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They Might Be Giants

The Prospect Round-up, 7/30/17

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We review the Trade, and a possible Giants Youth Movement

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

It’s TRADE SEASON

And the Giants finally made a trade! You’ve probably read a bit about it, but hey, here’s a little more! Who did the Giants get, Bob?

The Reliever Turned Starter - Shaun Anderson

Coming off the trade news, the (required-to-be) short bits stated his stats as a 3.99 ERA in High-A Salem. That doesn’t sound very exciting….until you look at the context.

Anderson, a 3rd round pick just last year, started the year in Low-A Greenville and had a 2.56 ERA in 7 starts there, forcing an early, mid-May callup to High-A Salem. He’s a college reliever, but is being stretched into a starter, or at least he was with Boston. Some scouting reports have indicated he has some fatigue issues when he gets later into games, and that might happen as he gets later into his first full season, so…context.

John Calvagno, who runs the “Scouting the Sally” site, saw and scouted Anderson early in the year. There’s a lot to like in what he says, and you can read it by clicking here, but here’s the slam dunk quote:

As close to a slam dunk major leaguer as you can get in A Ball.

He’s a fastball pitcher, throwing mid-90’s on the 4-seam, though Calvagno noted a velocity dip later in his start. He also throws a cut, which for now seems to be his top off-speed pitch. He’s also got a slider that gets better as he throws it less hard. Most of the scouting reports think he is missing that strikeout pitch that a starter really needs, and many think he’s more destined for relief.

One of those is Alex Speier, who did the Baseball America Top 31 prospects for the Red Sox. He simply stated, in the BA chat about the system:

I don’t believe [Shaun] Anderson has starter potential.

Speier really was not a fan of Anderson, not ranking him among the Red Sox Top 31. In the farm depth chart, he was listed at the bottom of 12 RH relievers; 7 of them made the Top 31.

On the more positive side, MLB.com rated him as their #18 prospect in the Red Sox system, giving his Fastball a 60 grade, but a 45 grade overall.

Talking about Anderson, a fellow SBN contributor from Over The Monster (the Red Sox version of McCovey Chronicles), outofleftfield provided this commentary:

I'll put this out there (hi, visiting), as one of the bigger Shaun Anderson fans out there

But he might profile best as a reliever, and could even be a closer. His cutter/slider can be really scary when he has it working, and focusing on that would make him a very intriguing option.

Obviously, you’d probably prefer he ends up as a starter, and I would propose Anderson is more like the Sox #10-12 prospect, somewhere in there.

Anderson is an interesting get. A rather high draft pick, a pitcher of debated upside (and downside)…this is what you’d expect as the higher return on the trade of a rental-type player. The Giants are undoubtedly in need of pitching prospects, and Anderson comes in and right away could be Top 5 of Giants’ starting pitcher prospects. But he’d also be a reasonably good relief prospect.

The Giants got a kid that will be fairly high on their prospect list. Not at the top, but he’s in a good position. Not bad at all.

The Young Kid

To be right up front about it: There’s not much that has been reported about 17-year old Gregory Santos. So here’s what we do know.

He was signed as a 16-year old in August 2015 for a $275K bonus. That’s not a huge bonus, but not a tiny one. When he signed, he was touching 93 “with good angle” according to Baseball America. He started playing as a starter for the DSL Red Sox 2 team in 2016, but as his stints got shorter, became a reliever. He struggled as the season went on, and ended the 2016 season with a 4.17 ERA, 25 strikeouts against 26 walks in 41 IP.

This season, as has been reported, he has a 0.90 ERA in 7 starts, with a .202 average against, and 15 walks against 24 strikeouts in 30 innings. He started the season with a 3-inning start, and has steadily worked up to 5 innings each. He’s been fantastic at getting ground balls, with 82% of hits against him going to the dirt, and has been noted that he has a good curve for his age. Fangraphs has his FIP at 3.31, though the DSL is a difficult league to describe with some stats.

