Monday, April 1, 2013

Assignments! San Jose Ho!

I'm skipping Richmond and the Big Bad Eastern for a sec.

First, SJ has the best website in the minors, tons of good stuff put up all the time.  Here's their official link: San Jose 25 Man and I have links to their site as well as the excellent SJ announcer Joe Ritzo's blog.  He puts up a lot of informative info.

Rotation: The heart of Giant prospect-dome this year, the jewel of the franchise playing for the jewel of the franchise, so to speak.  Kyle Crick, 20 years old, damn glad to meet you.  Clayton Blackburn, he of the advanced stuff and so-so velocity.  Our two Dominican Dandies Edwin Escobar and Adalberto Mejia.  Well, Escobar is VZ, but lets not split hairs.  Both are lefties, both are young, and both are exciting.  Mejia is the upside play, Escobar is a bit more polished.  And then there's the surprise: Chris Marlowe is promoted, and sticking in the rotation.  Good for him.  Its been revealed that he has the best curve in the org to go with a mid-90s fastball.  Marlowe is a converted shortstop, new to pitching.  The Giants are teaching him a change.  He has one ding, his size, but if he's bringing heat like that, the more pressing concern is command and control.  And 6th starter?  None other than Ty Blach, who was a bit of a whipping boy during last year's draft.  Blach has a good fastball and advance pitchibility.  Its very interesting he is first of the 2012 guys to SJ.  Maybe the Giants know a bit more than these armchair bloggers bout that pitching, ya hear?!?  (I'm talking about myself, to be clear, I wanted a hitter, a college 3B to be exact, either Jake Lamb or Cameron Perkins).

All told, that is a beautiful rotation, and the first two picks of the 2012 draft, Stratton and Agosta, are starting in Low-A Augusta!  Who says the Giants don't have depth in their system?  More after the jump.

Bullpen: Cody Hall, come on down.  One of my favorite pen arms, I believe Hall is similar to Marlowe - mid 90s heat, converted shortstop, raw talent.  I expect him to move fast.  Its telling to me that Mizenko and the high octane arms from 2012 are NOT in SJ.  Its Cody Hall's job, with a little sharing with Josh Osich, our enigmatic lefty who will not be starting again.  Another lefty, Bryce Bandilla, is also in the pen.  Osich and Bandilla are both high high risk high reward guys, with plus arms and fragile reps.  Will they get fasttracked with the pen or stretched out as the Giants move guys around?  Another injury guy is Jorge Buchardo, back after a year off.  The most interesting guy might be Jeff Soptic, our pickup from the WhiteSox from the Conor Gillaspie trade.  He has high heat and mechanical issues.  Carlos Teller and Luis Rojas round out the pen.

Catchers: The Big News is Andrew Susac is going to Richmond.  So Jeff Arnold, who has the rep as a great defensive catcher, and Eliezer Zambrano will hold down the fort.

Infielders: The Big Story is Angel Villalona, back in professional baseball after his trials and tribulations.  He is still young, although not young for the league anymore.  Will his contact rate improve?  The light tower power is there.  Across the diamond, an interesting move: Ryan Cavan has been demoted to play 3B.  Everybody's favorite Gaucho can scrap and hit a bit, enough to not be a tweener?  The main shortstop will be Kelby Tomlinson, who put up some sneaky speed numbers with running mate Shawn Payne last year in low-A.  Back with the club for MI duty is scrapper utility guy Bobby Haney and Ydwin Villegas, who has struggled with the bat some.  Of note: Tomlinson and Villalona are the yoots here, both will turn 23 during the year.  SJ infield is on the older side.

Outfielders: Big Big Story, sneaky Giants division: Mac Williamson is getting a lot of noise based off his short season success last year.  Our third round pick, Mac has a nice short compact swing and some insane light tower power.  He is a red-shirt Junior ex-pitcher coming out of North Carolina HS/Wake Forrest, I thought he was an inspired pick from the beginning.  The Giants don't get too bogged down with age restrictions, and I think you can find value there.  If anybody is going to pull a Brandon Belt this year and get promoted aggressively, its Mac.  He had a great spring training spraying balls off and over the wall.  Keep a close eye on his contact rate against better pitching, and we'll see where we are at.  The red flag besides age will be BB/K ratios.  If he wins out on that front, look out, because he is almost a 5-tool guy, runs well for a linebacker frame, has a plus-plus arm tailor made for RF, and has a bit of sneaky SB potential as well.  I'm very big on Mac.  I view him as just as good a prospect as much more heralded Richie Shaffer, drafted in the first by everybody's darlings the Tampa Bay Rays.  Mac outhomered him in the ACC.  Mac is newer to hitting, he is more raw.  Maybe Shaffer's hit tool is more advanced, but he won't stick as a 3B most likely, and then you have very similar players, drafted 100 picks apart.  Advantage: Los Gigantes.

Another sleeper is LF Shawn PaynePayne B/R Page and for entertainment purposes: Pro Payne Twitter Link Check out Payne's SB ratio.  Its amazing.  74 SBs and 9 CS in pro ball.  Check out his BB/K ratio.  90BB/105K in 686 pro PAs.  Payne might develop some power, he has good leadoff skills for those who worship OBP.  Want to see what he can BA in High-A.  Here's my thought: Payne was a 2B in HS/JC, he was switched to the OF at Georgia Southern.  He went to Rendon HS in Stone Mountain, GA, same as one Brandon Phillips (and Dom Brown, that school is a factory).  I'd like to see if Payne can stick in the MI in pro ball.  Sure, the challenge is lateral movement.  We'll see what's what, but Payne acknowledges its a grind, he seems confident and mature.  One of my absolute favorite prospects in the system.

