Giants Begin 11-Game Homestand Sunday Afternoon

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Sunday, May 29, 1:00 PM
* Monday, May 30, 2:00 PM

Records
Modesto: 20-29
San Jose: 28-19

Probable Starting Pitchers
Sunday
Modesto – Carlos Polanco (1-2, 4.46)
San Jose – Martin Agosta (2-0, 2.11)

Monday
Modesto – Ryan Castellani (1-4, 3.02)
San Jose – Sam Coonrod (4-1, 1.38)

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

Jose Vizcaino, Jr. and the Giants begin an 11-game homestand Sunday afternoon with Modesto in town

Jose Vizcaino, Jr. and the Giants begin an 11-game homestand Sunday afternoon with Modesto in town

Giants Continue Home-And-Home Series With Modesto
The San Jose Giants play the third game of a four-game home-and-home series with the Modesto Nuts this afternoon at Municipal Stadium. The teams split the first two games of the series in Modesto with the Giants earning a 2-1 victory on Friday before the Nuts bounced back with an 8-0 shutout yesterday.

Home Cooking
Today marks the beginning of a season-high 11-game homestand for the Giants. Following the two games versus the Nuts, San Jose hosts a make-up doubleheader against Lancaster on Tuesday before a three-game set versus Visalia and a four-game series against Bakersfield. Today begins a stretch for the Giants playing 18 out of 22 games at home leading into the All-Star break. San Jose’s 16 home games to date this season are the fewest in the California League (10-6 record).

Road Trip Review
The Giants concluded their season-high 14-game road trip last night. San Jose posted an 8-6 record on the trip. San Jose began the road swing with two losses in Modesto before sweeping a three-game series in Stockton and then taking three out of four against South Division leading Rancho Cucamonga. The Giants then picked-up one victory in three games against North Division leading Visalia before splitting two games back in Modesto. The 14-game trip is the longest road trip for any team in the California League this season. San Jose is 15-6 in their last 21 road games overall. Last night also concluded a stretch for the Giants playing 24 out of 29 games on the road dating back to April 29 (18-11 record).

Giant May
San Jose’s 18-9 mark in May is the best record in the California League this month. The Giants have posted the best record in the league this month so far despite playing only five out of 27 games at home.

Hinojosa, Shaw Among League Leaders
The Giants boast two out of the top six hitters in the California League in shortstop C.J Hinojosa (2nd, .348) and first baseman Chris Shaw (6th, .316). Hinojosa also leads the league in on-base percentage (.434), is fourth in hits (56) and tied for fifth in runs scored (35). Shaw ranks first in RBI’s (38), tied for first in doubles (17), first in slugging (.600) and tied for fourth in home runs (10).

Bullpen Standouts
Closer Rodolfo Martinez picked-up his league-leading 13th save of the year in Friday’s win at Modesto while lowering his season ERA to 0.89. Reyes Moronta also threw a scoreless inning on Friday and has not allowed a run in his last 11 appearances (11 innings) – the longest scoreless stretch by a Giants reliever this season. The San Jose bullpen has posted a sparkling 3.24 ERA in May after a 5.23 ERA in April. The Giants are 27-1 when leading after seven innings.

First Half Race
The Giants (28-19) enter today’s contest two games behind Visalia (31-18) for first place in the first half North Division race. San Jose has 23 games remaining in the first half. 19 of the Giants’ final 23 games of the half are at home. San Jose has three games remaining against Visalia this half (June 1-3 at Municipal Stadium). The Giants last won a first half title during the 2013 season.

With The Bats
The Giants have scored a total of just four runs over their last four games (1-3 record). San Jose is averaging 4.9 runs per game this season – sixth in the California League. The Giants are also fifth in team batting average (.262), fourth in home runs (35) and third in stolen bases (42).

Modesto - newOpponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, are fourth in the North Division with a 20-29 record. Modesto has lost eight out of their last 12 games. The Nuts rank eighth in the league in batting average (.241), eighth in runs scored (4.1 per game) and fourth in ERA (3.79). Modesto is a league-worst 6-16 on the road this season. The Nuts have posted a 6-4 record against San Jose this year (3-3 at Municipal Stadium).

Giant Road Trip Concludes With Two Games In Modesto

san jose giantsAt John Thurman Field (Modesto, CA)
* Friday, May 27, 7:05 PM
* Saturday, May 28, 7:05 PM

Records
San Jose: 27-18
Modesto: 19-28

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
San Jose – Mark Reyes (2-1, 4.74)
Modesto – Parker French (2-2, 2.43)

Saturday
San Jose – Jason Forjet (5-2, 3.96)
Modesto – Sam Howard (2-3, 3.08)

C.J Hinojosa and the Giants wrap-up their 14-game road trip in Modesto

C.J Hinojosa and the Giants wrap-up their 14-game road trip in Modesto

Broadcast Information
The two games in Modesto 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 Home-And-Home Series With Modesto Tonight
The San Jose Giants open a four-game home-and-home series with the Modesto Nuts this evening at John Thurman Field. Modesto hosts the first two games tonight and tomorrow before the series shifts to San Jose for games on Sunday and Monday. Mark Reyes is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants this evening. Reyes, a former 22nd round draft pick, has posted a 3.21 ERA over his last five starts.

Back-To-Back Losses
The Giants have lost their last two games after winning seven out of eight. San Jose needs a victory tonight to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season (three straight losses from April 29-May 1).

14-Game Road Trip
Tonight is the 13th game of San Jose’s season-high 14-game road trip. The Giants are 7-5 thus far on the road trip. San Jose began the trip with two losses in Modesto before sweeping a three-game series in Stockton. The Giants then won three out of four games against South Division leading Rancho Cucamonga before dropping two out of three to the North Division leaders Visalia. The trip concludes tomorrow night in Modesto. The 14-game trip is the longest road trip for any team in the California League this season. San Jose is 14-5 in their last 19 road games overall. The Giants begin a season-high 11-game homestand on Sunday.

Blowout Defeat
Last night’s 16-0 loss in Visalia tied a San Jose Giants team record for largest margin of defeat. It marked the third time in the 29-year history of the team that San Jose had lost a game by 16 runs (last: 18-2 loss at Stockton on August 24, 2006). The Giants had allowed a total of just 14 runs in their previous six games before Visalia’s 16-run outburst.

Hinojosa, Shaw Among League Leaders
The Giants boast two out of the top five hitters in the California League in shortstop C.J Hinojosa (2nd .351) and first baseman Chris Shaw (5th, .323). Hinojosa also leads the league in on-base percentage (.436), is tied for third in runs scored (35) and tied for fourth in hits (54). Shaw ranks first in RBI’s (38), tied for first in doubles (16), second in slugging (.599) and tied for third in home runs (10). Shaw has three home runs and nine RBI’s over his last seven games.

Winning In May
San Jose’s 17-8 mark in May is the best record in the California League this month. The Giants have posted the best record in the league this month so far despite playing only five out of 25 games at home.

Outfielder Daniel Carbonell joined the Giants this week

Outfielder Daniel Carbonell joined the Giants this week

Carbonell Returns
Outfielder Daniel Carbonell joined the Giants from Extended Spring Training on Tuesday. Carbonell played in 66 games with San Jose last season and hit .279 with six home runs, 27 RBI’s and nine stolen bases. He also played briefly with the Giants in 2014 (.344 AVG, 3 HR, 12 RBI’s in 21 games). Carbonell, who defected from Cuba in 2013, signed a four-year major league contract with San Francisco in June of 2014. Carbonell replaced outfielder Johneshwy Fargas on the active roster. Fargas was transferred to Class-A Augusta earlier this week.

First Half Race
The Giants (27-18) are two games behind Visalia (30-17) in the first half North Division race. Including tonight, 25 games remain in the first half for San Jose. The Giants have one series remaining this half against the Rawhide – a three-game set at Municipal Stadium beginning next Wednesday.

Duggar Heats Up
In 11 games played during the current road trip, outfielder Steven Duggar is batting at a .348 clip (16-for-46) with three home runs and eight RBI’s. Duggar has hit safely in his last six games while his .401 on-base percentage this season ranks fourth in the league. Duggar earned California League Offensive Player of the Week honors on Monday (.370 AVG with two home runs and five RBI’s last week).

Scoring Early
The Giants’ two highest scoring innings this season are the first (37 runs) and second (35 runs). San Jose has scored first in 31 out of their 45 games this year (69%). The Giants are 23-8 (.742) when scoring first this season compared to 4-10 (.286) when their opponent scores first.

Modesto - newOpponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, are tied for fourth in the North Division with a 19-28 record – 11 games out of first. Modesto has lost seven out of their last ten games. The Nuts rank eighth in the league in batting average (.242), eighth in runs scored (4.1 per game) and fifth in ERA (3.91). Modesto is 13-12 at home this season (6-16 on the road). The Nuts have posted a 5-3 record against San Jose this year. Outfielder Omar Carrizales ranks third in the California League with a .336 batting average. Modesto boasts three out of the top five base stealers in the league: Wes Rogers (3rd, 18 SB), Max White (4th, 15 SB) and Emerson Jimenez (5th, 14 SB).

Giants, Rawhide Meet In Visalia With First Place At Stake

san jose giantsAt Recreation Park (Visalia, CA)
* Tuesday, May 24, 6:00 PM
* Wednesday, May 25, 6:00 PM
* Thursday, May 26, 7:00 PM

Records
San Jose: 26-16
Visalia: 28-16

Probable Starting Pitchers
Tuesday
San Jose – Sam Coonrod (3-1, 1.35)
Visalia – Brad Keller (3-2, 3.55)

Wednesday
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (2-3, 4.08)
Visalia – Ethan Elias (2-3, 5.83)

Thursday
San Jose – Jordan Johnson (5-2, 2.85)
Visalia – Taylor Clarke (0-1, 3.50)

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.

Steven Duggar was named California League Offensive Player of the Week yesterday

Steven Duggar was named California League Offensive Player of the Week yesterday

Giants Begin Three-Game Series In Visalia Tonight
The San Jose Giants continue their road trip with the opener of a three-game series against the Visalia Rawhide this evening at Recreation Park. Sam Coonrod is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Coonrod has allowed a total of just five earned runs in his first six starts this season (1.35 ERA). The former fifth round draft pick has won his last three starts combining for 19 innings pitched with just one run surrendered.

Winning Ways
The Giants enter this evening’s contest having won six out of their last seven games. San Jose’s 16-6 mark in May is the best record in the California League this month.

14-Game Road Trip
Tonight is the tenth game of San Jose’s season-high 14-game road trip. The Giants are 6-3 thus far on the road trip. San Jose began the trip with two losses in Modesto before sweeping a three-game series in Stockton. The Giants then won three out of four games against South Division leading Rancho Cucamonga in a series that concluded last night. Following the current series versus the Rawhide, San Jose concludes their road trip with two games back in Modesto. The 14-game trip is the longest road trip for any team in the California League this season. San Jose is 13-3 in their last 16 road games overall. Immediately following the road trip, the Giants will play a season-high 11-game homestand beginning Sunday.

Shaw Slugs Homers
First baseman Chris Shaw hit three home runs during the four-game series versus Rancho Cucamonga. Shaw hit two home runs in Sunday’s win – his first multi-homer game of the season. He leads the Giants and is tied for third in the California League with 10 home runs this season. Last year, Shaw led the Short-Season Northwest League with 12 home runs while playing for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. The 2015 supplemental first round pick has hit 22 home runs in 86 career games as a professional.

High Water Mark
Yesterday’s victory moved the Giants (26-16) to a season-high ten games above .500. San Jose is currently one game behind Visalia (28-16) for the top spot in the first half North Division race. The Giants have six games remaining this half against the Rawhide. San Jose will host Visalia in a three-game series next week. The Giants last won a first half title in 2013.

Rodolfo Martinez leads the California League with 12 saves

Rodolfo Martinez leads the California League with 12 saves

Rec Park Woes
The Giants are just 2-18 in their last 20 regular season games at Recreation Park dating back to June of 2014. San Jose was swept in a three-game series in Visalia from April 29-May 1 in their only previous visit this season.

Bullpen Standouts
Closer Rodolfo Martinez picked-up his league-leading 12th save of the year in last night’s win while lowering his season ERA to 0.98. Reyes Moronta also threw a scoreless inning yesterday and has not allowed a run in his last 10 appearances (10 innings) – the longest scoreless stretch by a Giants reliever this season. The San Jose bullpen has posted a sparkling 2.48 ERA in May after a 5.23 ERA in April.

Steven Duggar Wins Weekly Award
Outfielder Steven Duggar was named California League Offensive Player of the Week yesterday. In seven games last week, Duggar hit .370 (10-for-27) with two doubles, two home runs and five RBI’s. It marks the second straight week a San Jose Giant won the Offensive Player of the Week award (Jonah Arenado). Duggar is batting at a .389 clip (14-for-36) during the current road trip (nine games). His .409 on-base percentage this season ranks third in the California League.

Scoring First
The Giants have scored first in eight out of their nine games during the current road trip. San Jose is 22-8 (.733) when scoring first this season compared to 4-8 (.333) when their opponent scores first.

VisaliaOpponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide
The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, have had at least a share of first place in the North Division every day so far this season. Visalia is second in the league in batting average (.267), sixth in runs scored (4.8 per game) and seventh in ERA (4.10). First baseman Rudy Flores is third in the league in home runs (10) and third in RBI’s (34). The Rawhide are 11-9 at home this season (17-7 on the road).

Surging Giants Continue Road Trip In Rancho Cucamonga

san jose giantsAt LoanMart Field (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)
* Friday, May 20, 7:05 PM
* Saturday, May 21, 7:05 PM
* Sunday, May 22, 2:05 PM
* Monday, May 23, 7:05 PM

Records
San Jose: 23-15
Rancho Cucamonga: 28-13

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
San Jose – Jordan Johnson (4-2, 3.09)
Rancho Cucamonga – Hyun-Jin Ryu (ML Rehab)

Saturday
San Jose – Mark Reyes (2-1, 4.78)
Rancho Cucamonga – Yaisel Sierra (2-1, 5.14)

Sunday
San Jose – Jason Forjet (4-2, 4.41)
Rancho Cucamonga – Tommy Bergjans (2-3, 5.13)

Monday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (2-0, 1.65)
Rancho Cucamonga – Andrew Sopko (5-0, 3.22)

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.

Jordan Johnson (4-2, 3.09) is slated to make the start on the mound in Friday's series opener against the Quakes

Jordan Johnson (4-2, 3.09) is slated to make the start on the mound in Friday’s series opener against the Quakes

Giants Begin Series In Rancho Cucamonga Tonight
The San Jose Giants continue their road trip this evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at LoanMart Field. Jordan Johnson is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Johnson is ninth in the California League among qualifying pitchers in ERA (3.09), fifth in opponents batting average (.198) and third in WHIP (0.91). He’s also tied for fourth in the league with four wins. Johnson, a former 23rd round draft pick, has allowed one or no runs in three out of his six starts this season.

14-Game Road Trip
Tonight is the sixth game of San Jose’s season-high 14-game road trip. The Giants are 3-2 thus far on the trip. San Jose suffered back-to-back losses in Modesto last Sunday and Monday to open the trip before sweeping three games from the Stockton Ports in a series that concluded yesterday afternoon. Following the current series against the Quakes, the Giants continue their road trip with three games in Visalia before returning to Modesto for two more games. The 14-game trip is the longest road trip for any team in the California League this season. The Giants are 10-2 in their last 12 road games overall.

Stockton Sweep
The Giants scored 29 runs on 45 hits over the last three days en route to sweeping the host Stockton Ports. San Jose is now 10-0 against Stockton this season, including a 7-0 mark at Banner Island Ballpark. The Giants have outscored the Ports by a 71-27 margin in the 10 games.

Winning Ways
The Giants enter tonight’s contest having won 13 out of their last 17 games. San Jose’s 13-5 mark in May is the best record in the California League this month. With yesterday’s win, the Giants moved a season-high eight games above .500 (23-15).

Hinojosa, Shaw Among League Leaders
After picking-up six hits during the three-game series in Stockton, shortstop C.J Hinojosa is currently second in the California League with a .351 batting average this season. Hinojosa’s .435 on-base percentage is also second in the league. First baseman Chris Shaw ranks ninth in the league in batting average (.312), sixth in home runs (7), tied for fourth in RBI’s (29), tied for first in doubles (13) and third in slugging (.553).

Second baseman Brandon Bednar brings a season-high nine-game hitting streak into tonight's action

Second baseman Brandon Bednar brings a season-high nine-game hitting streak into tonight’s action

Championship Series Rematch
Tonight marks the first game between San Jose and Rancho Cucamonga since last September’s California League Championship Series. The South Division champion Quakes swept the North Division champion Giants three-games-to-none last year to win the title. Rancho Cucamonga posted victories of 12-3 and 4-3 in the first two games at home before a 5-0 shutout of San Jose at Municipal Stadium in Game 3 to win the championship. It was the first time since 1999 that the Championship Series featured a match-up between Giants and Dodgers affiliates.

Bednar’s Hitting Streak At Nine Games
Second baseman Brandon Bednar brings a nine-game hitting streak into tonight’s contest. Bednar is batting at a .405 clip (15-for-37) with two home runs during the hit streak. Chris Shaw has the longest hit streak by a Giants player this season when he hit safely in 10 straight games from April 23-May 3.

First Half Race
The Giants (23-15) are one game behind Visalia (25-15) in the first half North Division race. San Jose last had a share of first place after the first game of the season (April 7). The Giants were a season-high six games out on May 1.

Scoring Early
San Jose’s two highest scoring innings this season are the second (34 runs) and first (30 runs). The Giants have scored first in 27 out of their 38 games (71 percent). San Jose is 20-7 (.741) when scoring first compared to 3-8 (.273) when their opponent scores first.

Duggar’s Power Surge
Outfielder Steven Duggar homered in back-to-back games against Stockton on Tuesday and Wednesday. His six homers this season are tied for second on the team (one behind Chris Shaw). Prior to homering on Tuesday, Duggar hadn’t gone deep since April 17. He hit four home runs in his first eight games this season. Duggar is batting .279 this season and ranks fifth in the league with a .405 on-base percentage.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Rancho Cucamonga - newOpponent Notes: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, have the best record in the league at 28-13. The Quakes lead the league in batting average (.281), runs scored (5.9 per game) and ERA (3.42). Rancho Cucamonga is 13-8 at home this season (15-5 road). Tonight is the first 11 meetings this season between the Giants and the Quakes. This series is San Jose’s only visit to LoanMart Field this year. Rancho Cucamonga outfielder Kyle Garlick leads the league with 35 RBI’s and is also second in home runs (10) and fourth in batting average (.327). Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to make the start on the mound in this evening’s series opener as part of a rehabilitation assignment.

Giants Road Trip Continues In Stockton

san jose giantsAt Banner Island Ballpark (Stockton, CA)
* Tuesday, May 17, 7:10 PM
* Wednesday, May 18, 7:10 PM
* Thursday, May 19, 11:10 AM

Records
San Jose: 20-15
Stockton: 17-20

Probable Starting Pitchers
Tuesday
San Jose – Martin Agosta (1-0, 0.00)
Stockton – Heath Fillmyer (3-1, 3.79)

Wednesday
San Jose – Sam Coonrod (2-1, 1.32)
Stockton – Casey Meisner (0-5, 4.41)

Thursday
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (1-3, 3.63)
Stockton – Zack Erwin (1-3, 4.09)

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.

