Friday, August 28, 2015

Out In Front: Wrap-up of Most Things Giants Farm System

It's another grace period from me (another string of holiday and weekend and the quizzes have just passed by) and I think it's time to run another round of Out In Front but this time, I will not talk about a specific thing or two (because Jordan Johnson thing was yesterday (not literally)) and instead, I'll do this new post like it's Something Extra, tidbits of information like you want to make a fruit salad with all of the fruits inside and out the refrigerator but expect that you'll read good thoughts from me in this one. 

- Let's start with the biggest news of the day or the week, RHP Phil Bickford. He and his gorgeous blonde hair conjures up another strikeout fiesta in his latest start, whiffing 6 in 2 scoreless IP and 1 hit and 0 walks. In his last three starts, he became the Nolan Ryan of the AZL, striking out 18 batters in 8.1 IP, with just 4 hits and 2 BBs allowed. His fastball may not be the big dog that most of the people are expecting, as he's sitting on 89-91 MPH and topping out at 93 MPH, it's a sure thing that he knows how to utilize it and spot it whenever he wants, allowing just 6 BBs this year. From the latest video of him from Eric Longenhagen, he already got a really solid tempo on the mound and a controlled and sound mechanics. He still needs to do something on improving his offspeed pitches and his overall command of his repertoire and the eye-popping results came from the lowest level of talent that MiLB has to offer but he has proven to me that he's ready for a promotion and if he will undergo a big offseason, he'll be quicker than what most people thought just like Beede and Arroyo. There's a slim chance that he'll be promoted to S-K at the final weeks of the season.

- From the really good news comes some pretty bad news. The Young Beedah's been inconsistent recently. After pitching his first scoreless outing since his AA debut, he got the worse part from the BABIP gods, allowing 8 ER on 11 hits and 2 BBs in 6.1 IP in his latest start. It's just a theory from me and I think that possibly the thing that has been hurting him is the past starts is the big inning and just just big innings, I'm talking about a blitzkrieg. In his latest start, 7 of the runs have came on the 2nd and 3rd inning, totaling just 36 pitches combined and most of it come from first pitches or hitters counts and every hitter has an average pitch per AB of 2.5 pitches per AB. I know that he's been working on stuffs like controlling the running game, but I think the sudden loss of feel for his pitches results to inconsistencies and I feel that hitters are jumping on him early in the count. There's still a pretty long to-do list for the Young Beedah to do to finish strong at the end of his first full season.

- Ever since getting promoted to the lil' Gigantes on August 7, the Young AG has been struggling, batting .241 with 0 HRs, 5 ribeyes, with 6 BBs and 18 Ks. One of the pretty glaring stat that I notice is that he's hitting the ball to the earth more in his promotion, with 1.08 GO/AO ratio in SJ compared to 0.73 for the GreenJackets. That means that if he got 10 ABs, there will be a more than 30% chance that he'll hit it on the ground and towards the infielders and not on the air and towards extra bases. He got average bat speed but his swing is so smooth and textbook that changes in his aggressiveness on the box is just the adjustment that he can do. Being selective, improving his decision-making. His defense has improved enough for me that he'll stick behind the dish where hopefully in the future, there will be robo umps. Aramis' season this year has been a success for me after not being shown to the spotlight in the past years. He's just adjusting to a higher level with better players and better competition.

- In the NWL, there was this odd thing that Ronnie Jebavy, an outfielder more known for his range and defense and not much of the pop, tied Chris Shaw, the highly-touted first baseman and raw power is his main calling card, for the team lead of HRs with 7 until Shaw hit his 8th bomb that's good for 3rd in the NWL. I think the Giants' handling of Shaw after being drafted and his recovery from the back injury that will sap some raw power. But 9 HRs are a lot for a guy with so much little playing time. He's averaging a HR per 16.56 ABs. Compared to the leader in HR in the NWL with 10, he's averaging a HR per 22.5 ABs. A take a look at Shaw "sabermetrically" helps him especially after taking days off on multiple occasions to possibly rest his hammate. He's even drawing walks, with 18 BBs against 38 Ks. He's willing to take walks, his swing is compact but powerful so his future hitter profile looks like he got the chance to be an everyday 1B and possibly more.

