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They Might Be Giants

The SF Giants Prospect Round-Up: A Pitching Check-Up

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Let’s take a look at how the large number of high-drafted pitchers are doing for the Giants (We know how the top hitter is doing)

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

Taking An Early Look at the 2018 Draft Pitching Class

8th round pick Solomon Bates came out of USC, and Baseball America mentioned his lack of an out pitch. Well, he’s been okay with the out pitch he’s used as a pro in a small sample size. 22 strikeouts in 13.2 innings is good. 10 walks is not so much. But when the system is bereft of pitching, upside is something you look for. The Giants draft 7 pitchers in the top 10 rounds. Let’s take a look at the peripherals for each, and see about that upside. (And ignore the Short Sample Size ERA).

2nd Round - Sean Hjelle

9.2 IP in 6 games (SK), 10 SO, 1 BB, 12 H, 2 HR - Well, it’s impressive the control the 6’11” pitcher has had. He’s shown some really excellent coordination. The hits, not so much, particularly two home runs. Maybe this is stereotyping, but he’ll have to learn to keep the ball down and limit those home runs.

3rd Round - Jake Wong

12.1 IP in 6 games (SK), 14 SO, 3 BB, 12 H, 1 HR - The 21-year old out of Grand Canyon University has only gotten more than a strikeout per inning once but he’s been very consistent. He had some struggles early, but has shown consistency more recently.

4th Round - Blake Rivera

7.1 IP in 4 games (SK), 7 SO, 5 BB, 2 HB - Rivera came out of college with a nice strikeout pitch, but hasn’t shown it yet as a pro. Control has been more of an issue in his early games.

5th Round - Keaton Winn

19.2 IP in 9 games (SK), 17 SO, 5 BB - The 20-year old coming out of Junior College, and while the peripherals haven’t been perfect, he’s gotten a ton of work compared to his higher-drafted compatriots. But one might say that Winns are an overrated stat anyway…

9th Round - Ben Madison

8 IP in 5 games (AZL), 12 SO, 8 BB - Much like Bates (who we talked about up top), Madison has shown strikeout stuff, but some control issues. The nice thing is, he had all 8 walks in his first three games (5 IP), but none in the past two games (3 IP) with 5 strikeouts. Madison is the only Top 10 pitcher that has been pitching in the AZL.

10th Round - Alex DuBord

8.2 IP in 5 games (SK), 4 SO, 4 BB, 19 H, 2 HR - Okay, so this has been once of the rougher starts for any of the pitchers. DuBord was on one of the top teams in the NAIA, and has low-90’s heat with a slurvy breaking pitch, but he hasn’t quite put it together yet.

Obviously, all this is the ultimate Small Sample Size, and you should never take short-season ball too seriously. But the system has missed having a lot of pitching talent infusion, and has traded away some of what they have. So any good signs from the pitching is a plus.

One More 2018-Drafted Pitcher

Last week, we highlighted the Giants’ 40th (and final round) draft pick, so let’s talk about the 39th round pick

Trevor Horn, unlike all those other pitchers, got a big opportunity to go to San Jose after pitching his first 11 games in the AZL.

Horn, a 22-year old out of UNLV, did very well although he was old for the league in the AZL. The start of his San Jose career did not go so poorly, though. In his first two games, he’s struck out four in four innings, giving up just two hits and no walks.

Still, don’t expect too much out of a 39th round pick, but enjoy the ride while it lasts…

This Is How You Inform A Player Of His Promotion

Publicly.

That is so, completely, awesome. Get ready for him Richmond, he’s coming.

Northwest League All-Stars Announced

There we go…quite a nice collection for Salem-Keizer.

What, no Joey Bart photo? MiLB says that Bart will be headlining the team, and that’s a very fair assessment. Bart also was a part of the MLB Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week, so it’s been a good couple of weeks, for sure.

And, for one of the other All-Stars, Gregory Santos got profiled in the Athletic, if you’ve got a subscription.

A Good Breakdown of Camilo Doval’s Season

Or…why a season’s stats can lie…

Doval has really done incredibly well as his season as gone on, but it looks horrible because of how bad his start was.

As it stands now, Doval has a 3.40 ERA in 34 games, 59 strikeouts against 19 walks, and a .211 batting average against and a 1.26 WHIP, all in Augusta.

A Closer Look at Jacob Gonzalez

2080 Baseball put Jacob Gonzalez under their Sunday Spotlight, and their verdict is pretty similar to what we’ve seen before.

