Friday, August 2, 2013

Down on the Farm: 8/1/2013

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies sneaked past the Round Rock Express 2-1:

Gary Brown(CF)- 0 for 4.  BA= .235.
Ehire Adrianza(SS)- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .333.
Justin Fitzgerald(RHP)- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K's, GO/AO= 9/2.  ERA= 5.19.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 4.37.

Gary Brown is 0 for his last 13 and 1 for his last 20, hitting .119 over his last 10 games.  Adrianza just keeps hitting.  Fitzgerald has allowed 6 runs in 20 IP over his last 3 starts for an ERA of 2.70 with 13 K's, 5 BB's and a strong GB tendency.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrel outlasted the Portland Sea Dogs 6-5 in 10 innings:

Joe Panik(2B)- 2 for 5, 2B, BB.  BA= .258.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .241.
Adam Duvall(DH)- 2 for 5, HR(12).  BA= .240.
Chris Gloor(LHP)- 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.44.
Josh Osich(LHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 7.50.

Duvall has homered in 3 consecutive games.

High A  San Jose Giants defeated the Visalia Rawhide 4-2:

Elliott Blair(CF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .245.
Clayton Blackburn(RHP)- 8 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 11/9.  ERA= 3.81.

Not a big strikeout game for Blackburn.  He was pounding the zone and pitching to contact throwing just 89 pitches in 8 IP.  He now has 5 QS in a row.

Low A Game 1(completion of suspended game from 7/7)  Augusta Greenjackets blanked the Charleston River Dogs 2-0:

Jorge Bucardo(RHP)- 4 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.87.

The game stats are credited to July 7, so Bucardo's actual ERA now is 1.19.

Low A Game 2  Augusta Greenjackets doubled up the Savannah River Dogs 5-4:

Shawn Payne(LF)- 2 for 3, 2B, SF, SB(2).  BA= .323.
Joey Rapp(1B)- 1 for 1, BB, HBP.  BA= .245.
Alberto Robles(SS)- 2 for 3.  BA= .300.
Joan Gregorio(RHP)- 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.19.
Mason McVay(LHP)- 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.53.

Gregorio was pulled after facing 2 batters in the 5'th due to a blister on his finger.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes buried the Spokane Indians 9-3:

Randy Ortiz(CF)- 4 for 6, 2 SB(12).  BA= .300.
Ty Ross(C)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .313.
Brandon Bednar(2B)- 2 for 5, SB(6). BA= .284.
Sam Eberle(DH)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .250.
Chase Johnson(RHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 9/1.  ERA= 1.23.

Ortiz performed well in the DSL in 2010 and decently in the AZL last year.  He seems to have a knack for getting on base and he has speed to steal.  No power to speak of.  20 yo.  A slap and dash prospect to watch.

Rookie AZL  Giants beat the D'Backs 5-4:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 0 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .286.
Ryder Jones(3B)- 1 for 4.  BA= .357.
Fernando Pujadas(C)- 2 for 4.  BA= .304.
Cristian Paulino(LF)- 1 for 3, HBP, 2 SB(9).  BA= .323.
Luis Ysla(LHP)- 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.94.
Carlos Alvarado(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.29.

DSL  Giants edged the Orioles1 2-1:

Nicol Parra(DH, 19 yo)- 3 for 4, SB(15).  BA= .262.
Gustavo Cabrera(CF, 17 yo)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .219.
Raffi Vizcaino(RHP, 17 yo)- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K's.  ERA= 2.51.
Jose Morel(RHP, 19 yo)- 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.32.

Well, well, well!  What have we here?  A new pitching prospect to dream on?  This may have been a breakout game for Vizcaino as he has not shown this kind of strikeout ability up to now.  Gustavo is hitting .333 over his last 10 games.


