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The SF Giants Prospect Round-Up: To-Dos For The Final Month

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

Goals For The Season’s Last Month

Well, this is it, we’re a week into August. We’re about a month away from the end of the minor league season. Most of the leagues run until the very start of September, and the AZL and DSL don’t even go that far.

For the most part, there’s not much left to determine. Only one farm team is in anything resembling playoff contention. For the most part, the impressions that people will have of each prospect’s seasons are more or less established from the months that have been played. But, this month will still be played.

So, what are the goals for the Giants top prospects for the remaining season? Let’s set some easy goals for the top guys (as ranked by

  1. Joey Bart - Keep making Keith Law look stupid, and don’t get injured.
  2. Heliot Ramos - Bounce back from a poor July to finish strong. And don’t get injured.
  3. Steven Duggar - Lose his prospect status by playing more in the Majors, and considered as the starter for next year, especially by not getting injured.
  4. Shaun Anderson - Have a couple of good games in Triple-A, and don’t get injured.
  5. Chris Shaw - Get that hitting streak well into the double-digits and raise the batting average a bit. And don’t get hurt.
  6. (Skipped)
  7. Sean Hjelle - Don’t get hurt. Pretty much that’s what it’s about.
  8. Tyler Beede - Just…stop giving up runs. And don’t get injured, assuming he’s not injured right now.
  9. Sandro Fabian - Don’t let his batting average get into the Interstate. And don’t avoid it by getting injured.
  10. Jacob Gonzalez - Turn the power back on to finish the season. Also, getting hurt would not be ideal.
  11. Heath Quinn - Get a late promotion, and enjoy Richmond in the late summer. And not from the DL.
  12. Logan Webb - Don’t push too hard, because that might lead to getting injured.
  13. Alexander Canario - Stay hydrated in Arizona, and on the upward trend statistically while staying healthy.
  14. Gregory Santos - Don’t let a season full of expectations go to his head. Or his elbow, where it might cause an injury.
  15. Seth Corry - Whatever has been going on the last two starts, keep doing it. Health is a part of those last two starts.
  16. Aramis Garcia - Don’t get overwhelmed by Triple-A, and figure out what happened this year. Hopefully, it’s not an injury.
  17. Ray Black - Stay uninjured. And also stop giving up home runs in the big leagues.
  18. Melvin Adon - Get that strikeout rate just a tad closer to 9 per 9 innings. And don’t blow out the arm doing it.
  19. Garrett Williams - Just work on whatever mechanics have gone awry this season. And stay healthy, dammit.
  20. Jake Wong - Keep looking like a really good 3rd round draft pick. Good draft picks are healthy ones.

Bonus. Luis Toribio - Put the breaks on the slide that has continued through the late summer, and give the team more reason to bring him to Arizona next season. And not for injury-related reasons.

Northwest All-Stars (Or, to casual Prospect followers, “Joey Bart and the other guys”)

That’s certainly unfair to the “other guys”, but let’s face it, fans get very excited about a top prospect when the system has been a little lacking in blue-chip guys for a while.

Unfortunately, it looks like Bart struggled in the pregame festivities. Although I couldn’t find a full recap of the Home Run Derby outside of Curtis Terry from the Spokane Indians winning, I’m guessing that this tweet means Bart struggled in the derby.

Then again, it means he hit one when it counted, so let’s talk about the All-Star Game!

Well, the Northwest League didn’t represent, losing to the Pioneer League All-Stars 13-10…but at least they didn’t lose because of the Volcanoes

Joe Bart stayed in for three at-bats, but made the most of his time, with a 3-run home run (the only home run for the NWL) and going 2-for-3 overall. Meanwhile, Diego Rincones manned left field all game and was the NWL’s leading hitter, going 4-for-5 with two doubles (although somehow no RBI).

On the mound, the Volcanoes were less prominent but they did their parts. Gregory Santos started the 6th inning, and only faced two batters but got them both out. Jesus Tona came into the eighth inning, after the NWL blew the lead giving up four runs before he came in. Tona came in with a runner on first and retired both hitters he faced without allowing the runner to come in. At least Tona was being held in high enough regard to have been the planned closer for the NWL.

So, all-in-all, not a bad All-Star Game for the Giants prospects! (Home Run Derbies mess with your swing anyway, so we’re just going to be fine with zero home runs in it.)

2019 MLB Draft Watch

After the 2-game sweep by the Astros, the Giants rose a bit for next year’s draft position, at least for the time being.

For all the American League teams tanking this year, there are a lot of teams hanging around .500, and that’s made quite a tight grouping. With the losses, the Giants have moved up as high as the tightest group, but that means it’s increasingly less like the Giants will movie higher than it is they might move back into the mid-teens.

One small piece of good news is the Giants have the tiebreaker against every team but one (Detroit).

For what it’s worth, the Giants are 22 games behind the current #1 spot, currently tied between two teams, the Royals and Orioles. The O’s hold that tiebreaker.

