Thursday, August 29, 2013

Down on the Farm: 8/28/2013

Before we get started, I'd like to address some discussion from the previous Down on the Farm regarding AFL rules.  I don't claim to be an expert, but I've followed the AFL closely for a long time now.  I can remember when Jerome Williams and Todd Linden went!  Anyway, the league is generally limited to AAA and AA players.  Teams are allowed 1 exception which may have recently been expanded to 2.  They can also apply for additional exceptions such as the Giants did a couple of years ago for Dan Runzler because he had too many MLB innings to qualify under normal rules.  There has also been a no-repeat rule in the past.  Not sure if that one is still in place.  In general, teams are not enthusiastic about sending pitchers so you tend to see a lot of reliever types and starters who have missed some time and have not logged a normal innings workload.  As a result, and also because of the location, it tends to be an extreme hitter-friendly league. Although players are sometimes given specific things to work on, it is more of a showcase league to see how a team's top prospects compete with other top prospects.  Sample sizes are so small that is of dubious value though.

Hope that helps.

Check out Shankbones excellent blog You Gotta Like These Kids for a rundown on this year's Giants AFL assignees.

On with the minor league rundown:

AAA  Sacramento River Cats edged out the Fresno Grizzlies 4-3:

Angel Pagan(CF)- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .278.
Jackson Williams(C)- 2 for 4.  BA= .228.
Mitch Lively(RHP)- 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.81.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels shut down the Reading Phightin' Phils 1-0:

Kelby Tomlinson(SS)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .188.
Ryan Bradley(LHP)- 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K's. ERA= 6.90.
Jose Valdez(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.07.
Phil McCormick(LHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.95.
Josh Osich(LHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.33.
Jesse Biddle(LHP, Phightin' Phils)- 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 7 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.64.

Biddle is the dude who struck out 16 batters early in the season. He has struggled since then with a W-L 5-14.  While he has 154 K's in 138.1 IP, he also has 82 BB's.

High A  Visalia Rawhide whipped the San Jose Giants 7-5:

Chris Lofton(LF)- 2 for 5, 2 3B.  BA= .253.
Mac Williamson(RF)- 2 for 2, 2 BB, SF, CS(1).  BA= .294.
Elliott Blair(CF)- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  ERA= .233.
Ty Blach(LHP)- 4.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.90.

Not a typical Blach game.  Mac continues his drive for .300.  I did not realize he did not have a CS prior to this game.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets swarmed the Lexington Legends 13-4:

Shawn Payne(LF)- 1 for 4, HR(3), SF.  BA= .270.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 3 for 5, HR(13).  BA= .262.
Ben Turner(C)- 3 for 4.  BA= .251.
Andrew Cain(CF)- 1 for 2, BB, HBP, SB(19).  BA= .236.
Kendry Flores(RHP)- 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 8/3.  ERA= 2.73.

Delfino is finishing the season strong hitting .333/.341/.571 over his last 10 games, and .304/.339/.500 for the month of August.  He really had just one bad month, May, when he hit .202.  He doesn't walk a ton, but he also keep his K rate down to under 15%.  Flores line is not quite as exciting as some we've seen from him, but it's a QS and he continues to not walk anybody.

Short Season  Boise Hawks out hit the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 10-6:

Tyler Hollick(CF)- 2 for 4, BB, SB(19). BA= .263.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 3 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .303.
Leonardo Rojas(DH)- 2 for 3, BB, HBP.  BA= .314.
Ryan Tuntland(3B)- 3 for 5, 2B.  BA= .254.

I'm pretty excited about my man Tyler Horan's season line of .303/.370/.448.  He's hitting .326/.396/.512 over his last 10 games and .329/.387/.518 over 20 games in the month of August.  There as concern about him controlling the strike zone in the pros, but he has 16 BB's against 32 K's in 165 AB's with S-K.

Rookie AZL  D'Backs pounded the Giants 9-4:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .326.
Ryder Jones(3B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .317.
Jonathan Jones(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .225.

