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They Might Be Giants

The Prospect Roundup, 7/8/17

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In which we talk about injuries, call-ups, and the only appropriate name for the Giants’ left field.

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

Austin Slater - Pretty Much Done For The (Regular) Season

So, the Defense Against The Dark Arts position at AT&T Park claims another victim.

(Yes, I’m riding this pun into the ground. Tell me I’m wrong about it.)

Austin Slater tore the adductor muscle in his right hip on a seemingly innocuous groundout, and while it’s not exactly totally sure how severe it is, it’s pretty severe. CSN Bay Area put a preliminary estimate on Slater’s timetable as 2-3 months. That is very preliminary. But it essentially puts the kibosh on the rest of the season for Slater.

At least…the regular season.

If the above timetable is accurate, that does put Stanford’s latest finest out for the regular season. But if he hits the shorter end of that range and rehab goes well, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Slater possibly get some time in the Arizona Fall League, which starts in October. It wouldn’t be the first time a team uses the AFL as a way to give a player that missed significant time in-season due to injury some extra work.

Unlike, well, pretty much anybody else with extended time in left field, Slater had been executing himself pretty well in left field. Over 29 games, he was batting .290/.343/.430 with SF. That’s not bad, though not good enough to make the Giants reserve the spot for him going forward. That’s something to think about.

After this year, and how bad Plans A, B, C, 3, 4, 6, 9, Sigma, AND Theta all went in left field, one has to get the idea that the Giants will not let the youngsters play Lord of the Left Field Flies for the spot in 2018. Maybe they would have held it for a young player if one had staked a good claim to it. Slater had been doing that. Now, not anymore.

I fully expect the Giants will pursue a starting left fielder via free agency for 2018. That will leave Mac, Jarrett, Austin and others competing only for bench spots.

Replacing Slater - Not Shawsome

Obviously, Mac Williamson got the immediate callup to replace Slater, although Mac hasn’t been inspiring in an injury-marred season. Williamson has been hitting .238 in Sacramento, mired in a now-month-plus long slump since his most recent return to Triple-A. He hit .161in 11 games in the Majors, but that was hardly enough time for him to get his legs under him.

The reality is that there aren’t a lot of options. There are only two other healthy(ish) outfielders on the 40-man roster. One, Jarrett Parker, is on his rehab, and has been for two weeks. He’s batting .208 in Triple-A and isn’t establishing himself for a return. Being on the 60-Day DL, he’ll also require a roster move when he’s taken off the DL. The other option is Orlando Calixte, an infielder who hasn’t been a great defensive outfielder.

So, will the Giants call up the one name who has been exciting in the outfield, left fielder Chris Shaw? The one batting .307/.333/.562 with 9 home runs in 40 games?

I wouldn’t count on it, just yet.

The main reason is economics. Shaw would need to be put on the 40-man to make it to the majors. If he were to be sent back to the minors after being added, it would cost him one of his three option years. The Giants may be hard up for performances, but they can’t go giving up the financial side if a player isn’t ready.

Generally, players have four years of being in the minors before they need to be protected from being lost in the Rule 5 draft. That basically means, the Giants don’t need to rush him at all. And although he’s hitting well, it’s still in just 40 games, which could still be nothing more than a hot streak.

But this doesn’t mean that the Giants will not call up Shaw at all this season. What it means is, they’ll only do it when they don’t think they will need to send him back down. So maybe in August, maybe not until September. Until then, be patien.

Miguel Gomez: Major Leaguer!

Of course, by now, you’ve seen him up, trying for his first hit. The explanation for the move is pretty simple, as Roger mentioned in the replies.

So we aren’t likely to see Gomez after the All-Star Break for long. But who is Miguel Gomez, and are the Giants likely to see him again?

If you are a Giants fan (and if you aren’t, why are you reading this?), you’ve probably heard the Sandoval comparisons shoved down your throat like <insert Pablo Sandoval’s favorite food>. And it is not wrong.

Gomez is one of those guys who will pepper the ball all over, and he’s good at it. But if you’re looking for one big insight, here it is: if his coach tells him to pull the ball more, he shouldn’t listen.

According to Fangraphs, when Gomez has hit to the pull side of the field more than 51% of the time, which is twice in stints at various levels, his batting average drops precipitously. Part of that was last year in San Jose, when he pulled the ball 55.2% of the time (possible searching for California League power), but his batting average dropped to .267. The other time, his first pro year in 2012, he pulled 54.2% of the time and hit just .231. Those are the only two level-seasons he’s hit under .300.

