Sunday, September 21, 2014

Down on the Farm: High A San Jose Giants 2014 Season Review

The San Jose Giants finished out of the California League playoffs for the first time in recent memory.  Part of that was because the Cal League was loaded with premium talent this year.  Part of it was because the Giants did not have their customary dominant pitching which has always been their advantage over the Cal League competition in an extreme hitter's league.   While the Giants did not have any single overwhelming talent, I thought it was one of the more interesting teams in the organization to follow on a daily basis with a large number of underrated prospects and "sleeper" types who had solid seasons and should progress in the organization.  Here they are:

On Track(position):

Blake Miller(2B/UT)- .299/.354/.453, 8 HR in 364 AB.  Miller was a low round draftee out of someplace called Western Oregon U.  He raked in college and has raked at every level in the pros.  He was kind of this year's version of Matt Duffy for SJ.  Got a late season promo to AA Richmond and hit well there too.  I think Blake Miller can hit!  With all the scrappy MI types the Giants seem to be drafting and developing, he may end up blocked at the MLB level.

Ben Turner(Catcher)- .298/.353/.371, 34 BB, 37 K in .383 AB.  Not much power there, but those K and BB numbers are very reminiscent of Joe Panik at the same stage.  I don't know anything about his D, but what MLB team couldn't use a backup catcher with a line like that?  Heck, there's more than a few who would be happy with a starting catcher with those numbers!

Mitch Delfino(3B)- .289/.333/.424, 12 HR, 34 BB, 77 K's in 533 AB.   Delfino maybe does not walk as much as you would like, but he has kept his K's under 15% at both Augusta and San Jose while hitting for a solid average with moderate power.  I think he can keep it going at higher levels.  May be a bit error prone at 3B but it's hard to judge D at lower levels of the minors due to poor fielding conditions.  We all know what a dearth of good 3B there are at the MLB level.

Jesus Galindo(CF)- .268/.334/.329, 31 SB in 396 AB.  Galindo is the latest CF/Leadoff/No Power/Speed guys the Giants seem to love, but never seem to get to the majors.  He started out the season as possibly the Giants top offensive prospect in San Jose then kind of got forgotten as the season progressed.  I like that he seems to be able to work a walk and he can certainly steal bases.  Got passed on the CF depth chart by Daniel Carbonell like he was standing still, though.

Brian Ragira(1B)- .260/.320/.444, 20 HR in 457 AB.  It was a tale of two seasons for Ragira, the former high school phenom and Stanford guy.  He started the season ice cold then had an enormous second half:  .297/.353/.524, 15 HR in 229 AB.  I've always loved Ragira's swing.  He has a wrist snap reminiscent of Eric Davis and, get this, Hank Aaron!  The complaint about Stanford is they teach a hitting technique that robs hitters of their power.  Well, it looks like Ragira shook THAT off in the second half!  I would think we will see him in Richmond next year and I, for one, will be watching with a lot of interest.  Unfortunately, he seems to be limited to 1B which also limits his MLB opportunities.

Charles "Chuckie" Jones(OF)- .256/.326/.404, 15 HR, 17 SB, 485 AB.  Raw 5-tool OF made a lot of progress in 2014, but is he running out of time?


Elliott Blair(OF)- .316/.381/.452 in 345 AB.  There is some reason why the Giants drafted Elliott Blair and keep him around.  He's a player who seems to have some tools but I think he has battled injuries much of his career.  Got a late season promo to Richmond where he started strong but then faded down the stretch.  He may find himself edged out in a numbers game at higher levels as the Giants suddenly seem to have a lot of promising OF prospects.

Mac Williamson(DH)- .318/.420/.506, 3 HR, 6 SB in 106 AB.  The only reason Mac started back in SJ is because he could only DH due to an UCL tear in his elbow.  He destroyed Cal League pitching until he finally underwent Tommy John surgery.  He should be ready to go by next spring and could be knocking on the door in SF very soon.  One of the top prospects in the Giants system.