Giants used 11 pitchers in this game.

DSL  Red Sox completed an 8-3 win over the Giants to end the Giants season with a 2-0 playoff series win.


  1. FYI, found a nice site for finding out about minor league prospect injuries, on an old favorite, The Baseball Cube:

    For example, didn't know that Susac had been out since August 3rd for a shoulder impingement. And Villalona was out for 7 days for hamstring (I recall that was his issue in his last full season played, in 2009, right?).

    Also captures all transactions as well, like all 25-man movements, assignments up and down in the minors, suspensions, rehab, DFA, signings like getting back Heston, trades...

    but only the last 200 transactions, they should still keep the list somewhere, I would think, but nothing easy to reach on this page.

  2. One reliever I like to see is Law in the AFL. But I think he was hurt earlier, so maybe they don't want to tax him much.

  3. Thanks for the shout out.

    I think we can comfortably call Kendry Flores and Ty Blach the two nicest surprises of the year. Blach is just amazingly consistent - and that is a "bad" line from him... Take that very easily. The Richmond rotation next year should really get to work putting the Flying Squirrels on the playoff road. Augusta makes the playoffs! Not since the days of Madison has that happened... They have followed the tried and true Gigante method - pitching and scrap up enough offense!

    Mac Williamson threatens to get to 300 like Panik last year. This bodes well. Baggs hinted the BA top ten will be extremely pitcher heavy but Mac will be there in his chat yesterday.

    Still, there are some interesting hitters. Mac, Susac, Panik. Villalona. Gary Brown. Bunch of decisions to be made to cull the OF herd - Peggs, Kieschnick, Perez, Brown, Parker, Herrera... Will any emerge as anything more than Aaaa specials? If that? Has Dominguez earned a cup of coffee? Duvall, does he get the bump to Fresno? I'm curious if Arroyo gets top ten hype as well.

  4. Blach looked as bad last night as I've seen all year. He struggled with control, ran up his pitch count and was very hittable (beyond the 4 hits, at least 3-4 outs were line drives). The big blow was a bases-loaded, 3-0 pitch that he threw right down the middle of the plate that was nearly hit out of the park to left field. As it was, it cleared the bases and Blach's night was over.

    Could just be dealing with a tired arm, though he was pretty consistently at 90-91 with his FB and hit 92 a few times as well.

    Mac Williamson on the other hand, is a totally different hitter now even than he was last month. He's working the count, battling at the plate and where before he was striking out a ton, he's learning to foul tough pitches off and forcing pitchers to make mistakes. Those Ks are now turning into either hits, walks or at least long PA. Really, really impressed with the adjustments Mac has made the last 2 weeks specifically.


  5. Check out Baggs latest. Scouts all over the globe. In on Abreu, in on Tanaka. (Please note- not the cast off scrubs currently on our 40 man, the premium expensive and CBA rule skirting ones)

    About damn time I says. The Giants have to compete with an 800 pound gorilla and they need to be in on these markets, no guarantee of success but the due diligence needs to happen.

    If the Doyers don't hit on Puig, and go from the cellar to the top, maybe the Giants would have kept competing, but it didn't work out that way. They don't need a tear down, but they do need major pieces. Good that they recognize that, per Baggs latest.

    1. Abreu looks good but I think the giants should go after Tanaka more or bid on both and see what happens.

    2. I'm concerned that if the Giants jump into the high priced end of the international pool, they will come up with the wrong guy when maybe they could have spent that money better somewhere else. I mean if it's going to take upwards of $80 M to sign Abreu, maybe Shin Soo Choo might be a better investment? I guess we just have to trust the scouts to give an informed opinion.

    3. It's like everything else, picking the right guy is the key to success.

      Here's to them picking the right guys in the international pool and in the next draft.

