Friday, January 22, 2016

DrB's 2016 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #31 CJ Hinojosa

CJ Hinojosa, SS.  B-R, T-R.  DOB:  7/15/1994.  5'9", 180 lbs.

Short Season:  .296/.328/.481, 18 SB, 5 HR, 3.9 BB%, 7.4 K%, 203 PA.

Ever since John Barr became the Giants Scouting Director, they love to take former HS stars whose stock dropped in college in rounds 2 on.  CJ Hinojosa fits that description as he was touted as a high HS draft pick who instead chose to play for a powerhouse college program at Texas.  Although he did not have a terrible college career, he did not live up to expectations and the Giants were able to grab him in the 11'th round of the 2015 draft.  He came out of the gate fast putting up very interesting offensive numbers for Salem-Keizer.  He was shut down early for what I understand was a surgical procedure to correct a chronic wrist condition, possibly to remove a hamate bone that never completely healed from an old fracture.  Based on his initial pro numbers and depending on how he comes back from the injury, he could be a future starting SS in MLB.  The Giants generally take it slow with players coming off injury, so we could see him in Augusta or even back in S-K instead of the normal progression to San Jose for a college draftee who does well in S-K.   I would say his MLB ETA is 2019.


  1. He had a broken hamate in 2015 while at UT and only hit .242 after hitting .298 or better as a freshman and sophomore. It's not unreasonable to believe that may have effected him during the college baseball season. Or it just could have been a bad year. It can happen to the best of them.

  2. Hi Doc,
    Can you please give some other examples of the high HS prospect/stock dropped in college draftees of the Giants. Just curious on how this strategy has paid off so far.


    1. I would put Brandon Crawford, Jarrett Parker and Brian Ragira in this category. There may be 1 or 2 others I am not thinking of.

    2. You can add Andrew Susac to that group.

      I was always & am now forever a huge believer in Brandon Crawford - An awesome pickup for the Giants in Rd 2 after a subpar final season in college (after 2 phenomenal offensive + defensive years at my Alma Mater), but an incredible showing in the minors A+. Kid has always had the A-level talent & has just finally hit his stride.

      I think that's what the Giants have figured out: You can't teach A-level talent, you have to identify it; And even though it may go away, it's often still just under the surface.

    3. Osich was another player whose stock dropped, in the same draft as Susac, he was viewed as a possible first rounder, but his health problems in the last part of that season caused him to drop all the way to us in the 6th round. That was an exciting draft to follow, hearing their names called (Susac was also a potential first rounder as well).

      Additional info on Crawford: he was actually in Baseball America's Top 10 ranking in their prospect book for the season his draft was held, so he fell a lot from pre-season to draft, where he was an even more awesome pick for the Giants in Round 4 (not 2).

      And I've never understood why he dropped that much (and I admit I don't follow college baseball stats all that much, as well). I guess the assumption was that he should have improved a lot in his junior year, but his stats that year were basically as good as they were the prior two years, so it wasn't like he suddenly stunk, just that he didn't have that burst of superiority, like Gary Brown did in his junior year. And I can see that as a type of regression that there was no progress, since he was a year older, but his sophomore year wasn't appreciably better than his freshman year either, so why would that warrant Top 10 pre-season but then a huge drop in the draft? Hopefully someone can explain this to me.

      And that is the Giants philosophy, the ability to identify A-level talent, I agree. Baseball Forecaster teaches that once a player has exhibited a skill, he keeps it forever, as then it becomes a matter of the player repeating that talent. The Giants seem to live that mantra (at least since Barr joined the club), not only in the draft, but also with their spring training invites and minor signings, Blanco, Arias, Hansen, Miller, Dontrelle, even Torres, if I recall right, had a high prospect ranking (either high in draft or in high prospect lists or, better, did well in majors) at some point, and just in this season's spring training, Romero, Hak-ju Lee, Blanks, Green, plus Gorkys made the Top 100 prospect list a couple of times.

    4. 1. Just because some writer at Baseball Forecaster said it doesn't necessarily make it so.

      2. You have to define "exhibit". Obviously a player has to do something for more than 1 game before they "own it", right? 1 week? 1 half season? 1 season?

      3. All baseball players eventually lose their skills. Some more quickly than others. You can't take a generalization and apply it to each and every individual player. Baseball if full of counter-examples where players did something very well for a season or even 2 then completely lost it and never got it back.

      Re. Crawford. I think he got off to a terrible start in Junior season. He came on strong late, but by that time a lot of opinions were set, so his draft stock dropped. Also, he played college baseball in an era when a .302 BA was not very good, maybe the equivalent of about .250 on pro ball and that's about what he's hit since

  3. Scouting reports praise Hinojosa for his grittiness and baseball savvy. Hmmm, could be another great later round pick for the Giants, along the lines of Duffy and Tomlinson. In fact BA ranked him as the best late round (after round 10) pick of the entire draft.

    1. He was rated the #4 prep-to-college recruit when he went to UT. So I could see why he was considered such a steal after a single down year at a premium position.