  1. Anothr very solid outing from Blackburn..Great to see he fought off the little "struggles" of earlier in the year....Young pitchers need to face them....Looking at the top pitchers in the CAL league, I'm surprised Blackburn doesn't get even more attention.....Most of the top pitchers in the CAL (Blackburn is 6th in ERA) league are 22-23 while Blackburn is just 20 and pitches like he's 26..And with Crick also at 20..And Meijia younger than both..Man, I don'tthink it would be crazy to say the Giants have the 3 best pitching prospects of the CAL league....And that's not even considering the since graduated Escobar, Blach and even Marte (26) well as relievers like Hall, Osich, and Bandilla....Tell you what, the Giants may jsut have a pretty nice log jam of ready ML pichers in a few years as well as a bevy of trade chips that teams will drool over...On the other hand, never smart to count your chickens before they hatch!!!


    1. We will know more next year, I think, when they go to Richmond.

      It's possible if they do really well, they go to the big club like Panda and Romo from AA (as I recall) and so we might see them in late 2014; otherwise, I think mid-2015, we see some of them come up and maybe be solid contributors in 2016.

      In the meantime, you don't want to waste the years when you have someone special like Posey.

      Maybe they sign as many Gaudins of the world as possible until the next Wheeler ('it's our job to find the next Wheeler') arrives.

      Hopefully, he is a better Wheeler.

    2. Crick is already here and is already a better Wheeler. He's doing better than Wheeler did in Advanced A AND at a younger age as well. Now he just needs to continue to develop and advance as he gets promoted to a higher level.

    3. This year's 1st round pick = 1st pick plus 2nd pick or 2 1st round in, say, 3 year's time.

      There is presence value and there is future value.

      If Crick 'is here' in 2016, we hope he's better... to equalize things.

    4. OGC - I am a big Crick fan also...but it may be going a little too far in saying he is "already here". He seems to be blowing away hitters easily in the CAL league..Will that continue in AA and/or AAA? Will he make the necessary adjustments to better hitters? Wil lhe even have too with his stuff? We'll see..Personally, I'm amazed at how good of a pitcher Balckburn is at 20..and I think his full arsenal of stuff gets unde-rated becasue of the comaprison with Crick... Balckburn to me is more advanced and more ready to face better and better hitters...However, where I also really agree with you is that I think BOTH Crick and Balckburn are ahead of and better than Wheeler at the same age....And they may not be the only ones...Gonna be axciting watching and tracking these guys in AA Richmond next year---I've only gone to 4 games this year...May have to get season tiockets!!!!


    5. Serious draw your brakes brother! moment... Crick doesn't really have a change up. He's all fastball and slider. So far so good, but the lack of a third pitch and the lack of control makes him far away. (Good article on F/G - Eno Sarris yet again - on an A's pitcher and teaching grips/pitches)

      Blackburn has a pretty advanced arsenal, and the reports on his velocity are pretty good. He sits in the high-80s low-90s for control but can hump up when he needs to. He's seriously getting undervalued by "bad body" projections. But he has a great pitching frame! So there we go... I think he'll benefit from pro strength training, I just think he's more of a prove out at every level guy.

      Having the two of them pitch together is a pretty good Mutt and Jeff routine. Blackburn's work on control has already rubbed off some on Crick. Lucky to have both, and I maintain the Greybeards pulled the trigger on Wheeler due to having both in the stable.

    6. Sorry, what I meant is that we have a Wheeler circa 2011 when we traded him away in Crick right now, only I think he's in a better state than Wheeler was at that point. He will have to rise and develop to match Wheeler today.

      He might need more pitches and is wild, but so was Wheeler and Cain in the low minors too.

    7. Again, I make a distinction between 'to find the next Wheeler' and 'to find the next Wheeler who will arrive at around the time frame.'

      If it turns out that it's 'better than Wheeler, but arriving 2 or 3 years later,' it's still not the same, though it may be good enough (or the better scenario) for a lot of fans.

      Now, Wheeler is not quite 'here,' some might argue. For sure, Crick is not here.

      Two of the things people don't like about Beane are

      1. confusing collecting prospects with actual MLB production. So, let's wait a bit on Crick.

