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They Might Be Giants

The SF Giants Prospect Round-Up: The DSL Wrap-Up and Top Prospects

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Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

The DSL - What To Make Of It

The DSL sometimes seems to be a throw-in on reports, even ours. Fans don’t really attend, scouting video is relatively rare to get, and like the other complex leagues, playoffs are short formalities. This league is a great example of the mantra “You’re not here to win, you’re here to develop.” But the Dominican Summer League got the spotlight in a recent article that’s a great read:

In particular, I like this quote from the Cubs DR Field Coordinator, Dave Keller:

“It’s not about the volume of work before the games. We want to see what these guys can do in the games because most of them don’t train for the games, they train for the tryout to get signed. We want to see how they act and react to situations, what their instincts are like.”

So the games do matter, if not the wins.

The Giants mainly debuted players from their 2017 signing season and repeats from before, so there weren’t a lot of high-expectation prospects. That said, there were some interesting performances that bear watching, both on the plate and on the mound.

We’re going to save our more in-depth look for a later article, but take a look at GPT’s quick take on the team.

A Postseason Without Giants Baseball

San Jose was a constant playoff presence back in the mid-late-2000’s, but obviously, that’s not a thing anymore.

This season though, not a single team will make the playoffs in the Giants system, a rare occurrence indeed.

The point of the minor leagues is to develop players, and sometimes players get their best development without necessarily the best production. Still, with all the struggles the big league team is having, one might want some hope in seeing the Giants have someone in the minors making some noise.

Maybe next season. Next season, San Jose could be uber-talented. Bart. Ramos. Gonzalez. Geraldo. Hjelle. Wong. Yorlis. Baldwin. Ziegler. Phillips. Doval. Cruz. Tona. Rubio. That’s an intriguing team.

(Obviously, those names are speculation, and maybe some of those guys won’t be in SJ. But according to Joe Ritzo, Bart should be if he’s on schedule.)

Looking Ahead To The 2019 Draft

No, it’s not too early to look. Where are the Giants going to draft?

With a 4-game winning streak, the Giants are now holding the 14th spot in the draft, if the season was to end today. They are just 2.5 games within #12, with the Pirates and Angels ahead of them. But Washington is only a half game behind the Giants, sitting at #15.

Meanwhile, Baseball America has a look at some of the high school kids to watch ahead of next year’s draft.

Hmm…I’m going to have to remember the names Corbin Carroll and Daniel Espino. I like what’s to be seen there.

As always, know that things change. At this time last year, the two top names we kept seeing were Brady Singer and Ethan Hankins. Singer ended up the #18 overall pick to the Royals. Hankins went #35 overall.

Getting a Look At Heliot

Didn’t we used to feature Heliot highlights on the regular? I guess I’ve been messing up. Well, here you go!

That’s a great look at the speed Heliot has, an asset we’ll see a lot more of next season. Plus, nice line drive to right. The bricks in the Portwalk at AT&T Park better be ready for a peppering in the future.

But that’s not all!

Plus, he likes dogs. Forget Mike Trout, this is the future face of Baseball!

Why Not Bart?

Well, if I’m going to show off Ramos, let’s show off Joey Bart as well.

That is a long swing with some power, but boy I can see some strikeout potential there. You know whose swing resembles that? Jacob Gonzalez. Long, but with real power when it barrels up. I’d love to see Bart talk with the younger Gonzalez, share notes, and work together. Gonzo will need his bat to carry him, and maybe Bart can help with that.

Also in that swing from Bart is some HBP potential, because the way you beat that swing is up and in. Andy Baggarly addressed that and more, in this profile in The Athletic.

(Okay, look, I know some people don’t want to pay for sportswriting, but if you have a free preview still available, use it to read this article on Bart. It’s the longest, most in-depth article on him I’ve seen, with quotes from even Hjelle and Buster Posey. It’s worth the read.)

