Giants Begin Seven-Game Homestand On Fourth Of July

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Saturday, July 4, 6:30 PM
* Sunday, July 5, 6:30 PM
* Monday, July 6, 7:00 PM

Records
Visalia: 48-30 (6-2 Second Half)
San Jose: 33-45 (3-5 Second Half)

Probable Starting Pitchers
Saturday
Visalia – Brandon Sinnery (0-0, 4.50)
San Jose – Jason Forjet (2-2, 2.62)

Sunday
Visalia – R.J. Hively (0-0, 4.50)
San Jose – Chase Johnson (4-3, 3.36)

Monday
Visalia – Blake Perry (5-3, 4.68)
San Jose – Jose Reyes (0-3, 11.65)

Broadcast Information
All three games will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104. Joe Ritzo handles the play-by-play while color commentary duties will be provided by Joe Castellano. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Justin Allegri calling the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Three-Game Series Against Visalia Tonight
The San Jose Giants return home this evening to begin a three-game series against the Visalia Rawhide at Municipal Stadium. Jason Forjet (2-2, 2.62) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. After the current series versus Visalia, the Giants continue their homestand with a four-game set against Bakersfield beginning on Tuesday.

Split In Stockton
The Giants split four games at Stockton in a series that concluded last night. San Jose earned victories of 6-3 on Tuesday and 7-3 on Thursday. The Giants pounded out a total of 32 hits in the two wins (18 hits Tuesday, 14 hits Thursday). The Ports posted a 6-3 victory on Wednesday before salvaging the split with a 5-2 triumph last night. San Jose has still yet to win a road series this season. The Giants are 7-7 in their last 14 road games (after starting the year 7-18).

At Muni
Tonight begins a stretch for the Giants playing 14 out of their next 17 games at Municipal Stadium. San Jose is 19-20 at home this season. The Giants own a 3.24 team ERA at home this year compared to a 4.82 mark on the road.

Shortstop Christian Arroyo is 11-for-17 (.647) over his last four games

Shortstop Christian Arroyo is 11-for-17 (.647) over his last four games

Arroyo Heats Up
Shortstop Christian Arroyo went 11-for-17 (.647) with three doubles, two home runs and five RBI’s during the four-game series at Stockton. Arroyo raised his season batting average from .296 to .336 over the four games. Arroyo went 5-for-5 (three singles, two doubles) at the plate in Tuesday’s series opener versus the Ports to tie the San Jose Giants single-game hits record. Arroyo became the 34th player in the 28-year history of the San Jose Giants to record five hits in a single game. He’s then homered on Wednesday and Thursday. Arroyo, a 2013 first round draft pick, is batting .476 (20-for-42) with six doubles and two home runs over his last 10 games.

Last Series Win
The Giants haven’t won a series since sweeping a four-game set against Rancho Cucamonga from May 22-25 at Municipal Stadium. Since, San Jose has gone 14-19 having split five series’ and lost four series’. The Giants haven’t won more than two games in a row since their season-high eight-game winning streak from May 19-27. San Jose though hasn’t been swept since dropping four straight to visiting Lake Elsinore from May 4-7.

Few Miscues
The Giants have committed just four errors over the first eight games of the second half. San Jose led the California League with 91 errors during the first half.

Villalona’s Power Surge
First baseman Angel Villalona has hit three home runs over his last two games. Villalona became the first San Jose Giant to hit two homers in a game this season when he accomplished the feat two nights ago in Stockton. He then homered again yesterday. Prior to Wednesday, Villalona hadn’t homered in 33 games this season between Double-A Richmond and San Jose. Overall, Villalona is batting .276 (8-for-29) with three home runs and six RBI’s in seven games for the Giants this season. He joined San Jose from Richmond on June 26.

Trouble With The Rawhide, Blaze
San Jose is a combined 4-17 (.190) against Visalia and Bakersfield this season – the Giants’ two opponents during the current homestand. San Jose is 29-28 (.509) against the rest of the league. The Giants have dropped nine out of ten games to the Rawhide this season, including an 0-3 mark at Municipal Stadium (April 28-30).

At The Plate
The Giants are third in the California League with a .268 team batting average, but are just ninth in runs scored (4.4 per game). San Jose is seventh in home runs (49), last in stolen bases (43) and have hit into the most double plays (85) of any team in the league. The Giants’ .275 batting average with runners in scoring position is fifth-best in the league. San Jose has also struck out the fewest number of times (571) in the Cal League.

VisaliaOpponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide
The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, have clinched a playoff berth after winning the first half North Division title. It was the franchise’s first first-half championship since 1990. Visalia is off to a 6-2 start in the second half. The Rawhide lead the league in ERA (3.47) and are eighth in batting average (.257). Visalia is 25-14 on the road this season. Their overall record of 48-30 is tops in the California League.

Giants, Ports To Play Four-Game Series In Stockton

san jose giantsAt Banner Island Ballpark (Stockton, CA)
* Tuesday, June 30, 7:10 PM
* Wednesday, July 1, 7:10 PM
* Thursday, July 2, 7:10 PM
* Friday, July 3, 7:10 PM

Records
San Jose: 31-43 (1-3 Second Half)
Stockton: 41-33 (3-1 Second Half)

Probable Starting Pitchers
Tuesday
San Jose – Tommy Hanson (1-1, 2.25)
Stockton – Dylan Covey (6-3, 3.16)

Wednesday
San Jose – Keury Mella (3-1, 2.95)
Stockton – Dillon Overton (2-4, 3.82)

Thursday
San Jose – Ray Black (1-0, 3.60)
Stockton – Kyle Finnegan (5-4, 5.15)

Friday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (2-5, 5.34)
Stockton – Raul Alcantara (0-0, 5.25)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Third baseman Ryder Jones leads the Giants in doubles (17) and RBI's (33)

Third baseman Ryder Jones leads the Giants in doubles (17) and RBI’s (33)

Giants Begin Four-Game Series At Stockton Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a four-game series against the Stockton Ports this evening at Banner Island Ballpark. San Jose is 3-3 against the Ports this season. The Giants dropped two out of three games at Stockton from May 1-3 before winning two out of three in a series at Municipal Stadium from May 8-10. Tonight is the first of 14 second half meetings between the two clubs.

Lost Three Of Four To Open Second Half
The Giants opened the second half by dropping three out of four games to the visiting Modesto Nuts in a series that concluded last Sunday. San Jose will play 18 out of their first 25 games of the second half at home. The Giants finished the first half in fourth place in the North Division with a 30-40 record. It was San Jose’s first 40-loss half since the 2003 season (30-40 second half record).

On The Road
The Giants are 12-23 away from Municipal Stadium this season – the worst road record in the league. San Jose has yet to win a road series this year. The Giants have fared slightly better of late with a 5-5 record in their last 10 road games (after starting the season 7-18). San Jose has a 4.85 team ERA on the road compared to 3.24 at home.

Tommy Hanson To Make Fourth Start With SJ Giants
Tommy Hanson is slated to make his fourth start with San Jose in tonight’s series opener at Stockton. Hanson, who joined the Giants on June 15 from Extended Spring Training, is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA (3 ER/12.0 IP) over his first three starts. Hanson has spent five years in the major leagues with the Braves (2009-12) and Angels (2013). He owns a career big league record of 49-35 with a 3.80 ERA in 121 starts. Hanson finished third in the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year voting. He spent last season in the White Sox organization and was 3-5 with a 6.16 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Charlotte. Hanson signed a minor league contract with San Francisco on May 13.

Last Series Win
The Giants haven’t won a series since sweeping a four-game set against Rancho Cucamonga from May 22-25 at Municipal Stadium. Since, San Jose has split four series’ and lost four series’. The Giants haven’t won more than two games in a row since their season-high eight-game winning streak from May 19-27. San Jose though hasn’t been swept since dropping four straight to visiting Lake Elsinore from May 4-7.

Few Miscues
The Giants have committed just two errors over the first four games of the second half. San Jose led the California League with 91 errors during the first half.

Carbonell, Villalona Return
The Giants welcomed back outfielder Daniel Carbonell and first baseman Angel Villalona last week from Double-A Richmond. Carbonell previously played for San Jose late in the 2014 season while Villalona saw time with the Giants in 2009 and was a California League All-Star in 2013. In his first four games with the SJ Giants this season, Carbonell is 4-for-14 (.286) with a double, a home run, two RBI’s and a stolen base. He hit just one homer in 56 games with Richmond earlier this season (.146 AVG). Villalona is 1-for-11 (.091) with an RBI in his first three games with the Giants this year. He batted .143 with no homers and six RBI’s in 28 games for the Flying Squirrels before his demotion. Second baseman Austin Slater and outfielders Hunter Cole and Jesus Galindo were promoted to Richmond last week.

At The Plate
The Giants are third in the California League with a .265 team batting average, but are just ninth in the league in runs scored (4.4 per game). San Jose is eighth in home runs (44), last in stolen bases (39) and have hit into the most double plays (80) of any team in the league. The Giants’ .275 batting average with runners in scoring position is fourth-best in the league. San Jose has also struck out the fewest number of times (545) in the Cal League.

Winning The Close Ones
The Giants are 8-2 in their last 10 one-run games (11-12 overall).

Stockton - newOpponent Notes: Stockton Ports
The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, have won three games in a row and 12 out of their last 13. The Ports finished the first half in second place in the North Division with a 38-32 record. Stockton is fifth in the league in batting average (.263) and second in ERA (3.82). The Ports are 18-17 at home (23-16 road). All-Star Dylan Covey (6-3, 3.16) is expected to make the start in this evening’s contest.

Episode 52 – Inside the San Jose Giants


2015-Inside-the-San-Jose-Giants-215-x-160The San Jose Giants first half is in the books. Joe and Ben take stock of the 2015 team, including All-Stars, player promotions and expectations for the second half. The two also review the entire San Francisco Giants farm system at the season’s midpoint. Take a listen!

Giants Host Modesto To Open Second Half

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Thursday, June 25, 7:00 PM
* Friday, June 26, 7:00 PM
* Saturday, June 27, 6:00 PM
* Sunday, June 28, 1:00 PM

Records
Modesto: 33-37
San Jose: 30-40

Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday
Modesto – Harrison Musgrave (8-1, 3.10)
San Jose – Tommy Hanson (1-0, 1.80)

Friday
Modesto – Johendi Jiminian (3-7, 5.43)
San Jose – Jason Forjet (2-2, 2.08)

Saturday
Modesto – Alex Balog (0-0, 0.75)
San Jose – Chase Johnson (3-3, 3.55)

Sunday
Modesto – Zach Jemiola (0-2, 3.65)
San Jose – Martin Agosta (2-5, 5.53)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Hunter Cole led the Giants with a .319 batting average during the first half

Hunter Cole led the Giants with a .319 batting average during the first half

Giants Begin Four-Game Series Against Modesto Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin the second half tonight with the opener of a four-game series against the Modesto Nuts at Municipal Stadium. San Jose is 5-4 versus the Nuts this season, including a perfect 3-0 mark at Municipal Stadium.

First Half Review
The Giants finished the first half in fourth place in the North Division with a 30-40 record. It was San Jose’s first 40-loss half since the 2003 season (30-40 second half record). It also marked the Giants’ second straight sub-.500 first half (34-36 in 2014). San Jose had 10 straight winning first halves from 2004-2013. This year, the Giants fell to a season-high 14 games under .500 on May 18 (12-26) before finishing the half with an 18-14 record. Visalia (42-28) won the first half North Division title this season. Two playoff spots remain in the division: the second half champion and a wild card team (team with the best overall record that did not win the first or second half).

Tommy Hanson To Make Third Start With SJ Giants
Tommy Hanson is slated to make his third start with San Jose in tonight’s game versus Modesto. Hanson has posted a 1-0 record with a 1.80 ERA (2 ER/10.0 IP) over his first two starts. He faced the Nuts on June 15 and picked-up the win after tossing five scoreless innings with two hits allowed, one walk and eight strikeouts. Hanson has spent five years in the major leagues with the Braves (2009-12) and Angels (2013). He owns a career big league record of 49-35 with a 3.80 ERA in 121 starts. Hanson finished third in the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year voting. He spent last season in the White Sox organization and was 3-5 with a 6.16 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Charlotte. Hanson signed a minor league contract with San Francisco on May 13.

Second baseman Austin Slater picked-up a hit in last Tuesday’s All-Star Game and was then promoted to Double-A

Second baseman Austin Slater picked-up a hit in last Tuesday’s All-Star Game and was then promoted to Double-A

All-Star Recap
Five San Jose Giants – pitchers Chase Johnson, Keury Mella and Dan Slania, second baseman Austin Slater and outfielder Hunter Cole – participated in last Tuesday’s California-Carolina League All-Star Game in Rancho Cucamonga (won by the Cal League 9-2). Cole started in left field and went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly while Slater came off the bench and was 1-for-2 with a single. On the mound, Johnson and Mella each tossed a scoreless inning of relief and Slania struck out the only batter he faced in the ninth inning. Pitcher Tyler Beede was also selected to the All-Star Game, but did not participate due to his promotion to Richmond (AA) on June 4. San Jose led the league with six players chosen.

Home Cooking
The Giants are 14-7 in their last 21 games at Municipal Stadium (after starting the season 4-10 at home). San Jose’s team ERA at home is 3.00 compared to 4.85 on the road. The Giants will play 18 out of their first 25 games of the second half at home.

Galindo, Slater Promoted To Richmond
Outfielder Jesus Galindo and second baseman Austin Slater have been promoted to Double-A Richmond this week. Galindo, who also spent the 2013 playoffs and all of 2014 in San Jose, was batting .271 with two home runs, 13 RBI’s and a team-leading 14 stolen bases in 62 games this year. Slater, who received All-Star recognition this season, hit .292 with three home runs and 34 RBI’s over 60 games. Slater is leading the Giants in hits (73) and doubles (15 – tied) and is second in RBI’s.

Struggling Versus Nuts Pitching
The Giants are batting just .214 as a team and averaging 2.8 runs per game against Modesto pitching this season. San Jose has scored three runs or fewer in seven out of nine games versus the Nuts this year. The Giants haven’t scored more than four runs in any game against Modesto in 2015.

Daniel Carbonell has joined the Giants from Double-A Richmond. Carbonell hit .344 in 21 games for San Jose late last season.

Daniel Carbonell has joined the Giants from Double-A Richmond. Carbonell hit .344 in 21 games for San Jose late last season.

Carbonell Returns
Outfielder Daniel Carbonell was added to the Giants roster during the All-Star break earlier this week. Carbonell, a native of Cuba who signed a major league contract with San Francisco last June, hit .344 with three home runs in 21 games for San Jose to close out the regular season last year. This year in Richmond (AA), Carbonell was batting just .146 with one home run, 12 RBI’s and nine steals in 56 games.

Winning The Close Ones
The Giants are 7-1 in their last eight one-run games (10-11 overall). San Jose notched their fifth walk-off win of the season with last Saturday’s 3-2, 10-inning triumph over visiting Inland Empire.

Jeff Kobernus Joins Giants
Infielder/outfielder Jeff Kobernus joined San Jose today after a four-game stint with the AZL-Giants (Rookie). Kobernus played 28 games in the major leagues with the Washington Nationals during the 2013 and 2014 seasons (.139 AVG, 1 HR). Originally selected by Washington in the second round of the 2009 draft, Kobernus hit .318 with one home run and 42 stolen bases in 95 games with Triple-A Syracuse in 2013. He then batted .257 over 59 games for Syracuse last season. Kobernus has a career minor league batting average of .285 with 186 stolen bases in 456 games. He was released by the Nationals during spring training this year before signing a minor league contract with San Francisco in May.

Modesto - newOpponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, finished the first half with a 33-37 record and in third place in the North Division. Modesto is seventh in the league in batting average (.257) and sixth in ERA (4.24). The Nuts are 15-20 on the road (18-17 at home). Tonight’s starting pitcher, Harrison Musgrave, is tied for the league lead with eight wins. The Giants and Nuts will play 13 games against each other during the second half.

Giants Host Inland Empire To Close Out First Half

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Thursday, June 18, 7:00 PM
* Friday, June 19, 7:00 PM
* Saturday, June 20, 5:00 PM
* Sunday, June 21, 1:00 PM

Records
Inland Empire: 32-33
San Jose: 28-38

Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday
Inland Empire – Trevor Foss (1-2, 3.44)
San Jose – Jose Reyes (0-1, 11.74)

Friday
Inland Empire – Harrison Cooney (1-5, 5.95)
San Jose – Martin Agosta (1-5, 6.36)

Saturday
Inland Empire – Victor Alcantara (3-4, 5.07)
San Jose – TBA

Sunday
Inland Empire – Sean Newcomb (2-0, 3.82)
San Jose – TBA

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Jose Reyes is scheduled to start tonight's series opener for the Giants

Jose Reyes is scheduled to start tonight’s series opener for the Giants

Giants Begin Four-Game Series Against Inland Empire
The San Jose Giants return home this evening to begin a four-game series against the Inland Empire 66ers that will close out the first half. Jose Reyes (0-1, 11.74) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. Reyes is making his third start with the Giants after receiving a promotion from Class-A Augusta on June 5. Reyes went 4-1 with a 1.36 ERA in eight starts for the GreenJackets before coming up to San Jose. The 24-year old was leading the South Atlantic League in ERA at the time of his promotion.

Road Trip Review
The Giants posted a 3-4 record on their seven-game road trip that concluded last night. San Jose began the trip with a four-game series split at High Desert. The Giants twice achieved a season-high in runs scored during their two victories in the series (12-10 win on June 11, 14-7 win on June 13). San Jose then dropped two out of three games in Modesto. The Giants scored a total of just seven runs during the three-game set versus the Nuts. San Jose finishes the first half with a 12-23 road record (worst in the league). The Giants have yet to win a road series this season.

Power Surge
The Giants hit 11 home runs during their seven-game road trip (after just two homers in their previous 10 games). San Jose’s 40 home runs this season rank eighth in the California League. Tyler Horan, Ben Turner and Ty Ross each homered twice during the road trip.

The California-Carolina League All-Star Game will be played this Tuesday, June 23 in Rancho Cucamonga

The California-Carolina League All-Star Game will be played this Tuesday, June 23 in Rancho Cucamonga

Six Giants Named To All-Star Team
Six San Jose Giants were named to the California League All-Star team last week. Pitchers Tyler Beede, Chase Johnson, Keury Mella and Dan Slania, second baseman Austin Slater and outfielder Hunter Cole will represent the Giants in the June 23 California-Carolina League All-Star Game in Rancho Cucamonga (Beede will not participate due to his promotion to Double-A Richmond). The six selections are the most of any team in the California League. Mella (3rd, 2.95) and Johnson (5th, 3.23) both rank among the top five in the league in ERA while Slania is tied for first with 12 saves. Cole (.327, 5 HR, 33 RBI) is fourth in the league in batting average. Slater (.298, 3 HR, 34 RBI) leads the Giants in hits (71), doubles (14 – tied) and RBI’s. Beede was 2-2 with a 2.24 ERA in nine starts before his promotion.

At Muni
The Giants are 12-5 in their last 17 games at Municipal Stadium (after starting the season 4-10 at home). San Jose’s team ERA at home is 2.98 compared to 4.85 on the road. Beginning tonight, the Giants will play 22 out of their next 29 games at home (through July 21).

Close Loss
The Giants had won their last six one-run games prior to Tuesday’s 4-3, 10-inning defeat to Modesto. San Jose is 9-11 overall this season in one-run games.

Versus The Sixers
San Jose is 5-2 against Inland Empire this season. The Giants swept a three-game set from the 66ers at Municipal Stadium from April 20-22. San Jose outscored Inland Empire by a 16-1 margin during the series. The teams then split a four-game series in San Bernardino from May 30-June 2. The Giants are 16-14 (.533) against the South Division this season and just 12-24 (.333) versus the North.

Trouble In The Field
With three more miscues last night, the Giants have now committed 86 errors this season – tops in the California League (Bakersfield and Inland Empire next-closest with 80). San Jose’s 60 unearned runs this season are second-most in the league.

Odds And Ends
The Giants are 16-12 (.571) since falling to a season-high 14 games under .500 (12-26) on May 18 … San Jose is 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position over their last two games (both losses) … The Giants’ .266 overall team batting average is tops among all North Division clubs (third in the league) … San Jose (28-38) is guaranteed to finish the first half with a sub-.500 record for the second straight season (34-36 last year) … Prior to last season, San Jose had 10 straight winning first halves (2004-2013).

1220_inland_empire_66ers-wordmark-2014Opponent Notes: Inland Empire 66ers
The Inland Empire 66ers, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, are in fourth place in the South Division with a 32-33 record. Inland Empire is sixth in the league in batting average (.259), last in home runs (32) and seventh in ERA (4.33). The 66ers lost two out of three at Bakersfield in their most recent series. Inland Empire is 13-17 on the road.

Giants Continue Road Trip At Modesto

san jose giantsAt John Thurman Field (Modesto, CA)
* Monday, June 15, 7:05 PM
* Tuesday, June 16, 7:05 PM
* Wednesday, June 17, 7:05 PM

Records
San Jose: 27-36
Modesto: 30-33

Probable Starting Pitchers
Monday
San Jose – Tommy Hanson (0-0, —)
Modesto – Zach Jemiola (0-1, 3.86)

Tuesday
San Jose – Keury Mella (3-1, 2.76)
Modesto – Konner Wade (2-6, 4.92)

Wednesday
San Jose – Jason Forjet (2-1, 2.13)
Modesto – Harrison Musgrave (7-1, 3.15)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Begin Three-Game Series At Modesto Tonight
The San Jose Giants continue their road trip this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Modesto Nuts at John Thurman Field. San Jose is 4-2 versus the Nuts this season. The Giants lost two out of three at Modesto from May 12-14 before sweeping the Nuts in a three-game series at Municipal Stadium a week later (May 19-21).

Offensive Surge
The Giants have scored 47 runs over their last five games (9.4 runs per game). San Jose’s 14 runs in Saturday’s victory at High Desert established a new season-high (previous high: 12 runs on Thursday versus the Mavericks). The Giants have also hit nine home runs in their last five games (after one homer in their previous nine games). San Jose’s team batting average of .269 is at its highest since April 22 (.271).

Road Struggles
The Giants are 11-21 away from Municipal Stadium this season – the worst road record in the league. San Jose has yet to win a road series in 2015. The Giants’ team ERA on the road is 5.05, compared to 2.98 at home. San Jose split four games at High Desert to begin the current the road trip. The Giants are 4-3 in their last seven road games overall.

ASG_Giants_website_480_X_270_n4dvuvsh_8t0jd5m4Six Giants Named To All-Star Team
Six San Jose Giants were named to the California League All-Star team last week. Pitchers Tyler Beede, Chase Johnson, Keury Mella and Dan Slania, second baseman Austin Slater and outfielder Hunter Cole will represent the Giants in the June 23 California-Carolina League All-Star Game in Rancho Cucamonga (Beede will not participate due to his promotion to Double-A Richmond). The six selections are the most of any team in the California League. Beede (2nd, 2.24) and Johnson (7th, 3.23) both rank among the top seven in the league in ERA while Slania is second with 11 saves. Cole (.340, 5 HR, 33 RBI) leads the league in batting average. Slater (.305, 3 HR, 34 RBI) leads the Giants in hits (69), doubles (14) and RBI’s. Mella owns a 2.76 ERA in 10 starts this season.

Cole Extends Hitting Streak To Nine Games
Hunter Cole brings a season-high nine-game hitting streak into tonight’s contest. During the hit streak, Cole is batting at a .368 clip (14-for-38) with two triples, two home runs and nine RBI’s.

Improving Record
The Giants are 15-10 (.600) since falling to a season-high 14 games under .500 (12-26) on May 18.

Tommy Hanson To Start Tonight’s Series Opener
Tommy Hanson has joined the San Jose Giants from Extended Spring Training and is slated to start tonight’s series opener at Modesto. Hanson has spent five years in the major leagues with the Braves (2009-12) and Angels (2013). He owns a career big league record of 49-35 with a 3.80 ERA in 121 starts. Hanson finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2009. Hanson spent last season in the White Sox organization and was 3-5 with a 6.16 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Charlotte. Hanson signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants on May 13 and will be making his season debut tonight.

Austin Slater is 12-for-24 with 10 RBI's in his last five games

Austin Slater is 12-for-24 with 10 RBI’s in his last five games

Trouble In The Field
The Giants have committed 81 errors this season – tops in the California League (Bakersfield next-closest with 75). San Jose’s 56 unearned runs this season are second-most in the league.

Slater Sizzles
Over his last five games, Austin Slater is 12-for-24 (.500) with a home run and 10 RBI’s. The hot streak has raised Slater’s season batting average from .282 to .305. More recently, Slater has seven hits in his last ten at-bats.

League Rankings
The Giants are third in the California League in team batting average (.269) and third in ERA (3.99).

Sub-.500 First Half
Last night’s loss guaranteed the Giants (27-36) will finish the first half with a sub-.500 record for the second straight season (34-36 last year). Prior to last season, San Jose had 10 straight winning first halves (2004-2013).

Modesto - newOpponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, are in third place in the North Division with a 30-33 record. Modesto is seventh in the league in batting average (.257) and seventh in ERA (4.31). The Nuts have lost seven out of their last 11 games. Modesto is 15-13 at home this season (15-20 on the road). Outfielder Jordan Patterson (.320, 5 HR, 26 RBI), third baseman Ryan McMahon (.308, 6 HR, 31 RBI) and pitcher Antonio Senzatela (4-3, 2.36 ERA) were selected to the California League All-Star team.

Giants Headed Back To High Desert For Four-Game Series

san jose giantsAt Heritage Field (Adelanto, CA)
* Thursday, June 11, 7:05 PM
* Friday, June 12, 7:05 PM
* Saturday, June 13, 7:05 PM
* Sunday, June 14, 5:05 PM

Records
San Jose: 25-34
High Desert: 31-27

Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday
San Jose – Jose Reyes (0-1, 11.25)
High Desert – Trey Lambert (2-0, 2.25)

Friday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (1-4, 5.83)
High Desert – Richelson Pena (3-4, 4.47)

Saturday
San Jose – Chase Johnson (2-2, 2.80)
High Desert – Lendy Castillo (0-0, 6.43)

Sunday
San Jose – Andrew Leenhouts (0-1, 6.97)
High Desert – TBA

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Begin Four-Game Series At High Desert Tonight
The San Jose Giants embark on a seven-game road trip this evening with the first of four straight contests against the High Desert Mavericks at Heritage Field. Jose Reyes is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. Reyes joined the Giants from Augusta (A) on June 5. In eight starts for the GreenJackets this season, Reyes posted a 4-1 record with a 1.36 ERA. He was leading the South Atlantic League in ERA at the time of his promotion. After the current series versus High Desert, San Jose continues their road trip with a three-game set at Modesto beginning on Monday.

Homestand Review
The Giants posted a 3-4 record during their homestand that concluded yesterday afternoon. San Jose split a four-game series with High Desert to begin the homestand. Both Giants wins versus the Mavericks came in 13-inning contests. San Jose then picked-up one victory in three games versus the Bakersfield Blaze in a series that ended yesterday. The Giants were outscored by a 30-5 margin in their four losses during the homestand.

Familiar Opponent
This series concludes a stretch for the Giants playing 11 out of 18 games against High Desert. San Jose dropped two out of three in Adelanto from May 27-29 before splitting a four-game series with the Mavericks at Municipal Stadium last week. The Giants have allowed 14 home runs in seven games against High Desert this season.

On The Mound
The Giants’ 3.72 team ERA currently ranks second in the California League. San Jose is also third in the league in strikeouts (540) and third in fewest walks (178). Individually, Keury Mella (5th, 2.76) and Chase Johnson (6th, 2.80) rank among the top six in the league in ERA while Dan Slania is second in saves (10).

Cole Ranks Second In Hitting
Outfielder Hunter Cole ranks second in the California League with a .328 batting average this season. Cole has multi-hits in 13 out of his last 26 games. He’s posted monthly batting averages this season of .310 in April, .346 in May and .293 thus far in June. Cole also leads the Giants in triples (3) and on-base percentage (.392) and is third in doubles (10) and RBI’s (26).

Road Struggles
The Giants are 9-19 away from Municipal Stadium this season – the worst road record in the league. San Jose has yet to win a road series in 2015. The Giants had lost six consecutive road series’ before splitting a four-game set at Inland Empire from May 30-June 2. San Jose’s team ERA on the road is 4.61, compared to 2.98 at home.

Former San Jose Giants No-Hitters
Chris Heston became the fifth former San Jose Giant to throw a no-hitter in a major league game when he accomplished the feat on Tuesday against the New York Mets. Heston joins Jonathan Sanchez (7/10/2009 vs. San Diego), Francisco Liriano (with Minnesota, 5/3/2011 vs. Chicago White Sox), Matt Cain (6/13/2012 vs. Houston – Perfect Game) and Tim Lincecum (twice; 7/13/2013 vs. San Diego and 6/25/2014 vs. San Diego) as former San Jose Giants to have thrown major league no-hitters. Heston pitched for San Jose during the 2011 season.

Trouble In The Field
The Giants committed 14 errors during their seven-game homestand. San Jose’s 77 errors overall this season lead the California League (Bakersfield, Inland Empire and Lancaster next-closest with 72 each). The Giants’ 55 unearned runs allowed this year are the second-most in the league.

Score Early
The Giants’ two highest scoring innings this season are the first (36 runs) and second (33 runs).

Power Outage
San Jose has hit just two home runs (Seth Harrison’s 13th-inning walk-off homer last Sunday and Brian Ragira’s solo home run yesterday) in their last 10 games. The Giants’ 29 home runs this season are tied for the fewest in the California League (Inland Empire).