The rest of the OF: Chris Lofton, Devin Harris and Elliott Blair.  Of those 3, Lofton has the best tools, pretty quick guy. 

Surprises: The rotation mainly.  Looks like Stratton and Agosta are being kid-gloved.  Big ups to Marlowe.  Ty Blach being sneaky.  Susac not repeating, that is good work on Andrew's part.  I'd add the absence of some of the big arms from the past two drafts as a semi-surprise, but the Giants have about a dozen (literally) big arms who can crank mid-90s heat.

Last chance saloon: Not much, there is definitely some filler, but I count the entire rotation, Hall/Osich/Bandilla, Williamson/Villalona/Payne as very watchable prospects.  That's half the team!

First to the Promotion: Williamson, watch that guy closely.  The other big one is Cody Hall, I think he's fast tracked groomed to be a Dude for the Gints.  And of course, will Crick or Blackburn take it to the next level first?  Somebody will get promoted to Richmond before year end.

Final shot: Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy that rotation, that's the future of the Giants, and why they are set up to compete for years and years.


  1. Just found your blog...What have you heard on Stratton that has him starting in Low A? I heard the velocity was down, is that the only reason he is in low A. Thought for sure he would be in High A.

  2. Welcome and thanks for commenting! I haven't heard much on Stratton. Velocity appears to be down. Whether that is from the Giants tweaking his mechanics or working back from the concussion, don't know. He was apparently in the upper 80s instead of the low to mid-90s, so we're talking a pretty significant drop of 4-6 MPH. Let's watch it, it could just be some sandbagging, maybe he gets skipped straight to Richmond after a few starts. Hopefully its the delivery tweak, not an injury. They could be working on his change in a low-pressure environment. With his advanced stuff, he'll make short work of low-A hitters.

  3. I enjoy your reading your posts about the giants and the youngsters. glad u finally have ur own blog.

    I saw the Augusta roster. Stratton and Agosta and a bunch of hard throwers are on the staff. Of the hitters, interested in hollick. houck, jones, galindo, and relaford.

    Anyway, any word on some of our high priced international FA's from last year? I see that RafRod made it on Augusta. I guess the others might be in the DSL or hopefully AZ or SS later this summer.

    1. Richie - Thanks for reading and thanks for posting. I really appreciate it.

      I really like all those hitters you listed. Relaford seems extremely athletic, I recently found out the Gints paid 100K to get him where they did, that tells a story. Ryan Jones was one of my favorite scrappers from the draft last year, once I got over my initial outrage over the lack of hitters and HS players I was pretty psyched to get him in the 12th.

      I think its a year of darkness for GUSTAVO and Javier. Of note, we have a new RH arm named Argenis Rodriguez, they paid him 160K in Nov 2012, he's 6'2 175, string bean frame.

      It appears Chuckie Jones and RafRod are both going to Augusta, but I'm not 100% sure on that. They are both very young, plenty of time to write their story.

    2. I looked at the dominican prospect league link on the side and it looks like we picked a middle IF in October as well. His name is is Raiby Barias. He's 6'1" / 185. Signed for 115k.

  4. I was surprised to see Stratton and Agosta in Augusta, Stratton in particular. If his velocity is down, I have to believe that the Giants are tweaking something and it takes time for the mechanics to become muscle memory. The Giants have done that before, even top prospects, both Bumgarner and Wheeler, was modified (Wheeler famously reverted back to his high school mechanics after he was traded to the Mets and immediately started doing much, much better; Bumgarner famously was so bad that they returned him back and he shut down everybody from then on).

    I have to think the Giants had a number of different factors. One is that they decided that given the potential log-jam in San Jose, plus if they are really tweaking his mechanics, let Stratton pitch near home so he has that comfort level while adjusting, so that success with the new mechanics begats confidence that the changes were right (prospects will fight change). Second, Kline seems to becoming the second coming of Tidrow, working with our prospects in the minors, so hand off Stratton and Agosta to him for evaluation and so forth. Third, even if they prove to be too good for the league, it don't mean that they can't jump a level after a month or two, if the Giants thought they were ready.

    About Blackburn, that meme of his "so-so" velocity, how true do you think that is? BA has him very low, 87-89, which would be barely passable in the majors, especially for a prospect, so from that angle, it looks true. But Minor League Baseball Analysts report him at 90-93, which I think is doable for a major league righty who knows how to pitch (and Cain and Lincecum are basically around there now, aren't they?). And he came up from A-ball and dominated a strong playoff team in the Cal League at a young age, suggesting that he's pretty damn good pitcher, no matter what the speed gun says.

    I'm looking forward to Osich pitching healthy and seeing what he can do if he stays healthy. He's the system's new Francisco Liriano: he has the skills to dominate in the majors, but will he stay healthy enough to do it long-term?

    Going to be an exciting offense this season, with two big whiffers/homers in Mac and AnVil, and speed from Payne and Lofton.

    1. OGC - I commented in another thread along those lines. I think they have to be tweaking something, and those are great high profile examples of them doing just that. And I think that Richmond is that much closer with him being on the East Coast. There are quite a lot of arms in the lower minors to sort through right now.

      I'm hedging on Blackburn's velocity. I think he has more in the tank, with the frame he has, and he dials it down to maintain his control. But there is a lot of noise about that, so I figured I'd acknowledge it. And I do think its important to not get too excited about Augusta numbers. But that SJ appearance, and the fact that he got the call, does tell a story!