Giants Look To Extend League Record Streak Of Consecutive Winning Seasons In 2015

By Joe Ritzo

The San Jose Giants enter 2015 having posted a league-record 11 straight winning seasons

The San Jose Giants enter 2015 having posted a league-record 11 straight winning seasons

The San Jose Giants will enter the 2015 campaign having posted a remarkable 11 consecutive winning seasons. The streak, which began in 2004, is the longest in both franchise and California League history.

Last year, the Giants failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2003, but still managed a 73-67 overall mark to extend their streak of finishing with an above .500 record. The 2014 San Jose Giants were at one point eight games under .500 (12-20 on May 5) and were still below the .500 mark as late as July 8 (44-45).

The incredible run of 11 straight winning seasons includes four California League championships (2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), five North Division titles and eight first half championships. During the streak, San Jose has set league records for consecutive first half division crowns (seven in a row; 2005-2011) and consecutive playoff appearances (10 years in a row; 2004-2013).

The California League dates back to 1941. Here are the longest streaks of consecutive winning seasons in league history:
11 seasons, San Jose Giants, 2004-present
9 seasons, San Jose Giants, 1988-96
9 seasons, Modesto A’s, 1992-2000
9 seasons, Stockton Ports, 1985-93
8 seasons, San Jose Red Sox/JoSox, 1949-56
7 seasons, Modesto Nuts, 2007-13

San Jose’s best record during the 11-year run was their 93-47 mark in 2009. The 73-67 finishes in 2007 and 2014 are the lowest win totals over the course of the streak.

78 San Jose Giants (and counting…) during the 11-year streak have gone onto play in the major leagues. Notable future big leaguers from these winning San Jose teams:
2004 – Matt Cain, Fred Lewis, Jeremy Accardo, Nate Schierholtz
2005 – Nate Schierholtz, Travis Ishikawa, Kevin Frandsen, Jonathan Sanchez
2006 – Tim Lincecum, Alex Hinshaw, John Bowker, Alfredo Simon
2007 – Pablo Sandoval, Sergio Romo, Travis Ishikawa, Emmanuel Burriss
2008 – Pablo Sandoval, Brett Pill, Dan Otero
2009 – Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford, Conor Gillaspie, Nick Noonan
2010 – Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Juan Perez, Ehire Adrianza
2011 – Zack Wheeler, Heath Hembree, Ehire Adrianza, Chris Dominguez
2012 – Joe Panik, Andrew Susac, Adam Duvall
2013 – Matt Duffy, Hunter Strickland
2014 – Hunter Strickland

Since becoming a San Francisco Giants affiliate in 1988, San Jose has posted a winning record 23 times in 27 seasons. The San Jose franchise had seven straight losing seasons prior to 1988.

The Giants begin their quest for a league record 12th straight winning season on Thursday, April 9 in Lancaster. San Jose starts the year with a seven-game road trip against the JetHawks and Visalia Rawhide before opening the home portion of their schedule on Thursday, April 16 (vs. Bakersfield).

When They Were San Jose Giants: Brandon Crawford

By Joe Ritzo

Brandon Crawford batted .371 with six home runs in 25 games with the San Jose Giants during the 2009 season

Brandon Crawford batted .371 with six home runs in 25 games with the San Jose Giants during the 2009 season

A key contributor to San Francisco’s championship run last fall was homegrown shortstop Brandon Crawford. One of 16 former San Jose Giants on the playoff rosters in 2014, Crawford has been a major part of the last two World Championship teams. However, before he was winning titles on baseball’s biggest stage, Crawford was working his way through the Giants minor league system where he also helped win two championships in San Jose. Here’s a look back at his time in the California League…

A fourth round pick in 2008 out of UCLA, Crawford had just five games of professional experience under his belt when he joined the San Jose Giants on opening day 2009. When San Jose began their season on April 9 versus Stockton at rainy Municipal Stadium, Crawford found himself in the #2 spot in the batting order and starting at his usual shortstop position. That 2009 SJ Giants opening day lineup featured seven future major leaguers as Buster Posey, Nick Noonan, Conor Gillaspie, Roger Kieschnick, Thomas Neal and Darren Ford joined Crawford as players that would ultimately reach “The Show.” The Giants won the contest by a 5-1 score with Crawford reaching base three times on a double and a pair of walks.

Crawford started his first full professional season red-hot at the plate as San Jose’s prospect-laden club vaulted into first place. In the second game of the season (a night with Madison Bumgarner on the mound), Crawford belted a two-run home run as the Giants blanked the Ports 4-0. Two days later, Crawford homered again as part of a 3-for-3, 2 RBI effort at the plate. In fact, Crawford hit safely in his first seven games with San Jose, batting at a .500 clip (14-for-28) during the span. Often it can take first-year players awhile to adjust to the rigors of the California League, but Crawford immediately found his comfort zone and was getting on base regularly in front of the power bats of Posey, Gillaspie and Kieschnick.

Crawford never slowed up throughout April in a San Jose uniform. Perhaps his most memorable individual moment during the opening month came on the 18th in Stockton when he stepped to plate in the top of the 11th inning of a 3-3 tie and smacked a two-out, two-run home run to give the Giants a 5-3 lead. Crawford then homered in back-to-back games on the 22nd (in San Jose) and 23rd (in High Desert) for his fourth and fifth round-trippers of the season. He produced four straight multi-hit games a few days later on the road trip to raise his batting average to a cool .385.

As May began, the Crawford juggernaut didn’t let up. He homered on the first day of the month – a shutout win at home against Modesto. After an 0-for-4 the next night, Crawford rattled off four straight multi-hit games again. The last of those four contests came on May 6 in Bakersfield – a 2-for-6 night in a 10-4 Giants victory – which would turn out to be his final game in San Jose for the year. The following day, Crawford was headed to Double-A Connecticut. It was a near unprecedented move for a first-year pro in the Giants organization to spend so little time in San Jose before moving up to the Double-A level (Crawford was promoted with Bumgarner although Posey stayed back in SJ for another two months). Crawford’s numbers, however, spoke for themselves. In 25 games (all at shortstop), he hit .371 with two doubles, two triples, six home runs and 17 RBI’s. Crawford owned a slugging percentage of .600 and a staggering 1.045 OPS.

When Crawford departed just shy of the midway point of the first half, the Giants possessed a 17-10 overall record. San Jose would eventually go onto win the first half North Division title to secure their spot in the playoffs. And despite several of the top early performers no longer with the team, the Giants used that first round bye to sweep through the playoffs and take home a California League championship.

San Jose Giants fans though hadn’t seen the last of Brandon Crawford.

Crawford spent the remainder of the 2009 season in Double-A and batted .258 with four home runs in 108 games. He returned to the Eastern League to open 2010 (now in Richmond as the Giants had changed their Double-A affiliate), but managed just a .241 batting average in 79 games before suffering a broken hand in early-July. The injury sidelined Crawford for nearly two months, and once healthy, the organization decided to send the top prospect back to San Jose.

The 2010 Giants had already clinched a playoff berth after winning a first half division title, but were suffering through a sub-.500 second half. Crawford would provide a much-needed boost with the playoffs approaching. He was added to the roster during the final week of the regular season and played in five games to close out the year, collecting three hits in 18 at-bats.

The 2010 Cal League playoffs produced Crawford’s most memorable moments in a San Jose uniform. With the slick-fielding Ehire Adrianza having anchored the shortstop position all year for the Giants, manager Brian Harper moved Crawford to third base for the postseason. In a lineup that included future big leaguers Adrianza, Juan Perez, Charlie Culberson, Francisco Peguero and Johnny Monell, it was Crawford that stood out during San Jose’s run to the championship that September.

Crawford's most memorable hit as an SJ Giant was an 11th inning grand slam in Game 3 of the 2010 Championship Series

Crawford’s most memorable hit as an SJ Giant was an 11th inning grand slam in Game 3 of the 2010 Championship Series

In eight postseason games, Crawford hit a team-leading .357 (10-for-28) with a double, two home runs and club-high eight RBI’s. Crawford saved his best for last as his two home runs came in the Giants’ final two wins. In Game Three of the Championship Series down in Rancho Cucamonga, Crawford belted a grand slam in the top of the 11th inning – one of the biggest home runs in franchise history – to lift San Jose to a 12-7 victory and a 2-1 series lead. Then in the decisive fifth game two nights later, Crawford again went yard in dramatic fashion as the temporary third baseman smacked a two-run home run in the top of the second to give the Giants an early lead. Crawford would reach four times in the contest also producing a single, drawing two walks and even dropping down a sacrifice bunt as part of a 2-for-3 night. In perhaps the greatest game in team history, San Jose outlasted the Quakes by a 7-6 score in 10 innings to claim back-to-back titles.

Crawford’s contributions to both California League championships came in very different ways. He laid the groundwork early in 2009 on a prospect-rich team helping the Giants clinch an early playoff berth before departing for Double-A. Then in 2010 as he recovered from a significant injury, it was Crawford slamming the door on Rancho Cucamonga with two memorable home runs as San Jose took home another title.

In all likelihood, Crawford would have opened the 2011 season in Triple-A, but he was once again sidetracked by an injury. A broken finger sustained during spring training resulted in Crawford starting the year on the disabled list. When he was ready to go, instead of going straight to Fresno, it was back in San Jose for essentially a do-over on his spring training. As the Giants’ shortstop once again, Crawford spent two weeks back in the California League throughout May and enjoyed a lot of success at the plate and in the field. Offensively, he batted .322 with five doubles, a triple, three home runs and 15 RBI’s. At shortstop, Crawford played flawless defense not committing a single error.

On May 25, 2011, Crawford was starting at DH and batting second in the order as San Jose took on the Bakersfield Blaze down at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Unfazed by a stiff wind blowing straight in that was knocking down every fly ball in sight, Crawford peppered the outfield fence with two doubles off the wall. Then in the seventh inning, he crushed a home run over the fence in center helping the Giants to a 5-1 victory.

Meanwhile, that very day up in San Francisco, Buster Posey suffered his gruesome season-ending leg injury as the Giants lost an extra-inning heartbreaker to the Marlins. Shortstop Mike Fontenot also was hurt in the game and needed to go on the disabled list. Crawford’s stint in San Jose was probably coming to an end regardless as he was clearly ready for the challenge of Triple-A. But with the big club severely lacking for healthy position players, Crawford received the phone call late that night in Bakersfield and in a surprising move, was on his way straight to the major leagues.

While he did have significant Double-A experience, the promotion still sent shockwaves through the organization. Crawford, playing for the San Jose Giants one day, was then a San Francisco Giant less than 24 hours later. He didn’t play that next afternoon against the Marlins, but the following night in Milwaukee, Crawford made his major league debut starting at shortstop and batting seventh. And once again, he showed he had a flair for the dramatic. In his third ever at-bat, Crawford stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and belted a grand slam to right. He had become only the sixth player in major league history to hit a grand slam in his first ever game.

From there, Crawford bounced back-and-forth between SF and Fresno for the remainder of the 2011 season. In 2012, he took hold of the shortstop position with the Giants for good and played a central role in the club’s championship run. This past fall, there was another memorable Crawford grand slam as he cleared the bases with a shot to right field during the winner-take-all wild card game in Pittsburgh. Less than a month later, Crawford was a two-time World Series champion.

Crawford Facts
• Despite owning some of the most memorable moments in team history, Crawford only played in 52 career games with the San Jose Giants over the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.
• His combined regular season batting average (44 games) in the California League was .335. He hit nine home runs and had 33 RBI’s.
• Crawford’s only starts at a position other than shortstop during his professional career (minor league and major league) were at third base late in the 2010 season with San Jose.
• Crawford had multi-hits in nine out of his last 12 games with the SJ Giants in 2009.
• The attendance in Bakersfield for Crawford’s last Cal League game (5/25/11) was 519. Two days later for his MLB debut in Milwaukee, it was 37,034.
• Yesterday was Crawford’s birthday. He turned 28.

Crawford was promoted directly from San Jose to San Francisco in May of 2011

Crawford was promoted directly from San Jose to San Francisco in May of 2011

Projecting the 2015 Roster – Who makes the jump from Short-Season ball?

By Joe Ritzo

The majority of the players on the 2015 opening day roster will have spent last season with Class-A Augusta and/or in San Jose. Recently, I took a look at some of the most likely candidates from the 2014 Giants squad to return to the California League this year.

However, every season there are always a small handful of players that skip straight over Augusta and arrive in San Jose directly from the Short-Season level. Blake Miller and Brian Ragira, for example, did it last year and each were standout performers in the Giants lineup.

Who might those players be in 2015? Here are five prospects that were in Salem-Keizer at the end of last season who could jump all the way to the SJ Giants in April:

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

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

Christian Arroyo, SS
Arroyo was San Francisco’s first round draft pick in 2013 (25th overall selection) out of the high school ranks. Still only 19 years old (will turn 20 in May), Arroyo is considered one of the top position player prospects in the Giants farm system. He won the Arizona Rookie League MVP award in the summer of 2013 after hitting .326 with 18 doubles, five triples, two homers and 39 RBI’s in 45 games. Expectations were high for Arroyo entering 2014, but he struggled in Augusta to open the year batting just .203 in 31 games before suffering a sprained thumb. Once healthy again, Arroyo was sent down to Salem-Keizer, where he shined during the second half of the season. As the Volcanoes’ everyday shortstop last year, Arroyo ranked second in the Northwest League with a .333 batting average. The top prospect also produced five homers, 14 doubles and 48 RBI’s in 58 games. Arroyo is obviously still very young and the organization could put him back in Augusta to start this season. However, given his overwhelming success the last two summers, first in rookie-ball and then Salem-Keizer, and the lack of top-flight middle infield prospects in Augusta last season, it would not be a surprise if Arroyo earns a spot on San Jose’s opening day roster this spring.

Tyler Beede, RHP
Beede is another former first round pick as San Francisco took the hard-throwing right-handed pitcher 14th overall last June. Beede has little professional experience as the Giants held him back last summer after a heavy workload at Vanderbilt. He only threw 8 2/3 innings in the Arizona Rookie League after signing before just 6 2/3 innings on the mound with Salem-Keizer to end the season. Between the two stops, Beede combined for a 2.94 ERA, 18 strikeouts and seven walks in 15 1/3 innings. Regarded as one of the top prospects in the organization, Beede had a standout career at Vanderbilt. As a sophomore in ’13, he logged a 14-1 record with a 2.32 ERA and was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award (college baseball’s highest individual honor). Last year as a junior, his ERA climbed to 4.05, but he maintained his strikeout-per-inning average while lowering his walk rate (he did average over 4 1/2 walks per nine innings at Vanderbilt). Beede features electric stuff with a fastball between 92 and 97 MPH and two off-speed offerings (curve & change) that also serve as strikeout pitches. A first round pick out of high school as well (in 2011), Beede could move quickly through the system, especially if he can limit his walks. Beginning his first full professional season in San Jose, where he’d anchor the Giants rotation, is possible.

Skyler Ewing, 1B
Salem-Keizer’s starting first baseman and cleanup hitter last summer, Ewing is another strong candidate to make the jump to San Jose for the start of this season. A powerful right-handed hitter, Ewing led the Volcanoes with eight home runs (in 51 games) and was second in RBI’s with 31 (behind only Arroyo). He also hit .291 and walked (36) more than he struck out (28) while ranking third in the Northwest League with a .417 on-base percentage. Ewing was San Francisco’s sixth round pick last June out of Rice. As a junior with the Owls last spring, he finished second in Conference USA in home runs (9). Prior to his final collegiate season, he was an All-Star in the Cape Cod League, where he also won the home run derby. The two players who saw the bulk of the playing time at first base in Augusta last season struggled offensively, so if the organization decides to promote Ragira to Double-A Richmond, a spot as San Jose’s opening day first baseman could be Ewing’s to lose this spring.

Aramis Garcia, C
The Giants haven’t been afraid to push their top position player prospects drafted out of college to the California League for their first full season. Ewing is a candidate to hold that distinction in 2015 and so is Garcia. San Francisco’s second round pick last June, Garcia joined Salem-Keizer in early-August and served as the Volcanoes’ primary catcher during the final month of the season. His numbers were somewhat pedestrian (granted in a small sample size) as Garcia managed just a .229 batting average with two home runs in 20 games. At Florida International University though, Garcia hit .368 with eight home runs in his final season to earn the Conference USA Player of the Year award. Garcia, who turned 22 this month, is considered an offense-first catcher and will enter 2015 with high expectations. He should open the year either in Augusta or San Jose.

Austin Slater, OF
Slater is yet another college position player who could open his first full pro season as a San Jose Giant. An eighth round pick last June out of Stanford, Slater was added to Salem-Keizer’s roster in late-July and shined as the Volcanoes’ primary right fielder. In 29 games, he hit an impressive .347 while also producing six doubles, two home runs, 23 RBI’s and seven stolen bases. At one point in early-August, Slater delivered six straight multi-hit games. Slater also made starts in center field with Salem-Keizer and can play left if needed. In his final season at Stanford last spring, he batted .341. Augusta had only two outfielders hit above .260 last season (and one of those was Tyler Horan, who has already come through San Jose) which could open the door for Slater to jump to the California League for the start of the 2015 campaign.

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When They Were San Jose Giants: Matt Duffy

By Joe Ritzo

Matt Duffy played in 34 games for the San Jose Giants late in 2013 and hit .294 with five home runs and 19 RBI's

Matt Duffy played in 34 games for the San Jose Giants late in 2013 and hit .294 with five home runs and 19 RBI’s

Our “When They Were San Jose Giants” series continues this week with infielder Matt Duffy. Duffy was one of 16 former SJ Giants on San Francisco’s playoff rosters last fall and played a key role off the bench in helping the Giants win their third World Series in five years. A former 18th round draft pick, Duffy burst onto the scene professionally with a breakout 2013 season that included a successful stint in San Jose. Here’s a look back at his time in the California League…

Duffy actually spent most of the 2013 season in Class-A Augusta, where he batted .307 in 78 games to earn South Atlantic League All-Star honors. Meanwhile, behind a prospect-laden pitching staff, San Jose had already clinched a playoff berth after winning the first half North Division title. The Giants though were in need of a jolt to their lineup for the stretch run and on July 22, Duffy provided that much-needed lift when he joined the club from Augusta.

Duffy enjoyed a successful debut game with San Jose when the Giants hosted the Stockton Ports at Municipal Stadium on the 22nd. Batting second in the order and starting at shortstop, Duffy smacked a double into the right-center field gap in his first at-bat. He finished the night 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and an RBI as the Giants rolled to a 10-5 victory.

The next day, San Jose embarked on a long road trip and Duffy continued to impress. He produced a two-hit game in Lancaster on July 25 before a 3-for-5 effort two days later in Stockton. On the 28th, Duffy belted his first Cal League home run when he connected for a solo shot against the Ports at Banner Island Ballpark.

Duffy maintained his hot streak through early-August showing surprising power from the #2 spot in the lineup. The emerging top prospect crushed home runs in back-to-back games on August 2 and 3 in Bakersfield while combining for six hits and four RBI’s during the two contests. Through his first 12 games in San Jose, Duffy boasted an excellent .367 batting average, three home runs and an OPS over 1.000.

The only thing that slowed Duffy down during his tenure with the Giants was a minor leg injury sustained in the middle portion of August that sidelined the infielder for 10 days. He still managed to hit another home run on August 29 at home against Visalia as part of a 2-for-5, 3 RBI night at the plate. Duffy, in fact, had seven RBI’s in his last four regular season games, hitting safely in each contest.

Duffy concluded the regular season with a .292 batting average over 26 games for San Jose. He produced six doubles, a triple, five home runs, 14 RBI’s and three stolen bases.

San Francisco fans saw Duffy have success during the playoff run last October, but his first experience in the postseason as a professional actually came in the California League. Duffy started all eight games of the 2013 playoffs for San Jose at shortstop and ranked second on the team in postseason hits (9), batting average (.300) and RBI’s (5). In the decisive fifth game of the North Division Series against Visalia on September 11, Duffy knocked out two hits in four at-bats and drove in a pair of runs as the Giants claimed a 10-5 victory to advance. Unfortunately, the club fell short of their ultimate team goal as Inland Empire then swept San Jose in the best-of-five Championship Series.

It was still a banner 2013 season for Duffy, first in Augusta and then concluding as a playoff star for the San Jose Giants. Despite only 34 games of experience in the California League, Duffy earned himself a promotion to Double-A Richmond for the start of the 2014 campaign. The aggressive promotion clearly paid off as Duffy won the Eastern League batting title last year with a .332 average in 97 games. On August 1, he made his major league debut in New York against the Mets, batting second and starting at second base. He finished the game 1-for-4 with a single and an RBI.

Even though he was only a year removed from playing in San Jose, Duffy showed he was more than ready to contribute at the highest level. In 60 at-bats with San Francisco last season, Duffy hit .267 with a pair of doubles and eight RBI’s. He was 6-for-16 as a pinch-hitter (.375 AVG) and owned a .400 overall batting average against left-handed pitchers (12-for-30). Duffy added another hit in the playoffs coming off the bench, supplied outstanding baserunning to score a late run in an NLCS game in St. Louis and is now a World Series champion.

Duffy File
• Duffy was the first player from the 2013 San Jose Giants team to reach the major leagues (Hunter Strickland and Edwin Escobar have since debuted).
• Including the playoffs, Duffy hit .294 with the San Jose Giants with five home runs and 19 RBI’s in 34 games.
• Duffy hit a combined .303 between San Jose and Augusta in 2013 with 20 doubles, nine homers, 57 RBI’s and 25 stolen bases.
• Duffy also showed he could handle left-handed pitching in the California League with a .391 batting average against the southpaws.
• Duffy made starts at second base, shortstop and third base while in San Francisco during the final three months of the 2014 season. In San Jose, however, he was exclusively a shortstop. In fact, Duffy played only three games at second base total over his first three seasons in the minor leagues before starting at the position in his big league debut game.
• Today (January 15) is Matt Duffy’s birthday. He turns 24.

Quotable

San Jose manager Andy Skeels upon Duffy’s arrival in San Jose (July 2013):
“Matt’s a grinder. He’s a Long Beach State kid and comes ready to play everyday. I’m hopeful he comes in here, gets some big hits and anchors the top part of our lineup so the big guys behind him have at-bats with runners in scoring position. Duffy is a kid we have a lot of confidence in.”

Duffy debuted in the major leagues (August 1, 2014) less than one year after playing in San Jose

Duffy debuted in the major leagues (August 1, 2014) less than one year after playing in San Jose

Episode 44 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants podcastIn this highly anticipated episode of Inside the San Jose Giants, Joe and Ben make their annual top 10 San Francisco Giants prospect lists. Their in-depth analysis includes a breakdown of the top performers in the Giants’ system, a lively debate on who should be the #2 prospect behind Kyle Crick and a glimpse of the up-and-coming young players likely headed to San Jose in the future.

Projecting the 2015 Roster – High Draft Picks

By Joe Ritzo

SF Giants logoTaking a look at the top 10 rounds of the last two San Francisco Giants drafts and examining which players could end up in San Jose this season.

2014 DRAFT
1st round: Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt
2nd round: Aramis Garcia, C, Florida International
3rd round: Dylan Davis, OF, Oregon State
4th round: Logan Webb, RHP, Rocklin HS
5th round: Sam Coonrod, RHP, Southern Illinois
6th round: Skyler Ewing, 1B, Rice
7th round: Seth Harrison, OF, Louisiana-Lafayette
8th round: Austin Slater, OF, Stanford
9th round: Stetson Woods, RHP, Liberty HS
10th round: Matt Gage, LHP, Siena

Tyler Beede would be the headline player on San Jose’s 2015 roster if the starting pitcher opens the year with the Giants. The 14th overall pick in last June’s draft, Beede has little professional experience as the organization limited the right-hander to just 15 1/3 innings between Salem-Keizer (Short-Season) and the AZL-Giants (Rookie) last summer due to a heavy workload in college.

Last year's first round pick Tyler Beede could open the 2015 season with the San Jose Giants (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

Last year’s first round pick Tyler Beede could open the 2015 season with the San Jose Giants (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

At Vanderbilt, Beede was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award (college baseball’s highest individual honor) as a sophomore when he posted a 14-1 record with a 2.32 ERA. As a junior last spring, he owned a 4.05 ERA, struck out 116 batters in 113 innings and was a key contributor during Vanderbilt’s run to the national championship. Widely considered one of the top 5 prospects in the entire Giants farm system, Beede figures to open the 2015 campaign with either San Jose or Augusta.

The Giants took college position players with their second, third, sixth, seventh and eighth round picks last June and all likely will be competing for spots on San Jose’s roster this spring. The first position player taken by the club in last year’s draft was second rounder Aramis Garcia – a catcher out of Florida International University. Garcia is an offense-first catcher who hit .368 with eight home runs in his final collegiate season to win Conference USA Player of the Year honors. In 20 games last summer in Salem-Keizer, he posted a .229 batting average to go with two home runs and 12 RBI’s. The last time the organization selected a college catcher in the second round, it was Andrew Susac in 2011. The following spring, Susac opened his first full professional season as San Jose’s primary backstop. We’ll see if Garcia follows a similar path.

Sixth rounder Skyler Ewing, out of Rice University, also figures to be a strong candidate to start this season with the San Jose Giants. Ewing is a power-hitting first baseman who made an impressive professional debut last summer at Salem-Keizer. Ewing led the Volcanoes with eight home runs and was second in RBI’s with 31 (in 51 games) to go with a .291 batting average. A patient hitter, Ewing walked a whopping 36 times and owned a .417 on-base percentage. If last year’s San Jose first baseman, Brian Ragira, is promoted to Double-A Richmond, Ewing is the logical replacement.

A trio of outfielders in Dylan Davis (third round), Seth Harrison (seventh round) and Austin Slater (eighth round) are also candidates to end up in San Jose this season. It’s unlikely that all three would be on the opening day roster, but one or two could find their way to the California League this April. Slater, who played nearby at Stanford, had the most impressive pro debut of the three. In 29 games with Salem-Keizer, Slater hit a team-leading .347 with six doubles, two homers, 23 RBI’s and seven steals. Slater was primarily a right fielder, but also saw some action in center with S-K and can play left. Davis was the highest draft pick of the trio, but struggled the most as he managed just a .200 batting average in 23 games with the Volcanoes. Davis has tremendous power (he did hit four home runs with S-K) and a big arm in right field. Finally, Harrison is a speedy center fielder who hit leadoff for Salem-Keizer last summer. In 37 games, he posted a .266 batting average with 10 doubles, no home runs and 11 stolen bases. A lack of standout outfielders in Augusta last season combined with the draft status of these players could definitely result in one or two (if not more) opening this season with the San Jose Giants.

As for the remainder of the top 10 round draft picks, fourth rounder Logan Webb and ninth rounder Stetson Woods, a pair of right-handed pitchers, are still teenagers and likely still at least a year away from the California League. Meanwhile, fifth rounder Sam Coonrod and tenth rounder Matt Gage were both college draftees, but each pitched in the Arizona Rookie League last summer and are probably ticketed for Augusta in 2015.

2013 DRAFT
1st round: Christian Arroyo, SS, Hernando HS
2nd round: Ryder Jones, 3B, Watauga HS
3rd round: Chase Johnson, RHP, Cal Poly
4th round: Brian Ragira, 1B, Stanford
5th round: Dan Slania, RHP, Notre Dame
6th round: Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, UCLA
7th round: Brandon Bednar, SS/2B, Florida Gulf Coast
8th round: Tyler Horan, OF, Virginia Tech
9th round: D.J. Snelten, LHP, Minnesota
10th round: Tyler Rogers, RHP, Austin Peay State

There are some familiar faces on this list as Brian Ragira, Nick Vander Tuig, Brandon Bednar, Tyler Horan and Tyler Rogers all played in San Jose last season. Vander Tuig, a former top starting pitcher at UCLA, was added to the Giants roster in early-August and made six starts compiling a 3-2 record with a 5.06 ERA. He’s a strong candidate to return to the Giants rotation this spring. Bednar came up from Augusta last July and batted .241 with five homers in 48 games. A versatile player, Bednar made starts at all four infield positions with San Jose after his promotion. He’ll likely be an everyday player for the SJ Giants in 2015. Horan and Rogers were promoted to Richmond for their playoff run last September and each almost certainly will start this season back in the Eastern League. Meanwhile, Ragira led the SJ Giants with 20 home runs and 82 RBI’s in 2014 (.260 AVG) and will also be looking for a promotion to Double-A.

