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They Might Be Giants

The SF Giants Prospect Round-Up: Sorting Out The Trade Deadline Moves

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Also, Johnny Cueto pitched last night. Just so you know.

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

Sorting out the Events of the Trade Deadline

The Giants ended up having a very busy trade deadline, even if they didn’t actually trade the guys everyone was expecting them to. Four trades were completed on the last day of July, as the Giants traded from strength and brought in a lot of new players.

Was this a reshaping of the farm system? No. There’s one clear best prospect here, and a lot of lottery tickets and fliers. The Giants probably have added a name that will be in their Top 10 list at the end of the season who will be part of future rebuilding, even if he’s not looking like an All-Star. And if one of the fliers pans out (looking at you, Jaylin Davis), PBO Farhan Zaidi would look like a genius.

So, let’s take one last look at the incoming and outcoming players in the farm system, and what this means for the Giants.

Incoming Players

Mauricio Dubon, IF (for Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black)

Dubon is the highlight of incoming players for the Giants, which is why he had the highest cost (two players, including Ray Black and his fastball). Dubon is a flexible middle infielder who was ranked as the number 3 prospect in the Brewers system by MLB (#6 by BA). Dubon has great contact skills and good speed, giving him some offensive upside despite not having much power. He missed much of 2018 with a torn ACL, but was having a solid return so far in 2019 in the Brewers’ new Triple-A affiliate in San Antonio, batting .298/.335/.470 before the trade. Dubon has northern California roots, having been born in Honduras but going to high school in Sacramento.

Dubon has a real chance to be a major league starter, and may be a long term answer at second base with Joe Panik’s struggles. Scooter Gennett will fill in for the time being, in another of the trades this week, but Dubon has the best chance of being a part of the future.

San Antonio was playing Sacramento when the trade happened, so he had the rare joy of changing clubhouses to get with his new team. Since the trade, he’s 3-for-17 (.176) with three walks.

Tristan Beck, P (for Mark Melancon)

Beck, a former Stanford pitcher, is a high ceiling risk the Giants bought low on. Beck was a first round draft pick candidate out of high school in 2015, but back injuries in college caused him to slide to the 4th round in 2018. Beck still shows some power, with a fastball that can get up to 96-97, but his velocity can also drop to 90-92. Beck has lots of pitches he can throw but no true plus pitch. He has been getting strikeouts at the low levels over the last season plus, but it’s unclear if he’ll continue to get them as he gets above single-A. In nine starts in the Florida State League (High-A), he had a 4.78 ERA and 47 strikeouts to 14 walks in 43.1 innings.

Beck made his debut in San Jose on Sunday, going 5.2 innings and allowing just one run on six hits and a walk, and striking out six.

Dan Winkler, P (for Mark Melancon)

Winkler isn’t strictly a prospect, but I’ll throw him in here since he’s headed to Sacramento. Winkler, 29, made his Major League debut in 2015 with Atlanta, and has amassed a 3.68 career ERA in the Majors. This season, though, he had a 4.98 ERA in the Majors and a 4.86 ERA in Triple-A Gwinnett. Winkler throws a low 90’s fastball and lives on deception with his slider and changeup. At his best, he’s a mid-inning reliever, but he hasn’t been at his best this season.

It was notable that Winkler was the only person that Zaidi did not mention in his post-trade letter to Giants fans, and he was DFA’d the day after his trade. He cleared waivers, and will head to Sacramento.

Jaylin Davis, OF (for Sam Dyson)

25-year old Jaylin Davis is having a breakout season, posting a career high 25 home runs before the trade deadline. Davis was batting .331/.405/.708 in Triple-A Rochester before the trade deadline, his first time with a batting average sitting above .300 (including a .274 Double-A batting average in the first half of the season).

Obviously, Davis’ calling card is in his power, but has a streaky bat for contact. He as average speed, but with a quick first step. A former center fielder, he has good range in the corner, and an arm that has strength in it but not much accuracy.