High DesertOpponent Notes: High Desert Mavericks
The High Desert Mavericks, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, are in third place in the South Division with a 31-27 record – 3 1/2 games out of the top spot. High Desert is second in the league in batting average (.279), second in home runs (72) and last in ERA (5.24). The Mavericks are 15-15 at home. High Desert catcher/DH Alex Burg, a former San Jose Giant, is tied for first in the league in home runs (15), first in slugging percentage (.644), first in on-base percentage (.410) and tenth in batting average (.310).

Episode 51 – Inside the San Jose Giants

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In this podcast, Joe and Ben discuss the San Jose Giants recent turnaround while examining which players could be named to the California League All-Star team. The two also talk about Tyler Beede’s promotion to Double-A and his impact while he pitched in San Jose.

Giants Continue Homestand Against Bakersfield

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Monday, June 8, 7:00 PM
* Tuesday, June 9, 7:00 PM
* Wednesday, June 10, 12:30 PM

Records
Bakersfield: 20-36
San Jose: 24-32

Probable Starting Pitchers
Monday
Bakersfield – Eddie Campbell (1-2, 13.15)
San Jose – Andrew Leenhouts (0-0, 5.06)

Tuesday
Bakersfield – Dan Altavilla (2-5, 3.60)
San Jose – Keury Mella (3-1, 2.89)

Wednesday
Bakersfield – Tyler Pike (0-2, 3.41)
San Jose – Jason Forjet (1-1, 1.77)

NBCUT_Logo_chnBroadcast Information
All three games will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104. Joe Ritzo handles the play-by-play while color commentary duties will be provided by Joe Castellano. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Justin Allegri calling the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Three-Game Series Against Bakersfield Tonight
The San Jose Giants continue their homestand this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Bakersfield Blaze at Municipal Stadium. Andrew Leenhouts is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. Leenhouts, a 23rd round pick of the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 draft, joined San Jose from Extended Spring Training on June 1. This evening marks Leenhouts’ second start with the SJ Giants. Leenhouts was a Northwest League All-Star with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Short-Season level) in 2013.

Split Versus Mavericks
The Giants split a four-game series with the visiting High Desert Mavericks to open their homestand. Both of San Jose’s wins in the series came in 13 innings: 3-2 on Thursday and 6-4 yesterday afternoon. High Desert claimed victories of 5-1 and 10-2 on Friday and Saturday respectively. Saturday’s loss was the Giants’ largest margin of defeat in a home game this season.

Walk-Off Home Run
Seth Harrison’s game-winning homer yesterday marked San Jose’s first walk-off home run this season. It was the Giants’ first walk-off home run since Blake Miller hit an 11th-inning grand slam to beat Stockton on May 22, 2014. San Jose has now posted four walk-off wins this season, including both victories during the current homestand.

At Muni
The Giants are 11-3 in their last 14 home games dating back to May 8 (after starting the year 4-10 at home). San Jose won a season-high eight consecutive home games from May 19-June 4.

Extras
Yesterday’s 13-inning contest matched the Giants’ longest game of the season (third time). San Jose has played three 13-inning games in the last nine days (May 30 at Inland Empire, June 4 vs. High Desert and yesterday). The Giants are 4-3 overall this season in extra-inning games.

Cole Ranks Second In Hitting
Outfielder Hunter Cole ranks second in the California League with a .329 batting average this season. Cole has multi-hits in 12 out of his last 23 games. He’s posted monthly batting averages this season of .310 in April, .346 in May and .286 thus far in June. Cole also leads the Giants in triples (3) and on-base percentage (.395), is tied for second in RBI’s (24) and third in doubles (10).

Improving Record
The Giants are 12-6 in their last 18 games after starting the season with a 12-26 record.

Arroyo’s Return Bolsters Offense
Shortstop Christian Arroyo was activated off the disabled list on May 30 and is 12-for-38 (.316) with two doubles in eight games since his return. Arroyo was originally placed on the DL on April 16 (oblique). Arroyo was San Francisco’s first round pick in the 2013 draft (25th overall selection). In 15 games this season, he’s batting .318 with six doubles, two home runs and seven RBI’s.

On The Mound
The Giants’ 3.73 team ERA currently ranks second in the California League. San Jose is also third in the league in strikeouts (512). Individually, Chase Johnson is fifth in the league in ERA (2.80) while Dan Slania is second in saves (10). The Giants bullpen has posted a stellar 3.22 ERA this season.

Versus The North
The Giants are only 10-20 (.333) against North Division teams this season compared to 14-12 (.538) against clubs from the South. San Jose is 2-6 overall against Bakersfield having dropped three out of four games to the Blaze in both of their previous series’ (April 16-19 at Municipal Stadium and April 23-26 at Sam Lynn Ballpark).

Trouble In The Field
The Giants have committed 71 errors this season – tops in the California League. San Jose had eight errors during their four-game series versus High Desert. The Giants’ 49 unearned runs allowed this year are tied for the second-most in the league.

Bakersfield - newOpponent Notes: Bakersfield Blaze
The Bakersfield Blaze, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, own the worst record in the league at 20-36. Bakersfield is 6-23 in their last 29 games dating back to May 6. The Blaze are last in the league in batting average (.220), last in runs scored (3.4 per game) and third in ERA (3.87). Bakersfield is 11-17 on the road this year (9-19 at home).

Giants Begin Homestand With Four-Game Series Against High Desert

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Thursday, June 4, 7:00 PM
* Friday, June 5, 7:00 PM
* Saturday, June 6, 5:00 PM
* Sunday, June 7, 1:00 PM

Records
High Desert: 27-24
San Jose: 22-30

Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday
High Desert – Reed Garrett (1-0, 3.00)
San Jose – Jason Forjet (1-1, 2.20)

Friday
High Desert – Trey Lambert (1-0, 2.77)
San Jose – Jose Reyes (0-0, —)

Saturday
High Desert – Richelson Pena (2-4, 4.98)
San Jose – Martin Agosta (1-3, 5.55)

Sunday
High Desert – Lendy Castillo (0-0, 3.86)
San Jose – Chase Johnson (2-2, 2.68)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Four-Game Series Against High Desert Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game homestand this evening with the first of four straight contests against the High Desert Mavericks at Municipal Stadium. Jason Forjet (1-1, 2.20) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. Forjet will be making his first start of the season after nine relief appearances. After the current series versus High Desert, the Giants continue their homestand with a three-game set against the Bakersfield Blaze beginning on Monday.

Road Trip Review
The Giants posted a 3-4 record on their road trip that concluded last Tuesday. San Jose picked-up one victory in three games at High Desert to start the trip before splitting a four-game series at Inland Empire. The split versus the 66ers snapped a streak of six consecutive road series losses for the Giants dating back to the opening week of the season. San Jose has still not won a road series this year.

Streaking At Muni
The Giants enter tonight’s contest having won a season-high seven consecutive home games. San Jose posted a 7-0 record on their most recent homestand (May 19-25) earning series sweeps of Modesto and Rancho Cucamonga. The Giants are batting .286 as a team to go with a 2.77 ERA at home this season (.247 AVG, 4.61 ERA on the road). San Jose has won nine out of their last ten games at Municipal Stadium (since starting the year 4-10 at home).

Shortstop Christian Arroyo was activated off the disabled list last Saturday

Shortstop Christian Arroyo was activated off the disabled list last Saturday

Arroyo Returns
Shortstop Christian Arroyo (oblique) was activated off the disabled list last Saturday. In four games since his return, Arroyo is 6-for-19 (.316) with two doubles and an RBI. He was originally placed on the DL on April 16. Arroyo, who turned 20 last Saturday, was San Francisco’s first round pick in the 2013 draft (25th overall selection). In 11 games this season, he’s batting .319 with six doubles, two home runs, six RBI’s and a .934 OPS. Arroyo entered the year ranked as the #10 prospect in the Giants organization according to Baseball America.

Won 10 Of 14
Since falling to a season-high 14 games under .500 on May 18 (12-26), the Giants have won 10 out of their last 14.

Cole Ranks Second In Hitting
After picking-up seven hits over his last three games, Hunter Cole has raised his season batting average to .342 – second in the California League. Cole is batting at a .386 clip (29-for-75) over his last 19 games. He has 11 multi-hit games during the stretch. Additionally, Cole has hit three home runs in his last nine games after not having homered for the entire season. Cole joined the Giants on April 22 after beginning the year with Class-A Augusta.

With RISP
The Giants are batting .282 this season with runners in scoring position – second in the league (Stockton .290).

2014 first round draft pick Tyler Beede has been promoted to Double-A Richmond

2014 first round draft pick Tyler Beede has been promoted to Double-A Richmond

Winning The Close Ones
The Giants are 4-0 in their last four one-run games (after starting the season 3-10).

Beede Promoted; Jose Reyes Joins Starting Rotation
2014 first round draft pick Tyler Beede was promoted to Double-A Richmond today. In nine starts with the San Jose Giants this season, Beede logged a 2-2 record and had a 2.24 ERA. The right-hander struck out 37 and walked just nine over 52 1/3 innings. Beede, who currently ranks third in the California League in ERA, surrendered one or no earned runs in six out of his nine starts. In a corresponding roster move, pitcher Jose Reyes has joined the Giants from Class-A Augusta and is expected to start Friday’s game. Reyes was 4-1 with a South Atlantic League leading 1.36 ERA in eight starts for the GreenJackets this season. The 24-year old right-hander amassed 45 strikeouts with just 11 walks in 46 1/3 innings while limiting the opposition to a .207 batting average.

On The Mound
The Giants are second in the California League with a 3.73 ERA. Individually, Chase Johnson (5th, 2.68) and Keury Mella (7th, 2.89) rank among the top seven in the league in ERA. Dan Slania leads the league with 10 saves.

High DesertOpponent Notes: High Desert Mavericks
The High Desert Mavericks, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, are in third place in the South Division with a 27-24 record – 3 1/2 games out of the top spot. High Desert is second in the league in batting average (.281), second in home runs (58) and last in ERA (5.58). The Mavericks are 14-10 on the road this season. Former San Jose Giant Alex Burg leads High Desert and is tied for second in the league with 12 home runs. This series serves as the Mavericks’ only visit to Municipal Stadium this season. San Jose will travel back to High Desert for a four-game series next week.

Giants Continue Road Trip At Inland Empire

san jose giantsAt San Manuel Stadium (San Bernardino, CA)
* Saturday, May 30, 7:05 PM
* Sunday, May 31, 2:05 PM
* Monday, June 1, 7:05 PM
* Tuesday, June 2, 7:05 PM

Records
San Jose: 20-28
Inland Empire: 22-24

Probable Starting Pitchers
Saturday
San Jose – Tyler Beede (2-2, 2.58)
Inland Empire – Harrison Cooney (1-3, 4.82)

Sunday
San Jose – Chase Johnson (2-2, 2.68)
Inland Empire – Victor Alcantara (2-4, 5.14)

Monday
San Jose – Nik Turley (1-0, 1.50)
Inland Empire – Sean Newcomb (1-0, 2.57)

Tuesday
San Jose – Keury Mella (2-1, 3.05)
Inland Empire – Jordan Kipper (1-3, 4.12)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Begin Four-Game Series At Inland Empire Tonight
The San Jose Giants continue their road trip this evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Inland Empire 66ers at San Manuel Stadium. The Giants are 3-0 against Inland Empire this season having swept the 66ers at Municipal Stadium from April 20-22.

Lost Two Of Three In High Desert
The Giants dropped two out of three games to the host High Desert Mavericks in their most recent series. San Jose earned a 10-5 win over High Desert on Wednesday – their season-high eighth consecutive victory overall. The Mavericks though bounced back with consecutive wins of 12-2 and 10-5 on Thursday and Friday respectively to take the series. The Giants allowed 22 runs and 32 hits over the final two games of the series. During their eight-game winning streak (May 19-27), San Jose surrendered a total of just 18 runs (2.47 team ERA).

Road Struggles
The Giants own a league-worst 7-17 road record and have yet to win a series away from Municipal Stadium this season. San Jose hasn’t won back-to-back road games since the opening weekend of the season (April 10-11 at Lancaster). The Giants are batting just .246 as a team to go with a 4.87 ERA on the road (.286 AVG, 2.77 ERA at home).

Offensive Surge
Over the last seven games (5-2 record), the Giants are batting .336 as a team and averaging 6.6 runs per contest. San Jose scored a season-high 11 runs last Saturday in an 11-0 win over Rancho Cucamonga. Wednesday’s 10-5 victory over the Mavericks was the Giants’ largest run output in a road game this year.

Tyler Beede (2-2, 2.58) starts for the Giants in tonight's series opener at Inland Empire

Tyler Beede (2-2, 2.58) starts for the Giants in tonight’s series opener at Inland Empire

Beede Starts Series Opener
Tyler Beede is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants in tonight’s series opener. Beede currently ranks sixth in the California League in ERA (2.58) and second among qualifying starting pitchers in fewest walks per nine innings (1.59). In his last start (May 23 vs. Rancho Cucamonga), Beede tossed six scoreless innings to pick-up the win. Beede has allowed one or no earned runs in five out of his eight starts this season.

Improving Record
Since falling to 8-20 (.286) after a loss on May 7, the Giants have posted a 12-8 (.600) record.

Cole Ranks Fourth In Hitting
Hunter Cole currently ranks fourth in the California League with a .336 batting average. Cole is batting at a .386 clip (22-for-57) over his last 15 games. He has eight multi-hit games during the stretch. Additionally, Cole has hit three home runs in his last five games after not having homered for the entire season. Cole joined the Giants on April 22 after beginning the year with Class-A Augusta.

Versus The South
The Giants are 10-8 (.556) against South Division teams this season and only 10-20 (.333) versus the North. San Jose is currently in the midst of playing 15 consecutive games against South Division opponents (May 22-June 7).

Horan Returns
Outfielder Tyler Horan was activated from the disabled list prior to Wednesday’s road trip opener. In three games since his return, Horan is 4-for-13 (.308) with four singles and an RBI. Horan was on the DL from April 30-May 26. Horan’s 25 homers last year between Augusta (A) and San Jose ranked second in the Giants farm system.

Holding Leads
San Jose is the only team in the league that has not lost a game when leading after seven innings this season (15-0). Closer Dan Slania is first in the league with 10 saves. The Giants’ bullpen ERA this year is 3.22.

Jones’ Hitting Streak At Eight Games
Third baseman Ryder Jones brings an eight-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. Jones is batting .355 (11-for-31) with a home run during the streak. He hit his team-leading fourth home run of the season on Thursday. Jones had a 10-game hitting streak earlier this season (April 12-22).

In Search Of Winning Month
The Giants need victories tonight and tomorrow to secure a winning record this month. San Jose is 13-14 in May. The Giants finished April with a 7-14 record.

1220_inland_empire_66ers-wordmark-2014Opponent Notes: Inland Empire 66ers
The Inland Empire 66ers, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, are in fourth place in the South Division with a 22-24 record – 4 1/2 games out of first. Inland Empire has lost their last five games. The 66ers are sixth in the league in batting average (.264), eighth in runs scored (4.7 per game) and seventh in ERA (4.41). Inland Empire is 15-12 at home this season (7-12 on the road).

Streaking Giants Begin Road Trip At High Desert

san jose giantsAt Heritage Field (Adelanto, CA)
* Wednesday, May 27, 6:35 PM
* Thursday, May 28, 6:35 PM
* Friday, May 29, 6:35 PM

Records
San Jose: 19-26
High Desert: 24-20

Probable Starting Pitchers
Wednesday
San Jose – Keury Mella (2-1, 3.06)
High Desert – David Ledbetter (0-4, 7.24)

Thursday
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (0-4, 4.59)
High Desert – TBA

Friday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (1-2, 4.35)
High Desert – Trey Lambert (1-0, 0.00)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Keury Mella is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants in tonight's road trip opener

Keury Mella is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants in tonight’s road trip opener

Giants Begin Three-Game Series At High Desert Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game road trip this evening with the first of three straight contests against the High Desert Mavericks at Heritage Field. Keury Mella (2-1, 3.06) is slated to start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Mella hasn’t allowed an earned run over his last two starts (12 2/3 IP). After the current series versus the Mavericks, San Jose continues their road trip with a four-game set at Inland Empire beginning on Saturday.

Seven-Game Winning Streak
The Giants enter this evening’s contest riding a season-high seven-game winning streak. During the streak, San Jose is batting .306 as a team and averaging 5.3 runs per game while the pitching staff has posted a sparkling 2.11 ERA and thrown two shutouts. Prior to the win streak, the Giants hadn’t won more than three games in a row this year and were a season-high 14 games under .500 overall (12-26).

Perfect Homestand
The Giants completed a 7-0 homestand last Monday with a victory over Rancho Cucamonga. San Jose swept a three-game set from Modesto to begin the homestand before taking four straight games from the South Division-leading Quakes over Memorial Day weekend. It was the first time a San Jose team posted a perfect record on a homestand with two or more series’ since May 1-6, 2012 (6-0 record vs. Stockton and Inland Empire). It was the Giants’ first 7-0 homestand since earlier in the 2012 season (April 12-18 vs. Bakersfield and Rancho Cucamonga).

Cole Leads League In Hitting
Second baseman/outfielder Hunter Cole leads the California League with a .350 batting average. Cole is batting at a .419 clip (26-for-62) over his last 17 games and has multi-hits in eight out of his last 13 contests. Cole homered in back-to-back games last Saturday and Sunday versus Rancho Cucamonga – his first two homers of the season. He’s also third in the league with a .419 on-base percentage. A 26th round pick in the 2014 draft, Cole joined the Giants on April 22 after beginning the season with Class-A Augusta (.275 AVG in 10 games).

Recent Surge
Since falling to 8-20 (.286) after a loss on May 7, the Giants have posted an 11-6 (.647) record.

Outfielder Tyler Horan has been activated off the disabled list

Outfielder Tyler Horan has been activated off the disabled list

Lollis Promoted; Horan Returns
Outfielder Ryan Lollis was promoted to Double-A Richmond yesterday. Lollis has played in 30 games for San Jose this season and is second in the California League in batting average (.345) and first in on-base percentage (.431). He also produced eight doubles, two triples, one home run and 11 RBI’s with the Giants. In a corresponding roster move, outfielder Tyler Horan (hamstring) was activated from the disabled list. Despite having not played in a game since April 28, Horan is tied for the team-lead with three home runs. Horan clubbed 25 homers last season between Augusta (A) and San Jose to rank second in the San Francisco Giants farm system.

Road Struggles
The Giants own a league-worst 6-15 road record and have yet to win a series away from Municipal Stadium this season. San Jose hasn’t won back-to-back road games since the opening weekend of the season (April 10-11 at Lancaster). The Giants are batting just .236 as a team to go with a 4.54 ERA on the road (.286 AVG, 2.77 ERA at home).

Out Of The Cellar
With Sunday’s win over Rancho Cucamonga, the Giants moved out of last place in the first half North Division standings for the first time since April 27. San Jose (19-26) is currently in fourth place.

In The ‘Pen
The Giants bullpen possesses a stellar 2.99 ERA this season. Dan Slania leads the league with 10 saves. Slania has picked-up four saves during the current seven-game winning streak. Three relievers are limiting the opposition to sub-.200 batting averages: Jeff Soptic (.167), Jake Smith (.176) and Ian Gardeck (.181). San Jose is the only team in the league that has not lost a game when leading after seven innings (14-0).

High DesertOpponent Notes: High Desert Mavericks
The High Desert Mavericks, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, are tied for first in the South Division with a 24-20 record. High Desert has won four games in a row and eight out of their last ten. The Mavericks are second in the league in batting average (.274), first in home runs (47) and last in ERA (4.87). This series marks the first meeting of the season between San Jose and High Desert. Former San Jose Giant Alex Burg leads the Mavericks in batting average (.325), home runs (8 – tied) and is second in RBI’s (27). High Desert is 10-10 at home this season (14-10 on the road).

Giants, Dodgers Affiliates Meet At Muni This Weekend

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Friday, May 22, 7:00 PM
* Saturday, May 23, 6:00 PM
* Sunday, May 24, 1:00 PM
* Monday, May 25, 2:00 PM

Records
Rancho Cucamonga: 24-16
San Jose: 15-26

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
Rancho Cucamonga: Jeff Brigham (1-2, 7.71)
San Jose: Jake Peavy (ML Rehab)

Saturday
Rancho Cucamonga: John Richy (5-1, 3.92)
San Jose: Tyler Beede (1-2, 2.97)

Sunday
Rancho Cucamonga: Zack Bird (2-1, 4.06)
San Jose: Chase Johnson (2-2, 2.86)

Monday
Rancho Cucamonga: TBA
San Jose: Keury Mella (2-1, 3.06)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Jake_Peavy_Rehab_f6trvmcg_li1q5dwvGiants Begin Four-Game Series Against Rancho Cucamonga This Evening
The San Jose Giants play the opener of a four-game series against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes this evening at Municipal Stadium. This Memorial Day weekend series marks the first meeting of the season between the Giants and Quakes.

Sweep
The Giants began their homestand with a three-game sweep of the visiting Modesto Nuts in a series that concluded yesterday. San Jose earned a 2-0 shutout victory on Tuesday before a 3-2 win on Wednesday and then another 3-2 triumph (in 10 innings) yesterday afternoon. It was the second time this season that the Giants swept a series (April 20-22 versus Inland Empire).

Back-To-Back Walk-Off Wins
The Giants are coming off of back-to-back walk-off wins in their last two games. A passed ball with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Wednesday gave San Jose their first walk-off win of the season. Yesterday, a balk with a runner at third and one out in the bottom of the 10th lifted the Giants to another victory in their final at-bat.
Video: Watch Wednesday’s Walk-Off
Video: Watch Thursday’s Walk-Off

Jake Peavy Rehab Start Tonight
San Francisco Giants pitcher Jake Peavy is scheduled to start tonight’s game for San Jose as part of a rehabilitation assignment. The former Cy Young Award winner owns a career 3.55 ERA and was a member of the 2014 San Francisco Giants World Championship team after being traded to the organization in July of last year from the Boston Red Sox. Peavy made 12 regular season starts (6-4, 2.17 ERA) and four starts in the playoffs for the Giants last season. Peavy, who is recovering from a back injury, last pitched on April 17.

Ryder Jones and the Giants host Dodgers affiliate Rancho Cucamonga this weekend

Ryder Jones and the Giants host Dodgers affiliate Rancho Cucamonga this weekend

Three In A Row
The Giants enter tonight’s contest having won a season-high tying three games in a row. It’s the second time San Jose has won three straight games this year (April 20-22). The Giants have also won five out of their last six home games after dropping seven straight at Municipal Stadium from April 28-May 7.

Close Calls
10 out of San Jose’s 26 losses this season have come by one run (38.4%). The Giants are 5-10 in one-run contests and 7-16 in games decided by one or two runs this year. San Jose is 3-1 in their last four one-run games after starting the season 2-9. 16 out of the Giants’ last 19 games have been one or two-run contests.

Cole’s Offensive Surge
Second baseman/outfielder Hunter Cole is batting .400 (18-for-45) over his last 13 games. Cole has produced five doubles, a triple and six RBI’s during the stretch. His overall batting average of .330 ranks fifth in the California League. Cole joined the Giants on April 22 after beginning the season with Class-A Augusta (.275 AVG in 10 games). He was a 26th round pick of the San Francisco Giants in the 2014 draft out of the University of Georgia.

In The ‘Pen
The Giants boast an excellent 2.77 ERA bullpen ERA this season. Dan Slania is second in the California League with seven saves. He owns a 2.50 ERA and has recorded 25 strikeouts in 18 innings. The top two pitchers on the team in strikeouts are relievers: Ian Gardeck (35) and Jake Smith (35). Ray Black (.100), Smith (.144), Gardeck (.173) and Jeff Soptic (.182) are all limiting the opposition to sub-.200 batting averages. San Jose (12-0) is one of only two teams in the league that has not lost a game this season when leading after seven innings (Rancho Cucamonga).

Lollis Ranks Third In Hitting
Outfielder Ryan Lollis produced two hits yesterday to raise his season batting average to .333 – third in the California League. Lollis has hit safely in his last five games.

Rancho Cucamonga - newOpponent Notes: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, are in first place in the South Division with a 24-16 record. Rancho Cucamonga has lost their last three games after winning eight straight. The Quakes are third in the league in batting average (.275) and second in ERA (3.57). Rancho Cucamonga has posted a 15-5 record at home this season, but is just 9-11 on the road. This series marks the Quakes’ only visit to Municipal Stadium this year. Second baseman Brandon Trinkwon leads the league with a .341 batting average.

Giants Host Modesto To Begin Homestand

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Tuesday, May 19, 6:30 PM
* Wednesday, May 20, 6:30 PM
* Thursday, May 21, 11:30 AM

Records
Modesto: 20-18
San Jose: 12-26

Probable Starting Pitchers
Tuesday
Modesto – Johendi Jiminian (2-3, 5.35)
San Jose – Keury Mella (1-1, 3.77)

Wednesday
Modesto – Harrison Musgrave (4-1, 4.15)
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (0-4, 5.33)

Thursday
Modesto – Grahamm Wiest (1-2, 5.04)
San Jose – Martin Agosta (1-2, 4.50)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Keury Mella is scheduled to start Tuesday's series opener for the Giants

Keury Mella is scheduled to start Tuesday’s series opener for the Giants

Giants Begin Three-Game Series Against Modesto Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game homestand this evening with the first of three straight contests against the Modesto Nuts at Municipal Stadium. Keury Mella is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Mella faced Modesto in his most recent start on May 13 and picked-up the win after tossing six innings with just two unearned runs allowed. After the current series versus the Nuts, San Jose continues their homestand with a four-game set against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes beginning on Friday.

Road Trip Review
The Giants posted a 2-5 record during their seven-game road trip that concluded yesterday. San Jose dropped two out of three games in Modesto to begin the trip. All three games of the series were decided by one or two runs. The Giants then picked-up just one victory during a four-game series against the first-place Visalia Rawhide. San Jose’s lone triumph versus the Rawhide was a 5-4, 11-inning win last Saturday. The Giants have now dropped 14 out of their last 18 road games and have yet to win a series away from Municipal Stadium this season.

Close Calls
10 out of San Jose’s 26 losses this season have come by one run (38.4%). The Giants are 3-10 in one-run contests and 4-16 in games decided by one or two runs this year. 13 out of San Jose’s last 16 games have been one or two-run contests.

Lost 18 Of 24
Since sweeping a three-game series against Inland Empire from April 20-22 that improved the Giants record to 6-8, San Jose has dropped 18 out of 24 games. San Jose has endured losing streaks of five games (April 28-May 2) and four games (May 4-7) and has won back-to-back contests only once during the stretch (May 8-9).

Cole’s Offensive Surge
Second baseman/outfielder Hunter Cole is 15-for-36 (.417) with five doubles, a triple and six RBI’s in his last 10 games. Cole has hit safely in six straight games. Cole is batting .330 with seven doubles, two triples, no home runs and 11 RBI’s in 24 games overall with San Jose. He’s sixth in the league in batting average. Cole joined the Giants on April 22 after beginning the season with Class-A Augusta (.275 AVG in 10 games.

Trouble In The Field
The Giants have committed a league-high 52 errors this season. The 37 unearned runs allowed by San Jose this year are second-most in the league.

Giants relief pitcher Ray Black can reach 100+ MPH with his fastball

Giants relief pitcher Ray Black can reach 100+ MPH with his fastball

Black, Rogers Bolster Bullpen
The Giants added relief pitchers Ray Black (from Extended Spring Training) and Tyler Rogers (from Double-A Richmond) to their bullpen last Saturday. Black, a member of San Francisco’s 40-man roster, was recovering from a strained lat muscle injury. In 37 games between Augusta (Class-A) and San Jose last season, Black posted a 3.57 ERA and had 71 strikeouts over 35 1/3 innings. Black is rated as having the “best fastball” in the entire San Francisco Giants farm system by Baseball America. Rogers appeared in 10 games for Richmond this year and was 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA. He recorded 15 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings. Last season, Rogers posted a 2.00 ERA in 47 appearances out of the Giants bullpen and allowed just one earned run over his last 25 2/3 innings of the year.

At Muni
The Giants own a 6-11 record at Municipal Stadium this season – tied for the worst home mark in the league (Bakersfield). San Jose did win two out of three games from the visiting Stockton Ports in their most recent home series (May 8-10) – the Giants’ only series win thus far in May. San Jose is batting .278 as a team to go with a 3.04 ERA at home this season (.236 AVG, 4.54 ERA on the road).

Slater Sizzling
Infielder Austin Slater is 7-for-15 (.467) with two doubles and an RBI over his last three games to raise his season batting average to .320 – seventh in the league. Slater leads the Giants in doubles (10) and is second in RBI’s (18).

Modesto - newOpponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, are in second place in the North Division with a 20-18 record. Modesto is 12-5 in May after going just 8-13 in April. The Nuts rank fifth in the league in batting average (.262) and sixth in ERA (4.09). Modesto is 10-11 on the road this season (10-7 at home). Nuts outfielder Raimel Tapia is fourth in the league in hitting (.331), first in hits (51) and tied for second in doubles (15). Johendi Jiminian is expected to get the ball for Modesto in tonight’s series opener. Jiminian faced the Giants on May 14 and worked five innings with three runs (two earned) and seven hits allowed (no-decision). The Nuts haven’t lost back-to-back games since April 24-25.