Martin Agosta is slated to make the start for the Giants in tonight's series opener

Martin Agosta is slated to make the start for the Giants in tonight’s series opener

Giants Begin Three-Game Series At Stockton Tonight
The San Jose Giants continue their road trip this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Stockton Ports at Banner Island Ballpark. Martin Agosta is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Agosta has not allowed a run in 11 1/3 innings pitched this season with San Jose.

14-Game Road Trip
Tonight marks the third game of San Jose’s season-high 14-game road trip. The Giants suffered losses the last two days in Modesto (4-3 in 14 innings on Sunday and 3-1 last night) to open the trip. Following the current series against the Ports, San Jose continues their road trip with four games in Rancho Cucamonga, a three-game series in Visalia before returning to Modesto for two more games. The 14-game trip is the longest road trip for any team in the California League this season. The Giants are 7-2 in their last nine road games overall.

Back-To-Back Losses
The Giants enter this evening’s contest having lost their last two games. It’s the first time San Jose has dropped back-to-back games since losing three straight from April 29-May 1. Prior to the last two losses, the Giants had won 10 out of 12 games. San Jose needs a victory tonight to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season (three games).

Perfect Versus The Ports
San Jose is a perfect 7-0 against the Stockton Ports this season. The Giants swept a three-game series from April 26-28 at Municipal Stadium before a four-game sweep at Banner Island Ballpark from May 2-5 (San Jose’s first four-game series sweep in Stockton since April of 2007). San Jose has outscored the Ports by a 42-17 margin.

First Half Midpoint
The Giants (20-15) reached the midpoint of the first half after last night’s game. San Jose is currently two games behind the Visalia Rawhide (23-14) for the top spot in the first half North Division race. The Giants were last within one game of first place on April 12. San Jose’s record the last two seasons at the midpoint of the first half: 11-24 in 2015 and 15-20 in 2014.

Jonah Arenado was named California League Offensive Player of the Week yesterday

Jonah Arenado was named California League Offensive Player of the Week yesterday

Arenado Wins Weekly Award
Infielder Jonah Arenado was named California League Offensive Player of the Week yesterday. In six games last week, Arenado batted .346 (9-for-26) with four doubles, three home runs and six RBI’s. He’s now second on the team with six home runs overall. Arenado is the first San Jose Giant to win a weekly league award this season.

In May
After posting a 10-10 record in April, the Giants have gone 10-5 thus far in May – tied for the best record in the California League this month. San Jose boasts a league-leading 3.01 team ERA in May.

Hinojosa, Shaw Among League Leaders
Despite going hitless in his last three games, shortstop C.J Hinojosa is currently second in the California League with a .339 batting average this season. Hinojosa’s .428 on-base percentage is also second in the league. First baseman Chris Shaw ranks sixth in the league in batting average (.321), tied for sixth in home runs (7), fourth in RBI’s (29), first in doubles (13) and third in slugging (.575).

Garcia Activated
Catcher Aramis Garcia (hamstring) was activated off the disabled list today. Garcia, who last played on May 8, is batting .264 with one home run and nine RBI’s in 21 games this season. He entered the year ranked as the #7 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization according to Baseball America. To make room for Garcia on the roster, catcher Ben Turner was transferred to Double-A Richmond.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Stockton - newOpponent Notes: Stockton Ports
The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, are 17-20 this season and in third place in the North Division – six games out of first. Stockton is fourth in the league in batting average (.262), third in runs scored (5.2 per game) and sixth in ERA (4.15). The Ports are 6-11 at home this season (11-9 on the road). Stockton outfielder B.J. Boyd is tied for fourth in the California League with a .328 batting average. This series marks the final meeting of the first half between the Giants and the Ports.

Episode 63 – Inside The San Jose Giants

2016-Inside-the-Podcast-480 x 270The San Jose Giants are 20-15 at the midpoint of the first half and among the contenders in the North Division race. In this podcast episode, Joe and Justin take stock of the team a quarter of the way through the season highlighting standout hitters, an exciting starting rotation and areas in which the team could improve. The two also preview San Jose’s challenging 14-game road trip.

14-Game Road Trip Begins In Modesto Sunday Afternoon

san jose giantsAt John Thurman Field (Modesto, CA)
* Sunday, May 15, 1:05 PM
* Monday, May 16, 7:05 PM

Records
San Jose: 20-13
Modesto: 14-21

Probable Starting Pitchers
Sunday
San Jose – Mark Reyes (2-1, 4.73)
Modesto – Ryan Castellani (1-2, 3.53)

Monday
San Jose – Jason Forjet (4-1, 4.91)
Modesto – Yency Almonte (2-3, 4.88)

Broadcast Information
Both games in Modesto 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.

Jonah Arenado and the Giants begin a 14-game road trip in Modesto on Sunday afternoon

Jonah Arenado and the Giants begin a 14-game road trip in Modesto on Sunday afternoon

Giants Continue Home-And-Home Series In Modesto
The San Jose Giants play the third game of a four-game home-and-home series against the Modesto Nuts this afternoon at John Thurman Field. The teams split the first two games of the series at Municipal Stadium with Modesto winning by a 5-2 score on Friday before the Giants bounced back to claim an 11-7 decision last night.

Winning Ways
The Giants enter this afternoon’s contest having won 10 out of their last 12 games. San Jose has also won a season-high seven consecutive road games having swept their last two series’ away from home (four games at Stockton from May 2-5 and three games at Bakersfield from May 10-12).

14-Game Road Trip Begins Today
Today marks the beginning of San Jose’s season-high 14-game road trip. Following the two games in Modesto the next two days, the Giants travel to Stockton for three games and then Rancho Cucamonga for four games. The road trip continues with a three-game series in Visalia before San Jose returns to Modesto for two more games. The Giants are 10-7 on the road this season. Immediately following the road trip, San Jose has a season-high 11-game homestand from May 29-June 7.

Starting Strong
Giants starting pitchers own a sparkling 2.70 ERA (22 ER/73.1 IP) over the last 12 games. San Jose starters have pitched at least six innings in nine out of the 12 games. Two Giants starters rank among the top seven in the league in ERA: Sam Coonrod (3rd, 1.32) and Jordan Johnson (7th, 3.09).

Arenado Against The Nuts
After doubling twice and homering last night, infielder Jonah Arenado is now batting .571 (12-for-21) with four home runs and eight RBI’s in five games against Modesto this season. Arenado has hit three home runs in his last four games overall. His six homers this season rank second on the team (one behind Chris Shaw).

In May
After posting a 10-10 record in April, the Giants have gone 10-3 thus far in May – the best record in the California League this month. San Jose boasts a 3.10 team ERA in May – second-lowest in the league (Lake Elsinore 2.45).

Hinojosa, Shaw Among League Leaders
Despite going hitless the last two nights, shortstop C.J Hinojosa is currently tied for second in the California League with a .348 batting average this season. Hinojosa’s .437 on-base percentage this season is also second in the league. First baseman Chris Shaw ranks tied for eighth in the league in batting average (.325), tied for sixth in home runs (7), tied for third in RBI’s (28), tied for first in doubles (12) and fourth in slugging (.593).

Limiting Walks
The Giants pitching staff has issued the fewest number of walks in the California League this season (96 – 2.9 per game). Conversely, San Jose’s staff is last in the league in strikeouts (240 – 7.3 per game).

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Modesto - newOpponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, are 14-21 this season and have lost 13 out of their last 19 games. The Nuts are seventh in the league in batting average (.247), sixth in runs scored (4.7 per game) and seventh in ERA (4.38). Modesto is 8-9 at home this year and 3-3 against the Giants.

Giants Return Home For Two Games Against Modesto

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Friday, May 13, 7:00 PM
* Saturday, May 14, 5:00 PM

Records
Modesto: 13-20
San Jose: 19-12

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
Modesto – Sam Howard (1-1, 3.64)
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (1-2, 3.58)

Saturday
Modesto – Carlos Polanco (1-1, 4.18)
San Jose – Jordan Johnson (3-2, 2.10)

NBCUT_Logo_chnBroadcast Information
Both games will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network (Channel 104 SD/819 HD). Joe Ritzo handles the play-by-play while color commentary duties will be provided by Joe Castellano. The series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Justin Allegri calling the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants To Play Home-And-Home Series With Modesto
The San Jose Giants begin a four-game home-and-home series with the Modesto Nuts this evening at Municipal Stadium. San Jose hosts the first two games tonight and tomorrow before the series shifts to Modesto for games on Sunday and Monday. D.J. Snelten is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Snelten achieved season-high totals in innings pitched (6 2/3) and strikeouts (9) in his most recent start last weekend against Lake Elsinore. The left-hander possesses a 26-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 27 2/3 innings this year.

Ronnie Jebavy and the red-hot Giants have won nine out of their last ten games

Ronnie Jebavy and the red-hot Giants have won nine out of their last ten games

Winning Ways
The Giants enter this evening’s contest having won three games in a row and nine out of their last ten. San Jose is also 13-4 in their last 17 games.

Bakersfield Sweep
The Giants are returning home tonight after sweeping a three-game series in Bakersfield. San Jose earned victories over the Blaze of 4-3 on Tuesday, 7-4 on Wednesday and 6-0 last night. Yesterday’s triumph was the Giants’ first shutout of the season. San Jose has now won a season-high seven consecutive road games.

Starting Strong
Giants starting pitchers own a sparkling 2.05 ERA (14 ER/61.1 IP) over the last 10 games. San Jose starters have pitched at least six innings in eight out of the ten games. Two Giants starters rank among the top five in the league in ERA: Sam Coonrod (3rd, 1.32) and Jordan Johnson (5th, 2.10).

14-Game Road Trip Looms
Following this brief two-game homestand versus the Nuts, San Jose embarks on a season-high 14-game road trip beginning on Sunday. The road trip includes two games in Modesto, three games at Stockton, four games in Rancho Cucamonga, three games at Visalia and then two games back in Modesto. San Jose has only eight home games in May. After tomorrow, the Giants don’t have another home game until May 29.

Hinojosa Hits
Shortstop C.J Hinojosa had two more hits in yesterday’s game to raise his season batting average to .374 – tops in the California League. Over his last 16 games, Hinojosa is batting at a .424 clip (25-for-59). He also leads the league with a .468 on-base percentage this season.

In May
The Giants’ 9-2 record in May is the top mark in the California League this month. San Jose boasts a 2.57 team ERA in May – second-lowest in the league (Lake Elsinore 2.39).

Chris Shaw has 17 RBI's in his last 13 games

Chris Shaw has 17 RBI’s in his last 13 games

Shaw Surging
Over his last 13 games, first baseman Chris Shaw has collected 17 RBI’s and slugged four home runs. Shaw has hit safely in 24 out of his last 28 games. The former first round draft pick is ninth in the league in batting average (.328), tied for sixth in home runs (6), tied for third in RBI’s (26), tied for first in doubles (11) and fifth in slugging (.578).

Roster Moves
The Giants made several roster moves earlier this week. Pitcher Andrew Suarez was promoted to Double-A Richmond. Suarez, San Jose’s opening day starter this year, was 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA in five starts for the Giants. He ranks sixth in the league in ERA. Catcher Aramis Garcia (.264 AVG, 1 HR, 9 RBI) was also placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Pitcher Martin Agosta returns to the club from Triple-A Sacramento while catcher Ben Turner, a San Jose Giant in 2014 and 2015, also joined the team from the River Cats.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Modesto - newOpponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, are 13-20 this season and have lost 12 out of their last 17 games. The Nuts are seventh in the league in batting average (.242), fifth in runs scored (4.6 per game) and seventh in ERA (4.27). San Jose and Modesto split a four-game series at Municipal Stadium from April 21-24 in their only previous meeting. The Nuts are 5-11 on the road this season.

Giants, Blaze To Play Three-Game Series In Bakersfield

san jose giantsAt Sam Lynn Ballpark (Bakersfield, CA)
* Tuesday, May 10, 7:15 PM
* Wednesday, May 11, 11:00 AM
* Thursday, May 12, 7:15 PM

Records
San Jose: 16-12
Bakersfield: 12-18

Probable Starting Pitchers
Tuesday
San Jose – Jason Forjet (3-1, 6.41)
Bakersfield – Anthony Misiewicz (1-2, 3.75)

Wednesday
San Jose – Andrew Suarez (2-1, 2.43)
Bakersfield – Tyler Herb (3-0, 2.61)

Thursday
San Jose – Sam Coonrod (1-1, 1.77)
Bakersfield – Tyler Pike (1-3, 3.55)

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

Jason Forjet is slated to make the start on the mound in Tuesday's series opener against the Blaze

Jason Forjet is slated to make the start on the mound in Tuesday’s series opener against the Blaze

Giants Begin Three-Game Series In Bakersfield Tonight
The San Jose Giants open a three-game series against the Bakersfield Blaze this evening at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Tonight marks the first of 26 meetings this year between San Jose and Bakersfield. Jason Forjet is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants in tonight’s series opener. Forjet is tied for fourth in the California League with three wins this season.

Winning Ways
The Giants enter this evening’s contest having won six out of their last seven games. San Jose is also 10-4 in their last 14 games.

On The Road
Tonight begins a stretch for the Giants playing 17 out of 19 games on the road. Following the current series in Bakersfield, San Jose returns home for two games against the Modesto Nuts. The Giants then embark on a season-high 14-game road trip from May 15-28. The road trip includes two games in Modesto, three games at Stockton, four games in Rancho Cucamonga, three games at Visalia and then two games back in Modesto. San Jose is 7-7 on the road this year. The Giants have only eight home games in May.

Offensive Woes
Over the last four games, San Jose has collected a total of just 17 hits and is batting .149 as a team. The Giants have scored only 10 runs during the four-game stretch (3-1 record). Sunday’s 7-0 loss to Lake Elsinore marked the first time this season that San Jose had been shutout at home.

On Base Streak
Shortstop C.J Hinojosa has reached base safely in all 26 of his games played this season. Hinojosa is currently leading the California League with a .383 batting average. Over his last 13 games, Hinojosa is batting at a .457 clip (21-for-46) with two home runs and eight RBI’s. He’s also tops in the league with a .482 on-base percentage.

Starting Strong
Giants starting pitchers own a 2.84 ERA (14 ER/44.1 IP) over the last seven games. San Jose starters have pitched at least six innings in six out of the seven contests. Two Giants starting pitchers – Jordan Johnson (4th, 2.10) and Andrew Suarez (5th, 2.43) – rank among the top five in the California League in ERA.

Jose Vizcaino, Jr. is batting .429 with runners in scoring position this season

Jose Vizcaino, Jr. is batting .429 with runners in scoring position this season

With RISP
The Giants are batting .298 as a team with runners in scoring position this season – third-best in the California League. San Jose’s top hitters w/RISP this year include: Jose Vizcaino, Jr. (.429 AVG, 15-for-35), C.J Hinojosa (.400 AVG, 8-for-20) and Aramis Garcia (.381 AVG, 8-for-21).

Shaw Surging
Over his last 10 games, first baseman Chris Shaw is batting .361 (13-for-36) with four home runs and 16 RBI’s. Shaw has hit safely in 22 out of his last 25 games. The former supplemental first round draft pick is currently eighth in the California League in batting average (.337), tied for sixth in home runs (6), tied for third in RBI’s (25), tied for first in doubles (11) and fifth in slugging (.615).

Scoring First
The Giants have scored first in nine out of their last ten games. San Jose is 15-5 (.750) this season when scoring first compared to 1-7 (.125) when their opponent scores first. The first inning is the Giants’ highest scoring inning this year. San Jose did not trail at any point during their season-high six-game winning streak (May 2-7).

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Bakersfield - newOpponent Notes: Bakersfield Blaze
The Bakersfield Blaze, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, are 12-18 this season and are currently in a tie for fourth place in the North Division. Bakersfield has lost three in a row and six out of their last seven games. The Blaze rank tied for seventh in the league in batting average (.240), eighth in runs scored (4.4 per game) and third in ERA (3.57). Bakersfield is 5-8 at home this season.

Giants Return Home For Three Games Against Lake Elsinore

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Friday, May 6, 7:00 PM
* Saturday, May 7, 5:00 PM
* Sunday, May 8, 1:00 PM

Records
Lake Elsinore: 12-16
San Jose: 14-11

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
Lake Elsinore – Chris Huffman (3-1, 2.86)
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (1-2, 3.43)

Saturday
Lake Elsinore – Martires Arias (0-3, 6.16)
San Jose – Jordan Johnson (2-2, 2.63)

Sunday
Lake Elsinore – Michael Kelly (0-3, 7.66)
San Jose – Mark Reyes (2-0, 4.87)

Broadcast Information
The games on Friday and Saturday will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network (Channel 104 SD/819 HD). Joe Ritzo handles the play-by-play while color commentary duties will be provided by Joe Castellano. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Justin Allegri calling the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

D.J. Snelten is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants in tonight's series opener

D.J. Snelten is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants in tonight’s series opener

Giants Begin Three-Game Series Against Lake Elsinore Tonight
The San Jose Giants return home this evening for the opener of a three-game series against the Lake Elsinore Storm at Municipal Stadium. D.J. Snelten is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Snelten has allowed two earned runs or fewer in three out of his four starts this season. The left-hander was a ninth round pick of the San Francisco Giants in the 2013 draft out of the University of Minnesota.

Road Trip Review
The Giants finished with a 4-3 record on their road trip that concluded last night. San Jose was swept in a three-game set by Visalia last weekend to open the trip. It was the first time the Giants had been swept in a series this season. San Jose then swept a four-game series in Stockton to finish with a winning record on the trip. It marked the Giants’ first road series sweep of the season.

Sweep In Stockton
With last night’s victory, the Giants achieved their first four-game sweep in Stockton since the opening weekend of the 2007 season (April 5-8). San Jose improved to 7-0 against the Ports this year (7-11 against the rest of the league).

Four Straight Wins
The Giants enter this evening’s contest riding a season-high tying four-game winning streak. San Jose also won four straight from April 24-28. The Giants have won eight out of their last 11 games overall. Yesterday’s win moved San Jose (14-11) to a season-high three games above .500 for the season.

Rare May Home Series
The Giants are currently in the midst of stretch (April 29-May 28) playing 24 out of 29 games on the road. Tonight is the first of only eight home games for San Jose during the entire month of May. The Giants have won a season-high four straight home games. Offensively, San Jose has fared considerably better at home this season. The Giants are batting .295 and averaging 6.0 runs per game at Municipal Stadium compared to a .241 team average and 4.2 runs per contest on the road.

Chris Shaw hit .423 with four home runs and 14 RBI's during the just-completed seven-game road trip

Chris Shaw hit .423 with four home runs and 14 RBI’s during the just-completed seven-game road trip

Shaw Surging
During the just-completed road trip (seven games), first baseman Chris Shaw went 11-for-26 (.423 AVG) with three doubles, four home runs and 14 RBI’s. Shaw has hit safely in 20 out of his last 22 games. The former first round draft pick is currently fifth in the California League in batting average (.351), tied for fifth in home runs (6), third in RBI’s (23), second in slugging (.649) and fifth in on-base percentage (.415).

With RISP
The Giants are batting a league-best .303 with runners in scoring position this season. Individually, San Jose’s top hitters with runners in scoring position are: Jose Vizcaino, Jr. (.455 AVG, 15-for-33), Aramis Garcia (.444 AVG, 8-for-18) and C.J Hinojosa (.389 AVG, 7-for-18).