- Another guy who's been booming and getting attention is the 2nd rounder LHP Andrew Suarez. After starting up his career in the AZL, he zoomed quickly towards the High-A lil' Gigantes and has impressed their play-by-play announcer Joe Ritzo. In his last couple of starts for San Jose, he layed waste on the hitters, allowing just 6 hits, 1 walk in 10 IP with 10 Ks. His advanced feel for his pitches shows up in his performance in the Minors this year, with just 4 total BBs. Working with a fastball that hits high-80s/low-90s and with a good slider and changeup, his pitch-to-contact approach and the way he attacks hitters are just what the Giants M.O. on pitchers. His poise, calm demeanor and his confidence plus the previous sentence are carrying him to new heights after an injury-filled college career. He may be a reincarnation of Adalberto Mejia and I am excited to continue to follow him at season's end.

- Chase Johnson has been promoted to the Flying Squirrels and started the latest game for the AA affliate, notching 6 hits, 3 walks, 2 earned runs and 4 strikeouts in 4.2 IP. I listened on the broadcast and looked on Gameday, he's missing spots in most of his pitches. I noticed the tweet of Chris Kusiolek via GiantsProspectTalk that his feel for his pitches especially the CB, SL and CH are consistently well below average. If that's true then the 14-strikeout masterpiece that he pitched while still in San Jose is a fluke. I will say that his slider and the changeup got better feel and that to a couple of videos from Roger Munter (which is a really good wrap-up guy), his pitches are not missing a lot on the catcher's mitt. His fastball command are pretty good and the hitters in the AA are much better than in A+ and there's a possibility that he is just having a bit of tiny mechanical issue so I'll chalk it up as just a blimp on the radar as he's been experiencing the best season of his Minors career.

- A trio of guys who are so close to being called up are hot right now. On the pitching side, Ty Blach is on a good roll for the AAA River Cats. In his last three starts, he pitched in 22 innings with 15 hits, 4 walks and 14 strikeouts. The pinnacle of that might be his 3-hit complete game shutout where 67% of his pitches for strikes (117-78). Meanwhile, Clayton Blackburn's been pretty hittable on the month of August, with 28 hits on 29 IP but has done a great job on limiting damage, allowing just 8 ER and 11 walks and 23 Ks. On the hitting side, Big Mac Williamson has been good ever since returning from the Pan Am Games, batting .281 with 4 roundtrippers, 23 ribeyes, 13 BBs and 32 strikeouts. Both are playing well enough to earn a call-up in September because they are worth the promotion. I hope that Big Mac's power will show up on the box scores via XBHs and HRs and I hope that Blach and Blackburn will prove me wrong as a possible Chris Heston-type of rise and not just the Chris Capuano-type that I'm calling for Blach though Blackburn's got the true Chris Heston-type of jump whenever he gets the chance to pitch in the Majors. 

- The BABIP gods are such naughty gods. They giveth away and taketh away performances and call high BABIP season as flukish. After hitting almost all of the baseballs thrown to the catcher's mitt for a fair ball, Miguel Gomez has been on a "slump" if you want to call it a slump, batting just .220 with just a single bomb and 4 RBIs and just 1 BB and 2 Ks in his last 10 games. He sure is the BABIP-reliant as he's not going to take a lot of walks and not going to strike out a ton. It's like he's just a one true outcome guy and that's he's going to put the ball in play. He's going to rely on his eye-hand coordination and pitch selection to get good batting averages and good results overall. 

- Aside from Miguel Gomez, I will give short thoughts on guys on the Volcanoes roster. C.J. Hinojosa has swung a hot stick, batting .375 with 3 HRs and 6 RBIs with just 1 BB and 2 Ks in his last 10 games. Looks like he's relying on the power of the BABIP on his hot streak but I'll commend him for having a nice season. Steven Duggar has been drawing more walks than I have imagined (31 BBs in 51 games played) from a guy with contact issues on his draft card. I guess plate vision is not an issue for him and he's batting .284 overall so it's not that bad. The 50 punchouts in 51 games is an issue though. Ronnie Jebavy got more power than I have imagined from him, hitting 7 bombs and at one point tied Chris Shaw for the team lead in HRs. The batting average is average though and he's not drawing a lot of walks so far. Maybe a change in approach can help him. Possibly the best performance out of the hitters not named Chris Shaw and Miguel Gomez is Jose Vizcaino Jr. Jose is having a great season, batting .308 with 6 HRs, 20 RBIs, and the good 13-27 BB/K ratio. There's not much of a bad thing that I can comment on him. He's just playing good and consistent for the Volcanoes. Check out Grant Watson and Logan Webb for my pitchers to follow in Salem-Keizer.