      2. confusing high draft positions with talent. Let's be frank - our core, most of the core, consists of high draft picks: Lincecum, Madison, Posey. Wheeler was the last high pick. As proud as we are of our prospects, we have to use the time frame we have with. And what is that? Between now and 2018? So, we will have Crick, Blackburn and Mejia starting 2016? That's 2016, 2017 and 2018. What do we do for 2013, 2014 and 2015? I think we need to find one more Vogelsong and one more Gaudin from outside. Then, next year, we have Bumgarner, a rebounding Cain, and either 2 Vogelsongs and one Gaudin, or 2 Gaudins and one Vogelsong. After what happened to Heston, I don't know how much we can count on Kickham, Fitzgerald or Surkamp.

    8. Maybe better to say

      2. confusing high draft positions with a talent to pick good players.

      Normally, or hopefully, higher picks bring your more talented players. But I was referring to talented 'personnel directors' or talented 'GMs.'

    9. It is absolutely ridiculous to expect the Giants to find another Wheeler who will arrive at around the same time frame. May as well as the Giants to find the next Babe Ruth who can pitch and hit well, neither will happen.

      Of course a lot of our talent are high draft positions, that's true for most baseball teams. Look at the guys selected before Lincecum, Madison, Posey, and you will find that the rate of success at finding talent is much harder than you present it to be.

      But I agree that we need to win within the window we have the talent. If you think it is so easy to find talent consistently while winning, find me a team selecting in the back third of the draft who is satisfying this requirement you are placing on the Giants.

      I agree that the Giants need to pick through the leftovers and find players. You state this as if the Giants have not been doing this, but over the past 5 seasons, they picked up useful players like Uribe, Huff, Burrell, Torres, Blanco, Arias, Vogelsong, Gaudin. Not all work out, see Tejada, but they have been improving the team with pick ups like this for a long while now.

      I don't see what Heston has to do with Kickham, Fitzgerald or Surkamp. Every player is individual. I think what can be said is look at how pitching prospects over the history of the Giants franchise has done in order to see that we should not count on Kickham, Fitz, and Surkamp until they come up and do it. Same with Lincecum, Cain, Posey, Bumgarner. Even the best of prospects fizzle out in the majors, or at least don't match the hype given him. Weiters is a good player but is no where near what was expected of him when he was drafted, what Posey is doing is what they expected from Weiters.

      Still, while I would not count on anyone until they do it up here, we can build up expectations based on how well (or not) they do in the minors leading up to their promotion, particularly at the upper levels of the minors, when they should have been learning and developing, and getting close to what they could be in the majors.

      Crick right now looks like a very good prospect, but yeah, he has a lot of things to learn and levels to rise. So do most Advanced A pitching prospects. Most players down that low has a lot to learn typically.

      What he has that nobody can teach is velocity that causes batters to strike out at a very high level. He is 4th in the league in K/9, but first among starters in the league. And he is young, most of the leaders are 22 to 25 years old (he's 20) and the average player in the CAL is 23 YO, and only one player is close in age among the leaders in K/9, our Edwin Escobar who is only 21 himself. That shows how special he is relative to the league, what he is doing (Escobar too).

      Now Wheeler made it to the majors in two more seasons after SJ, so for Crick to match, he would need to make the majors by 2015. We'll see if he's capable of doing that. Escobar is already in AA though and doing well, 9.8 K/9, which is 21st, and there are only two 21 YO who are up there in K/9, him and Jesse Biddle. He is still keeping up the great (GREAT!) K/BB of 5.20 which he had in SJ, 5.41 K/BB, so he could be coming up in 2014 if he can keep this up, sometime mid-season. He could potentially push for a rotation spot in spring training if he can keep this up, as well, though the Giants tend to be more conservative, prefering to let the prospect do well in AAA first before calling him up mid-season.

    10. You can look at it two ways: 1. There is no window! 2. There will always be a window!

      When one window closes, another one opens. In 2011, people were screaming that the Giants had a "window" with the once-in-a-lifetime pitching. THAT was part of the rationale for the Beltran Trade. Now, the "window" is Buster Posey. In a few years it will be Kyle Crick.