League Leader
Shortstop C.J Hinojosa is leading the California League with a .382 batting average. Over his last 11 games, Hinojosa is batting at a .463 clip (19-for-41) with two home runs and six RBI’s. Hinojosa is also leading the league with a .481 on-base percentage. He’s reached base safely in all 24 of his games played this season.

Scoring First
The Giants have scored first in their last seven games and never trailed at any point during their four-game sweep of Stockton earlier this week. San Jose is 13-5 (.722) this season when scoring first compared to 1-6 (.143) when their opponent scores first.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Lake ElsinoreOpponent Notes: Lake Elsinore Storm
The Lake Elsinore Storm, an affiliate of the San Diego Padres, are 12-16 this season and have lost 10 out of their last 14 games. The Storm are last in the league in batting average (.219) and runs scored (3.2 per game) while they’re third in ERA (3.61). Lake Elsinore won two out of three games against the Giants in a series at The Diamond from April 18-20. This series marks the Storm’s only visit to San Jose this season.

Giants Road Trip Continues With Four-Game Series In Stockton

san jose giantsAt Banner Island Ballpark (Stockton, CA)
* Monday, May 2, 7:10 PM
* Tuesday, May 3, 11:10 AM
* Wednesday, May 4, 7:10 PM
* Thursday, May 5, 7:10 PM

Records
San Jose: 10-11
Stockton: 11-12

Probable Starting Pitchers
Monday
San Jose – Mark Reyes (1-0, 6.75)
Stockton – Casey Meisner (0-2, 3.48)

Tuesday
San Jose – Jason Forjet (2-1, 5.02)
Stockton – Zack Erwin (0-1, 1.27)

Wednesday
San Jose – Andrew Suarez (1-1, 2.78)
Stockton – Daniel Gossett (1-0, 3.32)

Thursday
San Jose – Sam Coonrod (0-1, 2.51)
Stockton – Brett Graves (2-3, 6.00)

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 Continue Road Trip In Stockton
The San Jose Giants continue their road trip Monday evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Stockton Ports at Banner Island Ballpark. Mark Reyes is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants in the series opener. Reyes faced the Ports in his most recent start on April 26 at Municipal Stadium and picked-up the win after tossing a career-high tying seven innings with two runs allowed.

Swept In Visalia
The Giants were swept in a three-game series by the Visalia Rawhide to open their road trip. San Jose suffered losses of 7-5 on Friday, 3-1 on Saturday and 5-4 on Sunday afternoon. The Giants were unable to hold leads in all three games. San Jose is 2-18 in their last 20 regular season games at Recreation Park dating back to June of 2014.

Road Warriors
Last Friday began a stretch for the Giants playing 24 out of 29 games on the road. San Jose has lost their last four road games overall and are 3-7 away from Municipal Stadium this season. Later this month, the Giants will embark on a 14-game road trip (May 15-28). San Jose has only eight home games in May.

Three Straight Losses
The Giants enter Monday’s contest on a season-high three-game losing streak. The three-game slide immediately followed a season-high four-game winning streak.

First baseman Chris Shaw is batting .484 during his current eight-game hit streak

First baseman Chris Shaw is batting .484 during his current eight-game hit streak

Shaw’s Hitting Streak At Eight Games
First baseman Chris Shaw brings an eight-game hitting streak into Monday’s series opener. During the streak, Shaw is batting at a .484 clip (15-for-31) with five doubles, three home runs and eight RBI’s. Shaw is currently fifth in the California League with a .359 batting average. Earlier this season, Shaw hit safely in nine straight games (April 12-21) – the longest hit streak by a Giants player this year. Shaw’s nine doubles this season are tied for the league lead.

Home Vs. Road
The Giants are batting just .232 as a team and averaging 3.5 runs per game on the road this season. By contrast, San Jose is hitting at a .295 clip at home while averaging 6.0 runs per contest. On the mound, the Giants have fared considerably better at home (3.65 ERA) compared to on the road (5.10 ERA).

League Leader
Shortstop C.J Hinojosa is currently leading the California League with a .373 batting average. Hinojosa is also tops in the league with a .460 on-base percentage. Over his last seven games, Hinojosa is 13-for-27 (.481). He’s also homered twice in his last four games. Hinojosa has hit safely in 18 out of his 20 games played this season.

April Review
The Giants finished April with a 10-10 record. San Jose hasn’t finished with an above .500 record in April since the 2013 season. Last year, the Giants were a league-worst 7-14 in April after posting an 11-16 record during the opening month in 2014.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Top Prospects
Seven players on San Jose’s roster are among the top 30 prospects in the San Francisco organization according to Baseball America: infielder Chris Shaw (#5), pitcher Sam Coonrod (#6), catcher Aramis Garcia (#7), pitcher Andrew Suarez (#12), pitcher Jordan Johnson (#15), outfielder Ronnie Jebavy (#21) and outfielder Steven Duggar (#25).

Stockton - newOpponent Notes: Stockton Ports
The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, enter Monday’s contest riding a three-game winning streak. Stockton is third in the league in batting average (.268), third in runs scored (5.2) and sixth in ERA (4.25). The Ports are 5-6 at home this season. In their only previous meeting this year, San Jose swept a three-game series from Stockton at Municipal Stadium (April 26-28). Stockton’s James Harris is fourth in the league in batting average (.362) while Tyler Marincov is third in home runs (7) and first in RBI’s (24).

Giants Travel To Visalia For Three-Game Weekend Series

san jose giantsAt Recreation Park (Visalia, CA)
* Friday, April 29, 7:00 PM
* Saturday, April 30, 7:00 PM
* Sunday, May 1, 1:00 PM

Records
San Jose: 10-8
Visalia: 14-6

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
San Jose – Sam Coonrod (0-1, 0.00)
Visalia – Wei-Chieh Huang (0-0, 7.36)

Saturday
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (1-1, 3.60)
Visalia – Lucas Irvine (0-0, 6.00)

Sunday
San Jose – Jordan Johnson (2-1, 2.00)
Visalia – TBA

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

Giants Begin Three-Game Series At Visalia Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game road trip this evening with the first of three straight contests against the Visalia Rawhide at Recreation Park. Sam Coonrod is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Coonrod has not allowed an earned run in his first two starts this season (nine innings). The right-hander entered the year ranked as the #6 prospect in the organization according to MLB.com. Coonrod started Game 5 of the North Division Series in Visalia last September and worked 5 2/3 innings with three runs allowed and seven strikeouts.

Jose Vizcaino, Jr. is tied for third in the California League with 17 RBI's

Jose Vizcaino, Jr. is tied for third in the California League with 17 RBI’s

Four Straight Wins
The Giants enter tonight’s contest riding a season-high four-game winning streak. San Jose defeated Modesto last Sunday in the final game of their series versus the Nuts before sweeping a three-game set against the visiting Stockton Ports. Prior to the current win streak, the Giants (10-8) had yet to claim consecutive victories this season.

Extra, Extra
Yesterday’s 3-2, 11-inning victory over Stockton marked the Giants’ first extra-inning game of the season. San Jose played a league-high 22 extra-inning games during the 2015 regular season (11-11 record). It was the second-most extra-inning contests of any team in Minor League Baseball last year. The Giants also played three extra-inning games in the playoffs last season – all wins and all in elimination games.

Offensive Surge
During the just-completed homestand (5-2 record), the Giants hit .300 as a team and averaged 6.4 runs per game. San Jose achieved season-highs in runs (12 – last Sunday vs. Modesto), hits (18 – Sunday vs. Modesto) and home runs (4 – last Saturday vs. Modesto) during the homestand.

RBI Machine
Third baseman Jose Vizcaino, Jr. has collected 11 RBI’s in his last five games. During the five-game stretch, Vizcaino, Jr. is batting at a .429 clip (9-for-21) with a double and a home run. Vizcaino’s 17 RBI’s this season rank tied for third in the California League.

Starting Strong
Giants starting pitchers have posted a 2.09 ERA (10 ER/43.0 IP) over the last seven games. San Jose starters have pitched at least six innings in five out of the last seven games.

Back At Rec Park
This series marks San Jose’s first visit to Recreation Park in Visalia since last September’s thrilling North Division Series triumph over the Rawhide. The Giants edged Visalia by a 6-5 score on Angel Villalona’s 11th inning solo home run in the decisive fifth game of the playoff series at Rec Park. San Jose went just 4-15 against the Rawhide during the regular season last year (2-8 in Visalia) before their playoff series win.

Shortstop C.J Hinojosa has hit safely in 15 out of his 17 games played this season

Shortstop C.J Hinojosa has hit safely in 15 out of his 17 games played this season

On The Road
Tonight begins a stretch for the Giants playing 24 out of 29 games on the road. Following the series versus the Rawhide, San Jose will continue their road trip with a four-game set in Stockton. The Giants have a season-long 14-game road trip from May 15-28.

C.J Hinojosa
After picking-up three more hits yesterday, shortstop C.J Hinojosa raised his season batting average to .354 – fourth in the California League. Hinojosa, who also connected for his first home run of the year yesterday, has hit safely in 15 out of his 17 games played. Hinojosa is 8-for-17 (.471) over his last four games.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Top Prospects
Seven players on San Jose’s roster are among the top 30 prospects in the San Francisco organization according to Baseball America: infielder Chris Shaw (#5), pitcher Sam Coonrod (#6), catcher Aramis Garcia (#7), pitcher Andrew Suarez (#12), pitcher Jordan Johnson (#15), outfielder Ronnie Jebavy (#21) and outfielder Steven Duggar (#25).

VisaliaOpponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide
The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, are in first place in the North Division with a 14-6 record. Visalia enters tonight’s series opener on a four-game winning streak. The Rawhide lead the California League in batting average (.283) and are fifth in ERA (4.28). Visalia won two out of three games in San Jose from April 11-13 during the only previous meeting between the teams this season. Individually, shortstop Domingo Leyba (6th, .342), first baseman Rudy Flores (7th, .338) and second baseman Henry Castillo (8th, .333) all rank among the top eight in the league in batting average.

Episode 62 – Inside The San Jose Giants

2016-Inside-the-Podcast-480 x 270In this podcast, Joe and Justin discuss the San Jose Giants three weeks into the season highlighting the club’s top performers. San Francisco Giants farm director Shane Turner also drops by and covers a variety of topics, including the latest with Christian Arroyo’s development, his expectations for this year’s San Jose team, Chris Shaw’s early success at the plate and the homegrown talent in San Francisco.

Giants Continue Homestand Against Stockton

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Tuesday, April 26, 6:30 PM
* Wednesday, April 27, 6:30 PM
* Thursday, April 28, 11:30 AM

Records
Stockton: 8-9
San Jose: 7-8

Probable Starting Pitchers
Tuesday
Stockton – Heath Fillmyer (2-0, 2.12)
San Jose – Mark Reyes (0-0, 11.37)

Wednesday
Stockton – Casey Meisner (0-1, 4.80)
San Jose – Jason Forjet (1-1, 6.75)

Thursday
Stockton – Zack Erwin (0-1, 1.23)
San Jose – Andrew Suarez (1-1, 3.38)

NBCUT_Logo_chnBroadcast Information
All three games will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network (Channel 104 SD/819 HD). Joe Ritzo handles the play-by-play while color commentary duties will be provided by Rocky Koplik. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Justin Allegri calling the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Three-Game Series Against Stockton Tonight
The San Jose Giants continue their homestand this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Stockton Ports at Municipal Stadium. Mark Reyes is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Reyes was a 22nd round pick of the San Francisco Giants in the 2014 draft out of Crowder College. Last season, he went 9-6 with a 2.13 ERA for the Class-A Augusta GreenJackets to earn South Atlantic League All-Star honors. Reyes has allowed eight runs and 11 hits over 6 1/3 innings in two starts this year.

Split With The Nuts
The Giants split four games with the Modesto Nuts to open the homestand in a series that concluded last Sunday. San Jose claimed victories in the series opener on Thursday (5-2) and finale on Sunday (12-4) while Modesto posted back-to-back wins on Friday (4-1) and Saturday (12-9). The Giants are still looking for their first series win of the year.

In Search Of Back-To-Back Wins
A victory tonight would give the Giants (7-8 record) their first back-to-back wins of the season. All six of San Jose’s previous wins have been followed by a loss. The Giants’ longest losing streak of the year has been a two-game slide (twice).

Power Surge
After hitting just five home runs in their first 13 games of the year, the Giants have gone deep six times in the last two games. San Jose’s 11 home runs overall this season rank tied for fourth in the California League.

Starting Strong
Giants starting pitchers posted a 1.96 ERA (5 ER/23.0 IP) during the four-game series against Modesto.

Jose Vizcaino, Jr. has seven RBI's in his last two games

Jose Vizcaino, Jr. has seven RBI’s in his last two games

Offensive Outburst
Over the last two games, the Giants have scored a total of 21 runs and collected 30 hits. San Jose’s 12 runs and 18 hits in Sunday’s victory over Modesto were both season-high totals. Top individual performers over the last two games include: Jonah Arenado (6-for-9, 2 HR, 5 RBI), Chris Shaw (5-for-8, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI), Jose Vizcaino, Jr. (4-for-9, 2B, HR, 7 RBI) and C.J Hinojosa (5-for-10, 2B, RBI). The Giants have raised their team batting average from .244 to .265 over the last two games.

Giant Bullpen Struggles
Over the last five games, Giants relievers have allowed 26 runs (21 ER) spanning 18 innings (10.50 ERA). The San Jose bullpen owns an ERA of 5.98 this season. Friday’s loss to the Nuts was the first time since 2014 that the Giants lost a game when leading after eight innings (Modesto scored four runs in the top of the ninth to win 4-1). San Jose was a perfect 60-0 last season when taking a lead into the ninth inning.

Make-Up Doubleheader
The Giants have announced an addition to their home schedule with a make-up doubleheader against the Lancaster JetHawks on Tuesday, May 31. The twin bill at Municipal Stadium begins at 5:30 PM with the resumption of the April 8 suspended game (Lancaster ahead 4-1 in the top of the fifth). The clubs will then play a 7-inning contest as a make-up for the April 9 rainout. The make-up of the April 10 rainout will be played as part of a doubleheader in Lancaster on Thursday, July 14. The Giants will be the designated home team in the second game and the contest will count towards the first half standings.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Top Prospects
Seven players on San Jose’s roster are among the top 30 prospects in the San Francisco organization according to Baseball America: infielder Chris Shaw (#5), pitcher Sam Coonrod (#6), catcher Aramis Garcia (#7), pitcher Andrew Suarez (#12), pitcher Jordan Johnson (#15), outfielder Ronnie Jebavy (#21) and outfielder Steven Duggar (#25).

Stockton - newOpponent Notes: Stockton Ports
The Stockton Ports, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, are off to an 8-9 start this season. Stockton is fourth in the league in batting average (.267), second in runs scored (5.8 per game) and fifth in ERA (4.32). Tonight marks the first of 22 meetings this season between San Jose and Stockton. Ports outfielders James Harris (.375) and Tyler Marincov (4) rank third in the league in batting average and home runs respectively. Stockton lost three out of four games to visiting Inland Empire in their most recent series. The Ports will host the Giants in a four-game series next week at Banner Island Ballpark.

Giants Host Modesto To Begin Homestand

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Thursday, April 21, 7:00 PM
* Friday, April 22, 7:00 PM
* Saturday, April 23, 5:00 PM
* Sunday, April 24, 1:00 PM

Records
Modesto: 6-7
San Jose: 5-6

Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday
Modesto – Carlos Polanco (0-0, 2.08)
San Jose – Andrew Suarez (0-1, 5.00)

Friday
Modesto – Ryan Castellani (0-0, 4.35)
San Jose – Sam Coonrod (0-1, 0.00)

Saturday
Modesto – Yency Almonte (1-0, 0.87)
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (1-0, 1.80)

Sunday
Modesto – Jesus Tinoco (0-2, 11.91)
San Jose – Jordan Johnson (1-1, 3.00)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo and Justin Allegri 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.

Andrew Suarez is slated to make the start for the Giants in Thursday's homestand opener

Andrew Suarez is slated to make the start for the Giants in Thursday’s homestand opener

Giants Begin Four-Game Series Against Modesto Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game homestand this evening with the first of four straight contests against the Modesto Nuts at Municipal Stadium. Andrew Suarez is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Suarez, a former second round draft pick out of the University of Miami, was San Jose’s opening night starter this year. He entered the season ranked as the #10 prospect in the San Francisco organization according to MLB.com. Following the series versus the Nuts and an off day on Monday, the Giants continue their homestand with a three-game set against Stockton beginning on Tuesday.

Road Trip Report
The Giants went 3-4 on their Southern California road trip that concluded last night. San Jose split a four-game series at Inland Empire to begin the trip highlighted by a season-high 11-run outburst in the finale last Sunday. The Giants then dropped two out of three games to Lake Elsinore. San Jose batted just .215 as a team and was shutout twice during the trip. The road trip served as the Giants’ only visits to Inland Empire and Lake Elsinore this season.

Blowout Loss
Last night’s 17-3 defeat in Lake Elsinore marked the most runs allowed by San Jose since a 17-6 loss to Stockton on July 4, 2014. The seven home runs given up were the most allowed by Giants pitching in a game since the 2009 season (7 HR at High Desert – April 26, 2009). San Jose had surrendered just five home runs in their first 10 games this year before Lake Elsinore’s seven-homer barrage last night.

Shaw’s Extends Hitting Streak To Eight Games
First baseman Chris Shaw brings an eight-game hitting streak into tonight’s action. Shaw is batting at a .375 clip (12-for-32) with three doubles and five RBI’s during the streak. The hitting streak is the longest by a Giants player this season.

Versus The North
Tonight begins a stretch for the Giants playing 24 out of their next 27 games against North Division opponents. Only three of San Jose’s first 11 games this season came against the North.

Steven Duggar ranks tied for second in the league in home runs (4) and sixth in batting average (.341)

Steven Duggar ranks tied for second in the league in home runs (4) and sixth in batting average (.341)

Hitting Leaders
Outfielder Steven Duggar (6th, .341) and shortstop C.J Hinojosa (10th, .333) both rank among the top 10 in the California League in batting average. Duggar is also tied for second in the league in home runs (4), second in slugging (.732) and fifth in on-base percentage (.438). Duggar hit only one home run in 229 at-bats last season for Salem-Keizer. He has four homers in 41 at-bats this year. Hinojosa, who has hit safely in nine out of ten games played this season, ranks tied for sixth in the league with five doubles.

Fargas File
Outfielder Johneshwy Fargas has five outfield assists in 11 games played this season after throwing out a runner at the plate to end Tuesday’s 5-4 Giants win. The five outfield assists lead the California League. Offensively, Fargas is also tied for first in the league with three triples and tied for fifth with five stolen bases.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Top Prospects
Seven players on San Jose’s roster are among the top 30 prospects in the San Francisco organization according to Baseball America: first baseman Chris Shaw (#5), pitcher Sam Coonrod (#6), catcher Aramis Garcia (#7), pitcher Andrew Suarez (#12), pitcher Jordan Johnson (#15), outfielder Ronnie Jebavy (#21) and outfielder Steven Duggar (#25).

Modesto - newOpponent Notes: Modesto Nuts
The Modesto Nuts, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, are off to a 6-7 start this season. Modesto is sixth in the California League in batting average (.251), third in runs scored (5.2 per game) and eighth in ERA (4.25). Second baseman Forrest Wall leads the league in RBI’s (14) while outfielder Max White is tops with eight stolen bases. This evening marks the first of 24 meetings this season between the Giants and the Nuts.