- Augusta seems to be pretty left behind recently so to speak but Dylan Davis is definitely not left behind. In his last 10 games, he's batting at a .389 clip with a homer and 2 RBIs but most of all, 7 BBs against just 10 Ks. After scuffling in the Cal League, he's establishing his spot on the prospect lists once again as he's going well recently in the Sally. On the pitching side, a couple come to mind. Michael Santos' return from the DL has been successful so far, with a 2.76 ERA with almost 1 hit per innings pitched (30 hits vs 32.2 IP), with just 9 walks and 20 grabbing the pine, meat. He's still trying to recover the lost time improving the feel of his secondary pitches with the rawness of his stuff evident with the lack of strikeouts but he should be fine towards the end. Sam Coonrod's numbers had not been dazzling lately according to the number 6 slot given to him by, with 8 earned runs allowed in 11 IP with just 7 Ks and 4 BBs. I think that the mechanics issues have come to bit him a bit recently, couple that with the possibility of the lack of feel for his secondaries. His stuff may be prime time quality but he's still pretty raw for my liking and he still needs more solid string of starts to jump on the bandwagon that the has created.

- Mr. carmot's gonna like this part. Jean Angomas' progress in the AZL has been a positive one even though he's being blocked by a number of outfielders and starting the season in the wrong note, batting .323 in his last 10 games with 5 BBs and just 2 Ks. I can't explain this one better than Mr. carmot but for me, I love the guy too (thanks to the impressive stats that Mr. carmot had gathered meaticulously so big props to him). I will just demand that he should be given more playing time on the field. 

- In other AZL topics, Jalen Miller and Kelvin Beltre has been average and for Miller, he's gone to a pretty long slump ever since the hot start that he experienced. Not a lot of comments that I can give since the AZL is 90% scrimmage-type games and everybody's showing off their tools and stats are a pretty weak indicator of the person's talent but sometimes when great talent is coupled with great stats, even in the pretty messy AZL, it can be used to judge the player's ceiling (see: Bickford, Phil).

- Lastly, I'll end this roundtable with possibly my favorite guy in the farm system even before the drafting of the Young Beedah, Christian Arroyo. I just love the short and quick stroke to the ball, the really impressive eye-hand coordination and the moxie that be brings to the table. He is just keeping his batting average on the happier side of .300 (at .316 right now) and is just so consistent after returning from the DL if you take a look at his stats and whenever you listen on Joe Ritzo and his partner's broadcast (I apologize if I forget your name). I love the guy. 

That's the end of my wrap-up of all of the interesting and not so interesting things in the Giants farm system. I didn't mention Jordan Johnson because I already tapped onto him recently and I didn't tap on the DSL because DSL stats are pretty much negligible according to outside guys as DSL and other Latino prospect leagues are tool-centric and not stats-centric like the Majors. I did say most and not all because I know I missed out of a lot of guys and I think that I already said my thoughts on other guys in my previous posts like Ray Black and I don't really like the idea of me repeating the same words that I said before. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on the recent Giants topics even though I am studying and not really catching up on the latest Giants prospect news like other people. 

P.S. I miss Giant Potential's videos & articles (THAT HD VIDEOS) and I hope that in the future, the GreenJackets will have a radio station to listen to for their games. 


  1. Nice work, Wrenzie... You're a star for putting all this together. You might've already seen this, Matt Eddy put out a piece today that includes mention of Luis Ysla. I know many presume he ends up in the bullpen. I still think he's got a shot in the rotation. A solid foundation from which to work, IMO.

    You touch on a lot of great names. There are so many! Jebavy. Even on draft day... He's one name I have been excited about. Thanks for the shout out on Angomas. I know he's got a LONG way to go to prove himself. But I love the way he seems to go about everything, totally my type of baseball player. Am I allowed to be pschyed about reliever prospects? lol. So many... And oh my... Tomlinson. Wow.

