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They Might Be Giants

The SF Giants Prospect Round-Up: Revisiting the ‘15 and ‘16 Drafts

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With draft week almost upon us, let’s take a look back at two of the more recent drafts, and what they have brought the team.

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

How Are The 2015 and 2016 Drafts Looking Now?

It’s still early to try and truly know how past drafts are shaking out. Few players have made the majors (if any), so one can’t use WAR to easily compare players. However, that never stops us!

Let’s take a look back to 2015 and 2016, and see the players the Giants brought on and see how things are looking.

2015:

First Round Pick - Phil Bickford (#18 overall). Bickford was a rare Junior College first round pick, but a young (19) starting pitcher who was showing a live fastball, inconsistent reports, and an active marijuana record. He was traded in 2016 for Will Smith, a trade which has had (so far) limited benefits for either team. Bickford still has shown live stuff, but a drug suspension (believed to be for marijuana) and a broken hand off a batted ball limited his 2017 season. Bickford has not yet pitched in 2018, but was just assigned to the High-A Carolina Mudcats. At just 22, Bickford’s youth can absorb his lost time, but it’s time he gets started.

Top Prospect - Steven Duggar (6th Round, #186 overall). Not even the first center fielder taken by the Giants in the draft, Duggar’s defense and plate discipline has pushed him up the prospect rankings. Questions remain about his bat, as he’s struggled with breaking pitches. He entered 2018 as a prospect with high expectations, and those still are on his shoulders as he works hard in Sacramento. (This is a close call between Duggar, outfielder Chris Shaw, and pitcher Andrew Suarez.)

Best Performers:

  • Although it was only due to injuries, 3rd round pick Andrew Suarez was the first (and so far only) 2015 draftee to make the Majors. If Suarez can develop as he was on track to, he could be a good mid-rotation starter.
  • Chris Shaw (1st Sandwich Round, 31st overall) would possibly have been considered the top prospect after the 2017 season, and he hasn’t fallen based on any of his own failures but more a crowded outfield situation. Shaw teases good power, and though his batting average is not idea in Triple-A Sacramento right now, 10 home runs in 36 games is not bad at all. He’s on the DL right now.

Unrealized Potential:

  • 4th round pick Mac Marshall has pitched in just 9 games since 2016, when he had a 4.70 ERA between Augusta and Salem-Keizer. Tommy John surgery took away his 2017 and have kept him limited for 2018. In limited innings, he has a 1.45 ERA this year (better than any previous campaign), but just rejoined the disabled list.
  • 3rd round pick Jalen Miller has been overshadowed by other middle infielders for most of his career, first by Lucius Fox and later by Ryan Howard. In his fourth season, he might finally be breaking out, batting .308/.361/.492 in San Jose, but he is way behind his pace.485

Bust: Ronnie Jebavy (5th round, #156 overall) is as close to an outright bust as you’ll see in this draft, which has many early round picks with question marks. Jebavy spent two years with unremarkable stats in San Jose, but is scuffling in Richmond this year to the tune of .184/.282/.270.

Diamond In The Rough - Domenic Mazza (22nd round, #666 overall) was a young draftee out of UC Santa Barbara, 20 years old at the time of the draft. Mazza had a 3.93 ERA in his first full year at Augusta, then seemed to break out with a 3.01 ERA in Augusta the following year. The 23-year old hasn’t pitched yet in 2018, but has the best chance of breaking out among the late-round draftees.

2016:

First Pick: Bryan Reynolds (2nd Round, #59 Overall). The Giants didn’t have a first round pick thanks to the Samardzija signing, but picked a good all-around player in Bryan Reynolds. He hit .312 in both of his first two seasons, despite a hard push to High-A in his first full season. The Giants traded him to Pittsburgh in the McCutchen trade. He missed the first part of 2018, but just got assigned to Double-A Altoona.

Top Prospect (Remaining): Uh….Heath Quinn (3rd Round, #95 overall)? I’ll be honest, this isn’t a very strong draft. Quinn struggled in 2017, but began to bounce back this season (until a recent DL trip) batting .315. The power hitter has the best potential of any hitter still in the system. But this is a good place to note that 3 of the players the Giants drafted in the top 8 rounds have been traded (Reynolds, 4th rounder Matt Krook and 8th rounder Stephen Woods).

Best Performers:

  • Ryan Howard (5th round, #155 overall) was targeted by the Giants in 2015 as well (31st round), and has performed well without a high ceiling. He’s currently in Double-A batting .280/.331/.391.
  • Throwing out this year, Garrett Williams (7th round, #215 overall) has showed off some great pitches, particularly his curveball. He’s really hurting in Richmond (6.69 ERA), but that’s out of line enough to not be too worrisome…for now.

Busts: Matt Krook (4th Round, #125 overall) Even though he’s no longer in the system, I’m going with Krook. The 4th round pick came with a huge amount of potential even as a 4th round pick, but as a Giant, he struggled with his control and never was able to capitalize the way people wanted. He was part of the Longoria trade, and of course now he’s looking solid (2.77 ERA) after a move to relief.

Diamond In The Rough - Pat Ruotolo (27th round, #815 overall). The 5’10” reliever has wowed opponents even as he fails to wow scouts. He had a 68 ERA in Augusta with 69 strikeouts in 48.1 IP, and followed that with a 1.47 ERA in San Jose to start this year with 26 strikeouts in 18.1 IP. He’s been promoted to Richmond and has looked good there in two outings.

CALIXTE!

Not a bad slide to finish that thing! He got around the bases very quickly!

More Starting Depth in Sacramento

Because boy, does this team need all it can get.