Giants Continue Road Trip In Lake Elsinore

san jose giantsAt The Diamond (Lake Elsinore, CA)
* Monday, April 18, 6:00 PM
* Tuesday, April 19, 6:00 PM
* Wednesday, April 20, 6:00 PM

Records
San Jose: 4-4
Lake Elsinore: 6-5

Probable Starting Pitchers
Monday
San Jose – Jordan Johnson (1-0, 5.40)
Lake Elsinore – Dinelson Lamet (1-0, 4.00)

Tuesday
San Jose – Mark Reyes (0-0, 18.00)
Lake Elsinore – Thomas Dorminy (0-2, 8.10)

Wednesday
San Jose – Jason Forjet (1-0, 0.00)
Lake Elsinore – Martires Arias (0-1, 4.35)

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.

Jordan Johnson is scheduled to make the start for the Giants in Monday's series opener at Lake Elsinore

Jordan Johnson is scheduled to make the start for the Giants in Monday’s series opener at Lake Elsinore

Giants Begin Three-Game Series At Lake Elsinore Tonight
The San Jose Giants continue their Southern California road trip this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Lake Elsinore Storm at The Diamond. Jordan Johnson (1-0, 5.40) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Johnson picked-up the win in his first start of the year on April 12 at Visalia. The right-hander worked five innings and allowed three runs (all earned) on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts. In six starts with San Jose last season, Johnson was 2-3 with a 4.31 ERA (33 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings). The Giants will be attempting to win consecutive games for the first time this season tonight.

Split Versus The Sixers
The Giants split a four-game series against the Inland Empire 66ers to begin their road trip. San Jose earned victories of 4-2 in the series opener on Thursday and 11-7 in the finale yesterday afternoon. Inland Empire claimed a 4-2 decision on Friday and then shutout the Giants by a 4-0 score the next night. The series was San Jose’s only visit to San Bernardino this season.

Offensive Outburst
The Giants exploded for season-high totals of 11 runs and 16 hits in yesterday’s win against Inland Empire. San Jose’s five stolen bases in yesterday’s game was also a season-high. The Giants had scored a total of only four runs on 12 hits over the first three games of the 66ers series coming into Sunday (.129 team batting average). Saturday’s loss was the first time San Jose had been shutout this year.

Duggar’s Power Surge
Outfielder Steven Duggar increased his season home run total to four after going deep twice in yesterday’s game at Inland Empire. Duggar’s four home runs this season rank second in the California League. He’s also second in the league with an .813 slugging percentage and sixth with a .375 batting average. Duggar has hit four out of the five Giants home runs this season. Duggar’s four homers have come in just 32 at-bats after he homered just once in 229 at-bats (58 games) with Salem-Keizer (Short-Season level) in 2015.

Cal League Experience
Of the 25 players on San Jose’s active roster, 14 had experience with the Giants in the California League prior to the 2016 season.

Hitting Streaks
Infielder Jonah Arenado (six games) and first baseman Chris Shaw (five games) bring hitting streak into tonight’s contest. Arenado has matched the longest hit streak by a Giants pitcher this season (C.J Hinojosa). He’s batting .318 (7-for-22) with one home run during the streak. Shaw is hitting at a .381 clip (8-for-21) with three doubles and four RBI’s during his five-game hit streak.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Top Prospects
Seven players on San Jose’s roster are among the top 30 prospects in the San Francisco organization according to Baseball America: first baseman Chris Shaw (#5), pitcher Sam Coonrod (#6), catcher Aramis Garcia (#7), pitcher Andrew Suarez (#12), pitcher Jordan Johnson (#15), outfielder Ronnie Jebavy (#21) and outfielder Steven Duggar (#25).

Lake ElsinoreOpponent Notes: Lake Elsinore Storm
The Lake Elsinore Storm, an affiliate of the San Diego Padres, are off to a 6-5 start this season. Lake Elsinore is fifth in the league in team ERA (3.34) and last in batting average (.219) and runs scored (3.5 per game). Tonight marks the first of six games this season between the Giants and the Storm (all in the first half). Lake Elsinore has lost four out of their last five games overall after starting the season 5-1.

Seven-Game Road Trip Begins With Series At Inland Empire

san jose giantsAt San Manuel Stadium (San Bernardino, CA)
* Thursday, April 14, 7:05 PM
* Friday, April 15, 7:05 PM
* Saturday, April 16, 7:05 PM
* Sunday, April 17, 2:05 PM

Records
San Jose: 2-2
Inland Empire: 0-7

Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday
San Jose – Jason Forjet (0-0, —)
Inland Empire – Alex Klonowski (0-1, 10.80)

Friday
San Jose – Andrew Suarez (0-0, 3.60)
Inland Empire – Jeremy Rhoades (0-1, 5.40)

Saturday
San Jose – Sam Coonrod (0-0, —)
Inland Empire – Tyler Carpenter (0-0, 0.00)

Sunday
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (0-0, 0.00)
Inland Empire – Jake Jewell (0-1, 9.00)

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.

Jason Forjet makes his 2016 season debut in tonight's series opener at Inland Empire

Jason Forjet makes his 2016 season debut in tonight’s series opener at Inland Empire

Giants Begin Four-Game Series At Inland Empire Tonight
The San Jose Giants begin a seven-game Southern California road trip this evening with the first of four straight contests against the Inland Empire 66ers at San Manuel Stadium. Jason Forjet (0-0, —) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants tonight. Forjet, who will be making his season debut, logged a 7-4 record with a 2.67 ERA in 23 games (14 starts) for San Jose last year. He finished the 2015 regular season on a streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings.

Opening Homestand
The Giants posted a 2-2 record during their season-opening homestand that concluded yesterday. San Jose completed just one game of their opening four-game series against Lancaster due to rain/unplayable field conditions. The Giants posted a 4-3 victory over Lancaster in the season opener last Thursday before Friday’s game was suspended in the top of the fifth inning. The games on Saturday and Sunday were postponed (make-up dates TBD). San Jose then picked-up one victory in their three-game series against the Visalia Rawhide to conclude the homestand.

Rare Home Rainouts
Prior to last weekend’s rainouts, the last San Jose Giants home game to be postponed due to rain was on April 25, 2012 (vs. High Desert). The Giants did not have a single postponement – home or road – during the 2015 season.

First Road Trip
Tonight marks the start of San Jose’s first road trip of the season. Following the current four-game series at Inland Empire, the Giants will travel to Lake Elsinore for a three-game set. San Jose makes just one trip to both Inland Empire and Lake Elsinore this season.

Fantastic Fargas
Outfielder Johneshwy Fargas has hit three triples over San Jose’s first four games of the season. Fargas hit only two triples over 181 career games entering this year. His three triples this season lead the California League. Fargas was a South Atlantic League All-Star last year with the Augusta GreenJackets (A).

Hitting Leaders
Catcher Aramis Garcia (.400 AVG, 4-for-10, 2B, 2 RBI) and second baseman Brandon Bednar (.375 AVG, 6-for-16) have been San Jose’s top hitters during the early season. Bednar, C.J Hinojosa and Jose Vizcaino, Jr. are the only Giants to have hit safely in each of the first four games. San Jose’s .286 team batting average leads the California League.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Top Prospects
Seven players on San Jose’s opening day roster are among the top 30 prospects in the San Francisco organization according to Baseball America: first baseman Chris Shaw (#5), pitcher Sam Coonrod (#6), catcher Aramis Garcia (#7), pitcher Andrew Suarez (#12), pitcher Jordan Johnson (#15), outfielder Ronnie Jebavy (#21) and outfielder Steven Duggar (#25).

1220_inland_empire_66ers-wordmark-2014Opponent Notes: Inland Empire 66ers
The Inland Empire 66ers, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, are off to an 0-7 start this season. Tonight is the 66ers’ home opener. Inland Empire’s 6.59 team ERA is last in the California League. This evening marks the first of 11 meetings this season between the Giants and 66ers. Alex Klonowski (0-1, 10.80) is expected to make the start on the mound for Inland Empire in tonight’s series opener.

Giants Continue Homestand Against Visalia

san jose giantsAt Municipal Stadium (San Jose, CA)
* Monday, April 11, 6:30 PM
* Tuesday, April 12, 6:30 PM
* Wednesday, April 13, 12:30 PM

Records
Visalia: 3-0
San Jose: 1-0

Probable Starting Pitchers
Monday
Visalia – Lucas Irvine (0-0, —)
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (0-0, —)

Tuesday
Visalia – Ethan Elias (0-0, —)
San Jose – Jordan Johnson (0-0, —)

Wednesday
Visalia – Josh Taylor (0-0, 1.59)
San Jose – Mark Reyes (0-0, —)

Broadcast Information
The entire series can be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Joe Ritzo and Justin Allegri 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.

D.J. Snelten ranked second in the San Francisco Giants farm system with 126 strikeouts last season

D.J. Snelten ranked second in the San Francisco Giants farm system with 126 strikeouts last season

Giants Begin Three-Game Series Against Visalia Tonight
The San Jose Giants continue their homestand this evening with the opener of a three-game series against the Visalia Rawhide at Municipal Stadium. D.J. Snelten (0-0, —) is slated to make the start on the mound for the Giants in tonight’s series opener. Snelten made eight starts with San Jose last season and was 0-4 with a 4.84 ERA. The former ninth round draft pick is making his 2016 season debut this evening.

Wet Weekend
The Giants completed only one game of their season-opening four-game series against the Lancaster JetHawks last weekend due to wet weather. San Jose posted a 4-3 victory over Lancaster in the season opener last Thursday before Friday’s game was suspended in the top of the fifth inning with the JetHawks leading by a 4-1 score. Scheduled games on Saturday and Sunday were postponed due to rain/unplayable field conditions. Make-up dates for the suspended game and postponed contests have yet to be determined. Lancaster is not scheduled to return to Municipal Stadium this season.

Rare Home Rainouts
Prior to last weekend’s rainouts, the last San Jose Giants home game to be postponed due to rain was on April 25, 2012 (vs. High Desert). The Giants did not have a single postponement – home or road – during the 2015 season.

Season-Opening Win
Last Thursday’s triumph over Lancaster was San Jose’s first win on opening night since 2014 (7-1 victory at Rancho Cucamonga). Last year, the Giants dropped a 3-2 decision at Lancaster to begin the season. San Jose is 5-1 in their last six season-openers dating back to 2011.

Giants-Rawhide Matchup
This series marks the first Giants-Rawhide match-up of the year. The two clubs will play each other 23 times this season (10 games at Municipal Stadium & 13 games at Recreation Park). Last year, San Jose went just 4-15 against Visalia during the regular season before knocking off the Rawhide in a thrilling North Division Series. The Giants rallied from an 0-2 series deficit last September earning walk-off victories over the visiting Rawhide in Games 3 and 4. San Jose then claimed the winner-take-all Game 5 in Visalia by a 6-5 score in 11 innings. All five games of the series were decided by one run while two of the contests went to extra innings.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year is San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Top Prospects
Seven players on San Jose’s opening day roster are among the top 30 prospects in the San Francisco organization according to Baseball America: first baseman Chris Shaw (#5), pitcher Sam Coonrod (#6), catcher Aramis Garcia (#7), pitcher Andrew Suarez (#12), pitcher Jordan Johnson (#15), outfielder Ronnie Jebavy (#21) and outfielder Steven Duggar (#25).

VisaliaOpponent Notes: Visalia Rawhide
The Visalia Rawhide, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, swept a three-game series at Bakersfield to open the season. Visalia allowed a total of only four runs during the three-game set to the Blaze. Last year, the Rawhide finished with a league-best 84-56 record. J.R. House is in his second season as Visalia’s manager. House was named California League Manager of the Year in 2015 after leading the Rawhide to first and second half North Division titles.

Giants Open Regular Season Thursday Against Lancaster

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

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

Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday
Lancaster – Akeem Bostick (0-0, —)
San Jose – Andrew Suarez (0-0, —)

Friday
Lancaster – Andrew Walter (0-0, —)
San Jose – Sam Coonrod (0-0, —)

Saturday
Lancaster – Trent Thornton (0-0, —)
San Jose – D.J. Snelten (0-0, —)

Sunday
Lancaster – Brock Dykxhoorn (0-0, —)
San Jose – Jordan Johnson (0-0, —)

2016 San Jose Giants Roster

San Jose Giants Ticket Information

NBCUT_Logo_chnBroadcast Information
All four games will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network (Channel 104 SD/819 HD). Joe Ritzo handles the play-by-play while color commentary duties will be provided by Joe Castellano. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM with Justin Allegri calling the action. Radio broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to first pitch with The Giants Pregame Show. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Top prospect Aramis Garcia and the San Jose Giants open the regular season on Thursday night

Top prospect Aramis Garcia and the San Jose Giants open the regular season on Thursday night

Giants Begin Regular Season Thursday
The San Jose Giants begin the 2016 regular season Thursday evening with the opener of a four-game series against the Lancaster JetHawks at Municipal Stadium. Following the series versus the JetHawks, San Jose’s homestand continues with a three-game set against the Visalia Rawhide. The Giants will play 14 out of their first 21 games at home this season.

San Francisco Affiliation
This year marks San Jose’s 29th season as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants – the longest current partnership of any team in the California League. Since their inception in 1988, the San Jose Giants have won six league championships (1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), 11 North Division titles and qualified for the playoffs 21 times (in 28 seasons). The Giants enter this year having posted a league-record 12 consecutive winning seasons (2004-2015).

Home Opener
This year is the first time since 2009 that the San Jose Giants open the regular season at home.

Familiar Opening Foe
This is the second straight year the Giants begin the regular season against Lancaster. San Jose suffered a 3-2 loss to the JetHawks at The Hangar on opening night last year.

Top Prospects
Seven players on San Jose’s opening day roster are among the top 30 prospects in the San Francisco organization according to Baseball America: first baseman Chris Shaw (#5), pitcher Sam Coonrod (#6), catcher Aramis Garcia (#7), pitcher Andrew Suarez (#12), pitcher Jordan Johnson (#15), outfielder Ronnie Jebavy (#21) and outfielder Steven Duggar (#25).

Andrew Suarez is slated to make the opening night start on the mound for the Giants

Andrew Suarez is slated to make the opening night start on the mound for the Giants

Suarez Starts Opening Night
Andrew Suarez is slated to make the opening night start on the mound for the Giants. Suarez was a second round pick of the San Francisco Giants in the 2015 draft out of the University of Miami. He played for the AZL-Giants (Rookie-level), Salem-Keizer (Short-Season) and San Jose last season and combined to go 2-0 with a 1.60 ERA in 11 games (eight starts). Suarez also made two starts for the Giants in the California League playoffs last September.

Returning Players
15 of the 25 players on the Giants opening day roster have prior experience in San Jose. Of the 15 returnees, 13 were on the Giants’ playoff roster last September.

Manager Lipso Nava
Lipso Nava begins his first season as manager of the San Jose Giants in 2016. Previously, Nava was San Jose’s hitting coach the past three years (2013-15), in addition to a stint as the club’s acting manager during the final month of last season. Nava enters his ninth year in the San Francisco organization and third season as a manager. He had a prior two-year stint as manager of the Class-A Augusta GreenJackets in 2011-12. Nava played 16 seasons of professional baseball from 1990-2006, including stints in the Mariners, Red Sox and Cubs organizations.

2015 Review
The Giants finished last season with a 72-68 record (30-40 first half, 42-28 second half) and qualified for the playoffs as a Wild Card team. San Jose led the California League in ERA (3.46) and shutouts (15) last year while the Giants pitching staff was tops among all teams in Minor League Baseball with 1,345 strikeouts. San Jose reached the playoffs despite setting a team record for fewest runs scored in a single-season (594). The Giants’ 40-25 record after June 30 last year was the best mark in the league. During the postseason, San Jose knocked off Stockton in the Mini Series and Visalia in the Division Series before getting swept by Rancho Cucamonga in the Championship Series. The Giants won four playoff elimination games, including three in extra innings, before falling to the Quakes.

Homegrown Giants
14 players on San Francisco’s 25-man opening day roster are former San Jose Giants: Ehire Adrianza, Brandon Belt, Trevor Brown, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Brandon Crawford, Matt Duffy, Chris Heston, Josh Osich, Joe Panik, Buster Posey, Sergio Romo, Hunter Strickland and Kelby Tomlinson. 181 former San Jose Giants have reached the major leagues during the 28-year history of the club.

LancasterOpponent Notes: Lancaster JetHawks
The Lancaster JetHawks, an affiliate of the Houston Astros, went 75-65 last season and reached the playoffs as a Wild Card team out of the South Division. Lancaster was defeated by the High Desert Mavericks, two-games-to-one, in the South Mini Series last September. This year’s JetHawks opening day roster includes eight returning players. Ramon Vazquez begins his first season as Lancaster’s manager in 2016. This series marks the JetHawks’ only trip to Municipal Stadium this year. The JetHawks have won two California League championships (2012, 2014) in the last four seasons.

Inside The San Jose Giants Season Preview Podcast

Episode 61 – Inside The San Jose Giants

2016-Inside-the-Podcast-480 x 270The San Jose Giants season has arrived! In this season preview edition of Inside the San Jose Giants, Joe Ritzo and Justin Allegri breakdown the 2016 roster, including the key returnees and exciting newcomers. The two discuss San Jose’s prospect-laden pitching rotation and powerful starting lineup in advance of opening night. First baseman Chris Shaw and pitching coach Mike Couchee also drop by to give their insights on the start of the season.

San Jose Giants Announce 2016 Roster

Starting Pitchers
Sam Coonrod
Jason Forjet
Jordan Johnson
Mark Reyes
D.J. Snelten
Andrew Suarez

Relief Pitchers
Martin Agosta
Carlos Diaz
Dusten Knight
Rodolfo Martinez
Reyes Moronta
Jose Reyes
Jeff Soptic
Pat Young

Catchers
Jared Deacon
Aramis Garcia
Ty Ross

Infielders
Jonah Arenado
Brandon Bednar
C.J. Hinojosa
Richard Rodriguez
Chris Shaw
Jose Vizcaino, Jr.

Outfielders
Junior Arias
Steven Duggar
Johneshwy Fargas
Ronnie Jebavy
Cristian Paulino

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

* These are the 28 players who will break camp with San Jose. The roster will be reduced to 25 active players ahead of the season opener on Thursday.

* 16 of the 28 players have previous experience in San Jose:
10 pitchers – Agosta (2014-15 in SJ), Coonrod (2015 postseason), Diaz (2015 postseason), Forjet (2013, 2015), Johnson (2015), J. Reyes (2015), Snelten (2015), Soptic (2013-15), Suarez (2015) and Young (2014).
3 catchers – Deacon (2014), Garcia (2015), Ross (2015).
2 infielders – Arenado (2015 postseason), Bednar (2014-15)
1 outfielder – Duggar (2015 postseason)

* Four players on the roster were drafted in the top two rounds by the San Francisco Giants: 1B Chris Shaw (2015 supplemental first round – 31st overall pick), LHP Andrew Suarez (2015 second round), C Aramis Garcia (2014 second round) and RHP Martin Agosta (2012 second round).