Giants Continue Road Trip In Visalia

san jose giantsAt Recreation Park (Visalia, CA)
* Friday, May 15, 7:00 PM
* Saturday, May 16, 7:00 PM
* Sunday, May 17, 1:00 PM
* Monday, May 18, 1:00 PM

Records
San Jose: 11-23
Visalia: 25-9

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (1-2, 4.57)
Visalia – Blake Perry (2-0, 4.00)

Saturday
San Jose – Nick Vander Tuig (3-0, 2.22)
Visalia – Anthony Banda (3-1, 3.57)

Sunday
San Jose – Tyler Beede (1-2, 2.41)
Visalia – Zack Godley (6-0, 1.32)

Monday
San Jose – Chase Johnson (2-1, 1.99)
Visalia – Blayne Weller (1-3, 3.23)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Begin Four-Game Series At Visalia Tonight
The San Jose Giants continue their road trip this evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Visalia Rawhide at Recreation Park. The Giants dropped two out of three games in Modesto to begin the road trip. The Nuts posted a 4-2 victory in the series opener on Tuesday before a 4-2 San Jose win on Wednesday. In last night’s finale, Modesto scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to walk-off with a 5-4 win.

Close Calls
With last night’s defeat, the Giants fell to 2-9 in one-run games this season. San Jose is also 3-14 in games decided by one or two runs. The Giants own an 0-7 record in games that are tied after the seventh inning. San Jose’s last 12 games dating back to May 2 have been decided by three runs or fewer.

Road Struggles
The Giants are a league-worst 5-12 on the road this season. Since starting the year 2-1, San Jose has dropped 11 out of their last 14 games away from Municipal Stadium. The Giants are batting only .230 as a team with a 4.40 ERA on the road (.278 AVG, 3.04 ERA at home). San Jose has yet to win a series on the road this season.

Stellar Starters
Over the last five games, Giants starting pitchers (Nick Vander Tuig, Tyler Beede, Chase Johnson, Keury Mella and D.J. Snelten) have allowed just five earned runs over 31 1/3 innings (1.44 ERA). Three Giants starting pitchers – Johnson (5th, 1.99), Vander Tuig (6th, 2.22) and Beede (9th, 2.41) – rank among the top nine in the league in ERA. San Jose’s team ERA of 3.69 is fourth in the league.

Agosta Returns To Rotation
Martin Agosta has returned to the Giants starting rotation and will get the ball in tonight’s series opener. Agosta made just one start for San Jose earlier this season (April 14 at Visalia; eight runs allowed in four innings) before moving to the bullpen. The former second round pick posted a 1.53 ERA in nine relief appearances. Agosta owned a .180 opponents batting average with 19 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings as a reliever.

Winless Versus The Rawhide
The Giants are 0-6 against the Visalia Rawhide this season. San Jose was swept in a three-game set at Recreation Park from April 13-15 before dropping three straight home games to Visalia from April 28-30. The Rawhide have outscored the Giants 41-17 this year.

Ryan Lollis leads the Giants with a .357 batting average

Ryan Lollis leads the Giants with a .357 batting average

Lollis Leads The Offense
Outfielder Ryan Lollis rejoined the Giants last Saturday after a brief stint with Triple-A Sacramento and in four games since his return, has gone 6-for-16 (.375) with four doubles and an RBI. Lollis has multi-hits in four out of his last five games overall with the Giants. In nine games for the River Cats earlier this season, Lollis batted .320 (8-for-25) with one home run and two RBI’s. Lollis began this season in San Jose and owns a team-leading .357 batting average with one home run and five RBI’s in 19 games. Lollis entered the year with 115 games of previous experience in San Jose having played for the Giants during portions of the 2011, 2012 and 2014 seasons.

Trouble In The Field
The Giants have committed a league-high 46 errors this season. The 31 unearned runs allowed by San Jose this year are third-most in the league.

12 Games Under .500
The Giants (11-23) are a season-high tying 12 games under .500. This is the first season a San Jose team is 10 or more games under .500 since 2003 – the last time a Giants club finished the year with a losing record (58-82).

Slater, Cole Swinging Hot Bats
Infielders Austin Slater and Hunter Cole are swinging hot bats for the Giants. Slater is seventh in the California League with a .315 batting average and is hitting at a .400 clip (16-for-40) with runners in scoring position. Cole is 9-for-21 (.429) with four doubles and a triple in his last six games. In 20 games overall with San Jose, Cole is batting .316.

VisaliaOpponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide
The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, own a league-best 25-9 record this season. Visalia is fifth in the league in batting average (.262) and first in ERA (2.53). The Rawhide are 12-5 at home (13-4 on the road). Visalia has won five out of their last six games overall.

Seven-Game Road Trip Begins With Series In Modesto

san jose giantsAt John Thurman Field (Modesto, CA)
* Tuesday, May 12, 7:05 PM
* Wednesday, May 13, 7:05 PM
* Thursday, May 14, 7:05 PM

Records
San Jose: 10-21
Modesto: 16-15

Probable Starting Pitchers
Tuesday
San Jose – Chase Johnson (2-1, 2.45)
Modesto – Antonio Senzatela (1-2, 2.61)

Wednesday
San Jose – Keury Mella (0-1, 4.76)
Modesto – Konner Wade (2-1, 3.66)

Thursday
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (0-4, 5.32)
Modesto – Johendi Jiminian (2-3, 5.63)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Begin Road Trip Tonight In Modesto
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game road trip this evening with the first of three straight contests against the Modesto Nuts at John Thurman Field. Chase Johnson (2-1, 2.45) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Johnson, a former third round draft pick, has allowed two earned runs or fewer in all four of his starts this season. After the current series versus Modesto, San Jose continues their road trip with a four-game set in Visalia beginning on Friday. The Giants return home on Tuesday, May 19.

Keury Mella is scheduled to start the second game of the series in Modesto

Keury Mella is scheduled to start the second game of the series in Modesto

Homestand Review
The Giants posted a 2-5 record during their seven-game homestand that concluded last Sunday. San Jose dropped four straight to the Lake Elsinore Storm to begin the homestand – the first time a Giants team had been swept in a four-game series at Municipal Stadium since 2011. San Jose then took two out of three games from the visiting Stockton Ports over the weekend. It was the Giants’ first series win since April 20-22 when they swept the Inland Empire 66ers in a three-game set at Municipal Stadium.

Offensive Improvement
The Giants are batting .270 as a team and scoring 4.7 runs per game in May after hitting just .252 with 3.5 runs per contest during the month of April.

Slater Ranks Ninth In Hitting
Austin Slater brings a .320 batting average into tonight’s game to rank ninth in the California League. Since beginning the season in a 5-for-28 slump (.179), Slater is batting at a .377 clip (26-for-69) spanning the last 17 games. Slater enjoyed an 11-game hitting streak from April 19 to May 7 – the longest hit streak by a Giants player this season. Last year, Slater led the Short-Season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes with a .347 batting average.

Road Struggles
The Giants have lost nine out of their last 11 games away from Municipal Stadium and own a league-worst 4-10 road record this season. San Jose is batting .233 as a team with a 4.74 ERA on the road (.278, 3.04 at home).

Pitching Leaders
Three Giants starting pitchers – Nick Vander Tuig (6th, 2.22), Tyler Beede (7th, 2.41) and Chase Johnson (8th, 2.45) – rank among the top eight in the league in ERA. San Jose’s team ERA of 3.77 is fourth in the league.

Ryan Lollis returned to the SJ Giants last week after a brief stint with Triple-A Sacramento

Ryan Lollis returned to the SJ Giants last week after a brief stint with Triple-A Sacramento

Bullpen Excels
The Giants bullpen boasts an outstanding ERA of 2.64 this season. San Jose’s bullpen hasn’t blown a save since the season opener (April 9 at Lancaster). The top three strikeout pitchers on the team are relievers: Jake Smith (29), Ian Gardeck (27) and Martin Agosta (26).

Trouble In The Field
The Giants have committed a league-high 43 errors this season, including 11 in the last six games. The 28 unearned runs allowed by San Jose this year are third-most in the league.

Lollis Returns
Outfielder Ryan Lollis returned to the Giants last weekend after a brief stint with Triple-A Sacramento. In nine games for the River Cats, Lollis batted .320 (8-for-25) with one home run and two RBI’s. Lollis began this season in San Jose and owns a team-leading .362 batting average with one home run and four RBI’s in 16 games. Lollis has had multi-hits in seven out of his 16 California League games.

Close Calls
12 out of San Jose’s 21 losses this season have come by one or two runs. The Giants are just 2-12 overall in one or two-run games this year.

Double Plays
The Giants have grounded into 37 double plays this season – tops in all of Minor League Baseball. It’s 12 more double plays than the next-closest team in the California League (Rancho Cucamonga, 25).

Modesto - newOpponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, own a 16-15 record this season. Modesto has won eight out of their last ten games. The Nuts are fourth in the league in batting average (.268), tied for first in runs scored (5.6 per game) and sixth in ERA (4.15). This series marks the first meeting of the season between San Jose and Modesto. The Giants and Nuts will play each other 22 times this year. Modesto is 8-6 at home (8-9 on the road).

Giants Host Stockton In Three-Game Weekend Series

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Friday, May 8, 7:00 PM
* Saturday, May 9, 5:00 PM
* Sunday, May 10, 1:00 PM

Records
Stockton: 13-15
San Jose: 8-20

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
Stockton – Kyle Finnegan (1-2, 4.91)
San Jose – Luis Ysla (0-3, 11.37)

Saturday
Stockton – Joel Seddon (1-1, 2.60)
San Jose – Nick Vander Tuig (2-0, 2.66)

Sunday
Stockton – Dillon Overton (0-0, 2.21)
San Jose – Tyler Beede (1-2, 2.63)

NBCUT_Logo_chnBroadcast Information
All three games will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104. Joe Ritzo handles the play-by-play while color commentary duties will be provided by Joe Castellano. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Ben Taylor calling the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Three-Game Series Against Stockton Tonight
The San Jose Giants continue their homestand this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Stockton Ports at Municipal Stadium. Luis Ysla (0-3, 11.37) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. This series marks Stockton’s first visit to San Jose this season.

Ryder Jones and the Giants begin a three-game series against Stockton tonight at Municipal Stadium

Ryder Jones and the Giants begin a three-game series against Stockton tonight at Municipal Stadium

Lost 12 Of 14
The Giants enter tonight’s contest having lost four games in a row, nine out of their last 10 and 12 out of their last 14. San Jose snapped a season-high five-game losing streak with an 8-7 win in Stockton last Sunday before getting swept by the visiting Lake Elsinore Storm in a four-game series that concluded last night. The Giants suffered losses of 5-4, 5-4, 5-4 (10 innings) and 5-3 to the Storm. San Jose hasn’t won back-to-back games since taking three straight from April 20-22. The Giants (8-20) are 10 or more games under .500 for the first time since 2003.

Close Calls
With last night’s loss, the Giants fell to 1-12 in games decided by one or two runs this season.

Seven Straight Losses At Muni
The Giants have lost a season-high seven consecutive home games. San Jose last won a game at Municipal Stadium on April 22 (7-0 vs. Inland Empire). The Giants own a league-worst 4-10 home record. Despite the recent struggles, San Jose’s overall team statistics are far better at home (.280 AVG, 2.84 ERA) than on the road (.233 AVG, 4.74 ERA).

Rare Four-Game Home Sweep
The sweep at the hands of Lake Elsinore to open the current homestand marked the first time a San Jose team had been swept in a four-game series at home since the 2011 season. It was also just the third time the Giants had been swept in a four-game series at Municipal Stadium over the last 11 seasons (2005-2015) – May 7-10, 2010 vs. High Desert & June 23-26, 2011 vs. Stockton.

Austin Slater is batting at a .426 clip during his current 11-game hit streak

Austin Slater is batting at a .426 clip during his current 11-game hit streak

Slater’s Hitting Streak At 11 Games
Austin Slater brings an 11-game hitting streak into tonight’s contest – the longest hit streak by a Giants player this season. During the streak, Slater is batting at a .426 clip (20-for-47) with two home runs and 10 RBI’s. He’s raised his season batting average from .250 to .345 over the course of the 11 games. Slater has also recorded multi-hits in five out of his last six games. Since beginning the season in a 5-for-28 slump (.179), Slater has picked-up 25 hits in his last 59 at-bats (.424) spanning 14 games. Slater is fifth in the California League in batting average.

Pitching Leaders
Two Giants starting pitchers – Chase Johnson (7th, 2.45) and Tyler Beede (9th, 2.63) – rank among the top nine in the California League in ERA. Beede is slated to start Sunday’s series finale. San Jose’s team ERA of 3.74 currently ranks fourth in the league.

Giant Struggles With RISP
The Giants are hitting .226 as a team this season with runners in scoring position to rank second-lowest in the California League. San Jose is batting .192 (20-for-104) with runners in scoring position and two outs and .107 (3-for-28) with the bases loaded. The 35 double plays hit into by the Giants this season lead all of Minor League Baseball.

Fast Start In May
San Jose’s .270 team batting average in May ranks second in the California League (Stockton .298).

Stockton - newOpponent Notes: Stockton Ports
The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, own a 13-15 record this season. The Ports won two out of three games from the visiting Giants last weekend in Stockton. The Ports are seventh in the league in batting average (.254), seventh in runs scored (4.1 per game) and sixth in ERA (3.89). Right-hander Kyle Finnegan (1-2, 4.91) is expected to get the ball in tonight’s series opener. Finnegan is the older brother of Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Brandon Finnegan.

Episode 50 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants podcastIn this podcast episode, Joe and Ben analyze the state of the San Jose Giants one month into the season. The two discuss the early offensive standouts, the success of Tyler Beede and Chase Johnson in the starting rotation and spotlight the improving arms in the bullpen. The podcast also includes a breakdown of the club’s struggles and how injuries have affected the team.

Seven-Game Homestand Begins Tonight Against Lake Elsinore

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Monday, May 4, 6:30 PM
* Tuesday, May 5, 6:30 PM
* Wednesday, May 6, 6:30 PM
* Thursday, May 7, 7:00 PM

Records
Lake Elsinore: 11-13
San Jose: 8-16

Probable Starting Pitchers
Monday
Lake Elsinore – Rafael De Paula (1-1, 4.50)
San Jose – Tyler Beede (1-1, 2.53)

Tuesday
Lake Elsinore – Kyle Lloyd (1-0, 2.30)
San Jose – Chase Johnson (2-1, 2.25)

Wednesday
Lake Elsinore – Ryan Butler (3-1, 0.92)
San Jose – Keury Mella (0-1, 4.58)

Thursday
Lake Elsinore – Zech Lemond (1-1, 4.00)
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (0-3, 5.21)

2014 first round draft pick Tyler Beede is slated to make the start in tonight's series opener

2014 first round draft pick Tyler Beede is slated to make the start in tonight’s series opener

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Four-Game Series Against Lake Elsinore Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game homestand this evening with the first of four straight contests against the Lake Elsinore Storm at Municipal Stadium. Tyler Beede (1-1, 2.53) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. This series marks the Storm’s only visit this season to San Jose. After the current series versus Lake Elsinore, the Giants continue their homestand with a three-game set against the Stockton Ports beginning on Friday.

Losing Streak Ends
The Giants snapped a season-high five-game losing streak with yesterday’s 8-7 come-from-behind win in Stockton. San Jose dropped three straight games to the visiting Visalia Rawhide last Tuesday-Thursday before suffering consecutive losses to the Ports on Friday and Saturday. Of the five losses, four came by one or two runs. The Giants have lost eight out of their last ten games overall.

Offensive Surge
The Giants still rank ninth in the California League in runs scored this season (3.7 per game), but have enjoyed a recent offensive surge. Over the last four games, San Jose is batting .294 as a team and scoring 5.3 runs per contest. The Giants have hit four home runs in the last two games after hitting just one homer in their previous 14 games.

Home/Road Splits
San Jose is batting .281 as a team and owns a 2.61 ERA at home this season (4-6 record) compared to a .233 batting average and a 4.74 ERA on the road (4-10 record).

Austin Slater is batting .436 in his last 10 games

Austin Slater is batting .436 in his last 10 games

Slater Heats Up
Since beginning the season in a 5-for-28 slump (.179), second baseman Austin Slater has picked-up 17 hits in his last 39 at-bats (.436) spanning 10 games. Slater enters tonight’s contest having hit safely in his last seven games (.444 AVG, 12-for-27) while he hit his first home run of the season in yesterday’s win over Stockton. Slater is second on the team and tenth in the California League with an overall batting average of .328. The former eighth round draft pick out of Stanford led the Short-Season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes with a .347 batting average last year.

Double Plays
After two more double plays yesterday, the Giants have now grounded into a minor league leading 33 double plays this season (Class-A Burlington next-closest with 27; Modesto and Rancho Cucamonga are tied for second in the California League with 20). San Jose has grounded into 13 double plays over the last six games, including six in last Tuesday’s 12-inning contest against Visalia.

Close Calls
After yesterday’s win, the Giants improved to 1-8 this season in games decided by one or two runs.

Struggling Starters
Over the last four games, Giants starting pitchers own a combined ERA of 12.06 (21 ER/15.2 IP). San Jose starters allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight out of nine games prior to the recent stretch.

Jones Ranks Eighth In Hitting
After collecting five hits over the last two games, third baseman Ryder Jones now ranks eighth in the California League with a .330 batting average. Jones has multi-hits in four out of his last seven games overall. His three home runs and 12 RBI’s this season are also tied for the team lead.

Giants With RISP
The Giants are hitting .226 as a team this season with runners in scoring position to rank second-lowest in the California League. San Jose is batting .195 (16-for-82) with runners in scoring position and two outs and .125 (3-for-24) with the bases loaded.

Lake ElsinoreOpponent Notes: Lake Elsinore Storm
The Lake Elsinore Storm, an affiliate of the San Diego Padres, own an 11-13 record this season. Lake Elsinore ranks eighth in the league in batting average (.241), sixth in runs scored (4.5 per game) and eighth in ERA (4.35). The Storm are 3-7 on the road this season (8-6 at home).

Giants Travel To Stockton For Three-Game Weekend Series

san jose giantsAt Banner Island Ballpark (Stockton, CA)
* Friday, May 1, 7:10 PM
* Saturday, May 2, 7:10 PM
* Sunday, May 3, 2:09 PM

Records
San Jose: 7-14
Stockton: 9-12

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (0-2, 3.00)
Stockton – Lou Trivino (1-0, 2.31)

Saturday
San Jose – Luis Ysla (0-2, 9.72)
Stockton – Dylan Covey (1-2, 2.82)

Sunday
San Jose – Nick Vander Tuig (2-0, 0.57)
Stockton – Joel Seddon (1-1, 2.03)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Giants Open Three-Game Series At Stockton Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a three-game series against the Stockton Ports this evening at Banner Island Ballpark. D.J. Snelten (0-2, 3.00) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight.

Swept By The Rawhide
The Giants were swept by the Visalia Rawhide in a three-game series that concluded last night at Municipal Stadium. Visalia won a 4-3, 12-inning decision in the opener on Tuesday before a 2-0 shutout of San Jose on Wednesday. The Rawhide then completed the sweep with a 7-5 win last night. It marked the second time this season that the Giants have been swept – both times by Visalia. The Giants are 0-6 against the first-place Rawhide overall.

Offensive Woes
The Giants have lost six out of their last seven games scoring a total of just 15 runs during the stretch (2.1 runs per game). San Jose is batting .212 as a team over the last seven games. The Giants have been shutout three times in the last six games and five times in the last 13 games. San Jose has been shutout five times overall this season – tops in the California League. The Giants rank ninth in the league in runs scored (3.5 per game) and ninth in home runs (10).

Close Calls
With last night’s defeat, the Giants fell to 0-7 this season in games decided by one or two runs.

Stellar Pitching
While the offense has struggled of late, San Jose’s pitching has excelled. The Giants boasts a sparkling 2.29 team ERA (23 ER/90.1 IP) over the last 10 games (4-6 record). San Jose has recorded two shutouts during the stretch and allowed three runs or fewer in seven out of the ten games. The Giants’ overall ERA of 3.30 ranks third in the California League.

Second baseman Austin Slater is batting .440 in his last seven games

Second baseman Austin Slater is batting .440 in his last seven games

Double Plays
The seven double plays turned by Visalia against the Giants last Tuesday matched a California League record (Palm Springs Angels 7/27/93 vs. Stockton). San Jose grounded into six double plays, including four to end innings. The Giants also had a strikeout/caught stealing double play to finish an inning. San Jose has grounded into 29 double plays this season to lead all of Minor League Baseball.

Slater Heats Up
Since beginning the season in a 5-for-28 slump (.179), second baseman Austin Slater has picked-up 11 hits in his last 25 at-bats (.440) spanning seven games. Slater was activated off the disabled list before Tuesday’s series opener against Visalia. He suffered a sprained right ankle on April 19 and missed the next seven games. The former eighth round draft pick out of Stanford led the Short-Season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes with a .347 batting average last year.

Dylan Davis Joins The Giants
Outfielder Dylan Davis was added to the Giants roster today from Extended Spring Training. Davis was recovering from a strained oblique. A third round pick in the 2014 draft out of Oregon State University, Davis hit .230 with four home runs and 15 RBI’s in 32 games between Salem-Keizer (Short-Season) and the AZL-Giants (Rookie) last season. During his junior season at Oregon State in 2014, Davis led the Pac-12 Conference with 64 RBI’s.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year marks San Jose’s 28th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) and qualified for the playoffs 20 times (in 27 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted 11 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2014) – the longest streak in league history.

Stockton - newOpponent Notes: Stockton Ports
The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, own a 9-12 record this season. Stockton is last in the California League in runs scored (3.4 per game) and fourth in ERA (3.31). Tonight marks the first of 20 meetings this season between the Giants and the Ports. Lou Trivino (1-0, 2.31) is expected to get the ball for Stockton in tonight’s series opener.

Giants Return Home For Three Games Against Visalia

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 PM
* Wednesday, April 29, 6:30 PM
* Thursday, April 30, 7:00 PM

Records
Visalia: 14-4
San Jose: 7-11

Probable Starting Pitchers
Tuesday
Visalia – John Omahen (2-0, 5.65)
San Jose – Tyler Beede (1-1, 2.93)

Wednesday
Visalia – Ryan Doran (2-0, 4.50)
San Jose – Chase Johnson (2-0, 1.93)

Thursday
Visalia – Anthony Banda (3-0, 1.93)
San Jose – Keury Mella (0-1, 3.60)

Broadcast Information
All three games will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104. Joe Ritzo handles the play-by-play while color commentary duties will be provided by Scott Armstrong. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Justin Allegri calling the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Three-Game Series Against Visalia Tonight
The San Jose Giants return home this evening to begin a three-game series against the Visalia Rawhide at Municipal Stadium. Tyler Beede (1-1, 2.93) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Starting this evening, San Jose will play 10 out of their next 13 games at home.

Sweep Avoided In Bakersfield
San Jose avoided getting swept by host Bakersfield with a 5-2 victory over the Blaze on Sunday afternoon at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Bakersfield won the first three games of the series by the scores of 3-2, 5-0 and 3-0. The Giants were held to a total of just two runs and eight hits in the three losses to the Blaze. The defeats last Friday and Saturday marked the second time in the last nine days that San Jose was shutout in back-to-back games (both times by Bakersfield). Coming into this season, the Giants hadn’t been shutout in consecutive games since July of 2012.

Stellar Pitching
While the offense has struggled of late, San Jose’s pitching has excelled. The Giants boasts a 2.09 team ERA (14 ER/60.1 IP) over the last seven games (4-3 record). San Jose has recorded two shutouts during the stretch and allowed three runs or fewer in six out of the seven games. The Giants’ overall ERA of 3.41 ranks third in the California League.

Rafael Rodriguez leads the California League with a .379 batting average

Rafael Rodriguez leads the California League with a .379 batting average

Rodriguez Leads League In Hitting
Outfielder Rafael Rodriguez brings a league-best .379 batting average into tonight’s contest. Rodriguez is 4-for-6 with a double and a pair of RBI’s in his last two games. He’s recorded multi-hits in seven out of his 16 games played this season. Rodriguez also leads the Giants in doubles (5) and is second in RBI’s (8).

Home Run Drought Ends
Tyler Horan’s eighth-inning home run on Sunday in Bakersfield was the first homer hit by a San Jose player since April 16 (home opener). The Giants had gone nine consecutive games without a home run until Horan’s blast. San Jose’s 10 home runs overall this season rank tied for seventh in the California League. Individually, Horan leads the club with three homers.

Versus The Rawhide
San Jose is 0-3 against Visalia this season having been swept by the Rawhide at Recreation Park from April 13-15. Visalia outscored the Giants 28-9 during the three-game set. In the series finale, San Jose committed seven errors and allowed a season-high 15 runs in a 15-5 loss. The Giants and Rawhide will play 19 games against each other this season. This series marks Visalia’s only visit to Municipal Stadium during the first half.

Versus The North
The Giants are only 2-9 against North Division teams this season. All 11 games have come against first-place Visalia and second-place Bakersfield. San Jose has posted a 5-2 record against the South Division.

Defensive Improvement
The Giants have committed only two errors in their last seven games after a seven-game stretch (April 13-19) in which they committed 20 errors.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year marks San Jose’s 28th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) and qualified for the playoffs 20 times (in 27 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted 11 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2014) – the longest streak in league history.

VisaliaOpponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide
The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, possess the best record in the California League at 14-4. Visalia has won seven out of their last eight games. The Rawhide currently rank third in the league in batting average (.284), first in home runs (20) and first in ERA (2.32). Right-hander John Omahen (2-0, 5.65) is expected to get the ball in tonight’s series opener. It will be Omahen’s first appearance against San Jose this year.

Giants Travel To Bakersfield For Four-Game Series

san jose giantsAt Sam Lynn Ballpark (Bakersfield, CA)
* Thursday, April 23, 7:15 PM
* Friday, April 24, 7:15 PM
* Saturday, April 25, 7:15 PM
* Sunday, April 26, 12:00 PM

Records
San Jose: 6-8
Bakersfield: 7-7

Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday
San Jose – Keury Mella (0-1, 4.50)
Bakersfield – Jake Zokan (1-1, 0.90)

Friday
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (0-1, 2.70)
Bakersfield – Edwin Diaz (1-0, 2.63)

Saturday
San Jose – Luis Ysla (0-1, 8.53)
Bakersfield – Ryan Yarbrough (1-1, 1.69)

Sunday
San Jose – Nick Vander Tuig (1-0, 0.00)
Bakersfield – Dan Altavilla (0-2, 3.55)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.

Keury Mella is scheduled to make the start on the mound in Thursday's series opener

Keury Mella is scheduled to make the start on the mound in Thursday’s series opener

Giants Open Four-Game Series At Bakersfield Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a four-game series against the Bakersfield Blaze this evening at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Keury Mella (0-1, 4.50) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. Mella faced the Blaze in his most recent start on April 17 and took the loss after allowing a career-high tying five runs (three earned) in four innings of work. This series marks the Giants’ first trip to Bakersfield this season. After the current series versus the Blaze, San Jose enjoys their first off-day of the season on Monday and then hosts the first-place Visalia Rawhide in a three-game set at Municipal Stadium beginning on Tuesday, April 28.

Homestand Review
San Jose posted a 4-3 record during their opening homestand that concluded yesterday afternoon. After a win over Bakersfield in the first game, the Giants dropped three straight to the Blaze. San Jose though bounced back to sweep the visiting Inland Empire 66ers in a three-game series. The Giants hit .288 as a team and owned a 2.57 ERA during the homestand.

Three Wins In A Row
The Giants enter tonight’s contest having won a season-high three games in a row. Prior to the winning streak, San Jose dropped seven out of eight games.

Stellar Pitching
San Jose allowed a total of just one run during the three-game series against Inland Empire (outscored 66ers 16-1). The Giants shutout Inland Empire in the opening game (5-0) and the finale (7-0). Over the course of the series, San Jose starting pitching (Nick Vander Tuig, Tyler Beede and Chase Johnson) combined to work 17 innings with just one run allowed. The Giants’ three shutouts this season rank tied for second in the California League (Visalia leads with four). San Jose had five shutouts all of last year.

Roster Moves
The Giants made two roster moves before yesterday’s game. Second baseman Austin Slater (right ankle sprain) was placed on the 7-day disabled list (retroactive to April 20). Slater is batting .268 with two doubles, one triple, no home runs and four RBI’s in 11 games this season. Infielder/outfielder Hunter Cole has joined San Jose from Class-A Augusta. In 10 games for the GreenJackets, Cole was hitting .275 with no home runs, five RBI’s and two stolen bases. His six doubles are tied for the South Atlantic League lead. Cole was a 26th round draft pick last year out of the University of Georgia. Cole has played exclusively second base this season, but saw action at first, third and in the outfield last year.

Jones’ Hitting Streak At 10 Games
Third baseman Ryder Jones brings a 10-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. During the streak, he’s batting at a .400 clip (14-for-35) with two doubles, one home run and five RBI’s. Jones has hit safely in 12 out of his first 13 games this season while his overall batting average of .375 ranks seventh in the league.

Defensive Struggles
The Giants have committed a league-high tying 23 errors this season, including 20 over a seven-game stretch from April 13-19 (1-6 record). However, San Jose hasn’t committed an error in either of their last two games – the first time this season that the Giants have gone errorless in back-to-back contests.

League Leaderboard
Three Giants – Ryan Lollis (4th, .385), Rafael Rodriguez (5th, .383) and Ryder Jones (7th, .375) rank among the top seven in the California League in batting average.

In The ‘Pen
Over the last seven games, San Jose’s bullpen has posted an outstanding 1.52 ERA. Giants relievers have collected 37 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings (5 ER) during the stretch. The top three pitchers on the team in strikeouts are relievers: 1. Jake Smith (15 SO in 10 IP), T2. Martin Agosta (13 SO in 9 IP), T2. Christian Jones (13 SO in 8.2 IP).

San Francisco Affiliation
This year marks San Jose’s 28th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) and qualified for the playoffs 20 times (in 27 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted 11 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2014) – the longest streak in league history.