2013 first round pick Christian Arroyo will look to make the jump to San Jose this year (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

2013 first round pick Christian Arroyo will look to make the jump to San Jose this year (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

The top of the 2013 draft list features a pair of young infielders in Christian Arroyo (first round) and Ryder Jones (second round). It was the first time since 1974 that the San Francisco Giants used their top two draft picks on high school position players. Arroyo has had a standout start to his pro career as he won the Arizona Rookie League MVP award in 2013 before batting .333 in 58 games as Salem-Keizer’s everyday shortstop last summer. Arroyo produced 14 doubles, five home runs, 48 RBI’s and six steals with the Volcanoes and is considered one of the top position player prospects in the system. He struggled during a brief, early stint in Augusta (.203 AVG in 31 games) last season, but was so impressive in Salem-Keizer during the second half that a promotion all the way to San Jose for the start of 2015 is a possibility. Arroyo is still just 19 years old (will turn 20 in May).

Jones is a little older (turns 21 in June), but is probably less likely of the two top picks to start the season in San Jose. A third baseman primarily, Jones had an up-and-down year, first with Augusta (91 games) and then Salem-Keizer (27 games). Between the two stops, he hit a combined .225 with 10 home runs and 67 RBI’s.

Rounding out the list are three pitchers – all drafted out of the college ranks. Third rounder Chase Johnson was a reliever at Cal Poly, but has transitioned to the role of starting pitcher in the pros. He had some nice moments in the Augusta rotation last season, but at times struggled with his consistency. Over 22 starts, Johnson logged a 4.57 ERA with 94 strikeouts and 40 walks in 110 1/3 innings. He’ll likely be considered for a spot in the San Jose rotation this spring. Fifth rounder Dan Slania led Augusta with 12 saves last season to go with a 3.99 ERA in 43 relief appearances. He then actually was promoted all the way to Richmond for the stretch run and allowed just one earned run in 11 innings for the Flying Squirrels. Slania, an outstanding closer at Notre Dame, could return to Richmond or get his first taste of San Jose this season. Finally, lefty D.J. Snelten posted a 1.23 ERA in 20 games out of the Augusta bullpen last season.

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Russ Morman Named 2015 San Jose Giants Manager

By Joe Ritzo

Russ Morman has been named manager of the San Jose Giants after serving in the same role with Double-A Richmond last year

Russ Morman has been named manager of the San Jose Giants after serving in the same role with Double-A Richmond last year

Russ Morman has been named manager of the San Jose Giants for the 2015 season. Morman, 52, 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. Last year’s Richmond squad, which included many members from San Jose’s 2013 North Division championship team, advanced to the Eastern League Championship Series where they were swept by the Binghamton Mets.

Morman has spent the previous five seasons at the Double-A and Triple-A levels within the Giants organization, so 2015 will mark his first year at San Jose in any capacity. Prior to last year’s stint as Richmond’s manager, he spent three years (2011-13) as hitting coach for Triple-A Fresno. He joined the organization in 2010 as hitting coach for Richmond.

Morman played professionally for 17 seasons 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). A former first baseman and outfielder, Morman was a first round selection (28th overall pick) in the 1983 draft by the White Sox after earning All-American honors at Wichita State University. In 207 career big league games, he hit .249 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI’s. Morman’s most significant action came during his 1986 rookie season with the White Sox when he batted .252 with four homers and 17 RBI’s in 49 games. His final year in the major leagues was in 1997 when he played in four games for the World Champion Marlins.

Morman enjoyed great success as a player in the minor leagues hitting 207 career home runs, including 180 at the Triple-A level. Morman hit over .300 in Triple-A for six straight seasons from 1992 to 1997. His best year came in 1995 at age 35 with Triple-A Charlotte (Marlins system) when he hit 33 home runs, collected 99 RBI’s and batted .319.

Morman retired following the 1999 season and immediately went into coaching. He served two seasons as manager of the Kane County Cougars (Marlins Class-A affiliate) from 2000-01 directing both teams to the playoffs. In 2001 under Morman’s leadership, Kane County posted an 88-50 record and claimed the Midwest League championship. After a year out of baseball in 2002, Morman returned to the game in ’03 and was manager of the Augusta GreenJackets (then a Red Sox Class-A affiliate) going 49-87. He then spent the next four seasons as hitting coach for the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox Double-A) from 2004-07. In 2008, he became the hitting coach for Triple-A Pawtucket (Red Sox affiliate) and served two years there before joining the Giants organization in 2010.

Morman is the 15th manager in the 28-year history of the San Jose Giants.

The rest of the San Jose coaching staff remains intact from a season ago with Mike Couchee returning as pitching coach and Lipso Nava as hitting coach. Both Couchee and Nava enter their third seasons with the San Jose Giants.

When They Were San Jose Giants: Brandon Belt

By Joe Ritzo

Brandon Belt hit .383 with 10 home runs, 62 RBI's and 18 stolen bases in 77 games for the San Jose Giants during the 2010 season

Brandon Belt hit .383 with 10 home runs, 62 RBI’s and 18 stolen bases in 77 games for the San Jose Giants during the 2010 season

16 former San Jose Giants were on San Francisco’s playoff rosters last fall helping lead the club to their third World Championship in the last five years. A key component of the title run was first baseman Brandon Belt. Four years earlier, Belt began his professional career with the San Jose Giants and burst onto the scene to immediately become one of the top prospects in the organization. Here’s a look back at Belt’s memorable 2010 season in the California League…

Belt was selected in the fifth round of the 2009 draft out of the University of Texas, but didn’t debut professionally until opening day 2010 with the San Jose Giants. While it’s not uncommon for a player drafted out of the college ranks to spend his first full pro season with San Jose, there’s often a learning curve as they adjust to the rigors of a 140-game schedule. Most of these players enjoy far more success later in the season, but clearly Belt was ready for the challenge of the California League right off the bat.

When the San Jose Giants opened their season on April 8 in Modesto, Belt found himself batting fourth in the batting order. San Jose was coming off of a record-breaking championship campaign (93-47 record in 2009) and expectations were once again high for the club. Future major leaguers Ehire Adrianza, Charlie Culberson, Francisco Peguero and Johnny Monell joined Belt in the opening day lineup while Juan Perez also played a central role on the team offensively.

Meanwhile, the adjustment process for Belt lasted all of three games. During his first three pro contests, Belt went hitless in eight at-bats. It marked the only time during his stint in a San Jose uniform that the slugging first baseman went more than two games without a hit. In game four, Belt’s domination of Cal League pitching began. He finished 3-for-3 in the contest with four RBI’s and a walk. The next night, the Giants opened their home schedule against Visalia and Belt again was spectacular knocking out three more hits in four at-bats, including a fourth-inning home run against future big leaguer Josh Collmenter.

The back-to-back three-hit nights jumpstarted a hot streak for Belt that saw the emerging star hit safely in 18 straight games through April 30. During the streak, Belt had multi-hits nine times, including four three-hit games. He homered in back-to-back contests in Bakersfield on April 23 and 24 while he finished the opening month with a sizzling batting average of .463. Looking deeper at Belt’s first month as a professional, he produced eight doubles, three home runs and 17 RBI’s in 21 games while drawing more walks (12) than strikeouts (5). His on-base percentage was .563 while his OPS was an incredible 1.259.

Outside of the first three games, the closest thing Belt had to a slump in San Jose was a five-game stretch in early-May where he managed just two hits in 15 at-bats. The “slump” dropped his average to .415.

Despite Belt’s torrid hitting, the Giants as a team weren’t yet gaining much traction in the standings. A May 12 loss in Visalia dropped San Jose below .500 (15-16) and into fourth place. The following night though Belt and his teammates erupted. Still facing the Rawhide, the Giants set a team record with 26 hits in a 21-9 rout. Individually, Belt collected four hits in his six at-bats with a pair of doubles and four RBI’s. The game proved to be a turning point for the club as other hitters joined Belt with hot streaks of their own that carried through the remainder of the first half.

For the month of May, Belt hit .317 with one home run in 30 games – by far his lowest monthly batting average with the San Jose Giants. A memorable four-game series in Bakersfield from June 3-6 saw Belt record multi-hits in all four contests. He ended the series 9-for-13 with a home run and seven RBI’s to raise his season average to .388.

After an 0-for-4 night on June 8, Belt rattled off another long streak as he hit safely in 16 straight games through the final week of the month. Behind Belt’s red-hot hitting, the Giants climbed into first place in the North Division and spent the entire first half of June padding their lead.

Belt then saved his best individual performance for the night San Jose clinched. On June 15 in High Desert, needing just one win to wrap-up the division, Belt smacked two home runs as part of a 4-for-5, 6-RBI night. The Giants outlasted the Mavericks 15-11 with Belt’s three-run homer in the top of the ninth providing much-needed insurance. By the end of the game, Belt’s average had crept to .394.

A slam-dunk All-Star pick, Belt ended the first half with a .392 batting average and nine home runs. He started at first base for the California League in the All-Star Game and it was very apparent that a promotion was forthcoming, despite his inexperience in the professional game. On June 30 in Visalia, Belt went 3-for-5 with a triple and three RBI’s. On July 1 back at home versus Lancaster, he collected two more hits in three at-bats. The following day, he was promoted to Double-A Richmond.

Belt was a California League All-Star with the San Jose Giants

Belt was a California League All-Star with the San Jose Giants

At the time of his promotion, Belt was leading the California League with a .383 batting average. In 77 games played, he produced 28 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs and 62 RBI’s. He walked (58) more than he struck out (50) and owned an incredible .492 on-base percentage (1.121 OPS). And for good measure, he also stole 18 bases in 25 attempts.

The San Jose Giants would ultimately go onto win the California League championship that September with a dramatic series win over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes to take the title. Belt was long gone by then, but his impact was certainly felt thanks to his significant contributions throughout the first half that propelled the Giants into the playoffs.

Belt’s 2010 campaign will go down as one of the best ever by a Giants minor leaguer. He continued his success in Double-A batting .337 with nine homers in 46 games for the Flying Squirrels. In late-August, he was promoted again, this time to Triple-A Fresno, where he spent the last two weeks of the season. Between his three stops in 2010, Belt combined for 23 home runs, 43 doubles, 112 RBI’s and a .352 batting average in 136 games. His meteoric rise continued in 2011 when he made San Francisco’s opening day roster and then homered in his second-ever big league game (at Dodger Stadium, no less). He bounced back-and-forth between the big leagues and Triple-A throughout the year, but by 2012, he was in San Francisco to stay and was a key member of the World Series run. Two years later, Belt was a World Champion once again.

The Belt File
• After going hitless in his first three games with San Jose, Belt had at least one hit in 62 out of his next 74 games before his promotion to Richmond.
• His hitting streaks of 18 and 16 games were the second and third-longest by a San Jose player in 2010 (Peguero – 20 games). During his 18-game hitting streak from April 11-30, Belt hit .525 with 17 RBI’s.
• Even though he maintained a high batting average, Belt actually endured a long homerless streak with the San Jose Giants. The All-Star went 35 straight games without a long ball from April 25 to May 30. He then homered seven times in his last 27 games.
• Belt’s .383 batting average would be the highest single-season mark in San Jose Giants history if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. Mark Leonard holds the record when he hit .345 in 1988. Belt was 44 plate appearances shy of qualifying.
• Belt hit .406 against right-handed pitching with San Jose and .379 with runners in scoring position.

Home Game Times Announced

The Giants have introduced new 6:30 PM start times for nine midweek evening games in April and May

The Giants have introduced new 6:30 PM start times for nine midweek evening games in April and May

The San Jose Giants have announced all of their home game times for the 2015 season. A few highlights from the 70-game schedule:

HOME OPENER
The home opener at Municipal Stadium is set for Thursday, April 16 with a 7:00 PM first pitch. Only 99 days away!

SWITCH TO 6:30 IN APRIL AND MAY
The notable change this year is the switch to 6:30 PM start times for most Monday through Wednesday home dates in April and May only. Thursdays and Fridays during the opening two months remain as 7:00 PM starts.

SATURDAYS
Saturday home games will continue to start at 5:00 PM. The lone exceptions are in the second half: Saturday, June 27 (6:00 PM), Saturday, July 4 (6:30 PM), Saturday, August 1 (6:00 PM) and Saturday, August 15 (6:00 PM).

SUNDAYS
Sunday home games in April, May and June will begin at 1:00 PM. Starting in July, Sunday games shift to a 5:00 PM first pitch. July and August Sunday home games are 5:00 PM starts with the exception of Sunday, July 5 at 6:30 PM (Independence Day weekend) and Sunday, August 23 at 1:00 PM (final weekend home game of the regular season).

MIDWEEK AFTERNOON BASEBALL
The San Jose Giants will host five weekday afternoon games this season:
– Wednesday, April 22 (12:30 PM)
– Thursday, May 21 (11:30 AM)
– Wednesday, June 10 (12:30 PM)
– Tuesday, July 21 (12:30 PM)
– Thursday, August 13 (12:30 PM)

HOLIDAYS AT MUNI
Holiday home games in 2015 include: Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10 at 1:00 PM), Memorial Day (Monday, May 25 at 2:00 PM), Father’s Day (Sunday, June 21 at 1:00 PM) and Independence Day (Saturday, July 4 at 6:30 PM).

HOME FINALE
The home schedule closes on Thursday, September 3 (7:00 PM).

View the 2015 Schedule

Download the 2015 Schedule (PDF)

The San Jose Giants home opener is set for Thursday, April 16 at 7:00 PM

The San Jose Giants home opener is set for Thursday, April 16 at 7:00 PM

Projecting the 2015 Roster – Who could return?

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsThe bulk of the 2015 San Jose Giants opening day roster should be filled with new faces as players make the jump from Augusta and Salem-Keizer to the California League. However, there are also always a handful of returnees each year. Here are some players who suited up for San Jose in 2014 that could be back at Municipal Stadium this spring:

Martin Agosta, RHP
Agosta entered last year with high expectations after his 2013 All-Star campaign in Augusta. Unfortunately, the former second round pick never got on track with San Jose in 2014 posting a 9.23 ERA over 11 starts with more walks (34) than strikeouts (25). He spent over two months on the disabled list during the middle portion of the season in attempt to straighten out his mechanics, add velocity to his fastball and regain the bite to his offspeed stuff, but was only slightly improved upon his return late in the year. Agosta enters 2015 with a lot to prove. Given his draft status and what he showed in the South Atlantic League two years ago (2.06 ERA in 18 starts), he almost certainly will get the opportunity to demonstrate that 2014 was a fluke.

Brandon Bednar, INF
Bednar was a key member of San Jose’s team over the final two months last season. After batting a solid .275 in 74 games for Augusta, Bednar was promoted to the Giants in early-July. He showed his versatility making starts at all four infield positions while in San Jose (shortstop – 24 games, second base – 10 games, first base – six games, third base – six games) while often batting in the middle of the order. Bednar, a former seventh round draft pick, got off to a strong start in the California League batting .300 during the month of July, but a difficult August (.175 AVG) will likely result in his return to San Jose this spring. Bednar has some pop (five home runs in 48 games with the Giants) and his ability to play all over the infield could make him an invaluable part of the 2015 San Jose squad.

Joan Gregorio, RHP
Despite an up-and-down 2014, Gregorio was added to San Francisco’s 40-man roster this offseason and remains one of the top starting pitching prospects in the system. The 6’7″ right-hander burst out of the gates in the San Jose rotation last spring registering 22 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings to go with a 1.88 ERA over his first three starts, but things went downhill fast. After yielding 13 runs over his next two outings, Gregorio landed on the DL to work on his mechanics. He returned three weeks later, but made just one appearance before a back injury put him on the disabled list again. Once healthy, Gregorio was sent down to Augusta, where he finished the season. His numbers in the South Atlantic League were solid (3.57 ERA in 12 starts, 65 K’s in 68 IP) and all signs point towards the 23-year old getting another crack at the San Jose rotation when the 2015 season begins.

Chuckie Jones, OF
Jones served as San Jose’s everyday right fielder last season playing in a team-high tying 131 games. As has been the case throughout his professional career, Jones struggled early in the season with the bat. He was hitting only .222 with little power on June 1 before gradually turning his season around with a steady effort over the final three months. For the year, the slugging outfielder managed a .256 batting average to go with 19 doubles, 15 home runs, 66 RBI’s and 17 stolen bases. Despite having already spent five seasons in pro ball, Jones was actually the youngest position player on San Jose’s team for most of last year (turned 22 last July). Jones has always featured intriguing potential of power and speed while he’s frequently been one of the youngest players on his team, but high strikeout totals (he led SJ with 150 K’s) and pedestrian batting averages have prevented a quick rise through the system. His slightly improved second half last season could be enough to push Jones up to Double-A this spring, but with the expected glut of outfielders on the Richmond roster and the up-and-down nature of his year in San Jose, it would not be a surprise if he returns to the California League.

Others: Other potential returning starting pitchers this year could include Joe Biagini, Nick Vander Tuig and Pat Young. Of the trio, Biagini would figure to have the best chance to move up to Richmond as the right-hander led the San Jose staff with 10 wins in 2014 to go with a 4.01 ERA over 23 starts. The trade of Kendry Flores to the Marlins last month along with Adalberto Mejia’s 50-game suspension to begin the year also likely opens a couple of spots in the Flying Squirrels rotation for perhaps Biagini.

Vander Tuig joined the Giants in early-August and had some nice moments in the rotation to close out the year. In his six starts, the former UCLA star logged a 5.06 ERA with five walks and 19 strikeouts in 32 innings. A sixth round pick in 2013, Vander Tuig is a strong candidate to return to San Jose. Meanwhile, Young spent the entire 2014 campaign in the Giants rotation, but struggled with his consistency (9-6, 6.13 ERA in 23 starts). After a terrific July that saw him post a 4-0 record with a 3.04 ERA over five starts, Young struggled to close the year logging a 10.53 ERA in his five August starts. He’ll very likely be back with the Giants in 2015.

Hard-throwing reliever Ray Black was promoted from Augusta for the final week and a half of 2014 and made quite an impact. Showcasing an upper 90’s fastball (that topped out at 101 MPH), Black struck out seven and gave up just one hit in four innings out of the Giants bullpen. This was after he struck out an incredible 64 batters in just 31 1/3 innings with Augusta (3.73 ERA). Clearly San Francisco took notice as Black was placed on the 40-man roster this offseason. 2015 could be a fast-track year through the system for Black, but a return to San Jose to open the campaign is a possibility. Fellow hard-thrower Jeff Soptic improved his ERA in the Cal League from 6.26 in 2013 to 4.60 in 2014, but walked a batter per inning last season. Ian Gardeck can also bring it into the upper 90’s, but had a 9.38 ERA over 17 appearances in an injury-plagued year with the Giants. Mason McVay was a solid contributor out of the San Jose bullpen much of 2014 amassing 83 strikeouts in 72 innings to go with a 4.38 ERA, but competition for spots in the Richmond bullpen this spring will be fierce.

Catcher Trevor Brown was a key member of San Jose’s playoff run in 2013, but often struggled with the bat last year as he hit just .215 with two home runs in 54 games. Brown can also play first and second base and is a candidate to return to San Jose. Middle infielder Rando Moreno was on the Giants opening day roster last April, but managed just a .218 batting average in 27 games before a demotion to Augusta. His struggles offensively continued in the South Atlantic League, but the switch-hitter has tremendous speed (26 steals in ’14) and could find his way back to San Jose.

Outfielder Jesus Galindo may have done enough to warrant a promotion to Richmond, but depending on how the outfield depth chart shakes out in the upper levels of the system, could end up returning to the Cal League. Galindo hit .268 in 101 games for the Giants and led the team with 31 stolen bases from the leadoff spot in the lineup. The oft-injured center fielder missed the last month of the season with a knee issue. First baseman Brian Ragira led the Giants in home runs (20) and RBI’s (82) last year and thus is probably more likely to go to Double-A than come back to San Jose, but a few factors could result in a return. Notably, Ragira did struggle with the bat in the first half (.224 AVG, 5 HR), struck out a lot (second on the team with 127) and committed 16 errors at first base. 2014 was Ragira’s first full pro season and the organization may want to see him refine some aspects of his game before taking a shot at the tough Eastern League. Then again, a .297 batting average and 15 home runs after the All-Star break could easily be enough to push Ragira to Richmond this April.

Finally, don’t discount the possibility of Mac Williamson starting a third straight season in San Jose. Williamson was the Giants’ co-MVP in 2013 when he blasted 25 homers, drove in 89 runs and hit .292. The top prospect returned to the Giants for the start of 2014 as he nursed an elbow injury that prevented him from playing in the field. While he continued to succeed at the plate, the elbow didn’t respond and ultimately required season-ending Tommy John surgery. Williamson is unquestionably ready for the Double-A test, but after missing almost the entire 2014 season, it’s possible the organization could ease him back into action with a brief stint in San Jose before moving him up the ladder.

News and Notes: Standout San Jose Pitcher Traded

By Joe Ritzo

Kendry Flores, traded to Miami on Friday, led the 2014 San Jose staff in strikeouts (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

Kendry Flores, traded to Miami on Friday, led the 2014 San Jose staff in strikeouts (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

Kendry Flores, a top starting pitcher on San Jose’s staff last season, was one of two San Francisco minor leaguers traded to Miami on Friday when the Giants acquired third baseman Casey McGehee. McGehee is expected to fill the void left by Pablo Sandoval after the former SJ Giant signed with the Boston Red Sox earlier in the offseason.

Flores, who turned 23 last month, spent all of last season with the San Jose Giants. He entered the year with high expectations after his banner 2013 campaign in Augusta that resulted in the right-hander being added to San Francisco’s 40-man roster. Flores started his season in the California League with a flourish as he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning at Rancho Cucamonga in his first outing before striking out nine over six scoreless frames in his home debut a week later. After an uneven month of May (7.66 ERA in five starts), Flores impressed throughout June (2.59 ERA) and July (2.22 ERA).

Additional highlights to his year with San Jose included a 13 strikeout performance on June 22 in Visalia and a spectacular effort at first-place Stockton on July 11 that saw him surrender just two hits and one run over seven innings. Flores’ season ended on August 6 when he left his start in Bakersfield after experiencing shoulder discomfort. The injury wasn’t overly serious, but with less than a month remaining in the regular season, there wasn’t enough time in the year for him to return to the active roster.

In his 20 starts overall, Flores fashioned a 4.09 ERA and a 4-6 record. His 112 strikeouts (in 105 1/3 innings) led the San Jose staff while he issued just 32 walks and limited the opposition to a .249 batting average. Flores struck out at least eight batters in five of his starts and allowed two runs or fewer in 11 out of his 20 outings. His ERA in eight starts after the All-Star break was a stellar 2.60. Flores featured a fastball primarily in the low 90’s while in San Jose to go with a cutter, a curve and an excellent change-up.

In all likelihood, Flores would have began the 2015 season in the Double-A Richmond rotation. For reference, the Marlins Double-A team is the Jacksonville Suns of the Southern League – Flores’ probable 2015 destination. Meanwhile, if not for the trade, Castillo, who posted a 3.07 ERA and 10 saves for the GreenJackets in 2014, probably would have been a member of the San Jose bullpen next year.

OKERT NAMED TO AFL TOP PROSPECT TEAM
The honors keep rolling in for relief pitcher Steven Okert. The lone All-Star from last season’s San Jose team, Okert excelled in Double-A to finish the year before a standout performance in the Arizona Fall League. In 10 appearances for the Scottsdale Scorpions this fall, Okert notched an impressive 0.75 ERA yielding just one run and five hits over 12 innings. He also struck out 17 batters and issued only one walk. For his efforts, Okert was named to the Arizona Fall League Top Prospect team earlier this month.

The 22-man Top Prospects team is voted on by AFL managers and coaches, taking into consideration the players’ performances during the fall and their projected futures in the major leagues. Okert was the only Giants prospect selected to the team.

Yankees first base prospect Greg Byrd was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.

2014 AFL Top Prospects Team

MINICOZZI SIGNS WITH NATIONALS
A week after free agent Nick Noonan signed a minor league deal with the Yankees, another former San Jose Giants infielder is on the move as veteran Mark Minicozzi has inked a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals. Minicozzi, 31, became a minor league free agent at the end of the 2014 season. He spent seven years in the San Francisco organization over two separate stints (2005-08, 2012-14).

Minicozzi was the everyday second baseman on San Jose’s 2006 playoff team when he hit .282 with four home runs and 77 RBI’s. After struggling in Double-A the following season, he returned to the Giants late in 2007 and served as the club’s third baseman down the stretch in helping the club to the California League championship. Minicozzi was named Championship Series MVP that September.

After missing all of 2008 due to injury and a whirlwind three-year stint bouncing around various independent league teams, Minicozzi returned to the Giants organization in May of 2012. He won the Eastern League batting title with Richmond in 2013 (.309 AVG) and finally got his first taste of Triple-A ball this season when as a 31-year old playing for Fresno, he hit a solid .298 with 12 homers and 62 RBI’s in 89 games. Minicozzi actually returned to San Jose briefly last season playing in eight games with the Giants as part of a rehab assignment.

ODDS AND ENDS
* Former San Jose first baseman Angel Villalona was outrighted off the San Francisco 40-man roster today to make room for Sergio Romo, who re-signed with the club. Villalona remains in the organization, but is no longer on the 40-man roster. The 2013 California League All-Star hit just .227 with 10 home runs and 54 RBI’s in 101 games for Richmond last season.

* Three California League teams have already announced their managers for the 2015 season:
– Inland Empire 66ers: Denny Hocking returning as manager
– Lancaster JetHawks: Omar Lopez (managed Astros Class-A team in 2014)
– Stockton Ports: Rick Magnante (managed Athletics Class-A team in 2014)

When They Were San Jose Giants: Sergio Romo

By Joe Ritzo

Sergio Romo closing out the 2007 championship for the San Jose Giants.  Five years later, he did the same with San Francisco.

Sergio Romo closing out the 2007 championship for the San Jose Giants. Five years later, he did the same with San Francisco.

It was announced this week that free agent pitcher Sergio Romo had agreed to a two-year deal to remain with the San Francisco Giants. Romo is one of the select few players to have been a member of all three recent World Championship teams as the right-hander has been a steady presence in the late innings out of the Giants bullpen. Prior to his time in the big leagues, Romo climbed through the San Francisco farm system, including a memorable year on San Jose’s 2007 championship squad. Here’s a look back at his season in the California League…

A 28th round pick by the San Francisco Giants in the 2005 draft, Romo was actually a starting pitcher primarily over his first two professional seasons. He opened the 2007 campaign at Extended Spring Training before joining a first-place San Jose team in mid-May, where he was expected to be used out of the bullpen.

On May 14 against Modesto, Romo made his California League debut when he entered the contest to begin the top of the seventh with the Giants clinging to a 1-0 lead. Romo’s first impression in front of the hometown fans at Municipal Stadium was a strong one as he tossed two scoreless innings with just one single allowed, no walks and three strikeouts to preserve the one-run advantage. The Giants won the game by the 1-0 margin and Romo never looked back in what became one of the most dominant seasons by a San Jose reliever in club history.

Many of Romo’s early appearances with the Giants were of the two-inning variety as he often bridged the gap between the starting pitcher and All-Star closer Taylor Wilding. He began his tenure in the Cal League by working 11 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run. Romo struck out 12 and yielded just four hits during that span as the Giants maintained their standing as a first place club.

On the third-to-last-day of the first half with San Jose needing just one victory to claim the division, Romo worked a scoreless top of the ninth inning to keep the Giants down 3-1 to the visiting Nuts. Then in the bottom of the inning, San Jose staged a dramatic rally scoring three times for a walk-off 4-3 win and a first half North Division title. Romo was credited with the win and he would finish the half with a solid 2.25 ERA over 14 relief appearances.

