The Arizona Fall League announced team rosters this afternoon, and the Giants are sending seven players to the roster, most of whom don’t come as much of a surprise: Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos, Tristan Beck (pitcher acquired from Atlanta in the Melancon deal), Jacob Heyward, Jalen Miller, and two more pitchers: Frank Rubio and Bryce Tuck.
The past 10 years of Scottsdale Scorpions rosterees has produced a decent range of major league contributors for the Giants. Only the 2012 and 2018 teams did not see at least one player go on to stick with the major league club the following season:
2009 — Buster Posey
2010 — Brandon Belt
2011 — Brandon Crawford
2013 — Andrew Susac
2014 — Kelby Tomlinson
2015 — Mac Williamson
2016 — Ryder Jones
2017 — Steven Duggar, Aramis Garcia, Chris Shaw
Yeah, the 2017 names are a bit of a cheat. It’s hard to argue that Garcia and Shaw “stuck” to the 2018 roster, but I’m leaving them up there for now because it helps prove my point that it’s possible we’ll be seeing one of the players on this year’s list appear with the Giants next season. Does that mean Joey Bart?
Bart was interviewed yesterday for the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ pre-game radio show, and said, “The hardest adjustment’s been getting on page with the pitchers. Not that it hasn’t gone well, it’s just, you know, two weeks isn’t a whole lot of time to get to know the staff. That’s definitely been the biggest thing: just trying to get everyone on page and trying to figure out what they do best to ultimately pitch the best.”
We can’t know how steep the learning curve is for a prospect working up the system and it follows that there’s not one rate of speed at which a prospect travels said curve. Bart might be able to hit at a major league level sooner than he’s able to catch major league pitching or vice versa. The Giants, meanwhile, can afford to take their time waiting for him to get where they need him to be.
Kenny pointed out earlier that Buster Posey’s skill set, while eroded, aren’t completely over-matched by modern pitching, and we know that he’s still one of the better defensive catchers back there. Stephen Vogt turns 35 on November 1st. Maybe he’ll wind up managing the Giants next year. It’s harder to see him being the backup catcher the entire season, though, so if all goes well, Bart in 2020 feels like it has a pretty good chance of happening.
The Arizona Fall League has had many familiar faces come through. Michael Jordan. Tim Tebow. Mike Trout, before he was MIKE TROUT. It offers the chance to see tomorrow’s stars today, for far less than the cost of a major league game. If you want to see who the Giants got in exchange for Mark Melancon, Tristan Beck will be right there pitching for you. The indispensable Giants Prospects Twitter account offers this info about the AFL:
They will play for the Scottsdale Scorpions. Season will start September 17th and will end October 26th. Scorpions will play home games at Salt River Fields this year.— GPT (@giantsprospects) August 28, 2019
That’s a little over five weeks of cheap baseball featuring the #1, #2, and #18 prospects currently in the Giants’ system (per MLB Pipeline). I’m tempted to go down there myself, but that schedule conflicts with the rest of the Giants’ season. Unless... if we all make travel plans to go, maybe it will reverse jinx the universe into landing them a playoff berth?
Sorry, I blacked out there. What was I saying?
Here are some notes about the non-Bart and Ramos players:
- Tristan Beck (RHP) is a Stanford grad with a good fastball and a plus changeup.
- Bryce Tucker was the Giants’ 14th round draft pick last year. The left-handed reliever has pitched 19 innings across A-ball and Double-A with a 30:8 K:BB and 0.84 WHIP so far.
- Frank Rubio is a 29th round draft pick by the Giants in 2017. The right-handed reliever had a 1.97 ERA in 45.2 IP in San Jose and a 6.43 ERA in 14 IP in Double-A Richmond so far. His K/9 also took a huge hit in the level jump: 9.85 K/9 in Single-A, 5.79 in Double-A.
- Jacob Heyward is an 18th round pick from 2016. The outfielder has a solid K:BB ratio for his career (1.88), but has just a .389 slugging percentage in 1500 minor league PAs.
- Jalen Miller is a spunky middle infielder. He’s stolen 66 based in 524 minor league games, but in 2240 career PAs has hit a funky .235/.291/.350. He has played in Double-A all year and has an OPS of .609.
Who do you think we might see play in a Giants uniform next season?