Bakersfield - newOpponent Notes: Bakersfield Blaze
The Bakersfield Blaze, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, are 7-7 this season and saw their season-high five-game winning streak snapped last night with a loss in Stockton. Bakersfield is ninth in the league in batting average (.209), seventh in runs scored (4.1 per game) and third in ERA (3.34). The Blaze posted back-to-back shutouts of the Giants last weekend at Municipal Stadium en route to a series win over San Jose.

Giants Continue Homestand Against Inland Empire

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Monday, April 20, 6:30 PM
* Tuesday, April 21, 6:30 PM
* Wednesday, April 22, 12:30 PM

Records
Inland Empire: 7-4
San Jose: 3-8

Probable Starting Pitchers
Monday
Inland Empire – Victor Alcantara (1-1, 3.27)
San Jose – Nick Vander Tuig (1-0, 0.00)

Tuesday
Inland Empire – Harrison Cooney (1-0, 3.72)
San Jose – Tyler Beede (0-1, 3.86)

Wednesday
Inland Empire – Garrett Nuss (0-1, 13.50)
San Jose – Chase Johnson (1-0, 3.38)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Open Three-Game Series Against Inland Empire Tonight
The San Jose Giants continue their homestand this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Inland Empire 66ers at Municipal Stadium. Nick Vander Tuig is slated to make his first start of the season for San Jose tonight. The Giants dropped three out of four games to the visiting Bakersfield Blaze to begin the homestand. After San Jose won their home opener last Thursday by a 10-5 margin, Bakersfield posted three straight victories by the scores of 6-0 on Friday, 3-0 on Saturday and 10-7 yesterday.

Lost Seven Of Eight
Since a 2-1 start to the season, the Giants have lost seven out of eight games.

Defensive Struggles
After three more miscues in yesterday’s contest, the Giants have committed 20 errors in their last seven games (1-6 record). San Jose has committed at least one error in eight out of their last nine games, including a seven-error night last Wednesday in Visalia. The Giants are last in the California League in fielding percentage (.946).

Jones’ Early-Season Surge
Third baseman Ryder Jones is off to an excellent start at the plate this season for the Giants. Through his first 10 games, Jones is hitting .417 (15-for-36) with team-high totals of two home runs (tied) and eight RBI’s. He’s currently fifth in the California League in batting average. Jones, a former second round draft pick, brings a seven-game hitting streak into tonight’s action (11-for-23, .478 AVG during streak).

Back-To-Back Shutouts
With the back-to-back shutout losses to Bakersfield last Friday and Saturday, the Giants were blanked in consecutive games for the first time since the 2012 season. San Jose dropped a 6-0 decision at home to Rancho Cucamonga on July 9, 2012 and following an off-day, lost by a 9-0 score in Modesto on July 11.

Lollis’ Hitting Streak At Six Games
Outfielder Ryan Lollis is currently riding a six-game hitting streak. During the streak, Lollis is batting at a .500 clip (11-for-22) with a home run and two RBI’s. Lollis’ season batting average of .448 leads the Giants and is third in the California League.

In The ‘Pen
During the four-game series against Bakersfield to begin the homestand, San Jose’s bullpen posted a 2.29 ERA. Giants relievers collected 25 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings (5 ER) over the course of the series.

The Long Ball
San Jose has hit nine home runs this season to rank second in the California League (Visalia is tops with 15). Ryder Jones, Tyler Horan and Christian Arroyo (currently on the DL) lead the way with two homers each.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year marks San Jose’s 28th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) and qualified for the playoffs 20 times (in 27 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted 11 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2014) – the longest streak in league history.

Top Prospects
Six players on San Jose’s roster are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America, including four out of the six pitchers in the Giants starting rotation. San Jose players among the top 30 prospects include: pitcher Tyler Beede (#2), pitcher Keury Mella (#4), shortstop Christian Arroyo (#10), pitcher Chase Johnson (#20), pitcher Luis Ysla (#21) and third baseman Ryder Jones (#30).

1220_inland_empire_66ers-wordmark-2014Opponent Notes: Inland Empire 66ers
The Inland Empire 66ers, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, are off to a 7-4 start this season. Inland Empire is ninth in the league in batting average (.214), sixth in runs scored (3.9 per game) and fourth in ERA (3.64). Tonight marks the first of 15 meetings this season between the Giants and 66ers. Inland Empire began their current road trip by splitting a four-game series in Modesto.

Giants Host Bakersfield In Home Opener Tonight

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Thursday, April 16, 7:00 PM
* Friday, April 17, 7:00 PM
* Saturday, April 18, 5:00 PM
* Sunday, April 19, 1:00 PM

Records
Bakersfield: 2-5
San Jose: 2-5

Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday
Bakersfield – Dan Altavilla (0-1, 3.18)
San Jose – Chase Johnson (0-0, 0.00)

Friday
Bakersfield – Carlos Misell (0-0, 3.60)
San Jose – Keury Mella (0-0, 2.25)

Saturday
Bakersfield – Jake Zokan (0-1, 2.25)
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (0-0, 1.80)

Sunday
Bakersfield – Edwin Diaz (1-0, 0.00)
San Jose – Luis Ysla (0-1, 3.60)

Broadcast Information

The first three games in the series will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104. Joe Ritzo handles the play-by-play while color commentary duties will be provided by Joe Castellano on Thursday and Scott Armstrong on Friday and Saturday. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Chase Johnson is scheduled to make the start for the Giants in tonight's home opener

Chase Johnson is scheduled to make the start for the Giants in tonight’s home opener

Giants Host Bakersfield In Home Opener Tonight
The San Jose Giants host the Bakersfield Blaze in their home opener this evening at Municipal Stadium. Chase Johnson (0-0, 0.00) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. This evening marks the first of four straight games for the Giants against the Blaze in this series before the homestand continues with a three-game set versus the Inland Empire 66ers beginning on Monday.

Road Trip Review
The Giants posted a 2-5 record during their season-opening road trip that concluded yesterday. San Jose began the year by splitting a four-game series in Lancaster before dropping three straight to the Visalia Rawhide. The Giants gave up just 12 runs over their first five games this season before yielding 24 runs in their last two contests.

Four Straight Losses

San Jose enters tonight’s contest having lost four games in a row. During their four-game slide, the Giants have been outscored 30-10.

Arroyo’s Fast Start
Shortstop Christian Arroyo is off to a fast start at the plate for the Giants. In his first seven games, Arroyo is 9-for-28 (.321) with two home runs and five RBI’s. Arroyo has homered twice over his last three games. His four doubles this season are tied for the league lead. Arroyo, 19, is the youngest player on San Jose’s roster.

Defensive Struggles
The Giants have committed 11 errors over their last three games, including a season-high six miscues in last night’s loss.

Stellar Starters

The four starting pitchers scheduled to get the ball for the Giants in this series – Chase Johnson, Keury Mella, D.J. Snelten and Luis Ysla – have combined to throw 18 innings this season with just four earned runs allowed (2.00 ERA).

Top Prospects

Six players on San Jose’s roster are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America, including four out of the six pitchers in the Giants starting rotation. San Jose players among the top 30 prospects include: pitcher Tyler Beede (#2), pitcher Keury Mella (#4), shortstop Christian Arroyo (#10), pitcher Chase Johnson (#20), pitcher Luis Ysla (#21) and third baseman Ryder Jones (#30).

High Draft Picks
San Francisco’s last two first round draft picks are on San Jose’s roster: shortstop Christian Arroyo (25th overall selection in 2013) and starting pitcher Tyler Beede (14th overall selection in 2014). Arroyo was a Northwest League All-Star last season while playing for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. He finished the year ranked second in the league in batting average (.333) to go with five home runs and 48 RBI’s in 58 games. Beede enters the year with only 15 1/3 innings of professional experience after signing last July. Third baseman Ryder Jones (2nd round, 2013), starting pitcher Martin Agosta (2nd round, 2012), starting pitcher Chase Johnson (3rd round, 2013), first baseman Brian Ragira (4th round, 2013) and reliever Dan Slania (5th round, 2013) were also drafted in the first five rounds by the San Francisco Giants.

Bakersfield - newOpponent Notes: Bakersfield Blaze
The Bakersfield Blaze, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, are off to a 2-5 start this season. Bakersfield is last in the California League in batting average (.167) and runs scored (2.4 per game). Tonight marks the first of 27 meetings this season between the Giants and Blaze – San Jose’s most frequent opponent in 2015. Right-hander Dan Altavilla is expected to start on the mound tonight. Altavilla allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings in his first start.

Giants Continue Road Trip In Visalia

san jose giantsAt Recreation Park (Visalia, CA)
* Monday, April 13, 6:00 PM
* Tuesday, April 14, 6:00 PM
* Wednesday, April 15, 6:00 PM

Records
San Jose: 2-2
Visalia: 3-1

Probable Starting Pitchers
Monday
San Jose – Luis Ysla (0-0, —)
Visalia – Ryan Doran (0-0, —)

Tuesday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (0-0, 0.00)
Visalia – Anthony Banda (1-0, 1.69)

Wednesday
San Jose – Tyler Beede (0-0, 0.00)
Visalia – Ryan Godley (1-0, 0.00)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.
Listen Live Here

Giants Continue Road Trip At Visalia
The San Jose Giants continue their road trip this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Visalia Rawhide at Recreation Park. Luis Ysla (0-0, —) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. After this series versus the Rawhide, the Giants kickoff their home schedule on Thursday against the Bakersfield Blaze.

Split In Lancaster
San Jose opened the regular season by splitting four games against the host Lancaster JetHawks in a series that concluded yesterday afternoon. Lancaster won the first and last games of the series by the scores of 3-2 and 2-1 respectively. Both JetHawks wins came in walk-off fashion. The Giants earned victories of 5-0 on Friday and 8-3 on Saturday.

Strong Starting Pitching
Through the first four games of the season, San Jose starting pitchers (Tyler Beede, Chase Johnson, Keury Mella and D.J. Snelten) have combined to throw 18 innings with just two runs allowed (1.00 ERA). The quartet has allowed 15 hits, walked three and struck out 17.

Arroyo’s Fast Start
Shortstop Christian Arroyo is off to a fast start at the plate for the Giants. In his first four games, Arroyo is 6-for-17 (.353) with three RBI’s. His four doubles lead the California League. Arroyo, 19, is the youngest player on San Jose’s roster.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year marks San Jose’s 28th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) and qualified for the playoffs 20 times (in 27 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted 11 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2014) – the longest streak in California League history. 174 former San Jose Giants have reached the major leagues.

San Jose Giants infielder Brandon Bednar

San Jose Giants infielder Brandon Bednar

Top Prospects
Six players on San Jose’s opening day roster are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America, including four out of the six pitchers in the Giants starting rotation. San Jose players among the top 30 prospects include: pitcher Tyler Beede (#2), pitcher Keury Mella (#4), shortstop Christian Arroyo (#10), pitcher Chase Johnson (#20), pitcher Luis Ysla (#21) and third baseman Ryder Jones (#30).

Returning Players
13 of the 25 players on the opening day roster have prior experience in San Jose. Notable returnees include first baseman Brian Ragira, who led the 2014 club in home runs (20) and RBI’s (82). Ragira hit 15 home runs after the All-Star break last season. Returning outfielder Tyler Horan smacked 10 home runs in just 28 games to go with a .321 batting average for the Giants last year. Catcher Ben Turner, infielder Brandon Bednar and outfielders Jesus Galindo and Ryan Lollis were also key regulars for San Jose in 2014 and have returned this season. Other returnees include pitchers Martin Agosta, Ian Gardeck, Mason McVay, Jake Smith, Jeff Soptic and Nick Vander Tuig and catcher Matt Paré.

High Draft Picks
San Francisco’s last two first round draft picks are on San Jose’s roster: shortstop Christian Arroyo (25th overall selection in 2013) and starting pitcher Tyler Beede (14th overall selection in 2014). Arroyo was a Northwest League All-Star last season while playing for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. He finished the year ranked second in the league in batting average (.333) to go with five home runs and 48 RBI’s in 58 games. Beede enters the year with only 15 1/3 innings of professional experience after signing last July. Third baseman Ryder Jones (2nd round, 2013), starting pitcher Martin Agosta (2nd round, 2012), starting pitcher Chase Johnson (3rd round, 2013), first baseman Brian Ragira (4th round, 2013) and reliever Dan Slania (5th round, 2013) were also drafted in the first five rounds by the San Francisco Giants.

VisaliaOpponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide
The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, are off to a 3-1 start this season after taking three out of four games from the visiting High Desert Mavericks during their opening series. Visalia won the North Division title last year before falling to the Lancaster JetHawks in the Championship Series. Tonight marks the first of 19 meetings this season between the Giants and Rawhide.

San Jose Giants Open Regular Season Thursday At Lancaster

san jose giantsAt The Hangar (Lancaster, CA)
* Thursday, April 9, 6:30 PM
* Friday, April 10, 6:30 PM
* Saturday, April 11, 6:00 PM
* Sunday, April 12, 2:00 PM

Records
San Jose: 0-0
Lancaster: 0-0

Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday
San Jose – Tyler Beede (0-0, —)
Lancaster – Brian Holmes (0-0, —)

Friday
San Jose – Chase Johnson (0-0, —)
Lancaster – Michael Feliz (0-0, —)

Saturday
San Jose – Keury Mella (0-0, —)
Lancaster – Evan Grills (0-0, —)

Sunday
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (0-0, —)
Lancaster – Troy Scribner (0-0, —)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com with Joe Ritzo calling all of the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App.
Listen Live Here

2014 first round draft pick Tyler Beede is scheduled to make the opening night start on the mound for San Jose

2014 first round draft pick Tyler Beede is scheduled to make the opening night start on the mound for San Jose

Giants Begin Regular Season At Lancaster Thursday
The San Jose Giants begin the 2015 regular season Thursday evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Lancaster JetHawks at The Hangar. After the four games in Lancaster, the Giants travel to Visalia for a three-game series. San Jose’s home opener is scheduled for Thursday, April 16 against the Bakersfield Blaze.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year marks San Jose’s 28th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) and qualified for the playoffs 20 times (in 27 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted 11 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2014) – the longest streak in California League history. 173 former San Jose Giants have reached the major leagues.

2014 Review
The Giants finished the 2014 regular season with a 73-67 overall record – two games behind the Visalia Rawhide in the North Division Wild Card standings. It marked the first time since 2003 that San Jose did not qualify for the postseason snapping a league-record streak of 10 straight seasons in the playoffs. Last year’s Giants club was just the fourth team since the California League expanded to its current playoff format in 1995 to not reach the playoffs with a record above .500. Offensively, San Jose ranked sixth in the league in batting average (.267), ninth in runs scored (4.7 per game) and ninth in home runs (103). On the mound, the Giants’ team ERA of 4.51 was fifth in the league and the highest for a San Jose team since 2003. San Jose went 34-36 in the first half before posting a 39-31 record in the second half.

Top Prospects
Six players on San Jose’s opening day roster are among the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America, including four out of the six pitchers in the Giants starting rotation. San Jose players among the top 30 prospects include: pitcher Tyler Beede (#2), pitcher Keury Mella (#4), shortstop Christian Arroyo (#10), pitcher Chase Johnson (#20), pitcher Luis Ysla (#21) and third baseman Ryder Jones (#30).

First baseman Brian Ragira led last year's San Jose team in home runs (20) and RBI's (82)

First baseman Brian Ragira led last year’s San Jose team in home runs (20) and RBI’s (82)

Returning Players
13 of the 25 players on the opening day roster have prior experience in San Jose. Notable returnees include first baseman Brian Ragira, who led the 2014 club in home runs (20) and RBI’s (82). Ragira hit 15 home runs after the All-Star break last season. Returning outfielder Tyler Horan smacked 10 home runs in just 28 games to go with a .321 batting average for the Giants last year. Catcher Ben Turner, infielder Brandon Bednar and outfielders Jesus Galindo and Ryan Lollis were also key regulars for San Jose in 2014 and have returned this season. Other returnees include pitchers Martin Agosta, Ian Gardeck, Mason McVay, Jake Smith, Jeff Soptic and Nick Vander Tuig and catcher Matt Paré.

Manager Russ Morman
Russ Morman joins the San Jose Giants as manager for the 2015 season. Morman enters his sixth year with the San Francisco Giants organization and second season as a manager. In 2014, he served as manager of Double-A Richmond and directed the Flying Squirrels to a 79-63 record and a West Division championship. Previously, Morman spent three years (2011-13) as hitting coach for Triple-A Fresno and one season (2010) as Richmond’s hitting coach. Morman played 17 seasons of professional baseball from 1983 to 1999, spending parts of nine years in the major leagues with the White Sox (1986, 1988-89), Royals (1990-91) and Marlins (1994-97).

High Draft Picks
San Francisco’s last two first round draft picks are on San Jose’s roster: shortstop Christian Arroyo (25th overall selection in 2013) and starting pitcher Tyler Beede (14th overall selection in 2014). Arroyo was a Northwest League All-Star last season while playing for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. He finished the year ranked second in the league in batting average (.333) to go with five home runs and 48 RBI’s in 58 games. Beede enters the year with only 15 1/3 innings of professional experience after signing last July. Third baseman Ryder Jones (2nd round, 2013), starting pitcher Martin Agosta (2nd round, 2012), starting pitcher Chase Johnson (3rd round, 2013), first baseman Brian Ragira (4th round, 2013) and reliever Dan Slania (5th round, 2013) were also drafted in the first five rounds by the San Francisco Giants.

Tyler Beede To Make Opening Night Start
Right-hander Tyler Beede is slated to make the opening night start on Thursday against the JetHawks. Beede was drafted in the first round by the San Francisco Giants last June after a standout collegiate career at Vanderbilt University. Beede helped the Commodores win their first College World Series title as a junior in 2014 posting an 8-8 record with a 4.05 ERA in 19 starts. He earned First Team All-American honors and was one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award as a sophomore in 2013 (14-1 record, 2.32 ERA in 17 starts). Beede was also a first round pick in 2011 (Toronto Blue Jays) out of high school, but did not sign choosing instead to attend Vanderbilt.

LancasterOpponent Notes: Lancaster JetHawks
The Lancaster JetHawks, an affiliate of the Houston Astros, won their second California League championship in three years last season. Lancaster finished the 2014 regular season with a 78-62 record. The JetHawks defeated Visalia three-games-to-two in the California League Championship Series last September. First baseman A.J. Reed, the 2014 Golden Spikes Award winner, highlights the Lancaster lineup this year. Reed was a second round pick of the Astros last June out of the University of Kentucky. Left-hander Brian Holmes will make the opening night start on the mound for Lancaster. Last year with the JetHawks, Holmes compiled a 5-2 record and a 4.53 ERA in 20 games (10 starts). This series is San Jose’s only regular season visit to The Hangar.

Inside the San Jose Giants Season Preview Podcast

2015 San Jose Giants Roster

Episode 49 – Inside the San Jose Giants

2015-Inside-the-San-Jose-Giants-215-x-160The San Jose Giants season has arrived! In this season preview edition of Inside the San Jose Giants, Joe and Ben breakdown the 2015 roster, including the key returnees and exciting newcomers. The two discuss San Jose’s prospect-laden pitching rotation and powerful starting lineup in advance of the season opener.

San Jose Giants Radio Broadcast Information

All San Jose Giants games this season will be broadcast live on the team's official website and streamed on your mobile phone

All San Jose Giants games this season will be broadcast live on the team’s official website and streamed on your mobile phone

With the season opener only a day away, here’s a reminder that fans will be able to listen to every San Jose Giants game in 2015.

All San Jose Giants games are broadcast live on the team’s official website, sjgiants.com and streamed on your mobile phone through the San Jose Giants Mobile App. At home games, fans can also tune into 92.9 FM inside the main seating bowl at Municipal Stadium to listen to the live radio broadcast.

Broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. The Giants Pregame Show includes all of the latest news and scores from around the California League, an update of what’s happening inside the San Francisco Giants farm system, an in-depth preview of the upcoming San Jose game and an exclusive interview from inside the clubhouse with a player or coach.

website logoAdditionally, catch the Russ Morman Show before every Thursday game this season. The Russ Morman Show airs 15 minutes before first pitch every Thursday and features insights and commentary from the San Jose manager.

Stay tuned after the game for The Giants Postgame Show with highlights and analysis, a review of the California League scoreboard and a look ahead to future San Jose Giants games.

All San Jose Giants home games are also streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV. For more details and to sign up for a subscription, log onto sjgiants.com and click on MiLB.TV.

BROADCASTERS
Joe Ritzo returns for his ninth season as the “Voice of the San Jose Giants.” Ritzo also handles the play-by-play of the 25 San Jose Giants television broadcasts on Comcast Hometown Network. On TV dates, radio play-by-play will be provided by Justin Allegri, the voice of San Jose State University athletics.

San Jose Giants Radio Broadcast Page

San Jose Giants Announce 2015 Roster

Starting Pitchers
Martin Agosta
Tyler Beede
Chase Johnson
Keury Mella
D.J. Snelten
Luis Ysla

Relief Pitchers
Jason Forjet
Ian Gardeck
Christian Jones
Mason McVay
Dan Slania
Jake Smith
Jeff Soptic
Nick Vander Tuig

Catchers
Matt Pare
Ty Ross
Ben Turner

Infielders
Christian Arroyo
Brandon Bednar
Ryder Jones
John Polonius
Brian Ragira
Austin Slater
Ydwin Villegas

Outfielders
Jesus Galindo
Tyler Horan
Ryan Lollis
Brennan Metzger
Rafael Rodriguez

**********************************************************
NOTES

* These are the 29 players who will break camp with San Jose. The roster will be reduced to 25 active players ahead of the season opener on Thursday.

* 17 of the 29 players have previous experience in San Jose:
7 pitchers – Agosta, Forjet, Gardeck, McVay, Smith, Soptic, Vander Tuig.
2 catchers – Pare, Turner
4 infielders – Bednar, Polonius, Ragira, Villegas
4 outfielders – Galindo, Horan, Lollis, Metzger

* The roster is highlighted by the last two first round draft picks of the San Francisco Giants: shortstop Christian Arroyo (25th overall pick in 2013) and starting pitcher Tyler Beede (14th overall pick in 2014).

* Six players, including four starting pitchers, on San Jose’s roster are ranked among Baseball America’s Top 30 San Francisco Giants prospects:
2. Beede (SP)
4. Mella (SP)
10. Arroyo (SS)
20. Johnson (SP)
21. Ysla (SP)
30. Jones (3B)

* Notable returnees from the 2014 San Jose team include:
– INF Brandon Bednar (.241 AVG, 5 HR, 16 RBI) – Made starts at all four infield positions after his July promotion from Augusta.
– OF Jesus Galindo (.268 AVG, 2 HR, 30 RBI) – San Jose’s primary leadoff hitter and center fielder last season. Led the team in triples (8) and stolen bases (31).
– OF Tyler Horan (.321 AVG, 10 HR, 27 RBI) – Had a stellar final month with the Giants after his promotion from Augusta. Hit 10 home runs in 28 games and had an OPS of 1.046.
– OF Ryan Lollis (.275 AVG, 3 HR, 11 RBI) – California League veteran has played with San Jose during parts of three previous seasons (2011, 2012 and 2014).
– LHP Mason McVay (4.38 ERA, 1 SV) – Ranked among the team leaders with 47 appearances out of the bullpen.
– 1B Brian Ragira (.260, 20 HR, 82 RBI) – Everyday first baseman recovered from a slow start to lead the team in home runs and RBI’s. Hit .297 with 15 home runs in the second half.
– C Ben Turner (.298, 2 HR, 40 RBI) – San Jose’s main catcher hit .336 from June 1 through the end of the season.

* Eight players on the roster were drafted in the first five rounds: Beede (1st round, 2014), Arroyo (1st round, 2013), R. Jones (2nd round, 2013), Agosta (2nd round, 2012), Johnson (3rd round, 2013), Soptic (3rd round, 2011), Ragira (4th round, 2013) and Slania (5th round, 2013).

Roster Press Release

Spring Training Q&A with Russ Morman

2015-Morman-Q&AWith opening night in just over a week, final preparations for the new season are underway down at spring training. Broadcaster Joe Ritzo caught up with manager Russ Morman at the Giants minor league training complex in Scottsdale to get the skipper’s thoughts on the spring, managing in San Jose, working with young hitters and seeing some of his former players win the World Series.

Joe Ritzo: What was your initial reaction last offseason when you were informed you were going to manage the San Jose Giants?

Russ Morman: It’s always great to go anywhere within the organization. I’m obviously excited and looking forward to another place I’ve never been before in my long career. This is a neat deal for me.

Ritzo: You’ve worked a lot with Double-A and Triple-A players as a hitting coach and manager in the Giants organization over the last several seasons. Will there be an adjustment process this year now that you’re managing players at the Class-A Advanced level?

Morman: We all have the same lingo in terms of the way we talk about things. You need the built in patience at the lower levels because, quite frankly, they aren’t refined yet and they’re not the player you’re going to see later on, whether it’s in a month, or two months or sometime next year. There’s always people here learning new positions and doing all kinds of different things, so there’s some patience that has to go along with that too.

Ritzo: Are you anxious to get out of Arizona after a long month at spring training and begin the season?

Morman: Yes, definitely. Everyone is ready to get out there and back under the lights and all those fun things. The past month has been good, but it’s now April and it’s time for us to get going.

Russ Morman Named 2015 San Jose Giants Manager

Ritzo: Are there general principles that you’re teaching hitters at this stage in their careers?

Morman: (Hitting coach) Lipso (Nava) does all of that and does a great job with the guys that come through. Of course, I have my eyes too and it always helps to have somebody else’s eyes on things. The more eyes you have on a hitter, the quicker and faster everybody gets to move. Hopefully someone is being successful and getting a chance. The perfect example is Matt Duffy – going from Double-A to the big leagues, being on a playoff team and going to the World Series. The kids will show us with their play when they’re ready to move and it doesn’t happen any sooner than that. There’s nothing pre-determined, it’s just their ability to handle the game and do all the things to be successful.

Ritzo: What did it mean for you to see a number of your former players win a World Series last fall?

Morman: It was really fun. It’s a proud moment for a coach or a manager and for everyone in the organization. Just having a little piece of some of these guys’ career – sometimes the influence is good and sometimes you don’t know, but to be able to see some of the guys that were with you is really fun no matter who you are.

Ritzo: I know you don’t have an official roster yet, but what’s been your overall sense of this San Jose team and how they’ve performed this spring?

Morman: We’ve done pretty well all spring. We didn’t play so well the first week, but our defense has picked-up and our pitching has been solid. And we’ve now hit the ball well for four or five days in a row. I keep talking to these guys every morning and tell them, there’s no magical mystery about this thing, you have to have the three ingredients: you’ve got to have timely hitting, you’ve got to have good defense and good pitching. And if one of those three ingredients doesn’t show up, it’s going to be a tough day.

3/30 Report From Arizona – Giants Minor League Camp

3/31 Report From Arizona – Giants Minor League Camp

Report from Arizona: Giants Pitching Shines

By Joe Ritzo

I returned to minor league camp today and caught the entire “High-A” game between the Giants and Angels in Scottsdale. A reminder that official rosters are not set with final decisions coming at the end of the week, so while many of the players mentioned here may start the season in San Jose, it’s not a guarantee. To the game…

IMG_1343* The Giants “High-A” lineup this afternoon:
1. Chuckie Jones, CF
2. Brandon Bednar, 3B
3. Austin Slater, 2B
4. Brian Ragira, 1B
5. Tyler Horan, RF
6. Ryder Jones, DH
7. Ty Ross, C
8. Rando Moreno, SS
9. Chris Lofton, LF
P – Tyler Beede

* The Angels won the game by a 2-1 final score thanks to a two-run rally in the top of the eighth inning. The stars of the game for the Giants were Ryder Jones offensively and Tyler Beede and Keury Mella on the mound. Jones, who was the DH this afternoon after starting at third base yesterday, knocked out two hits in four at-bats and scored the only Giants run. Jones, who bats left-handed, doubled in the fourth inning on a sinking line drive into center that skipped past the Angels center fielder. In the seventh, he ripped a line drive over the center fielder’s head and legged out a triple before scoring the Giants’ only run. Jones is a former second round draft pick who spent most of last season in Augusta (A) before finishing the year with Salem-Keizer (Short-Season). He’s impressed at the plate the last two days and appears to be a serious contender to make San Jose’s opening day roster as the club’s primary third baseman.

2014 first round pick Tyler Beede fired four scoreless innings in today's "High-A" game

2014 first round pick Tyler Beede fired four scoreless innings in today’s “High-A” game

* Two expected anchors of the 2015 San Jose starting rotation saw the bulk of the action on the mound for the Giants today. Beede started and fired four scoreless innings scattering four hits. He yielded back-to-back singles to start the contest, but used a double play to escape trouble. One sequence that was particularly impressive was when Beede allowed a leadoff double in the top of the third, but came back to strikeout the next hitter on back-to-back change-ups to keep the runner off third base with less than two outs. Beede ultimately got out of the inning and then cruised through the fourth to end his afternoon. Beede was around the plate throughout his entire start, as he didn’t issue a single walk. Beede struck out two.

* Mella entered the game next for the Giants and was equally impressive working three shutout innings of relief. Mella, like Beede, is considered to be among the elite starting pitching prospects in the San Francisco organization right now and showed why in his brief outing today. Over his three innings of work, Mella allowed just two singles, walked one batter and struck out two. He erased his only leadoff baserunner with a double play and recorded the majority of his outs on the ground. The last two days for the “High-A” team have seen Beede, Mella and Luis Ysla (three shutout innings yesterday) take the ball and all enjoyed great success. Look for the trio to headline the San Jose rotation at the start of the season.

