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They Might Be Giants

The Prospect Round-up

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The AZL Regular Season has Ended, and we look forward to the AFL

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

Arizona Fall League Announcements - Shaw is Added

The initial Arizona Fall League rosters were announced on Tuesday, and the Giants had four players listed. A 5th got added later in the week, one of the most exciting names.

The Tylers will be on the mound, with starter Tyler Beede from Triple-A and reliever Tyler Cyr from Double-A both named to the squad. Catcher Aramis Garcia, who started the year at High-A but was promoted to Richmond midseason will also get a shot. And finally, center fielder Steven Duggar, who returned midseason from an injury and worked his way back up to Triple-A, will get some time in the fall.

Teams normally send 6 players to the AFL each, although one contributor for each team gets to do 7. Initially, NBCSNBA had suggested that the Giants would fill the final two spots with pitchers. At some point this week, however, a new name popped up on the roster: hot-hitting slugger Chris Shaw, who got promoted to Triple-A midseason as well.

For the uninitiated, the Arizona Fall League is a month-and-a-half long prospect league in the less-sweltering fall Arizona heat. There are 6 teams in the AFL, and each AFL has five major league affiliates. The Giants contribute to the Scottsdale Scorpions (who play in the Giants’ spring training home), along with both New York teams, the Reds and the Angels. The league is usually filled with prospects from Triple-A and Double-A, though teams are allowed to send one High-A prospect if they have one worth sending.

The AFL season kicks off on October 10th.

Giants Draft Pick Does an AMA

I meant to post this last week, but this week will do.

Conner Nurse was the Giants 34th round pick in 2017, and a late-round high school pick is not often considered likely to sign. But despite the Giants’ own draft page saying he went unsigned, he did. He hasn’t played this year, but has been with the AZL team, working out hard. And he did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread, talking about life in the minors. It’s an interesting read (Especially his comment that he signed for 6th round money…Jim Callis indicated he signed for $250k).

Click here to see it: https://www.reddit.com/r/baseball/comments/6vpd9k/i_am_a_2017_draft_pick_for_the_san_francisco/

Small bonus of his mom, posting on Twitter, of the Florida high school kid’s first baseball card as a kid in 2006, wearing Giants gear.

The MVP of San Jose

Bryan Reynolds is one of the few prospects who did not end up injured for a significant part of the year.

Now batting .308, Reynolds has taken over the batting lead on the season with San Jose. He’s batting .308/.361/.450 with 24 doubles, 9 triples and 9 home runs, but did also collect 106 strikeouts against 37 walks in 119 games. He heated up as the season went on, posting a .321/.382/.481 batting line after the All-Star Break, including 6 of his home runs.

Also, Reynolds is in good company.

That’s a pretty impressive list…until you get to last year’s. Not sure what to think about Arenado repeating the level.

Minor League Playoffs Coming…for the Arizona Rookie League

The lone Giants minor league team that made the playoffs was the AZL rookies, a prospect-laden team that unfortunately went into a talespin after Heliot Ramos’ concussion.

Playoff games will start on Sunday, but the Giants get a first-round bye thanks to having the second-best overall record in the league. The Dodgers have the first round bye….but just barely made the playoffs anyway, finishing the second half in their division tied with the White Sox by record but holding the tie-breaker.

The first round games should be the Mariners against the Rangers, and the Brewers against the Cubs. The Giants will face the winner of those games with the higher record on Monday. Each of the first two rounds are single game rounds. Tuesday will begin the Best-of-3 championship series.

Never Forget What Is Important

I doubt they are the only ones who have put in either financial or physical assistance. Sometimes, baseball matters less and less.

This said, I think I’m going to be rooting for Houston in the playoffs. Because baseball is still a thing.

Some Hope For The Future

This is nothing but good news. Matt Krook was one of the few pitchers of the 2016 draft who had a high potential, but his 5.12 ERA was just awful (and that’s much improved from where it was). He’s been shifted to relief to conserve innings, and he has looked better lately, but Bobby DeMuro sees a clear change in his stuff.

DeMuro did bring us video of that much-improved stuff, too.

