Time to catch up on a few second half developments and hand out some honors before the fall season and Instrux get cranked up.
Trade Deadline Acquisitions:
Despite having one of the worst records in baseball, the Giants managed just one deadline deal — sending Eduardo Nuñez to the Boston Red Sox. Nuñez has certainly given the Red Sox everything they were hoping for in their pursuit of post-season glory, but the Giants got a solid return out of the deal as well. No small accomplishment, given the dreadful market for hitters this summer. The Giants added two very different pitchers, each of which could end up making Giants‘ fans remember this trade with fondness in a few years.
Shaun Anderson, RHP
Age: 22 (DOB 10/29/1994)
Anderson was a closer for UFlorida pitching staff that included Alex Faedo, AJ Puk, Dane Dunning and Brady Singer. A third round pick for Boston, Anderson has been used strictly as a starter in pro ball. Though many around the Red Sox organization reportedly saw him long-term returning to relief (and likely that played a part in their willingness to deal him) the Giants like his chances to stick as a starter. He has the ability to throw four different pitches for strikes, which his 11-5 slider being the standout. Boston had limited his use of the curve ball, but Dick Tidrow liked what he saw of the curve and told Anderson to use it as much as he liked. Anderson made a strong impression on his new org in just a month of work. Over six games with San Jose, Anderson struck out 22 in 25.2 IP and walked just 4, while allowing 10 ER. For the season, over two levels and three leagues he struck out 107 and walked 33 in 123 IP while working a 3.44 ERA. Anderson saved his best for last, winning the final Cal League Pitcher of the Week after working a nearly perfect six innings in his last start. Anderson allowed just one hit while facing the minimum 18 batters in that final start, striking out 7. He’ll likely begin next year in the Richmond rotation. Anderson has the potential to move very quickly as a reliever if needed, but for now he offers one of the highest upside starting arms in the system.
Video courtesy BaseballCensus.com
Gregory Santos, RHP
Age: 18 (DOB 8/28/1999)
The second RHP acquired in the Nuñez deal is nearly 5 full years younger and probably even further behind in terms of experience. Santos was one of the younger players in the 2015 July 2nd signing period, turning 16 at the end of August that year, and he spent the entirety of the 2017 season pitching in the DSL as a 17 year old. The 6’2″ youngster is a projectable arm with broad shoulders, who was throwing up to 93 as a 15 year old in the Dominican Prospect League prior to signing. He also showed an early proclivity to spin a curveball and impresses scouts with his athleticism. Santos was an extreme groundball pitcher this year, with nearly 80% of his outs coming via the groundball. The DSL does tend strongly toward groundballs (not surprising given all the teenage hitters) so it remains to be seen if this skill travels up the levels with him. He had trouble harnessing his stuff with the DSL Red Sox this year, with 15 walks in 30 IP. With the Giants he was in the strike zone much more often, walking just 5 in 18.2 IP while striking out a batter an inning. Though the road before him is long, Santos offers the present stuff and projectability to work his way towards the top of the Giants‘ prospect world at some point in the future.
New Draft Class
#19 overall pick Heliot Ramos had a dynamic debut until a fastball to the helmet ended his season prematurely. Still, Ramos showed plus present power, plus speed, and plus arm strength while setting the AZL alight. 2nd rounder Jacob Gonzalez showed an advanced feel for hitting and projectable power. Most scouts think he’ll slide down the defensive spectrum as he grows, making him a risky “bat-only” profile. 3rd rounder (and third straight HS pick) Seth Corry looks like something of a long term project, though he had spurts of brilliance when he commanded the fastball. His ability to spin a curve will be his primary attribute going forward. After that the class was thin on apparent impact, though 6th rounder Bryce Johnson and 21st rounder Logan Baldwin were a dynamic duo in short-season Salem-Keizer and 12th rounder Aaron Bond out of San Jacinto JC turned some heads in the AZL with his athleticism and bat speed.