      When Brian Sabean said he and Tidrow would find the next Wheeler, he CLEARLY did not mean that he would find a prospect that would be ready at the same time.

      BTW, the Giants were not going to win another championship this year with or without Wheeler.

      Let it go, people!

    11. I'm not quite ready to let it go. We've got 54 to play and we're exactly 10 behind the Bums, and they haven't had a thing wrong forever while we've been the bad news bears. You never know.

      I don't think Sabean meant the same time ready, but I do think he felt they had a similar guy with Crick.

      And Wheeler would not be a part of our miraculous run... which is starting right now.

  2. Raffi is the 4th youngest guy in the Gigantes system until the new IFA signings lace em up. Robinson Medrano, Robert Antunez, Gustavo, then Vizcaino. Rayan Hernandez and Dylan Brooks are our only other 17 year old pitchers. And on the hitting side, Javier and Raiby Barias are the only 17 year old hitters.

    Don't get too down about it though, there's some hitters who just turned 18, going up to 18.5: Arroyo, Arrenado, Fargas and Melendez. Don't forget that Ryder Jones is the 2nd oldest HS player in the draft and John Riley is the oldest. Shilo McCall slots in between the two. Personally I don't sweat that very much, you snag talent when you can get it.

    Pitchers its good to keep an eye on Michael Santos. Carlos Diaz is 19.5 in AZL but has a stellar 13.5 K/9 ratio. That's better than Mella's 19.8 year old 11.1 K/9, same station. Speaking of an old for level guy, I want to know what Luis Ysla's deal is. Already 21, he has a 10.13 K/9 and a 4.5 K/BB in AZL.

    But to SteveVA's point... 3 20 year olds not just holding their own but taking down names in the California League... Great stuff. For a team that gets beat up (and by their own fans a fair amount!) for not having young talent, the Giagantes have a lot of fun guys to follow, hopefully all the way to the top.

    I think the age/level stuff can be ignored a little with the relievers. What you're aiming for is a big portfolio to hopefully have a pipeline, aiming for 3-4 years of production. The Jeremy Affeldt's of the world that stick for a long time are pretty rare. I think Cody Hall is the real mccoy, and he'll have a chance to leapfrog Hembree soon.

  3. Panik, is his season so far advancing or setting back his prospect-hood?

    1. I don't really see him advancing. The only good news is it seems he has a solid walk and strikeout rate. I know we shouldn't expect him to hit for much power, but even guys who have little power in the majors (such as Scutaro) put up solid .430-460 slugging percentages in the minors. Next year will be big for him, but I'm not holding my breath when it comes to his future.

      I think most Giants fans thought he was a bad 1st round choice. I know I did and I'm sticking to that assessment, especially after the years he has had in professional ball.

    2. Interesting TK - I thought he was an interesting choice, I laughed a ton at MLB network having no idea what to do with themselves. I was focused on OFs and pitchers, I expected Brian Goodwin actually.

      Another easy comp to look at is Freddy Sanchez, another contact prototype 2-hole hitter.
      Here's Panik:

      We haven't seen as much power from Panik yet, but I'm quite sure the Giants think its there or else they wouldn't have made the pick. I think its pretty early still. He has that elite K%/contact rate, and elite BB/K ratios. That can carry him for a while. He does need to have enough power to keep pitchers honest, otherwise we're back to Manny Burriss time, and that's no fun.

      Having his SLG dip to the 350s is no bueno, but he did finish the California league en fuego, and he might do that with the Eastern, we'll see.

      The 1st rounder I'm down about is Stratton.

    3. One thing about Panik as a choice is it allowed the Giants room in their budget (and having a budget is a big discussion, last year before CBA) to go overslot with Susac and Osich later. He was slightly underslot, and a quick sign. I can't say I really see any big misses until Kyle Crick's name pops up, he was the 29th overall. Its definitely fill in around Posey drafting. The rumor was the CA HS pitchers were the target, and most likely that meant Robert Stephenson who went to the Reds and is now quite a prospect.