That’s…about it.

Santos is young, though he turns 18 in August. He’s got upside, and he’s got downside. Roger postulated that one of the better hopes for the Giants is to get a high-upside, high-risk kid in a trade. Santos may not quite be as upside as one would hope, but it’s there. For what it’s worth, if Santos had enough innings to qualify for the ERA title so far, he’d be third in the league (he’s just a couple of innings short). And he will join a Giants’ DSL team with a couple of intriguing pitchers in 19-year old Marco Gonzalez and 21-year old Norwith Gudino. He’s a long, long way from the Majors, but hey, new prospect.

The Young’uns

No player acquisition philosophy is perfect forever. Few are perfect even for a short period of time. But now, with the acquisition of Gregory Santos and the earlier post-draft signing on Jack Conlon, it appears the Giants have adjusted their philosophy to “Young”.

Those are the Giants’ Top 3 draft picks this year, all high schoolers with a lot of potential, but also a lot of risk. Add in Conlon and Santos, and that makes 5 fairly high-profile acquisitions of talent at 18 and under.

Is this the new Giants’ philosophy? Will it work?

That’s only in the heads of Bobby Evans and John Barr. Keep in mind, it’s likely that odds are the Giants will take a high schooler with their top draft pick next year, as 4 of the Top 5 prospects as rated by Jim Callis are high schoolers.

But…don’t get too invested in a full-fledged youth movement yet.

First of all, that trio up there (and the other two young acquisitions) are unlikely to move up together. It would be a nice story, for sure, but the odds are just against it. And despite some early good returns (or at least recent ones, as far as Corry goes), many young players have done well early in their careers and then struggled.

Santos stands out from this group in a few ways. First of all, he’s a trade acquisition, and arguably not even the top name in the trade. Many have called him a “Lottery Ticket” as far as being high risk, high reward. As you may have seen, Roger has been advocating for this type of acquisition in trades, linking this story from Baseball America on the emerging practice. Unlike Ramos, who could compete for the Giants top prospect already, and Gonzalez and Corry, who should be in the Top 20 somewhere; Santos may not make the Top 30.

Santos also stands out in a different way, since he’s the only non-American of the group. And while he was acquired by trade, one has to discuss the Giants’ recent international policy. Since the big splash of Angel Villalona, followed shortly by Rafael Rodriguez, the Giants have not been huge investors out of the Dominican. They have not been allowed to sign big bonus players the last two years due to their last signing, Lucius Fox. And not only was Fox a little borderline as an international player (he attended high school in the US), but the Giants were willing to trade him away quickly.

It has been a long time since the Giants developed a regular major leaguer from an international signing. Some of the closest, such as Adalberto Mejia, became trade chips; others, like Joan Gregorio, have been slow to develop or been stopped for other reasons. Miguel Gomez did make the Majors this year, however he has not played regularly and is expected to head back to the minors by next season for more development.

The Giants may have something looking like a youth movement in the system right now, but there is a long, long ways to go. And if the Giants are truly committed to the youth movement, at some point, they will need to make a bigger impact in the difficult international market.

Hey, A Minor League Playoff Team!

Oh, hey, also about that tweet…the Giants will have a postseason minor league team this year! Sure, they may very well be the only one, and the AZL’s one-game playoffs are kind of not really playoff like, but congratulations to the minor leaguers! They are truly bringing a lot of hope to Giants fans who need it.

Volcanoes to send 4 to the Northwest League All-Star Team

The Volcanoes will be fairly well represented in this summer’s short-season All-Star Game between the Northwest League and the Pioneer League.

Leading the way is center fielder Malique Ziegler, who started out hot in center field and has made an impression out there. Ziegler is batting .297/.369/.430 and is tied for second in the NWL with 19 steals in 26 attempts. The 22nd round pick from the 2016 draft is still just 20 and has earned the lion’s share of playing time in a crowded S-K outfield.