* 2014 San Jose relievers Jeff Soptic and Ian Gardeck also each saw action today. Soptic pitched the eighth inning, but struggled allowing two runs on two hits with a walk. The go-ahead run scored though on an error when Bednar threw away a grounder hit to third base. Gardeck worked the top of the ninth and pitched around a one-out double to keep the Angels off the scoreboard. He struck out two and walked none. Both Soptic and Gardeck possess electric fastballs in the mid-to-upper 90’s, but struggled mightily with their control last season. They may each return to the San Jose bullpen this year.

* Other notables from today’s game included:
– Bednar making the start at third base after playing shortstop yesterday, a sign that he’ll likely bounce around the infield once again for the SJ Giants.

– Left fielder Chris Lofton drove in the only Giants run with a two-out RBI single in the seventh inning. Lofton finished 1-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt and a stolen base.

– Matt Pare (C) and Rafael Rodriguez (PH) came off the bench and produced line drive singles in the bottom of the ninth inning. The contest though ended when Rando Moreno bounced into a 4-6-3 double play.

– Top prospect Christian Arroyo spent yesterday with the big league team, but was back with the “High-A” group today. The shortstop though did not play in this afternoon’s game due to a scheduled day off.

– Austin Slater continued to impress defensively at second base with another diving stop. He also had one of the hardest hit balls of the day when in his first at-bat, he ripped a screaming line drive back to the mound that was caught by the pitcher.

– Other starting pitchers in the “High-A” group charting in the stands today included Chase Johnson, D.J. Snelten and Martin Agosta.

– Tyler Horan (second-inning single) and Brian Ragira (eighth-inning single) produced the other Giants hits this afternoon.

Final roster decisions from minor league camp are expected later this week

Final roster decisions from minor league camp are expected later this week

Report from Arizona: SJ Giants Spring Training Update

By Joe Ritzo

It’s crunch-time here at minor league camp as today marked the beginning of the final week of spring exhibition games. By the weekend, the San Jose Giants roster should be set before the 2015 club breaks camp next Monday. Then of course, Tuesday, April 7 is your first opportunity to meet the new team with FanFest at Municipal Stadium (5:00-9:00 PM).

This afternoon, the Giants “High-A” and “Low-A” clubs traveled to Mesa for exhibition games against the Chicago Cubs “High-A” and “Low-A” teams. I spent the majority of my time watching the “High-A” team as several of the players who suited up today will likely be heading to San Jose early next week.

Some observations from the “High-A” game, which saw the Giants post a convincing 9-3 victory.

* The Giants starting lineup:
1. Chuckie Jones, CF
2. Brandon Bednar, SS
3. Austin Slater, 2B
4. Brian Ragira, 1B
5. Tyler Horan, RF
6. Ryder Jones, 3B
7. Rafael Rodriguez, LF
8. Matt Pare, C
9. Chris Lofton, DH
P – Luis Ysla

* Several familiar faces in this lineup with four out of the first five hitters having spent time in San Jose last season (plus Pare and Lofton at the bottom of the order). Chuckie Jones probably had the best all-around game for the Giants this afternoon. Offensively, he collected a pair of singles and an RBI in four at-bats. He also scorched a line drive into the left center gap that was dropped by the Cubs center fielder for an error. Jones stole a base as well and threw out a runner at second on a basehit into right center. A crowded outfield in Richmond is likely going to result in Jones’ return to San Jose this season, but it was notable that he started in center field today. Jones was last a full-time center fielder in 2012 (with Salem-Keizer). He served as the Giants’ primary right fielder a year ago making just nine starts in center for the entire season.

* Other offensive standouts for the Giants today included Brandon Bednar in the two-hole. Bednar spent the last two months of 2014 with San Jose and showed impressive versatility garnering starts at all four infield positions. He’ll likely play a similar role on this year’s team. This afternoon, Bednar played a smooth shortstop while producing two hits in four at-bats at the plate, including a loud RBI triple into the left center field gap.

Brian Ragira, who led the SJ Giants with 20 home runs last season, was starting at his usual first base position in today's "High-A" game

Brian Ragira, who led the SJ Giants with 20 home runs last season, was starting at his usual first base position in today’s “High-A” game

* Brian Ragira led the 2014 San Jose Giants in home runs (20) and RBI’s (82), but could return to the California League for the start of this season. Today, Ragira started at his usual first base position and batted fourth in the order. He finished 1-for-4 with an RBI double as part of a four-run top of the first inning. Ragira had been playing with the Double-A group earlier this spring, but is now working out with the High-A club. The former fourth round pick out of Stanford got off to a slow start with the Giants last season (hit .201 over April and May) before finishing strong (.297 AVG + 15 home runs after the All-Star break). A Ragira return would certainly bolster the middle of the San Jose lineup this spring.

* Tyler Horan is yet another familiar face in today’s Giants lineup. Horan, like Ragira, was considered a strong candidate for the Double-A opening day roster (and it should be noted that he could still end up there – these current rosters are not official). Horan was so impressive with the SJ Giants late last season (.321 AVG + 10 HR’s in 28 games after his promotion from Augusta) that he earned a call-up to Richmond for their playoff run in September. Horan’s 25 home runs between the GreenJackets and the Giants last year were second-most in the entire San Francisco farm system. Horan could give the 2015 SJ Giants a much-needed left-handed power bat in the middle of the order.

* Potential newcomers to the SJ Giants that were in the lineup today included third baseman Ryder Jones, second baseman Austin Slater and left fielder Rafael Rodriguez. Jones was a second round pick out of the high school ranks in 2013. He hit a combined .225 with 26 doubles, 10 home runs and 67 RBI’s in 118 games between Augusta and Salem-Keizer last year – his first full professional season. Jones has good size and some pop from the left side of the plate, which was evident today when he smacked a two-RBI double in the first inning (finished 1-for-4). Jones is still just 20 years old and would be one of the youngest players in the California League if he makes San Jose’s opening day roster.

Second baseman Austin Slater was the only 2014 draftee in the Giants lineup this afternoon

Second baseman Austin Slater was the only 2014 draftee in the Giants lineup this afternoon

* Word around the complex today was that Slater has had a terrific spring swinging the bat. The only 2014 draftee in today’s lineup, Slater was an eighth round pick last June out of Stanford (was teammates with Ragira on The Farm). Slater didn’t pick-up a hit today (0-for-2) but made some of the loudest contact of the afternoon with a deep sacrifice fly to right in the first inning and a screaming lineout to first base in his second at-bat. Slater was exclusively an outfielder in Salem-Keizer last summer (where he hit .347), but has seen substantial time on the infield this spring. This afternoon, he made the start at second base and nearly had the defensive play of the game when he made a diving stop on a grounder deep in the hole, but had the ball pop out of his glove when he jumped to his feet. Every San Jose team seems to possess a key position player or two who is going through his first full professional season (Ragira and Blake Miller were those players last season; Mac Williamson was in 2013). Slater appears to be the leading candidate to fit that distinction right now.

* Rodriguez, a 22-year old outfielder out of the Dominican Republic, has spent the bulk of the last three seasons in Augusta. He hit .269 with five homers and 41 RBI’s in 77 games last year. Rodriguez finished 0-for-3 this afternoon. Pare made the start at catcher and knocked out a double to deep left center among his two at-bats while Lofton, a starting outfielder on the 2012 and 2013 San Jose teams (and for a portion of 2014 as well), hit ninth and was 1-for-2 with a single, a walk and a stolen base.

* The Giants finished the game with 11 hits. A number of reserves were in the contest for the late-innings with second baseman Ryan Jones (no relation to either Chuckie or Ryder) belting a ninth-inning solo home run to left center field. Jones was one of Salem-Keizer’s top hitters in 2013 (.336 AVG) before batting .242 with one homer in 46 games in Augusta last season. Rando Moreno (SS), a San Jose Giant early in 2014, Cristian Paulino (RF) and Brad Moss (C) also saw action late in the game.

* 2013 first round draft pick Christian Arroyo (a shortstop) and Ty Ross, Augusta’s primary catcher last season, have also been playing for the “High-A” team this spring. They were noticeably missing today, but for good reason – both players were called-up to the big league team for the afternoon to help provide depth to San Francisco’s bench.

* On the mound, top prospect Luis Ysla made the start and was very impressive. The left-hander, who won the ERA title (2.45) in the South Atlantic League last season with Augusta, fired three scoreless innings today. Ysla allowed only one hit during his start – a first-inning single and that runner was promptly picked-off. The southpaw walked one and struck out one. When I caught a glimpse of the radar gun, Ysla was mainly sitting in the low 90’s with his fastball, but did pop a couple of pitches at 95 and 96 MPH showing some nice reach-back velocity. He struggled somewhat to locate his offspeed pitches early, but seemed much more comfortable by his third inning. Ysla had a stellar 2014 season in Augusta and should be a key piece of the San Jose rotation this season.

* Familiar faces Pat Young (2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 SO), Nick Vander Tuig (2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO) and Jake Smith (2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) then each threw two innings of relief for the Giants today. Young and Vander Tuig were starters for San Jose in 2014, but could be transitioning to the bullpen this season. With Giants starters on very strict pitch counts early in the season, having arms like Young and Vander Tuig, who have the ability to go multiple innings, in middle-to-long relief should be invaluable. Smith was a top late-inning reliever for Augusta last season before he was promoted to San Jose in late-August.

* As always, it’s important to remember that none of these players are guaranteed to open the season in San Jose. These are merely the players who suited up for the “High-A” club this afternoon. The roster situations in minor league camp are fluid, even during the final week of spring training. Several changes will likely occur between now and when players break camp as the organization makes a bevy of personnel decisions. I’ll have more from minor league camp tomorrow.

Luis Ysla delivers a pitch in the first inning of today's "High-A" exhibition game between the Giants and Cubs

Luis Ysla delivers a pitch in the first inning of today’s “High-A” exhibition game between the Giants and Cubs

2015 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Catcher

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsOur season preview series concludes this week with a look at the catching position. Multiple catchers from last year’s Giants team are candidates to return to the club next month. Meanwhile, Augusta’s top catcher last season, a non-roster invitee to major league camp this spring, is likely to make the jump to the California League.

Ty Ross, San Francisco’s 12th round pick in the 2013 draft out of SEC powerhouse LSU, served as Augusta’s (Class-A) primary catcher last season and is expected to receive a promotion to San Jose. Ross caught 96 of Augusta’s 140 games last year finishing the campaign with a .246 batting average, six home runs and 48 RBI’s. His 24 doubles led the team while he was third on the club in RBI’s and fourth in home runs. Ross, who was going through his first full professional season in 2014, hit only .220 with one home run during the first half before batting at a .264 clip with five home runs after the All-Star break. His best month came in July when he collected 23 RBI’s in 28 games to go with a .278 batting average.

Catcher Ty Ross led Augusta in doubles (24) and was third on the team in RBI's (48) last season (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

Catcher Ty Ross led Augusta in doubles (24) and was third on the team in RBI’s (48) last season (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

Ross’ strongest attribute is his defense. With outstanding instincts behind the plate and a terrific throwing arm, Ross was rated as the top defensive catcher in the San Francisco farm system by Baseball America entering this season. He caught Augusta’s top-flight starting rotation last year and given that most, if not all, of those arms are headed to San Jose this spring, Ross’ familiarity with the group should pay dividends this season. His improved production at the plate during the second half of last year is also an encouraging sign that Ross can provide a lift offensively with the Giants.

There also appears to be a strong likelihood that one or two catchers from last year’s San Jose team will return to the club. Ben Turner was the main backstop for the Giants in 2014 and hit a solid .298 in 106 games, but without much power (2 HR, .371 SLG). Turner was also the toughest hitter to strikeout in the entire league last season (one K every 10.4 at-bats). Depending on how the catching depth chart shakes-out in the upper levels of the system, Turner could easily move up to Double-A Richmond for the start of the season. If not, he’d come back to San Jose and probably share time with Ross. Turner also played 20 games at first base for the Giants last year.

Trevor Brown was the Giants’ back-up catcher most of last season and is a candidate to return, especially if Turner ends up in Richmond. Brown was elevated to San Jose late in 2013 and was the Giants’ leading hitter during the playoffs that September as the club advanced to the Championship Series. Unfortunately, last season was a struggle at the plate for the UCLA product as Brown managed just a .215 batting average in 54 Cal League games to go with five doubles, two home runs and 22 RBI’s. Brown actually had more success in Triple-A Fresno last season when the Grizzlies catching corps was shorthanded. In the PCL, Brown hit .319 in 23 games with no homers and 13 RBI’s. Brown is now an experienced player in the Giants system and is also versatile having seen time at first and second base throughout his career.

Other potential back-up catchers for the 2015 San Jose Giants include familiar faces Jared Deacon and Matt Pare. Deacon, a 33rd round pick last June out of Cal State Fullerton, caught for both Salem-Keizer (Short-Season) and San Jose last summer. He ended the year as the Giants’ back-up and hit .217 (5-for-23) in eight games. Pare was a non-drafted signee out of Boston College two years ago. In 13 games with San Jose last season – all as a DH – he hit .238 with four doubles, no homers and nine RBI’s.

Catcher Aramis Garcia, a second round pick last June and one of the top hitting prospects in the system, will probably start the year in Augusta. Garcia was a standout performer at Florida International University where he earned Conference USA Player of the Year and All-American honors as a junior last spring. Garcia hit .229 with two home runs and 12 RBI’s in 20 games with Salem-Keizer last summer after signing his professional contract. He’s rated the #16 overall prospect in the system by Baseball America (#2 catcher behind Andrew Susac). Garcia, who is considered an offense-first catcher, may end up in San Jose at some point this season, but it’s unlikely that he’ll begin the year in the California League.

2015 San Jose Giants Catcher Candidates
(2014 regular season statistics listed)

Trevor Brown, C/INF
– San Jose: .215 AVG, 2 HR, 22 RBI, 0 SB
– Fresno: .319 AVG, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 0 SB

Jared Deacon, C
– San Jose: .217 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB
– Salem-Keizer: .219 AVG, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB

Matt Pare, C
– San Jose: .238 AVG, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB

Ty Ross, C
– Augusta: .246 AVG, 6 HR, 48 RBI, 1 SB

Ben Turner, C/1B
– San Jose: .298 AVG, 2 HR, 40 RBI, 0 SB

2015 SJ Giants Starting Pitching Preview

2015 SJ Giants Bullpen Preview

2015 SJ Giants Infield Preview

2015 SJ Giants Outfield Preview

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San Jose Giants TV Schedule Announced

NBCUT_Logo_chnThe San Jose Giants and Comcast have joined forces to bring fans a schedule of 25 live television broadcasts during the 2015 season – an increase of five games from last year. The games can be viewed live on Comcast Hometown Network (Digital Channel 104) throughout most Northern California regions. After the live broadcast of each contest, all 25 games will be available for cable customers to view through Comcast On Demand Channel 1.

San Jose Giants television broadcasts will feature the play-by-play of “The Voice of the Giants,” Joe Ritzo and the color commentary of Joe Castellano. Ritzo has been calling San Jose Giants games since 2003 while Castellano, a 20-year veteran of the industry, has broadcasted a variety of sports for networks such as NBC, MLB Network and Comcast.

Highlights of the schedule include San Jose’s home opener on April 16, a match-up against the 2014 California League champion Lancaster JetHawks, a midweek afternoon tilt on June 10 as well as special Independence Day weekend telecasts on July 4 and July 5. 24 games on the broadcast schedule are against rival North Division teams (Bakersfield – 10 games, Stockton – 8 games, Visalia – 6 games). In addition to the game broadcast, Comcast Hometown Network will provide pregame and postgame coverage of all games.

The following is Comcast Hometown Network’s San Jose Giants telecast schedule for the 2015 season:

Thursday, April 16: 7:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Friday, April 17: 7:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Saturday, April 18: 5:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Tuesday, April 28: 6:30 PM vs. Visalia Rawhide
Wednesday, April 29: 6:30 PM vs. Visalia Rawhide
Thursday, April 30: 7:00 PM vs. Visalia Rawhide
Friday, May 8: 7:00 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Saturday, May 9: 5:00 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Sunday, May 10: 1:00 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Monday, June 8: 7:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Tuesday, June 9: 7:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Wednesday, June 10: 12:30 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Saturday, July 4: 6:30 PM vs. Visalia Rawhide
Sunday, July 5: 6:30 PM vs. Visalia Rawhide
Monday, July 6: 7:00 PM vs. Visalia Rawhide
Friday, July 17: 7:00 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Saturday, July 18: 6:00 PM vs. Lancaster JetHawks
Thursday, July 30: 7:00 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Friday, July 31: 7:00 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Saturday, August 1: 5:00 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Sunday, August 2: 5:00 PM vs. Stockton Ports
Thursday, August 20: 7:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Friday, August 21: 7:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Saturday, August 22: 5:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze
Sunday, August 23: 1:00 PM vs. Bakersfield Blaze

*SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

All San Jose Giants home games are also streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV. For more details and to sign up for a subscription, log onto sjgiants.com and click on MiLB.TV.

Spring Training Updates

By Joe Ritzo

cactus-leagueWith less than two weeks until San Francisco’s opening day, here are several player updates on the former San Jose Giants at spring training:

The end of last week saw four former San Jose Giants sent down to minor league camp. Pitchers Chris Heston and Cody Hall along with outfielder Jarrett Parker were optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. Heston has enjoyed a strong spring on the mound in big league games tossing nine innings with just two runs and six hits allowed. The ERA champion in the California League back in 2011, Heston has struck out 10 and walked only one batter this spring. Heston, who made his major league debut as a September call-up last season, should help anchor the Sacramento starting rotation next month.

Hall was added to the 40-man roster this past offseason, but endured a rocky spring in big league action. Over seven relief appearances, the hard-throwing right-hander has tossed seven innings with seven runs (six earned) and 11 hits surrendered. Hall, who has always displayed above-average control throughout his career, walked only one compared to eight strikeouts. A SJ Giant in 2012 and 2013, Hall was one of Richmond’s top relievers last season before a standout effort in the Venezuelan Winter League. Look for Hall to serve as one of the River Cats’ top late-inning relievers this season.

Parker, like Hall, will be looking to make his major league debut in 2015. The slugging outfielder is 5-for-22 (.227 AVG) with a double and four RBI’s in big league spring action. Parker hit 15 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A last season and is expected to start at a corner outfield spot in Sacramento this year.

2014 San Jose third baseman Mitch Delfino was reassigned to minor league camp last week as well. Delfino saw limited action this spring, but was able to collect three hits in 11 at-bats (.273 AVG) with three walks and a pair of RBI’s. In all likelihood, Delfino will begin the season as Richmond’s starting third baseman.

Daniel Carbonell was officially sent down to minor league camp over a week ago, but the top prospect outfielder was called back up for a day on Monday and made the most of his opportunity. The former SJ Giant singled and homered as part of a 2-for-2 afternoon against the Royals and is now batting .333 overall (5-for-15) this spring. Carbonell’s two home runs are tied for second on the team – trailing only Brandon Belt (3).

Adalberto Mejia, who also previously was sent down, earned a call-up yesterday and fired 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief against the Indians. Mejia has made a strong impression in big league spring action as the left-hander has worked 6 1/3 innings overall with just one run and three hits allowed. Mejia, who is expected to return to the Richmond starting rotation after serving his 50-game suspension, has struck out six and not walked a batter.

Officially, San Francisco still has 40 players in camp, 19 of which are former San Jose Giants. The core group of 10 former SJ Giants (Belt, Bumgarner, Cain, Crawford, Ishikawa, Lincecum, Panik, Posey, Romo, Vogelsong) should all be on the opening day roster when the season begins April 6. Nine other former SJ Giants remain in big league camp with hopes of making the team:

* Ehire Adrianza: .212 AVG (7-33), 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBI
– Has seen the bulk of his playing time at shortstop with occasional action at second and third. Has just one hit in his last 11 at-bats.

* Gary Brown: .158 AVG (6-38), 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
– After a strong opening week of games, Brown has tailed off at the plate with only two hits in his last 25 at-bats. Brown is also 3-for-6 in stolen base attempts this spring. He’ll likely be returning to Triple-A for the start of the season.

* Matt Duffy: .382 AVG (13-34), 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI
– Duffy has made a strong push for a spot on the opening day roster. His .382 batting average is tops on the club this spring. Duffy also hit his second home run of camp last Sunday. Duffy does still have minor league options (as opposed to Adrianza), which could hurt his cause for making the team. He has seen significant action at both second base and shortstop throughout the spring.

* Adam Duvall: .159 AVG (7-44), 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
– Duvall is in contention for a spot on the roster as a powerful right-handed bat coming off the bench, but has largely struggled offensively. Prior to smacking a triple in yesterday’s game, Duvall had just two hits in his last 23 at-bats. He continues to see some time at first base in addition to his usual spot at the hot corner.

* Steven Okert: 6 G, 1.59 ERA, 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO
– Okert is the only non-roster invitee (non 40-man roster member) among this group of nine players, so he remains an extreme longshot to make the team. It has, however, been a positive big league camp for the top prospect reliever as he makes a push for a spot on the Triple-A Sacramento opening day roster. Okert has surrendered only one earned run in 5 2/3 innings over six relief appearances (.174 opponents batting average).

* Juan Perez: .282 AVG (11-39), 5 2B, 0 HR, 5 RBI
– Perez appears to be in a good position to make his second straight opening day roster. His five doubles are tied for the team lead to go with a .282 batting average and a pair of stolen bases. Perez has played all three outfield positions this spring.

* Hector Sanchez: .243 AVG (9-37), 3 2B, 0 HR, 4 RBI
– Sanchez has 216 big league games of experience over the last four seasons, but after his injury-riddled 2014 campaign and the emergence of Andrew Susac, is not a guarantee to make the roster. He’s batting .243 with three doubles in 15 games this spring.

* Hunter Strickland: 9 G, 7.56 ERA, 8.1 IP, 7 ER, 5 BB, 6 SO
– It was a struggle early for Strickland this spring as he allowed a home run in each of his first two appearances. He followed that up though with five straight scoreless outings yielding just two hits in the process before a difficult ninth inning against the Reds last Friday (3 ER). Strickland jumped from Double-A to the big league last September – he’ll probably get his first taste of Triple-A ball when the season begins.

* Andrew Susac: .214 AVG (3-14), 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 0 RBI
– Susac has missed significant time this spring, first due to a root canal before a wrist injury. He returned to action earlier this week and had a 2-for-2 effort at the plate on Tuesday. Susac is in competition with Sanchez for the back-up catching role.

Entering Wednesday, the Giants are 6-17-1 through 24 Cactus League games.

Episode 48 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants podcastIn the final podcast before the team arrives at Municipal Stadium, Joe and Ben make starting lineup projections for the 2015 San Jose Giants. The two provide a detailed breakdown of the potential lineup, including top prospects expected to begin the season in San Jose and which position players may return from last year.

2015 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Outfield

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsThe San Jose Giants season preview series continues this week with a look at the outfield. Multiple returnees from last year’s club could fill the bulk of the starting outfield for the Giants next month. Meanwhile, several outfielders that were drafted highly by the organization last June will be looking to earn promotions to San Jose.

Jesus Galindo, Tyler Horan and Chuckie Jones – three key members of the 2014 San Jose squad – are among the possibilities to return to the Giants outfield this year. Galindo served as San Jose’s center fielder and leadoff hitter for the majority of last season. The switch-hitting speedster finished the campaign with a .268 batting average, 22 doubles, a team-high eight triples and two home runs in 101 games. Galindo also stole 31 bases (in 44 attempts) to lead the club.

Center fielder Jesus Galindo could return to San Jose this season after leading last year's club with 31 stolen bases

Center fielder Jesus Galindo could return to San Jose this season after leading last year’s club with 31 stolen bases

Galindo started fast last season posting a .333 batting average in April. He was still hitting a solid .283 at the conclusion of the first half, but a difficult July (.219 AVG) followed by a season-ending knee injury sustained during the first week of August resulted in a sour ending to the year for the Giants leadoff man. Galindo is 24, has already spent six years in the San Francisco organization and owns an impressive 231 stolen bases in his career (last season was the first year he didn’t steal at least 40 bags since ’09). A move to Double-A for the start of 2015 would not at all be a surprise, but given the likelihood of Daniel Carbonell taking over in center field for the Richmond Flying Squirrels this season and the lack of a top center field prospect coming up from Augusta, Galindo could repeat the California League. If he does, that would give the Giants an exciting base stealing threat at the top of their lineup.

Horan and Jones are both power-hitting corner outfielders, who like Galindo, have visions of making the Double-A roster coming out of camp. However, a crowded corner outfield picture in Richmond – one that could include Mac Williamson, Devin Harris and possibly Elliott Blair – will likely result in one of the sluggers coming back to San Jose.

The most likely scenario has Horan starting the year in Double-A despite having less experience in the California League of the two. Horan hit .273 and clubbed a team-high 15 home runs in 102 games with Augusta last season before an early-August promotion to San Jose. With the Giants to close the regular season, Horan then smacked 10 more home runs in just 28 games to go with 27 RBI’s and a .321 batting average. Horan, a former eighth round draft pick out of Virginia Tech, was so impressive with San Jose that he earned a promotion to Richmond for their playoff run last September. Given all that, he’s probably headed back to the Flying Squirrels this April, but a return to the Giants remains a possibility.

A seventh round pick out of the high school ranks in 2010, Jones has had a slow climb through the system. After enduring a demotion back to Salem-Keizer (Short-season level) in 2012, Jones spent all of 2013 in Augusta where he hit .236 with 10 home runs. Jones then moved up to San Jose last year and played in a team-leading 131 games, primarily as the club’s right fielder. Jones started slow last season, but showed gradual improvement as the year progressed. Overall, he finished with a .256 batting average, 19 doubles, 15 home runs, 66 RBI’s and 17 stolen bases. He ended the season second on the team in homers and steals and fourth in RBI’s.

As San Jose's youngest position player last year, Chuckie Jones hit .256 with 15 home runs and 66 RBI's

As San Jose’s youngest position player last year, Chuckie Jones hit .256 with 15 home runs and 66 RBI’s

Jones, who is still just 22 (he was the youngest position player on last year’s San Jose team), possesses intriguing potential. He had some of the best raw power on the Giants last season while also showing the ability to steal bases regularly. He hit 10 out of his 15 home runs after the All-Star break and posted a .274 batting average in August to close out of the year. Jones though has struggled to make consistent contact throughout his career and struck out a team-high 150 times last season. Given his youth, the up-and-down nature of his 2014 season and the expected crowded outfield in Richmond, a return to the California League seems possible, if not likely, for Jones. If that’s the case, 2015 would serve as a very important year for Jones as he’d be expected to help anchor the middle of the San Jose lineup.

The 2014 Augusta GreenJackets featured an underwhelming outfield corps and thus very few from the group may receive promotions to San Jose. Left fielder Rafael Rodriguez, who signed for over $2 million as a 16-year old back in 2008, is the most likely of the GreenJackets to move up to the Cal League. 2014 marked Rodriguez’s third year in Augusta and the former top prospect hit .269 with five home runs and 41 RBI’s in 77 games. Cristian Paulino saw action at all three outfield positions with the GreenJackets last season and batted .240 with three homers and a team-high 20 stolen bases in 92 games. Meanwhile, veteran Chris Lofton, who spent all of 2012 and 2013 and a portion of 2014 in San Jose, was a key member of the Augusta outfield last season. In 76 games with the GreenJackets, mainly as their starting center fielder, Lofton hit .250 with two home runs and 17 stolen bases.

In all likelihood, the 2015 San Jose outfield will be mixture of returnees and players making the jump from Salem-Keizer. Austin Slater, an eighth round pick last June out of Stanford, had a stellar debut professional season in the Short-Season Northwest League last summer. Slater played in 29 games for the Volcanoes and batted .347 with six doubles, two home runs and 23 RBI’s. He also collected seven stolen bases. Slater had multi-hits in 12 out of his 29 games.

Slater has experience of playing high-level college baseball in the Pac-12 Conference and given his success in Salem last year, would be a logical candidate to skip past Augusta and join San Jose this spring. Slater can play both corner outfield positions and also made six starts in center field last season with the Volcanoes. He was originally a middle infielder at the start of his collegiate career. In his last season at Stanford, Slater earned All-Pac-12 honors after batting a team-best .341 with two home runs and 40 RBI’s.

2014 third round pick Dylan Davis is a candidate to make the jump to San Jose. Davis was a standout outfielder at Oregon State University before his selection in last year’s draft. During his final season at OSU, Davis led the Pac-12 with 64 RBI’s to go with seven home runs and a .283 batting average. He hit a team-high .335 as a sophomore in 2013.

Davis features outstanding power and a terrific arm in right field. He blasted four home runs in just 23 games with Salem-Keizer last summer, but managed only a .200 batting average. Davis has exciting potential and will be an everyday player wherever he lands this season – likely either Augusta or San Jose.

Seth Harrison was a seventh round pick last June after a collegiate career at Louisiana-Lafayette. As Salem-Keizer’s primary center fielder and leadoff man last summer, Harrison hit .266 with a pair of triples, no home runs and 11 stolen bases in 37 games. If Galindo receives a promotion to Richmond, center field could open up for Harrison in San Jose.

Finally, Hunter Cole, a 26th rounder last year out of the University of Georgia, is another candidate to earn a promotion from Salem-Keizer to San Jose. Cole was a standout performer in the SEC last spring as he led Georgia with a .319 batting average, mainly as their third baseman. After signing with the Giants, Cole was sent to Salem-Keizer where he batted .239 with four home runs in 27 games. Cole was primarily a left fielder and a DH with the Volcanoes, but also saw action at first and third. He could fill a role as a valuable utility man with San Jose this spring or perhaps settle in at one specific position with left field or third base being the most likely spots.