* Seven players on San Jose’s roster, including three starting pitchers, are ranked among the top 30 prospects in the San Francisco Giants organization according to Baseball America:
5. Chris Shaw (1B)
6. Sam Coonrod (SP)
7. Aramis Garcia (C)
12. Andrew Suarez (SP)
15. Jordan Johnson (SP)
21. Ronnie Jebavy (OF)
25. Steven Duggar (OF)

* Shaw (#5), Coonrod (#6), Garcia (#9) and Suarez (#10) are all ranked among the top 10 San Francisco Giants prospects by MLB.com entering this season.

* Five position players on the roster were drafted last June and will begin their first full professional seasons this year in San Jose. All five were standout performers for the Short-Season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes last summer. Shaw led the Northwest League with 12 home runs last year (in just 46 games) while batting at a .287 clip. Vizcaino, who played collegiately nearby at Santa Clara, was an All-Star third baseman for Salem-Keizer after hitting .288 with six home runs. Jebavy was among the league leaders in home runs (8) and stolen bases (23) as the Volcanoes’ everyday center fielder. Duggar batted .293 and posted an excellent .390 on-base percentage as the club’s right fielder before receiving a promotion to San Jose at the start of the Championship Series last September. Finally, Hinojosa hit .296 with five home runs and a team-leading 18 doubles while serving as Salem-Keizer’s primary shortstop.

* Other standout 2015 statistical performers include:
– Pitcher Sam Coonrod – Had a 3.14 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 111 innings with the Class-A Augusta GreenJackets last season. Was named the “top pitching prospect” in the league by Baseball America.
– Outfielder Johneshwy Fargas – Led the organization with 59 stolen bases last year as an All-Star outfielder with Augusta.
– Pitcher Martin Agosta – Was tops on last year’s San Jose pitching staff with 125 strikeouts.
– Catcher Aramis Garcia – Hit a team-leading 15 home runs for Augusta last season before earning a promotion to San Jose late in the campaign. Garcia then hit two more home runs for the Giants during the Cal League playoffs last September.
– Pitcher Jason Forjet – Fashioned a 2.67 ERA in 94 innings last season in San Jose, primarily as a starting pitcher. Finished the regular season on a 22-inning scoreless streak.
– Infielder Jonah Arenado – Led Augusta with 64 RBI’s last year before earning a playoff promotion to San Jose.
– Pitcher Andrew Suarez – Posted a combined 1.57 ERA in eight starts between Salem-Keizer and San Jose.
– Pitcher Mark Reyes – Ranked second in the South Atlantic League with a 2.13 ERA in 23 starts en route to earning midseason and postseason All-Star honors.
– Pitcher Rodolfo Martinez – Had a 2.54 ERA out of the Augusta bullpen last year. Was named the “top relief pitcher prospect” in the South Atlantic League by Baseball America.
– Pitcher Jordan Johnson – Boasted a 71-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 59 innings between the AZL-Giants (Rookie-level), Salem-Keizer and San Jose last season (3.19 ERA in 14 starts).

* Three players on the roster are from Northern California: Agosta (Sacramento), Deacon (Elk Grove) and Johnson (Elk Grove).

* Fans can meet the 2016 players and coaches at the 8th annual San Jose Giants FanFest this Monday, April 4 at Municipal Stadium from 5:00-9:00 PM. All players and coaches will be available to sign autographs and pose for pictures as part of a “Meet-and-Greet” that begins at 5:15 PM. Fans will then have the opportunity to watch the team practice starting at 7:00 PM.

* Opening night is Thursday, April 7 versus the Lancaster JetHawks. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 PM at Municipal Stadium.

2016 San Jose Giants Schedule

San Jose Giants Ticket Information

News and Notes: Homegrown Giants In San Francisco, San Jose Roster Takes Shape

By Joe Ritzo

SF Giants logoThe San Francisco Giants have made their final roster cuts this week in anticipation of the start of the regular season. 25 players remain in big league camp and unless there’s a surprise trade, an injury or something else unforeseen, it’ll be those 25 who will open the year in San Francisco.

14 former San Jose Giants are expected to be on San Francisco’s opening day roster:

Ehire Adrianza, INF
Brandon Belt, 1B
Trevor Brown, C
Madison Bumgarner, LHP
Matt Cain, RHP
Brandon Crawford, SS
Matt Duffy, 3B
Chris Heston, RHP
Josh Osich, LHP
Joe Panik, 2B
Buster Posey, C
Sergio Romo, RHP
Hunter Strickland, RHP
Kelby Tomlinson, INF

2013 California League All-Star Hunter Strickland is one of 14 former San Jose Giants expected to be on San Francisco's opening day roster

2013 California League All-Star Hunter Strickland is one of 14 former San Jose Giants expected to be on San Francisco’s opening day roster

For Brown, Heston, Osich, Strickland and Tomlinson, it will be the first time that they will make a major league opening day roster. Brown has hit .324 in 37 at-bats this spring to win the back-up catching competition with Andrew Susac. Susac hasn’t played in a big league spring game since March 14 due to a wrist injury, but has seen action down in minor league camp in recent days. Susac will start the year with Triple-A Sacramento.

Heston made 31 starts in San Francisco last year, but wasn’t on the opening day roster (he was called up days later). Assuming Matt Cain is ready to go next week, Heston will open the season as the long reliever in San Francisco’s bullpen. It’s no surprise that Osich and Strickland made the opening day roster as both hurlers emerged as key relievers during the second half of last year and will continue to play important roles in the San Francisco bullpen. Meanwhile, Tomlinson showed his versatility this spring as he saw substantial playing time at second base, third and shortstop with good results. The former San Jose infielder is expected to fill a utility role to start the campaign.

Additionally, Ehire Adrianza had a strong camp and earned a spot on San Francisco’s opening day roster. Adrianza owns a .333 batting average in 57 spring at-bats and has shown he could even fill-in at first base and outfield, in addition to his usual infield spots.

In all likelihood, there will be six former San Jose Giants in San Francisco’s opening day lineup: C Posey, 1B Belt, 2B Panik, 3B Duffy, SS Crawford, P Bumgarner.

Outfielders Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson were among the final roster cuts this week. Williamson especially made a strong impression this spring as he connected for five home runs in 57 at-bats to go with a .298 batting average and 14 RBI’s. Parker slugged three home runs in 69 spring at-bats, but hit just .234 with 23 strikeouts. Both players will get an opportunity to play everyday in the Sacramento outfield and should be among the first considered for a call-up later in the year.

The San Francisco Giants open the regular season on Monday in Milwaukee.

BIAGINI POISED TO DEBUT IN TORONTO
The 14 homegrown players listed above that are expected to land on San Francisco’s opening day roster all have previous experience in the major leagues. It looks as if the first former San Jose Giant to debut in the big leagues this season will be Joe Biagini of the Toronto Blue Jays. Biagini, a South Bay native from Santa Clara, spent the entire 2014 season in the San Jose starting rotation before earning All-Star honors with Double-A Richmond last year. Biagini though was left unprotected by the organization after the season (not placed on the 40-man roster) and was gobbled up by the Blue Jays in last December’s Rule 5 draft. The right-hander has now put together a strong spring and has won a spot in the Toronto bullpen. The Toronto Star details Biagini’s inclusion on the opening day roster here.

Andrew Suarez had an excellent start for the Giants "High-A" team in minor league camp on Tuesday

Andrew Suarez had an excellent start for the Giants “High-A” team in minor league camp on Tuesday

SUAREZ IMPRESSES IN FINAL SPRING START
Down in minor league camp, top prospect Andrew Suarez had an outstanding start for the Giants “High-A” team on Tuesday against the Dbacks “High-A” club at the Salt River Fields complex. Suarez cruised through five innings on the mound yielding just one run with six strikeouts. The only run against Suarez came in the fifth inning on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt play. Suarez, a former second round draft pick, fashioned a 1.57 ERA in eight starts between Salem-Keizer and San Jose last season. He’s currently rated the #10 prospect in the San Francisco organization by MLB.com and is expected to open the year in the San Jose starting rotation.

Third baseman Jose Vizcaino, Jr. and first baseman Jonah Areando delivered RBI hits in Tuesday’s “High-A” game as well.

The minor league spring exhibition schedule concludes on Friday afternoon before camp breaks on Sunday. An official announcement of the 2016 San Jose Giants roster is expected in the coming days.

FORMER SAN JOSE GIANTS RELEASED
While players down in minor league camp are currently positioning themselves to make a team and hit the ground running in 2016, others were not as fortunate. With minor league rosters becoming finalized, the organization has reportedly released several players in camp.

According to MLB.com transaction pages, former San Jose Giants Brian Ragira, Jack Snodgrass and Nick Vander Tuig were among the players released by the organization this spring. Ragira, a former fourth round draft pick out of Stanford, spent two full seasons with San Jose in 2014 and 2015. The first baseman combined for 30 home runs, 47 doubles, 140 RBI’s and a .256 batting average over 230 games during his two years in the California League. Ragira also delivered one of the most memorable home runs in team history last September when he hit a game-tying two-run blast in the eighth inning of the decisive third game of the Mini Series at Stockton. The Giants eventually went onto win the contest in 15 innings to advance to the next round – the first of four elimination game victories for last year’s club during the postseason.

Snodgrass was a California League All-Star in 2012 when he posted a 10-8 record with a 4.62 ERA over 26 starts for the Giants. He spent the bulk of the last three seasons pitching for Double-A Richmond. Vander Tuig made six starts for San Jose late in 2014 before beginning last season with the Giants. He emerged early last year as a capable starting pitcher and posted a 3-0 record with a 2.73 ERA in eight games (five starts) before going down with an elbow injury in mid-May. The injury, unfortunately, required Tommy John surgery, which was the second time Vander Tuig underwent the procedure in his baseball career. He was likely going to miss a portion of the 2016 season as well.

These players are no longer with the Giants, but could potentially continue their baseball careers with another organization or attempt to play in an independent league.

Report from Arizona: Final Week Of Minor League Camp Underway

By Joe Ritzo

IMG_1343It’s crunch-time here at minor league camp as today marked the beginning of the final week of spring exhibition games. By the weekend, the San Jose Giants roster should be set before the 2016 club breaks camp on Sunday. Then of course, Monday, April 4 is your first opportunity to meet the new team with FanFest at Municipal Stadium (5:00-9:00 PM).

This afternoon, the Giants “High-A” and “Low-A” teams hosted the Chicago Cubs “High-A” and “Low-A” teams at the Giants Minor League Complex in Scottsdale. The day certainly had a major league flare to it as San Francisco right-hander Matt Cain made the start on the mound for the “High-A” team with Andrew Susac behind the plate. Cain is coming back from cyst-removal surgery while Susac has been bothered by a wrist injury this spring. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle just filed this report on Cain’s day at minor league camp.

Here are my observations and notes from the “High-A” game, which saw the Cubs post a 5-4 victory:

* The Giants lineup –
1. Johneshwy Fargas, LF
2. Ronnie Jebavy, CF
3. Andrew Susac, C
4. Jonah Arenado, DH/1B
5. Chris Shaw, 1B
6. Gustavo Cabrera, DH
7. Dillon Dobson, 3B
8. Steven Duggar, RF
9. Manuel Geraldo, SS
10. Tyler Brown, 2B

* The notable change to the “High-A” lineup today compared to Saturday (outside of Susac) was the inclusion of Ronnie Jebavy. Jebavy has reportedly performed well this spring and has put himself in contention to make the San Jose opening day roster. He was a fifth round draft pick last June out of Middle Tennessee State before serving as Salem-Keizer’s everyday center fielder last summer. With the Volcanoes, Jebavy ranked among the Northwest League leaders in home runs (8) and stolen bases (23) while batting at a .263 clip in 63 games. Jebavy is a highly-regarded defensive player and if the organization feels his bat is ready for the California League, he could certainly make an impact in San Jose this season, perhaps as soon as next week. On Monday, Jebavy went 1-for-4 with a line drive single to center and a stolen base.

* Jebavy primarily hit leadoff for Salem-Keizer last year, but today’s lineup had him in the second spot with Johneshwy Fargas, last season leadoff man in Augusta, in the first position. As he did in Saturday’s exhibition game against the Diamondbacks, Fargas created havoc on the bases swiping two more bags (and he did so with ease). Over the last two “High-A” games, Fargas is an eye-opening 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts. He had two at-bats today, grounding out to third and lining a single into right. Fargas was exclusively a center fielder last season in Augusta, but shifted to left in today’s “High-A” game with Jebavy’s presence. The two players would undoubtedly cover a lot of ground in the Municipal Stadium outfield this season if they both end up in San Jose. And for that matter, Steven Duggar, who again started in right for the “High-A” team, is another speedster with past experience as a center fielder. We’re still a few days away from final roster decisions, but there looks to be great potential for a fast and ultra-athletic San Jose outfield in 2016.

* Duggar had two of the more impressive at-bats today as he ripped a double into the left field corner and was also robbed of a hit when his screaming liner was caught by a leaping third baseman for the Cubs.

* The Giants scored four runs Monday on a pair of two-run homers. Dillon Dobson, who made the start at third base, launched a towering home run over the high fence down the right field line in the fifth inning. Dobson was a 23rd round draft pick last June out of Appalachian State and hit well in the Arizona Rookie League after signing his pro contract (.297 AVG, 15 doubles, 3 home runs). Dobson is probably a long-shot to make the San Jose opening day roster given his lack of experience above rookie-ball, but certainly had an impressive swing today. Meanwhile, Skyler Ewing came off the bench and accounted for the rest of the Giants run-production today when he crushed a two-run homer well over the fence in left center in the seventh inning. Ewing is a former sixth round pick out of Rice and had an excellent 2014 season in Salem-Keizer when he led the Volcanoes with eight home runs (in just 51 games). He was Augusta’s everyday first baseman last year, but hit just .231 with two home runs in 128 games (he did lead the team with 26 doubles). The power though is still clearly there for Ewing as was evident with his home run today. Top prospect Chris Shaw and Jonah Arenado have seen all the action at first base for the “High-A” team the last two games, so it’s unclear if there will be room for Ewing in San Jose this season or if he’ll have to repeat Augusta.

* Speaking of Shaw, the former supplemental first round pick again played just the first five innings. He walked and grounded out in his two plate appearances today. Gustavo Cabrera singled twice in his four at-bats. Meanwhile, Arenado again started the game at DH before taking over for Shaw at first base. Arenado was almost exclusively a third baseman last season in Augusta (and San Jose during the playoffs), but is clearly seeing a lot of action across the infield this spring. That will be an interesting development to follow this season and could perhaps determine where Arenado starts the year. Dobson and Jose Vizcaino have received all the playing time at third base in the two “High-A” games that I’ve seen down here.

* Finally, Susac caught the first six innings in today’s game before calling it a day. The former San Jose slugger hammered a fly ball to deep right center in his first at-bat that was caught at the edge of the warning track in front of the 421 foot sign. He then lined out to straightaway center in his second at-bat before drawing a walk and then striking out looking in his final plate appearance.

* With Cain on the mound for the “High-A” team today, it shifted the originally scheduled starter, Jordan Johnson, to the “Low-A” game on the neighboring field. Johnson will almost certainly begin the season in San Jose’s rotation after making eight starts with the Giants late last year. On Monday, Johnson showed his usual zip to his fastball (he was regularly low-to-mid 90’s last season in SJ), but struggled with his command. Johnson fell behind in the count to most hitters today and had to battle through his four innings. Overall, nine hitters reached base against Johnson – five via the hit, three walks and one hit batter. He struck out just one hitter, but allowed only one run (one of his innings was halted with two runners on and two outs as he had reached his inning-pitch limit). Johnson has been rated a top 20 prospect in the Giants organization by Baseball America and MLB.com entering this season and would be one of the anchors of San Jose’s rotation this year if he returns to the Cal League.

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

The Giants Minor League Complex: Matt Cain pitching for the "High-A" team on the left with Jordan Johnson pitching in the "Low-A" game on the right

The Giants Minor League Complex: Matt Cain pitching for the “High-A” team on the left with Jordan Johnson pitching in the “Low-A” game on the right

Report from Arizona: SJ Giants Spring Training Update

By Joe Ritzo

One week remains in minor league camp as Giants players and coaches continue their preparations for the 2016 season. This afternoon, the Giants “High-A” and “Low-A” teams traveled up the road to the Salt River Fields complex for exhibition games against the Arizona Diamondbacks “High-A” and “Low-A” clubs. I spent the majority of my time watching the “High-A” team and here are some observations…

There is expected to be a bevy of player movement among the Giants minor league teams in the coming days, so many of the players who suited up this afternoon may not open the season in the California League. Final decisions on the San Jose Giants opening day roster likely won’t be made until the end of next week. That said, here was today’s Giants “High-A” lineup:

1. Johneshwy Fargas, CF
2. Tyler Brown, 2B
3. Jonah Arenado, DH/1B
4. Chris Shaw, 1B
5. Skyler Ewing, DH
6. Jose Vizcaino, 3B
7. Steven Duggar, RF
8. T.J. Bennett, SS
9. Julio Pena, LF
10. Adam Sonabend, C
P – Cory Taylor

* The game ended in a 3-3 tie after nine innings with the Giants scoring once in the top of the ninth to draw even. Three Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers saw action in the contest with Randall Delgado pitching the top of the first, Brad Ziegler the second inning and Daniel Hudson the top of the third. The remainder of the game saw regular Dbacks minor leaguers on the mound.

Top prospect Chris Shaw was playing first base for the Giants "High-A" team this afternoon

Top prospect Chris Shaw was playing first base for the Giants “High-A” team this afternoon

* The headline name in today’s “High-A lineup was first baseman Chris Shaw. Last year’s supplemental first round draft pick out of Boston College, Shaw could be a major contributor in the middle of the San Jose batting order this season if he makes the jump from Salem-Keizer (where he led the Northwest League in home runs last summer). Shaw was quiet at the plate today striking out on a Delgado change-up in the first inning before grounding out in his second at-bat. He only played the first five innings.

* The offensive stars for the Giants today were leadoff hitter Johneshwy Fargas and Jonah Arenado. Fargas could give San Jose a dynamic presence at the top of the lineup this season. The speedster led the entire organization with 59 stolen bases last year while playing center field everyday for the Class-A Augusta GreenJackets (.278 AVG). On Saturday, Fargas started the game with a line drive single to left against the big leaguer Delgado. He promptly stole second and then swiped third. Two batters later, Arenado hammered a triple to the fence in deep right center field to plate Fargas with the first run of the day. The triple was Arenado’s only hit in his four at-bats, but it was an impressive result against a pitcher who has substantial time in the major leagues. Arenado led Augusta with 64 RBI’s last season before joining San Jose for the Cal League playoffs. He was primarily a third baseman a season ago, but came in defensively at first today in the bottom of the sixth.

* Fargas’ strong game continued over the middle and late innings as he singled again, drew a walk and stole another base. Fargas finished the afternoon 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and three steals.

* The rest of the day was a quiet one for the Giants offensively as the club finished with only four hits. Gustavo Cabrera came off the bench and delivered a clutch line drive two-out, RBI single in the top of the ninth inning that tied the game. When the ball got away down the line, Cabrera then used his tremendous speed to race into third. Unfortunately, he was stranded there when the next batter, Arenado, flied out to deep center. Cabrera, who is returning from a gruesome arm injury, was the subject of Andrew Baggarly’s excellent article in the San Jose Mercury News today. It’s unlikely that Cabrera will open this season in the California League, but he could certainly make an impact in San Jose down the road.