    4. Baby steps. I think the first part is to be in the market, not hiding on the side because of The Ghost of Osvalso Fernandez. You have to be selective for sure. Of the two "jewels" here, I think Tanaka could be a much bigger prize. He sounds like a better version of Kuroda, although the flattening out on his fastball gives pause. Abreau has been scouted plenty, so the Giants have a pretty good idea here. Mainly I just want to see a determination to be involved in competing for top talent, instead of dismissive statements from Sabes about Cubans.

    5. It's good that Tanaka is a pitcher.

      One can never have enough pitching. It's like getting Greinke and still going after Ryu...and even as we speak, Tanaka, possibly.

      I think we need 5


      You have to be always hungry for more.

  6. I don't have time to scour all the minor league websites and get a feel for what people are saying, but here's my question:

    Has Christian Arroyo already silenced most of the snickers and chatter that the Giants overdrafted? I know the AZL is a hitter friendly league, but of all the hitters in that environment, I know he's leading the entire league in a lot of categories. Plus, he's 100% age appropriate and will probably get a promotion at a young age. Are there still a lot of people who think that's a bad pick?

    -Andy in San Diego

    1. I'm sure there are still people who question Arroyo's ceiling. I know Keith Law dumped all over the Giants draft in general and the Arroyo pick in particular, but after a scouting trip to Arizona he was singing a different tune, at least from what I remember reading. I believe Law is now impressed with Arroyo's hit tool.

    2. His numbers have been very impressive.

      That's all I know.

    3. The BA guys, well the MLB guys now that Callis has joined Mayo on, they were pretty cautious about using overdraft language, they said something along the lines of "the giants like who they like, and draft accordingly"... Keith law and his Espn guy Chris Crawford laid it on thick. I'd say they just moved on as usual, like DrB said, Law saw Arroyo and liked him.

      I'd say the main problem with bashing the Giants draft was the fact there was just no hype involved with their picks. Law saw Arroyo maybe once (if that) and decided to go with a consensus review. As I demonstrated in my draft review, it was much worse with Ryder Jones. Scouts basically ignored him due to the Stanford commit and bed weather, but the Gints got their looks. I think all the criticisms were sloppy research and bad consensus crowd sourcing personally.

    4. Are you saying Jones is a bed wetter?


    5. We will see, depends on his bat speed! Auto-correct blows.

    6. Article on Jones, FYI, on

      Also, somebody here asked for spring training stats, ran into that here:'S'&timeframe=

      You need to select "Spring Training" instead of "Regular Season" in the middle selection box, that should get you what you want.

      I think that most of the experts cannot see everyone, and since Arroyo was so down the list of BA's Top 500, he probably was not on the radar of a lot of the top draft experts, as they only have so much time to watch video and attend games, so of course they focus on the Top 50-75 or so to keep it manageable. So some of them defaulted to slamming the Giants for being different, whereas Callis, being used to the Giants being iconoclasts, demured with his comment. Same with Jones.

      I think that the general prospecting crowd will doubt the pick until Arroyo kicks ass in a full season league, again, nobody can see everyone, and that will limit his exposure and thus his assimilation into the general consensus that needs to build for someone outside the fringe as he was.

      For me, its in Sabean I trust, not that he's always right, just that he's been right enough times that I will trust his process and personnel, as I know its near impossible to determine statistically when they are drafting well or not, the odds are so low, so I look more on 1) how much of the MLB team is staffed with core homegrown guys, 2) how much are staffed period with homegrown guys or guys we acquired via homegrown, 3) the success of the team in winning, and 4) the critical mass of replacement parts percolating up the minors. On those four counts, he has done a great job since the rebuilding years, though I would like to see more position prospects doing well, Mac and Arroyo were certainly nice surprises, Villalona too, though not really surprise for me, I thought that he should be able to do well (not that I knew anything, just that I felt that if he was successful before there, relatively easily, he could do it again). And there a lot of other nice position pieces, that is covered in great detail here and on Shankbone's, beyond these three, but I would like to see more guys on the brink of making the majors and looking likely to do something.


      Mayo article on draftees don't mention any Giants prospect that I caught, but noted that the Giants draftees were in the top 5 in both combined OPS and combined ERA.