2015 San Jose Giants Outfield Candidates
(2014 regular season statistics listed)

Hunter Cole, OF/3B/1B
– Salem-Keizer: .239 AVG, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB

Dylan Davis, RF
– Salem-Keizer: .200 AVG, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB

Jesus Galindo, CF
– San Jose: .268 AVG, 2 HR, 30 RBI, 31 SB

Seth Harrison, CF
– Salem-Keizer: .266 AVG, 0 HR, 20 RBI, 11 SB

Tyler Horan, LF/RF
– San Jose: .321 AVG, 10 HR, 27 RBI, 6 SB
– Augusta: .273 AVG, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 9 SB

Chuckie Jones, RF
– San Jose: .256 AVG, 15 HR, 66 RBI, 17 SB

Chris Lofton, CF/LF
– San Jose: .189 AVG, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 4 SB
– Augusta: .250 AVG, 2 HR, 29 RBI, 17 SB

Cristian Paulino, OF
– Augusta: .240 AVG, 3 HR, 31 RBI, 20 SB

Rafael Rodriguez, LF
– Augusta: .269 AVG, 5 HR, 41 RBI, 2 SB

Austin Slater, OF
– Salem-Keizer: .347 AVG, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 7 SB

The 2015 San Jose Giants preview series concludes next week with a look at the catching position.

2015 SJ Giants Starting Pitching Preview

2015 SJ Giants Bullpen Preview

2015 SJ Giants Infield Preview

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Recent Former SJ Giants Among First Big League Roster Cuts

By Joe Ritzo

Former SJ Giant Mac Williamson went 5-for-15 with two triples in big league spring action

Former SJ Giant Mac Williamson went 5-for-15 with two triples in big league spring action

The San Francisco Giants made their first round of roster cuts today as 14 players were sent to minor league camp, including several standouts from the last two San Jose teams. 2013 SJ Giants Ty Blach, Kyle Crick, Derek Law, Adalberto Mejia and Mac Williamson along with 2014 players Daniel Carbonell and Chris Stratton were among the players who have been assigned to minor league camp.

The cuts aren’t a surprise as these players weren’t in consideration to make San Francisco’s opening day roster and will now get a chance for regular playing time in minor league exhibition games, which are set to begin on Wednesday.

Among the group, Williamson may have made the strongest impression. The slugging corner outfielder, who returned to action after undergoing Tommy John surgery early last season, collected five hits in 15 at-bats (.333 AVG) in big league spring games with a double and a team-high tying two triples. Williamson is probably ticketed for Double-A Richmond when the minor league regular season begins next month.

Williamson will likely be joined in the Flying Squirrels outfield by Carbonell. Carbonell was optioned to the Richmond roster today (as a 40-man roster member, he has to be “optioned” to a minor league team when sent down; non 40-man players are just “reassigned to minor league camp”). Carbonell was 2-for-12 (.167 AVG) with a home run, three RBI’s and a stolen base.

Gregorio and Mejia were the most impressive pitchers on the early cut list. Gregorio is expected to open the year in San Jose’s rotation and was optioned to the SJ Giants roster today. In five spring relief appearances, Gregorio tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings with four hits allowed, no walks and two strikeouts. Gregorio began last season in San Jose, but after a pair of DL stints during the first half, was sent down to Augusta (Class-A) where he finished the year. He was then placed on the 40-man roster after the season concluded.

Mejia, who will serve a 50-game suspension to start the 2015 campaign, surrendered just one run and two hits over five innings this spring. The left-hander struck out five and walked only one. Mejia, currently rated the #6 prospect in the Giants system by Baseball America, spent all of last season in Richmond’s starting rotation and may return to the Flying Squirrels once his suspension has been completed.

Crick excelled in his first two relief appearances in big league spring games tossing a combined 4 2/3 scoreless innings with just two hits allowed, three walks and three strikeouts. The top prospect though was roughed up yesterday in a relief outing against the Cincinnati Reds when he was tagged for five earned runs (two homers) on five hits in two innings. A major storyline at the end of camp will be Crick’s landing spot – will he return to Richmond or receive a promotion to Triple-A?

Blach was hit hard in his first two outings (one of which was a start) yielding a combined 10 runs in four innings. The lefty though bounced back nicely late last week against Texas working three shutout innings out of the bullpen with just two hits allowed, no walks and two strikeouts. Meanwhile, Stratton made three appearances (one start) in big league spring action and gave up three earned runs on 10 hits in five total innings (3 BB, 2 SO). Look for Blach and Stratton to start the season in Sacramento and Richmond respectively.

Law didn’t appear in a big league spring game as he continues his rehab from Tommy John surgery. As a 40-man member, Law was optioned onto San Jose’s roster. Much like Hunter Strickland and his recovery from TJ surgery last year, Law could start his season back in the California League once he’s ready for game action.

2013 San Jose shortstop Kelby Tomlinson was also reassigned to minor league camp today. Tomlinson was 0-for-5 with three walks in big league spring action.

Former San Jose pitchers Clayton Blackburn and Ray Black were sent down to minor league camp weeks ago as both dealt with minor injuries. Neither appeared in a big league spring game.

Shortstop Christian Arroyo (4-for-8, 2B, RBI) and catcher Ty Ross (1-for-7), two players who could open the 2015 season in San Jose, were also reassigned to minor league camp. Arroyo, a former first round pick, hit .333 for Salem-Keizer (Short-Season) last year. Ross was Augusta’s primary catcher in 2014 and hit .246 with six home runs in 117 games.

After today’s moves, 23 former San Jose Giants remain in big league camp, only two of which are non-roster invitees (pitcher Steven Okert and third baseman Mitch Delfino).

2015 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Infield

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsThe San Jose Giants season preview series continues this week with a look at the players who could fill out the infield. A key contributor from the second half last season for the Giants, Salem-Keizer’s top home run hitter last summer and a recent first round draft pick highlight a possible starting infield for San Jose in 2015.

The starting infielder most likely to return to the Giants this spring is probably Brandon Bednar. A seventh round draft pick in 2013 out of Florida Gulf Coast University, Bednar spent time with both Augusta (Class-A) and San Jose last season. He hit .275 with one home run in 74 games for the GreenJackets before receiving an early-July promotion to the California League.

Brandon Bednar started at all four infield positions for the San Jose Giants last season

Brandon Bednar started at all four infield positions for the San Jose Giants last season

With San Jose, Bednar was immediately thrust into a full-time role and excelled throughout July batting at a .300 clip during the month – often hitting in either the second or third spot in the lineup. A 10-day stint on the disabled list and the rigors of completing his first full professional season were likely factors in Bednar slumping throughout August (.175 AVG), but he continued to provide tremendous value to the club as someone capable of starting at all four infield positions. In his 48 games with San Jose last summer, Bednar made 24 starts at shortstop, 10 starts at second base and six starts each at first and third base. He was primarily a third baseman in Augusta before his promotion and saw more action at second while in Salem-Keizer (Short-Season) the previous season.

Bednar’s final numbers in the California League last year included five home runs in his 48 games to go with seven doubles, 16 RBI’s, three stolen bases and a .241 batting average. While Bednar’s return to San Jose as an everyday player seems almost certain, the big question will be whether he settles in mainly at one position or continues to bounce around the infield.

First baseman Brian Ragira (.260, 20 HR, 82 RBI) struggled offensively throughout the first half last season, but hit .297 with 15 home runs after the All-Star break. He ultimately led the team in homers and RBI’s, which will probably result in a promotion to Double-A Richmond. Third baseman Mitch Delfino (.289, 12 HR, 77 RBI) is currently participating in big league camp and should anchor the Flying Squirrels infield along with second baseman Blake Miller (.299, 8 HR, 73 RBI), who was promoted to the Eastern League last August.

Meanwhile, utility infielders Alberto Robles and Ydwin Villegas are candidates to return to San Jose. Robles, who split time between second and short last season, hit .224 with two home runs and 23 RBI’s in 60 games for the Giants. Villegas batted just .205 in 50 games, mainly at shortstop, but has had several stints in Triple-A over the last two seasons. One or both of Robles and Villegas could be back in San Jose this spring to add depth to the infield group.

If Ragira earns a promotion to Richmond at the start of the season, the most likely player to step in at first base is Skyler Ewing, a sixth round draft pick last June out of Rice University. A right-handed power hitter, Ewing led Salem-Keizer with eight home runs in 51 games last summer. He also produced nine doubles, 31 RBI’s and a .291 batting average – primarily from the fourth spot in the lineup. Ewing also displayed a patient approach at the plate with more walks (36) than strikeouts (28) resulting in an impressive .417 on-base percentage.

In his last year at Rice, Ewing hit .335 with nine home runs in 61 games. He was also an All-Star in the prestigious Cape Cod Summer League and won the home run derby there during his collegiate career.

There are often a small handful of hitters drafted out of the collegiate ranks who open their first full professional season in San Jose. Last year, it was Ragira and Miller. Mac Williamson did it in 2013 while Joe Panik, Andrew Susac and Ricky Oropesa were first-year players on the 2012 team. Given Ewing’s success last summer in Salem, his experience of playing high-level college baseball and the lack of a notable performer at first base in Augusta last season, he would appear to be a strong candidate this spring.

Another standout from last year’s Salem-Keizer squad poised to make the jump to San Jose is 2013 first round draft pick Christian Arroyo. Arroyo is still only 19 years old (will turn 20 in May) and while it’s uncommon for the SF Giants to elevate a teenager to the California League, it’s not unprecedented (recently Tommy Joseph, Nick Noonan and Angel Villalona were teenage position players in SJ).

Former first round pick Christian Arroyo could make the jump to San Jose this season (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

Former first round pick Christian Arroyo could make the jump to San Jose this season (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

Arroyo may need an impressive spring to earn a spot on San Jose’s opening day roster, but he’s likely put himself in contention thanks to two outstanding seasons to begin his career. In 2013 while playing for the AZL-Giants (Rookie), Arroyo won the Arizona Rookie League MVP award after batting .326 with 18 doubles, two home runs and 39 RBI’s in 45 games. Then last summer in Salem, Arroyo finished second in the Northwest League with a .333 batting average in 58 games to go with 14 doubles, a pair of triples, five homers, 48 RBI’s and six stolen bases. Arroyo, who often batted second or third in the order with the Volcanoes, finished strong last year hitting .364 in August while his overall batting average with runners in scoring position was an excellent .403.

Of note, Arroyo did struggle in Augusta to open last season batting just .203 with one home run in 31 games before suffering a sprained thumb. Once healthy, he returned to action in Salem-Keizer in mid-June and thrived with the Volcanoes for the remainder of the season. His slow start in Augusta early last season could give the front office some pause as to whether Arroyo is ready for the California League.

Arroyo, who is a right-handed batter, was drafted as a shortstop and played the position exclusively in rookie-ball and in Salem-Keizer. He shifted over to second base while in Augusta and many scouting reports note that he may end up there (or at third base) in the long-run. Baseball America ranks Arroyo as the #10 overall prospect in the San Francisco farm system entering 2015. He’s the third-highest position player on the list behind only Andrew Susac (#1) and Matt Duffy (#9). BA describes Arroyo as having a “balanced, simple swing with some whip that should allow him to hit for average with at least gap power, and he shows adjustments from at-bat to at-bat.”

The SF Giants selected Arroyo with the 25th overall pick two years ago. In the second round, they again went the high school route picking third baseman Ryder Jones. Jones is probably more of a longshot to begin the year in the California League, but could see time in San Jose at some point in 2015. Jones also excelled in the Arizona Rookie League two years ago batting .317 to form a 1-2 punch along with Arroyo. He then had modest success in Augusta during the first half last season before a prolonged slump in June and July resulting in a demotion to Salem-Keizer. In 118 games between the two teams last year, Jones hit only .225 with 10 home runs and 67 RBI’s. Still just 20 years old, Jones is probably ticketed for Augusta next month, but could potentially force his way up to San Jose. Baseball America ranks Jones the #30 prospect in the organization.

The bulk of the San Jose infield on opening day will probably consist of players who were either in the Cal League at the end of last season or are making the jump from Salem-Keizer. Many of the players who made up Augusta’s infield last season struggled and are unlikely candidates for a promotion to the Giants. One possible exception is power-hitting second baseman Jeremy Sy.

Sy was a 12th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Louisiana-Monroe, where he earned Sun Belt Player of the Year honors as a senior. The start of Sy’s pro career was then delayed as he underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow just after signing with the Giants. He finally debuted in 2013 with Salem-Keizer and hit .294 with team-high totals of eight home runs and 41 RBI’s as their primary shortstop. Last year he moved up to Augusta, where he split time between second base and DH. The positives to Sy’s year included 13 home runs, which ranked second on the GreenJackets. He also stole 16 bases, produced 13 doubles, four triples and drew a team-high 50 walks. Sy though managed just a .216 batting average in 92 games. He’s already 25 years old and given his experience, his impressive power/speed numbers last season and the lack of top infield performers on Augusta’s team, Sy figures to be a strong candidate for a promotion to San Jose.

Finally, Sam Mende, who finished last season in San Jose could return to the Giants next month. Mende was originally drafted by the Rockies and had a solid 2012 season in the South Atlantic League with Class-A Asheville (.281 AVG, 12 HR, 68 RBI, 23 SB). He then suffered through an injury-plagued 2013 campaign in Modesto (played in only 16 games) and then after struggling early in ’14 with the Nuts, was released. The Giants promptly signed Mende and he found himself back in the Cal League by the end of the season. In 18 games with San Jose, Mende hit .191 with a pair of doubles, a triple and an RBI. He was exclusively a second baseman with the Giants, but has also seen substantial playing time at third throughout his career.

2015 San Jose Giants Infield Candidates
(2014 regular season statistics are listed)

Christian Arroyo, SS
– Salem-Keizer: .333 AVG, 5 HR, 48 RBI, 6 SB
– Augusta: .203 AVG, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 1 SB

Brandon Bednar, UTIL
– San Jose: .241 AVG, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 3 SB
– Augusta: .275 AVG, 1 HR, 24 RBI, 8 SB

Skyler Ewing, 1B
– Salem-Keizer: .291 AVG, 8 HR, 31 RBI, 0 SB

Ryder Jones, 3B
– Augusta: .220 AVG, 7 HR, 49 RBI, 6 SB
– Salem-Keizer: .243 AVG, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 1 SB

Sam Mende, 2B/3B
– San Jose: .191 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB
– Salem-Keizer: .227 AVG, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB
– Modesto: .155 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 SB

Alberto Robles, SS/2B
– San Jose: .224 AVG, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 9 SB

Jeremy Sy, 2B
– Augusta: .216 AVG, 13 HR, 36 RBI, 16 SB

Ydwin Villegas, SS
– San Jose: .205 AVG, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 5 SB
– Fresno: .147 AVG, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB

The 2015 San Jose Giants preview series continues next Monday with a look at the outfield.

2015 SJ Giants Starting Pitching Preview

2015 SJ Giants Bullpen Preview

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Episode 47 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants podcastIn this podcast episode, Joe and Ben discuss candidates for the 2015 San Jose Giants pitching staff. The two breakdown the exciting group of starting pitchers from last year’s Augusta team who are expected to join the Giants and which recent first round draft pick could make the jump to San Jose. The podcast also includes an analysis of how former San Jose Giants have fared in early spring training games.

2015 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Relief Pitchers

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsOur season preview series continues this week with a look at some of the arms that could make up the San Jose Giants bullpen. Several relievers over the past two seasons, such as Hunter Strickland, Derek Law, Cody Hall and Steven Okert emerged as top prospects with their standout performances in San Jose. Now looking ahead to this season, a combination of exciting newcomers and returnees should form the Giants bullpen.

Ray Black and Jake Smith – two relievers promoted to San Jose from Augusta for the stretch run late last season – are candidates to anchor the Giants bullpen at the start of the year. Black was a seventh round pick in the 2011 draft out of the University of Pittsburgh, but didn’t debut professionally until last season due to a significant shoulder injury. The wait to get back on the mound was a long one for Black, but the hard-throwing right-hander certainly made quite a first impression. In 33 relief appearances with the GreenJackets last season, Black posted a 3.73 ERA with an incredible 64 strikeouts in just 31 1/3 innings. Black allowed only 16 hits, walked 14 and limited the opposition to a .147 batting average. Then in four outings with San Jose to close the year, he fanned seven more batters over four innings with just one run and one hit allowed.

San Jose bullpen candidate Ray Black can reach 100+ MPH with his fastball

San Jose bullpen candidate Ray Black can reach 100+ MPH with his fastball

Given his lengthy injury history (that dates back to his high school and college days), the Giants front office was understandably cautious with Black last year. He received two days of rest between every outing (until the last week) and never pitched more than one inning. Now with a year under his belt, and assuming good health, look for Black to increase his time on the mound in 2015.

Baseball America rates Black, who is 24 years old, as having the best fastball in the entire Giants farm system entering 2015. He routinely sits in the upper 90’s and hit 101 MPH at Municipal Stadium in a late-August appearance (BA wrote that he even reached 103 last season). Black complements his overpowering fastball with a hard slider that also serves as a strikeout pitch. San Francisco has placed Black on their 40-man roster and could fast-track the ace reliever straight to Double-A to start the season. If not, look for Black to light up the radar gun in the California League as a key component of the San Jose bullpen.

Meanwhile, Smith had an excellent year in Augusta last season as well before a late call-up to the SJ Giants. In a team-high 48 appearances with the GreenJackets, Smith fashioned a 2.79 ERA. He averaged well over a strikeout per inning pitched (77 K’s in 58 IP), gave up just one home run for the entire year and held the opposition to a .221 batting average.

Smith then continued to impress in San Jose firing five no-hit innings with six strikeouts over two relief appearances (he did give up eight runs in a spot-start to close the year). A late pick in the 2011 draft out of Campbell University (48th round), Smith is almost certainly ticketed for the Cal League this season, where’d he figure to be a valuable late-inning reliever for the Giants.

Two other standouts from last year’s Augusta bullpen who could also be headed to San Jose this season include right-handers Dan Slania and Carlos Alvarado. Slania is a closing candidate after he led the GreenJackets with 12 saves (in 14 opportunities) last year. A fifth round pick in 2013, Slania struck out 46 and walked 21 in 58 2/3 innings with Augusta while compiling a 3.99 ERA. Slania, who is listed at 6’5″ and 275 lbs., will throw a fastball in the low-to-mid 90’s. He was promoted to Double-A Richmond last August to help bolster a depleted Flying Squirrels bullpen for their playoff run and more than held his own in the Eastern League yielding just two runs over 11 innings.

Slania attended the University of Notre Dame where he holds the school record for career saves (30). He should get his first taste of the California League to open the 2015 season.

Alvarado had an excellent 2014 season in the Augusta bullpen logging a 2.03 ERA over 62 innings. The 25-year old Venezuelan struck out 55 and walked only 13 while holding the opposition to a .205 batting average. Alvarado pitched at least two innings on 14 occasions last year and had eight appearances of at least three innings or more. Given that track record, he could be an important member of this year’s San Jose bullpen as someone who often pitches multiple innings and bridges the gap between starter and closer.

Like Slania, Alvarado was promoted to Richmond last August. He had a 5.87 ERA in 15 1/3 innings with the Flying Squirrels.

The relief quartet of Black, Smith, Slania and Alvarado all enjoyed tremendous success in Augusta last season before finishing the year at a higher level. They now all figure to be strong candidates to start 2015 in San Jose. All four pitchers though are right-handed, so who are some of the left-handed possibilities for the Giants bullpen?

Lefty Mason McVay could return to the Cal League after spending all of 2014 in San Jose. The 6’7” southpaw out of Florida International University compiled a 4.38 ERA in 47 relief appearances with the Giants. A workhorse out of the bullpen, McVay often pitched multiple innings during his relief outings last year. Over his 72 total innings pitched, he struck out 83, walked 26 and had a .232 opponents batting average (.214 vs. left-handed hitters).

It was an up-and-down season for McVay as he started slow (ERA over 10 in April), but then had a 19-inning scoreless stretch during May and June. McVay closed the year with a 6.39 ERA in August. He’ll look to earn a spot in the Richmond bullpen this spring, but a return to San Jose is a possibility.

D.J. Snelten is another left-handed relief option for the Giants this season. Snelten (who like McVay is 6’7”) was a successful starting pitcher at the University of Minnesota before his selection in the ninth round of the 2013 draft. However, he was used exclusively as a reliever last season while in Augusta and Salem-Keizer. In 20 games out of the GreenJackets bullpen, Snelten was very impressive posting a 1.23 ERA. He struck out 32 and walked 16 in 29 1/3 innings and held left-handed hitters to a .194 batting average.

Snelten spent over a month on the disabled list during the second half and when he returned, was sent down to Salem-Keizer. With the Volcanoes, he wasn’t nearly as effective allowing seven runs over 9 1/3 innings (12 K’s) to close out the year. Snelten, who turns 23 in May, could return to Augusta to start this season or potentially make a move up to San Jose.

Other possible returnees to the Giants bullpen this season include Ian Gardeck and Jeff Soptic – two right-handers with fastballs in the upper 90’s, but also control issues. Gardeck was one of Augusta’s top relievers in 2013 (3.21 ERA), however he struggled to translate that success to the Cal League last season. In 17 appearances with the Giants, Gardeck owned a high 9.38 ERA and had more walks (28) than strikeouts (19). Gardeck also missed time during the middle portion of the season due to a hip injury.

Soptic has made 68 appearances with San Jose over the last two seasons. He lowered his ERA from 6.26 in 2013 to 4.60 last season, but still struggled to throw strikes consistently. Soptic fanned 64 batters in 62 2/3 innings in 2014, but also walked 62, which led the entire pitching staff. A former third round pick by the White Sox out of the junior college ranks, Soptic was acquired via trade by San Francisco two years ago in the deal that sent Conor Gillaspie to Chicago. Soptic is still only 23 (turns 24 in April) and possesses one of the best fastballs in the system, but needs to show improvement in his control this season.

Finally, Pat Young and Martin Agosta – two starting pitchers on last year’s San Jose team – will likely return in 2015, but it could be as relievers. Young had a 9-6 record with a 6.13 ERA in 23 starts last season for the Giants. The former 13th round pick out of Villanova pitched more than five innings in just seven out of his 23 starts. Young thrived in July last season (4-0, 3.04) before difficulties in August (0-3, 10.53).

Agosta will be in desperate need of a bounce back season. A second round draft pick in 2012 out of St. Mary’s, Agosta was an All-Star starting pitcher for the Augusta GreenJackets in his first full professional season. The right-hander though was never able to get on track in San Jose last year posting a 9.23 ERA in 11 starts with more walks (34) than strikeouts (25).

Given the number of elite pitching prospects that should fill out San Jose’s starting rotation this April, it would not be a surprise if Young and/or Agosta shifted to the bullpen if they do return to the California League.

2015 San Jose Giants Relief Pitcher Candidates
(2014 regular season statistics listed)

Martin Agosta, RHP
– San Jose: 11 GS, 3-3, 9.23 ERA, 39.0 IP, 34 BB, 25 SO

Carlos Alvarado, RHP
– Augusta: 32 G, 6-1, 2.03 ERA, 62.0 IP, 13 BB, 55 SO
– Richmond: 11 G, 2-0, 5.87 ERA, 15.1 IP, 5 BB, 11 SO

Ray Black, RHP
– Augusta: 33 G, 1-3, 3.73 ERA, 31.1 IP, 14 BB, 64 SO (1 SV)
– San Jose: 4 G, 1-0, 2.25 ERA, 4.0 IP, 2 BB, 7 SO

Ian Gardeck, RHP
– San Jose: 17 G, 1-2, 9.38 ERA, 24.0 IP, 28 BB, 19 SO
– Salem-Keizer: 12 G, 2-1, 2.70 ERA, 13.1 IP, 11 BB, 24 SO (1 SV)

Mason McVay, LHP
– San Jose: 47 G, 0-5, 4.38 ERA, 72.0 IP, 26 BB, 83 SO (1 SV)

Dan Slania, RHP
– Augusta: 43 G, 2-5, 3.99 ERA, 58.2 IP, 21 BB, 46 SO (12 SV)
– Richmond: 10 G, 0-0, 0.79 ERA, 11.1 IP, 3 BB, 3 SO

Jake Smith, RHP
– Augusta: 48 G, 3-5, 2.79 ERA, 58.0 IP, 30 BB, 77 SO (5 SV)
– San Jose: 3 G, 1 GS, 0-1, 10.80 ERA, 6.2 IP, 4 BB, 8 SO

D.J. Snelten, LHP
– Augusta: 20 G, 4-1, 1.23 ERA, 29.1 IP, 16 BB, 32 SO
– Salem-Keizer: 9 G, 0-0, 6.75 ERA, 9.1 IP, 4 BB, 12 SO

Jeff Soptic, RHP
– San Jose: 36 G, 2-1, 4.60 ERA, 62.2 IP, 62 BB, 64 SO

Pat Young, RHP
– San Jose: 24 G, 23 GS, 9-6, 6.13 ERA, 111.2 IP, 47 BB, 93 SO

The 2015 San Jose Giants preview series continues next Monday with a look at the infield.

2015 SJ Giants Starting Pitching Preview

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Former SJ Giants Receive Early Spring Playing Time

cactus-leagueCactus League games down in Arizona are underway as the San Francisco Giants prepare for the 2015 season. Several recent former San Jose Giants have received early spring playing time with Adam Duvall and Adalberto Mejia among the top performers.

Duvall is in the mix this spring for a spot on San Francisco’s opening day roster. The San Jose Giants record-holder for single-season home runs (hit 30 in 2012), Duvall made his major league debut last season when he was called up in late-June. The first/third baseman spent the majority of 2014 in Triple-A where he hit 27 home runs for the Fresno Grizzlies to lead the entire Giants farm system. Duvall opened this spring with a bang when he blasted a solo home run as part of a 2-for-4 afternoon at the plate against the A’s on Tuesday. San Francisco could be in need of a slugging right-handed bat off the bench when they open the season and with continued success this spring, Duvall would make himself an attractive candidate for the job.

Mejia won’t be opening the year in the major leagues, in fact, the left-hander will have to serve a 50-game suspension at the start of the season for violating baseball’s drug policy. However, Mejia made a strong first impression in big league camp yesterday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium against Oakland. In his one inning of work out of the bullpen, Mejia didn’t allow any runs or hits while registering a pair of strikeouts (he did hit one batter). Mejia, who excelled in the San Jose starting rotation during the 2013 season, is still just 21 years old. He logged a 4.67 ERA in 21 starts with Richmond last year and will likely return to Double-A this season after his suspension. Baseball America rated Mejia as the top left-handed starting pitching prospect in the Giants system at the start of this year.

In other early spring action, former California League All-Star Ty Blach had a rough outing on Wednesday versus the Athletics. Blach faced 10 batters out of the bullpen and yielded six hits and one walk with five runs (all earned) allowed. A non-roster invitee to big league camp this spring, Blach figures to begin the year in the Triple-A Sacramento starting rotation. Joan Gregorio relieved Blach yesterday and fired a scoreless inning. Gregorio did surrender two hits and allowed a pair of Blach’s runners to score. Gregorio pitched briefly for San Jose early last season and is a strong candidate to open 2015 back in the California League. He was added to San Francisco’s 40-man roster last November.

Hunter Strickland is looking for a strong spring to bolster his case for a spot on the opening day roster. Unfortunately, Strickland’s first outing was a rocky one as the hard-throwing right-hander allowed a home run as part of a three-run inning in Tuesday’s opener. Cody Hall, who like Gregorio was added to the 40-man roster after last season, also gave up a home run in his first appearance of the spring – a solo shot on Tuesday. Hall, who will probably earn his first taste of Triple-A ball when the regular season opens, struck one one in his one inning of work.

Former SJ Giants Ehire Adrianza (1-for-4, BB, K) and Matt Duffy (1-for-4, 2B, 2 K) might be in direct competition for the final reserve infield spot on San Francisco’s roster. Both should receive substantial playing time throughout Cactus League games. Meanwhile, Juan Perez (0-for-2) is a leading candidate to make the team should the organization want to carry a true fifth outfielder. Fellow 40-man roster members Gary Brown (0-for-4, K, SB) and Jarrett Parker (1-for-3, 2 K) should also play quite a bit throughout the month, but the duo will probably start the year back in Triple-A.

Finally, a pair of 2014 San Jose Giants hitters have seen action early this spring in third baseman Mitch Delfino and outfielder Daniel Carbonell. Delfino, a non-roster invitee, came off the bench yesterday and singled in two at-bats. Carbonell, who is on the 40-man roster, is 0-for-3 through the first two games. In all likelihood, Delfino and Carbonell will open the season with Richmond.

Over in minor league camp, players are reporting throughout the week with the first full workout scheduled for Saturday. Here are our top Giants minor league camp storylines.

2015 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Starting Pitchers

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsOur 2015 San Jose Giants position-by-position preview series begins today with a look at the starting rotation.

Since the club’s inception in 1988, no California League team can match San Jose’s success on the mound. 10 Giants hurlers have won the Cal League Pitcher of the Year award while San Jose has led the league in ERA eight times over the last 11 seasons. Looking ahead to this spring, the starting rotation will likely be the strength of the Giants once again. A talented group of hurlers that were in Augusta last season should make the jump to the California League this year. The San Jose rotation may also include San Francisco’s first round pick from last June’s draft and a starter or two returning from the 2014 team.