* The only other hitter in today’s Giants “High-A” lineup with previous experience in San Jose was right fielder Steven Duggar. Duggar, a sixth round selection last June out of Clemson, hit .296 for Salem-Keizer a season ago before receiving a promotion to San Jose at the start of the Championship Series. Duggar figures to be an everyday outfielder in either San Jose or Augusta this season. In addition to Shaw and Duggar, third baseman Jose Vizcaino (7th round, Santa Clara) and second baseman Tyler Brown (26th round, College of Southern Nevada) were “High-A” players today who are getting set to open their first full professional season. Vizcaino was an All-Star last season in Salem-Keizer (.288 AVG, 6 HR) while Brown had an excellent summer in the Arizona Rookie League (.356 AVG, 1 HR) after signing his pro contract. It’ll be interesting to see if any of these first-year players can make the jump all the way to San Jose. As mentioned above, there will be a lot of player movement in the minor league ranks over the coming days.

Cory Taylor allowed just one run over four innings in today's "High-A" exhibition game

Cory Taylor allowed just one run over four innings in today’s “High-A” exhibition game

* On the mound, 2015 eighth round draft pick Cory Taylor made the start for the “High-A” Giants today. In a January blog post, I mentioned Taylor as a possibility to make the jump from Salem-Keizer to San Jose this season. While that remains to be seen, it was notable that the big right-hander (6’2″, 255 lbs.) is apparently being groomed as a starting pitcher this season. Taylor was exclusively a reliever last summer in Salem and had a tremendous campaign posting a 2.45 ERA with a whopping 50 strikeouts over 33 innings. Taylor was a highly successful starting pitcher in college at Dallas Baptist and now looks to be returning to those roots. Last spring in his final collegiate season, he logged a 7-1 record with a 3.60 ERA and threw a complete-game three-hitter against powerhouse Texas in NCAA Tournament play. On Saturday, Taylor struggled mightily in the first inning as every batter in the frame hit him hard. Fortunately, Taylor got out of the inning yielding just one run on three hits before settling down. In fact, Taylor didn’t allow a single hit over the next three innings using a low 90’s fastball/slider combo to breeze through the Diamondbacks “High-A” lineup. Most of Taylor’s outs came on the ground as he finished his day with just the one run and three hits surrendered over four innings. He walked one and struck out one. Competition for spots on the San Jose starting staff is fierce, so we’ll see if he can crack the Giants rotation coming out of camp or is sent to Augusta.

* Out of the bullpen, the highlight of the day was Rodolfo Martinez. Martinez was named the “Best Reliever” in the South Atlantic League last season in a vote of league managers for Baseball America’s “Best Tools” edition. One of the top relief pitcher prospects in the system, Martinez logged a 2.54 ERA with a .232 opponents batting average and a 44-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 46 innings for Augusta last year. On Saturday, he showcased an explosive 97-to-99 MPH fastball that should hopefully translate well to a late-inning role in the San Jose bullpen this season. Martinez entered the game with the score tied in the bottom of the ninth and promptly allowed a leadoff infield single and a double to left as the Dbacks put runners on second and third with none out. The hard-throwing right-hander though pitched out of trouble inducing the next hitter to bounce out to second (with the infield playing in) as the potential winning run was easily thrown out at the plate. The next hitter then grounded into a routine double play which ended the game in a tie.

* Eury Sanchez, Jeff Burke, Luis Pino and Nick Sabo also each threw an inning of relief today. Sanchez is the most likely of the quartet to make San Jose’s opening day roster. Sanchez was an All-Star closer with Salem-Keizer two seasons ago, but an injury prevented him from making his 2015 debut until late-June. Sanchez finally joined Augusta last July and was a capable reliever for the GreenJackets down the stretch (3.20 ERA, 23 K’s in 19 innings). Burke was a 32nd round pick last June and will be making his pro debut this season as he comes back from Tommy John surgery. Pino was tremendous last season in Salem-Keizer, both as a starter and a reliever (1.43 ERA in 44 innings) while Sabo was a 28th rounder in 2014, but has been limited to just three appearances in rookie-ball over the first two years of his pro career.

* The minor league exhibition game schedule resumes on Monday afternoon as the Giants “High-A” team hosts the Cubs “High-A” team in Scottsdale. Jordan Johnson is expected to make the start on the mound for the Giants. I’ll have more from minor league camp then…

The Diamondbacks minor league complex with Salt River Field located behind left center

The Diamondbacks minor league complex with Salt River Field located behind left center

Episode 60 – Inside The San Jose Giants

2016-Inside-the-Podcast-480 x 270In the final podcast before the team arrives at Municipal Stadium, Joe and Justin make starting lineup projections for the 2016 San Jose Giants. The two provide a detailed breakdown of the potential lineup, including top prospects expected to begin the season in San Jose and which position players may return from last year.

Former SJ Giants Battling For Roster Spots

By Joe Ritzo

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

The beginning of the week saw four former San Jose Giants sent down to minor league camp. Pitchers Ty Blach, Clayton Blackburn and Steven Okert were optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. Blach has made one start and three relief appearances in big league action this spring. In his three games out of the bullpen, the former San Jose standout dazzled tossing a total of six scoreless innings with four hits allowed, no walks and four strikeouts. His lone start, however, saw Blach get roughed up for five runs on six hits over three innings. Blach made 27 starts for Sacramento last season (11-12, 4.46 ERA) and is expected to return to the River Cats rotation next month.

Blach will actually return to major league camp temporarily to make the start in one of San Francisco’s split-squad games today.

Blackburn made a strong impression this spring and with continued success in Triple-A, has clearly positioned himself for a call-up at some point this season. After three relief appearances to open camp, Blackburn made his first spring start last Sunday against the Rockies and worked four innings with two earned runs allowed and three strikeouts. Overall this spring, Blackburn logged a 4.38 ERA over 12 1/3 innings with just two walks and eight strikeouts. Blackburn won the Pacific Coast League ERA title last season in Sacramento (2.85) and should anchor the River Cats rotation when this season begins in a couple weeks.

Should San Francisco need to reach down to Triple-A for a starting pitcher at some point this year, the two most likely candidates for a call-up would probably be either Blackburn or Blach. The duo ranked first (Blach) and fourth (Blackburn) in the California League in ERA during the 2013 season while pitching for San Jose.

Okert should return to the Sacramento bullpen after a lengthy stint in big league camp. San Jose’s All-Star closer in 2014, Okert made five relief appearances in major league exhibitions this spring. In five innings, the lefty surrendered four runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Okert logged a 3.82 ERA in 52 games for the River Cats last season and enters the year as one of the top relief pitcher prospects in the system.

Former San Jose outfielder Ryan Lollis was also reassigned to minor league camp at the beginning of the week. Lollis struggled offensively in big league spring action picking-up just three hits (all singles) in 24 at-bats (.125 AVG) with a pair of RBI’s and a stolen base. Lollis led the Giants farm system with a .340 batting average last year across three levels, in addition to receiving two brief stints in San Francisco (12 total at-bats). He’ll probably open this season as a starting outfielder in Sacramento.

Officially, San Francisco still has 35 players in camp, 18 of which are former San Jose Giants. The core group of 11 former SJ Giants (Belt, Bumgarner, Cain, Crawford, Duffy, Heston, Osich, Panik, Posey, Romo and Strickland) should be on the opening day roster when the season begins on April 4 (barring injury). Meanwhile, seven other former SJ Giants remain in big league camp with hopes of making the team:

* Ehire Adrianza: .293 AVG (12-41), 4 2B, 0 HR, 5 RBI
– Adrianza has enjoyed a solid spring in his bid to make the club as a utility infielder. In addition to substantial playing time at his usual shortstop position, Adrianza has seen action at first, second and third base during exhibition games.

* Trevor Brown: .375 AVG (9-24), 1 2B, 0 HR, 7 RBI
– Brown held his own during his September call-up last season and has continued to impress this spring. He produced back-to-back three-RBI games last week and appears very much in contention to make the opening day roster as the club’s back-up catcher.

* Conor Gillaspie: .333 AVG (9-27), 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
– Gillaspie returned to organization this year on a minor league deal and remains in camp as a non-roster invitee. He’s split time between first and third base this spring and owns one of the highest batting averages on the club.

* Jarrett Parker: .208 AVG (10-48), 2 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI
– The Giants are clearly giving Parker a hard look this spring as he’s received the most plate appearances of any player on the club. Unfortunately, Parker’s batting average is just above .200 while he’s struck out 16 times in 48 at-bats. He has, however, cracked three home runs.

* Andrew Susac: .217 AVG (5-23), 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI
– Susac entered camp as the favorite to win the back-up catching role, but a recurring wrist issue combined with Brown’s emergence has opened the competition. Susac hasn’t played in a big league spring game in eight days.

* Kelby Tomlinson: .206 AVG (7-34), 2 2B, 0 HR, 1 RBI
– Tomlinson has capably shown his versatility on the infield this spring making starts at shortstop, second base and third. Offensively, he’s collected just seven hits in 34 at-bats, but remains a strong possibility to make his first opening day roster.

* Mac Williamson: .310 AVG (13-42), 3 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI
– Williamson has been one of this spring’s stars as he leads the Giants with four home runs. Williamson’s 11 RBI’s are also tops on the club while he’s continued to maintain a .300+ batting average. Williamson, who has played almost exclusively left field this spring, was considered a long shot to make the team coming out of camp. Assuming full health for the regular outfielders, the organization will have to decide whether it’s more valuable for Williamson to make the team as a reserve or play everyday in Triple-A to start the year.

Entering Tuesday, the Giants are 9-12 through 21 Cactus League games.

2016 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Catcher

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsOur season preview series concludes this week with a look at the catching position. The top catching prospect in the organization is the leading candidate to open the year as San Jose’s primary backstop. There are several familiar faces who could also return to help handle the catching duties this season for the Giants.

Aramis Garcia enjoyed an excellent first full professional season last year to vault up the prospect rankings. A 2014 second round draft pick out of Florida International University, Garcia spent the majority of last season with Class-A Augusta. In 83 games for the GreenJackets, Garcia hit a team-leading 15 home runs while also producing 15 doubles, 61 RBI’s and a .273 batting average. After hitting just .220 in the first half, Garcia batted a sizzling .336 with eight home runs, 31 RBI’s and a .912 OPS in 35 games after the All-Star break. The offensive surge earned Garcia a promotion to the California League in early-August where he immediately took over as San Jose’s main catcher.

Garcia hit only .227 with four doubles and no home runs in 20 games for the Giants to conclude the regular season, but made his mark defensively throwing out over 50 percent of attempted basestealers. He then caught fire at the plate during San Jose’s thrilling playoff run to leave a strong final impression in 2015. Over seven postseason games last September, Garcia hit .333 with two memorable home runs and a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the Division Series against Visalia. He’ll now look to carry that momentum into the start of this season where it’s expected that he’ll return to San Jose.

Aramis Garcia enters the 2016 season rated as the top catching prospect in the Giants organization

Aramis Garcia enters the 2016 season rated as the top catching prospect in the Giants organization

Baseball America currently rates Garcia as the #7 overall prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization. Only Christian Arroyo, Lucius Fox and Chris Shaw are ranked higher among position players in the system. Regarded as an offense-first catcher, Garcia will enter this year with high expectations. MLB.com notes that Garcia “generally employs a compact right-handed swing but is turning on balls more frequently than he did as an amateur.” Defensively, MLB.com’s scouting report says his “receiving and blocking need more refinement, but he should be able to stay behind the plate.”

Garcia received a non-roster invitation to major league camp this spring and it would be a surprise if he doesn’t open the season in San Jose. If Garcia does indeed land back in the California League next month, he would almost certainly be the top right-handed power hitter on the club.

Prior to Garcia joining the Giants last August, it was Ty Ross who served as San Jose’s primary catcher in 2015. Baseball America has ranked Ross as the top defensive catcher in the Giants farm system, but the backstop will look to improve on his offensive production this season. In 82 games for San Jose last year, Ross hit a pedestrian .244 with 15 doubles, three home runs and 26 RBI’s. A 12th round draft pick three years ago out of college baseball powerhouse LSU, Ross batted .242 in the first half and .245 in the second half.

If Garcia receives a surprise promotion to Double-A coming out of camp, Ross almost certainly would return to handle the majority of the catching duties for the Giants. Although even if Garcia does come back, there remains a strong possibility that Ross could return as well. Giants minor league catchers are rarely behind the plate more than four or five times a week, so substantial playing time would likely still exist for Ross in San Jose.

Other catching possibilities for the San Jose Giants this season could include Jeff Arnold, Jared Deacon or Matt Pare. Arnold was a Cal League All-Star in 2013 when he hit .251 with 13 home runs and 61 RBI’s, but has seen limited action the last two seasons. A torn ACL on opening day 2014 while playing for Double-A Richmond knocked Arnold out for an entire season. He then returned to San Jose last year, but was limited to just 21 games as his knee issues continued. If Arnold can return to full health, he would be an invaluable veteran presence behind the dish this season – likely in San Jose or Richmond. Deacon, a 33rd round pick out of Cal State Fullerton two years ago, caught 40 games with Augusta last season and hit .218. Deacon played briefly for San Jose late in the 2014 campaign. Pare, a non-drafted free agent signee out of Boston College, split last year between San Jose and Augusta batting .217 with three home runs over 58 games in a back-up role.

2016 San Jose Giants Catcher Candidates
(2015 regular season statistics listed)

Jeff Arnold, C
– San Jose: .250 AVG, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB

Jared Deacon, C
– Augusta: .218 AVG, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB

Aramis Garcia, C
– Augusta: .273 AVG, 15 HR, 61 RBI, 0 SB
– San Jose: .227 AVG, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB

Matt Pare, C
– Augusta: .225 AVG, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 0 SB
– San Jose: .189 AVG, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB

Ty Ross, C
– San Jose: .244 AVG, 3 HR, 26 RBI, 0 SB

San Jose Giants Starting Pitching Preview

San Jose Giants Bullpen Preview

San Jose Giants Infield Preview

San Jose Giants Outfield Preview

San Jose Giants TV Schedule Announced

NBCUT_Logo_chnThe San Jose Giants and Comcast have joined forces to bring fans a schedule of 31 live television broadcasts during the 2016 season – an increase of six games from last year. The games can be viewed live on Comcast Hometown Network (Channel 104 SD/Channel 819 HD) throughout most Northern California regions. After the live broadcast of each contest, all 31 games will be available for cable customers to view through Comcast On Demand Channel 1.

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

Highlights of the schedule include San Jose’s home opener on April 7, seven games against the 2015 California League champion Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers affiliate) as well as a special Independence Day telecast on July 4. 11 games on the broadcast schedule are against rival North Division teams (Stockton – 5 games, Modesto – 3 games, Bakersfield – 3 games). CHN will also televise two weekday afternoon games this season on Thursday, April 28 and Thursday, August 11.

The following is Comcast Hometown Network’s San Jose Giants telecast schedule for the 2016 season:

Thursday, April 7 vs. Lancaster, 7:00 PM
Friday, April 8 vs. Lancaster, 7:00 PM
Saturday, April 9 vs. Lancaster, 5:00 PM
Sunday, April 10 vs. Lancaster, 1:00 PM
Tuesday, April 26 vs. Stockton, 6:30 PM
Wednesday, April 27 vs. Stockton, 6:30 PM
Thursday, April 28 vs. Stockton, 11:30 AM
Friday, May 6 vs. Lake Elsinore, 7:00 PM
Saturday, May 7 vs. Lake Elsinore, 5:00 PM
Friday, May 13 vs. Modesto, 7:00 PM
Saturday, May 14 vs. Modesto, 5:00 PM
Saturday, June 4 vs. Bakersfield, 6:00 PM
Sunday, June 5 vs. Bakersfield, 1:00 PM
Monday, June 6 vs. Bakersfield, 6:30 PM
Thursday, June 16 vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 7:00 PM
Friday, June 17 vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 7:00 PM
Saturday, June 18 vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 5:00 PM
Sunday, June 19 vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 1:00 PM
Monday, July 4 vs. Modesto, 6:30 PM
Friday, July 8 vs. Stockton, 7:00 PM
Saturday, July 9 vs. Stockton, 5:00 PM
Thursday, July 21 vs. Inland Empire, 7:00 PM
Friday, July 22 vs. Inland Empire, 7:00 PM
Saturday, July 23 vs. Inland Empire, 6:00 PM
Sunday, July 24 vs. Inland Empire, 5:00 PM
Tuesday, August 9 vs. High Desert, 7:00 PM
Wednesday, August 10 vs. High Desert, 7:00 PM
Thursday, August 11 vs. High Desert, 12:30 PM
Friday, August 19 vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 7:00 PM
Saturday, August 20 vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 5:00 PM
Sunday, August 21 vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 5:00 PM

*SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

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

Recent Former SJ Giants Among First Big League Roster Cuts

By Joe Ritzo

Christian Arroyo went 7-for-13 (.538 AVG) with a home run in big league spring games

Christian Arroyo went 7-for-13 (.538 AVG) with a home run in big league spring games

The San Francisco Giants made their first round of roster cuts yesterday as 19 players were sent to minor league camp, including several standouts from the last three San Jose teams. 2015 California League All-Stars Christian Arroyo, Tyler Beede and Chase Johnson along with other top prospects such as Ray Black, Kyle Crick, Derek Law and Adalberto Mejia were among the players who have been assigned to minor league camp.

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

Among the group of cuts, Arroyo may have made the strongest impression. The former first round draft pick, who had an All-Star campaign with the San Jose Giants last season, showed why he’s considered the #1 prospect in the organization entering the year. Arroyo produced seven hits in 13 at-bats (.538 AVG) during big league spring action, including a home run in last Tuesday’s contest against the Cincinnati Reds. Arroyo, who struck out just once, received playing time at both shortstop and third base. The 20-year old is expected to open the season with Double-A Richmond and his progress throughout the year will certainly be watched closely as he looks to continue his climb through the system.

Other former San Jose hitters who have been sent to minor league camp include infielders Ryder Jones and Rando Moreno and catchers Aramis Garcia and Ty Ross. Jones had a strong showing in his limited playing time knocking out five hits in nine at-bats (.556 AVG). He homered last Friday versus the Mariners. Moreno, a San Jose Giant during a portion of the 2014 season, was 4-for-13 (.308 AVG) with a triple and three RBI’s. Moreno struggled in the Cal League two years ago, but enjoyed a breakout All-Star campaign at the Double-A level a season ago. Meanwhile, Garcia, who is a strong candidate to open this season as San Jose’s starting catcher, saw limited big league spring action going 0-for-2 at the plate with a pair of walks. Garcia is currently rated the top catching prospect in the organization. Ross, who caught a team-high 81 games for the Giants last season, collected a pair of singles in four at-bats with an RBI.

Chris Stratton threw five scoreless innings over two starts before he was sent down to minor league camp

Chris Stratton threw five scoreless innings over two starts before he was sent down to minor league camp

On the pitching side, Sam Coonrod had a pair of terrific relief appearances in spring action before learning he had been assigned to minor league camp. Coonrod fired two scoreless innings with just one hit allowed in his spring debut last Wednesday against the Rockies before working 1 1/3 hitless innings out of the bullpen on Sunday versus the Padres. Overall, Coonrod yielded just one hit in his 3 1/3 scoreless innings with one walk and an impressive seven strikeouts. Coonrod vaulted into the top 10 of various Giants prospect lists after his banner 2015 regular season in Augusta and standout performances with San Jose during the playoffs. His dominant spring effort bodes well for a big 2016 season as Coonrod could return to San Jose in April to anchor the Giants rotation.