Additionally, DeMuro had some good words to say about recently acquired Shaun Anderson, who was part of the Eduardo Nunez trade.

The Giants desperately need prospects and depth. Krook finding a way to bounce back from a truly awful season with improved stuff would be a start. And getting a decent mid-level prospect out of the Nunez trade would help as well. Anderson likely could be in Richmond next season, and truly get tested.

Hitter of the Week - Gio Brusa

Gio Brusa has a slugger’s name. This week, as the season waned, he sure hit like it.

Brusa was 7-for-20, but 4 of those were home runs, and 2 more were doubles, giving him an absurd 1.050 slugging percentage on the week. He capped the week off with a 2-home run game on Saturday against Stockton.

On the season, Brusa is batting .239/.298/.431, and his 16 home runs are one short of the current team leader (and since promoted) Aramis Garcia. Brusa has struck out 123 times in 111 games, with 33 walks, to count against his record.

Pitcher of the Week - Patrick Ruotulo

It’s not often we talk about relievers for pitcher of the week, but Ruotolo absolutely did it this week. Despite pitching just 4 innings, his 10 strikeouts led the system. That’s 12 outs he collected, 10 by strikeout. He only gave up a solitary hit and walk to count against him.

The 22-year old Ruotolo has a 1.71 ERA in 43 games this year, with 17 saves in 18 opportunities on a weak Augusta team. He’s kept batters to a .165 batting average, and has a WHIP of 0.82. He has 69 strikeouts against 12 walks in 47.1 innings.

Saturday’s Lines

Saturday’s Boxes

AAA R H E AA R H E High-A R H E
AAA R H E AA R H E High-A R H E
El Paso 8 14 1 Bowie 11 15 0 San Jose 11 15 0
Sacramento 1 7 3 Richmond 2 7 1 Stockton 3 6 1

Saturday’s Boxes Continued

Low-A R H E Short-A R H E
Low-A R H E Short-A R H E
Charleston 1 5 2 Eugene 8 14 0
Augusta 5 14 0 Salem-Keizer 3 6 2

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 Steven Duggar CF 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.250
SAC Austin Slater LF 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.322
SAC Mac Williamson RF 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.244
SAC Slade Heathcott RF 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.274
SAC Ryan Lollis 1B 3 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.294
RIC Caleb Gindl CF 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.291
RIC K.C. Hobson 1B 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 1 1 0.253
RIC Eliezer Zambrano C 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.202
SJ Cristian Paulino 3B 6 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.395
SJ Ryan Howard SS 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.304
SJ Bryan Reynolds RF 4 1 2 0 0 0 2 1 0 0.308
SJ Gio Brusa DH 4 3 2 0 0 2 2 1 2 0.239
SJ Ronnie Jebavy CF 4 1 2 0 0 1 2 1 2 0.253
SJ Matt Winn C 5 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 1 0.215
AUG Shawon Dunston Jr. DH 5 1 2 0 0 1 2 0 1 0.246
AUG Jean Angomas RF 5 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.289
AUG Jose Vizcaino Jr. 1B 3 1 3 1 0 0 2 1 0 0.257
AUG Michael Bernal 3B 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.263
AUG Ashford Fulmer CF 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.240
S-K Bryce Johnson CF 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.327
S-K Logan Baldwin RF 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.339
S-K Orlando Garcia 2B 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 3 0.269
S-K Junior Amion LF 3 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.326