Two Sleepers In The System, as GPT Points Out

Let’s take a look at the 25th and 26th round picks from this season…

The AZL season ended since then, and Fabian had a .309/.376/.588 batting line to finish the season, with a 10.0% walk rate and a 18.2% K rate, and he knocked his fifth home run in the final game. Look, Pena isn’t going to overtake Bart as a prospect anytime soon (or ever), but that is a nice performance from a 25th round pick looked at more for his defense. Good defensive catchers with any offensive upside have a good chance at a real baseball career. I’ll be very interested to see how he does over a full season in Augusta.

Lopez finished the season after this with another impressive start. 1.42 ERA in 9 appearances (4 starts), 25.1 IP, 18 H, 4 ER, 2 HR, 6 BB, 34 SO, and a .202 average against and a 0.95 WHIP. GPT is being conservative (correctly) with a LOOGY potential prediction, but at 20, with a 6’4 frame and 220 lbs, he has some projection left in his body. Still, that kind of production, a somewhat funky delivery, and being a left-handed pitcher always gives you an opportunity. Lopez will be one to watch.

This Is A Damn Good Question

Augusta Shut Out Of Postseason All-Stars

It was a tough year for Augusta, although they had a team full of exciting prospects, everyone had struggles here or there. Not greatly surprising for high school picks like Heliot Ramos and Jacob Gonzalez. Meanwhile, the pitchers who dominated the league were all promoted (and in one case, traded). So, no All-Stars for Augusta. Oh well.

A Coonrod Comeback

If you want some positive news, one thing 2018 will be remembered for is pitchers returning from injuries and (mostly) impressing. Logan Webb is the top guy in this list, but Sam Coonrod shouldn’t be forgotten. Coonrod has come back incredibly fast from TJ surgery, and still has strikeout potential, with 17 in 8.2 inning combined. Is he a starter long-term, or a reliever? Good question.

Coonrod got on the radio with Joe Ritzo in San Jose. Give it a listen here:

Next year, expect him to get a shot back in Richmond.

Start Your Vacation Planning

So, when are you going to go visit 2018 Ballpark of the Year, SRP Park in 2019?

I don’t know if I’m going to make it next year (I’m in a fluid position for the job that pays me), but when I visited in May, the area was unfinished. The major in-park concession stands weren’t open, including the brewery, and none of the area’s buildings were done. Even the GreenJackets and opponents had their clubhouses as temporary trailers parked across the street (The clubhouses will be in the tall building in left field).

Next year, the majority of that area should be open. The Brewery just opened up (and see the wrap-up for the jersey-related madness), the other buildings will be done, perhaps even the hotel across the street from the park. It might make a nice baseball visit to an area you might not otherwise find a reason to go to (Unless you like that sport golf, for some reason).

That said, there is one other stadium vacation worth thinking about next season: Las Vegas.

The soon-to-be-not-‘51s, soon-to-be-not-affiliated with the Mets, Las Vegas minor league team will move into a new stadium next season, built in nearby Summerlin. It’s corporate name: Las Vegas Ballpark. (Yup, the chamber of commerce of Las Vegas bought the naming rights to a stadium…built outside of Las Vegas).

The Sacramento River Cats will get to play the minor league games at the ballpark, as they play the home-opening season there April 9-11th, and that might be an interesting experience. The River Cats will also visit June 20-24, if you want to go when tickets might be easier to get and temperatures are a bit warmer.

What minor league stadiums are you considering visiting in 2019? Post them in the comments!

Further Reading, Viewing & Listening

MiLB.com had a nice write up on Ryan Howard, who is coming out of a summer slump in what has otherwise been a very nice breakout season.

Joe Ritzo always has good pregame interviews, and this one is no exception. A great listen to a recent player and now coach, Juan Ciriaco.

More Athletic stuff for you, but @MelissaLockard may be the biggest “Mainstream” competition for Roger and Myself for covering the minor leagues. SO DON’T READ HER STUFF, YOU TRAITORS.

(No, seriously, go read it. But leave your comments here!)