The bottom line is that Gonzalez is a physically mature hitter with real power and still more that can be developed. He’s a smart hitter, although his big swing does lend to coverage issues around the plate. And he’s not a third baseman defensively.

The “Extreme” risk of development that 2080 puts on him is not unfair. He’s going to have to have to make adjustments, both to his swing and defensively. He’s a smart enough player, especially as a 2nd-generation player, to make adjustments. To improve his hit tool, he’ll likely end up sacrificing some power potential. And he won’t be as valuable in left field as a third baseman. (Based on my eye test, I don’t think he has the reactions to be on the infield.)

Chris Heston Gets Released

It seems like it wasn’t too long ago that he was throwing a no-hitter. Since then, Chris Heston was traded to Seattle, moved to the Dodgers and Twins, reacquired in free agency, and now, released.

It hasn’t been a good ride for Heston since that 2015 season. He struggled for the Giants in 2016, only made three appearances total between the Mariners and Twins in the Majors, and a 6.48 ERA in the minors between three organizations (and just one with the Dodgers). This year, he was injured in his first start of the season at Sacramento. He’s struggled in his return once he moved up to Double-A, although this move still seemed awfully quick.

At just over 30 years old, it’s not inconceivable that Heston might catch on somewhere else, but at least for now, his return journey with the Giants if over. Hopefully he can get completely healthy before going to the next stop on his journey.

Looking Ahead

Let’s be honest, it’s been a tough start to the second half, even with the recent short-sweep of San Diego. And it may have convinced the Giants to not become buyers on the trading deadline. And so…it wasn’t unfair to look ahead.

If the season ended today, the Giants would have the 14th overall pick in the draft, at 55-54 (.505). And it’s close. Two teams (Rays and Cardinals) sit just ‘behind’ the Giants at 54-53 (.505), and two are at .500 (Nationals at 53-53, Angels at 54-54).

It’s a very, very close race in the draft picks right now. Who knows how that will look in a couple of months, and where the Giants will be.

Walk-Off Wildness!

This year has been difficult one at times, so I figure we should lighten the mood with the best feeling in baseball. Through the magic of bad cell phone video, as well as social media, we can share with not just one, but two walkoff wins in the system.

Come on, guys, get a real camera and video set up, please!

Someone Else’s Player of the Week Honors…

kay, so he actually gets a prize. And with how little these players get paid, a restaurant gift card is probably as nice a small prize as these guys can get.

But Menez has been putting together a nice season. The 23-year old has begun to settle in at Double-A after spending most of the year in San Jose. He’s been a good strikeout pitcher, but he’s getting better at limiting the hits as the season has gone on. Menez isn’t going to grow into your top prospect, but he’s positioning himself as an interesting mid-level prospect in a level of the system that has few prospects to speak of.

Hitter of the Week - Nico Giarratano

Normally, I don’t pick a player who hasn’t had a ton of plate appearances, but we’re going to go a little out of the normal box this week.

Nico Giarratano had an amazing week for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. He hit three home runs while going 7-for-15 with a walk and a double. Last year’s 24th round pick collected hits in each of the five games he played this week.

Giarratano is batting .319/.281/.574 on the season with Salem-Keizer. He hit .253/.375/.342 in 35 games in the Arizona League last season.

Pitcher of the Week - Solomon Bates

More out of the box thinking. Bates got in one appearance this week, and only went three innings. He earns the honor this week because he absolutely dominated. He faced 12 batters, and struck out eight while giving up three hits and one groundout.

As you probably read at the top of this article, Bates has had a mixed season. He has a 5.27 ERA on the season, but also 22 strikeouts against 10 walks in 13.2 innings.

Saturday’s Lines

Sacramento Litter Box

Sacramento had a scheduled day off.

Richmond Nuthouse

  • Jonah Arenado got off the interstate, but it took a 4-for-4 day to do so. He raised his average from .191 with the day, his first multi-hit game since June 29th. He’s had a difficult season, but was just 16-for-90 in July (including today’s game), batting .178/.219/.222 for the month.
  • Luigi Rodriguez had a 2-hit day with his 8th double of the season. Richmond’s regular leadoff hitter has eight doubles, five triples and 12 home runs on the season.
  • It was just an ugly day on the mound, and that started with Taylor Hill. It took him 61 pitches to go through two innings, his shortest start of the year, and still falling just one shy of the most runs. Hill has given up 16 runs in 10.2 IP over his last three starts, and his ERA has more than doubled from 3.18 to 6.48.