Saturday’s Pitchers

TEAM Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
TEAM Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
SAC Jose Flores (L, 2-4) 5.0 9 7 6 2 5 0 4.04
SAC Dusten Knight 2.0 4 1 1 1 2 0 3.49
SAC Kraig Sitton 2.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3.74
RIC Matt Lujan (L, 4-5) 6.0 11 5 5 1 2 3 4.99
RIC Jordan Johnson 1.0 1 1 1 2 0 0 4.48
SJ Conner Menez (W, 7-7) 6.0 2 0 0 1 6 0 4.41
SJ Dylan Rheault 1.0 2 1 1 1 0 1 2.75
AUG Yordy Cabrera (W, 2-3) 7.0 3 1 1 2 7 0 3.44
AUG Patrick Ruotolo 1.0 1 0 0 1 3 0 1.71
S-K Julio Benitez (L, 1-7) 6.2 11 5 4 0 1 0 4.30
  • The Mac Williamson mystery continues. Yesterday, he was the third right fielder of the game. Today, he started, but came out after the 4th inning for Slade Heathcott, for no apparent reason other than sharing playing time.
  • Ryan Lollis is 8-for-14 over his last 4 games.
  • Jose Flores had his roughest start of the year in likely his last one, giving up a season-high 6 runs.
  • Speaking of struggling in last starts of the year, Matt Lujan of Richmond tied a season-high in hits allowed last week with 10; he set a new season high with 11 on Saturday.
  • San Jose’s offense had a big day a little too late, but Gio Brusa’s two home runs led the way. Brusa now has 16 on the season, both were solo shots.
  • Ronnie Jebavy hit his 4th homer of the year, and added his 14th stolen base. Matt Winn had his 6th.
  • Bryan Reynolds was 2-for-4 with a walk as his season continues to finish strong.
  • Every San Jose batter had at least one hit.
  • Conner Menez threw his first game without allowing a run since May 28th. He had given up a combined 10 runs over his last two starts.
  • Jose Vizcaino Jr. had a perfect day, 3-for-3 with a walk. That raised his OBP to .305 in 82 games at Augusta.
  • Left fielder Jean Angomas followed up his 4-for-4 day with a 3-hit game. His batting average is up 17 points over the last two games, now at .289.
  • Yordy Cabrera set a new season high in strikeouts with 7, but that’s not so impressive since it was just his 6th start of the year. The 27-year old has been primarily a starter in Augusta after relieving most of the year in San Jose and Richmond.
  • Patrick Ruotolo struck out the side (around a hit and walk) to continue an amazing run. He has collected 15 outs in his last 4 appearances; 12 have been by strikeout. He now has 69 in 47.1 innings this year.
  • Orlando Garcia’s 6th home run of the year was close to the only Salem-Keizer offensive highlight, as they sputter to the end of the season.
  • Julio Benitez gave up a season-high 11 hits in his 14th start of the year.

The Wrap-Up: The AZL Giants

The AZL Giants do have at least one playoff game ahead, but their regular season is done, so let’s give them a post-mortem. It’s arguable that this was the most exciting, prospect-laden team i the system, with initial returns on the 2017 draft that range from “Wahoo” to “Hell Yeah.” So let’s look at the names to pay attention to.

TOP PROSPECT - Duh. Heliot Ramos, he of the concussed, was a late riser on MLB draft boards but an early riser in Giants’ fans hearts. He hit .348/.404/.645, with 11 doubles, 6 triples and 6 home runs, and 10 stolen bases on 12 attempts. Despite being one of the league’s youngest players, he was 2nd in the league in batting average and 2nd in OPS (1.049). Some might even call him the organization’s top prospect this offseason.

TOP PITCHER - Seth Corry is going to come away from the AZL with an ERA of 5.55 that looks ugly, but his last 3 starts were just awful. Before that, he had a 1.69 ERA, but in a span that coincided with Heliot’s injury, he gave up 11 earned runs in just 3 innings of work. Mor troubling, however, is that the late trend (7 walks to 3 strikeouts) ended up with him having more walks (22) than strikeouts (21), in 24.1 innings. Now, it’s just the AZL, so the left-hander has a lot of time and a lot of development to go. But he’s got the expectations.

BLOODLINES - The most notable name on the team is the son of one of the local Diamondbacks’ most famous players. Jacob Gonzalez, son of Luis, did not show his father’s power (1 home run in 46 games, 15 doubles and 1 triple), but he showed an advanced feel for hitting, with a .339 batting average and a .418 OBP, with 16 walks against just 23 strikeouts in 168 ABs. The second round pick was considered a reach by some, but he did quite alright for himself.

THE SLEEPER - 12th round pick Aaron Bond, a 20-year old junior college pick, finished the season impressing a few scouts. He hit .306/.368/.565 with a team-high 8 home runs in 41 games. He was praised for quick hands and some explosive power. He did manage 50 strikeouts against 14 walks in 147 at-bats, but at least his early returns looked good.