Last year, he hit 16.6% to center field. This year, which has been strong but not his best, he’s batting 28.6% to center field. That is not his highest percentage, but it is in line with his best hitting seasons. So that is one of the big numbers to keep an eye on, both for his time in the majors, and how he hits in his return to the minors.

Gomez is a hitter. He’s not much of a fielder, but he is a natural hitter. He’s a real prospect, though, regardless of what some say.

Finally, not to toot the horn of my colleague here at McCoveyChronicles, but…

Yeah, sometimes we really do break news, not just retweet it or write snarkily about it. So go follow Roger on Twitter @rog61. And, if you’re up to it, follow me too @sflunaticfringe. I haven’t broken any news since Angel Villalona’s arrest warrant during a Dodgers game in LA (and even then, I just was the first one I know of to see his name on the AP News Feed). But I might just make you laugh.

The Player To Be Named (And Paid For, Apparently) Later

This week, the news came out that the Giants had traded for Tyler Herb from the Mariners system in exchange for Cash Considerations. Later, it came out that Herb was, indeed, the PTBNL for Chris Heston, in a trade many months ago.

So, what did the Giants get? Well, if you missed Grant’s roundup of it, they got some starting pitching depth.

Herb was the Mariner’s 29th round pick out of Coastal Carolina University in 2014. He began starting in 2015, and has been solid since. This year, he’s had a 3.31 ERA in 16 starts with the Mariner’s AA team, the Arkansas Travelers. He’s got a 4.10 ERA in his career, but he has generally been getting more effective, ERA-wise, each season. His peripherals aren’t special (88 K’s and 30 BB’s in 98 innings), but there’s nothing particularly bad about them either.

The scouting report has him with a 2-seam FB that sits around 90, bumping up to 93, with a good curveball he can manipulate. In 2016, his catcher in High-A, Tyler Marlette, said that “He was probably one of my tougher guys to catch, honestly. His two-seam runs so much, it’s just electric.” In that story, Herb said he was also working on a slider.

My favorite quote came from a different article, earlier in the year. He struck out 19 batters in 11 innings in his first two starts, but he said to milb.com:

"I actually said after our last game that I need to get some more early contact so I can go deeper into games.”

Baseball Prospectus said, in their scouting report, “some maturity issues, poor adversity response”. He has had some problems in the past, but I love the thought that comes with that quote.

Herb has not been a part of prospect rankings in the Mariners system, anywhere. Baseball Prospectus has his realistic ceiling as a middle reliever, with perhaps, if you squint real hard, a back-end starter as a groundballer. In three years of MinorLeagueBall.com gradings, Herb has not even gotten a mention. Not at the C level, nor in the comments.

But, my take is this: This is a better player than I expected in the PTBNL return. He’s far from a sure thing major leaguer. But he’s a player on the upswing, with sustained career improvement. He’s continuing to show improvement in his control, but not spiking in a way that might predict a downswing. But even if he doesn’t push the majors, he’s starting depth at the high levels. With Clayton Blackburn traded, Joan Gregorio suspended, and perhaps a trade of Johnny Cueto…not to mention Matt Moore being unable to do anything…the Giants will need bodies at the AA and AAA levels. Herb’s not a bad one to have.

The Giants could have done a lot worse.

A Returning Old Friend

A familiar name is back with the Giants.

Seth Rosin, originally drafted by the Giants in the 4th round of 2010, signed with the Giants on July 5th, and headed to Richmond. Rosin has made 4 appearances in the Majors, with Texas and Philadelphia, with a 12.00 ERA. He does have a 3.93 ERA in the minors across 8 minor league seasons. Most recently, he spent most of 2016 on the DL, posting a 8.31 ERA in 5 relief appearances. He’s been a reliever since the 2014 season.

Rosin departed the Giants as part of the Hunter Pence trade in July of 2012. After that, his career path makes Crash Davis’s look steady. In 2013, the Mets selected Rosin in the Rule 5 draft. The same day, the Mets traded Rosin to the Dodgers for cash. The Dodgers waived Rosin in the spring of 2014, and was picked up by the Rangers, but was waived two weeks later and was returned to Philadelphia (Remember, even if waived or traded, a Rule 5 drafted player must stick on an active 25-man roster all season or be returned to his previous team). Rosin stuck with the Phillies for 2 more years. After 2015, Rosin went to the Padres in free agency, and then he joined the Twins in the offseason after 2016. He was waived after Spring Training, and went unsigned until signing with the Giants.

*sigh* That is a lot of teams, a lot of movement.

