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They Might Be Giants

The SF Giants Prospect Round-Up: Is Jaylin Davis for Real?

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Plus, Injuries and Promotions

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

Is Jaylin Davis For Real?

So, I don’t think anyone was expecting this come the trade deadline. Not the Giants, certainly not the Twins. Probably not even the man himself.

But Jaylin Davis has been on a tear of epic proportions since he was traded to the Giants. In 20 games, Davis is batting .387/.477/.867, and he has 10 home runs to six doubles, 12 walks against 17 strikeouts in 75 at-bats.

But it’s 20 games. It’s a small sample size. So…is this for real?

People were not taking Davis seriously before or at the time of the trade. Fangraphs called him an “Old-for-the level corner outfielder…having a strong statistical season.” They also used the word “Fringe” and gave him a 35 Future Value. He’d been given a 40 FV earlier in the season.

Davis’ tools are straight forward. He’s got awesome raw power, which FG rated at 60 raw, and 40 for game power. He’s slightly above average in running, fielding and throwing, and while he profiles as a corner outfielder, he has played center field in 15 games this season. His question has been his contact hitting, which Fangraphs rated as a 35 present value and 45 future value.

Before this season, It’s true that Davis has not had impressive batting averages. It’s mostly hovered at its best around .267-.277 with some lower dips.

And looking at Davis’ numbers, it would be lying to not see some luck there. This year, after batting .274 in Double-A, he hit .331 for the Twins in Triple-A and .387 in Sacramento. His .400 BABIP that he has with Sacramento is the highest number in his career.

But other numbers are encouraging. His walk rate in Sacramento (14.3%) is the same as he had in Double-A this season, and the highest in his career. His 19.0% strikeout rate is the lowest, although he had about a 26% K rate the rest of the season.

Is it possible that Davis has found the plate discipline that is allowing him to unlock his power? Or is Triple-A’s new baseball making it impossible to trust any stats. Those are the questions. But it’s possible that for the 25-year old, the change of venue and a new team gave him the momentum he needed to turn the corner. Davis is not likely to be a franchise cornerstone, but he would be a right-handed power hitter for a team that could use it.

The better question is whose spot would he take to get his chance. The 40-man roster expansion is coming, and with Pablo Sandoval’s Tommy John surgery coming soon, that will open up a spot on the 40-man. But the Giants have gotten some good play already from some older, underestimated outfielders in Alex Dickerson, Austin Slater and Mike Yastrzemski. Even in September, Davis will be fighting for playing time to prove himself.

Injuries to Big Names in Salem-Keizer

On Wednesday the 21st, Marco Luciano was removed from the game after hitting a double, leaving a lot of fans worried about one of the Giants’ top prospects. The 17-year old had been in the middle of a 5-game hitting streak, starting to bring his numbers around after his promotion to Salem-Keizer.

By that point, first round pick Hunter Bishop had already been out for a couple of games. On Friday, we got official word about their injuries.

Bishop’s turf toe may end his season. Generally, turf toe can take at least three weeks to heal completely. If Bishop comes back within three weeks, that might put him back just in time for the NWL Championship games. However, that’s the fastest possible time and it would be a surprise if the Giants would push their first round pick that hard.

Bishop will finish the NWL season with a .224/.427/.400 batting line in Oregon, with his best asset being a batter’s eye that led to 29 walks over 28 strikeouts in 25 games.

Luciano’s quad strain is even harder to predict, without knowledge of recovery time. Sometimes, a player may feel better after a week or two, but recovery can take up to six weeks. Again, as the Giants’ prized prospect, it would be a surprise for the Giants to push him hard with the offseason around the corner.

Promotion Struggles

The Giants organization surprised a lot of watchers with a lot of aggressive, late season promotions of some of the system’s top prospects. It’s been a big change compared to the conservative paths taken by the Brian Sabean-led organization. But these promotions have led more to struggle than success.

In Richmond, Joey Bart continues to struggle to find consistency after his broken hand earlier in the year. In 15 games at Richmond, he’s batting .208/.271/.377, and only has three extra-base hits (all home runs) out of 11 total hits. Meanwhile, Heliot Ramos has had his own ups and downs. Across 17 games, he’s batting .203/.301/.344 with three doubles and two home runs in Double-A, with eight walks and 26 strikeouts.

Pitcher Sean Hjelle has also struggled in Double-A, with an 8.22 ERA over three starts. He’s been hit unusually hard, giving up 26 hits in 15.1 innings, good for a .377 batting average against.

One of the other aggressive promotions was the aforementioned Luciano. The 17-year old was already pushed hard by starting his season in the US, but after great number, he moved to Salem-Keizer. In nine games there, he was batting .212/.316/.333 with four doubles. He was also joined by 19-year old Jairo Pomares, who was also an international free agent signing last year. Although he was sent back to the AZL recently, he was batting .171/.237/.200 in nine games at Salem-Keizer.