On the mound, Stetson Woods has become one of the league’s leading pitchers. In 9 starts, he leagues the league with a 1.75 ERA despite having just 38 strikeouts in 51.1 innings. He also is 3rd in the league with a 0.99 WHIP. The 22-year old was a 9th round pick in 2014, and is in his first season at the AZL level.

In the infield, 20-year old shortstop Manuel Geraldo has been playing well in his second run in the Northwest League. Geraldo is batting .295/.328/.349 and is 4th in the league with 16 steals in 23 attempts. He also made a spring appearance in Augusta, where he struggled to a .165/.200/.278 batting line in 30 games. Geraldo was signed out of the Dominican Republic prior to the 2014 season.

First baseman Ryan Kirby is also in his second season at the Salem-Keizer level. He is in a 5-way tie for 6th in the NWL in home runs with 5, and is batting .287/.372/.459 in 43 games. He also started the year with Augusta, where he batting .220/.301/.366 in 23 games. The 22-year old Kirby was drafted in the 12th round of the 2016 draft.

The Volcanoes, with 4 selections, are tied for 2nd in terms of most roster picks on the NWL roster. The host Hillsboro Hops lead the way with 7, and the Volcanoes are tied with the Tri-City Dust Devils at 4.

A New Former First Round Pick

Late in the week, the Giants added another minor league veteran to their staff.

27-year old Casey Kelly was signed to a minor league deal and made his debut on Saturday with the Sacramento River Cats. Kelly was originally drafted 30th overall in the 2008 draft by the Boston Red Sox. Kelly was part of the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres to the Red Sox, and was later traded to the Braves, before joining the Cubs in Free Agency in the offseason.

This year, Kelly had a 4.65 ERA with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, notching 43 strikeouts and 23 walks in 60 innings of work.

Kelly has made the majors in three seasons, pitching in a total of 20 games. He has a career 6.39 ERA in that time, making his debut with the Padres in 2012, and most recently working mostly in relief for the Braves last year in 10 appearances.

Draft Pick Watch

Draft Pick Race - 7/30/17

Team W L PCT
Team W L PCT
Philadephia 37 64 0.366
San Francisco 40 65 0.381
Chicago White Sox 39 62 0.386
Cincinnati 41 63 0.394

For a while, the Phillies and Giants were clearly at the top (bottom?) of the race for the first overall draft pick…but now they have company. The White Sox and Reds have fallen under .400 as well, and are now nipping at the Giants’ heels for #2.

Note the Phillies and White Sox both having played 4 less games than the Giants? That’s more a quirk of the schedule than bad weather. Each of those teams has a doubleheader coming up in August. Otherwise, they’ve just had 3 less games scheduled to date.

At least, there’s still an excellent chance that the Giants will be somewhere in those Top 4 picks, barring a hugely unexpected winning streak. And next year’s draft class has some interesting top players, but no consensus #1 for the Giants to miss out on.

Hitter of the Week - Ryder Jones

In some extremely good news, Ryder Jones had a pretty big week with the bat, as the Giants traded away their third baseman.

On the week, Jones was 10-for-23 with a double and 3 home runs, including 2 on Saturday. Add in 2 walks against 5 strikeouts, and that puts his batting line at .435/.480/.870.

Jone had gone onto the DL on July 7th with a right wrist contusion while with San Francisco, but was sent back to Sacramento before officially coming back. He’s now batting .313/.400/.578 with 13 home runs, 18 doubles and 2 triples in 62 games at Triple-A.

Pitcher of the Week - Cory Taylor

Taylor finished his week with a 7-inning shutout, but he had a good first start as well.

Taylor went 12 innings total this week, with 1 run allowed on 5 hits with 3 walks and 9 strikeouts. Of course, the 7 shutout innings on Saturday, on just one hit and walk, were the highlight.

Taylor’s ERA has hit 4.20 in 19 appearances, with 76 strikeouts and 46 walks in 94.1 innings of work.