Late to the Party(position):

Daniel Carbonell(CF)- .344/.390/.538, 3 HR, 7 SB in 93 AB.  Carbonell is the Cuban expat signed mid-season.  He's 23 years old and an premium athlete, built more like a football wide receiver than a baseball player.  The only question was whether he could hit.  So far, he's done that.  He got promoted to Richmond for the EL playoffs and hit well there too.  Man, if this guy plays up to his athleticism, the Giants may have gotten themselves a player for a song compared to what teams have paid for other Cuban stars!  It's all a very small sample size so far, but so far, so good!

Tyler Horan(OF)- .321/.376/.670, 10 HR, 6 SB in 106 AB.  Horan was the best hitter for Augusta this year and got a late mid-season promo to SJ and absolutely destroyed Cal League pitching.  If you figure a full minor league season is 500 AB, that projects to a 50 HR season!  Did not perform as well as Carbonell in the EL playoffs, but SSS.  Richmond should be a big test next year.

Brandon Bednar(IF)- .241/.297/.354, 5 HR in 195 AB.  Bednar is listed as a 3B, but actually played all IF positions.  Big, athletic college SS.  Probably will continue at SJ to start 2015.

On Track(SP's):

Joe Biagini(RHP)- 10-9, 4.01, 128 IP, 46 BB, 103 K, GO/AO= 1.36.  Big RHP who the Giants obviously think has potential after drafting him out of UC Davis where he barely pitched at all.  He's been whittling down his walk rates.  Projects as an innings eating SP who might have a chance at the back end of a MLB rotation if he continues to develop.  I don't have any velocities to report.

Pat Young(RHP)- 9-6, 6.13, 111.2 IP, 47 BB, 93 K's.  Young is the big guy with the jerky-jerky delivery that looks nasty.  He got hit around pretty bad in the Cal League, but the peripherals are not terrible.  He needs to cut down on the walks.  May project more as a reliever.

Kendry Flores(RHP)- 4-6, 4.09, 105.2 IP, 32 BB, 112 K's.  Flores was dominant at times, but seemed to battle injuries all season.  K/BB not the eye-popping numbers from Augusta, but not bad either.  Hope for better health next year.

Chris Stratton(RHP)- 7-8, 5.07, 99.1 IP, 36 BB, 112 K's.  Those are probably the best peripherals on the SJ starting staff but they still have not translated into results.  Got a late season promo to Richmond and pitched a bit better there.  Stratton remains an enigma with higher expectations from a former first round draft pick.

Joe Kurrasch(LHP)- 8-4, 3.05, 91.1 IP, 33 BB, 49 K's.  Nice ERA, but that K rate is not going to get it done at higher levels.

Martin Agosta(RHP)- 3-3, 9.23, 39 IP, 34 BB, 25 K's.  Agosta has just not been the same ever since missing time in 2013 with forearm and elbow issues then coming back with noticeably lower velocity.  Was a batting practice pitcher this year.  Gotta think there is something in his arm that needs fixing!

Joan Gregorio(RHP)- 2-2, 6.25, 22.2 IP, 13 BB, 27 K's.  Gregorio got hurt early in the season and resurfaced back in Augusta.  Still a nice K rate, and time is on his side.

Late to the Party(SP's):

Matt Lujan(LHP)- 6-2, 3.42, 71 IP, 23 BB, 69 K's.  Lujan got the bump up from Augusta mid-season and pitched very well for SJ.  Maybe working his way onto the prospect map?

Nick Vander Tuig(RHP)- 3-2, 5.06, 32 IP, 5 BB, 19 K's.  Vander Tuig showed up in the Arizona League about mid-season.  Gradually got stretched out and ended up pitching for SJ late.  Numbers are somewhat uninspiring so far.

On Track(RP's):

Tyler Rogers(RHP)- 4-0, 2.00, 72 IP, 22 BB, 72 K's, GO/AO= 2.11.  Sidearming RHP with a strong GB tendency.  May have to settle for a righty specialist role in the majors.