The good news is that not all the promotions have been big struggles. Perhaps the most impressive was the most unprecedented. The Giants moved two players from the Dominican Summer League to the AZL. The 17-year old Matos is 7-for-14 with a double in four games in the AZL. Meanwhile, 17-year old Victor Bericoto is 6-for-18 with one double in four games. Not bad for such an aggressive push.

AZL Playoff Preview

The Giants Orange Arizona League team has rocked the AZL this summer, and that means, they will be leading the way into the AZL playoffs this week beginning Tuesday.

Even though the AZL season ends on Monday, we already know our playoff teams. The league has three divisions, and the first half and second half winners of each division make the playoffs. If, as happened in the East division, a team wins both halves, the second-best overall record from that division moves on. Every round is single elimination.

The Giants Orange won both halves in the East and will be one of two teams to get a first round bye. The Cubs 2 took the Wild Card. The Indians Blue took the first half in the Central, with the Padres 2 taking the second half (and getting the other bye). In the West, the Rangers won the first half, and the Dodgers Mota took the second half.

On Tuesday, the first round will take place, though the seedings will be determined on Monday. On Wednesday, the Giants Orange and the Padres 2 will host the two winners, and then the Championship Game will be on Thursday.

The Giants should have a lot of teams in the playoffs up and down the system, but it all starts in the AZL. See you later this week.

A Change In Name For 2020

In 2019, the Giants got a change in ballpark name, a year ahead of challenge. For 2020, another park that opened in 2000 will get a new name.

Raley Field opened and was one of the top-attended ballparks in minor league baseball for many years as an A’s farm team, and won four PCL Championships and two Triple-A championships. Things got a little lean in recent years, and since becoming a Giants’ affiliate in 2015, the playoffs have disappeared, until at least this season.

Now, it gets a new name that, like Raley, has local ties. With the renaming, Sutter Health and the River Cats will combine for community events and support throughout the Central Valley. And Roger and I will have to get used to typing in a new name for Minor Lines next season.

Sunday’s Lines

Sacramento Litter Box

  • Mauricio Dubon got a pair of hits, raising his Sacramento batting average to .330 after 24 games.
  • Sam Wolff remains unscored upon after three appearances in Sacramento. He’s struck out four and walked one in 4.0 innings.
  • Dan Winkler continues to impress in Sacramento, with just one run in 10.2 innings, with seven strikeouts and three walks.
  • No playoff clinching yet. All it will take is one Sacramento win or a Reno loss in the next week.

Richmond Nuthouse

  • Johneshwy Fargas got his 10th double with two more hits. It was his first multi-hit game in over two weeks.
  • Joey Bart picked up a hit as he stays afloat in Richmond. He’s 6-for-24 (.250) over his last six games.
  • Brandon Lawson had one of his more difficult games this year, with five runs in 3.2 innings and a season-high five walks.
  • Tyler Cyr had another scoreless inning to bring his ERA to the lowest it’s been since the start of his season. He has 56 strikeouts and 22 walks in 47.2 innings.

San Jose Footprints

  • It was a monster game by center fielder Courtney Hawkins, hitting three home runs on five hits. Hawkins has 17 home runs with San Jose in 80 games, plus two more hit in 18 games before he joined the organization.
  • Shane Matheny hit his first two home runs in San Jose in his sixth game at the level. Matheny is batting .261/.292/.522 in SJ.
  • Matheny didn’t even start the game, coming in to replace Sandro Fabian in the first inning, after Fabian was hit by a pitch to lead off the game. As of yet, there is no report on his status.
  • Diego Rincones also hit his first home run at San Jose, in his 12th game at the level. He had five home runs in 105 games at Augusta.
  • Matt Frisbee had yet another strong game, striking out seven in five innings. Frisbeen has 125 strikeouts in 110.1 innings with just 20 walks.

Augusta Putt-putt Course

  • Logan Wyatt broke a 3-game hitless streak with two hits, raising his Augusta average to .216. He has 11 walks to 11 strikeouts in 12 games at the level.
  • Sean Roby followed up his two home run day with his first triple in Augusta. He’s batting .146/.222/.366 in 11 games at the level, after going 4-for-11 with the triple and two home runs over his last three games.
  • Adam Oller struck out a season-high ten with just one earned run, as he has a 3.98 ERA with Augusta.

Salem-Keizer Crater

  • Beicker Mendoza had three hits, his third 3-hit game at Salem-Keizer. Mendoza is batting .255/.309/.382.
  • Carter Aldrete hit his 7th double of the season and fourth with S-K. He’s batting .282/.383/.436 as a Volcano.
  • Conner Nurse had one of his bad games as his strikeout ball abandoned him once again. He only struck out one, giving up nine hits, and his ERA boosted from 4.55 to 5.50.

Both AZL Teams had a scheduled day off

The season ends on Monday, with playoffs starting on Tuesday.