Moves Up And Down and Out…

Ian Gardeck’s return from massive surgery purgatory continues as he moves up to San Jose, his previous home before the surgery. Gardeck got into four games in the AZL, and while the 7.36 ERA looks bad, it is small sample size. Gardeck has walked three and struck out four in 3.2 innings. The rest of this season for the 27-year old Gardeck is just gravy, and next season will be the one that fans should really watch to see if he can move up like a Ray Black.

That first line is interesting…Aramís García. The 25-year old catcher was batting .233/.287/.395 in Double-A Richmond, definitively his worst line since his first half-season in 2014. For years, he’s seemed to be on the verge of breaking out, held back by unfortunate injuries, especially after a combined .274/.323/.485 line at San Jose and Richmond last year. But he was a 2nd round pick in 2014, and it’s just about time for the Giants to let the 25-year old sink or swim. Sacramento’s catcher situation has gone beyond being fluid and now is just plasma (I don’t know what that means either), so García will get his shot.

I never like seeing someone getting his release, even though it’s part of baseball. Sabanosh was one of those non-drafted guys that was always more depth than anything. That said, a catcher could always catch on in a backup role, or maybe even move to a bullpen job that could lead him up. But it wsn’t to be for Sabanosh never got into more than 15 games in a season, and only 12 this season before his release. Fare thee well, Connor!

A Different Take on SRP Park

Benjamin Hill’s review is as much about the business (or anticipation of business) around SRP Park as it is about the park itself, but it’s a fun read about the park.

From my visit, I still highly recommend the park, though it’ll be better when some of the concession stands open. Ben barely mentions the Terrace in right field, which is the best part of the ballpark in my opinion. Also, I might challenge saying that SRP’s jutting right field wall is symmetrically identical to AT&T Park. Similar, sure, but not identical. Ben does mention that the distance from home plate is different, as are the heights, obviously.

The bottom line is, visit it. But, maybe next year, when some of the things are finished being built, especially bars and gathering spots across the road from the park.

The International Free Agent Market Changes Again

MLB and the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) agreed to a revision regarding how players are signed by MLB once they are posted. The bottom line is that the way it used to work, the highest bidding team had exclusive negotiation rights. Now, a posted player is available to all teams to negotiate. The KBO team will receive a transfer/release fee that is based upon the salary the player gets from the MLB team.

This change follows a similar change that the Giants made with Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.

This won’t have the biggest change on any single minor league system immediately, but it opens things up for teams to have a better shot of getting young, exciting players from Korea or Japan. This change certainly opens up that side of the international free agent market, and perhaps we’ll see more Giant investment in that part of the world.

Further Reading

If you have a sub, this is worth checking out. Bart and Hjelle goodness to read! I won’t summarize because it’s paid content, but this stuff is very scouting oriented, rather than making projections. It’s a good description of two of our top prospects.

Hitter of the Week - Robinson Batista

What, you were expecting Joey Bart here? Nope, as good a week as he had, Batista put on an extra-base spectacular.

While batting 7-for-21, Batista hit a double, two triples and two home runs on the week with the DSL Giants. The 19-year old is in his third season at the level, but his first playing games full-time.

On the year, Batista is batting just .257/.352/.426, though he is clearly on the upswing. He has six doubles, four triples and three home runs, with 19 walks and 45 strikeouts in 136 at-bats.

Pitcher of the Week - John Russell

It wasn’t a very clean week for pitchers, so we’ll get a little unconventional this week.

Augusta reliever John Russell had a perfect 3.2 IP across two appearances, striking out 7 without allowing a single baserunner.

Russell, a 16th round pick last season, has been putting together a strong season in the Augusta bullpen. In 30 appearances, he’s picked up five saves in 7 opportunities. He’s got a 2.06 ERA with 59 strikeouts against 17 walks in 52.1 IP. His peripherals look great, with a .190 average against and a 0.96 WHIP.

Saturday’s Lines

Sacramento Litter Box

  • The offensive woes continued, with Gregor Blanco having the only good game. Blanco was 2-for-3 with his 6th double and a walk. Blanco’s batting .258/.349/.383 in 45 games at Sacramento.
  • Although he was just 1-for-3, Chris Shaw extended his hitting streak to eight games.
  • Aramis Garcia made his Triple-A debut. He was 0-for-4.
  • Repeating one’s delivery is important for a pitcher. Herb took it a step further, having nearly the exact same batting line from his start last week, with 6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 4 SO in both starts. The only differences this time? An extra unearned run, a hit batter and 12 more pitches. But both efforts ended up in a loss thanks to a weak Sacramento offense.