Saturday’s Lines

Saturday’s Boxes (1 of 2)

AAA R H E AA (Game 1) R H E AA (Game 2) R H E High-A R H E
AAA R H E AA (Game 1) R H E AA (Game 2) R H E High-A R H E
New Orleans 3 8 0 Erie 0 1 1 Erie 0 7 0 San Jose 2 11 2
Sacramento 4 11 0 Richmond 3 9 0 Richmond 2 3 0 Lancaster 10 13 0

Saturday’s Boxes (2 of 2)

Low-A R H E Short-A R H E DSL R H E
Low-A R H E Short-A R H E DSL R H E
Augusta 0 3 3 Salem-Keizer 3 9 2 DSL Giants 6 10 3
Columbia 3 3 2 Boise 5 4 1 DSL White Sox 7 11 1

Saturday’s 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 Jarrett Parker CF-RF 5 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.236
SAC Ryder Jones RF-SS 4 3 3 0 0 2 2 0 1 0.313
SAC Pablo Sandoval 3B 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.235
SAC Chris Shaw LF 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.280
RIC1 C.J Hinojosa SS 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.292
RIC1 Myles Schroder 2B 3 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.272
RIC1 Hunter Cole RF 3 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0.229
RIC1 Jeff Arnold C 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.203
RIC2 Slade Heathcott CF 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.262
RIC2 T.J. Bennett 3B 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.200
SJ Ryan Howard SS 5 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.324
SJ Bryan Reynolds RF 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.314
SJ Aramis Garcia C 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.270
SJ Dillon Dobson 1B 4 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.235
SJ Ronnie Jebavy CF 4 1 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 0.268
AUG Carlos Garcia SS 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.375
AUG Kelvin Beltre 2B 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.262
S-K Bryce Johnson CF-LF 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.333
S-K Logan Baldwin RF 3 0 2 0 1 0 2 0 0 0.351
S-K Manuel Geraldo SS 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.295
S-K Shane Matheny 3B 4 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.333
S-K Kevin Rivera 2B 3 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0.226
AZL Jose Layer CF 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.421
AZL Jacob Gonzalez 3B 3 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.353
AZL Diego Rincones RF 4 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.360
DSL Franklin Labour 1B 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 1 2 0.293
DSL Victor Cairo C 3 2 2 1 0 0 1 1 1 0.118
DSL Jose Patino CF 2 1 2 1 0 0 2 0 0 0.238