Davis got a very hot start with the River Cats, going 7-for-10 with three doubles and two home runs, and has an insane .700/.769/1.600 batting line over his first three games.

Kai Wei Teng, RHP (for Sam Dyson)

Teng, 20, is a big, strong pitcher who throws from a low 3/4’s arm slot from the right side despite a 6’4” height. He sits in the low 90’s with the ability to get to the mid-90’s. His works best with a changeup that has unusual motion that can fool some hitters. He has a solid curveball, but he struggles to maintain control of his curveball.

Teng is still young, and has the ability to add a little velocity or another pitch to work with. If he can add another tool to his arsenal, he could have a ceiling as a mid-rotation starter, but profiles well as a starter regardless.

Prelander Berroa, RHP (for Sam Dyson)

Berroa, 19, is the lottery ticket of these trades. The 5’11” pitcher can get up to 98 MPH, but averages far lower than that in the mid-90’s. He matches it with a hard, slow curveball.

Berroa is in his third professional season, and has been pitching in the short-season Appalachian League. He has a 4.55 ERA in seven starts, with 37 strikeouts and 16 walks in 31.2 innings of work. There’s a long ways to go for Berroa to make it, and it’s hard to say what his future is. My best guess is that his ceiling is as a late inning reliever.

Joe McCarthy, OF (for Jacob Lopez)

McCarthy, 25, was a buy low prospect swap the Giants, taking advantage of the Rays needing to remove a player from their 40-man roster.

McCarthy was ranked as the Rays #24 prospect after his Triple-A debut in 2018, but he has struggled with injuries for much of the recent past. But this year, in 41 games at Triple-A Durham, McCarthy was batting .196/.335/.385 before the trade, with six home runs, two triples and six doubles in just 41 games. He has 54 strikeouts and 29 walks. McCarthy has above average but not plus grades as a hitter, runner and fielder, with slightly above average power, but he has not been able to tap into that ability in games. He’s a high risk prospect, which is why the Giants got him for a low level prospect.

In his first two games with Sacramento, he’s 1-for-7 with a double, and two walks.

Outgoing Players

Surprisingly, even as borderline buyers, the Giants did not end up spending a lot in prospects. Only two minor leaguers went out as a part of the trades, with maybe one more to go.

Ray Black, RHP (To Milwaukee for Mauricio Dubon)

Ray Black is 29, and has used up his prospect eligibility this year. He has had well-documented health problems. He also has a well documented triple digit fastball that is pretty special. He pairs it up with a curveball that is dangerous enough when paired with triple digits, and that’s all he would really need. But like many power throwers, Black has had struggles with walks and giving up home runs that he supplies the power for. This year, he had a 5.16 ERA in Sacramento and a 4.50 ERA in the Majors before the trade. The Giants may have felt safe trading Black as they have Melvin Adon, a triple-digit hitting, inconsistent pitching, relief prospect.

Black is high risk, but also is very high reward, and is the real prize for the Brewers in this trade.

Jacob Lopez, RHP (To Tampa Bay for Joe McCarthy)

A 26th round pick in 2018, Lopez didn’t make his debut until this summer. Lopez debuted in a big way, throwing five perfect innings in his first start, and giving up just one hit in his second start. He gave up seven runs in his next start, and he’s been bringing his ERA down since then. In JC ball, his fastball was just under 90 mph but he has growth potential, with a curveball behind it. There’s some funk in his delivery, and some deception, but he’s a bit of a lottery ticket. An ultimate ceiling would be as a mid-rotation starter, but he’s more likely looking like a reliever, and perhaps a LOOGY.

PTBNL or cash (To Cincinnati for Scooter Gennett)

This is a bit of a wild card, obviously. Gennett was a veteran that would be a free agent after the season who was struggling a lot, so the former All-Star wasn’t going to get much back. What player will Cincinnati get back? We will see, and I’m sure we’ll profile it in the PRU when it comes down.