The second half began much like how the first half ended for Romo – often pitching in a set-up role and having tremendous success. A minor blip occurred in a July 2 home game against the Lake Elsinore Storm when future major leaguer David Freese smacked a two-run homer off of Romo. It was one of only four home runs allowed by Romo during the entire season and the reliever still managed to pick-up the win in the contest as the Giants hung on for an 8-7 victory.

The significance of that outing for Romo as that it marked the last time he would give up an earned run until the final weekend of the season. Four days later in Modesto, Romo fired a 1-2-3 inning – the first of 14 straight relief appearances without a run allowed.

Wilding was eventually promoted to Double-A and Romo assumed the role of closer in mid-July. The role seemed to suit the 24-year old right-hander as Romo collected saves in five straight outings late in the month and into the first week of August. During those five appearances, Romo worked a total of 7 2/3 scoreless innings, gave up just three hits and struck out a whopping 16 batters.

He continued to thrive late in ballgames throughout August as his season ERA dropped below two. Romo finally gave up a run on August 15 in Stockton, but it was hardly his fault as a throwing error committed with two outs in the bottom of the ninth allowed the game-winning tally to score. Unfazed, Romo notched four more saves before the season ended surrendering no runs in those outings.

Finally on September 2 – the penultimate game of the regular season – Romo allowed a 10th inning solo home run. It was the first earned run that he had given up since that July 2 appearance – exactly two months earlier. The stretch included a remarkable 34 consecutive innings with no earned runs allowed. And even after Romo gave up the 10th inning solo shot, the Giants recovered to score twice in the bottom of the frame to make the reliever the winning pitcher.

Romo concluded the regular season with a spectacular 1.36 ERA in 41 appearances. He logged a 6-2 record, collected nine saves and had an amazing 106-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 66 1/3 innings. Romo also limited the opposition to a paltry .155 batting average.

Romo’s success continued into the playoffs as the ace reliever successfully converted all three of his postseason save opportunities, including the clinching game of the North Division Series in Visalia and a must-win Game 3 of the Championship Series at home versus Lake Elsinore.

There was little drama late in the decisive fifth game of the final series as the Giants held a 7-1, ninth-inning lead. It was no surprise though to see Romo on the mound looking to close it out. He began the inning by inducing a groundout and then registered consecutive strikeouts to clinch the championship for San Jose. The catcher who squeezed the final out behind the dish: none other than Pablo Sandoval – another future three-time World Series champion. The game ended with Giants pitchers combining to retire the last 19 Lake Elsinore hitters.

After his banner year with San Jose, where arguably he was the most dominant reliever in the California League during the second half, Romo earned a promotion to Double-A Connecticut for the start of the 2008 season. He served as the Defenders’ closer during the first half of the year before a call-up to San Francisco, skipping the Triple-A level entirely. Romo’s debut in the major leagues occurred on June 26, 2008 – less than 10 months after closing out a championship at Municipal Stadium. By May of 2009, Romo was in the big leagues to stay and a season later, he was serving as a dominant set-up man to Brian Wilson on San Francisco’s first World Championship team. In October of 2012, it was Romo on the mound for the final out of a World Series – five years after he sealed a championship with the San Jose Giants.

The Romo File
• How good was Sergio Romo’s second half in San Jose? How about a 0.85 ERA in 27 appearances with an incredible 81 strikeouts in just 42 1/3 innings (four earned runs allowed).
• During the month of August in the California League, Romo owned a perfect 0.00 ERA with 36 strikeouts and just three walks in 20 innings.
• Over his first two professional seasons (2005 in Salem-Keizer and 2006 in Augusta), 24 out of his 46 outings were as a starter. Then came Romo’s breakout 2007 as a late-inning reliever in San Jose. He never worked as a starter again.
• Right-handed batters hit just .162 against Romo in the California League. Lefties managed just a .143 batting average.
• Despite not joining the team until mid-May and working exclusively out of the bullpen, Romo’s 106 strikeouts for the season ranked fourth on the staff.
• In four postseason appearances, Romo’s ERA was 0.00. He struck out nine in 5 1/3 innings with two hits allowed and no walks. A preview of things to come.

Sergio Romo had a 1.36 ERA, nine saves and 106 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings with San Jose during the 2007 season

Sergio Romo had a 1.36 ERA, nine saves and 106 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings with San Jose during the 2007 season

Former SJ Giants On The Move

By Joe Ritzo

Nick Noonan, the starting second baseman on San Jose's 2009 championship team, has signed a minor league deal with the Yankees

Nick Noonan, the starting second baseman on San Jose’s 2009 championship team, has signed a minor league deal with the Yankees

Free agent season is upon us. Moves at the major league level have been well publicized, notably Pablo Sandoval ending his tenure as a Giant and signing a contract with the Boston Red Sox. Meanwhile, there are a handful of other former San Jose Giants who are on the move this offseason after recently signing minor league deals.

Headlining the list of minor league free agents who have signed this offseason is infielder Nick Noonan, who inked a deal with the New York Yankees earlier this month. A former top prospect in the Giants organization, Noonan was one of six first round draft picks by San Francisco in 2007. Of note, among the six, only World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner now remains in the organization (Tim Alderson pitched last year in the Orioles and A’s organizations, Charlie Culberson and Jackson Williams were Colorado Rockies last season and Wendell Fairley is out of baseball).

Noonan was the everyday second baseman on San Jose’s record-setting 2009 championship team when as a 20-year old, he hit .259 with 26 doubles, seven home runs and 64 RBI’s over 124 games. Noonan opened the 2009 campaign as the #5 prospect in the Giants system according to Baseball America (fellow top 10 prospects Bumgarner, Alderson, Buster Posey, Angel Villalona, Conor Gillaspie and Scott Barnes were also on the ’09 squad). Additionally, Noonan played in 28 games late in the 2011 season with San Jose.

Noonan made San Francisco’s opening day roster in 2013 and spent the entire season shuttling back-and-forth between the big leagues and Triple-A. In 105 at-bats that year in San Francisco, Noonan hit just .219 with a pair of doubles and five RBI’s. Unfortunately for the infielder, he hasn’t returned to the major leagues having spent the entire 2014 season back in Triple-A, where he hit only .237 in 104 games. Declared a minor league free agent at the end of the season, Noonan is now a member of the Yankees organization.

There are several other former San Jose Giants with big league experience who are on the move this offseason. Catcher Johnny Monell (SJ Giant in 2009-10), who played at the Triple-A level in the Orioles and Dodgers organizations this season, has signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets. Monell has 81 career minor league home runs and a .264 batting average over eight seasons. He was a September call-up in San Francisco during the 2013 season playing in eight big league games. Monell was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 California League Championship Series when the Giants outlasted the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes to claim the title.

Outfielder Antoan Richardson (SJ Giant in 2007), who famously scored the game-winning run as a pinch-runner on Derek Jeter’s final hit last September, has signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers. Richardson has spent time in the Braves, Orioles, Twins and Yankees organizations since leaving the Giants after the 2009 season. He’s played in 22 career games in the major leagues (20 at-bats) in 2011 (Atlanta) and 2014 (Yankees).

Former San Jose pitchers Joe Paterson (2008 in SJ) and Ryan Verdugo (2009 and 2010 in SJ) are also on the move this offseason. Paterson, who was picked-up by the Diamondbacks from the Giants in the Rule 5 draft after the 2010 season, has signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals. The side-arming lefty was a key member of the Arizona bullpen in 2011 (2.91 ERA in 62 games), but has struggled to stay in the big leagues ever since (only 11 appearances with the Diamondbacks over the last three seasons) having spent the majority of the time in Triple-A. Meanwhile, Verdugo, who pitched in Triple-A for the Royals and Red Sox this season, has signed with the Oakland Athletics. Verdugo has one game of major league experience (a spot-start with Kansas City in 2012).

Finally, former San Jose hurlers Mitch Lively (2009 and 2011 in SJ) and Dan Turpen (2008 and 2009 in SJ) have re-signed with the Nationals and Twins respectively. Lively has 272 career appearances in eight minor league seasons, but has yet to reach “The Show.” He had a 3.86 ERA with Triple-A Syracuse in 2014. Turpen pitched out of the Double-A New Britain bullpen this year and posted a 4.48 ERA in 40 games.

While none of these players will likely be considered “favorites” to make their respective team’s opening day rosters, all figure to be right on the doorstep for major league time in 2015.

When They Were San Jose Giants: Juan Perez

By Joe Ritzo

Juan Perez was a California League All-Star with the San Jose Giants in 2010

Juan Perez was a California League All-Star with the San Jose Giants in 2010

16 former San Jose Giants were on San Francisco’s playoff rosters this fall helping the club to their third World Championship in the last five years. While he didn’t spend the entire season in the big leagues, a key component of the title run was the contribution from outfielder Juan Perez.

Perez made the opening day roster this year, but saw little playing time throughout April and May before bouncing back-and-forth between San Francisco and Triple-A Fresno during the summer months. While in the PCL, Perez performed well batting over .300, but was rarely more than a late-inning defensive replacement in the big leagues. However once rosters expanded on September 1, Perez was in San Francisco to stay and when Angel Pagan went down with a season-ending injury a couple of weeks later (to go with Michael Morse’s existing injury issues), Perez’s playing time gradually increased. Despite a batting average under .200 in “The Show,” Perez made the playoff roster. He provided a pair of key hits off the bench during the NLCS before going 3-for-12 with three RBI’s in the World Series. Postseason highlights included a double off the wall late in Game 5 as the Giants built their lead over Kansas City and a start in left field for the decisive Game 7. But before all of his contributions this year in San Francisco, Perez had to climb through the Giants farm system. Here’s a look back at his memorable season with San Jose in 2010, when he helped the minor league Giants to a California League championship…

A native of the Dominican Republic, Perez went to high school in New York before attending Western Oklahoma State where he was a JC All-American. San Francisco selected him in the 13th round of the 2008 draft and he made his professional debut the following season with the Class-A Augusta GreenJackets. Despite hitting just .244 in the South Atlantic League that year, Perez received a promotion to San Jose for the start of the 2010 campaign. Primarily a second baseman in his rookie pro season, the organization determined that Perez was to play in the outfield exclusively during his year in the California League. Not considered one of the elite hitting prospects in the system at the time, Perez was going to have to prove himself and gain notice while in a San Jose uniform.

Perez wasn’t in the lineup on opening night in what would turn out to be a rare occurrence during the season in which he didn’t play. He made his Cal League debut the next day (April 9, 2010) batting sixth in the order and starting in center field. Future big leaguers Brandon Belt, Ehire Adrianza, Francisco Peguero and Johnny Monell were also in the lineup that night. And while it may have been uncertain at the time if Perez was to be an everyday player on this San Jose team, his red-hot start made it almost impossible for manager Brian Harper to take him out of the lineup going forward.

Perez had multi-hits in six out of his first 14 games as he made starts regularly in both center and right field. By the end of April, he was hitting .324 and had firmly established himself on the club, often batting either leadoff or second in the order. May was an even better month for Perez as he hit a cool .355 with 10 doubles, four triples, three home runs and 18 RBI’s in 30 games. He also stole 10 bases and along with Belt, were the driving forces offensively behind San Jose taking a commanding lead in the first half standings.

One of the top all-around hitters in the league during the first half, Perez was recognized as a midseason California League All-Star. He ended the half with an impressive .327 batting average to go with 21 doubles, seven homers and 34 RBI’s. The Giants posted a 45-25 record in the first half winning the division by a whopping eight games.

The make-up of the team changed considerably just after the All-Star break as Belt and some of the top pitchers were promoted to Double-A. Perez stayed back in San Jose though and while his offensive output wasn’t quite as high as in the first half, he remained a key cog for the ballclub. Primarily a leadoff hitter throughout the middle months of the season, Harper ultimately settled on Perez in the two-hole behind Peguero and ahead of Jose Flores, Monell and Charlie Culberson for the club’s final stretch.

After struggling somewhat in July (.246 AVG), Perez turned it back around and hit .315 in August as the Giants began to build momentum for their playoff run. Arguably Perez’s top individual moment of the regular season was a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning on August 24 against Visalia to lift San Jose to a 5-4 victory.

Perez entered the last game of the regular season batting .299, but managed just one hit in five at-bats during the finale to fall just short of the magical .300 mark. His final stats included a .298 batting average, 37 doubles, 10 triples, 13 home runs, 63 RBI’s and 17 stolen bases. He ranked first on the Giants in runs scored (83), doubles and games played (131) while finishing second in hits (164) and triples and fourth in home runs and batting average.

The 2010 San Jose Giants won the California League championship with a dramatic Game 5 victory in Rancho Cucamonga

The 2010 San Jose Giants won the California League championship with a dramatic Game 5 victory in Rancho Cucamonga

Perez struggled offensively throughout the playoffs batting just .162 (6-for-37) in the eight Giants postseason games, but he would deliver arguably the biggest hit of the season for the club. With the decisive fifth game of the Championship Series tied 6-6 in the top of the 10th inning down in Rancho Cucamonga, Perez stepped to the plate with one out and grounded a triple down the right field line – one of two extra-base hits he produced in the playoffs. Following a pair of walks that loaded the bases, Perez then scored the championship-winning run when Culberson hit a sacrifice fly to right. With the Giants ahead 7-6, reliever Jason Stoffel closed out the Quakes in the bottom of the 10th stranding future big league superstar Mike Trout at third base to end the game. It marked the first time in San Jose franchise history that the team won back-to-back league titles (2009-10).

After his stellar year in the California League, Perez garnered a much-deserved promotion to Richmond for the start of the 2011 season. After two full years in Double-A, Perez received his first taste of Triple-A ball to open the 2013 campaign. In June of that year, he debuted in the major leagues and a season later, he was on the field when the San Francisco Giants claimed their third World Championship.

Perez Notes

• Perez made 81 starts in the leadoff spot in the lineup with San Jose – tops on the club in 2010. He had a .373 batting average when leading off an inning.
• While left field was his primary position during the 2014 MLB playoffs, Perez made just one start in left while a member of the San Jose Giants. He played 67 games in center and 59 games in right. After playing mainly second base a year earlier in Augusta, he didn’t play an inning in the infield with the SJ Giants.
• Perez was one of five San Jose Giants named to the midseason California League All-Star team joining Belt and pitchers Justin Fitzgerald, Eric Surkamp and Craig Westcott. All three hurlers are no longer in the San Francisco organization.
• Perez’s 10th inning triple in the memorable Game 5 down in Rancho Cucamonga was his only hit in six at-bats that night.
• Perez’s 13 home runs in San Jose are still the most he’s hit in a season during his professional career (six years).

Juan Perez (middle) with Francisco Peguero (left) and Ehire Adrianza (right) during the 2010 season

Juan Perez (middle) with Francisco Peguero (left) and Ehire Adrianza (right) during the 2010 season

Episode 43 – Inside the San Jose Giants

podcastgraphicIt’s Inside the San Jose Giants from the Winter Meetings! In this special podcast episode from San Diego, Joe and Ben describe the sights and sounds of the meetings while offering insight from a minor league perspective. Additionally, the two reflect on San Jose winning the 2014 Larry MacPhail Award, symbolizing the top promotional effort in Minor League Baseball. The final podcast of the year concludes with a montage of Joe and Ben’s favorite San Jose Giants highlights from 2014.

When They Were San Jose Giants: Joe Panik

By Joe Ritzo

Joe Panik was a standout player for the San Jose Giants in 2012 on his way to the big leagues

Joe Panik was a standout player for the San Jose Giants in 2012 on his way to the big leagues

16 former San Jose Giants were on San Francisco’s playoff rosters this fall helping lead the club to their third World Championship in the last five years. Despite not beginning the season in the major leagues, a vital contributor to the team’s success was rookie Joe Panik.

Panik emerged in August taking over the starting second base position while producing offensively from the second spot in the order. He batted over .300 during the regular season then came through with several key hits in the playoffs. His most memorable moment of the World Series was arguably the spectacular double play he started at second base early in Game 7. Panik’s success on baseball’s biggest stage has already made him a fan-favorite in San Francisco, but San Jose Giants fans remember his rise through the system and the impact he made in the California League. Let’s take a look back at Panik’s stint as a San Jose Giant…

Panik was sent to San Jose for the start of the 2012 season, where he was expected to help anchor a starting lineup that included other prospects Andrew Susac, Adam Duvall and Ricky Oropesa. Expectations were high for Panik, a late first round pick (29th overall selection) just a year earlier. He had burst onto the scene in the summer of 2011 earning Northwest League MVP honors while playing shortstop for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. On opening day 2012 as the Giants started their season in Modesto, Panik found himself batting third in the order (behind Susac and ahead of Duvall) and playing at his familiar shortstop position.

Panik started fast in a San Jose uniform as the club moved into first place in the North Division. The New York native hit .324 in his first nine games and had a stretch of six straight contests with at least one RBI in early-April. But then for the first time in his brief professional career, the New York native went into a slump. A 5-for-32 slide to end April dropped his overall batting average to .221. While his defense remained solid at shortstop, the grind of his first full season and facing the advanced pitchers that the Cal League had to offer resulted in a somewhat frustrating first half at the plate. On June 7, Panik was hitting just .238 as the club went into a tailspin and ultimately fell out of the top spot in the first half standings.

However, Panik persevered and began to display signs of his first round pedigree as June progressed. While the Giants had fallen out of the first half race, Panik hit safely in his last eight games before the All-Star break. He ended the half with a .257 batting average, 17 doubles, two homers and 30 RBI’s. Despite struggling at times with the bat, Panik still walked (32) more than he struck out (24) showing the ability to work counts and put the ball in play on a regular basis. A move out of the third spot in the lineup and up to the #2 hole also seemed to benefit Panik setting the stage for a memorable second half in the California League.

Panik homered in each of his first two games coming out of the All-Star break. He combined for six hits in those two contests down in Visalia and never looked back on his way to becoming one of the top hitters in the league. Two and three-hit games were the norm for the emerging star as Panik hit .280 in June before batting .303 during July – his first month with an average over the .300 mark. In fact, Panik produced multi-hits in eight out of 13 games to close July.

The surge continued into August for the San Jose shortstop. A 4-for-5, HR, 3 RBI game in Stockton on August 7 was followed by a perfect 4-for-4, HR, 2 RBI effort the next night at Banner Island Ballpark. When Panik singled in his first plate appearance on August 9 against the Ports, he had collected hits in an incredible eight consecutive at-bats – the longest streak by a Giants player for the season. At the start of the series, Panik’s average sat at .279. By the end of the three-game set, it had to risen to .293.

From there, the only question was whether Panik would have enough to get to the magical .300 mark. The hot hitting continued, but despite five straight multi-hit games during the final week of the regular season, Panik fell just short as he ended the year at .297 – still a remarkable rise from where he was just three months earlier.

Behind Panik’s impressive output from the second spot in the lineup, and other notable individual accomplishments from the likes of Duvall, Susac, Oropesa and Jarrett Parker, the Giants secured the Wild Card and ended the regular season with the top overall record in the North Division (75-65). Panik hit a sizzling .379 in August with an outstanding .940 OPS. After batting .257 in the first half, he hit .337 with five home runs and 46 RBI’s over 64 games in the second half. A clutch performer throughout the year, Panik’s .324 batting average with runners in scoring position was second on the club. He also struck out only eight times in 142 at-bats w/RISP offering a preview for SF Giants fans of how tough an out he can be during the biggest spots of the game.

His second half success was more than enough to earn a promotion to Double-A Richmond for the start of the 2013 season. Just a little over a year later, Panik debuted in the big leagues and the rest was history.

Joe Panik Fun Facts

• Panik, of course, made a name for himself in San Francisco this season as the club’s savior at second base. In San Jose two seasons earlier though, Panik didn’t play a single inning at second. All 122 of his games played in the field were at the shortstop position.
• Panik and Adam Duvall shared San Jose’s team MVP award in 2012. Panik was also honored as the club’s Defensive Player of the Year. He committed just two errors in his last 32 games. Panik was recognized as the top defensive shortstop in the California League by league managers in a survey conducted by Baseball America.
• Panik was the only player on San Jose’s team to end the season with more walks (58) than strikeouts (54).
• Panik’s 159 hits were third in the California League and his 93 runs scored were fifth. He also ranked as the toughest player to strikeout in the league (one K every 11.2 at-bats).
• San Jose lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2012, but Panik still shined as he led the team with a .417 postseason batting average (5-for-12).

Quotes

San Jose manager Andy Skeels on Joe Panik at the end of the 2012 season:
“Joe drove in some big runs for us all year. He uses the entire field well and is able to get a lot of his hits with two strikes. He was also very solid defensively.”

San Jose hitting coach Gary Davenport on Panik in August of 2012:
“ I think he’s one of the best hitters in our organization. We knew he was capable of this consistent level of hitting. He had some bad luck early in the year and now those balls are falling in for him. I also don’t think he’s put as much pressure on himself now compared to early in the season. We’re very, very happy with Joe.”

San Jose Coordinator of Minor League Hitting Steve Decker on Panik in April of 2012:
“Joe is a very polished player and there’s a reason we took him in the first round last year. He has a lot of ability at the plate to do multiple things. He’s very coachable and can apply things quickly. The Joe Panik’s and Buster Posey’s of the world are very easy on coaches because once we show them something, they’ve got it. Joe has multiple weapons – he can beat you with a walk, can beat you with a single, with a double and can take you deep occasionally. He’s well ahead of the game for his age.”

Joe Panik June 22, 2012 SJ Giants pregame radio interview:
“I think in the first half I was able to get an understanding with how everything works and I’m expecting big things from myself and the team in the second half.”

“The coaches are keeping things simple for me – just reminding me of the things that make me a good hitter. I’m trying to be aggressive early in the count and as a #2 hitter, you’re trained to be a tough out. You don’t want to give away any at-bats. You want to foul off tough pitches and not strikeout. I want to put balls in play and move guys over, especially as a #2 hitter. That’s my mindset.”

“There’s always pressure from the outside, people are depending on you, but I try to push that all aside. As a ballplayer, you put enough pressure on yourself to do well. Once the lights turn on, it’s a game now.”

Joe Panik July 31, 2012 SJ Giants pregame radio interview:
“I’m feeling really comfortable and relaxed at the plate. I’m not trying to do too much. Just trying to get on base and let the big guys behind me do their work.”

As San Jose's shortstop in 2012, Panik hit .297 with 27 doubles, seven home runs and 76 RBI's to earn co-team MVP honors

As San Jose’s shortstop in 2012, Panik hit .297 with 27 doubles, seven home runs and 76 RBI’s to earn co-team MVP honors

Winter League Updates

By Joe Ritzo

Updating the former San Jose Giants playing in the various winter leagues:

Venezuela

Former SJ Giant pitcher Jack Snodgrass has logged 39 innings in winter ball

Former SJ Giant pitcher Jack Snodgrass has logged 39 innings in winter ball

* Ehire Adrianza: .184, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .262 OBP
– Recently joined a Venezuelan Winter League team after SF’s World Series run … Is 7-for-38 with a double in his first 10 games (first action since late-July) … Playing almost exclusively second base.

* Chris Dominguez: .308, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .372 SLG
– Has hit for a good average this winter, although little power (five doubles, no homers in 78 AB’s) … Has made starts at first base, third base and right field … Last played on November 16.

* Austin Fleet: 3-1, 5.85 ERA, 20.0 IP, 9 BB, 15 SO
– Has made six starts and one relief appearance … Best start came on October 31 (5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 SO) … Struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings on November 7.

* Cody Hall: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 12 SV, 17.1 IP, 3 BB, 16 SO
– The Giants winter ball star this year … 12 saves rank second in the league … Has not allowed an earned run in 17 1/3 innings … Surrendered just six hits (.105 opponents batting average) … Was added to San Francisco’s 40-man roster last month.

* Kelvin Marte: 0-0, 20.25 ERA, 2.2 IP, 1 BB, 4 SO
– Lefty starter made his winter ball debut last week yielding six runs over 2 2/3 innings.

* Mark Minicozzi: .345, 3 HR, 15 RBI, .478 SLG
– Ranks fourth in the VWL in batting average … Also first in on-base percentage (.479) … Has walked (29) more than he’s struck out (23) … Owns a .957 OPS … Has cooled off a bit lately after hitting .435 in his first 20 games … Is a minor league free agent.

* Edwin Quirarte: 0-1, 2.25 ERA, 4.0 IP, 0 BB, 3 SO
– Another minor league free agent this offseason … Has surrendered one earned run in four innings of relief.

* Hector Sanchez: .225, 1 HR, 3 RBI, .300 SLG
– Returned to action this winter after an injury-plagued 2014 season … Has played in 10 games and is 9-for-40 with a home run … Has only seen time at first base and DH.

* Jack Snodgrass: 2-3, 5.08 ERA, 39.0 IP, 14 BB, 23 SO
– Leads all Giants pitchers in innings pitched this winter … Owns a 5.08 ERA in nine starts … Had a 3.18 ERA in his first five starts, but has struggled of late (7.71 ERA last four starts) … Logged 131 1/3 innings during the 2014 regular season with Double-A Richmond (11-6, 3.56 ERA).

The Venezuelan Winter League regular season concludes December 30.


Dominican Republic

* Angel Villalona: .067, 0 HR, 2 RBI
– Has played in five games this winter and is 1-for-15 with a double and a pair of RBI’s.

The Dominican Winter League regular season concludes December 21.

Recent San Jose Pitchers Added To San Francisco’s 40-Man Roster

By Joe Ritzo

SF Giants logoFour pitchers from the last two San Jose Giants teams were added to San Francisco’s 40-man roster yesterday. 2013 standout relievers Derek Law and Cody Hall, who both pitched for Double-A Richmond this season, were placed on the 40-man. Additionally, Ray Black and Joan Gregorio, two right-handers from this year’s San Jose squad, were also added.

Law burst onto the scene in 2013 when he split the year between Augusta and San Jose. As a member of the SJ Giants during the second half of the season, he fashioned a 2.10 ERA, was a perfect 11-for-11 in save opportunities and owned a staggering 45-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He then excelled in the Arizona Fall League not allowing an earned run over 12 innings to put himself in position for a huge 2014 season.

Law was a non-roster invitee to big league camp this past spring and was so impressive that he wasn’t sent down to the minors until the final weekend. He was ultimately assigned to Double-A Richmond where he notched a 2.57 ERA, converted 13 out of 14 save chances and collected 29 strikeouts in 28 innings. Unfortunately, Law suffered an elbow injury in early-June that required Tommy John surgery, which ended his season. Given the timeline of the procedure, Giants fans probably shouldn’t expect Law back on the field in minor league games until towards the middle portion of next year. Despite the injury though, Law is still considered one of the top relief pitcher prospects in the system, a distinction confirmed with his 40-man roster inclusion.

Law, who turned 24 last September, was originally a ninth round pick in the 2011 draft out of Miami Dade Community College. While in San Jose, the right-hander possessed pinpoint control of a low-to-mid 90’s fastball to go with a wipe-out slider.

Hall pitched briefly for San Jose late in 2012 before returning to the Giants the following season. In 2013, he logged an outstanding 1.34 ERA with San Jose over 26 relief appearances – mainly as a set-up man. Hall struck out a whopping 48 batters and issued just seven walks in 33 2/3 innings while limiting the opposition to a .130 batting average. Over his last 29 2/3 innings in a San Jose uniform, Hall allowed a grand total of just one run.

Hall was promoted to Richmond in late-June of that season and has spent the last year and a half with the Flying Squirrels. While not quite as dominant in Double-A, the 26-year old has still been very effective combining for a 2.88 ERA, 19 saves and 84 strikeouts in 78 innings over the last two seasons in the Eastern League. If there were any questions in the organization about whether Hall should be placed on the 40-man roster this offseason, those were probably nullified thanks to his current performance in Winter ball down in Venezuela. Working as a closer this winter league season, Hall has put up spectacular numbers as he boasts a perfect 0.00 ERA in 15 1/3 innings with just four hits allowed, 15 strikeouts and a league-high 10 saves.

Like Law, Hall has good control of an explosive fastball. While in the California League, Hall would often sit in the mid to upper 90’s with the pitch. The development of his off-speed stuff will be paramount to his further advancement in the organization. Hall, a 19th rounder in 2011, was considered a raw and inexperienced pitching prospect when the Giants drafted him out of Southern University. He’ll almost certainly open next season in the Triple-A Sacramento bullpen and Law could eventually join him there once he’s back at full strength.