Rosin has a low-90’s fastball, whose calling card was his sinker. He does have a four-seamer that has hit the higher 90’s in the past, but he hasn’t shown that as much recently. A lot of his development in the past has depended on his development of secondary pitches, a slider and changeup. While I can’t find any first-hand reports in the last few years, I’m guessing he hasn’t solidified it yet. However, he’s had good control for most of his career.

Rosin, now 28, is likely here to fill out innings where the Giants need it in the system. But then again, a groundball specialist and a major league bullpen that has had a lot of struggles…it’s not impossible Rosin gets a shot with his original franchise. Just highly unlikely.

Rosin, in his first appearance this year, gave up a ground rule double that blew a save in the 7th inning in Friday’s game.

Released!

A couple of names got released from the Giants organization. OF Christoph Bono and C Rene Melendez, most recently playing with Salem-Keizer, got released as many 2017 draftees have joined the team.

Also, catcher Ryan Matranga retired. The 36th round pick from 2016 only played 5 games last season, and none this year.

Hitter of the Week - Jacob Gonzalez

There’s nothing like coming out of the draft being called a significant overdraft and being red hot.

2017 2nd round pick Jacob Gonzalez has been blisteringly hot to start his pro career in the Arizona Rookie League. This week, he’s gone 11-for-20 with 3 doubles and a triple. Although he hasn’t walked, a couple of HBPs give him a .550/.590/.800 line.

There isn’t much more to say for Jacob so far in his young career, as he has only played in two other games. But it’s notable that some of the draft analyzers indicated that they didn’t like the Giants’ draft, and notably called out the second round pick as being over-drafted. The Giants wouldn’t be the Giants if they didn’t have at least one such player being accused of that. A week and a half isn’t going to disprove anyone…but it’s got to taste pretty sweet.

Pitcher of the Week - Jose Flores

Jose Flores proved worthy of a promotion to Sacramento in just one start.

Flores went 7 shutout innings on July 4th, allowing just a hit and a walk while striking out a season-high 10. The 28-year old started the season as a reliever with Richmond before getting called to start in late May. He put up a 2.09 ERA with Richmond, with a 2.43 ERA in 7 starts.

Flores was signed as a free agent in the offseason, after putting up a 4.54 ERA as a reliever in the Mexican League last year. He hasn’t been a regular starter since his first pro season, back in 2007 with the Indians in the DSL. He’s got a career 3.71 ERA, and going down with his performance this year.

Saturday’s Lines

Saturday’s Boxes 1

AAA - Game 1 R H E AAA - Game 2 R H E AA R H E High-A R H E
AAA - Game 1 R H E AAA - Game 2 R H E AA R H E High-A R H E
Tacoma 3 7 1 Tacoma 0 3 1 Richmond 11 14 0 Modesto 1 8 1
Sacramento 6 14 2 Sacramento 3 8 0 Bowie 7 11 0 San Jose 0 6 1

More of Saturday’s Boxes.csv

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
Asheville 8 14 0 Salem-Keizer 10 18 1 DSL Giants 5 8 1
Augusta 2 5 3 Everett 8 9 3 DSL Blue Jays 6 7 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-1 Juniel Querecuto SS 3 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.667
SAC-1 2- Juan Ciriaco PR-3B 3 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.667
SAC-1 Justin Ruggiano CF 4 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 1 0.250
SAC-1 a- Chris Shaw PH-LF 4 2 3 0 0 1 1 0 1 0.750
SAC-1 Ryan Lollis 1B 4 1 2 2 0 0 1 0 0 0.500
SAC-1 Orlando Calixte RF 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.250
SAC-2 Chris Shaw LF 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.307
SAC-2 T.J. Bennett 2B 2 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 0.143
RIC C.J Hinojosa SS 3 2 2 1 0 1 1 1 0 0.298
RIC K.C. Hobson 1B 4 2 2 0 0 1 1 1 1 0.250
RIC Brandon Bednar 3B 5 2 3 1 0 0 2 0 0 0.264
RIC Dylan Davis DH 4 1 3 0 0 1 5 0 1 0.230
SJ Ryan Howard SS 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.323
SJ Gio Brusa LF 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.246
AUG Jean Angomas RF 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.208
AUG Skyler Ewing 1B 4 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 0.240
AUG Jacob Heyward LF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 0.223
S-K Malique Ziegler CF 6 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 2 0.348
S-K Bryce Johnson LF 6 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.308
S-K Ryan Kirby 1B 6 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 0.348
S-K Michael Sexton DH 5 3 3 1 0 0 2 0 1 0.320
S-K Manuel Geraldo SS 5 2 3 1 0 0 2 0 1 0.351
S-K Shane Matheny 3B 3 1 3 0 0 0 2 2 0 0.364
DSL Wascar De Leon DH 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.287
DSL Alexander Canario RF 5 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.273
DSL Raiber Gutierrez LF 2 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.262