Richmond Nuthouse

  • Matt Gage returned to Richmond as the opponent, and he definitely was the winner. The former Giants prospect allowed seven hits but no runs against his former team.
  • Michael Connolly only lasted 3.1 innings, his second straight start going less than four innings. He hit a season high in walks with four, and now has 47 strikeouts and 21 walks in 55.2 IP.
  • Dan Slania had an excellent relief outing, his longest of the season (he went 3.2 IP in his only start of the season). He hasn’t walked a batter in his last four appearances, 6.2 innings. He has only 14 walks in 55.2 IP, with 49 strikeouts.
  • C.J. Hinojosa picked up a pair of hits, one game after hitting his second home run of the season. It was his first multi-hit game in the last nine, however, and his batting average has dipped from .287 to .272 over that span.

San Jose Footprints

  • Wander Franco (Yes, that one this time) had the big hit for San Jose, a 3-run home run for his 5th of the season. He also had the only 2-hit game of the season, and his sixth 2-hit game over his last ten played.
  • Kelvin Beltre’s 2-run home run broke a 3-game hitless streak.
  • Mac Marshall struggled through a difficult start, but somehow managed to hold Rancho Cucamonga to just two runs despite walking a season-high six. He struck out a season-high 7 on the way.
  • Ian Gardeck made his debut at San Jose, giving up a run on a pair of hits, and striking out one. But for Gardeck, just making his way back to San Jose is a victory in itself.

Augusta Putt-putt Course

Augusta and Hagerstown were postponed due to rain. The two teams will attempt to make it up with a double-header on Wednesday.

Salem-Keizer Crater

I don’t know why you’d skip down here past everything else, but if you read up above you’ll see that the Northwest League played its All-Star Game today. That means the Volcanoes didn’t play.

Arizona Black Adders

  • Franklin Labour picked up the team’s only extra-base hit, his 12th double of the year. The 20-year old is slugging .488 over 24 games, despite having no home runs (12 doubles, two triples).
  • Randy Norris was 1-for-4, but also picked up his second walk in the past six games. He has only six in 28 against, against 20 strikeouts.
  • Conner Nurse had one of his best starts of his season. He kept things limited to just one walks, only the fourth time in nine games he’s kept it to one walk or less. He did also hit his first batter, but overall it was a success.

Arizona Orange Order

Game 1 -

Game 2 -

  • Game 1 was yet another game of offensive slumping with three singles and three walks on offense. The only notable feat was Bryan Hernandez walking twice, giving him five in his last three games. He’s batting .147, but has a .420 OBP thanks to 14 walks in 13 games.
  • Marco Gonzalez didn’t walk anyone and struck out eight, but 13 hits scuttled his night. He has a .340 average allowed this year.
  • Patrick Hilson was hitless in game one, but hit his first triple in a 2-hit game in Game 2.
  • George Hill broke a 4-game hitless streak with a 2-hit game, nudging his batting average back over .300. He added his fourth double, his only extra-base hits on the season.
  • Andres Angulo hit his sixth double, but overall is in an excellent run. He’s 15-for-37 over his last ten games, batting .405 and only one game without a hit.
  • Jorge Labrador was the premiere pitcher for Game 2, although coming in on relief. After giving up eight runs in his previous two appearances, he went a season-high four innings without allowing a run, and naturally also got a season high with five strikeouts.

Dominican Beach

Game 1 -

Game 2 -

  • The Giants scored 10 runs in Game 1, without a single hit by Luis Toribio and just a walk, but he still scored three runs. He just kept getting Ghordy Santos out at second to get on base.
  • Speaking of Santos, the .197 hitter got on base in all four of his plate appearances in Game 1, with three walks. Santos now has 44 walks against 33 strikeouts in 129 at-bats.
  • Ismael Alcantara has three home runs on the season, and two came yesterday, one in each game. The 18-year old’s slugging percentage jumped from .311 to .359 over the two games.
  • Ivan Armstrong struggled in his Game 1 start, going just a single inning and walking three plus a hit. As you can imagine in the DSL, there’s no report if he was lifted with an injury or not. His previous shortest start of the season was three innings back in late June.
  • Melvin Martinez took the Game 2 start, and went just two innings, though that was longer than his last start. He didn’t manage a single strikeouts, but did walk three, and now the 17-year old has 31 walks to 17 strikeouts in 29.1 IP.

The Wrap-Up:

If you haven’t seen it already, you had to know I was going to include this today.

For people who say the Giants Farm System never produces anything memorable, you can now earnestly show them this, featuring former Giants minor leaguer Brennan Metzger:

(Wear headphones for the video, or be prepared to explain colorful language to your coworkers, children or dogs)

That is some gold arguing and showing up the umpire. I know I was half expecting him to dump the can onto the field, but this was far more creative.

So don’t say that the Giants don’t teach the important stuff to their prospect, okay?

Okay, okay, so maybe you want something more wholesome than swearing on the field? How about this on-field proposal that was a bit more creative than those I’ve seen, especially in surprising the bride.

I’m a huge baseball fan, like it’s too much a part of my life, but I’ll never propose at a stadium. But it’s still cute to see when it’s done well with others.