Friday, September 16, 2016

Down on the Farm: 2016 Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Season Review Part 1

The Northwest League is sometimes called a Short Season league to distinguish it from the lower level rookie leagues in Arizona and Florida which also play short seasons that start in June.  Organizations tend to assign their high round college draftees to the NWL.  You can also find a few younger players who were in rookie ball the previous year, but it's mostly a place for high round college draftees to see their first professional action.

It's not too surprising that the 2016 Salem-Keizer Volcanoes were an offensive heavy team since most of the Giants top 10 round draft picks were hitters.  The Volcanoes finished second in the league in Team BA and OPS and led the league in HR and SLG%, while finishing dead last in ERA. As you might expect, that combination generated a losing record of 32-42 which was the 3'rd worst record in the 8 team league and last place in the South Division.

We'll start with some of the hitters that caught my attention while following daily boxscores:

Manuel Geraldo 3B.  DOB:  9/13/1996.  B-S, T-R.  6'1", 170 lbs.  .298/.333/.371, 10 2B, 5 3B, 13 SB, 14 BB, 69 K's, 272 AB.  Geraldo is a DSL graduate who drew a tough assignment, first to Augusta then to Salem-Keizer after 2 years in the DSL.  After hitting just .162 in 43 games for Augusta, he found some traction in Salem-Keizer and a home at 3B, although he occasionally moved over to SS and 2B.  19 yo is fairly young for the league and I have high hopes for Geraldo's continued development.  He has a projectable frame.

Kevin Rivera 2B.  DOB:  6/12/1996.  B-S, T-R.  5'11", 170 lbs.  .320/.352/.435, 14 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 11 BB, 42 K, 253 AB.  Drafted Round 14 in 2014.  This was something of a breakout year for Kevin who was named the Volcanoes MVP by their website writer. He just kept hitting all season.  He's more of an advanced player than Geraldo, but might not have as much projection.

Ryan Howard SS.  DOB:  6/25/1994.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 180 lbs.  Drafted in Round 5 in 2016.  .272/.313/.371, 10 2B, 4 HR, 13 BB, 24 K, 223 AB.  Howard fits the mold of contact hitting middle infielders the Giants have had success with.  Expect him to be the starting SS for San Jose in 2017.

Gio Brusa OF.  DOB:  7/26/1993.  B-S, T-R.  6'3", 220 lbs.  Drafted in Round 6 in 2016.  .264/.298/.495, 15 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 11 BB, 69 K, 220 AB.  I like Brusa for his power and switch-hitting.  He is reportedly weak on D and has a frightfully high K rate.  Drafted as a college senior, so is old for the level even though it was his first pro experience.  Started the NWL season hot, cooled off and then hit .325 over his last 9 games.

Heath Quinn OF.  DOB:  6/7/1995.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 190 lbs.  Drafted in Round 3 in 2016.  .337/.403/.571, 19 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 26 BB, 50 K, 205 AB.  A lot of us were high on Heath Quinn's bat pre-draft and he did not disappoint.  Hit .353 in 4 games with San Jose at the end of the season.  Can't wait to see him play for SJ next season.  He could easily be in AA by the middle of the summer.

Ashford Fulmer OF.  DOB:  6/23/1993, B-R, T-R.  6'1", 175 lbs.  Drafted in Round 28 in 2015.  .292/.396/.396, 12 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 27 BB, 43 K, 202 AB.  Later round draft pick out of a small college program, Fulmer played rookie ball last year, so this is a nice progression.  Hit just .077 in 17 games for Augusta.

Ryan Kirby 1B.  DOB:  1/25/1995.  B-L, T-R.  6'2", 180 lbs.  Drafted in Round 12 in 2016.  .260/.345/.398, 16 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 22 BB, 49 K, 196 AB.  Started off hot and cooled off.  Longshot first baseman without a lot of power projection.

Bryan Reynolds, OF.  DOB:  1/27/1995.  B-S, T-R.  6'3", 200 lbs.  Drafted in Round 2 in 2016.  .312/.368/.500, 12 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 11 BB, 41 K, 154 AB.  College CF for an elite program, Vanderbilt, with tremendous numbers.  The big question is can he play CF in the majors?  If the answer is yes, then he's a rare package of size, power, speed with switch-hitting as a bonus.  Did not miss a beat in in his first pro experience.  He hit .317 in 63 AB for Augusta after a late promo then went 4 for 12 with a dinger in 3 Cal League playoff games.  Anybody else excited about him?

John Riley C.  DOB:  2/14/1994.  B-R, T-R.  6'0", 210 lbs.  Drafted in Round 31 in 2013.  .274/.369/.404, 10 2B, 3 HR, 15 BB, 51 K, 146 AB.  Riley is a local kid with ties to the Righetti family.  He's struggled to get traction in the low minors since being drafted.  I see him as kind of like Tommy Joseph a guy with light-tower power who strikes out way too much.  I could see him showing up in a MLB lineup and hitting some dingers in 4 or 5 more years at age 26 or 27.

Gustavo Cabrera OF.  DOB:  1/23/1996.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 190 lbs.  .246/.285/.434, 9 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 5 BB, 42 K, 122 AB.  Were it not for the injuries, I could easily envision Gustavo coming off a AA season ranked as a top 10 MLB prospect.  Just a tremendous athlete who seems to have a clue at the plate despite all the K's.  The big question is will he ever stay healthy enough to get traction on his career.  This was the most playing time he's had since his first pro season in the DSL.  Also hit .232 in 69 AB for Augusta early in the season.


  1. Dr. B, Any thoughts on where Reynolds will start next season? San Jose?

    1. I would think San Jose with a good chance of moving up by midseason.

  2. Gustavo getting some love. Most have forgotten about him, but he may soon start playing a lot better now that he is further away from that horrible injury and that he has a full season playing baseball since then. Reynolds, Quinn and Cabrera may just do some serious damage next season and I already can't wait.