One of these years, I’m going to ignore the Major League Baseball postseason and geek out on the Arizona Fall League. One of these years, man. If you’re not wild about fighting the crowds during spring training, what with the expensive tickets and booked restaurants, this is probably your speed. And one of these years, I’ll be right there.
This year, the Giants are going to send four players to the AFL, including two of their better prospects to make up for lost time. Tyler Beede, Steven Duggar, Aramis Garcia, and Tyler Cyr will head to the Scottsdale Scorpions, former home of some of the greatest athletes of all-time (Buster Posey, Michael Jordan, Tim Tebow). The first two will log the innings and at-bats they couldn’t while they were on the disabled list. The last two are inching closer to the majors, and they’ll get a close look for next season and beyond.
Beede is the best known of the quartet, a first-round pick who has tantalized the Giants. The 24-year-old right-hander gave back some of the strikeouts and velocity he found in Double-A, but he was likely to get a look in the majors before his groin gave out. It would be a longshot for Beede to win a rotation spot out of spring training, but the Giants are hoping he’s close, and the AFL will help them figure that out.
Duggar is the ostensible center fielder of the future, a plus defender with enough speed and patience to contend for a leadoff gig one day. Like every hope and dream connected with the 2017 Giants, something bad happened to him, but he was recently promoted to Triple-A after rehabbing with the San Jose Giants. He’s in a similar situation as Beede, as it would be a surprise if the big-league club kept a 25-man roster spot open for him next April, but the Giants would sure love to be surprised.
Garcia is a 24-year-old catcher who has regularly floated around the edges of the Giants’ annual top-10 list, fighting various random injuries along the way. He’s hitting .254/.342/.397 in Double-A after a midseason promotion, and you might see him sooner than you think, considering that he has to be added to the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 Draft. I guessed that might have shown up in September because of that red tape, but the AFL nod makes me rethink that.
Cyr doesn’t have to be added to the roster soon, but he’s one of the relievers missing bats in the Giants’ minor league system, with a career 10.8 K/9 and a 10.5 K/9 this season in Double-A. The 24-year-old right-hander can strike hitters out, but he also has dodgy control, with a career 4.0 BB/9. He seems like exactly the kind of reliever that will show up out of nowhere and stick around the middle innings for a half-decade or longer. The Giants are owed a few of those.
If there’s a surprise, it might be that Christian Arroyo isn’t on the roster. He’s five at-bats and one day on the roster short of losing his rookie eligibility, and he seemed like a good candidate to make up for lost time, like Duggar. I’ll guess that he wasn’t quite ready to rush for October, though, and we’ll probably see him in winter ball.
One of these years, I’ll get to Scottsdale. If you decide this is the year, you’ll get to see four players with a decent-to-strong chance of being on the 2018. May that team be a little luckier and more watchable than this team. Please.