Former first round draft pick Chris Stratton also shined in big league spring action before being sent down. Over two spring starts, Stratton tossed five scoreless innings with four hits allowed, one walk and three strikeouts. Last Thursday against Milwaukee, Stratton didn’t surrender a hit over three innings. The former San Jose hurler spent the second half of last season as a member of Sacramento’s starting rotation and will almost certainly return to the River Cats for the start of this season.

Crick, Law, Mejia and Joan Gregorio were also among the former San Jose hurlers who were sent down to minor league camp at the beginning of the week. Crick, who is looking to bounce back from a frustrating 2015 season, fired three scoreless innings over three relief appearances. Crick pitched around three hits and three walks and surprisingly did not record a strikeout during his limited time on the mound. A recent addition to San Francisco’s 40-man roster, it will be interesting to see whether Crick is used as a starter or a reliever, presumably in Double-A, once the minor league season begins.

Law didn’t allow a run in his first three spring appearances (2 1/3 innings) before he was roughed up for three runs on three hits over 2/3 of an inning last Saturday against the Diamondbacks. Mejia made three longer relief appearances totaling 6 1/3 innings with four runs allowed and four strikeouts while Gregorio pitched twice out of the bullpen and did not surrender a run or a hit in 2 1/3 innings (3 K’s).

2015 San Jose pitchers Beede, Black, Johnson, Ian Gardeck and Jake Smith were also all assigned to minor league camp. Beede had a difficult first outing this spring issuing three walks over 2/3 of an inning out of the bullpen (one run allowed). He bounced back though in his second appearance working a clean 1-2-3 inning last Thursday. Beede enters the 2016 season considered by many to be the top pitching prospect in the Giants system.

Relief pitcher Ian Gardeck (Tommy John surgery) will miss the 2016 season

Relief pitcher Ian Gardeck (Tommy John surgery) will miss the 2016 season

Black made three relief appearances and didn’t give up a hit in his three scoreless innings. The hard-throwing right-hander did walk three batters, including two in his most recent inning last Sunday, to go with a pair of strikeouts. Most importantly, Black appears healthy and could move quickly through the system this season. Johnson, San Jose’s Pitcher of the Year in 2015, pitched three innings out of the San Francisco bullpen this spring and surrendered just one run on two hits with a couple of strikeouts. Smith made two appearances in relief and yielded two runs over two innings. And unfortunately, reports out of Arizona indicated that Gardeck suffered a torn ligament in his elbow that will require Tommy John Surgery and thus end his 2016 season. Gardeck tied a San Jose Giants single-season record with 61 appearances last year.

After yesterday’s moves, 22 former San Jose Giants remain in big league camp. Among those, catchers Trevor Brown and Andrew Susac, infielders Ehire Adrianza, Conor Gillaspie and Kelby Tomlinson along with outfielders Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson are in competition for spots on San Francisco’s opening day roster. Potentially, as many as 14 or 15 former San Jose Giants could open this season in San Francisco.

2016 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Outfield

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsThe San Jose Giants season preview series continues this week with a look at the outfield. Several players with previous experience in San Jose are among the candidates to roam the outfield at Municipal Stadium this season while an exciting newcomer will likely take over in center.

It was often a struggle offensively last season for the Augusta GreenJackets, San Francisco’s Class-A affiliate, as the club managed just a .246 team batting average and only 4.1 runs per game. There were, however, a very notable bright spots at the plate in Augusta. Top prospect catcher Aramis Garcia had a standout second half and earned a late-season promotion to San Jose. In last week’s infield preview, we highlighted third baseman Jonah Arenado and his solid production while playing for the GreenJackets. In the outfield, the clear standout was Johneshwy Fargas – a dynamic center fielder who looks poised to join the SJ Giants this season.

Fargas, a native of Puerto Rico, was drafted in the 11th round by the Giants three years ago. He’s gradually moved up the system since playing initially in the Arizona Rookie League and Salem-Keizer as a teenager over his first two professional seasons before spending all of last year in Augusta at age 20. With the GreenJackets, Fargas immediately established himself as a capable leadoff hitter and eventually earned league All-Star honors. He finished the campaign with a .278 batting average over 102 games while also producing 19 doubles, two triples and two home runs. Fargas has shown little power throughout his career, but was one of the toughest to strikeout on last year’s Augusta team. His greatest asset offensively though is undoubtedly his basestealing skills. Last year, Fargas led the entire San Francisco Giants farm system and ranked second in the South Atlantic League with a whopping 59 stolen bases. He swiped 30 bags (in 42 attempts) during the first half and was even more efficient after the All-Star break with 29 stolen bases (in 36 attempts) over just 47 games. Fargas is considered a well above-average runner while he’s noted for his aggressiveness and tremendous instincts on the bases. The San Jose Giants haven’t had a player steal more than 31 bases since Gary Brown in 2011 (53 SB). If he earns a promotion to San Jose for the start of this season, look for Fargas to assume the role of leadoff hitter and create havoc on the basepaths all year.

Fargas is also a strong defensive player with above-average range, superior athleticism and a cannon for an arm. 95 out of his 98 games in the outfield last season came in center and you would expect he’ll garner most of the playing time at that position in San Jose if he makes the club coming out of camp. Fargas isn’t currently rated on Baseball America’s or MLB.com’s top 30 organizational prospect lists, but if he follows up his solid year in Augusta with a big season in San Jose, his stock within the system should rise dramatically.

Dylan Davis hit 12 home runs last season between San Jose and Augusta

Dylan Davis hit 12 home runs last season between San Jose and Augusta

Dylan Davis is another outfielder from last year’s Augusta squad that appears poised for a promotion to San Jose this season. Davis was San Francisco’s third round draft pick in 2014 out of Pac-12 powerhouse Oregon State. While in college, Davis won the Cape Cod League home run derby before leading the Pac-12 Conference in RBI’s as a junior. He entered 2015 – his first full professional season – with high expectations, but an oblique injury sustained during spring training prevented him from his making his debut until early-May. Then in an aggressive move by the organization, Davis was sent directly to San Jose to start his season, but hit just .206 in 29 games. Davis showed some power with three home runs and a very patient approach at the plate (14 walks), but was sent down to Augusta after five weeks.

With the GreenJackets, Davis started slow, but eventually turned things around to become one of the club’s top hitters down the stretch. He hit .250 overall with Augusta in 72 games while ranking third on the club with nine home runs (despite spending just over a half season with the GreenJackets). Over his last 42 games, Davis posted a .291 batting average and hit six home runs. Davis features an above-average arm and served as Augusta’s primary right fielder last season. He could play either corner outfield spot in San Jose.

Davis hit just .237 between San Jose and Augusta last season with 104 strikeouts in 101 games, but his raw power is some of the best in the organization. And as a recent high draft pick, Davis will almost certainly be given an opportunity to start everyday this year. He’ll look to build on his strong finish to last season and could be a key component to the middle of San Jose’s lineup in 2016.

Seth Harrison is another outfielder with prior Cal League experience who may return to San Jose this season. Harrison, like Davis, was drafted in 2014 out of the college ranks. A seventh round selection out of Louisiana-Lafayette, Harrison opened last season in Augusta before joining the Giants in late-May. He immediately stepped into the role of everyday center fielder and leadoff hitter with San Jose and initially had success. Over his first 25 games in the Cal League, Harrison boasted a .297 batting average. He hit what turned out to be San Jose’s only walk-off home run of the season (June 7 vs. High Desert) and also had a six-RBI game at Muni two weeks later.

Seth Harrison could return to the San Jose outfield this year

Seth Harrison could return to the San Jose outfield this year

The second half though was a completely different story for Harrison. In 65 games after the All-Star break, Harrison hit a paltry .184 and struck out roughly once every three at-bats. While he continued to play a solid defensive center field, Harrison’s struggles at the plate resulted in him moving down to one of the bottom spots of the lineup and, unfortunately, he could never shake his prolonged slump. Overall in San Jose last season, Harrison hit .212 with 17 doubles, four home runs and 13 stolen bases in 92 games.

A Harrison-Fargas duo would give the Giants two outstanding defensive outfielders this season. If the two players are on San Jose’s opening day roster, it will be interesting to see how playing time is allotted given that both are center fielders. The composition of the remainder of the Giants’ outfield may determine whether one of them garners more regular playing time at a corner spot or is perhaps relegated to a reserve role.

Meanwhile, the wild card among potential returning San Jose outfielders is Tyler Horan. Horan burst onto the scene in 2014 when he blasted 25 home runs while playing for Augusta and San Jose. His stint with the Giants was especially notable two years ago as the slugging outfielder went deep 10 times in just 28 games while batting at a .321 clip. Horan, a former eighth round pick out of Virginia Tech, was so impressive that he was thought to be a candidate to move up to Double-A Richmond for the start of last season. Instead, he returned to San Jose and other than a couple of weeks in July, struggled mightily at the plate in a frustrating season.

Horan suffered a pair of leg injuries early last season and endured a month-long DL stint during April and May. Upon returning to the lineup, Horan struggled to find his footing and ultimately hit just .215 in 94 games overall. His 13 home runs were tied for the team lead, but Horan struggled to drive in runs as evident by a .192 average with runners in scoring position. He went over five weeks without a round-tripper in the second half and hit just .173 in August. All that said, Horan is still just a year removed from a fantastic season that saw him put up some of the best power numbers of any player in the organization. He’ll now look to put his difficult 2015 behind him and return to top form starting this spring. Whether he’s bumped up to Richmond or returns to San Jose, where he was almost exclusively a right fielder last season, will be a major storyline coming out of camp in a few weeks. If Horan returns, that would be a powerful left-handed bat in the middle of the Giants lineup capable of putting up huge numbers in the California League.

Other potential newcomers to the San Jose outfield this season include Steven Duggar and Ronnie Jebavy. Duggar and Jebavy were drafted last June by San Francisco and thus are each embarking on their first full professional seasons. Both will likely be major contributors in San Jose at some point, but it remains to be seen whether that will be this year.

Steven Duggar played for the Giants during the postseason last September

Steven Duggar played for the Giants during the postseason last September

Duggar may have the better chance of the two to open the season in the Giants’ outfield. Duggar earned a surprise promotion to San Jose at the start of the Championship Series last September when the Giants roster had suddenly been gutted due to injury and other player movement. A sixth round pick out of Clemson, Duggar was sent to Salem-Keizer after signing his pro contract where he served as the Volcanoes’ everyday right fielder last season. In 58 games, he hit a solid .293 with 12 doubles, one home run, 27 RBI’s and six stolen bases. Though it didn’t result in many stolen base attempts last summer (9), Duggar is regarded as having plus-speed, something that was very evident during his limited playing time during the Cal League playoffs. Duggar is a solid all-around player with a line drive stroke, power potential, a good eye at the plate (he drew 35 walks in 58 games with Salem) and excellent defensive skills. A strong spring training could certainly push Duggar past Augusta and to the California League this year where he could serve as San Jose’s primary right fielder.

Jebavy was San Francisco’s fifth round selection last June out of Middle Tennessee State. His batting average was significant lower than Duggar’s last summer in Salem-Keizer (.263), but Jebavy showed impressive power from the top of the lineup with 10 doubles, four triples and eight home runs in 63 games. He also stole 23 bases in 27 attempts. Jebavy’s best tools are his speed and defensive abilities in center field. Given that Fargas and/or Harrison are perhaps more likely to garner most of the center field playing time in San Jose this season, Jebavy is probably ticketed for Augusta to start the year. The organization will certainly want him playing everyday in center. As always though, spring training performances could result in surprising roster assignments.

MLB.com currently rates Jebavy as the #26 overall prospect in the system and the fourth-highest outfielder (behind only former SJ Giants Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker and Hunter Cole). Duggar is not ranked in the top 30 currently, but did receive mention on MLB.com’s list late last season.

Another Augusta outfielder who will be looking to move up to San Jose this season is Cristian Paulino. Paulino was limited to just 45 games last season due to a hamstring injury, but when healthy, was a productive player for the GreenJackets. Paulino hit .299 with 13 doubles, three home runs and 19 stolen bases while primarily seeing action at both corner outfield spots. Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic, Paulino is now in his sixth professional season and looking to reach the Class-A Advanced level for the first time.

2016 San Jose Giants Outfield Candidates
(2015 regular season statistics are listed)

Dylan Davis, LF/RF
– San Jose: .206 AVG, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 0 SB
– Augusta: .250 AVG, 9 HR, 30 RBI, 2 SB

Steven Duggar, RF
– Salem-Keizer: .293 AVG, 1 HR, 27 RBI, 6 SB

Johneshwy Fargas, CF
– Augusta: .278 AVG, 2 HR, 35 RBI, 59 SB

Seth Harrison, CF
– San Jose: .212 AVG, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 13 SB
– Augusta: .253 AVG, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 6 SB

Tyler Horan, RF
– San Jose: .215 AVG, 13 HR, 35 RBI, 5 SB

Ronnie Jebavy, CF
– Salem-Keizer: .263 AVG, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 23 SB

Cristian Paulino, RF/LF
– Augusta: .299 AVG, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 19 SB

The 2016 San Jose Giants preview series concludes next week with a look at the catching position.

2016 San Jose Giants Starting Pitching Preview

2016 San Jose Giants Bullpen Preview

2016 San Jose Giants Infield Preview

Former SJ Giants Shine In Early Spring Action

By Joe Ritzo

Former SJ Giant Mac Williamson homered twice in San Francisco's spring training game last Friday

Former SJ Giant Mac Williamson homered twice in San Francisco’s spring training game last Friday

Cactus League games down in Arizona are underway as the San Francisco Giants prepare for the 2016 season. Through a week worth of action, there are several recent former San Jose Giants who have made a strong early impression.

The Giants are seven games into their spring schedule and initial indications are that the competition for the final roster spots on the opening day roster will last throughout the month. Mac Williamson was seen as a longshot to make the opening day club, but has burst out of the gates offensively. The 2013 San Jose Giants co-MVP homered twice in last Saturday’s exhibition game against the Texas Rangers before smacking a double the next day versus the Dodgers. Overall, Williamson is off to a sizzling 5-for-12 start (.417 AVG) that includes the two round-trippers and three RBI’s.

Meanwhile, former San Jose outfielder Jarrett Parker has also performed well in early spring action producing four hits (all singles) in 12 at-bats (.333 AVG). Parker certainly caught the eye of the organization with his home run barrage last September in the big leagues and is looking to continue that momentum this spring. While it’s certainly possible that neither Williamson nor Parker make the opening day roster (veterans Kyle Blanks and Gorkys Hernandez are also vying for a reserve outfield spot), the former San Jose duo have shined early and could force the issue with continued success at the plate.

Former San Jose Giant Kelby Tomlinson has seen substantial early spring playing time and looks to be in a favorable spot for making his first opening day roster. At the plate, Tomlinson is 3-for-12 (.250 AVG) with three singles and a stolen base. After batting over .300 in the big leagues last year though, the bigger key for Tomlinson this spring might be his defensive work. Thus far, Tomlinson has played exclusively shortstop in exhibition games and reportedly has handled the position well. Tomlinson has already proven himself at second base with his work at the position late last season filling-in for the injured Joe Panik. The Giants now want to see if he can capably step in for Brandon Crawford at shortstop when the need arises. Tomlinson has seen significant action at short throughout his minor league career (including the 2013 season while in San Jose) and his progress at the position over the coming weeks will likely be a critical factor for his inclusion on the roster.

A pair of recent former San Jose Giants are also battling it out for the back-up catching role in San Francisco this spring. Andrew Susac is certainly the favorite to land the job given his prior big league experience, including time on the 2014 postseason roster. Susac is just 1-for-11 in early spring action, but the one hit was a home run last Thursday against the Brewers. Meanwhile, Trevor Brown made a strong impression after his September call-up last season and will look to push Susac for the back-up job throughout the spring. Brown is 2-for-6 (.333 AVG) with a double and a pair of walks this exhibition season. Brown has also seen some action at first base early on this spring.

He’s not a candidate to make the opening day roster, but top prospect Christian Arroyo is making the most of his early playing time this spring. Arroyo, who received a non-roster invitation to camp, doubled in the spring opener last Tuesday against the Angels before producing another hit in yesterday’s contest. He’s 2-for-6 overall (.333 AVG) with a pair of RBI’s. Of note, in addition to playing his usual shortstop, Arroyo has also seen action at third base in three exhibition games thus far. That’s likely a sign that he’ll work some at the hot corner once the minor league season begins.

On the pitching side, Clayton Blackburn and Ty Blach are looking to position themselves for a big league call-up at some point this season. Both hurlers, who are expected to open the season in the Triple-A Sacramento rotation, are off to strong starts this spring. Blackburn has made two relief appearances totaling 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander has surrendered two runs (both earned) on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Blackburn tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in his spring debut, but left the outing early after he was struck twice with comebackers (he returned to the mound four days later).

Ty Blach has worked four scoreless innings in early spring action

Ty Blach has worked four scoreless innings in early spring action

Blach has twice worked two scoreless innings of relief through the first week of spring training. Overall in his four innings, Blach has surrendered just two hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Both Blackburn and Blach were added to San Francisco’s 40-man roster last offseason.

Derek Law has also impressed this spring with a pair of scoreless relief outings. Law, who returned from Tommy John surgery last June, has yielded just one hit over two innings this spring with three strikeouts. Law is another member of San Francisco’s 40-man roster and is probably headed for the Sacramento bullpen to start the season.

Here are other former San Jose Giant spring training updates:
* Ehire Adrianza (.200 AVG, 3-for-15, 2B, 2 RBI)
– Competing with Tomlinson for a back-up infield role. Has surprisingly played three games at first base this spring, in addition to his usual spot at shortstop.

* Tyler Beede (2/3 IP, 1 R, 3 BB, 0 SO)
– Walked three batters in 2/3 of an inning in his big league spring debut last Saturday.

* Ray Black (1 IP, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO)
– Threw a hitless inning of relief in his first relief appearance of the spring.

* Kyle Crick (2 IP, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 SO)
– Has pitched twice out of the bullpen and has not allowed a run over two innings. Did walk two batters in his inning of work yesterday.

* Ian Gardeck (1 1/3 IP, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 SO)
– Struck out two in a perfect inning in his spring debut. Struggled yesterday allowing three runs in the ninth inning to take the loss.

* Conor Gillaspie (.250 AVG, 2-for-8, 2B, HR, RBI)
– 2009 San Jose Giant has returned to the organization and is trying to make the team as a back-up third baseman. Has doubled and homered in his first eight at-bats.

* Joan Gregorio (1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO)
– Pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings with a pair of strikeouts in his first action of the spring last week.

* Chase Johnson (1 IP, 0 R, 0 SO)
– Went 3 up and 3 down in his big league spring debut last Friday.

* Ryder Jones (.400 AVG, 2-for-5, 2B)
– Has two hits, including a double, in five at-bats during early spring action.

* Ryan Lollis (.250 AVG, 3-for-12, RBI)
– Non-roster invitee is an extreme longshot to make the opening day roster, but is receiving substantial early playing time with three singles in 12 at-bats.

* Adalberto Mejia (2 IP, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO)
– Threw two scoreless innings of relief in his first appearance of the spring last weekend.

* Rando Moreno (.333 AVG, 2-for-6, RBI)
– Former San Jose infielder has a pair of singles and an RBI in six at-bats.

* Steven Okert (2 IP, 2 R, 2 SO)
– Lefty reliever surrendered two runs in an inning to begin the spring before bouncing back with a scoreless frame in his second appearance.