Meanwhile, Black and Gregorio each spent a small portion of the 2014 season in San Jose and are candidates to return to the California League next year. Black, like Law and Hall was drafted in 2011 out of the college ranks (seventh round, University of Pittsburgh), but has taken a very different path as a professional. Black suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder that required surgery and a long recovery process forced him to sit out both the 2012 and 2013 minor league seasons. He finally debuted professionally this year and the results were impressive, to say the least. Working on a strict schedule in an effort to get him through the year without any significant injury setbacks (never pitching more than one inning + multiple days off in between outings), he fanned 71 batters in 35 1/3 innings, mainly in Augusta, for an incredible 18.1 strikeouts per nine innings total. His overall ERA finished at 3.57 to go with a microscopic .140 opponents batting average, 16 walks and just one home run allowed.

Black was promoted to San Jose in late-August for the Giants’ playoff push and made four relief appearances in the Cal League yielding just one hit and one run to go with seven strikeouts over four innings. He showcased an electric 97-to-101 MPH fastball with a plus-slider that also served as a strikeout pitch. Now with a full year under his belt, look for the organization to perhaps turn Black loose a bit next season with a greater number of appearances in more high-leverage situations. Whether he picks up where he left off and returns to San Jose or garners an immediate opportunity to pitch in Double-A next April will be a major storyline next spring. Armed with two dominant pitches, if Black can stay healthy going forward, he could shoot through the farm system in the coming months.

2014 San Jose Giant Joan Gregorio was added to San Francisco's 40-man roster this week

2014 San Jose Giant Joan Gregorio was added to San Francisco’s 40-man roster this week

Finally, Gregorio is the only one of the quartet that has been used as a starter. With a lean 6’7″ frame, Gregorio possesses a low 90’s fastball and an intriguing mix of offspeed pitches that can dazzle at times, but also lack consistency. He started the 2014 season in the San Jose rotation and made a strong initial impression posting a 1.88 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings over his first three starts. Back-to-back rough starts (13 total runs allowed) though put Gregorio on the DL as he attempted to work through mechanical issues with his delivery. He returned to action three weeks later, but made just one relief appearance before going back on the disabled list with a sore back. Once finally healthy again, Gregorio was sent to Augusta, where he spent the entire second half. To his credit, Gregorio rebounded nicely in the South Atlantic League (his second stint as a GreenJacket) notching a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts with 65 strikeouts in 68 innings.

Gregorio still has a long ways to go in his effort to reach the big leagues, but the right-hander oozes potential and with his new 40-man status, should get every opportunity in the coming years to prove himself and move up the ladder. Look for Gregorio to get another shot at the California League in 2015, where he would be one of the headline starters in the San Jose rotation.

Currently, the San Francisco Giants have filled all 40 spots on their 40-man roster. 26 of the 40 are former San Jose Giants. San Francisco’s current 40-man roster can be found here.

With the inclusion of these players on the 40-man roster, not only do they greatly increase their chances for an eventual big league call-up, but the organization has now protected them from other teams in the upcoming Rule 5 draft.

Players signed at age 18 or younger (high school draftees and most international signees) must be added to the 40-man roster after five years or they become at risk to be drafted by another organization through the Rule 5 process. Players that are signed at 19 or older (college draftees) have to be protected after four years or they also become eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft. For example, Law, Hall and Black were all drafted out of the college ranks in 2011 and have completed their fourth seasons in the minor leagues. Gregorio, who just finished his fifth season in the organization, was signed as an 18-year old by the San Francisco Giants back in 2010.

It costs teams $50,000 to add a Rule 5 player to their roster. However, the team must then keep that player on the major league roster all season, otherwise they have to offer the player back to their original team for half the price ($25,000). There are also Triple-A and Double-A phases to the Rule 5 draft with price tags of $12,000 and $4,000 respectively, however most eligible minor leaguers are protected on reserve minor league lists.

The Rule 5 draft is scheduled for December 11 at Baseball’s Winter Meetings in San Diego.

Notable Rule 5 eligible players left unprotected by the San Francisco Giants include pitchers Bryce Bandilla, Tyler Mizenko, Josh Osich and Jack Snodgrass, catcher Jeff Arnold, infielders Ricky Oropesa and Kelby Tomlinson and outfielders Jesus Galindo, Devin Harris and Chuckie Jones. The Giants though haven’t lost a player in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft since 2010 (Joe Paterson to Arizona). Top minor league prospects such as Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn, Ty Blach, Steven Okert, Chris Stratton and Mac Williamson are not yet Rule 5 eligible and thus don’t need to be protected on the 40-man roster this offseason.

Episode 42 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants podcastIn this podcast episode, Joe and Ben wrap-up the Arizona Fall League with a review of how the Giants prospects fared. The two also discuss which former San Jose Giants could make their major league debuts in 2015.

Giants Players Finish Arizona Fall League Season

By Joe Ritzo

Steven Okert struck out 17 batters in 12 innings and had a 0.75 ERA in the Arizona Fall League

Steven Okert struck out 17 batters in 12 innings and had a 0.75 ERA in the Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League season has come to a close for Giants prospects with the bullpen duo of Steven Okert and Tyler Rogers providing the top highlights this year. Okert put the finishing touches on a spectacular 2014 season as the lefty was nearly unhittable in the late innings for the Scottsdale Scorpions while Rogers was also a steady performer in relief to greatly improve his prospect status. Meanwhile, several others in the Giants farm system gained valuable experience against top competition this fall as they gear up for the new season next spring.

Okert was unquestionably the headline performer among Giants prospects in the AFL. After leading the farm system with 24 saves this season (19 in San Jose, five in Richmond), Okert fashioned a 0.75 ERA in 10 relief appearances for the Scorpions. In his 12 innings pitched this fall, Okert surrendered only one run and five hits. The southpaw also issued just one walk while registering 17 strikeouts. Addtionally, Okert converted his only save opportunity and in the AFL Fall Stars Game a couple of weeks ago, struck out the lone batter he faced.

Over his last six outings, Okert retired 18 out of the 19 batters he faced. Overall, he limited the opposition to a paltry .119 batting average this fall. A former fourth round pick out of Oklahoma, Okert has no doubt shot up the prospect charts in the Giants organization with his magnificent 2014 season. He is arguably now the top left-handed relief pitcher prospect in the system and could be in the mix for a big league debut at some point in 2015. In all likelihood, Okert will receive an invitation to major league camp next spring before opening the regular season with Triple-A Sacramento.

While Okert’s performance in the fall league was outstanding, he was not the only Giants prospect to impress out of the Scottsdale bullpen. The submarine throwing Rogers compiled a 2.13 ERA over 10 relief appearances. In 12 2/3 innings, the right-hander yielded 15 hits, three earned runs while issuing just two walks and striking out seven.

2014 was Rogers’ first full professional season after his selection in the 10th round of the 2013 draft out of Austin Peay State University. It was a busy year as Rogers logged 89 2/3 relief innings during the regular season (1.81 ERA), primarily with San Jose. In fact, over his last 25 2/3 innings with the Giants to conclude the year, Rogers yielded just one earned run. For his efforts, Rogers earned a promotion to Richmond for their playoff run in September before excelling in the fall league. Look for Rogers to return to the upper levels of the farm system next April, perhaps as a key remember of the Flying Squirrels bullpen. Rogers doesn’t possess overwhelming velocity out of the bullpen, but his funky delivery is clearly paying dividends as he’s shown the ability to come into games and get groundball outs while working multiple innings.

Meanwhile, top starting pitching prospect Clayton Blackburn also pitched in the fall league. A San Jose Giant during the 2013 season, Blackburn was limited to 18 starts in Richmond this year due to injury. He posted a solid 3.29 ERA and the fall league then allowed the right-hander to make up for some lost time and get a few more innings under his belt before the end of the season.

Working out of the bullpen in the AFL, Blackburn made six appearances totaling 11 2/3 innings with a 5.40 ERA. The right-hander, who is known for possessing excellent control, didn’t issue a single walk while recording nine strikeouts. Blackburn figures to be a candidate for a promotion to Triple-A when next season begins.

Daniel Carbonell hit .344 in 21 games with San Jose this season before gaining experience in the AFL

Daniel Carbonell hit .344 in 21 games with San Jose this season before gaining experience in the AFL

On the hitting side, the trio of Giants prospects struggled this fall season, albeit in a small sample size of results. Playing roughly every other day, outfielder Daniel Carbonell hit .190 in 58 at-bats while producing one triple, one home run and six RBI’s. Carbonell, who played center field with San Jose to close out the 2014 campaign, made starts at all three outfield positions this fall. Somewhat surprisingly, Carbonell didn’t register a stolen base (0-for-1) while he struck out 16 times compared to drawing just two walks. At one point during the fall season, he did notch a hit in 10 out of 11 games played.

Look for Carbonell, who finished the minor league season on Richmond’s playoff roster, to open next year in the upper levels of the farm system. Carbonell signed a major league contract with the San Francisco Giants last June.

Infielders Blake Miller and Kelby Tomlinson also represented the Giants in the AFL this year. Miller, San Jose’s 2014 Most Valuable Player, hit .193 in 57 at-bats to go with one double, five RBI’s and one stolen base. He showed his versatility this fall season making starts at second base, third base and shortstop for the Scorpions. Miller, who was promoted to Richmond in early-August, will likely return to the Flying Squirrels next spring. The former 25th round draft pick hit .299 with eight homers and 73 RBI’s in 96 games during his fantastic 2014 season with San Jose.

Tomlinson, who took Matt Duffy’s spot on the Scottsdale roster after San Francisco’s World Series run overlapped with the majority of the AFL season, produced just seven hits in 63 at-bats for a .118 batting average. Tomlinson delivered one double, one triple and three RBI’s, but his eight stolen bases (in nine attempts) ranked second on the team and tied for fourth in the league.

A San Jose Giant in 2013, Tomlinson batted .268 with one home run and 49 steals as an everyday player up the middle for Richmond this season.

As a team, the Scorpions struggled this fall as their 12-20 record was worst among the six Arizona Fall League squads. Scottsdale was an even 9-9 on October 27 before losing 11 out of their last 14 games.

Minor League Free Agents

By Joe Ritzo

SF Giants logoA minor leaguer is eligible for free agency six years after his first season in the organization, provided the player is not on the 40-man roster. Last week, Baseball America posted a complete list of the minor leaguers that have been declared free agents. 21 players within the San Francisco organization were listed, 10 of which are former members of the San Jose Giants.

Jorge Bucardo, RHP
Former top starting pitching prospect in the system before missing all of 2011 due to injury (has been used as a reliever since). Had brief stints with San Jose in 2010 and 2013 before spending most of this year in the California League. Made 33 relief appearances with the Giants this season and owned a 3.81 ERA. Career ERA (seven seasons) sits at an impressive 2.92.

Jose Casilla, RHP
Was placed on San Francisco’s 40-man roster after his standout 2010 season as a closer in Augusta, but missed most of 2011 and all of 2012 due to Tommy John Surgery and was subsequently removed. Returned to the mound with San Jose in 2013 and was one of the top relievers on the club (3.22 ERA, 5 SV in 43 games). Got his first crack at Double-A this year and fashioned a 3.97 ERA in 41 appearances for the Flying Squirrels. Is the younger brother of SF Giants closer Santiago.

Tyler Graham, OF

A San Jose Giant in 2008 and 2009, Graham has bounced around in recent years. The speedy outfielder was one of Fresno’s (AAA) top hitters in ’10 and ’11 before a two-year stint in the Diamondbacks organization. Garnered two big league at-bats with Arizona late in 2012. Played in the Mexican League in ’13 before returning to the Giants this year. Now 30 years old, was Richmond’s primary center fielder this season and batted .255 with three homers and 27 RBI’s in 106 games. Ranked third in the Eastern League with 38 stolen bases. Has 264 steals in his eight-year minor league career.

Tyler LaTorre, C

Veteran back-up catcher at the minor league level. Was a catcher on San Jose’s 2006 and 2008 teams. Has bounced back-and-forth between Double-A and Triple-A since 2009. Played in 58 games this year, mainly with Richmond, and hit .268 with one home run and 14 RBI’s.

Mark Minicozzi, 1B/OF

The well-traveled Minicozzi was a SJ Giant in 2006 and 2007, spent three years playing Independent League ball (2009-11), returned to the Giants organization in 2012 and finally made it to Triple-A for the first time this season. 31-year old first baseman/left fielder hit .298 with 12 home runs and 62 RBI’s over 89 games for Fresno in 2014. Won the Eastern League batting title (.309 AVG) while playing for Richmond last year. Has continued his success offensively in winter ball as he currently leads the Venezuelan Winter League in hitting.

Jesus Navarro, C

Career back-up catcher has played in just 137 games over eight minor league seasons. Played for San Jose briefly in 2011 and 2014. Spent the 2013 season as one of the back-up catchers for Richmond.

Nick Noonan, INF

Noonan made San Francisco’s opening day roster in 2013, but hit just .219 with two extra-base hits in 105 at-bats for the big league Giants last year. Now off the 40-man roster, the former supplemental first round pick spent all of this season in Fresno and batted .237 with three home runs and 24 RBI’s in 104 games. Saw most of his action this year at the shortstop position. Was the starting second baseman on San Jose’s 2009 record-breaking championship team.

Edwin Quirarte, RHP
Quirarte was a key reliever on San Jose’s 2010 title team and has spent the last four seasons working out of the Richmond bullpen. Despite having a fair amount of success in the Eastern League, has yet to advance to the Triple-A level. Posted a 3.18 ERA in 2012 with the Squirrels, a 2.61 ERA in 2013 and a 3.23 ERA this year.

Skyler Stromsmoe, INF/OF
Veteran utility player spent the 2009 season in San Jose and also had brief stints in the California League in 2012 and 2013. Played in a career-high 104 games with Richmond this year and hit .233 with 14 doubles, no homers and 15 RBI’s. Spent most of the 2012 campaign with Fresno. The 30-year old started games at six different positions this season (second, third, short, left, center and right).

Eliezer Zambrano, C

Primarily a back-up catcher over his nine-year minor league career. Zambrano spent most of 2013 with San Jose before serving as one of Richmond’s backstops this year (.268 AVG in 60 games).

The full list of minor league free agents can be found here.

Earlier in the offseason, former San Jose Giants LHP Kelvin Marte and OF Darren Ford re-signed with San Francisco thereby foregoing impending minor league free agency. Both Marte and Ford finished last season playing for Triple-A Fresno.

The next significant personnel decisions this offseason involving minor leaguers will be determining who is added to San Francisco’s 40-man roster. The deadline to set the roster and thus protect players from the upcoming Rule 5 draft is November 20. College players drafted in 2011 and high school draftees and most international players signed in 2010 that are currently not on the 40-man roster will be Rule 5 draft eligible for the first time this year. The Rule 5 draft will be held on December 11 at Baseball’s Winter Meetings.

There are currently 37 players on San Francisco’s 40-man roster.

Former SJ Giants Playing Winter Ball

By Joe Ritzo

2012 Cal League All-Star Jack Snodgrass has a 3.18 ERA in five winter league starts

2012 Cal League All-Star Jack Snodgrass has a 3.18 ERA in five winter league starts

The World Series is over and play in the Arizona Fall League is winding down, but baseball is still in the air. A handful of former San Jose Giants are currently involved with their winter league seasons as players look to finish 2014 on a high note and build momentum heading into spring training. Notable early winter ball performances include Mark Minicozzi leading the Venezuelan League in hitting, Cody Hall excelling in the late innings and Jack Snodgrass continuing to impress as a starting pitcher.

The bulk of former SJ Giants in winter ball this year are currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League. The well-traveled Minicozzi, a standout on San Jose’s 2006 team and also a member of the 2007 Cal League championship squad, is batting .409 in 26 games for Aguilas de Zuila. In addition to leading the league in batting average, Minicozzi is tops in on-base percentage (.527), first in walks (22), tied for second in hits (36) and fourth in slugging (.545). The 31-year old, who is playing exclusively first base this winter, has also produced six doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI’s.

After a three-year stint playing Independent ball, Minicozzi returned to the Giants organization in 2012. He won a batting title while playing for Double-A Richmond last year before earning his first taste of Triple-A this season. In 89 games with Fresno, Minicozzi hit .298 with 12 home runs and 62 RBI’s splitting time between first base and left field. Minicozzi is currently a Minor League free agent.

The headliner on the mound in winter ball this year has been Hall, who has dominated as the closer for Caribes de Anzoategui. Hall’s eight saves lead the Venezuelan Winter League while he’s yet to surrender an earned run over 12 1/3 innings. Remarkably, Hall has allowed only three batters to reach base this winter: 2 hits and 1 walk. The league is batting a paltry .051 against him while he’s registered 13 strikeouts.

Hall, who turns 27 in January, pitched out of the San Jose bullpen late in 2012 and during the first half of 2013 before a promotion to Richmond. He’s spent the last season and a half working out of the Flying Squirrels bullpen compiling a 3.14 ERA in 47 appearances this year. Hall’s 11 saves in 2014 ranked tied for second on the Richmond squad. Hall has averaged 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings during his minor league career. After a solid campaign with Richmond this year combined with his spectacular effort thus far in Winter ball, Hall figures to have positioned himself nicely for a promotion to Triple-A next spring.

Former San Jose starters Snodgrass and Austin Fleet are also pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League. Snodgrass, the lone SJ Giant to be named to the 2012 Cal League All-Star team, has made five starts for Caribes de Anzoategui. Overall, the lefty is 2-1 with a solid 3.18 ERA. He’s fanned 11 and walked just six over 22 2/3 innings while holding the opposition to a .225 batting average. His best start thus far of the winter league season came on October 24 when he fired five scoreless innings with just one hit allowed and four strikeouts.

Snodgrass’ 11 wins during the 2014 regular season tied for the Richmond team lead. He fashioned a 3.56 ERA in 22 starts while his 131 innings ranked second on the club.

Fleet is a perfect 3-0 in five appearances (four starts) this winter. The 27-year old right-hander owns a 4.60 ERA with 11 strikeouts and six walks in 15 2/3 innings. A San Jose Giant in 2013, Fleet split time between Richmond and Fresno this year. In seven starts with the Grizzlies to end the season, he compiled a 4-2 record and a 3.95 ERA.

After making his major league debut this September, Chris Dominguez has found his way to Venezuela to continue his 2014 season. The versatile slugger boasts a .328 batting average in 16 games with four doubles, no home runs and four RBI’s. Dominguez was a 20-20 guy in Fresno this year knocking out 21 home runs to go with 21 stolen bases (.274 AVG). His only hit in 17 big league at-bats after a September call-up was a home run. This winter, Dominguez is seeing most of his playing time at first base or right field. He ranks second on Navegantes del Magallanes in batting average.

Finally, Angel Villalona is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League. Villalona, an All-Star in the California League with San Jose during the 2013 season, is 1-for-11 with a double and a pair of RBI’s in his first three games this winter. A member of San Francisco’s 40-man roster, Villalona hit .227 with 10 homers and 54 RBI’s in 101 games with Richmond this year. He’ll be looking for an opportunity at the Triple-A level next season.

“Inside the San Jose Giants” will continue to track these players throughout the winter league season. Regular season play in each winter league concludes in late-December, although some players do not continue with their team for the entire schedule and instead return to the United States.

With the Arizona Fall League season set to conclude this weekend, look for our Giants AFL review early next week.

Next Crop Of Former SJ Giants Look To Debut In 2015

By Joe Ritzo / Voice of the San Jose Giants

Over the 27-year history of the San Jose Giants, 173 former players have reached the major leagues. In 2014, it was 11 players who once called Municipal Stadium home that made it to “The Show” for the first time. Eight of those debuted in San Francisco, notably Joe Panik, Andrew Susac, Matt Duffy and Hunter Strickland, who helped the Giants claim their third World Championship in the last five years. Now looking ahead to 2015, there’s a new crop of former SJ Giants that are looking to achieve their big league dreams.

Here’s a list of 10 former San Jose players who could make their debut next season with the San Francisco Giants:

2013 San Jose standout Ty Blach is a candidate to make his major league debut next season

2013 San Jose standout Ty Blach is a candidate to make his major league debut next season

Ty Blach, LHP
The Giants are hoping Blach is part of the next wave of top starting pitching prospects to make an impact at the big league level, perhaps as soon as the 2015 season. The former fifth round pick won the Cal League ERA title with San Jose in 2013 – his rookie professional season. This year, Blach wasn’t quite as dominant while pitching for Double-A Richmond, but still turned in a solid year. The left-hander, who is known for possessing pinpoint control, boasted the fifth-lowest ERA in the Eastern League at 3.13 in 25 starts. Blach struck out just 91 batters in 141 innings, but also issued only 39 walks. He almost certainly will be elevated to Triple-A Sacramento for the start of 2015.

Clayton Blackburn, RHP
Blackburn is another top starting pitching prospect in the organization that figures to have a chance to reach the big leagues before the end of the 2015 season. The right-hander, who will turn 22 in January, has excelled at every level during his professional career. A 16th round draft pick in 2011 out of high school, Blackburn ranked among the Cal League leaders in ERA with San Jose during the 2013 campaign. This year, he moved up to Richmond and fashioned a 3.29 ERA in 18 starts to go with an impressive 85-to-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 93 innings. Neither Blach nor Blackburn boast overpowering fastballs, but each can bring it well into the low 90’s with outstanding control. Like Blach, Blackburn should receive a major test with a promotion to the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League this season. If he impresses, a late-season call-up could be in the cards.

Top prospect outfielder Daniel Carbonell signed a major league deal with San Francisco last June

Top prospect outfielder Daniel Carbonell signed a major league deal with San Francisco last June

Daniel Carbonell, OF
Signed last June after defecting from Cuba, Carbonell immediately became one of the top position player prospects in the system. A speedy outfielder with a good arm and emerging power, Carbonell dazzled during a three-week stint in the California League to close out the 2014 regular season. In 21 games for San Jose this year, playing exclusively center field, Carbonell hit a sizzling .344 and contributed three triples, three home runs and seven stolen bases. He then earned a promotion to Richmond for their playoff run in September before continuing his season in the Arizona Fall League. It remains to be seen where Carbonell will open the 2015 campaign (Richmond or Sacramento being the most likely destinations), but his progress will certainly be monitored closely wherever he lands. Carbonell is already on the 40-man roster (having signed a major league deal), which greatly increases his chances for a call-up at some point next year.

Kyle Crick, RHP

2014 was an up-and-down year for Crick, who entered the season widely considered the #1 prospect in the farm system. A right-handed starting pitcher with an electric mid-to-upper 90’s fastball, Crick limited Eastern League hitters to a .234 batting average while striking out an impressive 111 batters over just 90 1/3 innings. Crick’s final ERA of 3.79 was also solid. The downside to his year was continued issues with control as the former first round pick walked a whopping 60 hitters or roughly six batters per nine innings. High pitch counts also prevented Crick from even reaching the five-inning mark in half of his 22 starts. The bar has been set high for Crick due to his draft standing, strikeout stuff and prototypical starting pitcher’s frame. If he can show even modest improvement with his command, the sky is the limit in the big leagues, whether it be as a front-line starting pitcher or perhaps a late-inning reliever. If he can take significant steps forward in Triple-A next year, a debut in San Francisco shouldn’t be far behind.

Cody Hall, RHP
Hall has somewhat flown under the radar as a relief pitcher prospect in the system, but 2015 could very well see the right-hander reach “The Show.” Over the first four years of his professional career, Hall has collected 46 saves and boasts a 2.31 ERA while averaging well over a strikeout per inning (238 SO in 186 IP). This season in Richmond, Hall logged a 3.14 ERA and was tied for second on the club with 11 saves. Armed with a mid 90’s fastball, Hall should earn his first taste of Triple-A ball to open 2015. Continued development of his offspeed pitches may determine whether he gets an opportunity to move up to San Francisco before the year is over.

Derek Law, RHP
Law enjoyed a breakout 2013 season that put the right-hander at the top of the organization’s relief pitcher prospects list. After a stellar second half as San Jose’s closer, Law dominated in the Arizona Fall League last year. He then earned an invite to big league camp and was so impressive there, that he remained on the roster until the final round of cuts just before opening day. Law, who throws his fastball in the low-to-mid 90’s to go with a devastating breaking ball and a funky, deceptive delivery, was assigned to Richmond at the start of the year. He was putting together another standout effort (2.57 ERA, 13-for-14 in save opportunities, 29 strikeouts in 28 innings) before an elbow injury in early-June resulted in season-ending Tommy John surgery. Law won’t be ready for game action when the 2015 season begins, but could he follow a similar path to Hunter Strickland’s this year once he’s healthy? Law, like Strickland did this year, will look to pick-up right where he left off around midseason. And if he continues to dominate, just as he showed pre-injury, a chance to pitch in San Francisco before the end of year seems very possible.

Steven Okert had a breakout 2014 season that saw the lefty collect 24 saves between San Jose and Richmond

Steven Okert had a breakout 2014 season that saw the lefty collect 24 saves between San Jose and Richmond

Steven Okert, LHP
Yet another relief pitcher in the upper levels of the system who figures to have a great opportunity to reach AT&T Park in 2015. Okert’s breakout year in the minors was this season as the hard-throwing lefty emerged as San Jose’s closer in the first half and amassed 19 saves to go with a 1.53 ERA and 54 strikeouts in just 35 innings. He continued to impress after a midseason promotion to Richmond (2.73 ERA, five saves, 38 K’s in 33 IP) and is currently throwing well in the Arizona Fall League. Okert, who can reach 95-96 MPH with his fastball, probably doesn’t project as a closer in the big leagues, but could be a valuable mid-to-late inning lefty reliever in the not-so-distant future. He’ll probably open next season in Triple-A.

Jarrett Parker, OF

Parker actually was in the big leagues for a day this August, but never got into the game and was promptly sent back to the minor leagues. It’s been a roller coaster ride for the former second round pick during the first four years of his professional career. Parker, who can play all three outfield positions, has hit 61 career home runs and stolen 73 bases, but a pedestrian .255 batting average and high strikeout totals have often held him back. He finally earned a trip to Triple-A for the final month of this season and held his own batting .278 with three homers in 24 games. A return to the PCL to open 2015 is likely for Parker, where he could put up some huge power numbers. If the contact rates can improve, even slightly, a chance to actually play in a major league game next year is very possible. Parker is still on the 40-man roster.

Angel Villalona, 1B
Villalona was on this list last year, but a 2014 debut didn’t pan out as the slugging first baseman hit just .227 with Double-A Richmond. The power numbers for Villalona were also modest (18 doubles, 10 home runs, 54 RBI’s), but he remains on the 40-man roster and with still another option year to use. There’s no denying his incredible raw power, however the organization is still waiting to see if he can put it all together at the minor league level. Might a promotion to the more hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League help his efforts? Wherever he lands next spring, it’s an enormously pivotal year for Villalona. If he can deliver that much-desired breakout season and with time ticking on his option clock, Villalona could finally reach the bigs in 2015.

Mac Williamson is one of the top power hitting prospects in the Giants farm system

Mac Williamson is one of the top power hitting prospects in the Giants farm system

Mac Williamson, OF
2014 was a trying year for Williamson, but he’s expected to bounce back next season and continue his rise through the organization. A former third round draft pick, Williamson exceled with San Jose in 2013 where he clubbed 31 doubles and 25 home runs to go with a .292 batting average (.331 after the All-Star break). Elbow issues though brought the power-hitting corner outfielder back to San Jose for the start of 2014 where he was to DH only with the hope of returning to full strength and then moving up Richmond once ready to play the field. Despite performing well once again offensively throughout April, the elbow never responded and Williamson underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery. Looking forward, Williamson should be ready to go for spring training next year and his first opportunity to play in the upper levels of the organization won’t be far behind. The challenge of the Eastern League, especially after missing almost an entire season, won’t be easy. However if he performs well, Williamson could move quickly through the system with an outside chance at a late-season call-up to San Francisco.