Behind a deep starting rotation, the Augusta GreenJackets (Giants Class-A affiliate) boasted an excellent 3.56 team ERA last season. Leading the way was left-hander Luis Ysla, who almost certainly will earn a promotion to San Jose where he’d be expected to help anchor the Giants rotation. Ysla, who turns 23 in April, won the South Atlantic League ERA title last year with an impressive mark of 2.45 in 121 1/3 innings. The southpaw averaged nearly a strikeout per inning (115 SO) while issuing 45 walks and limiting the opposition to a .231 batting average. A consistent performer throughout the entire year, Ysla allowed two runs or fewer in 17 out of his 23 starts.

Baseball America recently ranked Ysla as the #21 overall prospect in the Giants farm system and the third-highest left-handed starting pitcher (behind Adalberto Mejia and Ty Blach). Ysla features a fastball primarily in the low 90’s to go with a plus change-up and a developing slider. In two years as a professional, Ysla has enjoyed tremendous success – first in rookie-ball during the summer of 2013 (2.65 ERA in 12 starts) and then last season in Augusta. He’ll look to take another step forward this season, most likely as a member of the San Jose starting rotation.

Top prospect Keury Mella had a combined 3.45 ERA between Augusta and Salem-Keizer last season (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

Top prospect Keury Mella had a combined 3.45 ERA between Augusta and Salem-Keizer last season (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

While Ysla had the lowest ERA of the Augusta starters in 2014, the top prospect from the group was 21-year old right-hander Keury Mella. Armed with a mid 90’s sinking fastball, Mella is a groundball machine who also averaged nearly a strikeout per inning pitched last season while featuring above-average control. Prior to going down with a minor shoulder injury in late-June last year, Mella posted a 3.93 ERA in 12 starts for the GreenJackets. Over 66 1/3 innings, he struck out 63, walked just 13 and surrendered only one home run. In his last start on June 20, Mella struck out 10 batters in just six innings.

After six weeks on the disabled list, Mella returned to action in August and was sent to Short-Season Salem-Keizer, where he made six starts to finish the season. During his time with the Volcanoes, Mella fashioned a 1.83 ERA and struck out 20 batters in 19 2/3 innings. Between the two stops, Mella owned a 2-to-1 groundout-to-flyout ratio – a statistic that should bode well in the hitter-friendly conditions of the California League, should he join San Jose this spring.

In addition to his plus fastball, Mella possesses a sharp curve ball and a quality change-up. He’s rated the #4 overall prospect in the system by Baseball America entering 2015 – ahead of more established minor league pitchers Blach, Mejia and Clayton Blackburn.

Right-hander Joan Gregorio is also expected to open the year in the San Jose rotation. Gregorio began last season with the SJ Giants, but made just five starts in April before going on the disabled list. Initially, Gregorio really impressed logging a 1.88 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings over his first three starts. He was then tagged for 13 runs over his next two appearances resulting in a stint on the DL due to some minor arm fatigue. Gregorio returned three weeks later, but made just one relief outing before going back on the disabled list with a back issue.

40-man roster member Joan Gregorio will likely open this season in the San Jose starting rotation

40-man roster member Joan Gregorio will likely open this season in the San Jose starting rotation

Fortunately, Gregorio was able to get his 2014 season on track when he was sent to Augusta in mid-June. In 12 starts with the GreenJackets during the second half of the season, Gregorio owned a solid 3.57 ERA. He struck out 65 batters in 68 innings while issuing 27 walks and giving up just two homers. In his final start of the season, Gregorio fanned 10 and allowed just three hits and no earned runs over six dominant innings.

Now 23 years old, Gregorio was placed on San Francisco’s 40-man roster this past offseason to protect the right-hander from the Rule 5 draft. Gregorio has been rated the #15 overall prospect in the system by Baseball America entering 2015. In San Jose early last season, he showed a fastball primarily in the low 90’s that could reach 95. His slider was inconsistent, but a very effective pitch when located well.

Two other pitchers from last year’s Augusta rotation also figure to be strong candidates for a promotion to San Jose in left-hander Christian Jones and right-hander Chase Johnson. 2014 was the first full professional season for both hurlers after they were each selected in the prior year’s draft. Jones had the stronger year of the two as in 22 starts for the GreenJackets last season, he notched an impressive 3.33 ERA. Jones struck out 100 and walked just 26 in 110 2/3 innings. A consistent presence in the rotation, he allowed one or no earned runs in 14 out of his 22 starts.

Jones was poised for a high-round selection in the 2012 draft thanks to an excellent sophomore campaign in the University of Oregon starting rotation, but Tommy John surgery wiped out his entire junior season. He returned to action in his senior year pitching exclusively out of the bullpen before the Giants took him in the 18th round. With the injury and rehab fully behind Jones, he enjoyed a solid 2014 season in Augusta and now appears headed for the San Jose rotation. Jones’ sinking fastball reportedly sits right around 90 MPH.

Meanwhile, Johnson was a much higher pick in the 2013 draft as San Francisco selected the right-hander in the third round out of Cal Poly. A reliever in college, the Giants used Johnson almost exclusively as a starter during his first two professional seasons. Last year in 22 starts for Augusta, Johnson logged a 4.57 ERA with 94 strikeouts compared to 40 walks in 110 1/3 innings. After a 5.21 ERA in the first half, Johnson improved to a 4.06 mark after the All-Star break. In his last two starts of the season, he struck out 15 batters over 14 innings with just one run allowed.

Johnson’s best pitch is a fastball that sits primarily in the 92-to-94 MPH range while he also features a slider and a change-up. He possesses a nice pitcher’s frame and has intriguing potential. 2014 wasn’t always easy for Johnson in Augusta, but given his strong finish and third round draft pedigree, a promotion to San Jose seems very possible.

Both Jones and Johnson had better than 2-to-1 groundout-to-flyout ratios in Augusta last season. Johnson is rated the #20 overall prospect in the Giants system by Baseball America while Jones was not ranked in the top 30.

Even if all five of these Augusta starting pitchers move up to San Jose for the start of this season (which is no guarantee), there would likely still be room for another arm among the Giants starting corps. In recent years, San Jose has used a six-man rotation and 2015 will likely see more of the same.

Possible returnees could include right-hander Pat Young. Young, a 13th round pick in the 2013 draft out of Villanova, had an up-and-down first full pro season in the San Jose rotation last season. In 23 starts, he owned a 9-6 record with a 6.13 ERA. Young struck out 93 batters in 111 2/3 innings while the league hit .305 against him. Young had some nice moments with the Giants last year (notably a 4-0 record and a 3.04 ERA in five July starts), but really struggled in the middle portion of the season (7.83 ERA in May, 6.46 ERA in June) and the end (10.53 ERA in August). Back in 2013, Young had a dominant summer in Salem-Keizer compiling a 0.92 ERA in eight starts.

Young has interesting potential with his 6’7” frame and low 90’s fastball. His slider was an effective pitch as well, however Young managed to pitch past the fifth inning only seven times in 23 starts. A return to San Jose seems likely – whether it’s as a starter or out of the bullpen remains a question.

Nick Vander Tuig ended the 2014 season in the San Jose rotation and could return to the Cal League this spring

Nick Vander Tuig ended the 2014 season in the San Jose rotation and could return to the Cal League this spring

Fellow right-hander Nick Vander Tuig is also a candidate to return to the California League. Another 2013 draftee, Vander Tuig was a sixth round pick after a spectacular collegiate career at UCLA. Vander Tuig logged heavy innings in college to help the Bruins claim the national championship, but struggled to find his groove last year in his first full professional season. In six appearances (two starts) with Augusta, Vander Tuig had a lofty 11.17 ERA before going down to the Arizona Rookie League and dominating against much younger competition (0.95 ERA in five starts). He joined San Jose in early-August and finished the year in the Giants rotation. Initially, Vander Tuig threw well posting a 2.12 ERA in his first three starts for San Jose. Unfortunately, he was unable to end the season on a high note logging an 8.40 ERA with 30 hits allowed in his final three starts.

Vander Tuig isn’t a particularly hard thrower as he showed a fastball mainly in the upper 80’s late last season in the California League. He does, however, bring a four-pitch repertoire to the table and has always possessed excellent control throughout his career. Vander Tuig was a star at UCLA (14-4, 2.16 ERA in his last season) and the Giants organization will be looking for him to return to top form in 2015, perhaps in San Jose.

Former second round pick Martin Agosta is another possible returnee to the San Jose rotation. Agosta’s first two full professional seasons were polar opposites. In 2013, he was one of the top pitchers in the South Atlantic League while a member of the Augusta GreenJackets. In 18 starts, he fashioned a 2.06 ERA, struck out 109 in 91 2/3 innings and earned All-Star honors. Expectations were sky high for Agosta entering 2014, but unfortunately the St. Mary’s product had a year to forget.

Agosta began the campaign in the San Jose rotation, but had a 10.55 ERA and more walks than strikeouts in his first seven starts before he was removed from the active roster. After just over a month on the sidelines, Agosta restarted his season in the Arizona Rookie League making four starts. He returned to San Jose in late-July, but continued to struggle against California League hitters. Overall in 11 starts with the Giants last season, Agosta owned a 9.23 ERA with 34 walks and 25 strikeouts in 39 innings.

Agosta’s standing as a former second round pick combined with his dominant 2013 season in the South Atlantic League should give him another opportunity once 2015 begins. Whether that’s in San Jose or at a lower level remains to be seen. Wherever he ends up, there’s no question that Agosta is going to have a lot to prove when this season begins.

Finally, the potential headline name of the San Jose 2015 starting rotation is not someone coming up from Augusta or returning to the club, but instead a pitcher looking to make the jump all the way from Salem-Keizer. 2014 first round draft pick Tyler Beede is another candidate for the SJ Giants starting rotation this April.

2014 first round draft pick Tyler Beede could begin his first full professional season in San Jose (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

2014 first round draft pick Tyler Beede could begin his first full professional season in San Jose (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

The 14th overall pick in last June’s draft, Beede had an outstanding collegiate career at Vanderbilt. As a sophomore in 2013, he was 14-1 with a 2.32 ERA to earn SEC Pitcher of the Year and All-American honors. Last spring, Beede’s ERA climbed to 4.05, but he still managed 116 strikeouts in 113 innings and was the #1 starter on Vanderbilt’s national championship team.

Due to a heavy workload in college, the Giants didn’t push Beede last summer after he signed his professional contract (a $2.6 million bonus). The right-hander threw just 15 innings between the Arizona Rookie League and Salem-Keizer combining for a 2.94 ERA with 18 strikeouts and seven walks. Beede, who turns 22 in May, has an ideal pitcher’s frame at 6’4” and 215 lbs. His fastball sits 92 to 94 MPH and can reach 97. Beede’s curve ball can be a strikeout pitch while his change-up is a legitimate plus offering. On top of all that, Beede has a great feel for pitching.

A promotion to the California League this April would be a big jump for Beede. He’s struggled at times with his control (averaged almost five walks per nine innings during his collegiate career) and has barely pitched as a professional. But given his big-game college experience and first round draft selection, it would not at all be a surprise if Beede opened the season in the San Jose rotation.

Baseball America ranks Beede as the top overall pitching prospect in the entire Giants organization (#2 overall – behind Andrew Susac).

Beede (#1), Mella (#3), Gregorio (#8), Johnson (#10) and Ysla (#11) are all ranked among the top 11 starting pitching prospects in the system by Baseball America to open 2015. Furthermore, the lefty Jones was one of the most consistent starters in the South Atlantic League last season while Agosta, Vander Tuig and Young will attempt to recapture some of the magic from earlier in their careers. All of these pitchers may not start the year with the Giants, but the potential exists for an exciting, prospect-laden starting rotation in San Jose once again.

2015 San Jose Giants Starting Pitching Candidates
(2014 regular season statistics listed)

Martin Agosta, RHP
– San Jose: 11 GS, 3-3, 9.23 ERA, 39.0 IP, 34 BB, 25 SO

Tyler Beede, RHP
– Salem-Keizer: 2 GS, 0-0, 2.70 ERA, 6.2 IP, 3 BB, 7 SO
– AZL-Giants: 4 GS, 0-1, 3.12 ERA, 8.2 IP, 4 BB, 11 SO

Joan Gregorio, RHP
– San Jose: 6 G, 5 GS, 2-2, 6.75 ERA, 22.2 IP, 13 BB, 27 SO
– Augusta: 13 G, 12 GS, 2-7, 3.57 ERA, 68.0 IP, 27 BB, 65 SO

Chase Johnson, RHP
– Augusta: 23 G, 22 GS, 4-7, 4.57 ERA, 110.1 IP, 40 BB, 94 SO

Christian Jones, LHP
– Augusta: 22 GS, 5-9, 3.33 ERA, 110.2 IP, 26 BB, 100 SO

Keury Mella, RHP
– Augusta: 12 GS, 3-3, 3.93 ERA, 66.1 IP, 13 BB, 63 SO
– Salem-Keizer: 6 GS, 1-1, 1.83 ERA, 19.2 IP, 6 BB, 20 SO

Nick Vander Tuig, RHP
– San Jose: 6 GS, 3-2, 5.06 ERA, 32.0 IP, 5 BB, 19 SO
– Augusta: 6 G, 2 GS, 0-0, 11.17 ERA, 9.2 IP, 5 BB, 6 SO

Pat Young, RHP
– San Jose: 24 G, 23 GS, 9-6, 6.13 ERA, 111.2 IP, 47 BB, 93 SO

Luis Ysla, LHP
– Augusta: 24 G, 23 GS, 6-7, 2.45 ERA, 121.1 IP, 45 BB, 115 SO

The 2015 San Jose Giants preview series will continue next Monday with a look at the bullpen.

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When They Were San Jose Giants: Madison Bumgarner

By Joe Ritzo

Madison Bumgarner had a 1.48 ERA in five starts with the San Jose Giants during the 2009 season

Madison Bumgarner had a 1.48 ERA in five starts with the San Jose Giants during the 2009 season

Our “When They Were San Jose Giants” series concludes this week with 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. The standout starting pitcher was a major contributor on all three recent San Francisco championship teams, including a legendary performance throughout the postseason last fall. Before he was dominating in the big leagues though, Bumgarner was a top prospect advancing through the Giants farm system. In 2009, he made a brief stop in San Jose and helped the Giants claim a first half division title en route to a championship. Here’s a look back at Bumgarner’s memorable stint in the California League…

By the time Bumgarner was placed on San Jose’s 2009 opening day roster, the young southpaw was already a well-known name among Giants fans. The 10th overall pick two years earlier, Bumgarner started his professional career with a bang in 2008 while playing for Class-A Augusta. In 24 starts with the GreenJackets, Bumgarner fashioned a 15-3 record to go with a spectacular 1.46 ERA. He struck out 164 batters in 141 2/3 innings while issuing just 21 walks and yielding three home runs. The banner year helped Augusta take home the league championship.

Baseball America rated Bumgarner as the #1 overall prospect in the Giants farm system following the 2008 season (even ahead of Buster Posey) noting at the time that, “his fastball is a devastating two-strike pitch when he elevates it,” he’s a “physical, durable beast and a good athlete” and has “all the gifts to be a #1 starter.”

At age 19, Bumgarner made his California League debut when the San Jose Giants hosted the Stockton Ports on April 10, 2009 (second game of the season). There was a palpable buzz around Municipal Stadium as the game began as San Francisco’s #1 prospect (Bumgarner) was making the start and throwing to the #2 prospect in the system (Posey). It was the first time that the duo had worked together in an actual game – a glimpse into the bright future for the two players and the organization as a whole.

It was going to be nearly impossible for Bumgarner to match expectations that night at Muni, but the emerging star dazzled. Facing the club’s top rival, Bumgarner fired six shutout innings allowing just two hits (both singles) with no walks and five strikeouts. Bumgarner didn’t give up a hit in his last three innings and would garner the win as the Giants cruised to a 4-0 victory. Offensively, the biggest hit was supplied by another future big leaguer as Brandon Crawford launched a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Bumgarner faced the Ports again six days later – this time at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton. The results, though, were the same. Over five impressive innings in his first road start, the lefty yielded just one unearned run on four hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts. First base prospect Angel Villalona hit a homer and drove in two runs as San Jose posted a 3-1 victory.

Bumgarner’s winning ways continued in his third start as he faced the Lake Elsinore Storm on April 22 back at Municipal Stadium. Once again, he was in complete control throughout the entire outing. In five innings, Bumgarner surrendered one run, didn’t issue a walk and fanned five. The Giants won easily by an 8-1 margin. Through three starts, Bumgarner was a perfect 3-0 to go with a 0.56 ERA (1 earned run in 16 innings). The top prospect, who was still a teenager, was making it look easy against hitters far older and with more professional experience.

Bumgarner’s only minor hiccup in a San Jose uniform came in his fourth start when the Giants traveled to Lancaster for a late-April series against the JetHawks. Pitching in arguably the most hitter-friendly ballpark in all of Minor League Baseball, Bumgarner endured a humbling experience as Lancaster tagged him for six runs on six hits in just 3 1/3 innings. Bumgarner struck out five in the start and walked one, but didn’t receive much help from his defense as the Giants committed three errors behind their starter leading to four unearned runs. It was rocky start for Bumgarner, but perhaps one that he was able to learn from as he continued his journey towards the big leagues. Meanwhile, the Giants still won the game exploding in the middle and late innings to post a 17-7 victory. Posey homered in the contest while outfield prospect Thomas Neal hit for the cycle.

Bumgarner and Posey walking in from the bullpen together before a game at Municipal Stadium

Bumgarner and Posey walking in from the bullpen together before a game at Municipal Stadium

Bumgarner ended April with a 1.40 ERA in four starts. His next outing came on May 4 when San Jose took on the Modesto Nuts at Municipal Stadium. Bumgarner gave up one run in the first inning, but settled down from there allowing just one unearned run for the remainder of his start. It was a solid bounce back effort after his rough performance in Lancaster. In five innings versus the Nuts, Bumgarner was charged with one earned run on just three hits. He walked one, struck out four and took a hard-luck loss as the Giants were shutout by a 2-0 score. It would turn out to be Bumgarner’s final start in front of the hometown fans at Municipal Stadium.

A day later, San Jose embarked on a season-long 13-game road trip through Bakersfield, Modesto and Visalia. Bumgarner was scheduled to start twice on the trip, but his plans would change. After the first two games in Bakersfield, Bumgarner, along with Crawford, got the call to Double-A Connecticut. The San Francisco front office had already seen enough of Bumgarner in the California League. Even the most prized prospects usually spend at least half of a season with San Jose before moving up to a higher level. For Bumgarner though, it was only one month and five total starts with the Giants.

Clearly Bumgarner was ready for the aggressive promotion as the 19-year old logged an incredible 1.93 ERA and a 9-1 record in 19 starts for Connecticut through the end of the regular season. The Giants then promoted their top prospect again, this time straight to San Francisco. He made his major league debut on September 8, 2009 at AT&T Park against the San Diego Padres – just four months after leaving San Jose. Bumgarner worked 5 1/3 effective innings that night allowing just two runs with a walk and four strikeouts. He then didn’t surrender a run over three relief appearances to close out a truly spectacular season.

With the organization feeling he needed a bit more seasoning, Bumgarner opened 2010 in Triple-A, but again impressed posting a 3.16 ERA and a 7-1 record in 14 starts. By late-June, he was back in the major leagues and this time, it was to stay. San Francisco Giants fans are quite familiar with the story from there. A terrific second half of 2010 before a stellar postseason that included a masterful performance in Game 4 of the World Series in Texas at age 21. Bumgarner’s rise continued with a solid 2011 season before winning 16 games in the Giants rotation the following year. He dazzled again in the World Series in 2012 versus Detroit as San Francisco won their second championship. The 2013 season saw Bumgarner post the lowest regular season ERA of his young career (2.77) and then last year, he truly became the ace of the staff. Following an 18-win, sub-3.00 ERA regular season, Bumgarner put together an historic postseason. A 1.03 ERA in seven playoff appearances last October included three World Series outings in which he threw 21 innings with just one run allowed. Fittingly, it was Bumgarner on the mound in the ninth inning of Game 7, out of the bullpen no less, to close out the Royals and lift the Giants to a third World Championship in five years.

Bumgarner Fun Facts
* Bumgarner (2014) and Pablo Sandoval (2012) are the only former San Jose Giants to have won a World Series MVP.
* In five starts with the San Jose Giants during the 2009 season, Bumgarner was 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA. In 24 1/3 innings, he allowed 20 hits, four earned runs, walked just four and struck out 23. He held the opposition to a .217 batting average.
* In his three starts at Municipal Stadium, Bumgarner had a 1.13 ERA.
* Bumgarner was the youngest pitcher on San Jose’s 2009 team.
* Bumgarner, Posey and relief pitcher Dan Runzler all played for both San Jose and San Francisco in 2009.
* Bumgarner’s career minor league numbers (2008-10): 62 starts, 34-6 record, 2.00 ERA (355 IP, 77 BB, 315 SO).

Bumgarner is one of the very few prospects to have played for both San Jose and San Francisco in the same season

Bumgarner is one of the very few prospects to have played for both San Jose and San Francisco in the same season

**********************************************

WHEN THEY WERE SAN JOSE GIANTS SERIES

Buster Posey

Hunter Strickland

Travis Ishikawa

Tim Lincecum

Brandon Crawford

Matt Duffy

Brandon Belt

Sergio Romo

Juan Perez

Joe Panik

Episode 46 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants podcastIt’s the Inside the San Jose Giants predictions podcast! Who will lead the San Francisco Giants farm system in home runs this year? Who are the “sleeper” prospects poised to breakout this season? How many former San Jose Giants will debut in the major leagues in 2015? Who will finish the year ranked as the #1 prospect in the organization? Joe and Ben tackle these topics as well as make other bold predictions for the upcoming minor league season in this podcast episode.

News and Notes: Minor League Camp Begins Next Week, Baseball America Top 100, Former SJ Giants Return

By Joe Ritzo

San Francisco Giants minor league camp begins next week down in Scottsdale. International players are due to report on Wednesday, March 4 while all U.S. players must report by Friday, March 6. The first full workout is scheduled for Saturday, March 7. Giants minor leaguers will then participate in several workouts and intra-squad games over the following days before their exhibition opener on Wednesday, March 18.

Here is the full spring training game schedule for the “High-A” team – the players most likely to begin the season in San Jose.

An official announcement of the 2015 San Jose Giants roster will not occur until after the final exhibition game. Camp breaks on Monday, April 6 with San Jose’s season opener set for Thursday, April 9 in Lancaster.

Giants Minor League Camp Storylines

Former San Jose Giant Andrew Susac was ranked the #88 overall prospect by Baseball America last week

Former San Jose Giant Andrew Susac was ranked the #88 overall prospect by Baseball America last week

BASEBALL AMERICA TOP 100 PROSPECTS
Former San Jose Giants catcher Andrew Susac was included on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list released last week. Susac, the only member of the San Francisco organization to crack the top 100, was ranked at #88 overall.

Susac was the sixth highest catcher on Baseball America’s top prospect list. The former second round draft pick hit .268 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI’s in 63 games for Triple-A Fresno last season before an August promotion to San Francisco. In the big leagues, Susac impressed batting .273 with eight doubles, three homers and 19 RBI’s in 88 at-bats. Susac played for the San Jose Giants during the 2012 season.

Last year, the Giants placed two prospects on Baseball America’s top 100 list: pitchers Kyle Crick (#33) and Edwin Escobar (#56). Escobar debuted in the major leagues late last season with Boston while Crick spent the entire 2014 campaign in Double-A Richmond. Crick (#79) was on the MLB.com Top 100 list last month.

MINOR LEAGUE FREE AGENT UPDATES
Former California League All-Star Kevin Pucetas has returned to the Giants organization. Pucetas became a minor league free agent last July after he was released by the Texas Rangers. Originally a 17th round pick of the San Francisco Giants, Pucetas dazzled in the California League with San Jose during the 2008 season. In 24 starts with the Giants that year, the right-hander fashioned a 10-2 record and a 3.02 ERA. Pucetas advanced as high as Triple-A in the Giants organization before he was traded to Kansas City in October of 2010. After stints in the Royals and Nationals farm systems, Pucetas became a knuckleball pitcher while in the Rangers organization late in 2013. Last season, Pucetas worked as a reliever and between Class-A Hickory and Class-A Advanced Myrtle Beach, logged a 4.36 ERA in 53 2/3 innings (51 hits, 33 walks, 32 strikeouts). Pucetas turned 30 last November.

In other minor league free agent news, former SJ Giants Jose Casilla and Skyler Stromsmoe have re-signed with the Giants organization. Casilla, the younger brother of San Francisco closer Santiago, was one of San Jose’s top relievers in 2013. Last year in Richmond, he owned a 3.97 ERA in 41 appearances. The versatile Stromsmoe was a San Jose Giant during the 2009 championship season and briefly again in 2012 and 2013. With the Flying Squirrels last year, Stromsmoe batted .233 with 14 doubles, no homers and 15 RBI’s in 104 games. He made starts at second, third, shortstop, left and center.

As previously reported, former SJ Giants Mark Minicozzi (Nationals) and Nick Noonan (Yankees) signed minor league deals elsewhere earlier in the offseason. Veteran outfielder Tyler Graham, a San Jose Giant in 2008 and 2009 who then returned to the organization last year, has retired. He’s now serving as an assistant coach at Oregon State University. Graham hit .255 with 38 stolen bases for Richmond last season.

OTHER NOTES
* The full 2015 San Jose Giants schedule – with all home and road game times – is now available. The schedule can be downloaded here.

* 2015 San Jose Giants position-by-position season preview articles will begin next week with detailed breakdowns of a possible opening day roster. The first preview article coming next Monday looks at the potential Giants starting rotation. All remaining preview articles will be posted every Monday through the conclusion of spring training.
March 2 – Starting Pitchers
March 9 – Bullpen
March 16 – Infield
March 23 – Outfield
March 30 – Catcher

When They Were San Jose Giants: Buster Posey

By Joe Ritzo

Buster Posey was a standout player on San Jose's 2009 championship team

Buster Posey was a standout player on San Jose’s 2009 championship team

One of 16 former San Jose Giants on San Francisco’s playoff rosters last fall, Buster Posey first made his mark professionally as a standout catcher in the California League. The top prospect and former first round draft pick was the leader of the 2009 San Jose team that set a franchise record for wins on their way to a league championship. His success in the minors jumpstarted a major league career that has already included the NL Rookie of the Year, an MVP award and three World Series. Here’s a look back at Posey’s tenure as a San Jose Giant…

Posey’s most significant impact in San Jose came during the memorable 2009 season, but the emerging star first appeared in the Cal League the previous year. Just three months after his selection in the draft (sixth overall pick) and with only 10 games of professional experience under his belt, Posey joined the Giants for the 2008 California League playoffs. The move of promoting a player to the Class-A Advanced level in the same year he was drafted is incredibly rare in the Giants organization. But Posey, of course, was not your typical player.

The ’08 SJ Giants had won the first half title that year and thus earned a first round bye in the postseason. They opened the playoffs on September 6 at Municipal Stadium with Game One of the best-of-five North Division Series against the Stockton Ports. Posey, in his Cal League debut, found himself in the fifth spot in the lineup while starting at catcher. The Giants trailed most of the night as Stockton built a 3-1 lead before Posey helped bring the home team back. In the bottom of the eighth inning with two on base, Posey ripped a single into right field to score a run cutting the Stockton lead in half. The hit led to an exciting four-run rally as San Jose came-from-behind for a crucial 5-3 victory. Posey, who was removed for a pinch-runner after his key RBI hit, finished 1-for-3.

The next day, Posey went 2-for-4 with an RBI, but the Giants failed to hold a four-run lead and dropped a 7-6 heartbreaker. Stockton carried that momentum back home to win Game Three before the Giants rallied in Game Four to again tie the series. The teams shifted back to Muni for the decisive fifth game but the Ports rolled to a 9-4 victory to end San Jose’s season. For Posey, who went 4-for-17 in the Division Series, it was the end of a long season that had started in the winter at Florida State University. Meanwhile for San Jose Giants fans, it was a sneak peak of some great things to come the following spring.

After a full offseason to rest and his first spring training as a pro, Posey returned to the San Jose Giants for the start of the 2009 campaign. The ’09 SJ Giants opening day lineup featured seven future major leagues such as Brandon Crawford, Conor Gillaspie, Nick Noonan, Roger Kieschnick, Thomas Neal and Darren Ford. But it was Posey, despite having less than 60 at-bats in his professional career, who was the headliner. The major league Giants were coming off of four straight losing seasons and the fan base was desperate for homegrown talent to make their way through the system. Much of that hope resided with Posey. Unlike with any other player in recent memory to come through San Jose, a buzz could be felt throughout Municipal Stadium whenever Posey stepped into the batter’s box and the top prospect did not disappoint.

Posey went from California League All-Star with San Jose in 2009 to National League Rookie of the Year in 2010

Posey went from California League All-Star with San Jose in 2009 to National League Rookie of the Year in 2010

Posey hit fourth in the lineup on opening night as the Giants cruised past Stockton by a 5-1 score. Posey managed just two hits over the first three games of the season before a breakout afternoon in game #4 when he finished 2-for-4 with his first home run in a San Jose uniform – a first-inning two-run blast to deep left. Of note, Crawford had homered earlier in the inning as San Jose eventually went onto win by a 10-0 score to complete a sweep of the season-opening series.

Posey’s big first week continued the next night with Bakersfield in town as the slugging backstop homered again. Two days later, it was another home run for Posey – his third round-tripper in the last four games. After a 3-for-5 effort in Stockton on April 17th, Posey had seen his batting average climb to .471 (16-for-34) through the first nine games.

While it was impossible for Posey to maintain that high of an average over the course of the season, there were rarely any hiccups for the elite prospect throughout the first half. The final two days of a series in High Desert in late-April saw Posey combine for five hits, including two doubles, a home run and six RBI’s. He homered again two days later and would finish April with a .366 batting average and 20 RBI’s in 20 games.