Saturday’s Pitchers

TEAM Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
TEAM Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
SAC Casey Kelly 5.0 5 2 2 2 4 1 4.57
SAC Tyler Rogers (BS, 4)(W, 3-3) 2.0 2 1 1 0 3 0 2.02
SAC Derek Law (S, 5) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 4.08
RIC1 Cory Taylor (W, 4-8) 7.0 1 0 0 1 5 0 4.20
RIC2 Matt Lujan (W, 2-3) 5.0 3 0 0 2 4 0 6.05
RIC2 Seth Rosin (H, 2) 0.2 1 0 0 0 1 0 4.32
RIC2 Tyler Cyr (S, 13) 1.0 3 0 0 0 0 0 2.58
SJ Shaun Anderson (L, 0-1) 3.1 3 5 3 1 2 1 8.10
SJ Mike Connolly 2.0 7 5 5 1 2 0 4.85
AUG Domenic Mazza (L, 6-9) 6.0 3 3 1 2 10 0 3.25
S-K Jose Marte (L, 1-2) 5.0 3 4 2 1 2 0 4.83
AZL Seth Corry 3.0 1 0 0 2 3 0 1.93
AZL Weilly Yan (W, 3-0) 4.0 1 0 0 2 6 0 1.99
AZL Olbis Parra (S, 4) 1.1 0 0 0 0 4 0 2.61
DSL Aneudy Acosta 5.0 6 3 3 0 7 0 4.65
  • Ryder Jones had the big game of the day, with a pair of home runs as part of a three-hit game. It was his 12th and 13th home runs of the season in Triple-A. It was also his first 2-home run day of the season, and 2nd 3-hit game.
  • Jarrett Parker has hits in 4 of his last 5 games as he continues to come back from his broken clavicle.
  • Pablo Sandoval broke a 2-game hitless streak with his first 2-hit game since his return. He’s still batting just .235 (4-for-17) with a double in 5 games at Sacramento, although he has 3 walks and just one strikeout.
  • Casey Kelly made his Sacramento debut (see above). He had an unspectacular game, limited to 5 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 walks. He had a .304 average allowed with Iowa before coming to Sacramento.
  • Tyler Rogers gave up his first run in his last 9 appearances, blowing his 4th save while matching his season-high with 3 strikeouts in an outing. His 39 pitches were also the highest he’d thrown in one outing since June 15th (42).
  • Derek Law has been getting roughed up lately, giving up a run in each of his last 3 appearances, and 9 hits in his last 5.2 innings. Today he got the save while not allowing a baserunner for the first time in any appearance since his return to Sacramento.
  • Cory Taylor had an amazing outing in Game 1, giving up just 2 baserunners in a complete game (7 inning) shutout. It’s his second time giving up no runs in 7 innings in the last three games, but this time he did it in 23 less pitches.
  • Hunter Cole collect his 4th home run of the season in the first-half of the doubleheader, and is 5-for-6 in his last two games played (he played only the first game of the DH).
  • Myles Schroder picked up a pair of doubles, giving him 16 on the season.
  • Game 2 of the DH featured just four baserunners for the Richmond offense. Two were thanks to T.J. Bennett, with a single and walk. Bennett is batting just .200 in Richmond in 16 games, with 5 walks and 7 strikeouts.
  • Matt Lujan took the start in Game 2, going 5 shutout innings in his return to Richmond. It was his second 5-inning game out of 5 appearances while rehabbing from his injury.
  • A quick moment to admire Tyler Cyr’s save, in which not only did he give up 3 hits without giving up a run…but he gave up all 3 hits with two outs, and still got out of it.
  • Another debut came from Shaun Anderson in San Jose, just coming over from the Eduardo Nunez. It was Anderson’s shortest start in his last 5, and his lowest strikeout total in his last 6. Perhaps it was just nerves for the newcomer.
  • Usual starter Mike Connolly was in relief, and got hit hard. Connolly has given up at least four runs in four of his last 5 appearances, but his 2 innings today was by far the shortest of any of those appearances.
  • San Jose’s offense was highlighted by a 3-hit game by Ryan Howard, his first 3-hit game since July 6th.
  • Bryan Reynolds is now on a 6-game hitting streak, and is 10-for-28 in that stretch.
  • Ronnie Jebavy hit his first home run of the season, in his 45th game.
  • Domenic Mazza continues to be one of the highlights of Augusta, putting up a season-high 10 strikeouts. Also notably, he hit a season-high in pitches at 90.
  • Kelvin Beltre was one of the few highlights in Augusta’s offseason, getting on base twice with a single and a walk.
  • Bryce Johnson took center field duties for the Volcanoes over with Malique Ziegler taking a day off, collecting his 2nd 2-hit game in a row, and his 5th in the last 10 games. He also picked up his 13th steal of the season.
  • Logan Baldwin has been on a good streak himself lately, going 8-for-12 over his last 3 games with a double and triple.
  • No, Heliot and the rest of the AZL had the day off. Sorry.
  • Franklin Labour’s 2-hit game highlighted a close loss for the DSL team. Even with the game, he’s batting just .216 over his last 10 games.
  • Aneudy Acosta made his 10th start for the season, matching his season-high of 5 innings…he matched it for the 5th time this year.

The Wrap-Up:

I’m just saying this: Trade season isn’t done yet.