Others To Consider: RHP Ray Black, RHP Kendry Flores, INF Blake Miller, 1B/OF Mark Minicozzi, LHP Josh Osich, RHP Tyler Rogers

Last Year’s List

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Arizona Fall League Update 11/3

afl_logoAn update on former San Jose Giants currently playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League:

PITCHERS
Clayton Blackburn: 5 games, 1-1, 4.50 ERA (5 ER/10.0 IP), 0 BB, 7 SO
Tyler Mizenko: 1 game, 0-0, 13.50 ERA (1 ER/0.2 IP), 2 BB, 0 SO
Steven Okert: 7 games, 0-0, 1.00 ERA (1 ER/9.0 IP), 1 BB, 11 SO
Tyler Rogers: 6 games, 0-0, 2.25 ERA (2 ER/8.0 IP), 1 BB, 4 SO

Notes… Okert continues to be the Giants star of the AFL this fall. The left-hander has surrendered only one run and four hits in nine innings of relief while boasting an 11-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Okert, who has also converted his only save opportunity, has not allowed a baserunner in his last three outings (3 IP).

Okert was the only Giants prospect to participate in last Saturday’s AFL Fall Stars Game. Pitching for the victorious East Division, Okert struck out the only batter he faced while closing out the eighth inning.

Rogers also continues to impress this fall with just two runs and six hits allowed in eight innings. The 2014 San Jose relief standout gave up two runs in two innings on October 22, but has recovered to toss a scoreless frame in each of his last two appearances.

Meanwhile, Blackburn, normally a starter, has been used exclusively out of the bullpen this fall season. The right-hander has pitched three innings with two runs allowed in each of his last two outings. Overall, Blackburn has struck out seven and walked none over 10 innings pitched (5 R).

HITTERS

Daniel Carbonell: .205 AVG (8-39), 1 HR, 5 RBI
Blake Miller: .175 AVG (7-40), 4 RBI
Kelby Tomlinson: .136 AVG (6-44), 2 RBI, 6 SB

Notes… It’s a relatively small sample size, but the trio of Giants hitters have largely struggled thus far in the AFL. Carbonell has performed the best, but with a batting average at just .205. He’s the only one of the three to have hit a home run. Somewhat surprisingly, the speedy Carbonell has not attempted a stolen base yet this fall. Carbonell has hit safely in eight out of his last nine games (although with just one hit in each of those eight contests).

Miller has just one hit in his last 15 at-bats as his AFL batting average has dipped to .175. Miller’s lone extra-base hit is a double. The infielder hit a combined .300 in 122 games with San Jose and Double-A Richmond this season (29 doubles, 6 triples, 8 home runs, 85 RBI’s).

Tomlinson, who was Matt Duffy’s replacement on the roster, produced back-to-back two-hit games last week, but is still hitting just .136 overall. Tomlinson’s six stolen bases (in seven attempts) rank second on the Scorpions and tied for fourth in the league. Tomlinson had 49 steals with Richmond this year to lead the Eastern League.

At the start of play on Monday, Scottsdale owns a record of 10-12. The Scorpions sit in third place in the three-team East Division – 5 1/2 games out of first. 10 games remain with the regular season concluding on November 13.

Episode 41 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants GraphicIn this World Series Championship episode, Joe and Ben highlight the 16 former San Jose Giants impact on San Francisco’s run to the title. From Madison Bumgarner’s historic pitching effort to Joe Panik’s emergence at second base, Pablo Sandoval’s postseason prowess and Travis Ishikawa’s pennant clinching home run there were many standouts who first made a name for themselves at Municipal Stadium.

Future SF Giants Propelled San Jose In Winner-Take-All Games

The 2010 San Jose Giants won a winner-take-all championship game behind contributions from Juan Perez and Brandon Crawford

The 2010 San Jose Giants won a winner-take-all championship game behind contributions from Juan Perez and Brandon Crawford

The San Francisco Giants are gearing up for Game 7 of the World Series tonight in Kansas City. Several players on the World Series roster have already had success in winner-take-all championship games during their professional careers. San Jose Giants fans may remember Travis Ishikawa and Sergio Romo leading the charge in the decisive fifth game of the ’07 Championship Series. And in 2010 down in Rancho Cucamonga, it was Juan Perez and Brandon Crawford that had defining final game moments during the extra-inning victory over the Quakes. Lets take a brief look back…

2007 – Winner-Take-All Game 5 vs. Lake Elsinore at Municipal Stadium
A convincing 7-1 Giants victory over the Storm to claim the title. Pitching led the way for the home team as four San Jose hurlers combined on a two-hitter. Of note, closer Sergio Romo finished the contest with a perfect ninth inning. He completed the game with an emphatic strikeout with none other than Pablo Sandoval behind the plate catching the last pitch. Offensively, Travis Ishikawa, who started the game at first base, had one of the biggest hits of the night when he connected for a two-run home run. Sandoval also finished 1-for-4.

2010 – Winner-Take-All Game 5 at Rancho Cucamonga

Perhaps the most memorable game in San Jose Giants franchise history. In the decisive Game 5 of the Championship Series down in Rancho Cucamonga, the Giants scored a thrilling 7-6, 10-inning victory over the host Quakes to secure the club’s first-ever back-to-back titles. Future SF Giant Juan Perez scored the game-winning run in the top of the 10th for San Jose. With the score tied, Perez led off the frame with a triple down the right field line and eventually scored on a Charlie Culberson sacrifice fly. It was Perez’s only hit in six at-bats that night. Brandon Crawford also made a significant impact as the future San Francisco shortstop got San Jose on the board with a second-inning two-run homer (Crawford had hit an 11th inning grand slam two days earlier in the Game 3 Giants win). Crawford ended the night 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI’s and a sacrifice bunt.

News and Notes: Okert To Play In Fall Stars Game

By Joe Ritzo

Steven Okert's banner 2014 season continues as the lefty reliever was selected for the AFL Fall Stars Game

Steven Okert’s banner 2014 season continues as the lefty reliever was selected for the AFL Fall Stars Game

Rosters for the Fall Stars Game, the annual All-Star Game in the Arizona Fall League, were announced today with former San Jose Giant Steven Okert selected to participate in the contest. Okert, San Jose’s Relief Pitcher of the Year this season and a California League All-Star, is the lone representative from the San Francisco organization in the game.

The AFL Fall Stars Game is scheduled for this Saturday, November 1 at 4:00 PM PDT and will be televised live on MLB Network.

His inclusion on the Fall Stars Game roster is another impressive accomplishment for Okert during his 2014 breakout season. The former fourth round draft pick out of Oklahoma began the year as a middle reliever in San Jose before emerging as the club’s closer in late-April. A standout first half earned Okert a spot on the Cal League All-Star team before a promotion to Double-A Richmond early in the second half. Between the two teams, Okert compiled a 2.11 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings. His 24 saves (19 in SJ, five in Richmond) led the entire Giants farm system. Armed with a low-to-mid 90’s fastball and a plus-slider, Okert will certainly open the 2015 campaign regarded as one of the top relief pitcher prospects in the organization.

Okert has been impressive through the first three weeks of the AFL season. He’s tossed seven innings out of the Scottsdale bullpen surrendering just one run on four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts. He’s also collected one save.

EDIT- Clayton Blackburn was originally on the Fall Stars Game roster released by MLB.com, but now no longer appears

MINOR LEAGUE FREE AGENTS
Once the World Series concludes, free agent season begins around baseball, not only with the high-profile major league talent, but also at the minor league level. Several former San Jose Giants that played in the upper levels of the system this year will officially declare free agency next month (players can become a free agent after their seventh season in the minor leagues).

However, two former SJ Giants due to become free agents in November have already decided to re-sign with San Francisco. Veteran left-handed starting pitcher Kelvin Marte, who was also free agent last offseason and re-signed with the Giants, played in San Jose over four years from 2010-13. His 20 wins in a SJ Giant uniform rank tied for fifth in team history. This season, Marte made 21 starts between Richmond (AA) and Fresno (AAA) combining for a 9-5 record and a 4.31 ERA over 123 1/3 innings.

Outfielder Darren Ford has also already re-signed with the organization after a successful season in Fresno. Ford, the starting center fielder on San Jose’s 2009 championship team, has 33 games of major league experience with San Francisco during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. After stints in the Mariners (2012) and Pirates (2013) systems, Ford returned to the Giants earlier this year. He spent the entire 2014 campaign at the Triple-A level and posted solid numbers batting .283 with three homers and 27 RBI’s in 107 games. Known for his top flight speed, Ford ranked second on the Grizzlies with 35 stolen bases.

A full list of Giants minor league free agents will be available next month.

EARLY WINTER LEAGUE STANDOUT
Winter league season is underway and a former San Jose relief pitcher is off to a scorching hot start in Venezuela. Cody Hall, a top SJ reliever in 2012 and 2013, leads the Venezuelan Winter League with six saves through early action. Hall also owns a perfect 0.00 ERA having not allowed an earned run over 9 1/3 innings. The right-hander has surrendered just two hits, walked one and struck out 11.

Hall had a 3.14 ERA and 11 saves out of the Richmond bullpen this year and will be looking to make the jump to Triple-A Sacramento next spring.

2015 Schedule – An Early Look

san jose giants2015 marks the 28th season of San Jose’s affiliation with the San Francisco Giants. The 140-game regular season is scheduled to begin on Thursday, April 9 in Lancaster with the home opener at Municipal Stadium set for Thursday, April 16 versus Bakersfield. Here’s an early look at some 2015 schedule highlights:

* Holiday home games next year on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10), Memorial Day (Monday, May 25), Father’s Day (Sunday, June 21) and Independence Day (Saturday, July 4).

* As was the case in 2014, the Giants will open the year and end the season on the road. San Jose begins the 2015 campaign with a four-game series against defending league champion Lancaster before a three-game set versus the ’14 North Division champs Visalia.

* The April 9 start date to the season is the latest in the California League in six years. Additionally, the April 16 home opener for the Giants next season is their latest home opener in 10 years dating back to 2005.

* The Giants’ most frequent opponent in 2015: the Bakersfield Blaze (Mariners affiliate) at 27 games. San Jose opens their home schedule against the Blaze and also finishes the regular season with a four-game set in Bakersfield over Labor Day weekend. The schedule features an unbalanced slate against North Division foes with 27 games versus Bakersfield, 22 games against Modesto (Rockies), 20 games versus Stockton (A’s) and 19 games against Visalia (Diamondbacks).

* San Jose plays 52 games against teams from the South Division (up from 44 games in 2014). Lancaster (Astros) and Inland Empire (Angels) each make two trips to Municipal Stadium next year while High Desert (Rangers), Lake Elsinore (Padres) and Rancho Cucamonga (Dodgers) play just one series in San Jose.

* San Jose’s longest homestand is seven games. Their longest road trip is also seven games in length.

* The Giants are at Municipal Stadium during just one weekend in April and two weekends in May before home-heavy months of June and July. San Jose plays 15 home games in June, including three out of the four weekends. The Giants’ 16 home games in July is their highest monthly total of the season. San Jose has two home weekends in July and three more in August. The home schedule concludes on Thursday, September 3.

* San Jose has a busy stretch at home during the middle portion of the campaign as they play 22 out of 29 games at Municipal Stadium from June 18 through July 21.

* Schedule oddity: the Giants travel to Adelanto for a series against South Division opponent High Desert in back-to-back road trips (May 27-29 and June 11-14).

* The 2015 California-Carolina League All-Star Game will be hosted by the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Tuesday, June 23.

* Giants home game times are expected to be announced before the end of the year.

View the 2015 San Jose Giants Schedule

Download the 2015 San Jose Giants Schedule (PDF)

Ticket Information

The San Jose Giants open the 2015 season on Thursday, April 9

The San Jose Giants open the 2015 season on Thursday, April 9

Updating the Record Book

san jose giantsUpdating the San Jose Giants record book (1988-2014) after the 2014 season:

– INDIVIDUAL SINGLE-SEASON RECORDS –

Appearances
1. Phil McCormick (2012) – 61
2. Jimmy Myers (1990) – 60
T3. Tyler Mizenko (2014), Luke Anderson (2001), Mark Dewey (1989) - 59

Mizenko’s 59 appearances out of the bullpen this year ranks tied for third in a single-season in San Jose Giants history. If not for a week spent on the disabled list in late-July, Mizenko likely would have broken Phil McCormick’s team record.

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

– INDIVIDUAL CAREER RECORDS –

Triples

T1. Julio Cordido, Nate Schierholtz – 17
T3. Tim Garland, Francisco Peguero – 16
5. Chris Lofton – 15

Lofton hit three triples in 20 games with the Giants this year before he was sent down to Augusta. Lofton hit 12 triples over the 2012 and 2013 seasons, so his career total now stands at 15 – fifth-most in team history and just two behind the spot.

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

– TEAM RECORDS –

Saves
T1. 48 (2011, 2013)
3. 47 (2006)
4. 46 (1998)
5. 45 (2014)

San Jose’s 45 saves this season rank as the fifth-most by a Giants club in team history. Steven Okert (19), Tyler Mizenko (14) and Bryce Bandilla (8) combined for 41 of the 45 saves.

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

– INDIVIDUAL SINGLE-GAME RECORDS –

Hits

– Mac Williamson (April 24), Jesus Galindo (June 28) and Brian Ragira (August 27) each produced a five-hit game this season to tie the Giants single-game record. 33 different players in the 27-year history of the team have now had five hits in a game.

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

– OTHER –

* After posting a 73-67 record this season, Lenn Sakata now owns 539 career victories as manager of the San Jose Giants. Sakata was already the franchise leader in wins at the start of the 2014 season. His overall record in seven seasons as manager of the San Jose Giants is 539-441 (.550). Sakata’s 757 career wins (San Jose 1999, 2001, 2004-07, 2014; Modesto 1989, 2012-13; Bakersfield 2000) are the most by a manager in California League history.

* With 73 victories this year, the Giants have now posted a winning record in 11 straight seasons (2004-2014) – a franchise record. San Jose has had a losing record just four times in their 27-year history (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003). The Giants’ league record streak of reaching the playoffs did end at 10 seasons this year.

* San Jose’s regular season home attendance of 200,124 in 2014 was the sixth-highest yearly total in team history (record: 222,547 in 2011).

14 Former San Jose Giants On World Series Roster

The World Series begins today with 14 former San Jose Giants on San Francisco’s roster:

1924__mlb_world_series-primary-2014PITCHERS
Madison Bumgarner
Tim Lincecum
Sergio Romo
Hunter Strickland
Ryan Vogelsong

CATCHERS
Buster Posey
Andrew Susac

INFIELDERS
Brandon Belt
Brandon Crawford
Matt Duffy
Joe Panik
Pablo Sandoval

OUTFIELDERS
Travis Ishikawa
Juan Perez

The complete 25-man roster is unchanged from the NLCS.

By comparison, there were 10 former San Jose Giants on both the 2010 and 2012 World Series rosters.

Here is the list of 19 former San Jose Giants that have won a World Series:
Clay Bellinger, 2000 New York Yankees
Brandon Belt, 2012 San Francisco
Madison Bumgarner, 2010 and 2012 San Francisco
Matt Cain, 2010 and 2012 San Francisco
Brandon Crawford, 2012 San Francisco
Keith Foulke, 2004 Boston
Travis Ishikawa, 2010 San Francisco
Tim Lincecum, 2010 and 2012 San Francisco
Doug Mirabelli, 2004 and 2007 Boston
Bill Mueller, 2004 Boston
Mike Myers, 2004 Boston
Buster Posey, 2010 and 2012 San Francisco
Sergio Romo, 2010 and 2012 San Francisco
Hector Sanchez, 2012 San Francisco
Jonathan Sanchez, 2010 San Francisco
Pablo Sandoval, 2010 and 2012 San Francisco
Nate Schierholtz, 2010 San Francisco
Ryan Vogelsong, 2012 San Francisco
Brian Wilson, 2010 San Francisco
(Players listed were on respective team’s World Series roster)

Of the 14 on this year’s World Series roster, nine have already won a title (Belt, Bumgarner x2, Crawford, Ishikawa, Lincecum x2, Posey x2, Romo x2, Sandoval x2, Vogelsong). Duffy, Panik, Perez, Strickland and Susac are attempting to win their first championship.

WORLD SERIES SCHEDULE (all games begin at 5:07 PM PDT)
Game 1 – Tuesday 10/21 at Kansas City
Game 2 – Wednesday 10/22 at Kansas City
Game 3 – Friday 10/24 at San Francisco
Game 4 – Saturday 10/25 at San Francisco
Game 5 – Sunday 10/26 at San Francisco *
Game 6 – Tuesday 10/28 at Kansas City *
Game 7 – Wednesday 10/29 at Kansas City *

* if necessary

Arizona Fall League Update 10/20

afl_logoAn update on former San Jose Giants currently playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League:

HITTERS
Daniel Carbonell: .200 AVG (5-25), HR, 4 RBI
Blake Miller: .235 AVG (4-17), 2B, 3 RBI
Kelby Tomlinson: .043 AVG (1-23), RBI, 4 SB

Notes… Top prospect Daniel Carbonell smacked his first home run of the AFL season last Tuesday against Mesa – a three-run shot in the third inning of a 10-7 win. After going 0-for-4 in his first start, Carbonell has hit safely in his last five games (one hit in each of those contests). Overall, he’s 5-for-25 with a home run, seven strikeouts, no stolen base attempts and two errors in the outfield. Carbonell has already made starts at all three outfield positions.

2014 San Jose MVP Blake Miller is attempting to put the finishing touches on a terrific season. Through his first five AFL games, Miller is 4-for-17 with a double and three RBI’s. Miller has made three starts at second base and one start at third base thus far.

2013 San Jose Giants infielder Kelby Tomlinson has struggled in the early-going with just one hit in his first 23 at-bats. Tomlinson’s four stolen bases are second on the team.

PITCHERS
Clayton Blackburn: 2 games, 0-0, 4.50 ERA (1 ER/2.0 IP), 0 BB, 1 SO
Tyler Mizenko: 1 game, 0-0, 13.50 ERA (1 ER/0.2 IP), 2 BB, 0 SO
Steven Okert: 4 games, 0-0, 1.50 ERA (1 ER/6.0 IP), 1 BB, 9 SO, 1 SV
Tyler Rogers: 3 games, 0-0, 0.00 ERA (0 ER/4.0 IP), 0 BB, 3 SO

Notes…
2014 San Jose Relief Pitcher of the Year Steven Okert has been the early AFL standout. Okert has struck out nine batters in just six innings with only one run allowed and one walk. He picked-up his first save of the AFL season last Monday with a scoreless ninth inning. Okert’s 24 saves during the 2014 regular season led the entire Giants minor league system.

Tyler Rogers has also impressed in early AFL action after a standout 2014 campaign in the California League. The right-hander has appeared in three games thus far and has allowed only one baserunner over four scoreless innings. Rogers retired all six batters he faced against Surprise last Wednesday before a 1-2-3 inning in his most recent outing on Saturday versus Peoria.

Fellow 2014 San Jose reliever Tyler Mizenko has pitched in just one game in the AFL yielding one run over 2/3 of an inning. Meanwhile, top 2013 San Jose starting pitcher Clayton Blackburn has been working out of the bullpen in the fall league. Through two relief appearances, Blackburn has tossed two innings with one run allowed and one strikeout. Blackburn fashioned a 3.29 ERA in 18 starts with Double-A Richmond this season.

Scottsdale has been a streaky team through the first two weeks of AFL play. The Scorpions won four games in a row to improve their record to 5-2 before a four-game losing streak that dropped the club to its current mark of 5-6. Scottsdale is in third place in the three-team East Division – 2 1/2 games out of first. The 32-game AFL regular season runs through November 13.

A Look Back: When They Were San Jose Giants

By Joe Ritzo

SF Giants logoThe San Francisco Giants are one win away from claiming their third National League pennant in the last five years. 16 former San Jose Giants have been on the playoff rosters this October with several playing leading roles, from Madison Bumgarner’s dominance on the mound to Buster Posey’s clutch hitting and Brandon Belt’s memorable 18th inning home run. Rookies such as Joe Panik, Matt Duffy and Hunter Strickland along with veterans Travis Ishikawa and Sergio Romo, among others, have also made significant contributions during the postseason run.

Before their successes on baseball’s biggest stage though, these 16 players were making their mark in the California League, whether it be with a big playoff home run, an All-Star nod or a spectacular pitching performance. Take a look back now at when they were prospects and some of their notable individual accomplishments while playing for the San Jose Giants.

The 16 former San Jose Giants that have been on San Francisco’s playoff rosters this year…

Brandon Belt hit .383 with the San Jose Giants during the 2010 championship season

Brandon Belt hit .383 with the San Jose Giants during the 2010 championship season

Brandon Belt: Made his professional debut with the San Jose Giants when he was placed on the 2010 opening day roster. Torched the California League to the tune of a .383 batting average in 77 games while also contributing 28 doubles, 10 home runs and 62 RBI’s (1.120 OPS). Had a memorable two-homer, six-RBI game the night San Jose clinched the first half North Division title (Giants eventually won Cal League championship). Was leading the league in hitting at the time of his promotion to Double-A in early-July.

Gary Brown: The top hitter on San Jose’s 2011 team that finished with the best record in the California League. Hit an impressive .336 with 34 doubles, 13 triples, 14 home runs, 80 RBI’s and 53 stolen bases. Ended the year on a 16-game hitting streak and was named the California League Rookie of the Year (award given to the top player in the league who is in his first professional season).

Madison Bumgarner: Opened the 2009 season in San Jose, but made just five starts in the California League before a promotion to Double-A. Had a spectacular 1.48 ERA with the Giants while registering 23 strikeouts compared to just four walks in 24 1/3 innings. Oh, and he was only 19 years old at the time. With Buster Posey as his catcher, fired six scoreless innings with just two hits allowed in his Cal League debut to pick-up the win (April 10, 2009 at Municipal Stadium).

Brandon Crawford:
Had three separate, and relatively brief, stints in San Jose before making his major league debut. Was the Giants’ 2009 opening day shortstop and hit a sizzling .371 with six home runs in 25 games before a quick promotion to Double-A. Suffered an injury with Richmond midway through the 2010 season and upon his return to good health, was transferred back to San Jose late in the year. Supplied two of the biggest hits in the 2010 Championship Series in Rancho Cucamonga blasting an 11th inning grand slam during Game 3 before a home run early in the decisive fifth game. Then after another injury sustained during spring training the following year, was added to San Jose’s roster in mid-May. Batted .322 in 14 games and in an unprecedented move, was promoted all the way to San Francisco.

Matt Duffy: His stay in the California League was shorter than most on this list. Joined the Giants in late-July of the 2013 season and would finish the year in the California League. As the club’s primary shortstop down the stretch, hit a solid .292 while producing six doubles and five home runs over 26 games. Was at his best during the playoffs as San Jose won the North Division title. Batted .300 in eight postseason games and was second on the club with five RBI’s.

Adam Duvall:
Set the San Jose Giants team record for home runs with 30 as the club’s everyday third baseman in 2012 (previous record was 26 HR). Also produced 24 doubles, 100 RBI’s and hit .258 while in the California League. Had a stretch of five straight games with a home run in August and reached the 30-homer/100-RBI mark with a round-tripper during the final game of the regular season.

Travis Ishikawa was on the 2005 and 2007 San Jose Giants championship teams

Travis Ishikawa was on the 2005 and 2007 San Jose Giants championship teams

Travis Ishikawa: Like Crawford, played on three different San Jose teams, two of which won Cal League titles. Earned a late-season promotion to the Giants in 2004 before returning to the club to start the following season. Was a top performer on the 2005 San Jose team that still holds most of the franchise’s offensive records. Led the squad with 22 home runs while also contributing 79 RBI’s and a .282 batting average as the Giants rolled to a league championship. Struggles in Double-A during the 2006 and first half of the 2007 seasons brought Ishikawa back to San Jose for the second half of ’07, where he helped the Giants to another California League crown. Hit .268 with 13 home runs in 56 games. Homered during the decisive fifth game of the 2007 Championship Series at Municipal Stadium. His 36 career home runs rank fourth on San Jose’s all-time list.

Tim Lincecum: Joined San Jose just two months after his selection in the first round of the 2006 draft. His stay in the Cal League was brief, but memorable as the top prospect logged a 1.95 ERA in his six starts with strikeout numbers off the charts. Fanned 48 batters in just 27 innings while limiting the opposition to a paltry .135 batting average. Had a start in late-August in which he struck out 11 and gave up just one hit and no runs in five innings. Also was the winning pitcher after a dominant effort in Game 1 of the North Division Series.

Joe Panik: Spent his entire first full professional season with San Jose in 2012. Started slow offensively before catching fire during the second half en route to earning co-team MVP honors. Finished the season with a .297 batting average, 27 doubles, seven home runs and 76 RBI’s in 130 games. Walked more than he struck out. Posted a .337 batting average after the All-Star break and had a stretch of eight consecutive at-bats with a hit in August. 2012 San Jose team notched the best overall record in the North Division.

Juan Perez: While Belt and Crawford may have grabbed most of the headlines on the 2010 championship team, Perez was arguably the most consistent offensive performer from start-to-finish that year. Played in a team-high 131 games and batted .298 with 37 doubles, 10 triples, 13 home runs, 63 RBI’s and 17 stolen bases. In the decisive fifth game of the Championship Series in Rancho Cucamonga, tripled with the score tied in the top of the 10th and scored the game-winning run.

Buster Posey was rated the #1 prospect in the California League while in San Jose during the 2009 season

Buster Posey was rated the #1 prospect in the California League while in San Jose during the 2009 season

Buster Posey: A member of San Jose’s stacked 2009 team that set a club record for wins (93-47) on their way to a California League title. An All-Star catcher with the Giants and widely considered the top prospect in the league that year. Hit an impressive .326 in 80 games before a mid-July promotion all the way to Triple-A Fresno. Also contributed 23 doubles, 13 home runs and 58 RBI’s. Most memorable hit with the San Jose Giants was a 13th inning walk-off home run in early-June while the club was in the thick of the first half division race.

Sergio Romo: Perhaps the most dominant reliever in the California League during the 2007 season. Fashioned a 1.36 ERA and nine saves in 41 relief appearances to help the Giants to the championship. Emerged as the club’s closer during the second half and was a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities during the playoffs without allowing a run. Was on the mound when San Jose won the title recording a strikeout to finish the game (sound familiar?). Ended the regular season with a whopping 106 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 66 innings.

Pablo Sandoval: A key contributor on both the 2007 San Jose championship team and the 2008 club. Of note, never played an inning of third base while in the California League – was mainly a catcher with San Jose while also seeing some action at first base. Hit .287 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI’s in 102 games during the ’07 campaign. Was the catcher when Sergio Romo registered a strikeout to end the Championship Series. Despite solid numbers, returned to the Giants the next season and took the Cal League by storm. Was batting .359 with 25 doubles, 12 homers and 59 RBI’s in 68 games when he was promoted to Double-A at the All-Star break in June (would finish the season in San Francisco).

Hunter Strickland was a California League All-Star in 2013 after fashioning a 0.86 ERA with nine saves

Hunter Strickland was a California League All-Star in 2013 after fashioning a 0.86 ERA with nine saves

Hunter Strickland: Was picked-up by San Francisco off waivers from Pittsburgh at the beginning of the 2013 season and was immediately assigned to San Jose. Took just a couple of weeks before emerging as San Jose’s closer and was arguably the top reliever in the league throughout the first half of the season. Compiled a microscopic 0.86 ERA and was a perfect 9-for-9 in save opportunities in his 20 relief appearances. Unfortunately, suffered an elbow injury during a late-May appearance (yet still finished the game to record the save) that required season-ending Tommy John surgery. Upon returning to full strength a year later (May of 2014), was sent back to San Jose and pitched in just three games before a call-up to Double-A.

Andrew Susac: Was a 2011 draftee, but didn’t begin his professional career until he was assigned to San Jose at the start of the 2012 season. Struggled offensively throughout the first four months of the year as he adjusted to the professional game, but finished strong posting a .333 batting average in August to help the Giants reach the playoffs. Ended the year at .244 with nine home runs and 52 RBI’s. Strong finish to the campaign propelled Susac to Double-A in 2013, where he enjoyed more success and established himself as one of the top prospects in the system.