    I miss Conner's work, too! That man is REALLY good at recognizing prospect potential. Nailed a ton of breakout performances and offered great videos to explain his projections. Definitely one of my most trusted resources and he is missed! Cheers.

    1. Hello! I saw the BA post and I think Ysla's stuff is now finally turning on his side after hitters are not fooled by his stuff. There's still some shot for him as a starter but his stuff and the low 3/4 release is better suited in the bullpen IMO where he can get outs pronto. Kelby is just so good he's blowing my previous expectations for him after noticing the changes in his swing. Never thought that MInor League season is ending. Time flies so fast! Cheers!

  2. Beede and Coonrod: Looks like first time through a professional season,and the dog days.Has caught up to the young hurlers.Not concerned at all.We mentioned earlier,that Beede can add strength.And,he's learning why you need,that extra weight and muscle.Same for Coonrod.I don't think it's a coincidence, that they both hit the wall in August.

    Garcia: David Lee,and Joe Ritzo have tweeted about Garcia's throwing ability.He put an impressive year in Augusta.I think he's about to heat up in SJ.

    Shaw: Models his game after Rizzo.Hitting like Rizzo.Just think.This kids going to get stronger.If he continues to develop.I'll be the first to tell you.I was wrong about that pick.

    Gomez: I like this kid a lot.If he can take training seriously.He can be a better hitter.

    Bickford: looks like SJ for our 1st rounder.

    Duggar,and Jebavy: Fargas,Jebavy,Duggar OF in SJ next season.A lot of speed and athleticism.Pitchers are going to like that speed in the OF.

    Arroyo: I wonder if the experts are still laughing at that pick.

    Edie: Should see him in Augusta.Looks like another gamer.

    Miller: After a hot start.The high schooler is adjusting to big league ball.Maybe a move to the OF for Jallen.

    Suarez: Another guy I wasn't excited about.Knows how to pitch.Mixes speeds well,competes.Joe Ritzo was impressed by Suarez.His stuff and pitchability.Should play.

    Nice write up Wrenzie.Peace.

    1. Hey David. You know that Beede has been a long-time client of Eric Cressey's High Performance Training? So, building strength likely isn't an issue, IMO. They rave about his workouts there. Personally, I wouldn't presume to know what's up... Could just be part of the development process. Lots of tweaks and tuning. Finding an identity with pitches and grips. Sequencing. Adjusting to pro ball and scheduling. YMMV. Cheers.

    2. Hello Mr. David. If you have read the previous article of mine about Beede, he got some of the best strength coaches and for me, it's just overall fatigue of the first full season and tasting the high Minors. Nothing much to worry. If we worry about him, it will be whether he still performs like this next season.

  3. Great rundown overall! Lots of great info!

    I would note that while Blackburn has been much more hittable this season vs. prior ones, I would note (with extreme SSS caution), that he actually gave up less hits (per IP) in August than in prior months, particularly June and July. After a rough start to the season in May, he has had a 2.69 ERA since, so hits or not, he's been limiting the damage better. And after a brief stint in the bullpen in June, he has had a 2.53 ERA since, with a great 47 K/16 BB, basically 3.0 K/BB ratio, and only 5 HR in 64.0 IP. Still, rough start or not, he has a 3.23 ERA for the season, great for any level, any age.

    Looking at his Game Score, he's been up and down with his performances for most of the year, then had a good run soon after ASB, since 7/24 start he had 2.09 ERA in his last 7 starts, averaging a great 58 Game Score, though his last two starts have been around average.

    Looks like he struggled early on with the new level, eventually was taken out of the rotation to work on some things, then continued to be learning until things clicked in soon after AAA ASB. All in all, great stuff for a 22 YO pitching for the first time in AAA, would be better if he struck out more, but great stuff for 22 YO to be doing, as he's 5 years younger than league.

    He is the only 22 YO among Top 100 ERA leaders (though that's partly because some like Syndergaard got promoted to majors before qualifying for leader; still, among starters, he's among the best for 22 YO and younger, basically only Thor better, other than guys with only 1 start), which is a great accomplishment, 39th among all pitchers, 13th among pitchers with at least 10 starts, 9th among pitchers with at least 14 starts (7th at least 15 starts; he has 18 starts right now, most are under 20 among ERA leaders). Being top 10 among starters in AAA is a good accomplishment for any pitcher, great for a 22 YO.