Mason McVay(LHP)- 0-5, 4.38, 72 IP, 26 BB, 83 K's.  Big strong LHP.  Love the K's, love the ability to go more than 1 inning.  I think he's a lot better than the W-L and ERA would indicate.

Steven Johnson(RHP)- 7-4, 3.65, 69 IP, 36 BB, 77 K's.  Triple digit FB in college.  I have not seen any recent velocity reports.  Seems to have gotten some command and pitched very well for long stretches.

Jeff Soptic(RHP)- 2-1, 4.60, 62.2 IP, 62 BB, 64 K's.  Another hard throwing RHP, but that BB rate is frightful!

Tyler Mizenko(RHP)- 4-3, 3.48, 62 IP, 17 BB, 48 K's, GO/AO= 1.69, 14 Saves.  Probably more of a middle reliever in terms of stuff as he depends on command and ground balls to get outs.

Steven Okert(LHP)- 1-2, 1.53, 35.1 IP, 11 BB, 54 K's, 19 Saves.  Big LHP was SJ's closer for much of the season.  Got a late promo to Richmond and pitched well there too.  Might be in line to take Affeldt's place after next season.

Ian Gardeck(RHP)- 1-2, 9.38, 24 IP, 28 BB's, 19 K's.  Another hard throwing RHP.  Terrible, terrible command!

Late to the Party:

Bryce Bandilla(LHP)- 0-1, 3.15, 34.1 IP, 16 BB, 47 K's, 8 Saves.  Another big LHP.  Washed out early in the season in Richmond, but pitched very well with improved command as a closer for SJ late in the season.

Ray Black(RHP)- 1-0, 2.25, 4 IP, 2 H, 7 K's.  Another RHP with triple digit heat.  Has battled injuries before this season.  How long can he stay healthy?  I say fast track the heck out of him and get what you can out of him until his arm falls off!  Don't waste those pitches in the low minors!


  1. Great job! This was a lot of work.

    Don't you think they'll follow their conservative pattern and at least start Horan at San Jose - that's only about 100 PAs at the end of the season vs. some fatigued arms. I'd think he could mash a little, get his confidence up, then head to Richmond.

    Visalia Rawhide looked loaded. I take the Lancaster squad was stacked with Astros prospects as well.

    1. I think Matt Duffy might have started a trend this spring. Tear it up in a late-season promotion, impress in spring training, get fast-tracked to the big leagues. I'm not saying Horan is Duffy, but I do think it's very realistic that he could start next year in AA if he shows improvements in camp next spring.

    2. Historically, when the Giants promote a player to a playoff team at the end of the season, it's a clear signal of where he's going to be assigned the following spring barring a big setback in spring training.

    3. maybe extenuating circumstances with Richmond in need of an outfielder. More SJ AB's certainly won't hurt his cause. We'll see what the roster needs are.

  2. BTW, more evidence that the Giants must just hate Gary Brown. Lineup today has Blanco moving over the CF with, wait for this……Chris Dominguez in LF! Not that Dominguez doesn't deserved as much or more than Brown, but it's a very unusual way to treat a former first round draft pick.

    1. Don't see how Brown has any future in this org at this point. At this point the CF of the future is Carbonell. Whomever they get, they need a Plan B to Angel Pagan and his injury issues, its been one of the principle issues with the team 2 years running.

    2. And wouldn't you know it, Dominguez' moon shot was literally the ONLY offense the Giants could muster today. That's baseball!

  3. If they had a genuinely productive LF, by which I specifically do not mean M. Morse, Blanco at fWAR 1.7 this year will do as well as Pagan fWAR 2.0 this year in ca. the same number of PAs. Someone else would have to lead off, maybe Pence; and after seeing how many RBIs Crawford has this year, I suspect that as the lineup revolves during the game, leadoff Pence would have more chances to exploit his power than one thinks of a leadoff batter having.

    This doesn't solve the question of how to get a LF in the offseason, I know.

  4. Galindo was standing still. I think he picked up another leg injury in the later half of the season.