Ryan Vogelsong: Originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 1998, was a member of two San Jose teams on his way up to the big leagues. Pitched briefly for the Giants late in 1998 before returning to the California League to start the ’99 campaign. Made 17 starts between the two seasons and compiled a 3.55 ERA and 4-4 record. Helped the 1999 San Jose Giants team reach the playoffs, but had already been promoted to Double-A by the time the postseason began.

News and Notes: Giants In The NLCS

By Joe Ritzo

Madison Bumgarner in 2009 with the San Jose Giants

Madison Bumgarner in 2009 with the San Jose Giants

Behind a strong core of former San Jose Giants, San Francisco returns home this week having split the first two games of the National League Championship Series in St. Louis. Another standout pitching performance from Madison Bumgarner led the Giants to a Game 1 victory before the Cardinals connected for four home runs in Game 2 to even the series.

14 former San Jose Giants were placed on the NLCS roster before Game 1 – one fewer than the Division Series (Gary Brown was removed in favor of the now-healthy Michael Morse). Bumgarner continued his standout postseason in the NLCS opener tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings with four hits allowed, just one walk and seven strikeouts to pick-up the win. The ace lefty, who already owns two World Series rings, boasts a career postseason ERA of 2.58 while he’s now set a MLB playoff record with 26 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings on the road.

Other former San Jose Giants standouts in the 3-0 Game 1 victory included Pablo Sandoval (3-for-4, 2B) and Travis Ishikawa (2-for-3, RBI). Brandon Belt also had a productive night at the plate with a single, a pair of walks and a key sacrifice fly.

In Game 2, the Giants suffered a heartbreaking 5-4 loss when Cardinals second baseman Kolton Wong launched a ninth-inning solo home run off of Sergio Romo. The top of the ninth, however, saw a bevy of former San Jose Giants come together to produce the tying run extending the game. Singles from former SJ players Andrew Susac and Juan Perez started the rally before Joe Panik drew a critical two-out walk. Pinch-runner Matt Duffy then remarkably scored from second base on a wild pitch to tie the game. Duffy’s rise through the system has been nothing short of incredible as the shortstop finished the 2013 season in San Jose and now, just over a year later, dazzled the baseball world on the biggest stage with his savvy baserunning abilities to tie a playoff game in the ninth inning.

MLB Statcast analysis of Duffy’s Game 2 baserunning

12 of the 14 former San Jose Giants on the NLCS roster have already appeared in the series with Ryan Vogelsong (scheduled Game 4 starter) and Tim Lincecum the only exceptions. The best-of-seven series continues with Game 3 on Tuesday afternoon at AT&T Park.

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE UNDERWAY
The excitement over the former San Jose Giants in the MLB playoffs is understandably grabbing most of the headlines, but the Arizona Fall League season opened last week as well. Seven former SJ Giants are on the Scottsdale Scorpions roster with this year’s Relief Pitcher of the Year Steven Okert off to the strongest start. Over two relief appearances, Okert has worked three scoreless innings with just one hit allowed and five strikeouts. During the 2014 regular season, Okert collected 24 saves (San Jose + Richmond) to lead the entire Giants minor league system.

Offensively, 2014 San Jose MVP Blake Miller is 2-for-7 with a pair of singles and an RBI over his first two games. Top outfield prospect Daniel Carbonell is off to a slow start with just two hits (both singles) in 13 at-bats while he’s already struck out six times. 2013 SJ Giant Kelby Tomlinson is hitless in his first eight at-bats.

Reliever Tyler Rogers fired a scoreless inning in his first appearance while Clayton Blackburn and Tyler Mizenko have yet to pitch in a game.

The Scorpions own a record of 3-2.

LATE START
The 2015 San Jose Giants schedule is now available. The Inside the San Jose Giants Blog will have a further analysis of the schedule at a later date. It is notable, however, that the 2015 season will not begin until April 9 – the latest start date for a California League season in six years. Additionally, the April 16 home opener for the Giants next season is their latest home opener in 10 years dating back to 2005 (April 21).

Five SJ Giants Named Organizational All-Stars

2014_Organizational_All_Sta_xeejzbwl_w0w71czdFive 2014 San Jose Giants – Mitch Delfino, Tyler Horan, Matt Lujan, Blake Miller and Steven Okert – were named to the MiLB.com San Francisco Organizational All-Star team announced this week. Of the 12 players represented on the team, 11 are former San Jose Giants.

The San Francisco farm system posted a cumulative record of 400-365 (.523) this year – the eighth-best winning percentage among the 30 organizations. Double-A Richmond, the Giants’ Arizona Rookie League and Dominican Summer League teams each qualified for the playoffs. The Flying Squirrels reached the Championship Series of the Eastern League Playoffs. Triple-A Fresno, San Jose, Class-A Augusta and Short-Season Salem-Keizer did not reach the postseason in 2014.

DSL-Giants: 46-23 (.667) – lost in semifinals
AZL-Giants: 34-22 (.607) – lost in championship game
Richmond: 79-63 (.556) – lost in championship series
San Jose: 73-67 (.521)
Salem-Keizer: 38-38 (.500)
Fresno: 68-76 (.472)
Augusta: 62-76 (.449)

Miller headlines the list of 2014 San Jose position players named to the organizational All-Star team after earning team MVP honors and then finishing the season with Richmond. Miller hit a combined .300 between the Giants and Flying Squirrels – third-highest in the system among qualifying hitters. His 85 RBI’s ranked tied for second in the system while he also contributed 29 doubles, six triples and eight home runs this year.

Delfino anchored the third base position for San Jose during the 2014 season en route to earning an organizational All-Star nod. In 131 games with the Giants, Delfino posted a .289 batting average, clubbed 28 doubles, 12 home runs and collected 77 RBI’s. He ranked eighth in the organization in hitting and was the fourth-toughest player to strikeout in the California League. Delfino also enjoyed a terrific season defensively with his .950 fielding percentage placing first among California League third basemen.

Horan spent the majority of the season in Augusta earning South Atlantic League All-Star honors before joining the Giants in early-August. He finished the campaign ranked second in the San Francisco farm system in home runs (25), fifth in RBI’s (81) and ninth in the batting average (.284). The outfielder smacked an impressive 10 home runs in just 28 games for San Jose to go with a .321 batting average and a 1.046 OPS.

Lujan and Okert represent the San Jose pitchers to earn recognition on the organizational All-Star team. Lujan, like Horan, was a midseason South Atlantic League All-Star in Augusta this year. He was promoted to the Giants in late-June and finished the year in the San Jose starting rotation. Over 22 starts between the two clubs, Lujan fashioned a stellar 12-4 record with a 2.81 ERA. He struck out 135 and walked just 44 in 141 innings. On the organizational leaderboard, Lujan ranked tied for first in wins, first in strikeouts and third (among qualifying pitchers) in ERA.

Finally, Okert emerged as San Jose’s closer during the first half and was the club’s lone representative on the midseason California League All-Star team. After notching 19 saves to go with a 1.53 ERA while pitching for the Giants, Okert was promoted to Richmond in late-June. Between the two clubs, Okert amassed a Giants farm system-high 24 saves and 92 strikeouts in just 68 1/3 innings.

Past San Jose Giants recognized by MiLB.com this week include Adam Duvall (first base), Matt Duffy (shortstop), Gary Brown (outfield), Chris Dominguez (outfield), Mark Minicozzi (utility) and Chris Heston (pitcher). Duvall led the system in home runs (27) and RBI’s (90) despite multiple stints in San Francisco this year. Duffy won the Eastern League batting title in Richmond after hitting at a .332 clip (also led the organization). Brown ranked third in the system in stolen bases (36) to go with a .271 batting average and 10 home runs in Fresno. Dominguez was a 20-20 guy for the Grizzlies this year, connecting for 21 home runs to go with 21 stolen bases. He was tied for second in the Giants minor league system in RBI’s (85) and third in home runs. Minicozzi’s .306 batting average this season, mainly in Fresno, was second only to Duffy in the organization while Heston was 12-9 with a 3.38 ERA in 28 starts for the Grizzlies.

DSL-Giants catcher Miguel Gomez rounds out the organizational All-Star team.

MiLB.com San Francisco Organizational All-Star Team

C – Miguel Gomez, DSL-Giants
1B – Adam Duvall, Fresno
2B – Blake Miller, San Jose/Richmond
3B – Mitch Delfino, San Jose
SS – Matt Duffy, Richmond
OF – Gary Brown, Fresno
OF – Chris Dominguez, Fresno
OF – Tyler Horan, Augusta/San Jose
Utility – Mark Minicozzi, Fresno
SP (right-handed) – Chris Heston, Fresno
SP (left-handed) – Matt Lujan, Augusta/San Jose
RP – Steven Okert, San Jose/Richmond

MiLB.com Article

Episode 40 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants podcast
The San Francisco Giants are headed to the NLCS! In this podcast episode, Joe and Ben discuss the impact of the recent former San Jose Giants on San Francisco’s playoff run. The two also revisit their preseason predictions for the Giants minor league system.

San Jose Standouts Begin Arizona Fall League Season This Week

By Joe Ritzo

afl_logoTeam MVP Blake Miller and California League All-Star Steven Okert headline a group of five 2014 San Jose Giants set to begin play in the Arizona Fall League this week. Pitchers Tyler Mizenko and Tyler Rogers as well as outfielder Daniel Carbonell have also been chosen to participate in the prestigious fall league. The 32-game AFL season begins on October 7.

Miller enjoyed a breakout 2014 season in the California League that garnered him an early-August promotion to Double-A Richmond. While in San Jose, the middle infielder hit .299 with 24 doubles, four triples, eight home runs and 73 RBI’s in 96 games. Miller hit over .300 in April, May and June while he was among the league leaders in RBI’s at the time of his promotion. A player with a knack for delivering in the clutch, Miller batted .330 with runners in scoring position and clubbed two grand slams while playing for the Giants.

Miller was a 25th round pick in the 2013 draft out of Division II Western Oregon University and opened this season as a relative unknown in the Giants farm system. However, after his stellar output in San Jose followed by an impressive final month in Richmond, where he hit .304 in 26 games, the Salem, Oregon native has elevated himself to become one of the top infield prospects in the organization. Miller opened the year as a shortstop, but was almost exclusively a second baseman over the season’s final three months. At the conclusion of the season, he was honored as San Jose’s Most Valuable Player.

Okert also enjoyed a breakthrough season as the left-hander was arguably the top reliever in the California League during the first half of the campaign. A fourth round pick in 2012 out of Oklahoma, Okert fashioned a 1.53 ERA and was leading the league with 19 saves when he was promoted to Richmond in late-June. In his 35 1/3 innings with the Giants, Okert struck out 54, walked 11 and failed to convert on a save opportunity just once. Okert is armed with a low-to-mid 90’s fastball and a solid slider that made him especially tough on left-handed hitters (.164 batting average against). He worked more in a set-up role while in Richmond compiling a 2.73 ERA and five saves over 24 appearances. As a Flying Squirrel, Okert also continued to maintain his over strikeout per inning pitched average (38 SO in 33 IP).

Top prospect Daniel Carbonell is one of five 2014 San Jose Giants headed to the Arizona Fall League

Top prospect Daniel Carbonell is one of five 2014 San Jose Giants headed to the Arizona Fall League

Carbonell made quite a splash during the final month of the season in San Jose after joining the team from the Arizona Rookie League Giants. A Cuban defector, Carbonell signed a major league contract with San Francisco last June and thus was immediately placed on the 40-man roster. After his two-week stint in rookie ball, Carbonell was promoted to the California League, where he was immediately thrust into the leadoff spot in San Jose’s lineup while playing in center field everyday. And Carbonell certainly did not disappoint posting a .344 batting average in 21 games to go with three doubles, three triples, three home runs and 12 RBI’s. He also showed well above-average speed collecting seven stolen bases, in addition to playing at a high-level defensively in center.

Carbonell earned a promotion to Richmond for the Eastern League playoffs where he hit .250 (7-for-28) with a pair of triples and two steals in seven games. He may not have even been in the organization three months ago, but there’s no question now that Carbonell is among the top prospects in the entire San Francisco organization. The experience of extending his season in the Arizona Fall League should prove invaluable as he gears up for an important 2015 campaign.

Two top relievers from this year’s San Jose team in Mizenko and Rogers also get the opportunity to play in the Arizona Fall League. Mizenko, who bounced back and forth between the closer and set-up roles in the Giants bullpen all season, logged a 3.48 ERA and 14 saves in a team-high 59 appearances this season. A sinker-slider right-hander, Mizenko struck out 48 and walked 17 in 62 innings. Mizenko, a former 28th rounder, led the South Atlantic League in saves (25) during the 2013 with Class-A Augusta.

Rogers put together an outstanding year in the Cal League notching a 2.00 ERA with a pair of saves in 47 games. Rogers, who features a unique submarine-style delivery, struck out 72 in 62 innings while issuing just 22 walks and limiting the opposition to a .234 batting average. He was at his best at the end of the season compiling a microscopic 0.35 ERA (1 ER/25.2 IP) over his last 16 appearances.

Rogers, a 10th round pick in 2013, was promoted to Richmond for their playoff run in September and likely will be joined by Mizenko in the Flying Squirrels bullpen to open 2015.

Former San Jose Giants Clayton Blackburn and Kelby Tomlinson round out the San Francisco prospects that will play in the Arizona Fall League this season. Blackburn, considered one of the top starting pitching prospects in the system, posted a solid 3.29 ERA with a 5-6 record in 18 starts for Richmond this year. The 21-year old right-hander allowed two runs or fewer in eight out of his last ten starts and is a strong candidate to earn a promotion to Triple-A for the start of the next season. Meanwhile, Tomlinson enjoyed a solid under-the-radar season as an everyday player for Richmond up the middle. Over a team-high 126 games, the former 12th round pick batted .268 with six triples, one homer and 32 RBI’s. His 49 stolen bases led the Eastern League. Tomlinson saw significant playing time at both second base and shortstop this season. Both Blackburn and Tomlinson were members of San Jose’s 2013 North Division championship team.

Matt Duffy and Hunter Strickland were originally slated to play in the Arizona Fall League this season, but both are, of course, on San Francisco’s postseason roster as the Giants continue their playoff push. Mizenko, Rogers and Tomlinson were late-additions to the Scottsdale roster.

All seven players will suit up for the Scottsdale Scorpions. The AFL season continues through November 15. Prospects from the Giants, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations will make-up the Scottsdale club. Our Inside the San Jose Giants Blog will provide frequent updates on these players over the coming weeks.

Former SJ Giants Lead San Francisco Into NLDS

SF Giants logoBehind the efforts of several former San Jose Giants players, the San Francisco Giants advanced to the National League Division Series with a dominant 8-0 shutout victory over the host Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Wild Card game at PNC Park last night. Madison Bumgarner was spectacular on the mound firing a complete-game four-hitter while Brandon Crawford led the charge offensively with a fourth-inning grand slam.

15 out of the 25 players on San Francisco’s Wild Card roster yesterday were former San Jose Giants, including seven of the nine in the starting lineup. Bumgarner, who excelled in the California League with San Jose during the first half of the 2009 season, is no stranger to MLB postseason success after his memorable performances in the ’10 and ’12 World Series’. The 25-year old left-hander dazzled last night shutting out the Pirates, the fourth-highest scoring team in the league this season, while issuing just one walk and registering 10 strikeouts.

Offensively, Crawford provided the big hit as his grand slam made the score 4-0 and the Giants never looked back. It marked the first grand slam hit by a shortstop in a major league postseason game EVER. Of course, San Jose fans have already seen Crawford show a flair for the dramatic in the playoffs when he belted an 11th inning grand slam in Game Three of the 2010 Championship Series against Rancho Cucamonga to lead the Giants to a pivotal victory. Two days later, Crawford smacked a two-run homer early in the decisive fifth game of the series as San Jose knocked off a Mike Trout-led Quakes team to take home the championship.

Bumgarner and Crawford garnered most of the headlines last night, but they weren’t the only former San Jose Giants that keyed the victory in Pittsburgh. 2010 SJ Giant Brandon Belt was on base four times, rapping out two singles, drawing two walks and collecting three RBI’s. Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval contributed two hits apiece while Joe Panik, in his first ever big league playoff game, added three hits from the second spot in the order.

Of the seven former San Jose Giants that were in San Francisco’s starting lineup yesterday, six were members of championship teams in the California League:
– Sandoval and Ishikawa in 2007
– Bumgarner, Crawford and Posey in 2009
– Belt and Crawford in 2010

Among the 15 former SJ Giants on the Wild Card roster yesterday, Gary Brown, Matt Duffy, Adam Duvall, Panik, Juan Perez, Hunter Strickland and Andrew Susac were participating in their first big league playoffs.

Now it’s on to the National League Division Series and a match-up with the powerhouse Washington Nationals. The best-of-five series begins on Friday afternoon with Game One in DC. San Francisco is expected to announce their NLDS roster early Friday and it once again is expected to feature a majority of former San Jose players. The series shifts to AT&T Park for Games Three and Four (if necessary) on Monday and Tuesday respectively.

Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey with the San Jose Giants during the 2009 season

Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey with the San Jose Giants during the 2009 season

News and Notes: California League Affiliation Shuffle

By Joe Ritzo

Cal-League1The 2014 Minor League Baseball season officially ended two weeks ago, but the rest of September still saw a constant flow of news as the every-other-year dance of player development contracts expiring and the subsequent shuffling of affiliations took place. The big news in the Giants organization was, of course, the change in Triple-A affiliation from Fresno to Sacramento (all other SF affiliates remain the same). Meanwhile in the California League, there were changes to affiliations for the first time in four years.

The first domino to fall was the move of the Cincinnati Reds out of Bakersfield and to the Florida State League’s Daytona franchise. That left an opening in Bakersfield, which was promptly filled by the Seattle Mariners, who decided to move on from High Desert. Cincinnati had been partnered with the Blaze since the 2011 season. During their four-year run, Bakersfield twice qualified for the playoffs, winning first half North Division titles in 2012 and 2014.

Now, Mariners prospects will make their way to San Jose four times in 2015 as Bakersfield plays 15 games at Municipal Stadium – most of any Giants opponent. San Jose opens their home schedule against the Blaze on April 16.

It was then the Mavericks’ turn to acquire a new major league affiliate eventually resulting in the Texas Rangers returning to the California League as the AL West team signed a Player Development Contract with High Desert. The Mavericks had been affiliated with Seattle since 2007 with their best season coming in ’09 when they lost to the Giants in the California League Championship Series. High Desert, known for it’s extreme hitter-friendly conditions, has now had eight major league affiliations since the franchise’s inception in 1991.

Texas was last in the Cal League as Bakersfield’s High-A affiliate from 2005 to 2010.

To review…
Bakersfield Blaze: now a Seattle Mariners affiliate (formerly Cincinnati)
High Desert Mavericks: now a Texas Rangers affiliate (formerly Seattle)

The other eight teams in the California League saw no changes in their major league affiliation. Prior to this year, the Cal League last saw affiliation switches after the 2010 season when Rancho Cucamonga and Inland Empire flip-flopped with the Quakes signing on with the Dodgers and the 66ers with the Angels. Bakersfield also changed from Texas to Cincinnati immediately after the 2010 campaign.

With the Rangers now in High Desert, all 10 teams from the National and American League Western divisions are now represented in the California League for the 2015 season.

North:
Bakersfield Blaze – Seattle
Modesto Nuts – Colorado
San Jose Giants – San Francisco
Stockton Ports – Oakland
Visalia Rawhide – Arizona

South:
High Desert Mavericks – Texas
Inland Empire 66ers – Los Angeles Angels
Lake Elsinore Storm – San Diego
Lancaster JetHawks – Houston
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes – Los Angeles Dodgers

ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERS

Several San Jose Giants were among the statistical leaders in San Francisco’s minor league system this season, notably pitcher Matt Lujan, first baseman Brian Ragira, outfielder Tyler Horan and infielder Blake Miller. Lujan, who opened the year in Augusta (Class-A) before a late-June promotion to San Jose, ranked tied for first in the Giants minor league system in wins (12) and first in strikeouts (135). Six of those 12 victories came in San Jose. Lujan also ranked third in the Giants system among starting pitchers in ERA at 2.81.

Brian Ragira ranked fourth in the San Francisco farm system in home runs (20) and RBI's (82) this season

Brian Ragira ranked fourth in the San Francisco farm system in home runs (20) and RBI’s (82) this season

Ragira led the San Jose team in home runs (20) and RBI’s (82) this season. Those totals each ranked fourth-best among all players in the Giants minor league system in 2014. Horan, who was added to the San Jose roster from Augusta in early-August, hit 25 home runs this year – second-most in the farm system (Adam Duvall led with 27 HR’s). 10 of Horan’s 25 homers came in the California League. His 81 RBI’s between the GreenJackets and Giants was fifth-best overall.

San Jose team MVP Blake Miller had a breakout year offensively in 2014. Between the Giants and Double-A Richmond, Miller hit a combined .300 – third-best in the system among qualifying hitters (trailing only Matt Duffy and Mark Minicozzi). His 85 RBI’s between the two teams was tied for second with Fresno’s Chris Dominguez (behind only Duvall).

Other 2014 San Jose Giants among San Francisco’s minor league leaders included Elliott Blair (SJ + Richmond) ranking fourth with a .299 overall batting average. Giants catcher Ben Turner had the sixth-highest batting average in the system at .298 while center fielder Jesus Galindo ranked fifth with 31 stolen bases. Cal League All-Star Steven Okert collected 24 saves between San Jose and Richmond this year – most in the Giants farm system. 19 of those saves came in the California League. Finally, Chris Stratton’s 120 strikeouts between SJ and Richmond were fourth-best.

SAN JOSE WELL REPRESENTED ON 40-MAN
September is always an exciting month regardless of San Francisco’s standing in the playoff race (although it’s even better, obviously, when the Giants are among baseball’s best). Rosters expand and several young prospects get the opportunity to see big league action, often for the first time. Yesterday’s blog post detailed the 11 former San Jose Giants who debuted in the major leagues this year.

Among the players on San Francisco’s 40-man roster at the end of the regular season, 22 are former San Jose Giants. Of those 22, only outfielders Daniel Carbonell and Jarrett Parker, pitcher Kendry Flores and first baseman Angel Villalona were not called-up this September and thus have yet to appear in a major league game. Perhaps next year that quartet will get their first taste of “The Show.”

San Francisco has yet to officially set their roster for Wednesday’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh, but it will certainly have a significant San Jose flavor, most notably with 2009 SJ Giant Madison Bumgarner scheduled to make the start on the mound.

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11 Former SJ Giants Make MLB Debuts In 2014

By Joe Ritzo

Joe Panik led all National League rookies with a .305 batting average

Joe Panik led all National League rookies with a .305 batting average

The 2014 season saw 11 former San Jose Giants make their major league debuts – tied for the second-most in team history in a single year. Highlights included Joe Panik emerging as San Francisco’s everyday second baseman after a midseason call-up, Andrew Susac and Matt Duffy providing quality depth to the Giants position player ranks and Hunter Strickland dazzling as a late-inning reliever during the stretch run. Over the 27-year history of the team, 173 former San Jose Giants have reached the major leagues.

Panik’s debut on June 21 marked the first of three players from San Jose’s 2012 team to earn their first call-up to San Francisco this summer with Adam Duvall and Susac soon following. Panik, a former first round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants who excelled in the California League two years ago, picked-up his first big league hit on June 22 in Arizona. Panik produced multi-hits three times over his first 10 days in the big leagues, but it wasn’t until early-August when he established himself as the Giants’ primary second baseman. A three-hit game in New York on August 4 was followed by a two-hit effort the following night in Milwaukee before another three-hit game the next day. Panik then delivered five straight multi-hit games in the middle of the month to raise his season average over .300.

On August 22 in Washington, Panik knocked out four hits, including his first major league home run, to lead the team to victory as the Giants snapped the Nationals’ 10-game winning streak. Panik came through with another four-hit game a week later before a memorable 5-for-5 night at home against Arizona on September 9. In 73 games overall with San Francisco in his rookie season, Panik hit an impressive .305 with 10 doubles, two triples, one home run and 18 RBI’s. He struck out just 33 times in 269 at-bats while also providing solid defense at second base. His .305 batting average led all National League rookies.

Just five days after Panik debuted, Duvall made his first appearance in the big leagues. Duvall set the San Jose Giants single-season home run record in 2012 when he blasted 30 round-trippers and was leading the Triple-A Pacific Coast League with 23 homers at time of his promotion. And in his first ever major league game and third-ever at-bat, Duvall went deep as he connected for a solo home run against Cincinnati’s Mike Leake at AT&T Park.

Duvall’s first stint with San Francisco lasted just one week, but the slugging corner infielder returned 2 1/2 weeks later and again showed a flair for the dramatic. In his first game back with the club (July 21 at Philadelphia), Duvall belted a two-run home run off of Cliff Lee to lead the Giants to a key victory. Duvall homered again in the regular season finale on September 28, but overall his playing time was sparse down the stretch. He finished with a .192 batting average in 73 at-bats to go with two doubles, three home runs and five RBI’s.

Andrew Susac hit .273 with 3 HR and 19 RBI in San Francisco after his late-July call-up

Andrew Susac hit .273 with 3 HR and 19 RBI in San Francisco after his late-July call-up

Meanwhile, Susac was called-up in late-July to bolster the Giants catching corps after Hector Sanchez’s placement on the disabled list. The former second round draft pick debuted on July 26 coming off the bench against the Dodgers before receiving his first start three days later versus Pittsburgh. Susac began to show he belonged on August 10 in Kansas City with a two-hit, three-RBI game. He then smacked his first career home run 10 days later at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. Susac homered three times over a two-week period throughout late-August and early-September as his batting average neared .300. With continued success, Susac’s playing time increased as the top prospect saw regular action behind the dish throughout September with Buster Posey often shifting to first base.

In 88 at-bats overall, Susac hit .273 with eight doubles, three home runs and 19 RBI’s. He hit a stellar .367 (11-for-30) with runners in scoring position.

Panik, Duvall and Susac are the first players from San Jose’s 2012 team to reach the major leagues with San Francisco. Going forward, it would certainly appear that Panik has solidified an everyday starting spot on the club while Susac’s strong impression throughout August and September is an encouraging sign for his future. Duvall showed glimpses of his power, but will obviously need a more consistent output and improved defense (whether at first or third base) to warrant a more regular role in 2015.

Duffy then became the first member of the 2013 San Jose team to reach the big leagues when he received a call-up all the way from Double-A Richmond on August 1. Duffy, who finished the ’13 campaign with San Jose, was leading the Eastern League with a .332 batting average at the time of his promotion. He then produced an RBI single in his debut game on the 1st against the Mets before a two-hit night a week later in Kansas City.

Duffy received a handful of starts throughout August, but was mainly relegated to the bench down the stretch due to Panik’s emergence at second base. Duffy though would make the most of his opportunity as the infielder became San Francisco’s most reliable right-handed pinch-hitter throughout September. He rapped out six hits in 16 at-bats with six RBI’s as a pinch-hitter, including a game-winning two-run single in the ninth inning on September 17 at Arizona. Overall, Duffy hit a solid .267 in 60 at-bats with two doubles, no home runs and eight RBI’s. Despite having yet to play a game at the Triple-A level, Duffy clearly has put himself in the mix for a role on the 2015 San Francisco Giants.

Four former San Jose Giants were then September call-ups in San Francisco headlined by Strickland. The hard-throwing right-hander dominated as San Jose’s closer during the first half of 2013 before undergoing season-ending Tommy John Surgery. He returned to action a year later opening his 2014 campaign back in San Jose, but made just three appearances before a quick promotion to Richmond. Like Duffy, Strickland was ultimately promoted to the big leagues straight from Double-A and the aggressive move clearly paid off.

In his nine relief appearances with San Francisco during September, Strickland fashioned a perfect 0.00 ERA tossing seven innings with just five hits allowed, no walks and nine strikeouts. Just as he did in the California League, Strickland showcased an upper 90’s fastball with pinpoint control to go with a hard, tight slider. His role in the big league bullpen gradually increased as September progressed to where Strickland was asked to record outs late in games, including an extra-inning save on September 22 at Dodger Stadium. Strickland was so impressive after his September call-up that it seems almost certain that he’ll be a significant contributor out of the Giants bullpen next season.

