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They Might Be Giants

The SF Giants Prospect Roundup: A Cycle and New Rankings

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While you were watching Luciano, other young players are having great seasons.

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

Are you ready for The Cycle?

The big event this week came from one of the other guys the Giants signed in the IFA market last year, other than Marco Luciano.

The 18-year old Cuban is leading the AZL Black squad, and on Friday, he was leading in all new ways.

Pomares continued to be hot after the cycle too, and has pushed himself to a .413/.449/.652 batting line in the AZL.

So, that’s another guy in the AZL having a great season. And the truth is, the Giants have a lot of great performing guys at the lower levels. In the DSL, Luis Matos and Victor Bericoto have been fantastic on a bad team. Everyone knows that Marco Luciano is having a great season, but Luis Toribio, Connor Cannon, and Najee Gaskins all are putting together nice numbers in the AZL. And of course, there’s Franklin Labour in S-K, but there’s all sorts of good signs from Armani Smith as well, and an outfield that is too full of prospects.

It’s hard to take stats in the short seasons very seriously, but it’s been a long time since the Giants have seen this many performers at the very low levels. Who knows, maybe when guys take promotions, they’ll find challenges. Alexander Canario, who was lighting the world on fire but is struggling for consistency in Keizer.

But for what it’s worth, this is a bottom-heavy system…but one that is giving a lot of hope. It just may be a few seasons away.

New Baseball America Rankings

This week, Baseball America updated their midseason rankings, both for individual teams and for the overall Top 100. There aren’t a lot of surprises in the Giants’ Top 10, especially as to where Hunter Bishop landed at #4 overall. But how about that Top 100 in all of baseball?

Four prospects on the Top 100 is quite an achievement for a system that had been so lowly ranked very recently. Granted, Hunter Bishop just snuck in based more on draft position, but he has the ability to rise even further. And Marco Luciano, as he continues to hit, and walk, and hit with power, he’ll continue shooting up this list.

As noted above, the system is bottom heavy, and it’s still going to be a wait to see most of these guys. But the Giants are being recognized for rebuilding their system into one with some future stars.

Meet Your New San Jose Manager - Hector Borg

With the surprise resignation of Bill Hayes, the San Jose Giants suddenly needed a new manager. The announcement came quickly.

The 34-year old Borg has been bouncing around the system as a coach over the last few years, and had been back in the Dominican Republic serving in the new Fundamentals coach position. Borg had been signed by the Giants as a player out of the DR and played in the system in 2005 and 2006. Having coached in Salem-Keizer last year, and the AZL in 2017, Borg already has worked with the Giants’ top two prospects in San Jose, Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos, and with the development of those two being so important, that may have helped lead to this decision.

That still leads to some unanswered questions about the unusual exit of Bill Hayes. We got a small hint from Andy Baggarly:

That…is interesting. One would think that a manager’s job would be to deal with such frustrations, but I’m sure there’s more to the story. For what it’s worth, since Borg took over on Thursday, the San Jose Giants have a 4-game winning streak. San Jose isn’t that far out of a playoff spot (3 games back of Visalia), so maybe Borg can get this squad back into the postseason.

Top Prospect Updates

Joey Bart

Week: 7-for-26, 5 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 5 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS, .269/.344/.538
Season: 48-for-182, 29 R, 8 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 11 BB, 41 SO, 3 SB, 2 CS, .264/.316/.478

Bart had one moment where he might be breaking out at the end of last week and a 2-home run game on Thursday, but otherwise, this week has been just a slight improvement on his season numbers.

Heliot Ramos

Week: 10-for-23, 6 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 9 SO, 1 SB, 1 HBP, .435/.551/.652
Season: 75-for-241, 45 R, 15 2B, 12 HR, 36 RBI, 29 BB, 71 SO, 5 SB, 6 CS, .311/.395/.523

It was a good week for Ramos, as he improves his on-base numbers with singles and walks. He has an 8-game hitting streak going. But his strikeout numbers have been jumping, too.

Marco Luciano

Week: 7-for-17, 5 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1 SB, 1 HBP, .412/.500/.765
Season: 33-for-96, 32 R, 7 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 24 RBI, 15 BB, 25 SO, 5 SB, 5 CS, .344/.447/.708

Another good week for the 17-year old. He’s getting extra base hits, he’s getting walks and on base…what else can you ask for? (No, we’re not asking for a promotion!) But what a note here…

Jake Wong

Week: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO, 3.18 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
Season (SJ): 53.1 IP, 55 H, 31 R, 26 ER, 2 HR, 3 HB, 20 BB, 47 SO, 4.39 ERA, 1.41 WHIP

Wong is starting to get his feet underneath him, and he posted his best strikeout total in a game at San Jose this week. It will take time to rehab some of the numbers, but for his first full season, Wong is adjusting to the long season well.

Sean Hjelle

Week: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO, 2.84 ERA, 0.95 WHIP
Season (SJ): 51.1 IP, 58 H, 26 R, 19 ER, 2 HR, 10 HB, 14 BB, 60 SO, 2.79 ERA, 1.17 WHIP

More of the same from Hjelle this week, as he continues to perform well in the hitter-friendly California league. Hjelle could end the season as the top pitching prospect in the system at this rate.

