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The SF Giants Prospect Round-Up: Close to Capping The Season

This week, the short seasons begin to wrap up; Who will finish well?

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

A Cap on Jalen Miller’s Big Season

Once-upon a time, Jalen Miller was a young 3rd round pick who was the second fiddle to a top international prospect, pushed aggressively but struggling quite a bit.

Miller repeated San Jose and has put together a very strong year for San Jose, and a well-earned honor at a league All-Star.

How did Jalen Miller turn it around? His peripherals slightly declined from last season: he had a 3.23 K/BB ratio in 2017, he has a 4.03 K/BB ratio this year. What he has done is square up the baseball, raising his batting average from .227 to .283, and hit more than twice as many home runs (13) and increased his doubles as well (33, compared to 25 last season).

Miller hasn’t put himself into the top prospect debate as of yet, but he’s announced his presence and earned a spot on the lists. The 21-year old has a big jump to make to Richmond next year, a very hitting-unfriendly environment. But he will be one of the top names to follow next season.

Miller was the only Giant on the list of postseason All-Stars, but it wasn’t a cursory appointment. Not every team had a postseason All-Star named, even in an 8-team league; Stockton and Inland Empire both had no player representatives.

A Lack of Tools

I have a feeling this offseason is going to be one with a lot of people upset at the state of the Giants, and the farm system will be one of the sore spots. And what we see here will be one of those things. (If you want to see the Minor League list, which isn’t in the Tweet, click here.)

One of the things that the Giants have not chased in the draft are elite, standout tools. The only real tool you see the Giants push for consistently is high velocity pitching. Otherwise, the Giants have often valued well-rounded players with no major standout tools. While this can work out (such as the endless stream of players like Joe Panik, Matt Duffy, Christian Arroyo and Kelby Tomlinson, or pitchers like Ty Blach), it can also lead to a lack of excitement and high ceilings.

Now, having a standout tool is no guarantee of anything, either. Gary Brown, for instance, had the standout speed. The players you do see here that are top prospects appear in a couple of columns (like Ronald Acuna and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.). But as the offseason debates rage and the Giants’ farm production becomes a topic, this lack of tools, and the lack of excitement, will be a sore spot we’ll be hearing about.

A Lack Of Peripherals

As of Wednesday Morning, Miguel Gomez has a .658 OPS and Kelby Tomlinson has a .650 OPS in Sacramento. Part of that is from a recent Gomez hot streak and Tomlinson’s 18-game hitting streak broken by two hitless games.

A Tool Returns

I’m going to keep on talking about these tools, I guess. The good news is that Melvin Adon, one of the most exciting arms in the system, is making his return. Oblique injuries are nothing to laugh at, but the fact that Adon is making a regular season return makes his chances to be in the Arizona Fall League even better.

Then again, Adon would be one of the youngest players in the AFL, against more advanced competition, in a league infamous for being hitter friendly. I’d hope for the best, but I wouldn’t worry too much if he gets lit up, either.

A Big Injury

One of the Giants’ top prospects, Chris Shaw, went on the DL this week with lower back tightness.

The left fielder is batting .263/.314/.510 in 92 games with Sacramento this season. That’s slightly down from last season, batting .289/.328/.530 he hit last season. Shaw’s strikeout rate is slightly down this season (1 every 2.73 AB, compared to 1 every 3.17 AB).

Shaw was expected to be one of the September call-ups once the minor league season came to a close. It’s as yet unknown how this will affect him, and whether the team might give him the rest of the season off.

One of those OTHER Player Of The Week Awards

Stuff has been tough in Richmond, but Caleb Gindl has made the best of it.

The 29-year old right fielder did it mostly with batting average. Let’s be honest, Gindl is not a prospect anymore. The 2007 5th round pick joined the Giants organization in 2018 as a free agent. He’s spent most of the past two seasons in Richmond, batting .297/.354/.429 in 56 games this year. He also hit .277/.386/.383 in Sacramento over 29 games.

Further Reading And Watching

If you weren’t in Minor Lines yesterday, now’s your chance to hear Joey Bart talk about his future.

Hitter of the Week - Kyle McPherson

The leadoff hitter for the Volcanoes had himself a heck of a week.

McPherson was 12-for-27 with a pair of walks, leading to a .483 OBP on top of a .444 batting average. Throw in seven doubles and a home run, and McPherson had a 1.299 OPS on the week.

With 55 games in Salem-Keizer, McPherson is batting .306/.360/.489 on the season, having a breakout. McPherson had a .236/.283/.364 batting line in 29 games in the AZL last season.

Pitcher of the Week

The 21-year old pitcher from Venezuela lit up the strikeout light bulb this week…at least, if there is one in the AZL.

Across two starts, Cruz struck out 13 in 10 innings, giving up just five hits and four walks. He had a 0.90 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP for the week.

Cruz, if you remember, was the low-level pitcher that was a part of the Matt Moore deal. The 21-year old had a 5.91 ERA in the AZL last season, his second run at the level. This year, he’s got a 4.33 ERA in his third go, and has improved both his average allowed and WHIP.