Former first round pick Gary Brown was a September call-up this season

Former first round pick Gary Brown was a September call-up this season

Other September call-ups this season included outfielders Gary Brown and Chris Dominguez and pitcher Chris Heston. Brown, the former first round draft pick and 2011 California League Rookie of the Year, struggled throughout most of 2013 at the Triple-A level before showing gradual improvement this year in Fresno. He debuted in the major leagues on September 3 and was used mainly as a late-inning defensive replacement down the stretch. He recorded his first hit in the season’s penultimate game on September 27 finishing 3-for-7 overall at the plate.

Dominguez was San Jose’s primary third baseman during the first half of 2011, but has transitioned to play more outfield in recent seasons. Like Brown, he debuted on September 3 and initially received little action. Dominguez was then given a surprise start on September 21 at San Diego and crushed a home run for his first big league hit. Unfortunately, that was Dominguez’s only hit in 17 at-bats. He started four times in left field over the final eight games of the season.

Finally, after his successful 2014 as the top starting pitcher for Triple-A Fresno, Heston garnered a September call-up. He made his debut on the 13th with a scoreless inning of relief against the Dodgers at AT&T Park. Heston then made the start in the regular season finale on September 28 versus the Padres and tossed four innings with three runs and six hits allowed. Heston led the California League in ERA while with San Jose in 2011.

Three former San Jose Giants debuted with teams other than San Francisco in 2014. Seth Rosin, a pitcher on San Jose’s 2012 club, made Texas’ opening day roster making him the first former SJ Giant to reach the big leagues this year. In three relief appearances with the Rangers, Rosin totaled four innings with three runs allowed and three strikeouts. He was designated for assignment less than two weeks after the first game to clear roster space and promptly signed by the Phillies. He finished the year working out of the bullpen for Philadelphia’s Double-A affiliate in Reading.

Edwin Escobar was traded to Boston in late-July as part of the Jake Peavy deal and became the second member of San Jose’s 2013 squad to debut when the Red Sox called him up in late-August. An All-Star starting pitcher while in the California League, Escobar pitched a scoreless inning of relief on August 27 at Toronto. He made just two appearances overall with Boston working two innings with one run allowed.

Catcher Jackson Williams also debuted on August 27 when he was called-up to the Colorado Rockies. A top prospect on San Jose’s 2008 team, Williams played in Fresno from 2010 to 2013 before signing with Colorado as a minor league free agent last offseason. In seven games with the Rockies late in the season, Williams finished 3-for-14 (.214) with a home run and three RBI’s.

The 11 former San Jose Giants who debuted in the major leagues this season:
1. Seth Rosin, Texas Rangers, March 31 debut
2. Joe Panik, San Francisco Giants, June 23
3. Adam Duvall, San Francisco Giants, June 26
4. Andrew Susac, San Francisco Giants, July 26
5. Matt Duffy, San Francisco Giants, August 1
6. Edwin Escobar, Boston Red Sox, August 27
7. Jackson Williams, Colorado Rockies, August 27
8. Hunter Strickland, San Francisco Giants, September 1
9. Gary Brown, San Francisco Giants, September 3
10. Chris Dominguez, San Francisco Giants, September 3
11. Chris Heston, San Francisco Giants, September 13

The 11 players is topped only in 2008 when 15 former San Jose Giants debuted in “The Show,” highlighted by Pablo Sandoval and Sergio Romo. 11 players tied the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres) for the most by a California League affiliate this year.

Full List of Former SJ Giants To Reach Major Leagues

Episode 39 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Podcast graphicThe San Jose Giants 2014 season is in the books! In this podcast, Joe and Ben review the year, highlighting standout individual performances, discussing the club’s improvement in the second half and why the team came up short in their quest for the playoffs.

2014 San Jose Giants Season In Review

season recap graphic3By Joe Ritzo

The 2014 San Jose Giants season saw the club recover from a slow start to post the franchise’s 11th straight winning campaign, but fall short of extending their league-record streak of consecutive playoff appearances.

The year began with high expectations as the Giants, armed with a prospect-laden starting rotation, embarked on a challenging early-season schedule. San Jose though struggled out of the gate as the team endured three separate four-game losing streaks in April. Third baseman Mitch Delfino started the year hot blasting six home runs during the opening month while infielder Blake Miller quickly emerged as a threat in the middle of the order. 2013 co-team MVP Mac Williamson returned to San Jose as a DH-only while attempting to rehab from an elbow injury. To no surprise, Williamson thrived at the plate hitting .318 with three home runs in 23 games, but the elbow didn’t respond and the slugging outfielder was forced to undergo season-ending surgery at the end of the month.

As the starting rotation was marred by inconsistency and the bullpen struggled to hold leads in the late-innings, the Giants fell to a season-high eight games below .500 at 12-20 after a May 5 home loss to Modesto. The tide though slowly began to turn as San Jose recovered to take the next three games from the Nuts before a solid 4-3 road trip against division rivals Stockton and Visalia. Steven Okert stepped forward as a dominant closer and would remain perfect in save chances through early-June. The relief corps, expected to be a major strength of the team coming into the year, recovered from their difficult start. Tyler Mizenko took the reigns as a reliable set-up man, Tyler Rogers joined the team from Augusta and immediately made a positive impact while Stephen Johnson and Mason McVay settled into their roles in middle relief. Joe Kurrasch was added to the roster from Extended Spring Training and stabilized the starting rotation with a string of impressive outings while Miller continued his first half surge at the plate, highlighted by a walk-off grand slam in the 11th inning to defeat Stockton on May 22.

Closer Steven Okert was San Jose's lone All-Star representative this season after collecting a league-best 19 saves in the first half

Closer Steven Okert was San Jose’s lone All-Star representative this season after collecting a league-best 19 saves in the first half

A five-game winning streak during the first week of June returned the Giants to .500 for the first time since early-April. Power hitters Brian Ragira and Chuckie Jones began to hit their strides after slow starts while center fielder Jesus Galindo put the finishing touches on a successful half from the leadoff spot of the order. San Jose completed the first half in fourth place in the North Division with a 34-36 record. Okert was the club’s lone All-Star representative after fashioning a 1.57 ERA and converting 19 out of 20 save chances. Okert then went on to save the All-Star Game for the California League against the Carolina League with a scoreless ninth inning.

The Giants looked to start fast in the second half, but again struggled early dropping six out of their first eight games. But unlike in the first half, the team quickly recovered and would put together their best extended stretch of the season. Following three straight victories at home over Visalia to close out June, San Jose traveled to Modesto and took three games in a row from the Nuts – their first road series sweep of the year. Unfazed by a home series loss to hard-charging Stockton over the Fourth of July weekend, the Giants swept three games from first half champion Bakersfield. A 13-strikeout performance from starting pitcher Matt Lujan, who had joined the team from Augusta at the start of the second half, then highlighted a series split at first-place Stockton. San Jose kept streaking through mid-July with their best homestand of the year, a 6-1 week against South Division opponents Rancho Cucamonga and Lake Elsinore that included a pair of walk-off extra-inning victories.

Outfielder Elliott Blair paced the club during the run with a .402 batting average throughout July while infielder Brandon Bednar also excelled at the plate after joining the team from Augusta at the start of the month. In addition to Lujan, Kendry Flores (2.22 ERA) and Pat Young (4-0, 3.04 ERA) thrived in the starting rotation during July. Out of the bullpen, Mizenko and Bryce Bandilla shared the closer’s duties capably after the promotion of Okert to Double-A Richmond. From June 27 to July 22, the Giants went 18-6 to catch Stockton for first place in the second half race while moving three games ahead of Visalia in the Wild Card.

Back-to-back difficult weekends followed, however, against rivals Visalia and Stockton as the Giants fell in the standings. San Jose dropped four straight games in Visalia, including two heartbreaking walk-off defeats, to mark their first time swept since early-April. The Giants then opened August by losing three out of four to the Ports at Municipal Stadium as Stockton began to put significant distance between themselves and the rest of the division in the second half. And for the first time all year, San Jose endured significant roster turnover forcing the club to make adjustments heading into the final month. Kurrasch was sidelined for almost a month due to a groin injury. Pitcher and former first round pick Chris Stratton was promoted to Richmond with offensive stars Blair and Miller joining him a few days later. Flores and Galindo then both suffered season-ending injuries during a doubleheader in Bakersfield on August 6.

Top prospect Daniel Carbonell joined the Giants late in the season and hit a sizzling .344 over 21 games

Top prospect Daniel Carbonell joined the Giants late in the season and hit a sizzling .344 over 21 games

The result was a Giants roster peppered with new faces as the club looked to make a strong push to the playoffs throughout August. Slugging outfielder Tyler Horan was added from Augusta to give San Jose a feared left-handed power bat in their lineup for the first time all year. And Horan delivered clubbing 10 home runs with a .321 batting average in his 28 games from the middle of the order. Veteran outfielder Ryan Lollis came down from Richmond while Nick Vander Tuig was promoted from Augusta to help bolster a depleted starting rotation. A few days later, top prospect and Cuban defector Daniel Carbonell was added and took over in center for the injured Galindo. The dynamic Carbonell dazzled at the top of the order with a sizzling .344 batting average, three homers and seven stolen bases in his three weeks with the team.

The Giants briefly reclaimed the Wild Card lead thanks to a five-game winning streak against Bakersfield and Lancaster before an up-and-down road trip during the middle of August. San Jose suffered consecutive extra-inning losses in Rancho Cucamonga, but followed that with two wins in Stockton, including a wild 11-10 victory in the series opener. With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Giants returned home tied with Visalia for the final playoff spot in the North Division.

San Jose began their final homestand with a pair of wins over Modesto, but managed just one hit in the finale in taking a loss to fall a game back. The Giants and Rawhide then matched-up in a showdown series to conclude San Jose’s home schedule. Unfortunately for the Giants, they were shutout twice by Visalia in dropping two out of three. The costly series loss put San Jose two games back of the red-hot Rawhide heading into the final week of the regular season.

The Giants traveled to Southern California to end the year and won three out of their first four games of their final road trip against Lake Elsinore and High Desert, but did not gain any ground on Visalia in the standings. On the third-to-last-day of the season, the Rawhide officially eliminated San Jose from playoff contention – the first time since 2003 that the Giants did not qualify for the postseason. San Jose ended the year with an overall record of 73-67.

Mitch Delfino's excellent 2014 season included a team-high 28 doubles, 12 home runs, 77 RBI's and the club's Defensive Player of the Year award

Mitch Delfino’s excellent 2014 season included a team-high 28 doubles, 12 home runs, 77 RBI’s and the club’s Defensive Player of the Year award

INDIVIDUAL STANDOUTS

• Joe Biagini, RHP (23 GS, 10-9, 4.01 ERA) – Bay Area native was a steady performer in the starting rotation leading the team in wins and ranking fifth in the league in ERA.
• Elliott Blair, OF (.316, 5 HR, 35 RBI) – Versatile outfielder returned for his second season in San Jose and was leading the team in batting average at time of his promotion to Richmond on August 1. Played all three outfield positions and hit .360 after the All-Star break.
• Daniel Carbonell, OF (.344, 3 HR, 12 RBI) – Top prospect outfielder joined San Jose in early-August after signing a major league contract with San Francisco two months earlier. Batted .344 and had multi-hits in nine out of his 21 games.
• Mitch Delfino, 3B (.289, 12 HR, 77 RBI) – Tied for the team lead in games (131) and won San Jose’s Defensive Player of the Year award for his play at third base. Steady performer offensively who led the club in doubles (28) and hits (154), was second in RBI’s and third in home runs.
• Kendry Flores, RHP (20 GS, 4-6, 4.09 ERA) – 40-man roster member, struck out 112 in 105 2/3 innings. Had a 2.60 ERA in eight second half starts before an early-August season-ending shoulder injury.
• Tyler Horan, OF (.321, 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.
• Chuckie Jones, OF (.256, 15 HR, 66 RBI) – Primary right fielder hit 12 out of his 15 home runs after June 1 and was second on the team with 17 stolen bases.
• Joe Kurrasch, LHP (15 GS, 8-4, 3.05 ERA) – Inserted into the starting rotation in early-May and went onto win the team’s Pitcher of the Year award. Allowed two runs or fewer in 11 out of his 15 starts.
• Matt Lujan, LHP (12 GS, 6-2, 3.42 ERA) – A workhorse in the starting rotation during the second half after his midseason promotion from Augusta. Pitched at least six innings in 10 out of his last 11 starts and had a 1.64 ERA in his final five outings.
• Blake Miller, 2B/SS (.299, 8 HR, 73 RBI) – San Jose’s team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year after a stellar first full professional season. Hit over .300 in April, May and June. Was among the league leaders in RBI’s at the time of his promotion to Double-A on August 1.
• Tyler Mizenko, RHP (59 G, 3.48 ERA, 14 SV) – Led the league in appearances and was San Jose’s primary closer in the second half. Had a stretch of 17 consecutive scoreless innings throughout June and July.
• Steven Okert, LHP (33 G, 1.53 ERA, 19 SV) – San Jose’s lone All-Star representative was leading the California League in saves at the time of his promotion to Richmond in late-June. Struck out 54 in 35 1/3 innings. Named the club’s Relief Pitcher of the Year.
• Brian Ragira, 1B (.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.
• Tyler Rogers, RHP (47 G, 2.00 ERA) – Standout set-up man in the Giants bullpen. Allowed just one earned run over his last 25 2/3 innings.
• Ben Turner, C (.298, 2 HR, 40 RBI) – San Jose’s main catcher hit .336 from June 1 through the end of the season.

Joe Kurrasch allowed two runs or fewer in 11 out of his 15 starts on his way to winning the team's Pitcher of the Year award

Joe Kurrasch allowed two runs or fewer in 11 out of his 15 starts on his way to winning the team’s Pitcher of the Year award

TEAM NOTES

Playoff Streak Ends… San Jose (73-67) finished the regular season two games behind the Visalia Rawhide (75-65) in the North Division Wild Card standings. It was the first time since 2003 that the Giants did not reach the postseason. During their league record streak of 10 straight playoff appearances (2004-2013), San Jose won four league championships. Despite not qualifying for the postseason, the Giants still posted their 11th consecutive winning season – the longest active streak in the league. This year’s San Jose club was just the fourth team since the California League expanded to its current playoff format in 1995 to not reach the postseason with a record above .500.

League Rankings… Offensively, the Giants ranked sixth among ten teams in the California League in batting average (.267), ninth in runs scored (4.7 per game) and ninth in home runs (103). On the mound, San Jose’s team ERA of 4.51 was fifth in the league and the highest for a Giants team since 2003.

Winning Months… After struggling in April (11-16) and finishing .500 in May (15-15), the Giants posted winning records in June (13-11), July (18-11) and August (15-14).

Count ‘Em Up… 51 players suited up for the San Jose Giants during the 2014 season (27 position players and 24 pitchers). Of the 25 players on the opening day roster, 12 were still with the club at the end of the regular season. Three San Francisco Giants had rehab assignments with San Jose this season: Jeremy Affeldt, Brandon Belt and Santiago Casilla.

Blake Miller was named the 2014 San Jose Giants MVP after hitting .299 with eight home runs and 73 RBI's

Blake Miller was named the 2014 San Jose Giants MVP after hitting .299 with eight home runs and 73 RBI’s

Odds And Ends… San Jose’s longest win streak of the year was six games (June 27-July 3) while their longest losing streak was four (five times) … The Giants had five walk-off wins this season with one coming on a home run (Blake Miller’s grand slam vs. Stockton on May 22) … Miller had the longest hitting streak this year when he hit safely in 15 straight games during the first half … San Jose was a streaky team in extra-innings dropping their first four games in extras before winning six out of the seven and then losing three out of their last four (7-8 overall) … The Giants’ 21-13 record in one-run games was second-best in the league … Three San Jose players had five hits in a game (Mac Williamson – April 24 vs. Visalia, Jesus Galindo – June 28 vs. Visalia and Brian Ragira – August 27 at Lake Elsinore) … The Giants’ largest margin of victory this season was a 13-0 shutout of Lake Elsinore during the final week (August 27) while their worst lost came on the Fourth of July at home against Stockton (17-6) … San Jose was a combined 22-34 (.393) against Stockton and Visalia and 51-33 (.607) against the rest of the league.

Sixth Straight Year Of 200,000 Attendance…
2014 marked San Jose’s sixth consecutive year with a total home attendance figure of at least 200,000 (after never having reached the milestone prior to 2009). The Giants ranked second in the California League in both total attendance (200,124) and average fans per home game (2,859).

A LOOK TO 2015

The 28th season of San Jose Giants baseball opens on Thursday, April 9 at Lancaster. The Giants begin the year with seven straight road games before their home opener on Thursday, April 16 versus the Bakersfield Blaze. San Jose hosts games at Municipal Stadium on Mother’s Day (May 10), Memorial Day (May 25), Father’s Day (June 21) and Independence Day (July 4) next season.

Full and half season ticket packages for the 2015 San Jose Giants season are on sale now. Tickets are available for purchase online at sjgiants.com, over the phone at (408) 297-1435 and in person at the Municipal Stadium box office Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Be sure to visit sjgiants.com and the Inside the San Jose Giants Blog throughout the offseason for all of the latest team news and 2015 roster projections.

The 2015 San Jose Giants season begins on April 9

The 2015 San Jose Giants season begins on April 9

Giants Conclude Regular Season With Four-Game Series At High Desert

San Jose Giants (71-65) at High Desert Mavericks (64-72)
san jose giants
At Heritage Field

• Friday, August 29, 7:05 PM
• Saturday, August 30, 7:05 PM
• Sunday, August 31, 5:05 PM
• Monday, September 1, 5:05 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (7-4, 3.16)
High Desert – Will Mathis (5-7, 5.08)

Saturday
San Jose – Nick Vander Tuig (3-1, 4.67)
High Desert – TBA

Sunday
San Jose – Jake Smith (0-0, 0.00)
High Desert – Lars Huijer (1-4, 6.85)

Monday
San Jose – Matt Lujan (5-2, 3.38)
High Desert – Dylan Unsworth (6-9, 5.61)

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 Conclude Regular Season With Four Games At High Desert
The San Jose Giants continue their road trip this evening with the opener of a four-game series against the High Desert Mavericks at Heritage Field. Joe Kurrasch (7-4, 3.16) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. This series versus the Mavericks concludes the regular season for the Giants.

Last Series
The Giants won two out of three games against the host Lake Elsinore Storm in a series that concluded last night. San Jose claimed the opener on Tuesday by a 4-1 score before knocking out a season-high 19 hits in a 13-0 shutout of the Storm on Wednesday. The Giants sweep bid, however, fell short as Lake Elsinore earned an 8-5 victory last night. In yesterday’s contest, San Jose rallied from an early three-run deficit eventually tying the game 5-5 in the top of the sixth on a Brandon Bednar solo home run. The Storm though moved back in front with a three-run bottom of the seventh en route to salvaging a game in the series.

Playoff Race
San Jose’s 71-65 overall record is three games behind the Visalia Rawhide (74-62) for the North Division Wild Card lead. Including tonight, there are four games remaining in the regular season. The Giants have reached the playoffs in a California League record 10 consecutive years (2004-2013). Among the last 10 years, San Jose has qualified for the playoffs as the first half North Division champion eight times and as the Wild Card team twice (2004, 2012). The last time the Giants did not reach the playoffs was during the 2003 season. Lenn Sakata has never missed the postseason as San Jose’s manager (1999, 2001, 2004-07).

11th Straight Winning Season

Wednesday’s victory in Lake Elsinore clinched San Jose’s 11th consecutive winning season – the longest active streak in the California League. The Giants last finished below .500 in 2003 (58-82).

Team Awards

The Giants handed out their team awards during the final homestand last week. Award winners included: Blake Miller (Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year), Joe Kurrasch (Pitcher of the Year), Mitch Delfino (Defensive Player of the Year) and Steven Okert (Relief Pitcher of the Year). Miller and Okert are both currently playing for Double-A Richmond. There were no San Jose players on the postseason California League All-Star team announced last week.

Ragira’s Strong Second Half
After batting just .224 with five home runs and 36 RBI’s in the first half, first baseman Brian Ragira has hit .294 with 14 homers and 42 RBI’s since the All-Star break. Ragira hit six home runs in July and has smacked seven more home runs thus far in August. His 19 home runs and 78 RBI’s lead the team. Over his last 13 games, Ragira is batting .392 (20-for-51) with seven home runs and 18 RBI’s. He became the third Giant to record five hits in game this season (Mac Williamson and Jesus Galindo) when he accomplished the feat on Wednesday in Lake Elsinore.

On The Road

San Jose is 33-33 on the road this season. The Giants are batting .276 as a team on the road and scoring 5.0 runs per game compared to a .254 average and 4.2 runs per contest at home. Conversely, San Jose’s team ERA on the road (4.98) is considerably higher than at home (4.02).

Carbonell File
Outfielder Daniel Carbonell joined San Jose from the AZL-Giants (Rookie) on August 8 and is batting .313 with three home runs, nine RBI’s and five stolen bases in 18 games. Over the first three games of the current road trip, Carbonell is 7-for-14 (.500) with a double, a triple and three stolen bases. A 23-year old native of Cuba, Carbonell signed a major league contract with San Francisco in June and was placed on the 40-man roster. Carbonell is the only player on San Jose’s active roster that was selected to play in the Arizona Fall League as was announced earlier this week.

Versus The South

San Jose has fared well against South Division teams this season posting a 25-15 (.625) record. By comparison, the Giants are 46-50 (.479) against North Division clubs. San Jose swept a three-game set against High Desert during their only previous meeting this year (June 3-5 at Municipal Stadium).

Odds And Ends
The Giants are 21-13 (.618) in one-run games this season – the second-best record in the California League … A win tonight would move San Jose to a season-high tying seven games above .500 overall … The Giants are 14-12 in August with three games remaining this month … San Jose’s only losing month this year has been April (11-16).

Opponent Notes: High Desert Mavericks
The High Desert Mavericks, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, own an overall record of 64-72. High Desert is currently leading for the second wild card spot in the South Division – one game ahead of Rancho Cucamonga (63-73). The Mavericks are tops in the league in runs scored (816), third in batting average (.280) and last in ERA (5.23). High Desert is 33-33 at home this season (31-39 on the road).

Giants Begin Final Road Trip Of The Regular Season In Lake Elsinore

San Jose Giants (69-64) at Lake Elsinore Storm (72-61)

San_Jose_Giants157At The Diamond
• Tuesday, August 26, 6:05 PM
• Wednesday, August 27, 6:05 PM
• Thursday, August 28, 7:05 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Tuesday
San Jose – Matt Lujan (4-2, 3.72)
Lake Elsinore – Colin Rea (10-8, 4.05)

Wednesday

San Jose – Joe Biagini (9-9, 4.17)
Lake Elsinore – Rafael De Paula (2-3, 6.46)

Thursday

San Jose – Pat Young (9-6, 5.76)
Lake Elsinore – Elliot Morris (3-3, 3.00)

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.

Giants Open Three-Game Series In Lake Elsinore Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game road trip this evening with the first of three straight contests against the Lake Elsinore Storm at The Diamond. Matt Lujan (4-2, 3.72) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. After the current series versus Lake Elsinore, the Giants conclude the regular season with a four-game set at High Desert from Friday-Monday.

Homestand Review

The Giants posted a 3-3 record during their final homestand of the regular season that ended on Sunday. San Jose won two out of three games from the visiting Modesto Nuts to begin the homestand before dropping two out of three to the Visalia Rawhide. The Giants finished the regular season with a 38-32 record at Municipal Stadium.

Offensive Woes
The Giants have scored a total of just five runs over their last four games (1-3 record). During the four-game stretch, San Jose has been shutout twice – last Friday and Sunday against Visalia. The Giants were also held to just one run and one hit in last Thursday’s loss to Modesto. Over the last four games, San Jose is batting .160 as a team (20-for-125). The Giants have now been shutout eight times this season – tied for second-most in the California League.

Playoff Race

San Jose’s 69-64 overall record is two games behind the Visalia Rawhide (71-62) for the North Division Wild Card lead. Including tonight, there are seven games remaining in the regular season. The Giants have reached the playoffs in a California League record 10 consecutive years (2004-2013). Among the last 10 years, San Jose has qualified for the playoffs as the first half North Division champion eight times and as the Wild Card team twice (2004, 2012). The last time the Giants did not qualify for the playoffs was during the 2003 season. Lenn Sakata has never missed the playoffs as San Jose’s manager (1999, 2001, 2004-07).

Team Awards
The Giants handed out their team awards during the final homestand last week. Award winners included: Blake Miller (Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year), Joe Kurrasch (Pitcher of the Year), Mitch Delfino (Defensive Player of the Year) and Steven Okert (Relief Pitcher of the Year). Miller and Okert are both currently playing for Double-A Richmond. There were no San Jose players on the postseason California League All-Star team announced last week.

Power Surge
The Giants have enjoyed a recent power surge at the plate clubbing 16 home runs in their last 10 games. Individually, Brian Ragira has hit six home runs in his last 10 games while Tyler Horan has smacked four homers in his past 10 games. San Jose has hit 25 home runs already in August after hitting a combined 24 homers in June (9) and July (15).

On The Road
San Jose is 31-32 on the road this season. The Giants are batting .272 as a team on the road and scoring 4.9 runs per game compared to a .254 average and 4.2 runs per contest at home. Conversely, San Jose’s team ERA on the road (5.09) is considerably higher than at home (4.02).

Carbonell Cools Off
Outfielder Daniel Carbonell has cooled off at the plate after a hot start with the Giants. Since his four-hit, two-homer performance in Tuesday’s homestand opener, Carbonell has gone 2-for-21 in his past five games. In 15 games overall with San Jose, Carbonell is batting .273 with three home runs, nine RBI’s and two stolen bases. A 23-year old native of Cuba, Carbonell signed a major league contract with San Francisco in June and was placed on the 40-man roster. He joined San Jose on August 8 from the AZL-Giants (Rookie).

Versus The South

San Jose has fared well against South Division teams this season posting a 23-14 (.622) record. The Giants won three out of four games against Lake Elsinore during their only previous meeting (July 19-22 at Municipal Stadium).

Ragira’s Strong Second Half
After batting just .224 with five home runs and 36 RBI’s in the first half, first baseman Brian Ragira has hit .288 with 13 homers and 37 RBI’s since the All-Star break. Ragira hit six home runs in July and has smacked six more home runs thus far in August. His 18 home runs and 73 RBI’s overall this season lead the team.

Opponent Notes: Lake Elsinore Storm

The Lake Elsinore Storm, an affiliate of the San Diego Padres, own an overall record of 72-61 and have already clinched a playoff berth. Lake Elsinore’s 32-31 second half record is tied with Lancaster for first place in the South Division. The Storm are sixth in the league in batting average (.267), sixth in runs scored (675) and second in ERA (4.25). Lake Elsinore is 32-31 at home (40-30 on the road).

Giants Close Out Home Schedule With Pivotal Three-Game Series Against Visalia

Visalia Rawhide (69-61) at San Jose Giants (68-62)

San_Jose_Giants157At Municipal Stadium
• Friday, August 22, 7:00 PM
• Saturday, August 23, 5:00 PM
• Sunday, August 24, 1:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday
Visalia – Brandon Sinnery (12-7, 4.35)
San Jose – Pat Young (9-5, 6.06)

Saturday
Visalia – Spencer Arroyo (6-6, 4.58)
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (7-4, 3.29)

Sunday
Visalia – Andrew Barbosa (5-2, 3.91)
San Jose – Nick Vander Tuig (3-0, 3.18)

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 Continue Final Homestand Against Visalia Tonight

The San Jose Giants continue their final homestand of the regular season this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Visalia Rawhide at Municipal Stadium. Pat Young (9-5, 6.06) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight.

Last Series
The Giants won two out of three games from the visiting Modesto Nuts in a series that concluded last night. San Jose hit four home runs in the series opener on Tuesday en route to a 10-6 victory. On Wednesday, Tyler Horan delivered a bases loaded RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the Giants to a 3-2 win. It was San Jose’s fifth walk-off win of the season. Modesto then avoided the sweep with a 2-1 victory over the Giants last night.