Other Casualties

Two days after the trade deadline, the Giants made a few cuts. The most interesting was Henry Ramos, an outfielder for Sacramento who had been just about the only one who hadn’t gotten a callup to the Majors this season. Although he’d had a couple of hot runs, he was batting .269/.319/.439 on the season. In Davis and McCarthy, the Giants had picked up two more Triple-A-bound outfielders. We’ll never know if Ramos was released on the Giants’ initiative or if Ramos wanted to pursue other opportunities. Oh, and also, he’s Heliot’s older brother.

The other four players, INF Jose Rivers (21 y/o), RHP Jake Greenwalt (21 y/o), RHP Yovanny Moronta (23 y/o) and RHP Jerson Severino (21 y/o), all were playing in the AZL this season and had not gotten above the level. Greenwalt, a 2016 23rd round pick, had actually retired after the 2017 season, missed 2018, and returned for 2019.

Goodbye to Ty

Ty Blach had a 14.21 ERA in the Majors this season, and a 5.93 ERA in Sacramento this season, by far his worst pro season. So when the Giants DFA’d him to get some room on the 40-man roster last week (before the trade deadline moves), it wasn’t unrealistic to think that Blach might clear waivers and return to Sacramento.

But…no.

Blach goes on to another team in Orange and Black. And there’s a 0.0002% chance that he might go on to face the Dodgers in the World Series and outduel Clayton Kershaw one more time, if we want to be positive.

Northwest League All-Stars…and then, suddenly not

The Northwest League released its All-Star Game roster, and there were a few heavily expected names on the list from Salem-Keizer. Home run leader Franklin Labour, catcher Ricardo Genoves, shortstop Sean Roby, and starting pitcher Kervin Castro all got nods, although the four nominations were not the most in the league. Hillsboro had five, and Boise also had four.

But…it wasn’t going to last long. The Giants, facing an outfield glut in Salem-Keizer, chose to move Franklin Labour to Augusta, as well as Ricardo Genoves. Neither player will be available to be in the NWL All-Star Game. They move on to Augusta, and will get to be part of the playoff chase there. Meanwhile, the playoff-bound Volcanoes will have to move on without two of their slugging stars. Hopefully, relative newcomers Alexander Canario and Hunter Bishop will fill those roles.

The Jimmy-Jack

Ask Merkin Valdez about Jimmy-Jacking (although it was a different kind for him).

Adon nearly got his shot in the Majors, but obviously fell just a bit short. He ended up flying to Texas. In his Triple-A debut, he struggled, giving up three runs on two hits and two walks in 2/3 of an inning after all the movement. Adon is facing Triple-A baseballs, so he has a challenge in front of him. The Giants may have felt comfortable dealing Ray Black because of Adon’s fastball, but Adon will have to find the consistency to make Zaidi look good.

Top Prospect Updates

Joey Bart
Week: 3-for-21, 2 R, 0 BB, 6 SO, .143/.142/.143
Season: 59-for-224, 37 R, 9 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR, 35 RBI, 12 BB, 48 SO, 4 SB, 2 CS, .263/.310/.482

Uh…yeah, it was a rough week for Bart, including a three-game hitless streak. Tough go, after least week.

But congrats to Joey Bart for his performance last week!

Heliot Ramos
Week: 5-for-20, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 7 SO, 1 CS .250/.347/.450
Season: 88-for-287, 51 R, 18 2B, 13 HR, 40 RBI, 32 BB, 84 SO, 6 SB, 7 CS, .307/.387/.505

It wasn’t a great week for Ramos, but it wasn’t a bad one either. Ramos is doing well this season, though it’d be great for him to finish the season with a 50% stolen base rate.

Marco Luciano
Week: 4-for-17, 7 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 8 SO, 1 SB, .235/.409/.471
Season: 44-for-136, 43 R, 9 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 24 BB, 37 SO, 8 SB, 5 CS, .324/.439/.640

Like others, Luciano had a slow week, although he did pick up another home run. Still, it’s only a small damper on the season he’s having.