San Jose Footprints

  • It was a punchless day for the Giants, with eight hits and just one extra-base hit coming as a Dillon Dobson double. His 7th double was also the source for the only San Jose RBI.
  • Domenic Mazza wasn’t helped by his defense today, but wasn’t great on his own, either. Mazza’s 5th inning was marred by a Dillon Dobson error, leading to two of his five runs going unearned. He also had an errant pickoff throw and a wild pitch that didn’t lead to any runs.
  • 39th round pick Trevor Horn had a quiet outing in his second appearance at San Jose, striking out two in an inning of work. Horn has not walked anyone yet at the San Jose level.

Augusta Putt-putt Course

Augusta and Kannapolis was postponed by rain. The game will made-up as part of a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Salem-Keizer Crater

  • Robinson Medrano hit his sixth home run on the season, giving him a new career high in a 6-year career (3 in the DSL).
  • Nico Giarratano hit a home run for the second game in a row, and third in the last four games. Last year’s 24th round pick has begin to come alive in the last 10 games, batting .394 with five home runs.
  • Gregory Santos suffered through his toughest start of the year, giving up season highs in hits (10) runs (5), and earned runs (4). It was his first start without walking anyone since July 1st. Santos has 38 strikeouts and 13 walks in 42 innings.

Arizona Black Adders

  • Jose Rivero led the team with a 3-hit game, his third in the last six games.
  • Frankie Tostado hit his 8th double of the season in a 2-hit game. Tostado had just one double in his first 12 games, and 7 in his next 16.
  • Luis Moreno gave up a season-high nine hits, and gave up his first walks in his last four games.

Arizona Orange Order

Game 1

Game 2

  • The Orange team finished yesterday’s suspended game as part of a double-header, and for once, a Giants team didn’t give up a bunch of runs.
  • Beicker Mendoza picked up a pair of hits in Game 1, and was 0-for-2 with a walk in Game 2.
  • Game 1 starter Ben Madison (9th Round pick) went a quiet inning to start off the game. Jacob Gonzalez went three quiet innings before the suspension of the game on Monday. But Ian Gardeck ended up with the loss after walking three, his first walks of his return.
  • In Game 2, the Giants won by scoring four, collecting just two hits. In fact, the Giants scored 3 runs in the third without a hit. They collected four walks, including Mendoza’s bases-loaded walk, then Bryan Hernandez was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and a wild pitch scored the third.
  • Seth Corry had a good all-around game.one of the few he’s had this season. He now has 42 strikeouts against 17 walks in 38 innings this season.

Dominican Beach

  • Luis Toribio has seen his stats drop steadily over the past two weeks, but he had a nice bounce back by getting on base three times, twice by walk. He has 39 walks against 41 strikeouts in 129 at-bats this season.
  • Robinson Batista collected his first home run of the season on a 2-for-3 day. The 19-year old matched his previous season high from last year, though it took him twice as many games and more than double the at-bats. Batista hit .370/.431/.522 last season in limited playing time in the DSL, but now is hitting .243/.341/.348.
  • Ivan Armstrong gave up no earned runs for the first time since June 23rd, six starts ago. Armstrong also gave up no walks for just the second time this season. Armstrong has 41 strikeouts against 19 walks in 45.1 IP this season.
  • Josdeiker Marcano has been reliable in middle relief for the DSL team. The 18-year old, he has a 1.57 ERA, and hasn’t been scored upon in his last 7 games. He hasn’t walked anyone in eight games, either, and has 18 strikeouts against just four walks in 23 innings.

The Wrap-Up:

It’s not Giants oriented, but in the vein of humor that could only be minor league baseball, let’s take a look at the naming options for the soon-to-be-relocated baseball team in Madison, Alabama.

As has been the recent process, teams are allowing fans to vote on the name, but Madison is taking it a step further. There are two separate votes going on, one for the team’s mascot, and another for how the team’s home region will be named.

Yes, it might not be Madison; it might be Madison, or North Alabama, or ‘Rocket City’.

Northern Alabama has strong ties to space exploration, hence the Rocket City nickname. That also has ties to many of the names, like Comet Jockeys, Moon Possums, and Space Sloths and Space Chimps. And Puffy Head Bird Legs, which is space-related somehow. But personally, I’m a little partial to Trash Pandas, especially if paired with ‘Rocket City’.

Why?

©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

Oh, no reason.