Offense Sputters
The Giants were held to one hit in yesterday’s loss to the Nuts – a Ryan Lollis solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. San Jose’s one hit was a season-low. Their previous low mark was two hits in a 3-1 defeat to Stockton on June 13. The Giants have scored a total of just four runs in their last two games. In their previous five games, San Jose scored 40 runs (8.0 per game).

Playoff Race

San Jose’s 68-62 overall record is one game behind with the Visalia Rawhide (69-61) for the North Division Wild Card lead. Including tonight, there are 10 games remaining in the regular season. The Giants have reached the playoffs in a California League record 10 consecutive years (2004-2013). San Jose (34-26) is also six games behind the Stockton Ports (40-20) in the second half North Division race. Among the last 10 years, the Giants have qualified for the playoffs as the first half North Division champion eight times and as the Wild Card team twice (2004, 2012).

Versus The Rawhide
The Giants are 10-14 against Visalia this season. The clubs last met from July 24-27 at Recreation Park with the Rawhide sweeping the four-game series. It was the first time that San Jose had been swept in a series since the opening week of the season (the Giants have not been swept since). The Giants took three out of four from Visalia when the teams last played at Municipal Stadium (June 26-29). San Jose is 7-5 against the Rawhide at Muni (3-9 in Visalia).

Power Surge
The Giants have hit 15 home runs in their last seven games. After clubbing nine homers during their four-game series in Stockton that ended last Monday, San Jose connected for six more home runs during their three-game set versus Modesto to open the current homestand. Individually, Brian Ragira has hit five home runs in his last seven games while Tyler Horan has smacked four homers in his past eight games. Ragira leads the Giants with 17 home runs overall this season. Horan has hit seven homers in his first 19 games with San Jose since joining the team from Augusta (A) on August 1. With two home runs on Tuesday, Daniel Carbonell became the fifth Giant to record a multi-homer game this season. San Jose has hit 24 home runs already in August after hitting a combined 24 homers in June (9) and July (15).

Carbonell’s Immediate Impact
Outfielder Daniel Carbonell was added to the San Jose roster on August 8 from the AZL-Giants (Rookie) and has made an immediate impact in the California League hitting .296 (16-for-54) with three home runs, eight RBI’s and two stolen bases in 12 games. A 23-year old native of Cuba, Carbonell signed a major league contract with San Francisco in June and was placed on the 40-man roster. In 10 games with the AZL-Giants, he was hitting .314 with three doubles, one home run, four RBI’s and four stolen bases. Carbonell spent four seasons playing for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series. During the 2012-13 season, he hit .298 with five home runs, 28 RBI’s and nine stolen bases in 62 games.

At Muni
The Giants are 15-6 in their last 21 home games dating back to July 8.

Team Awards
The Giants are in the midst of handing out their team awards during the current homestand. Third baseman Mitch Delfino was honored as the club’s Defensive Player of the Year yesterday while Steven Okert (promoted to Double-A Richmond on June 24) took home the Relief Pitcher of the Year award on Wednesday.

On Deck
After the current homestand, San Jose concludes the regular season with a seven-game road trip against Lake Elsinore (August 26-28) and High Desert (August 29-September 1). It will mark the Giants’ only two visits this year to both venues. San Jose is 23-14 (.622) against South Division teams this season (45-48 versus the North).

Opponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide
The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, enter this series riding a five-game winning streak. Visalia is fourth in the league in batting average (.278), fifth in runs scored (675) and sixth in ERA (4.60). Since suffering a 12-game losing streak from June 27-July 9, the Rawhide have gone 28-12. Right-hander Brandon Sinnery is expected to get the ball tonight. Sinnery is tied for the league lead with 12 wins this season.

Episode 38 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants podcast

In the final regular season episode of Inside the San Jose Giants, Joe and Ben hand out their team awards. The two make their picks for Pitcher of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Relief Pitcher of the Year and MVP. The podcast also includes discussion of San Jose’s new-look lineup and the club’s push for a playoff spot.

Final Homestand Of The Regular Season Begins Tonight

Modesto Nuts (39-88) at San Jose Giants (66-61)

San_Jose_Giants157At Municipal Stadium
• Tuesday, August 19, 7:00 PM
• Wednesday, August 20, 7:00 PM
• Thursday, August 21, 7:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Tuesday
Modesto – Jayson Aquino (5-9, 4.94)
San Jose – Nick Vander Tuig (2-0, 2.12)

Wednesday
Modesto – Ben Alsup (3-13, 5.61)
San Jose – Matt Lujan (4-2, 4.24)

Thursday
Modesto – Matt Flemer (11-9, 5.04)
San Jose – Joe Biagini (9-8, 4.23)

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 Three-Game Series Against Modesto Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a six-game homestand tonight with the first of three straight contests against the Modesto Nuts at Municipal Stadium. Nick Vander Tuig (2-0, 2.12) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose this evening. Tonight marks the beginning of the Giants’ final homestand of the regular season. After the current series versus the Nuts, San Jose hosts the Visalia Rawhide in a pivotal three-game set beginning on Friday.

Road Trip Review
The Giants posted a 3-4 record during their road trip that concluded last night. San Jose began the trip by dropping two out of three games to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Both losses came in extra-innings (2-1 in 11 innings and 3-2 in 13 innings). The Giants then split a four-game set with the first-place Stockton Ports. San Jose claimed the series opener on Friday by an 11-10 score before the Ports outlasted the Giants 14-10 on Saturday. The Giants posted a 6-2 victory in the third game with Stockton then earning the split after a 7-3 win last night.

Offensive Outburst
San Jose scored 30 runs during the four-game series against Stockton (7.5 runs per game). The Giants hit nine homers over the four games, including a season-high five in the series opener last Friday. Individually, Brian Ragira (8-for-17, .471, 3 HR, 6 RBI) and Tyler Horan (8-for-18, .444, 2 HR, 8 RBI) were San Jose’s top hitters during the series.

Playoff Race
San Jose’s 66-61 overall record is tied with the Visalia Rawhide (66-61) for the North Division Wild Card lead. Including tonight, there are 13 games remaining in the regular season. The Giants have reached the playoffs in a California League record 10 consecutive years (2004-2013). San Jose (32-25) is six games behind the Stockton Ports (38-19) in the second half North Division race.

Carbonell’s Immediate Impact
Outfielder Daniel Carbonell was added to the San Jose roster on August 8 from the AZL-Giants (Rookie) and has made an immediate impact in the California League going 12-for-40 (.300) with a home run, five RBI’s and two stolen bases in his first nine games. Carbonell hit safely in his first eight games with the Giants before going 0-for-5 last night. A 23-year old native of Cuba, Carbonell signed a major league contract with San Francisco in June and was placed on the 40-man roster. In 10 games with the AZL-Giants, he was hitting .314 with three doubles, one home run, four RBI’s and four stolen bases. Carbonell spent four seasons playing for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series. During the 2012-13 season, he hit .298 with five home runs, 28 RBI’s and nine stolen bases in 62 games.

Versus The Nuts

The Giants are 13-8 against Modesto this season. San Jose has won their last six games versus the Nuts after back-to-back series sweeps at John Thurman Field from July 1-3 and July 28-30. The clubs last met at Municipal Stadium from June 23-25 with Modesto taking two out of three games. Ben Turner (.429, 5 RBI) and Chuckie Jones (.321, 3 HR, 11 RBI) have been the Giants’ top hitters versus Nuts pitching this season.

Power Surge
The Giants have hit 18 home runs in August already after just 15 homers in July and nine home runs during the entire month of June. Tyler Horan has hit six homers in his first 16 games with San Jose since joining the team from Augusta (A) on August 1. Brian Ragira’s two round-trippers last Friday marked his first multi-home run game this season (fourth by a Giant in 2014). Ragira homered again on Saturday increasing his team-high total to 15. Chuckie Jones has hit four home runs in his last 12 games. San Jose is still last in the league with 85 home runs this season.

At Muni
The Giants are 13-5 in their last 18 home games dating back to July 8.

Horan’s Hit Streak At Eight Games
Outfielder Tyler Horan brings an eight-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. During the hit streak, Horan is batting at a .324 clip (12-for-37) with three doubles, four home runs and 12 RBI’s.

On Deck

After the current homestand, San Jose concludes the regular season with a seven-game road trip against Lake Elsinore (August 26-28) and High Desert (August 29-September 1). It will mark the Giants’ only two visits this year to both venues. San Jose is 23-14 (.622) against South Division teams this season (43-47 versus the North).

Opponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, own the worst overall record in the league at 39-88. With one more defeat, the Nuts will set a franchise record for losses in a season (Modesto Reds – 1947). Modesto is last in the league in batting average (.246) and runs scored (4.2 per game) and ninth in ERA (5.08).

Giants Continue Road Trip In Stockton

San Jose Giants (64-59) at Stockton Ports (73-50)

San_Jose_Giants157At Banner Island Ballpark
• Friday, August 15, 7:05 PM
• Saturday, August 16, 7:05 PM
• Sunday, August 17, 6:05 PM
• Monday, August 18, 7:05 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

Friday
San Jose – Joe Biagini (8-8, 4.32)
Stockton – Jake Sanchez (8-1, 3.05)

Saturday
San Jose – Pat Young (9-5, 5.76)
Stockton – Tim Alderson (3-0, 2.76)

Sunday
San Jose – Joe Kurrasch (7-4, 3.20)
Stockton – Dylan Covey (1-3, 8.00)

Monday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (3-2, 8.58)
Stockton – Josh Bowman (6-7, 5.11)

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 Continue Road Trip In Stockton
The San Jose Giants continue their road trip this evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Stockton Ports at Banner Island Ballpark. Joe Biagini (8-8, 4.32) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight.

Last Series
The Giants dropped two out of three games to the host Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in a series that concluded last night. San Jose earned a 6-4 victory in the series opener on Tuesday before the Quakes posted back-to-back extra-inning wins to take the series. Rancho Cucamonga’s Jeremy Rathjen hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 11th to lift the Quakes to a 2-1 walk-off victory on Wednesday. In last night’s finale, a bases loaded passed ball with one out in the bottom of the 13th gave Rancho Cucamonga a 3-2 win. The Quakes did not record a hit during the 13th inning rally taking advantage of two walks, a hit batsman and a wild pitch before the passed ball.

Extras
With losses the last two nights, the Giants fell to 6-8 in extra-inning games this season. Yesterday’s 13-inning contest matched San Jose’s longest game of the year (April 21 vs. Visalia, 5-4 loss). The Giants have lost their last three extra-inning games overall.

Struggling Offense

The Giants scored a total of just three runs in 24 innings over the last two games of their series in Rancho Cucamonga. San Jose was held hitless over the final 4 1/3 innings in Wednesday’s loss. Last night, the Giants managed just three singles after the third inning (no runs).

Playoff Race

San Jose’s 64-59 overall record is tied with the Visalia Rawhide (64-59) for the North Division Wild Card lead. Including tonight, there are 17 games remaining in the regular season. The Giants have reached the playoffs in a California League record 10 consecutive years (2004-2013). San Jose (30-23) is also six games behind the Stockton Ports (36-17) in the second half North Division race.

Carbonell’s Immediate Impact

Outfielder Daniel Carbonell was added to the San Jose roster last Friday from the AZL-Giants (Rookie) and has made an immediate impact in the California League going 10-for-25 (.400) with a triple, an RBI and two stolen bases in his first six games. He’s hit safely in all six games. A 23-year old native of Cuba, Carbonell signed a major league contract with San Francisco in June and was placed on the 40-man roster. In 10 games with the AZL-Giants, he was hitting .314 with three doubles, one home run, four RBI’s and four stolen bases. Carbonell spent four seasons playing for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series. During the 2012-13 season, he hit .298 with five home runs, 28 RBI’s and nine stolen bases in 62 games.

Versus The Ports
The Giants are only 9-16 versus Stockton this season. San Jose lost all four of their series’ versus the Ports at Municipal Stadium this year (4-11 record). The Giants have posted a 5-5 mark at Banner Island Ballpark this season. The clubs last met in Stockton from July 11-14 with each team recording two wins. San Jose is 5-13 in their last 18 games versus the Ports. The Giants are hitting only .245 as a team against Stockton pitching this season.

Power Surge

Outfielder Chuckie Jones has hit three home runs in his last eight games. His 13 home runs this season lead the team and are a personal career-high. Meanwhile, outfielder Tyler Horan has hit four home runs in his first 12 games since joining the club from Augusta (A) on August 1. San Jose is still last in the league in home runs (76).

Starting Strong

Giants starting pitchers have combined for a 2.19 ERA (10 ER/41.0 IP) over the last seven games (4-3 team record). San Jose is now third in the California League with a team ERA of 4.43.

Delfino Delivers

Third baseman Mitch Delfino finished 8-for-14 with a triple and three RBI’s during the three-game series against Rancho Cucamonga. He matched a season-high with four hits in Tuesday’s series opener versus the Quakes. It marked the second time this season that Delfino rapped out four hits in a game (April 24 vs. Visalia). Delfino is batting .388 (38-for-98) in his last 24 games.

On Deck
After the current series versus Stockton, the Giants return to Municipal Stadium for their final homestand of the regular season with three games against Modesto (August 19-21) and three games versus Visalia (August 22-24).

Opponent Notes: Stockton Ports
The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, own the best overall record in the league at 73-50. Stockton is 45-21 since the beginning of June. The Ports rank fifth in the California League in batting average (.274), first in home runs (162) and first in ERA (4.11).

Seven-Game Road Trip Begins Tonight In Rancho Cucamonga

San Jose Giants (63-57) at Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (58-62)

San_Jose_Giants157At LoanMart Field
• Tuesday, August 12, 7:05 PM
• Wednesday, August 13, 7:05 PM
• Thursday, August 14, 7:05 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Tuesday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (2-2, 9.68)
Rancho Cucamonga – Chris Anderson (7-6, 4.93)

Wednesday
San Jose – Nick Vander Tuig (2-0, 2.70)
Rancho Cucamonga – Julio Urias (1-2, 2.94)

Thursday
San Jose – Matt Lujan (4-2, 4.40)
Rancho Cucamonga – Jharel Cotton (5-9, 4.58)

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 Begin Seven-Game Road Trip Tonight In Rancho Cucamonga
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game road trip this evening with the first of three straight contests against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at LoanMart Field. Martin Agosta (2-2, 9.68) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. The Giants are 6-1 against the Quakes this year. San Jose won three out of four in Rancho Cucamonga to open the season (April 3-6) before sweeping a three-game set between the teams at Municipal Stadium earlier in the second half (July 16-18).

Last Series
The host Giants won three out of four games against South Division-leading Lancaster in their most recent series. San Jose took the first three games of the series earning back-to-back 2-1 victories last Thursday and Friday before a 4-0 shutout win on Saturday. The Giants though were unable to complete the sweep as the JetHawks posted a 6-2 win in the finale on Sunday. San Jose was attempting to sweep their first four-game series of the season. Friday’s victory marked the Giants’ first win this season when trailing after eight innings (scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth). Saturday was San Jose’s fourth shutout of the year. The loss on Sunday snapped the Giants’ five-game winning streak.

Winning Ways

The Giants enter tonight’s contest having won five out of their last six games. San Jose is also 5-1 in their last six road games. A victory tonight would move the Giants to a season-high tying seven games above .500 overall.

One-Run Success
With the back-to-back 2-1 wins over Lancaster last Thursday and Friday, the Giants improved to a league-best 19-10 in one-run games this season. San Jose is 8-1 in their last nine one-run games.

Playoff Race
San Jose’s 63-57 overall record is tied with the Visalia Rawhide (63-57) for the North Division wild card lead. Including tonight, there are 20 games remaining in the regular season. The Giants have reached the playoffs in a California League record 10 consecutive years (2004-2013). San Jose (29-21) is also five games behind the Stockton Ports (34-16) in the second half North Division race. The Giants have four games remaining against Stockton this season (August 15-18) and three games left versus the Rawhide (August 22-24).

Trouble With The Ports, Rawhide

The Giants have struggled of late against Stockton and Visalia. Since the beginning of July, San Jose is a combined 4-12 versus the Ports and Rawhide (4-8 vs. Stockton, 0-4 vs. Visalia) and a sizzling 20-3 against the rest of the league.

Carbonell Joins Giants
Outfielder Daniel Carbonell was added to the San Jose roster last Friday from the AZL-Giants (Rookie). In his first three games with the Giants, Carbonell is 5-for-12 (.417) with five singles. A 23-year old native of Cuba, Carbonell signed a major league contract with San Francisco in June and was placed on the 40-man roster. In 10 games with the AZL-Giants, he was hitting .314 with three doubles, one home run, four RBI’s and four stolen bases. Carbonell spent four seasons playing for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series. During the 2012-13 season, he hit .298 with five home runs, 28 RBI’s and nine stolen bases in 62 games.

Versus The South

San Jose is 22-12 (.647) against South Division teams this season. The Giants will play 10 out of their last 20 games versus South Division clubs.

Power Surge

Outfielder Chuckie Jones has hit three home runs in his last five games. His 13 home runs this season lead the team and are a personal career-high. Meanwhile, outfielder Tyler Horan has hit three home runs in his first nine games with the Giants since joining the team from Augusta (A) on August 1. San Jose is still last in the league in home runs (75).

Lollis Returns
Outfielder Ryan Lollis has returned to San Jose as he was added to the Giants roster on August 5 from Double-A Richmond. Through his first seven games with San Jose, Lollis is 6-for-26 (.231) with two RBI’s and two stolen bases. In 69 games for the Flying Squirrels this season, Lollis hit .218 with four doubles, three triples, one home run and 17 RBI’s. Lollis spent the first three months of the 2012 season in San Jose and batted .296 with five home runs and 39 RBI’s over 75 games. He also played in 14 games with the Giants early in 2011 (.255, 0 HR, 5 RBI). Lollis was a 37th round pick in the 2009 draft.

Opponent Notes: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, are 26-24 in the second half – one game behind Lancaster (27-23) for the top spot in the South Division. The Quakes have lost four in a row and eight out of their last nine games. Rancho Cucamonga is eighth in the league in batting average (.263), third in home runs (128) and fifth in ERA (4.60). 2013 first round draft pick Chris Anderson (7-6, 4.93) is expected to make the start in tonight’s series opener.

Giants Host Lancaster In Four-Game Series

Lancaster JetHawks (70-46) at San Jose Giants (60-56)

San_Jose_Giants157At Municipal Stadium
• Thursday, August 7, 7:00 PM
• Friday, August 8, 7:00 PM
• Saturday, August 9, 5:00 PM
• Sunday, August 10, 5:00 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Thursday
Lancaster – Matt Heidenreich (3-3, 4.25)
San Jose – Nick Vander Tuig (1-0, 3.60)

Friday
Lancaster – Zach Morton (1-1, 5.57)
San Jose – Matt Lujan (4-2, 4.97)

Saturday
Lancaster – Evan Grills (1-1, 3.27)
San Jose – Joe Biagini (7-8, 4.62)

Sunday
Lancaster – Brian Holmes (4-1, 5.10)
San Jose – Pat Young (9-4, 5.63)

Broadcast Information
The games on Friday and Saturday will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104 with Joe Ritzo handing the play-by-play and Joe Castellano providing color commentary. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. 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 Lancaster Tonight
The San Jose Giants return home this evening to begin a four-game series against the Lancaster JetHawks at Municipal Stadium. Nick Vander Tuig (1-0, 3.60) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. The Giants are 1-5 against Lancaster this season with this series marking the first and only meeting between the teams in San Jose.

Doubleheader Sweep
San Jose swept a doubleheader from the host Bakersfield Blaze yesterday afternoon earning wins of 5-4 and 8-6. With the two victories, the Giants won two out of three games in the series. In the opener yesterday, Ydwin Villegas hit a three-run home run to key a decisive fourth-inning rally for San Jose. Villegas returned to the Giants yesterday after a second stint this season with Triple-A Fresno. Martin Agosta picked-up the win after tossing five innings with four runs (all earned) and seven hits allowed. Bryce Bandilla struck out the side in a scoreless bottom of the seventh to earn the save. San Jose then used a five-run top of the fifth inning in the second game before holding off the Blaze late to complete the doubleheader sweep. Chuckie Jones (3-for-4, HR, RBI) homered as part of a three-hit game while Jesus Galindo (1-for-3, 2B, 3 RBI) delivered a go-ahead three-run double during the fifth inning rally. Jeff Soptic notched the win in relief with Tyler Mizenko recording the final out of the contest to collect the save.

Playoff Race
San Jose’s 60-56 overall record is one game behind the Visalia Rawhide (61-55) for the North Division wild card lead. Including tonight, there are 24 games remaining in the regular season. The Giants have reached the playoffs in a California League record 10 consecutive years (2004-2013). San Jose (26-20) is also five games behind the Stockton Ports (31-15) in the second half North Division race. The Giants have four games remaining against Stockton this season (August 15-18) and three games left versus the Rawhide (August 22-24).

Trouble With The Ports, Rawhide
The Giants have struggled of late against Stockton and Visalia. Since the beginning of July, San Jose is a combined 4-12 versus the Ports and Rawhide (4-8 vs. Stockton, 0-4 vs. Visalia) and a sizzling 17-2 against the rest of the league.

Horan’s Immediate Impact
Outfielder Tyler Horan has made an immediate impact since joining the Giants from Augusta (A) last Friday. In his first six games with San Jose, Horan is 6-for-17 (.353) with two home runs, three RBI’s and two stolen bases. Horan has also drawn seven walks and owns a .560 on-base percentage. He homered last Saturday against Stockton before going deep again on Tuesday in Bakersfield. An eighth round pick in the 2013 draft, Horan was leading Augusta in batting average (.273), doubles (22), triples (5), home runs (15), RBI’s (54) and slugging percentage (.481) in his 102 games.

Starting Slow
Over the last five games (2-3 record), Giants starting pitchers have combined to allow 24 runs (23 earned) in 17 innings (12.18 ERA).

One-Run Success
The Giants are 17-10 in one-run games this season – tied for the best record in the California League (Bakersfield). San Jose is 6-1 in their last seven one-run games.

Lollis Returns
Outfielder Ryan Lollis was added to the Giants roster on Tuesday from Double-A Richmond. In 69 games for the Flying Squirrels, Lollis hit .218 with four doubles, three triples, one home run and 17 RBI’s. Lollis spent the first three months of the 2012 season in San Jose and batted .296 with five home runs and 39 RBI’s over 75 games. He also played in 14 games with the Giants early in 2011 (.255, 0 HR, 5 RBI).

Delfino Delivers
Third baseman Mitch Delfino has multi-hits in 12 out of his last 17 games. During the 17-game stretch, Delfino is batting at a .394 clip (28-for-71) with a home run and 11 RBI’s. Delfino leads all current Giants players in hits (128), doubles (25) and RBI’s (64) while he’s third in home runs (10).

Versus The South
San Jose is 19-11 against South Division teams this season, including 12-4 at Municipal Stadium.

Opponent Notes: Lancaster JetHawks
The Lancaster JetHawks, an affiliate of the Houston Astros, have already clinched a playoff berth after winning the first half South Division title. Lancaster’s overall record stands at a league-best 70-46. The JetHawks are second in the league in batting average (.288), first in runs scored (721) and seventh in ERA (4.68).

Giants Travel To Bakersfield For Three-Game Series

San Jose Giants (58-55) at Bakersfield Blaze (64-49)
San_Jose_Giants157
At Sam Lynn Ballpark

• Monday, August 4, 7:30 PM
• Tuesday, August 5, 7:30 PM
• Wednesday, August 6, 7:30 PM

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups
Monday
San Jose – Pat Young (9-3, 5.18)
Bakersfield – Daniel Wright (6-4, 4.80)

Tuesday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (1-2, 10.17)
Bakersfield – Ismael Guillon (0-4, 6.59)

Wednesday
San Jose – Kendry Flores (4-6, 4.12)
Bakersfield – Drew Cisco (5-5, 5.84)

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 Travel To Bakersfield For Three-Game Set
The San Jose Giants begin a three-game series against the Bakersfield Blaze this evening at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Pat Young (9-3, 5.18) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. The Giants are 7-6 against Bakersfield this season, including a 2-1 mark at Sam Lynn Ballpark. The teams last met from July 8-10 at Municipal Stadium with San Jose sweeping a three-game series.

Last Series

The Giants dropped three out of four games to the visiting Stockton Ports in their most recent series. Stockton plated three runs in the top of the eighth inning to rally for a 5-3 victory over San Jose in the series opener last Thursday before the Giants bounced back with their own 5-3 win on Friday. The Ports scored seven runs in the top of the first inning en route to a 13-7 triumph on Saturday and then claimed the series with a 7-2 victory over San Jose last night. The Giants lost all four series’ to Stockton this season at Municipal Stadium (4-11 overall record).

Recent Struggles

San Jose has lost seven out of their last 11 games after an 18-6 stretch (June 27-July 22).

Playoff Race

San Jose’s 24-19 second half record is four games behind the Stockton Ports (28-15) for the top spot in the North Division standings. Including tonight, there are 27 games remaining in the regular season. The Giants have reached the playoffs in a California League record 10 consecutive years (2004-2013). San Jose’s 58-55 overall record is three games behind Visalia (61-52) for the North Division wild card lead. The Giants have four games remaining against Stockton this season and three games left versus the Rawhide.

Trouble With The Ports, Rawhide

The Giants have struggled of late against Stockton and Visalia. Since the beginning of July, San Jose is a combined 4-12 versus the Ports and Rawhide (4-8 vs. Stockton, 0-4 vs. Visalia) and a sizzling 15-1 against the rest of the league.

Horan’s Immediate Impact
Outfielder Tyler Horan has made an immediate impact since joining the Giants from Augusta (A) last Friday. In his first three games with San Jose, Horan is 4-for-9 (.444) with a home run, an RBI and two stolen bases. He reached base in all four of his plate appearances on Friday (2-for-2, two singles, two walks) before hitting a home run in Saturday’s game. An eighth round pick in the 2013 draft, Horan was leading Augusta in batting average (.273), doubles (22), triples (5), home runs (15), RBI’s (54) and slugging percentage (.481) in his 102 games.

On The Road

The Giants are 26-27 on the road this season. San Jose’s last two road series’ have ended in sweeps. The Giants dropped four straight games in Visalia from July 24-27 – the first time San Jose had been swept in a series since the opening week of the season (April 7-9 at Lancaster). The Giants then bounced back to sweep a three-game series against Modesto from July 28-30. It marked San Jose’s second road series sweep this year (both versus the Nuts). The Giants are hitting .272 as a team on the road this season compared to .259 at home.

Bednar Extends Hitting Streak To 13 Games

Infielder Brandon Bednar brings a 13-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. Bednar is batting .304 (17-for-56) with one double, two home runs and six RBI’s during the streak. The 13-game streak is the second-longest by a Giants player this season. Blake Miller had a 15-game hitting streak from April 16-May 3. Bednar has collected one hit in each of his last nine games.

One-Run Success

The Giants are 16-10 in one-run games this season. Their .615 winning percentage in one-run games is second-best in the California League (Bakersfield 17-9, .654). San Jose is 5-1 in their last six one-run games.

Delfino Delivers

Third baseman Mitch Delfino has multi-hits in 10 out of his last 14 games. During the 14-game stretch, Delfino is batting at a .390 clip (23-for-59) with a home run and nine RBI’s. Delfino leads all current Giants players in hits (123), doubles (22) and RBI’s (62) while he’s tied for second in home runs (10).

Power Outage
The Giants have hit a league-low 69 home runs this season. After hitting 43 homers during April and May, San Jose has connected for just 26 home runs since the beginning of June (56 games). Conversely, the Giants pitching staff has allowed a league-low 85 home runs this season.

Opponent Notes: Bakersfield Blaze
The Bakersfield Blaze, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, have already clinched a playoff berth after winning the first half North Division title. Bakersfield’s overall record stands at 64-49. The Blaze are second in the league in batting average (.287) and seventh in ERA (4.70). Bakersfield is 34-22 at home this season (30-27 on the road).

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