Jake Wong
Week: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1.80 ERA, 0.80 WHIP
Season (SJ): 67.1 IP, 71 H, 41 R, 36 ER, 4 HR, 23 BB, 60 SO, 4.81 ERA, 1.40 WHIP

Wong has had a rough run of things recently, but this week was back to the Jake that we’d seen in the first half the season.

Sean Hjelle
Week: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 7.20 ERA, 1.80 WHIP
Season (SJ): 72.1 IP, 67 H, 30 R, 23 ER, 2 HR, 19 BB, 69 SO, 2.86 ERA, 1.19 WHIP

Over the last couple of weeks, Hjelle has cooled off from how hot he was in June, but he’s still got a great line in San Jose. This was his worst game since May 30th, but it’s just one game.

Logan Webb
Week: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 10 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR, 0.00 ERA, 2.73 WHIP
Season (Ric): 35.1 IP, 36 H, 19 R, 8 ER, 2 HR, 12 BB, 41 SO, 2 HR, 2.04 ERA, 1.36 WHIP

Don’t adjust your computer, that run total is correct. Webb got victimized to a lot of unearned runs, but the walks weren’t great either. But at least it’s comical.

Connor Cannon
Week: 7-for-14, 7 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SO, .500/.588/1.214
Season: 41-for-127, 31 R, 7 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR, 33 RBI, 11 BB, 36 SO, .323/.399/.677

Yes, Cannon is old for the league, but he’s doing what he’s supposed to. He’s coming back from a complicated injury history, but has power an is showing it. Great week for him on all levels.

Seth Corry
Week: 12.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 17 SO, 0.00 ERA, 0.24 WHIP
Season: 99.1 IP, 55 H, 30 R, 19 ER, 3 HR, 48 BB, 136 SO, 1.72 ERA, 1.04 WHIP

You’ll be hard pressed to find a better week of pitching from a starter. Still 20 years old, Corry is making a strong case that he is a top prospect to be noticed.

Sonny Vargas
Week: 9.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 15 SO, 0.93 ERA, 0.72 WHIP
Season: 39.0 IP, 42 H, 28 R, 18 ER, 3 HR, 11 BB, 41 SO, 4.15 ERA, 1.36 WHIP

18-year old Vargas is making his American debut, and while his season has been up and down, he had a great week this week, bringing his numbers to respectability.

Sunday’s Lines

Sacramento Litter Box

  • Jaylin Davis must like the Giants organization. Another 2-for-3 day, another double (his third in Sac) and another home run (his second in Sac). He has 27 home runs in total on the season between two levels and two organizations.
  • Joe McCarthy picked up his first hit as a Giant, and it was a double. The double was his seventh on the season in total in 45 games.
  • Mauricio Dubon got another hit, a single. He’s been off to a slow start as a River Cat, batting just .176 with the team, but with three walks to have a .333 OBP.
  • Yoanys Quiala got eight strikeouts in five innings, but also gave up six hits and four walks. He has 85 strikeouts to 32 walks in 92.1 innings at Sacramento.
  • Jamie Callahan made his Sacramento debut, getting hit hard. He had a 1.36 combined ERA in 13 rehab appearances after missing the first half of the season.

Richmond Nuthouse

  • Johneshwy Fargas had a 2-for-3 day at the plate and on the basepaths. The steals were his first since July 27th. He now has 42 steals in 58 attempts (72.4%).
  • Jacob Heyward had his first multi-hit game since July 22nd, breaking a bit of a cold spell that’s seen his average dip again under .215 for a while.
  • Brandon Lawson allowed just one run or less over at least six innings for the third time in the last four starts. His ERA has dropped from 4.20 to 3.74 during this run.

San Jose Footprints

  • Tristan Beck made his San Francisco organization debut and had a very nice start. He’d had a 5.65 ERA in eight starts at Florida before the move.
  • Frank Rubio has had struggles recently, and though he struck out three in two innings, one home run led to a blown save, a game after he gave up five earned runs.
  • Heliot Ramos collected a hit, and two more walks, moving his on-base percentage up to .387 on a slow offensive San Jose day. He has 32 walks to 84 strikeouts in 75 games.

