his rehab assignment from AA. He went 5 innings in his first rehab game with S-K.
  • In the “You know you’re in the AZL” category, there were 9 errors in Saturdays AZL Giants game. Don’t worry, only 3 were by the Giants.
  • Heliot Ramos continues to be awesome, collected 4 hits and being just a home run shy of the cycle. He got his 7th double and 4th triple of the year, and his ISO is a ridiculous .381, as he has 14 XBH out of 25 total hits in 15 games.
  • Jose Layer is 6 games into his season, and is batting .538 after going 3-for-5, but this was his second full game out of 6 played. He also has 4 walks, so his OBP is .647.
  • Beicker Mendoza picked up 2 doubles, giving him 5 in 10 games.
  • Jacob Gonzalez has had three hitless starts, so he just pinch-hit in today’s game and got a hit. His batting average has dropped to only .370.
  • Seth Corry had his first really rough outing, despite match his longest outing of the season (2 innings). He gave up two earned runs on 3 hits and 2 walks. The control has been an issue, as Corry now has 7 walks in 6.1 innings of work, yet has only given up 4 hits.
  • Let’s take a moment to admire Royals 3B Angel Medina, who contributed 4 of the game’s 9 errors. He had three fielding errors and one throwing error (which came on the same play as one of his fielding errors). The 18-year old currently has a .725 fielding percentage in 17 games at 3B, after posting an .849 FP in 48 games at the position last season. Wow.
  • For the second straight day, the DSL was rained out. Stay dry out there, guys!

The Wrap-Up:

Here’s the best and STUPIDEST play you’ll see by a Giants minor leaguer this year.


Crash Davis just threw a baseball through his TV…or laptop screen. Whatever he was watching on.