2017 didn’t see the same kind of mass scale promotions we’ve seen from the Giants over the last few years. Following the early season moves of Chris Shaw and Andrew Suarez to AAA most of the major prospects held their level throughout the year. The major exception was LHP Garrett Williams. Williams got a late start to year, arriving in Augusta out of XST in mid-May. But he was consistently excellent for the Greenjackets and was given a late season promotion to the Cal League in the first week of August. There he was simply sensational. In his High A debut Williams set a season high with 10 Ks while throwing 6 shutout innings. His Cal League shutout streak would grow to 15 innings over three games. For the month of August Williams posted a 1.55 ERA in the Cal League over 6 games, striking out 34 in 29 innings. For the most part he stayed in the strike zone as well — a longtime bugaboo for the left-hander. In a system with a major dearth of starting pitching prospects, Williams took arguably the biggest step forward in 2017. The one-time hero of the Little League World Series is now one of the most interesting arms in the system.
Video courtesy BaseballCensus.com
Player of the Year
Chris Shaw, LF
Age: 23 (DOB 10/20/1993)
Shaw returned to AA briefly at the beginning of the year and showed impressive adjustments from 2016, posting a .901 OPS and an Iso above .200 while cutting his K rate and boosting his walk rate significantly. That led to a quick promotion and while the peripherals backed up in AAA he continued to bash, leading the Giants organization in HRs (24) and XBH (60), all while tackling a new defensive position. The spike in his K rate in AAA is something to keep an eye on, but he’s the most potentially impactful bat in the upper minors. Expect to see him in the majors in 2018. For now, he’ll keep working on the adjustment to the OF in the Arizona Fall League.
Pitcher of the Year
Andrew Suarez, LHP
Age: 25 (DOB 9/11/1992)
Like Shaw, Suarez started the year with a return trip to the Eastern League, and like Shaw he didn’t last there long. The two-time 2nd round pick made 11 starts in AA, keeping both his ERA and FIP under 3.00. He doesn’t miss a lot of bats (19% K rate in AA, 21% in AAA) but he probably won’t lead the majors in lowest K rate like fellow lefty control specialist Ty Blach. Suarez is all about sequencing to get batters out and he mixes up a true four-pitch repertoire. Encouragingly, after a college career that was littered with injuries, surgeries, and various of his body parts, he’s been a model of health as a pro. After throwing 155 quality innings in the upper minors this year, with a long sustained stretch of success in the difficult PCL, Suarez could well be battling for the 5th starter spot in 2018.
Organizational All Star Team
C: Aramis Garcia, 24, A+/AA
.274/.323/.485, 17 HRs
1B: Chris Shaw, 23, AA/AAA
.292/.346/.525 24 HRs
2B: Miguel Gomez, 24, AA/(MLB)
.305/.330/.458, 8 HRs, 11% K rate, 4% BB rate
SS: Ryan Howard, 23, A+
.306/.342/.397, 9 HRs 14% K rate, 4% BB rate
3B: Ryder Jones, 23, AAA/(MLB)
.312/.396/.574, 13 HRs, 19% K rate, 10% BB rate
OF: Bryan Reynolds, 22 A+
.312/.364/.462, 10 HRs, 19.6% K rate, 7% BB rate
OF: Heliot Ramos, 17, Rk
.348/.404/.645, 6 HRs, 10 SB, 32% K rate, 7% BB rate
OF: Sandro Fabian, 19, A
.277/.297/.408, 11 HRs, 17.5% K rate, 2% BB rate
LHSP: Andrew Suarez, 25, AA/AAA
155 IP, 3.30 ERA, 14% K-BB%
RHSP: Norwith Gudino, 21, Foreign Rk
74.1 IP, 1.82 ERA, 1.73 FIP, 83 Ks, 8 unintentional BB, 25% K-BB%
LHRP: D.J. Snelten, 25, AA/AAA
73.2 IP, 2.20 ERA, 71 Ks, 23 BB, 24% K rate, 65% groundball rate
RHRP: Tyler Cyr, 24, AA
49.1 IP, 2.19 ERA, 57 Ks, 20 BBs, 26% K rate
Article featured image of Shaun Anderson – courtesy BaseballCensus.com