More subscription stuff, now from Baseball Prospectus, but a solid write-up on Logan Webb as part of their Monday 10-Pack. I won’t copy it all, but the short of the story is: Lots of potential, but he needs consistency.

Fangraphs had a quick note on Aaron Phillips, one of Augusta’s second wave of good pitchers.

You want feel-good? Let’s talk mid-season free agent signee Brock Stassi, who nearly was off to Mexico before the Giants called. There’s no guarantee Stassi will stay with the Giants in 2019, much less be in any real roster discussions, but feel-good stories about fighting for your baseball journey will always be something I enjoy.

You should read this. Mac has unfortunately had a season stolen from him for reasons that might be an offseason debate. He looked incredible in April, truly incredible. With the Giants having two corner outfielders likely to leave in the offseason, the opportunity for him to grab a spot was there. Now, he’s another question mark, soon to be out of options.

This article echoes what we heard about Brandon Belt last season, and is heartbreaking.

I’m a fan of Mac, and I’m hoping he gets that shot for left field next season. I believe in his power and the swing he had. But this offseason, it will be interesting to see how the team decides to deal with the outfield.

Tuesday’s Lines

Sacramento Litter Box

  • Gregor Blanco got the walkoff winner with his 4th home run in Triple-A this season.
  • Orlando Calixte picked up his 11th home run of the season. His season high is 14, which he’s done twice, most recently last season.
  • Guess who didn’t get an extra-base hit? That’s right, Kelby’s back to his singles-hitting ways, after getting his first two Triple-A extra-base hits over the weekend.
  • Jordan Johnson had one of his best starts in Triple-A, giving up the least baserunners he has in any start at the level (4). However, Johnson has nearly as many walks (31) as strikeouts (33) in 51.1 IP with Sacramento.
  • Ray Black came back from giving up a pair of earned runs in his last outing to shut things down. This season in the minors, he has 63 strikeouts in 34.2 innings, across Double-A and Triple-A.

Richmond Nuthouse

  • Jeff Arnold took care of nearly all of Richmond’s runs, hitting his 3rd home run of the season.
  • Matt Lipka had the team’s other RBI, and is now 5-for-11 over his last three games.
  • Logan Webb gave up three earned runs for the second time in his five Double-A starts, but he did it while reaching his season-high in innings with six. Only once had he completed more than five.

San Jose Footprints

  • Kelvin Beltre picked up three hits, raising his batting average from .231 to .243 in one game. Beltre has only played in 51 games this season after missing the first two months on the DL.
  • Jacob Heyward got on base three times with two walks, and has walked nine times over his last nine games. Heyward has a .356 OBP over his .252 batting average.
  • Domenic Mazza had a solid start, but did give up a season-high four walks. He has 51 strikeouts against 21 walks in 61.2 IP.
  • With three innings, Frank Rubio had his longest appearances since early June, when he had a pair of four inning appearances.

Augusta Putt-putt Course

  • Logan Baldwin hit his ninth triple of the season, putting him one short of the league lead in the total.
  • Trevor Abrams picked up his fifth double in his 27th game at Augusta. Abrams has a single hit in each of his last four games.
  • Caleb Baragar had a pretty average start, after a string of three good starts without allowing more than a run. Baragar has 66 strikeouts against 11 walks in 63 innings.
  • Camilo Doval had another strong start, striking out two in two innings. He has 78 strikeouts in 52 innings.

Salem-Keizer Crater

Salem-Keizer had the day off, their last off-day of the season.

The Wrap-Up:

It seems like it’s been a while since I complained about jerseys here, so let’s get back to my roots…

To my knowledge, there are no historical ties between Augusta, GA and anything Hippie or Grateful Dead-related. So…come on, guys.

(The jerseys were for the opening of the SweetWater brewery, a 2-story brewery/restaurant that is in the park and open even when there’s no game. Nice to have it open!)

Finally, September 1st is Saturday, and the minor league seasons will end on the 3rd (Monday), meaning we’ll see some callups of these guys to the Majors. But remember this, as I pointed out that Roger said in my callup preview on Monday…