Augusta Putt-putt Course

  • Seth Corry continues to have an amazing season, posting his fourth straight game without allowing an earned run, and sixth in his last seven starts. During this run, he has 50 strikeouts against six walks in 40.1 innings.
  • Franklin Labour got his first double at Augusta in his fourth game there since his promotion. Labour is batting .429/.467/.500 at the level, although he has yet to get his first home run at the level.
  • Simon Whiteman has a 6-game hitting streak, and his fourth multi-hit game in his last eight. He has a .317/.378/.317 batting line, with four walks against 12 strikeouts, and six stolen bases in eight attempts.

Salem-Keizer Crater

  • Hey, All-Star Sean Roby made his return to the team, his first game played since July 20th. Roby was never placed on the Injured List or Restricted List, so his 14-game absence remains unexplained.
  • First baseman Logan Wyatt picked up his third multi-hit game in his last five. He’s seen his batting average jump from .237 to .281 in Salem-Keizer over the run.
  • Hunter Bishop saw his mini-hit streak broken, but grabbed two more walks, giving him five in the last two games. He now has more walks (15) than strikeouts (14) at Salem-Keizer, and a great .380 OBP.

Arizona Black Adders

  • Yep, he’s back. Johnny Cueto made his first appearance since Tommy John surgery in the middle of last year. And, granted, he’s a 33-year old former All-Star facing kids around 20, but he looked good, striking out five of six batters faced.
  • Sonny Vargas had the best outing of his career, earning a five inning save (!). He struck out nine and walked none. He now has 41 strikeouts and 11 walks in 39 innings.
  • It was a rough game for Garrett Frechette, who got hit by pitches twice. The 18-year old was removed after the second one. As usual in the AZL, injury reports are non-existent, so hopefully he’s okay. He has a .321/.378/.415 batting line in 28 games this season. The AZL has Monday off, so Frechette has a day to recover.
  • Andrew Caraballo has switched squads, playing his second game in the Black jersey, and picked up his second double of the season (first with his new squad). Tyler Wyatt also has switched, picking up two walks in his third game with the Black squad.

Arizona Orange Order

  • Connor Cannon had another solid day, picking up another hit and walk. He has a .323/.399/.677 batting line on the season.
  • Najee Gaskins got on base four of five times, with the help of three walks. With 15 walks against 11 strikeouts, he has a .524 OBP in 25 games this season.
  • Randy Norris made his first appearance on a rehab stint, going 3-for-5. Norris was batting .217/.280/.261 in eight games with Augusta when he got injured, and had hit .247/.330/.309 in 29 games at San Jose earlier in the year.
  • Nick Morreale bounced back after giving up three runs in his last outing. He has 13 strikeouts against five walks in 9.2 innings.
  • Wilkelma Castillo had one of his strongest games of the season, going four shutout innings. He has 39 strikeouts against 14 walks in 32.1 innings.

The Wrap-Up:

We spend a lot of time looking at box scores here in the PRU and Minor Lines, so I’ve got one here for you. Completely non-Giants related. This is a snippet of a box score from the independent Pecos League, and of the Garden City Wind (from Kansas).

Yikes. I mean, nice. But yikes! Logan Webb’s 10 unearned runs doesn’t look so bad now, does it?

Before you start asking what that pitcher did to piss his manager off, don’t. Or well, maybe do, because that pitcher, David Peterson, is the manager.

Apparently, that was a meaningless game, as the team rolls into the playoffs, and my guess is that the manager wanted to take some innings off his pitchers, to which one has to admire the willingness to take one for the team, but also like, come on, couldn’t you eat up six innings? (Well, no, maybe he actually physically couldn’t…)

But, you know, that’s the game. In the Pecos League, which fluctuates in teams every season, playing in a city of under 27,000 residents in rural Kansas, in a league where people would respond “What?” if you named it, you do what you can. For the team. For your teammates. That’s the game.