The 25-year old Camarena had a 5.08 ERA in eight starts for Scranton/WB this season before getting released. He had a combined 3.65 ERA in Double-A and Triple-A last year, and has kept his ERA in the mid threes each of the last three seasons. His debut in Sacramento went well, six innings, one run on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts.

Hector Sanchez and The Possible End Of His Catching Career

Several of the writers said it would be unthinkable that he’d ever be allowed to get behind the plate again, although…one never knows what a team or player might try.

Here’s to wishing Hector the best, and hopefully maybe a new career as a coach in someone’s system.

Ouch

This tweet is now deleted, but when the main team account even mentions how horrible the team’s defense has been, that is not a good sign.

Just In Case You Aren’t Doing Anything On Thursday

Another Son of a Former Giant Gets His Moment

Burks was an undrafted free agent signing in 2017. He was hitless in 3 games in the AZL, and 1-for-13 in ten games at Salem-Keizer. He turns 24 next month, so he won’t be in the hot list for prospects, unfortunately, but good for him.

Hitter of the Week - Jalen Miller

Coming into Tuesday, the running for this was neck-and-neck between two San Jose teammates. Neither had a great Tuesday, but Jalen Miller got the walkoff hit, so he gets the nod over Sandro Fabian (who was hitless).

Miller was 9-for-25 on the week with two doubles, two home runs and six RBI. He also had three walks against nine strikeouts to highlight a very up-and-down week for plate discipline. That was good for a .360/.428/.680 batting line on the week.

For the season, Miller is batting .308/.361/.485 with 14 walks and 44 strikeouts, and is finally starting to look like he’s breaking out after three poor years in the system.

Bonus points to Fabian, however, who ended the week 7-for-25 with two doubles and three home runs, one of the better weeks of his career.

Pitcher of the Week - Casey Kelly

At 28, Casey Kelly’s time as a prospect might be pretty much over, but he did have a hell of a week for an organization that can’t keep it’s starters healthy.

Kelly had two starts this week. It started with a shutout seven innings against Las Vegas, allowing just one hit and one walk but also getting just one strikeout. On Tuesday, he followed it up with allowing one run in seven innings, but striking out nine. Kelly has become a pitcher whose strikeout ability can vary wildly from night to night, and he can still succeed without it (but not always.

On the season, Kelly has a 5.65 ERA in 11 starts, with 42 strikeouts against 19 walks in 57.1 innings of work.

Saturday’s Lines

Sacramento Litter Box

  • Orlando Calixte picked up his eighth home run of the season, and his second in four games, highlighting the big fourth inning that powered the Sacramento win.
  • Two hitters had four hits in the middle of the River Cats lineup. Ryder Jones had his second 4-hit game of his career. With a day left in May, Jones has had a strong May, batting .306/.349/.429 in the month, after batting just .244/.322/.333 in April.
  • Myles Schroder had gone hitless in his past six games (only three of which were starts), which followed his last 4-hit game on May 20th.
  • Casey’s Kelly’s strong week continued with a 9-strikeout game…but you already read a bit about him.
  • Derek Law bounced back from giving up four earned runs in his last appearance, already his second such appearance in Sacramento this season.
  • Rehab continues to be a big part of Sacramento. Joe Panik’s rehab continued, going 1-for-4 with an RBI and two strikeouts. Mark Melancon threw another scoreless inning, striking out two for the first time in four appearances.

Richmond Nuthouse

  • Back from his latest bounce to the Majors and back to the minors, Miguel Gomez picked up where he left off, with his 7th double and first home run in the minors. In Double-A, he’s batting .314/.330/.467 in 28 games.
  • Aramis Garcia also picked up a two-hit game, breaking a three-game hitting streak. Over those three games, Garcia was 0-for-13 with eight strikeouts, adn saw his batting average dip below .200.
  • Shaun Anderson gave up four earned runs for the second time in his last three starts. His ERA has been slowly increasing, going from 2.12 on April 17th to 3.09 now.
  • Patrick Ruotolo continues to look strong since his promotion to Double-A. With three appearances under his belt and 4.2 IP, he has given up just one hit and one walk with seven strikeouts.

San Jose Footprints

  • San Jose won a pitching duel in the 11th inning as Jalen Miller hit a two-out walk-off single, his only hit of the game. Miller has been hitting .324 with an .892 OPS and getting hits in 13 of his last 14 games.
  • Bryce Johnson was the only San Jose hitter with multiple hits, but also added his first two-stolen base game. He now has 10 steals in 13 attempts on the season.
  • The Giants were facing rehabbing Major Leaguer Shelby Miller of the Diamondbacks tonight.
  • Logan Webb continues to dominate in short outings. He went a season-high four innings for the third time this year, and fourth straight game not giving up any runs. Webb has 29 strikeouts against 16 walks in 34 innings this season.

Augusta Putt-putt Course

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Tuesday’s scheduled doubleheader was postponed by rain. Game 1 was scheduled to be a continuation of the suspended game from May 20th.

Now, that suspended game is planned to be made up as part of a doubleheader on Wednesday, and Tuesday’s regularly scheduled game will be part of a doubleheader on Thursday. That is a lot of baseball.

The Wrap-Up:

A little bit of promo news around the system...

Poe is best associated with Baltimore, but he lived for a while in Richmond, too. I was not aware of this. He has both a bar and a museum in town, and they are partnering on this “Bobblestache”

Although this seems like a late-comer to the trend of naming teams after food, this is a tribute to the Paul the Churro Man at San Jose, who is often to be seen late in games selling churros in the seats. He’ll be getting his own bobblehead, too.

How many concession guys get that kind of recognition? That’s pretty cool.