Tuesday’s Lines

Sacramento Litter Box

  • Peter Bourjos was the only Sacramento hitter with multiple hits or an extra-base hit, with his second home run with the River Cats. That matches the total he had in Gwinnett, though it took him nine more games to do so. Bourjos also has less doubles (4, to 6 in Gwinnett) and less triples (2, to 5 in Gwinnett).
  • Daniel Camarena gave up seven earned runs, the third time he’s given up that total in his last nine starts. His ERA has jumped from 3.82 to 5.46 in that span.
  • Tyler Beede struck out the side, although he also gave up a walk and a hit. As a reliever, Beede has 25 strikeouts against 15 walks in 22.2 innings.

Richmond Nuthouse

  • Ryan Howard extended an 8-game hitting streak with his 2-hit day, four of those games have had two hits. He’s 12-for-30 (.400) over the span.
  • Former Eastern League Player of the Week was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Oops.
  • Chase Johnson suffered through another short start. He’s only reached five innings twice in the last six starts, and his ERA has jumped from 2.45 to 3.99 in that span.
  • Ian Gardeck made his first full appearance in Double-A as his comeback continues. He faced one batter on Sunday for his Double-A re-debut.

San Jose Footprints

  • A pitcher’s duel in San Jose, with only two Giants getting hits and helping each other score the only run.
  • Bryce Johnson was 2-for-4, including a double to put himself in scoring position in the 5th. Johnson is 5-for-12 over his last three games, with a walk and three strikeouts.
  • Catcher Tanner Murphy had the other two hits, including the RBI single to eventually win the game. Murphy is just 19-for-107 in 33 games at San Jose.
  • DJ Myers had one of his strongest starts of the season, going six scoreless innings for the second time this year. Over his last four starts, he’s struck out 19 and walked just one in 23 innings.
  • Frank Rubio bounced back from a difficult outing against Lancaster to put up a scoreless inning. He last gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in 2.2 IP

Augusta Putt-putt Course

  • Logan Baldwin’s hot August continued with a 4-hit game and three extra-base hits. He is now batting .333/.400/.644 over 13 games this month.
  • Orlando Garcia’s two doubles give him 16 on the season. Garcia now has 124 strikeouts against 50 walks.
  • Heliot Ramos made a late-game pinch-hit appearance and collected his 23rd double. He’s still four behind Ryan Kirby for the team lead.
  • Garrett Cave took a beating on the mound, giving up a season-high tying nine hits. His ERA jumped over 5 for the second time this season.

Salem-Keizer Crater

  • Kyle McPherson’s hot run continued with his second straight 3-hit game. With two doubles yesterday, he’s up to 19. He also nudged his batting average above .300.
  • Joey Bart led the team in RBI from the middle of the order. Bart nudged his batting average back up to .315.
  • Sean Hjelle gave up a pair of runs in two innings. Over his last three starts, he has allowed 7 runs on 5.2 IP, and his ERA has jumped from 3.09 to 5.71.
  • Keaton Winn gave up four earned runs, after giving up two in his previous outing. Winn has only 27 strikeouts in 36 innings, with 11 walks.

Arizona Black Adders

  • Franklin Labour picked up his first home run of the season, in his 32nd game. Labour is batting .289/.391/.456.
  • Sean Roby picked up his fifth home run, tying him for the team lead. The home run also extends his hitting streak to seven games.
  • Starter Israel Cruz matched his season-high with six innings pitched. The 21-year old fell off on the strikeouts with just five, after average seven in each of his previous three starts. He has 61 strikeouts in 54 innings, with 24 walks.

Arizona Orange Order

  • George Bell was 1-for-3, but added a pair of walks to get on base three times. Bell now has 16 walks against 35 strikeouts on the season, for a .368 OBP.
  • Similarly, Austin Edgette also was 1-for-3 with a pair of walks. He’s only played 19 games this season, but has 12 walks against 9 walks in 56 at-bats, with a .429 OBP.
  • 20-year old Jacob Lopez (26th round pic) was absolutely dominant in his third start of the season (8th appearance overall). He now has 26 strikeouts against five walks in 20.1 IP.
  • Melvin Adon made his first appearance in nearly two months, rehabbing in the AZL. Adon gave up three hits and two walks in 1.2 IP. Adon had a 4.87 ERA, with 71 SO and 34 walks in 77.2 IP, and a .278 batting average allowed in 16 appearances in San Jose.

Dominican Beach

  • Ouch.
  • Andrew Caraballo had a 3-hit game, his highest hit total since his 4th game of his career, going 5-for-5 on June 13 of last season (94 games ago).
  • Jose Hernandez landed on the Mendoza line with his first-ever 3-hit game.
  • Luis Toribio was hitless, but got walked for the first time in six games, drawing a pair. He has 47 walks against 58 strikeouts on the season.
  • On the mound, Luis Montero had the rough start, giving up four earned runs before the end of the second. With three walks and one strikeout, Montero has 28 walks against 20 strikeouts in 30.2 IP.
  • Samuel Qintana gave up a career-high seven hits in his 2.1 IP, giving up a season high four runs and three earned.

The Wrap-Up:

Minor League teams of San Jose, UNITE!

Okay, that is one boring T-shirt. What the heck guys?

Fine, fine, let’s have some fun. North Alabama’s soon-to-be-new baseball team needs a name, and they’ve got the final voting up. And my favorite, the Trash Pandas, is one of the finalists!

Now, maybe you might prefer Moon Possums, or ThunderSharks…but whatever you choose, help North Alabama make the right choice, will you? Click here to vote.