The only slump Posey endured during his time with the SJ Giants was over the first two weeks of May – a 3-for-27 slide spanning nine games that dropped his season average below .300. Meanwhile, San Jose fell out of first place in the North Division standings, but the slump, both for Posey and the team, would not last.

Starting on May 10, Posey would hit safely in 13 out of his next 16 games. From May 18-23 (six games), Posey clubbed three homers, collected a whopping 14 RBI’s and knocked out nine hits. With the hot streak, Posey was back above .300 and the Giants had regained their footing in the first half race.

The contest on May 30 began Posey’s longest hit streak with the Giants – a 10-game run through the second week of June. Posey’s most memorable individual moment with San Jose came during the streak when on Friday, June 5 versus Bakersfield at Municipal Stadium, he stepped to the plate to begin the bottom of the 13th inning and crushed a walk-off solo home run to left center. The homer, Posey’s 10th of the season, was his first walk-off HR as a professional and gave the Giants a critical late-first half win.

After a brief road trip in Bakersfield, San Jose returned to Municipal Stadium for their final homestand of the first half. At the time, the Giants were just one game out of first place. 10 games were left – all against division rivals – with a playoff berth and a first round bye at stake. And with Posey leading the way, San Jose steamrolled through the competition to takeover the division lead. The Giants won five out of the six contests during the last homestand with Posey hitting safely in all six of the games. During the stretch, he rapped out 12 hits in 20 at-bats for a sizzling .600 batting average while also producing three doubles and two RBI’s. Performing at a high level in the season’s biggest games was prevalent even in the early stages of Posey’s professional career.

San Jose then embarked on a road trip to Stockton for their final series of the half. In the third-to-last-game, Posey belted another home run as the Giants secured a key victory. The next night, San Jose won in 10 innings to officially clinch the first half North Division title for a league-record fifth consecutive season. The Giants ended the half with a 42-28 record – two games ahead of Modesto and three games in front of Visalia.

Posey hit .328 with 11 home runs in the first half of the 2009 season and that production was more than enough to earn him All-Star honors. Posey started for the Cal League behind the plate in the California-Carolina League All-Star Game down in Lake Elsinore and went 1-for-2 with an RBI single in the contest (the Cal League won by a 2-1 score).

The general feeling at the time was that Posey’s days as a San Jose Giant were numbered. He had clearly established himself as one of the elite hitters in the league and while it was uncommon for a player in his first full professional season to advance to the upper levels of the system, clearly Posey was not your run-of-the-mill player. He was handling the rigors of catching everyday and calling his own game with ease. Offensively, Posey was perhaps the most feared hitter in the league and just helped the Giants win a division title.

Posey hit .326 with 13 home runs and 58 RBI's in 80 games with the San Jose Giants during the 2009 season

Posey hit .326 with 13 home runs and 58 RBI’s in 80 games with the San Jose Giants during the 2009 season

As it turned out, Posey spent just the first three weeks of the second half with San Jose before receiving a well-deserved promotion. He had multi-hits in five out of his last 10 games while homering twice during the stretch. His final game in a San Jose uniform came on July 13 in Visalia – a 17-1 thrashing of the host Rawhide to complete a four-game sweep. Posey went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles, three runs scored and an RBI that night as San Jose had run out to a 16-3 start to the second half. The Cal League was no match for Posey and the next day he was promoted, not to Double-A, but all the way to Triple-A Fresno.

Posey was clearly on the fast-track to the major leagues. He hit .321 in 35 games with the Grizzlies over the next month and a half before receiving a September call-up to San Francisco. Posey had become one of a very small handful of players in San Jose Giants history to play for San Jose and San Francisco in the same season (Madison Bumgarner accomplished the same feat in 2009).

Posey only received 17 at-bats that September in “The Show” as he played a secondary role on the big league club. He returned to Fresno to begin 2010, but after batting .349 with six home runs in 47 games, it was clear that he had nothing else to prove at the minor league level. Posey was promoted, for good, to San Francisco during the final week of May and what transpired next was the beginning of a truly legendary career in the major leagues. Posey hit .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBI’s in roughly two-thirds of a big league season that summer to win the Rookie of the Year award and propel the franchise to great heights. His overwhelming success continued through the playoffs as the Giants won their first World Championship in 56 years. Since, Posey has taken home an MVP award and won two more titles.

It’s a professional career for Buster Posey that kicked-off in impressive fashion while a member of the San Jose Giants back in 2008 and 2009. Now, still at just age 27, Posey has already established himself as one of the all-time great players in Giants history.

Posey Fun Facts
• Of the 173 former San Jose Giants to have reached the major leagues, Posey is the only one to have won a Most Valuable Player Award. He’s also the only former SJ Giant to have won a Rookie of the Year.
• In addition to his three World Championships in San Francisco, Posey also has a California League championship ring after the 2009 San Jose Giants won the title. 2009 was Posey’s only full season in the minor leagues. At the time of Posey’s promotion to Triple-A, San Jose was 58-31 (.652). The Giants then went 35-16 (.686) for the remainder of the season en route to a team-record 93 wins. Posey had already reached the big leagues when San Jose swept High Desert in September to claim the title.
• In 80 games with the San Jose Giants during the 2009 season, Posey hit .326. He also produced 23 doubles, 13 home runs and 58 RBI’s. Posey walked (45) just as often as he struck out (45) and had a .428 on-base percentage. He was also 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts.
• Prior to opening the ’09 season in San Jose, Posey had played in just 15 games as a professional.
• Posey’s best month with San Jose in 2009 was June when he hit .385. He also hit .366 in April and .357 in July.
• Posey’s batting average with runners in scoring position as a San Jose Giant was .368. It was .410 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
• Posey never played an inning at the Class-A level or the Double-A level on his way to the big leagues (Arizona Rookie League to Short-Season Salem-Keizer to San Jose to Fresno to San Francisco).
• Baseball America rated Posey as the #1 prospect in the California League during the 2009 season.
• Posey is one of 17 players from the 2009 San Jose Giants to have reached the major leagues. Posey, Bumgarner and relief pitcher Dan Runzler played for both San Jose and San Francisco during the 2009 season.

Posey played for both the San Jose and San Francisco Giants in 2009

Posey played for both the San Jose and San Francisco Giants in 2009

Pitchers and Catchers Report Today

By Joe Ritzo

SF Giants logoSan Francisco Giants pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale today signifying the official start of spring training. A few days later, all 62 players invited to camp will have arrived with the first full squad workout scheduled for next Tuesday. Of the 62 players, 34 are former San Jose Giants with many of those attempting to earn spots on the opening day roster while others will be appearing in their first league big camp looking to make a good impression.

There were 14 former San Jose Giants on San Francisco’s World Series winning roster last fall. In all likelihood, there will be a similar number of former SJ Giants on the opening day roster at the end of the spring. In addition to returnees Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Sergio Romo, Ryan Vogelsong, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford, players such as Joe Panik and Travis Ishikawa are near-locks to make the roster after emerging with the club down the stretch last season. Matt Cain is also expected to return to full health for the start of the year after an elbow injury sidelined the workhorse right-hander during the second half of last season.

Ehire Adrianza and Juan Perez made the opening day roster last year with the latter, of course, playing a major role on the club during the playoffs. Players such as Andrew Susac, Matt Duffy and Hunter Strickland will be attempting to make their first opening day roster after each spent all of last October with the big league team. Hector Sanchez, Adam Duvall and Gary Brown have varying levels of prior experience in San Francisco with each looking to put themselves in the conversation for a spot on the team. Meanwhile, top prospects such as Kyle Crick, Steven Okert, Ty Blach and Mac Williamson will look to make a strong impression this spring to help their cause for a call-up later in the year.

A year after winning the World Series, the bulk of San Francisco’s roster is set as spring training gets underway. However, there should be some intriguing competition for the final few position player spots with multiple former SJ Giants among the top candidates.

Adrianza and Duffy figure to be in competition for a reserve infield spot on the opening day roster. Adrianza didn’t play after July 24 last season, but started to come on offensively before his injury and given that he’s out of options, is probably the more likely candidate to make the roster. A top-flight defensive player with substantial experience at shortstop, Adrianza hit .237 with six doubles and no home runs in 97 big league at-bats last season.

Former SJ Giant Matt Duffy will look to make his first big league opening day roster this spring

Former SJ Giant Matt Duffy will look to make his first big league opening day roster this spring

Meanwhile, Duffy was promoted straight from Double-A Richmond to San Francisco just after Adrianza’s season-ending injury last season. And Duffy was so impressive late in the year, primarily as a pinch-hitter, that he was included on the playoff roster and continued to make an impact through October. In 60 regular season at-bats last season with the Giants, Duffy batted .267 with a pair of doubles. Duffy has seen action almost exclusively at shortstop in the minor leagues, but was mainly a second baseman when given an opportunity to play in the field after his call-up last season. Duffy has still yet to play an inning of Triple-A ball in his career. He could force his way back onto the big league roster this spring or the organization could send him down to Sacramento to play everyday.

Duvall is another option to make the roster in a reserve role. The slugging corner infielder smacked 27 home runs in just 91 Triple-A games last season and then went deep three more times over 73 at-bats in San Francisco, but managed just a .192 batting average in “The Show.” Duvall could provide a lift as a much-needed right-handed power bat coming off the bench and will have a lot to prove this spring.

In the outfield, Perez enters another spring fighting for a spot on the opening day roster. Perez made the team coming out of camp last season, but spent the majority of the year shutting back-and-forth between Triple-A and the big leagues. He hit just .170 in 100 major league at-bats last season, but continued to play a strong defensive outfield. His greatest impact was then made in the playoffs when he supplied several big moments coming off the bench before starting Game 7 of the World Series in left field.

If the team decides they want a true fifth outfielder on the roster, then Perez figures to be the leading candidate to again make the team. It is possible though that Ishikawa, a natural first baseman, but someone who gained substantial experience in left during the playoffs last fall, could fill that role with Perez going back to Triple-A. Either way, it’s a big spring for Perez as he attempts to further establish himself at the highest level.

At the catching position, the back-up job appears to be Susac’s to lose after his strong first impression in the big leagues late last season. Regarded by many now as the #1 prospect in the organization, Susac hit .273 with eight doubles and three home runs in 88 at-bats during the regular season before spending the entire postseason on the roster. Given his success combined with Sanchez’s concussion issues last season, it’s expected that Susac will make the opening day roster for the first time in his career. Still, this will serve as an important spring for Susac as he manages those high expectations and looks to continue to show he deserves a spot on the roster.

Meanwhile, Sanchez will look to prove that he’s back at full strength and ready to help the club this season. Sanchez hit just .196 with eight doubles and three home runs in 163 at-bats last season and didn’t see any big league action after July 25.

Hunter Strickland was a September call-up last season before making the playoff roster in October

Hunter Strickland was a September call-up last season before making the playoff roster in October

On the pitching side, there are far fewer former San Jose Giants that are on the cusp of making the opening day roster. The big name to follow will be Strickland, who quickly climbed through the ranks last season. After a promotion straight from Double-A on September 1, Strickland didn’t allow a run in nine big league relief appearances and also notched a key save during the final week of the regular season. He enjoyed more success early in the postseason with another save in Game 2 of the NLDS before a humbling experience throughout the remainder of the playoffs in which he struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark. Still regarded as one of the top relief pitcher prospects in the system and a potential future closer, Strickland enters this spring with visions of making an opening day roster for the first time. A major storyline throughout the March exhibition games will be seeing how Strickland bounces back from his disappointing October.

If all of the veterans are healthy and ready for opening day (notably Cain and Tim Hudson), then there may not be a spot for Strickland on the roster (as then the likes of Vogelsong and Yusmeiro Petit figure to start the year in the bullpen). Still, even if Strickland doesn’t make the team coming out of camp, he almost certainly will have a role, perhaps a major one, on the 2015 San Francisco Giants eventually.

Top prospect starting pitchers Crick, Blach, Clayton Blackburn, Adalberto Mejia and Chris Stratton will also be in big league camp. None of these hurlers have yet to pitch above the Double-A level, but the spring certainly offers a great opportunity to impress in front of the big league coaching staff. The organization hopes they represent the next wave of great homegrown Giants starting pitchers. Minor league veteran and former SJ Giant standout Chris Heston was a September call-up last season and is almost certainly headed back to Triple-A, but will look for a solid spring to bolster his chances for big league time later in the year.

Former San Jose relievers Cody Hall, Steven Okert and Ray Black will be in camp as well, but all have also yet to pitch above Double-A (and in Black’s case, above the Class-A Advanced level). Relievers though can move quickly through the system and all three are obviously held in high regard by the organization as the spring opens.

A bevy of former San Jose outfielders will also be in big league camp this spring, including Brown, Williamson, Daniel Carbonell and Jarrett Parker. Only Brown has big league experience among this group as a September call-up last year. For Williamson, this spring offers a chance to get back on the field in game situations for the first time since last April when he underwent Tommy John surgery. Carbonell and Parker, like Brown, are on the 40-man roster which figures to increase their chances for a call-up later in the year.

Finally, former San Jose infielders Mitch Delfino and Kelby Tomlinson aren’t in contention for spots on the opening day roster, but will also start the spring in big league camp. Delfino had a solid 2014 season in San Jose and the Giants organization generally lacks for quality third base depth in the upper levels of the system, which should help his cause. Tomlinson, who played both shortstop and second last year in Richmond, led the Eastern League with 49 stolen bases in 2014.

All position players are due to report by Monday. San Francisco’s first spring training game is Tuesday, March 3 versus the Oakland Athletics. The 36-game Cactus League schedule runs through Saturday, April 4. The SF Giants open the regular season on Monday, April 6 at Arizona.

Top Prospects Know The Way To San Jose

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsSeveral former San Jose Giants have found themselves on recently released top prospect lists. Baseball America’s top 30 San Francisco prospects includes 19 players who have suited up for San Jose. Additionally, a handful of others on the list are projected to play in the California League with the Giants this season.

BASEBALL AMERICA TOP 30
(Bold indicates former San Jose Giant)
1. Andrew Susac, C
2. Tyler Beede, RHP
3. Kyle Crick, RHP
4. Keury Mella, RHP
5. Clayton Blackburn, RHP
6. Adalberto Mejia, LHP
7. Ty Blach, LHP
8. Hunter Strickland, RHP
9. Matt Duffy, SS

10. Christian Arroyo, SS/2B
11. Mac Williamson, OF
12. Chris Stratton, RHP
13. Adam Duvall, 3B/1B
14. Daniel Carbonell, OF
15. Joan Gregorio, OF

16. Aramis Garcia, C
17. Kendry Flores, RHP
18. Michael Santos, RHP
19. Cody Hall, RHP
20. Chase Johnson, RHP
21. Luis Ysla, LHP
22. Steven Okert, LHP
23. Derek Law, RHP
24. Ray Black, RHP
25. Chris Heston, RHP

26. Luis Castillo, RHP
27. Rodolfo Martinez, RHP
28. Gary Brown, OF
29. Logan Webb, RHP
30. Ryder Jones, SS/3B

Notes –
* It’s a pitching-heavy top 30 list this year. Of the 30 players mentioned by Baseball America, 20 are pitchers, including seven out of the top eight.

* Nine players on the top 30 list figure to be candidates to open the 2015 season with the San Jose Giants headlined by starting pitchers Tyler Beede (#2) and Keury Mella (#4). Beede was San Francisco’s first round draft pick last June (14th overall selection) out of Vanderbilt. He saw limited action late last summer after signing his professional contact with the AZL-Giants (Rookie-level) and Salem-Keizer (Short-Season). Meanwhile, Mella made 18 starts between Augusta (Class-A) and Salem-Keizer in 2014 and was a combined 4-4 with a 3.45 ERA. He struck out 83 and walked just 19 in 86 innings pitched.

* Additional candidates from the top 30 list to begin this season in San Jose include #10 Christian Arroyo, a middle infield prospect drafted in the first round out of high school two years ago. Last season with Salem-Keizer, Arroyo batted .333 to rank second in the Northwest League. #15 Joan Gregorio, #20 Chase Johnson and #21 Luis Ysla are all starting pitchers who could also be ticketed for the Cal League this season, which would give San Jose a prospect-laden rotation. Gregorio opened last year with the Giants (five starts), but spent most of 2014 in Augusta (3.57 ERA). He was placed on the 40-man roster last November. Johnson is a former third round pick (4.57 ERA in Augusta last year) while Ysla led the South Atlantic League with a 2.45 ERA as a member of the Augusta GreenJackets in 2014. #16 Aramis Garcia (a catcher) and #30 Ryder Jones (a third baseman), the last two second round picks of the SF Giants, are possibilities for San Jose’s opening day roster as well. Both Garcia and Jones though ended last season in Salem-Keizer and thus are also strong candidates to begin 2015 in Augusta. Finally, #24 Ray Black spent most of 2014 in the GreenJackets bullpen before a late-August promotion to San Jose. Now on the 40-man roster, Black is ranked by Baseball America as having the best fastball in the farm system (he hit 101 MPH in an appearance at Municipal Stadium last season). He could return to the Cal League this April or be fast-tracked to the upper levels of the system.

* Susac replaces Crick as the #1 prospect in the Giants organization. Susac was ranked #11 entering last season. Susac and Garcia are the only catchers on this year’s top 30 list.

* Only three outfielders crack the top 30 this year (all former San Jose Giants) in #11 Williamson, #14 Carbonell and #28 Brown. The trio will all be in big league camp to start spring training. Most likely, Williamson and Carbonell are headed to Double-A Richmond in April while Brown probably returns to Triple-A.

* Six players on the top 30 list have already seen time in the big leagues: #1 Susac, #8 Strickland, #9 Duffy, #13 Duvall, #25 Heston and #28 Brown.

* Flores (#17) and Castillo (#26) were traded to the Marlins last December in the deal that brought third baseman Casey McGehee to San Francisco. Flores was a member of San Jose’s starting rotation in 2014 while Castillo pitched out of the Augusta bullpen last season and thus could have been an SJ Giant this year.

* 2014 San Jose Giants on the list: #11 Williamson, #12 Stratton, #14 Carbonell, #15 Gregorio, #17 Flores, #22 Okert and #24 Black.

* The players who saw the biggest jumps in their Baseball America prospect ranking from last year to this year:
– Susac #11 to #1
– Mella #13 to #4
– Blackburn #10 to #5
– Strickland unranked to #8
– Duffy unranked to #9
– Duvall unranked to #13
– Hall #27 to #19
– Ysla unranked to #21
– Black unranked to #24

****************************************

MLB.com also has a top 20 San Francisco Giants prospects list:

1. Crick
2. Beede
3. Susac
4. Mejia
5. Mella
6. Blach
7. Blackburn
8. Stratton
9. Garcia
10. Okert
11. Ysla
12. Arroyo
13. Strickland
14. Jones
15. Williamson
16. Law
17. Duffy
18. Gregorio
19. Hall
20. Brown

When They Were San Jose Giants: Hunter Strickland

By Joe Ritzo

Hunter Strickland had a 0.86 ERA and was a perfect 9-for-9 in save chances with the San Jose Giants during the 2013 season

Hunter Strickland had a 0.86 ERA and was a perfect 9-for-9 in save chances with the San Jose Giants during the 2013 season

Hunter Strickland began his 2014 season pitching out of the San Jose bullpen as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. By early-September, he had climbed all the way to the major leagues. One of 16 former San Jose Giants on San Francisco’s playoff rosters last fall, Strickland enjoyed a quick rise through the farm system in 2014. Before he became a World Champion though, Strickland had a pair of stints in the California League, including a memorable first half of 2013 in which he earned All-Star honors. Here’s a look back at his tenure as a San Jose Giant…

Originally drafted out of the high school ranks by the Boston Red Sox in 2007, Strickland was primarily a starting pitcher early in his professional career. After 2 1/2 years in the Red Sox system, he was traded to Pittsburgh in July of 2009. His 2010 season then was limited to just 12 appearances before Strickland missed all of 2011 due to shoulder surgery. He returned to action in 2012 and received his first taste of Double-A ball that summer, working exclusively as a reliever for the first time in his career.

Strickland entered the 2013 campaign as a member of Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster, but was designated for assignment just days before the minor league opening day. It was then that the Giants took action as they picked-up Strickland off of waivers and placed him on their own 40-man roster. He was promptly assigned to San Jose and joined the Giants just before their opening day.

Then 25 years old, Strickland made his Giants organizational debut in San Jose’s second game of 2013 – a road contest in Visalia. He took the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning with the Giants trailing 1-0 and fired a hitless frame with one strikeout. San Jose ultimately lost the game, but Strickland showcased an impressive mid 90’s fastball during his outing and appeared poised to play a major role out of the Giants bullpen going forward.

He pitched next four days later in Stockton, this time with the Giants holding onto a lead. He entered in the bottom of the seventh and fired a 1-2-3 inning notching a pair of groundouts and a strikeout as San Jose eventually won the game by a 5-2 score.

Two days later, the Giants opened their home schedule in front of a packed house at Municipal Stadium. In a wildly entertaining game, Strickland was summoned out of the ‘pen in the top of the ninth with the score tied 2-2. He allowed one single in the frame, but promptly struck out the side in dominating fashion to light up the home crowd. The Giants then pushed across a run in the bottom of the ninth to win in walk-off fashion. The result was a win for Strickland in his first-ever game at Municipal Stadium.

It had only been three appearances, but that was all manager Andy Skeels needed to see. From that point forward, Skeels had no hesitation inserting Strickland into the game’s biggest moments, whether it was to close out a contest or keep the score tied. On April 13, Skeels turned to Strickland in the top of the ninth to wrap-up a 1-0 affair against Visalia. Strickland needed just 11 pitches to retire the side as the right-hander didn’t allow a hit, recorded one strikeout and slammed the door on the Rawhide for his first California League save.

On April 20 at Inland Empire, Strickland gave up his first run of the year, but still finished the ninth inning to pick-up another save. Three days later at home versus Modesto, Strickland surrendered a 10th inning solo homer. The long ball temporarily gave the Nuts the lead, but the Giants would answer with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame to extend the contest and get Strickland off the hook. It turned out to be the last run that Strickland would allow for the year out of the San Jose bullpen.

Strickland closed out April with an impressive 1.80 ERA and two saves in 10 relief appearances. He struck out 10 batters in 10 innings while yielding just seven hits. With his sizzling fastball, power slider and pinpoint control, Strickland had already established himself as one of the top relievers in the league. In May though, he took his game to another level.

Strickland collected his first two-inning save of the year on May 2 versus Bakersfield surrendering just one hit with one strikeout and throwing only 18 pitches to preserve a 4-2 Giants victory. In fact, he picked-up a save in four out of his first five appearances in May as San Jose took control of the first half North Division race.

His first back-to-back outings came on May 10 and 11 against the High Desert Mavericks at Municipal Stadium. Over the two appearances, Strickland retired all six batters he faced, including five via the strikeout (he struck out the side in the second of the back-to-back games) to pick-up a pair of saves. It was becoming clear that the Giants had something special in Hunter Strickland.

He recorded back-to-back saves again a week later in Rancho Cucamonga – again not allowing a hit in either appearance. After a perfect inning on May 20 at Inland Empire, Strickland took the mound next on the 23rd as the Giants battled High Desert in Adelanto. Strickland had been perfect in save opportunities for the year up to that point, but things quickly got tense as he tried to maintain a 2-1 advantage. After a leadoff walk and a strikeout, the runner at first stole second base. And then when the throw from catcher Jeff Arnold sailed into center field, the tying run advanced all the way to third. What happened next were all guts on the part of Strickland as he struck out High Desert’s best hitter, Chris Taylor, for the second out before inducing a weak groundout to shortstop to end the game. At the end of the night, Strickland was still perfect in save chances as the Giants recorded a key 2-1 win, but unfortunately for the right-hander, he would not throw another pitch the rest of the season. Strickland’s effort was documented here by Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area:

“Hunter Strickland was in the midst of a dominant season as the closer for San Jose last year, overwhelming hitters in the Single-A California league with his 96 mph fastball, when he felt a pop.

It came on an inside fastball May 23 at High Desert. It came with a runner on third. It came with two outs in the ninth, and the Giants leading by a run.

‘My mentality was that I still had a job to do,’ said Strickland, who walked a lap around the mound before ascending it again. ‘I threw four or five more pitches and felt it pop every time. It just got stiffer and stiffer. It wasn’t unbearable or anything. And I just needed to get one more out.’

Strickland got the out on a grounder, the Giants won and he recorded his ninth save. Then he gave left-handed high fives through the handshake line, his right arm limp at his side. He had Tommy John surgery before the month was out.”

******************

Strickland (R) returned to San Jose for the California-Carolina League All-Star Game just weeks after undergoing Tommy John surgery

Strickland (R) returned to San Jose for the California-Carolina League All-Star Game just weeks after undergoing Tommy John surgery

Strickland’s season was over, but he made quite the impression as San Jose’s closer during their run to the first half division title. In 20 appearances, he fashioned a 0.86 ERA with just 10 hits and two runs allowed over 21 innings. Strickland walked just five, struck out 23 and was 9-for-9 in save chances. For his efforts, he was named to the midseason California League All-Star team. The All-Star game against the Carolina League was held at Municipal Stadium that June, but of course, Strickland had to watch from the dugout, as he recovered from the elbow surgery that had taken place just a couple of weeks earlier.

Still in the early-stages of his recovery, Strickland actually returned to the San Jose team that September to provide emotional support in the bullpen and in the clubhouse as the team embarked on their playoff run. In thrilling fashion, the Giants outlasted Visalia to win the North Division title, but couldn’t use that momentum to take home the title as Inland Empire swept San Jose in the best-of-five Championship Series.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants continued to show faith in Strickland as they kept him on the 40-man roster as the 2014 season approached. His rehab progressed throughout spring training and the early portion of last season before he was finally ready to pitch in a game. Healthy again, the organization sent Strickland back to the San Jose Giants, where he was expected to spend several weeks before moving up to Double-A.

Almost one year to the day from his fateful night in High Desert, Strickland took the mound on May 20, 2014 as the Giants hosted the Stockton Ports at Muni. He entered in the top of the sixth and allowed one run on two hits in his one inning of work. Strickland struck out one and showed, seemingly, no effects of missing a year as his fastball routinely sat in the mid-to-upper 90’s.

Strickland’s next two appearances later in the homestand were spectacular. He struck out the side in a 1-2-3 frame against Visalia on the 24th. Two days later, he did the same – three more strikeouts in a perfect inning – also against the Rawhide. The original plan had been for Strickland to spend a few weeks in San Jose to ease himself back into action. The flame-throwing reliever though was so impressive that the Giants front office bypassed their plan and decided he was more than ready for a promotion to Double-A.

On May 27, he was assigned to Richmond and a day later, made his Flying Squirrels debut. As one of Richmond’s primary late-inning relievers, Strickland notched a 2.02 ERA and was 11-for-11 in save chances while recording 48 strikeouts compared to just four walks in 35 2/3 innings. He earned a September call-up to San Francisco – remarkably just a little over three months after pitching in San Jose. And in “The Show” that September, Strickland didn’t allow a single run in seven innings. He fanned nine, didn’t walk a batter and collected a key save during the season’s final week at Dodger Stadium against L.A. In spite of having never pitched an inning in Triple-A, and just a year removed from Tommy John surgery, the Giants decided to put Strickland on their playoff roster. And while he endured some growing pains throughout the playoffs, Strickland recorded several key outs early in the postseason, including the winner-take-all wild card contest in Pittsburgh and in the NLDS versus the Nationals. It was Strickland who threw the last pitch in the longest game in Major League Baseball playoff history when he fired a scoreless bottom of the 18th inning at Washington to record the save and give the Giants a commanding 2-0 series lead. A few weeks later, Strickland, who had been in Double-A just two months earlier and a San Jose Giant three months before that, was a World Champion.

Strickland Facts
• Strickland did not allow a run in his last 12 appearances with San Jose in 2013 before the injury. He totaled 13 innings during that span with just four hits allowed, three walks and 15 strikeouts (.098 opponents batting average). He did not surrender a hit in his last seven outings (7 IP, 12 K’s).
• Strickland made 23 relief appearances with the San Jose Giants over the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He combined for a 1-0 record with a 1.13 ERA and was a perfect 9-for-9 in save chances.
• Strickland was one of eight San Jose Giants to be named to the 2013 California League All-Star team.
• Prior to joining San Jose, Strickland had only three career saves in five professional seasons.
• Strickland’s major league debut on September 1, 2014 was only 98 days after he last pitched for San Jose (May 26).

Quotable

Hunter Strickland – San Jose Giants Pregame Show May 24, 2014
On the rehab process…
“It’s never easy to sit and watch your teammates play, but at the same time you have to be supportive and play the cards you were dealt. For the most part, the rehab went by pretty quick. You just have to be positive about it and take it as it goes. I was blessed. I never had any setbacks.”

On the Giants organization keeping him on the 40-man roster throughout his long rehab…
“This is an unbelievable organization and I’m excited to be in this situation and to keep moving forward and eventually help them win a World Series.”

On his role as a reliever after starting earlier in his pro career…
“This role is perfect for me. Being given the closer role last year (in San Jose), it finally feels like I found out who I am. I don’t want to do anything different. I love the pressure.”

San Jose pitching coach Mike Couchee – San Jose Giants Pregame Show May 27, 2014

“I see him picking up right where he left off before he was injured, maybe even a click better than where he was. Obviously Hunter is not a High-A ball pitcher and I think everyone knows that. But it’s important to break him back into it slow. The first night he pitched, it was his first time under the lights in a year. Obviously the stuff and the results are important, but to me, it’s having some of these younger kids see how he approaches the game and how he goes about his business, both during the game and his preparation before the game. He’s the whole package.”

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