Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Down on the Farm: AA Midseason Review

The 2014 season for the Giants AA affiliate, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, was greeted with a great deal of anticipation as a very strong contingent of young starting pitcher prospects was slated to move up from High A San Jose.  While there have been some bright spots, the young pitchers have also had their share of struggles.  Meanwhile, Matt Duffy has been the lone bright spot on the offensive side with a little Angel V thrown in for good measure.  Mac Williamson was the anticipated offensive star, but was sent to DH back in San Jose due to an elbow injury.  He eventually underwent Tommy John Surgery and is out for the remainder of the season.

Matt Duffy, SS, B-R,T-R.  .344/400/.434, 2 HR, 17 SB, 25 BB, 41 K in 244 AB.  Duffy has put up astonishing numbers while maintaining excellent K/BB ratios and has held down the SS position to boot.  He may be turning himself into a top 10 Giants prospect, most definitely top 20 I would say.

Angel Villalona, 1B, B-R, T-R.  .263/.323/.443, 8 HR, 15 BB, 61 K in 228 AB.  Angel has maintained a decent BA considering the environment, Matt Duffy notwithstanding.  He still has low walk rates and high K rates but is starting to show some small signs of better plate discipline.  The Giants apparently have 3 more options on him, so have time for further development.  He continues to have one of the highest ceiling bats in the organization.  The question is if he ever reaches that ceiling.

Ty Blach, LHP.  4-4, 2.79, 67.2 IP, 17 BB, 39 K's.  The ERA looks good, but the K rate has to give one pause.

Adalberto Mejia, LHP.  3-5, 5.61, 59.1 IP, 15 BB, 48 K.  A disastrous season up until his most recent start in which he pitched 7 shutout innings with 7 K's, a dominant start.  We'll see if it was a harbinger of his second half.

Kyle Crick, RHP.  4-2, 3.89, 44 IP, 29 BB, 43 K.  Those are decent numbers for anyone not carrying the expectations that come with being Cricky.  Hopefully he will come out stronger for the experience.

Clayton Blackburn, RHP.  2-5, 3.40, 42.1 IP, 9 BB, 32 K.  Currently on the DL.  Not sure what the injury is.  Peripheral numbers continue to look better than the ERA.

Jack Snodgrass, LHP.  7-0, 2.53, 51 IP, 19 BB, 35 K.  Again, the peripherals are not exciting for this soft-tossing lefty.

Cody Hall, RHP.  1-2, 3.30, 30 IP, 8 BB, 38 K, 5 Saves.  Pretty good looking peripheral numbers for this future setup man.

Derek Law, RHP.  2-0, 2.57, 28 IP, 14 BB, 29 K, 13 Saves.  A ton of preseason excitement for this guy.  Has pitched well, but currently on the DL with the dreaded forearm strain.

Hunter Strickland, RHP.  Just called up from San Jose where he started his rehab from TJ surgery.  Gave up a couple of runs in his second appearance, but has not been scored on in his last 2.  Could be a fast mover based on reports coming out of the organization.


  1. Losing Mac and now Law is a huge bummer. Matt Duffy got the biggest challenge assignment in the entire system and he responded in style baby! Definitely the story of the year so far in the Gints farm.

    Its not The factor but it is A factor: Losing Jeff Arnold was a big blow early, he's been catching Mejia/Crick/Blackburn through 2 levels. Here's my thought: Mejia has struggled at first at every level he's pitched, hopefully he is turning it around now. Crick has been victimized by the weather 3-4 times, he hasn't got his reps. Blackburn's injury is concerning, one of the biggest issues with him might be conditioning. Ty Blach is looking like a master at avoiding trouble. That is a crazy good ERA for the lack of strikeouts. He continues to lead in that stepchild of stats, WHIP.

    Cody Hall just needs a secondary pitch to go with his fastball.

    1. I never did hear what Blackburn went down with, but he hasn't pitched in what... a month or more? Crick slowly looks like he might be coming out of the funk. Jason Parks' scouting report pissed me off, and I hope Crick is pissed off about his 1st half as well. I still think he's the best prospect in the system, even with the drafting of Beede.

      Matt Duffy, a man's man. That guy would have a job in Fresno right now if not for Noonan and Abreu taking up roster spots.

      Devin Harris is turning out to be an interesting guy. He shows power wherever he goes. Maybe and Adam Duvall lite here?

    2. Rib injury for Blackburn. Just read a nice piece on the Richmond pitching coaches:

      Its one thing for a national guy like Jason Parks to come in, lay waste all over the place - Crick's a reliever, Mejia's a bad body - and its another to have the skills to build guys up. I think sometimes prospect watchers and the "experts" forget this part of it. They're looking at a snapshot in time, not what will end up happening. They have no idea how to tweak and tug to get results. And outside of hanging hats on the top 20 in baseball, not a very good track record of recognition either.

      It'll be interesting to see if the Greybeards keep these 4 guys or send some off. We'll know in less than six weeks now.

    3. That's a great point. I usually enjoy Parks' work (although he is a bit odd, I might add), but I was pretty blown away by his report on Cricky. One start, and he's a future reliever without even any closer potential?! What about those starts in the AFL, when he was EMBARRASSING some of the game's top prospects? I guess this is why I try to see the good in players, rather than dogging them for their faults... plus, I can't imagine most readers come around to find out how terrible their team's prospects are. Where's the fun in that?

      I have to think someone in that rotation will be packing his bags, despite how fun it would be to potentially see them all together in Fresno with Esky next year.