    4. I think Panik is performing adequately given the league he is in. I doubt he will be my #2 prospect in my next top 50, but that is more because of the significant advancement of some of the younger players than major disappointment with his production. The EL is one tough SOB to hit in!

    5. I'd say Panik's #'s, if the season ended today, are very disappointing. Yes, he's maintained his great bb/k rate. The plate discipline is his bread and butter. But a .258 average in AA is not promising to me. Yes, AA is tough on hitters, but the Eastern League is not the Major Leagues. He's hitting .333 over his last 10, but only one XBH. A .353 SLG for the year is alarming to me as well. If he's not going to hit for any power, you'd really like to see his average above .280 in my opinion.

    6. Doc, WAY early, I understand, but it is fun to check the temp every now and again...

      I think we can all agree that Crick is #1, but who fills out the rest of the top 5 right now? Blackburn, Escobar, Mejia, Osich (in that order)? Does Blach, Susac, Flores, Williamson, Arroyo, Cabrera enter into that discussion yet? Does Stratton even make top 10? How about Panik or Brown? Are they still top 10?

      It was a different day back when we had Posey, Bum, Alderson and AnVil as the top 4. They were CLEARLY a cut-above everyone else. Now, aside from Crick, we have a lot of guys vying for those top spots.

    7. One needs to remember that the EL is a tough hitting league. .255/.330/.389/.719, ISO 144.

      Panik is holding his own there, for the most part, .256/.345/.357/.702, ISO 101.

      In 2012, he hit .297/.368/.402/.770, ISO 105 vs. league .273/.342/.427/.770, ISO 154. So he's keeping pace with the league in terms of ISO, so there is no decline vs. what he did in SJ, relative to the league, it is just that the offensive environment is much different.

      If he can keep pace with each new level, here is his hurdle for the NL at 2B: .255/.316/.388/.704, ISO 133.

      There are not that many starting 2B with ISO around 100 ISO. Scutaro is one of them below, 78 ISO. And Scutaro is an interesting comparison because he is like Panik, high BB/K, low K%, not much power, but because he's good at making contact (and hence the low K%), Scutaro has a nice .315/.375/.395/.770 batting line right now.

    8. Panik is doing fine in the context he is playing in. I would certainly not call his performance a "major disappointment."

    9. That peak at what is average in the Eastern, coupled with a peak at the leaderboard in OPS... tells me that Susac is our guy. Panik can grind along with him. Serious sleeper potential with Susac.

  4. The good news about Brown is that his BABIP during this period is very low, .147, meanwhile he only had 8 K's in 42 AB, which, while not good, it is not bad either, like it was earlier when he was doing horribly.

    The good news about Angel is that he's showing a lot of power in a league that really dampens power.

    1. It's pretty tough to see anything good about what Brown is doing right now.

    2. Well, the good, if you can call it good, news is that the number of ABs are so low that this could just be severely bad luck right now, given the low BABIP and relatively low K's.

      But yeah, pretty tough, it is pretty bleak, that's why I thought I would point out this one nugget of hope regarding it. Players rarely stay at a .147 BABIP, there a lot of bad luck usually involved with that. How much is bad luck vs. bad mechanics vs. learning a new batting tip is the big question.

    3. It would be one thing if he was in a 1 for 20 skid and his season BA was .280 or so, but his season BA is in the .230's and he's been in a slump more than he has not, so I'm not buying the SSS argument here. I think you have to believe at this point that Brown's prospect status is in serious trouble.

  5. Hey Doc, just checking, but didn't SK play yesterday with Chase Johnson pitching? I came across a boxscore on their site-
    So I'm not sure. Nevertheless, encouraged by what we're seeing from Johnson so far.


    1. I'll check. It wasn't in the regular lineup of boxscores I usually work from on

  6. hope the giants are keeping their eyes on bobby bo's kid

    he will need a few years in the minors, but seems that he has some really good stuff...maybe even closer good