Saturday’s Pitchers

TEAM Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
TEAM Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
SAC-1 Chris Stratton 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
SAC-1 Andrew Suarez (W, 1-0) 5.1 6 3 3 2 3 1 5.06
SAC-1 Derek Law (S, 1) 1.1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
SAC-2 Dusten Knight (W, 2-2) 5.2 2 0 0 2 6 0 2.95
SAC-2 Tyler Rogers (S, 3) 1.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2.24
RIC Tyler Herb (W, 1-0) 5.0 8 5 5 3 4 0 9.00
RIC Stephen Johnson 0.1 1 2 2 2 1 1 27.00
RIC Tyler Cyr (S, 11) 1.2 1 0 0 0 0 0 2.56
SJ Albert Suarez 3.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00
SJ Mike Connolly (L, 4-7) 6.0 7 1 1 1 1 0 4.13
AUG Domenic Mazza (L, 5-7) 5.0 9 5 5 0 4 1 3.44
S-K Jose Marte 2.1 6 6 6 3 3 1 8.53
S-K Nick Deeg (W, 1-1) 2.2 3 2 1 2 4 0 2.08
S-K Garrett Cave (H, 1) 2.0 0 0 0 1 4 0 0.00
DSL Luis Moreno 3.2 5 4 4 4 1 0 4.08
  • I could have let your Saturday boxes include names like Chris Stratton, Christian Arroyo, Austin Slater and Kyle Blanks. That’s because the River Cats and Rainiers finally finished a game suspended in the bottom of the 1st from April 7th. ‘Bout time, fellas. But the River Cats finished it in a win.
  • Andrew Suarez picked up the win in a pseudo-start, although it’s two straight outings where he’s given up 3+ earned runs. His Sacramento ERA is looking at little high at….no, wait, even I won’t stoop to that pun. His ERA is 4.20.
  • The recovering Derek Law had a scoreless outing (after two in a row allowing runs), and picked up his first save of the season with Sacramento, after getting one on June 29th. It’s his first save, because it was in the game from April 7th. But wait, Law threw in San Diego on April 7th, giving up a walk and striking out 1 in a Giants’ loss. … And that’s why baseball stats are weird.
  • Chris Shaw went 3-for-4, also collecting his “first” home run of the Triple-A year. (He went 0-for-3 with Richmond on April 7th originally.)
  • In the nightcap, it sure seemed like the Rainiers could have used an extra starter. Hm… Anyways, in the absence of one, old friend Jean Machi got the start, going 2 scoreless innings, giving up 3 hits.
  • Meanwhile, Sacramento had their own reliever going in Dusten Knight, who went a season-high 5.2 IP in his 3rd start. He also struck out 6, giving him 35 in 39.2 innings at Sacramento.
  • T.J. Bennett’s home run in the third, his actual first of the year, was enough to give Sacramento the win in the 7-inning shutout.
  • Recently acquired Tyler Herb from the Seattle system (hm) got his first appearance with the Giants, and he did not do very well, giving up 3 runs in the first, and 5 total. However, 3 home runs from a suddenly powerful Squirrel team got him a win.
  • Dylan Davis hit his 6th of the year in the second, and C.J. Hinojosa hit his 3rd in the 3rd innning as a part of the power rally.
  • San Jose’s offense struggled in a surprising pitcher’s duel. Gio Brusa was the only Giant to get on base twice, with a single and a walk.
  • Albert Suarez made his first rehab start with San Jose, after three in the AZL. He looked good, allowing just two baserunners in three innings.
  • Mike Connolly’s effort, finishing the game with 6 relief innings would normally have been a plus effort, but the run he gave up was the only one of the game.
  • For Domenic Mazza, it was more of the same inconsistency he’s had all year. After a 9-inning, 2-hit shutout he gave up 5 runs in 5 innings of work.
  • Skyler Ewing hit his 1st home run since June 1st, and just 4th of the season.
  • Jacob Heyward had a nice OBP day, drawing 3 walks while going 0-for-1. He has 28 walks against 72 strikeouts in 229 at-bats.
  • The Volcanos managed 18 hits, and yet no home runs in a high-scoring affair.
  • Shane Matheny had an interesting day, going 3-for-3 with 2 walks, and stealing 2 bases. He was also caught once.
  • Malique Ziegler knocked his 3rd triple of the year, giving up 4 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 home runs in 30 hits.
  • Bryce Johnson, with two more hits, now has gathered at least one hit in every game played.
  • The AZL had a nice day off.