Victor Bericoto

Week: 14-for-23, 7 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 4 SO, 2 SB, .609/.666/.696
Season: 50-for-145, 37 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 38 BB, 33 SO, 6 SB, 1 CS, .345/.481/.476

Okay, numbers in the Dominican Summer League aren’t to be believed, but damn, that batting line! Bericoto has been on fire this week, and while that won’t continue, the 17-year old Venezuelan might be the hidden gem in the DSL right now.

Sandro Fabian

Week: 9-for-19, 7 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO, 2 SB, 1 CS, 1 HBP, .474/.545/.789
Season (SJ): 20-for-52, 12 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 5 BB, 12 SO, 3 SB, 1 CS, .385/.441/.635

The return for Fabian is going very well, and the 21-year old outfielder is showing the potential seen from him in the 2016 AZL season. He still has time to develop and make an impact.

Franklin Labour

Week: 8-for-21, 6 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 6 SO, 1 SB, .381/.480/.762
Season: 44-for-134, 35 R, 7 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 33 RBI, 16 BB, 36 SO, 2 SB, 1 CS, .328/.416/.724

Another two home runs for Labour (yawn). There is a glut of outfielders at Keizer, and Labour might be considered a prime candidate to get challenged in Augusta.

Sunday’s Lines

Sacramento Litter Box

  • Chris Shaw picked up his second home run in a week, and extended his 7-game hitting streak with it. He has 12 in Sacramento now.
  • Abiatal Avelino got to double digit home runs with his 10th today, and added a pair of walks to give him 17 in 94 games.
  • Enderson Franco had his first start since mid-June without allowing a walk. He had 76 strikeouts to 30 walks in 88 innings this season.
  • Ray Black took a tough PCL inning by giving up a 2-run home run despite striking out the side. The four home runs he’s given up is double his previous minor league high, though it matches the number he gave up in the Majors in 2018.

Richmond Nuthouse

  • Johneshwy Fargas picked up his sixth double on the season (in his 89th game), and his 37th stolen base. Fargas only has 15 extra base hits out of 69 total, which is a 21.7 XBH%.
  • Zach Houchins picked up a pair of doubles to give him 12 on the season.
  • Alfred Gutierez had a solid start for the Squirrels. The 24-year old has 82 strikeouts and 45 walks in 86 innings this season.
  • It took ten games for the Eastern League to welcome Frank Rubio. The 24-year old got touched for eight runs, after having given up just three runs in his previous 32 total innings at two levels this season.
  • Sam Wolff returned to the EL for the first time since late May. After an AZL rehab, he pitched two scoreless innings for Sacramento in Salt Lake, but then returned to Richmond and gave up three runs, bumping his ERA at the level to 2.70 (from 1.64).

San Jose Footprints

  • Sandro Fabian continued a 7-game hit streak with his fourth home run in 14 games at San Jose. Fabian also has just 12 strikeouts against five walks in 52 at-bats at the level.
  • David Villar has gotten multiple hits in each of his last four games. His batting average has gone from .258 to .278 over those four games.
  • Joey Bart had an OBP day, with one hit and two walks. He’s got 11 walks and 41 strikeouts in 45 games now, and bumped his OBP up to .316. He also picked up his first stolen base since July 1st.
  • Matt Frisbee had his longest start of the month after a few short starts. He’s slowly inching his ERA down to 4.24.

Augusta Putt-putt Course

  • Jose Layer picked up his third home run of the season, and his first since June 22nd. Layer has been slowly increasing his batting average since late last month, and he’s gotten it to .217. Yeah, that’s where he’s at.
  • Ismael Munguia has five 2-hit games in the last eight he’s played. He also has 22 walks against just 34 strikeouts in 82 games.
  • Starter Adam Oller collected seven strikeouts, giving him 48 in 48.1 innings this season.

Salem-Keizer Crater

  • Armani Smith now has two home runs on the season, hit in back-to-back games (in 15 at the level, and 20 total). He’s batting .339/.406/.516, but also has 22 strikeouts in 62 at-bats.
  • Simon Whiteman has been quiet for the last couple of weeks, but had a big game on Sunday. He pushed his OBP to .401, and got his seventh double of the season. But he also got caught stealing, and now has a 65.2% steal rate (15 steals in 23 attempts). Whiteman did deliver the RBI single that would win the game in the 12th.
  • Logan Wyatt picked up another hit and walk. In four games at S-K, he’s got a .400 batting average and a .526 on-base percentage.
  • Kervin Castro had a nice bounceback start after giving up four runs in his last start. The 20-year old is quietly having an effective season at Salem-Keizer in his first full season to play since 2016.
  • Also…this:

The AZL and DSL teams all had scheduled days off

The Wrap-Up:

We’ve seen a lot of silly jerseys this season, but how about Richmond’s tribute to the Moon Landing from Saturday?

That…looks like my denim jacket from the 1980’s, with all the military patches in random places. But that hat…that hat is pretty damn hot.

Unfortunately, the Squirrels won’t be playing against the Rocket City Trash Pandas when they start next season, but that would have been a heck of a rivalry between a rocket squirrel and a trash panda.