Saturday, November 28, 2015

Down on the Farm: Minor League Free Agent Signings

The Giants signed a handful of minor league free agents last week.  We already discussed Kyle Blanks who was signed earlier.  Here's the breakdown:

Albert Suarez, RHP.  26 yo.  6'3", 235 lbs.  2015 AA:  11-9, 2.98, 163 IP, 6.68 K/9, 2.21 BB/9.  Suarez came up through the Rays organization, but spent last season pitching for the Angels AA affiliate in Midland, TX.  He has been a relatively low K/high BB pitchers over the years.  Last year was an improvement on those ratios, particularly BB's.  Ceiling is probably 5'th starter on a non-contending team.

Hak-Ju Lee, SS.  B-L, T-R. 25 yo.  6'2", 170 lbs.  2015 AAA:  .220/.303/.304, 3 HR, 20 SB, 9.7 BB%, 29.2 K% in 313 PA.  Hak-Ju was once a heralded prospect in the Rays system.  The word on him is he is a plus defender of that premium position, but he has never hit a lick.  So, is he fixable?  Here's my theory, which may or may not be reality:  The Rays are well known to be a strongly SABR oriented team.  Looking at Lee's stat line, you see the high walks and high strikeouts.  He's a 3-true outcomes player without the dingers and the results are predictably ugly.  I'll guess the Rays, in their development process strongly encouraged him to try to take walks.  The cost of taking a lot of walks is hitting in more 2-strike counts which leads to more K's and weaker contact on balls you do manage to put in play.  Lee now comes to an organization that encourages a high contact approach which involves swinging at hittable pitches earlier in the counts.  Players like Joe Panik, Matt Duffy and Kelby Tomlinson have shown this approach can increase hard contact without completely sacrificing walks.  Of course, both approaches still require pitch recognitions skills which Hak-Ju might not have.  It also may be difficult to completely re-tool your approach this late in your career.  This one is going to be interesting to watch.

Ricky Romero, LHP.  31 yo.  6'1", 210 lbs.  Romero hooked on with the Giants last year, but only appeared in 8 innings in Arizona with a 5.63 ERA.  He'll try to get a full season in next season.

Junior Arias, OF, 24 yo, 6'2", 178 lbs, B-R, T-R.  2015 A+(Reds):  .243/.286/.379, 11 HR, 37 SB, 5.1 BB%, 25.9 K%.  A hacker with some power and speed.  Not sure what you do with these guys except give them more PA's and hope they develop better plate discipline.

Carlos Moncrief, OF, 27 yo, 6/0", 220 lbs.  B-L, T-R.  2015 AA(Indians):  .261/.368/.397, 4 HR, 6 SB, 14.4 BB%, 11.9 K%, 236 PA.  AAA(Indians):  .187/.322/.331, 7 HR, 5 SB, 15.8 BB%, 29.1 K%, 203 PA.  Don't get too excited over the low BB% in AA. It's an outlier on the rest of his career.  He's a 3 true outcomes guy with some power.  May also benefit from a more aggressive approach earlier in counts.

The Giants also released RHP EJ Encinosa, LHP Nick Gonzalez, LHP Andrew Leenhouts and RHP Eric Sim.

10 comments:

  1. Leenhouts was a Northwest League All Star and ranked in the top 5 pitchers in same league, and he was released??????

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    1. It was his third season in the same league.

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  2. Soooo, apparently he has progressed looking at his stats, why would he not be given a shot at higher level? Or is it an age thing, because I think he is in his mid twenties?

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    1. Most likely because there are too many other prospects who the Giants like better and there just wasn't going to be a place for him at a higher level. The Giants farm system really is packed with strong pitching prospects.

      Also, they did try him in the Cal League last year and he bombed.

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    2. Sorry, hit a wrong button. OGC commented that Austin Jackson is not an excellent defender in CF. Well, he had the 5'th highest UZR/150 of all qualified CF's last year and the 9'th highest among those with at least 300 PA's. I don't know how much better or more recent you have to be to be "excellent."

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  3. Oh, best of luck to him, and all the others released.

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  4. This one didn't seem to get mentioned anywhere, but it looks like the Giants also signed Enrique Burgos, a 25 year old pitcher from Panama. He made his MLB debut with Arizona last year, posting a sky-high 13k/9 and equally sky-high 5bb/9 in 27 innings. I don't know anything else about him, but I'll bet we hear his name in spring training.

    Cove Chatter

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    1. Burgos features a fastball that can touch 100 mph. http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/mlb/cactus-league/2015/03/27/arizona-diamondbacks-enrique-burgos-mlb/70576242/

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    2. Wonder why Arizona released him??

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    3. Can you give us a link there, Cove Chatter? I can't scare up anything on Burgos and he's still listed on the D'Backs roster.

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