* Jake Smith (2 IP, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 SO)
– Breezed through a 1-2-3 inning in his debut. Was touched up for two runs and two hits in an inning his next time on the mound.

* Chris Stratton (2 IP, 0 R, 1 SO)
– Made a spot-start last Saturday and worked two scoreless innings pitching around four hits.

The San Francisco Giants own a 3-4 record through seven games this spring. Minor league spring training games get underway next Wednesday, March 16, so look for a number of players to be assigned to minor league camp prior to that date.

2016 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Infield

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsThe San Jose Giants season preview series continues this week with a look at the players who could fill out the infield. In all likelihood, a familiar face to San Jose fans will anchor the hot corner this year while one of the top prospects in the system could take over at first base. Meanwhile, there are several possibilities up the middle in what should be a spirited competition this spring for roster spots.

It’s expected that there will be newcomers at shortstop and first base this season in San Jose. #1 prospect Christian Arroyo produced an All-Star campaign in the California League last year and the shortstop is now headed for the upper levels of the system. Over at first base, Angel Villalona slugged 13 home runs in the second half last season after coming down from Double-A. He then added four more round-trippers in the playoffs, including two memorable extra-inning game-winning blasts against Visalia in the North Division Series. Villalona should get another opportunity in Double-A this season.

Third baseman Ryder Jones led the Giants with 29 doubles last season

Third baseman Ryder Jones led the Giants with 29 doubles last season

The big question with regard to the San Jose infield this spring is whether Ryder Jones returns at third base or also receives a promotion to the Eastern League. Jones was San Francisco’s second round draft pick in 2013 and has usually partnered with Arroyo on the left side of the infield as he’s climbed the organizational ladder. Last season, Jones immediately established himself in the middle of the Giants order batting .320 in April. He finished the first half at a solid .285 clip with a team-leading 15 doubles and four home runs. Jones looked primed for a big second half, but failed to gain much traction as he managed just a .237 batting average after the All-Star break. Jones didn’t homer after July 8 and also struggled to stay healthy enduring a pair of two-week DL stints late in the season. His year then ended with a leg injury during the final weekend of the regular season that prevented Jones from seeing any action during the playoffs.

Despite missing significant playing time throughout July and August, Jones still led the Giants with 29 doubles last season. He was also third on the club with 47 RBI’s, but managed just six home runs for the entire year – a disappointing final total after his early-season surge. Overall, Jones batted .268, but showed little patience at the plate drawing only 16 walks in over 400 plate appearances. Jones may not be an elite position player prospect in the system right now, but he’s just still just 21 years old (will turn 22 in June) and has intriguing power potential as a left-handed hitting third baseman. And clearly the organization remains high on Jones as he received a non-roster invitation to big league camp this spring.

The jump to the pitching-rich Eastern League is a massive one for a young hitter. Did Jones show enough in San Jose last season to warrant a promotion or is he headed back to the California League? If Jones does return, he would figure to be a major contributor in the middle of the Giants lineup as the club looks to compete for a first half North Division title.

Third baseman Jonah Arenado joined San Jose for the playoffs last September

Third baseman Jonah Arenado joined San Jose for the playoffs last September

Even if Jones does receive a promotion to Double-A, San Jose should still be in good shape at third base. With Jones on the DL last September, it was Jonah Arenado who was elevated from Augusta (Class-A level) for the Giants’ playoff run. And while Arenado struggled during the Cal League playoffs last year (.136 AVG in 11 games with no extra-base hits), he did put together a solid regular season with Augusta. Overall, Arenado led the GreenJackets with 62 RBI’s while also ranking second in doubles (25) and third in home runs (9) to go with a .264 batting average. Arenado, like Jones, is still very young having also been drafted out of the high school ranks in 2013 (16th round). Arenado, who is the younger brother of Rockies standout third baseman Nolan Arenado, turned 21 last month and would probably be one of the youngest players on San Jose’s team this season. If Jones does open the year in Richmond, Arenado is the logical candidate to step in at third base and would be counted on to be one of the Giants’ top run producers this year.

Over at first base, there is great hope that Chris Shaw will prove that he’s worthy this spring of a promotion to San Jose. Shaw was considered by many scouts to be the top power hitter out of the collegiate ranks in last year’s draft. Ultimately, the Giants selected the Boston College slugger in the supplemental first round (31st overall pick) and assigned him to Short-Season Salem-Keizer. With the Volcanoes, Shaw belted a Northwest League-leading 12 home runs in just 46 games to go with 11 doubles, 30 RBI’s and a .287 batting average. He also led the league with a .551 slugging percentage.

First baseman Chris Shaw led the Northwest League with 12 home runs last season (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

First baseman Chris Shaw led the Northwest League with 12 home runs last season (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

MLB.com, in rating Shaw the #5 overall prospect in the system, notes that his “6-foot-4, 255-pound frame packs plenty of strength and gives him huge raw power, especially to his pull side.” Shaw still has to improve defensively at first base, but could put up impressive power numbers in his first full professional season. A left-handed hitter, Shaw is the consensus top first base prospect in the organization entering this year. He could open the season in Augusta, but the organization has certainly not been afraid to send top college draftees to San Jose for their first full year. If he’s in San Jose, look for Shaw to hold down one of the middle-of-order spots in the lineup.

Skyler Ewing served as the primary first baseman in Augusta last season and could also be considered for an everyday role with the Giants this year. Ewing was a sixth round pick two years ago out of Rice University and like Shaw, had an excellent showing in Salem-Keizer to begin his pro career. However last season with the GreenJackets, Ewing hit just .231 in 128 games and while he led the club with 26 doubles and six triples, managed only two home runs (after slugging eight in 51 games with Salem the previous summer). Ewing may have to repeat the South Atlantic League this year, especially if Shaw proves that he’s ready for the jump to San Jose, but spring training will likely be a major determining factor as to the landing spots for both first basemen.

Brandon Bednar saw action at all four infield spots for the Giants last season

Brandon Bednar saw action at all four infield spots for the Giants last season

Up the middle, there are several possibilities for the San Jose Giants this season. Arroyo and Brandon Bednar served as the club’s starters at shortstop and second base respectively during the stretch run last year. Bednar has spent the last 1 1/2 seasons in San Jose, but after batting just .237 in 346 at-bats last year, could return to the Cal League. Bednar has the unique ability to play all four infield positions and saw significant time at each spot a season ago (35 games at third base, 34 games at shortstop, 27 games at second and 23 games at first base). That versatility could prove invaluable for the Giants once again.

Travious Relaford (.237 AVG, 1 HR, 36 RBI) was the primary shortstop in Augusta last season, but will be unavailable to start this year as he serves a 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy. Bednar is certainly a candidate for significant playing time at shortstop, but if the organization wanted to dip down to a lower level, look for C.J. Hinojosa to garner consideration for a spot in San Jose.

Hinojosa was San Francisco’s 11th round draft pick last June out of the University of Texas. Regarded as one of the top college prospects in the country entering 2015, Hinojosa fell down the draft boards a bit after a pedestrian junior season at Texas. Hinojosa may end up being a steal in the 11th round as he thrived in the Northwest League with Salem-Keizer last summer. Over 48 games with the Volcanoes, Hinojosa batted .296 with five home runs, a team-leading 18 doubles and 19 RBI’s. A tremendous contact hitter who struck out only 15 times in 189 at-bats, Hinojosa certainly showed some power last year as well. He was also at his best late in the year batting at a .375 clip during the month of August. Hinojosa saw action exclusively at shortstop with the Volcanoes and is regarded as a smart and savvy ballplayer who plays the game with great enthusiasm. With the lack of a top prospect coming up from Augusta to play shortstop this season, the door appears open for Hinojosa to earn a spot in San Jose coming out of camp.

Will Callaway was the main second baseman in Augusta last season and could fill a similar role in San Jose this year. Callaway, a 37th round pick three years ago out of Appalachian State, batted .268 in 106 games for the GreenJackets last season. He produced 21 doubles, four triples, three home runs and 41 RBI’s while also showing some versatility as evident by his 22 games at third base and 28 games in the outfield.

Third baseman/catcher/DH Miguel Gomez is another intriguing infield possibility for the San Jose Giants this season. Gomez made headlines within the organization last summer when he hit safely in 22 straight games to set a Salem-Keizer franchise record. He finished the season with a league-leading 52 RBI’s to go with 14 doubles, six home runs and an impressive .319 batting average. Gomez’s fantastic year earned him Northwest League All-Star honors. He’s no stranger to success though as Gomez was honored as the MVP of the Dominican Summer League in 2014 and owns a career minor league batting average over .300 in four seasons. Originally signed as an international free agent by the Giants out of the Dominican Republic, Gomez is a contact hitter who was the toughest to strikeout in the Northwest League last season. Depending on how the Jones/Arenado situation shakes out coming out of camp, Gomez could be considered for regular playing time at third base, while also providing depth at catcher, for the Giants this season.

2016 San Jose Giants Infield Candidates
(2015 regular season statistics are listed)

Jonah Arenado, 3B
– Augusta: .264 AVG, 9 HR, 62 RBI, 1 SB

Brandon Bednar, Utility
– San Jose: .237 AVG, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 3 SB

Will Callaway, 2B/3B
– Augusta: .268 AVG, 3 HR, 41 RBI, 4 SB

Skyler Ewing, 1B
– Augusta: .231 AVG, 2 HR, 42 RBI, 2 SB

Miguel Gomez, 3B/C
– Salem-Keizer: .319 AVG, 6 HR, 52 RBI, 0 SB

C.J. Hinojosa, SS
– Salem-Keizer: .296 AVG, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 2 SB

Ryder Jones, 3B
– San Jose: .268 AVG, 6 HR, 47 RBI, 2 SB

Chris Shaw, 1B
– Salem-Keizer: .287 AVG, 12 HR, 30 RBI, 0 SB

The 2016 San Jose Giants preview series continues next Monday with a look at the outfield.

2016 San Jose Giants Starting Pitching Preview

2016 San Jose Giants Bullpen Preview

Episode 59 – Inside The San Jose Giants

2016-Inside-the-Podcast-480 x 270It’s the Inside the San Jose Giants predictions podcast! How many former San Jose Giants will debut in San Francisco this year? Who is going to lead the system in home runs and which pitcher will collect the most strikeouts? Who are the breakout prospects in the organization this year? Joe and Justin tackle these topics as well as make other bold predictions for the upcoming season. The podcast episode also includes a discussion of San Jose starting rotation candidates and an overview of the fun-filled Giants promotional schedule coming to Municipal Stadium this season.

2016 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Relief Pitchers

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsOur season preview series continues this week with a look at some of the arms that could make up the San Jose Giants bullpen. It will be almost impossible to top the production of last year’s Giants relief corps as Jake Smith, Ian Gardeck, Ray Black, Tyler Rogers and Dan Slania formed arguably the most dominant San Jose bullpen in team history. Those talented hurlers are now headed for the upper levels of the Giants farm system which should result in an almost entirely new collection of San Jose relief arms this season.

The Class-A Augusta GreenJackets posted an outstanding 3.54 team ERA in 2015 and many of the pitchers who excelled on that staff should compete for spots on San Jose’s opening day roster this spring. In last week’s preview article, we highlighted the members of Augusta’s starting rotation who have positioned themselves for a promotion to the California League. Several GreenJackets relievers should also be in line for a jump to San Jose:

Reliever Carlos Diaz had a 1.63 ERA in Augusta last season before joining San Jose for the Cal League playoffs

Reliever Carlos Diaz had a 1.63 ERA in Augusta last season before joining San Jose for the Cal League playoffs

Left-hander Carlos Diaz could be one of the few members of San Jose’s bullpen with previous California League experience. Diaz joined the Giants at the start of the playoffs last September after an outstanding regular season in Augusta’s bullpen. Over 40 relief appearances for the GreenJackets last year, Diaz fashioned a sparkling 1.63 ERA and owned a 75-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 55 innings pitched. Diaz limited the opposition to a .206 batting average and was at his best late in the year as he posted a 0.84 ERA in the second half. His most significant contribution during the Cal League playoffs last season was when he earned the victory in the do-or-die Game 4 against Visalia with a scoreless 13th inning.

San Jose Giants fans were spoiled last season with a number of relievers who could light up the radar gun at 95+ MPH. And while there may not be a Ray Black type (100+ MPH on a regular basis) at Muni this year, right-hander Rodolfo Martinez possesses one of the best fastballs in the system and is likely headed to San Jose.

Martinez spent all of last season with Augusta and was a solid contributor in a set-up role. Over 35 appearances, he owned a 2.54 ERA and held the opposition to a .232 batting average. For his efforts, Martinez was named the South Atlantic League’s “Best Reliever” in Baseball America’s Best Tools edition at the end of the season (managers vote). Martinez’s fastball reportedly will sit in the mid-to-upper 90’s and he showed the ability to control the pitch last year as evident by his stellar 44-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 46 innings. 2015 marked Martinez’s first year at the full-season level and he seemingly improved as the summer progressed posting a 1.54 ERA after the All-Star break. If Martinez can follow it up with an excellent year in San Jose, he could shoot up the prospect rankings within the organization.

Eury Sanchez is another possible late-inning relief arm that could find his way to San Jose this spring. Two years ago, Sanchez led the Short-Season Northwest League with 14 saves while pitching for Salem-Keizer en route to earning All-Star honors. He likely would have held a similar role in Augusta last season, but an injury prevented him from making his season debut until late-June. Sanchez finally joined the GreenJackets during the last week of July and was a capable reliever down the stretch. Overall, the right-hander logged a 3.20 ERA with Augusta while registering 23 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings. Sanchez has impressive career numbers of 30 saves, a 2.26 ERA and over 12 strikeouts per nine innings in his first four professional seasons. He figures to be one of the arms competing for a late-inning role in San Jose this spring.

Right-handers Carlos Alvarado and Dusten Knight should also be strong candidates for the San Jose bullpen this season after each enjoyed successful 2015 campaigns in Augusta. Alvarado debuted professionally in 2009 as a member of the Tigers organization and would provide a veteran presence to the San Jose bullpen. The 26-year old collected 11 saves in Augusta last season to go with a 3.75 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 24 innings. Alvarado in fact had better numbers with the GreenJackets two years ago (2.03 ERA) and even has limited experience in Double-A.

Knight, a former 28th round pick out of UT-Pan American, compiled a 2.69 ERA in 38 appearances for Augusta a season ago. He was often used in two or three inning stints and could fill a similar role with San Jose this year. Overall, his 86 strikeouts (in 73 innings) led all GreenJackets relievers while his ERA sat below 1.50 entering August before late-season fatigue may have set in.

Possible returnees to the San Jose bullpen could include left-hander Christian Jones and right-handers Jeff Soptic and Pat Young. Jones missed the majority of the first half last season with San Jose due to injury, but became a reliable relief arm post-All-Star break as the Giants made their push for the playoffs. Jones logged a 3.50 ERA in 72 regular season innings before impressing as a starter during the playoffs. Soptic had a 3.23 ERA and held opponents to a .207 batting average last season in San Jose while also cutting down on his walks slightly (38 BB’s in 55 innings). Jones and Soptic should compete for spots on the Double-A Richmond staff this spring, but competition will be fierce and one or both could end up back in San Jose to start the year. Meanwhile, Young spent all of 2014 as a starter in San Jose, but often struggled (6.13 ERA). He moved down to Augusta last season and enjoyed far more success (8-5, 3.39 ERA in 17 starts). Young may get another crack at the California League this season and if there isn’t room for him in San Jose’s rotation, he could fill a role as a long reliever.

Jose Reyes will almost certainly return to the San Jose Giants this year, but could shift to the bullpen. Reyes enjoyed a dominant first two months last season in Augusta’s rotation before an early-June promotion to the Cal League. The right-hander often struggled though with the Giants posting a 5.86 ERA in his 14 starts. He had a 7.93 ERA after the third inning and ultimately moved to the bullpen in September for the playoffs. What role Reyes has in San Jose once the season begins – whether it’s another shot at starting or a more permanent move to the bullpen – will be an intriguing storyline coming out of camp.

There’s always the possibility of a reliever or two skipping past Augusta and jumping from Salem-Keizer to San Jose this spring. Right-hander Cory Taylor struck out a whopping 50 batters in 33 innings for the Volcanoes last summer to go with a 2.45 ERA. Drafted in the eighth round last June, Taylor was a successful starting pitcher in college (Dallas Baptist) and could potentially have that role in Augusta. Ryan Halstead and Caleb Smith split the closing duties in Salem-Keizer last season and could be considered for promotions to San Jose. Halstead, who was also drafted last June (21st round), boasted a 2.33 ERA and eight saves while limiting Northwest League hitters to a .182 batting average. Meanwhile, Smith, a 17th rounder in 2014, collected seven saves and struck out 42 in just 25 innings. Smith could give San Jose a much-needed left-handed arm in the ‘pen. Augusta may be the most likely destination for this trio, but strong spring showings could always elevate any of them up to the California League.

2016 San Jose Giants Relief Pitcher Candidates
(2015 regular season statistics listed)

Carlos Alvarado, RHP
– Augusta: 23 G, 2-1, 3.75 ERA, 24.0 IP, 12 BB, 26 SO (11 SV)

Carlos Diaz, LHP
– Augusta: 40 G, 4-3, 1.63 ERA, 55.1 IP, 17 BB, 75 SO (5 SV)

Ryan Halstead, RHP
– Salem-Keizer: 1-2, 2.33 ERA, 27.0 IP, 4 BB, 32 SO (8 SV)

Christian Jones, LHP
– San Jose: 37 G, 3 GS, 6-2, 3.50 ERA, 72.0 IP, 21 BB, 75 SO

Dusten Knight, RHP
– Augusta: 38 G, 7-3, 2.69 ERA, 73.2 IP, 24 BB, 86 SO (3 SV)

Rodolfo Martinez, RHP
– Augusta: 35 G, 1-2, 2.54 ERA, 46.0 IP, 14 BB, 44 SO

Jose Reyes, RHP
– San Jose: 15 G, 14 GS, 5-6, 5.86 ERA, 78.1 IP, 18 BB, 55 SO
– Augusta: 8 G, 8 GS, 4-1, 1.36 ERA, 46.1 IP, 11 BB, 45 SO

Eury Sanchez, RHP
– Augusta: 11 G, 1-2, 3.20 ERA, 19.2 IP, 9 BB, 23 SO
– AZL-Giants: 9 G, 2-1, 1.04 ERA, 8.2 IP, 2 BB, 13 SO

Caleb Smith, LHP
– Salem-Keizer: 20 G, 3-2, 3.51 ERA, 25.2 IP, 12 BB, 42 SO (7 SV)

Jeff Soptic, RHP
– San Jose: 32 G, 2-3, 3.23 ERA, 55.2 IP, 38 BB, 50 SO

Cory Taylor, RHP
– Salem-Keizer: 18 G, 2-0, 2.45 ERA, 33.0 IP, 12 BB, 50 SO

Pat Young, RHP
– Augusta: 17 G, 17 GS, 8-5, 3.39 ERA, 82.1 IP, 34 BB, 64 SO

The 2016 San Jose Giants preview series continues next Monday with a look at the infield.

2016 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Starting Pitchers

Recent San Jose Standouts On MLB.com Top 30 Prospects List

By Joe Ritzo

MLB.com released their top 30 San Francisco Giants prospects list today headlined by standout shortstop Christian Arroyo in the top spot. Arroyo is one of 12 players from the 2015 North Division champion San Jose Giants to find themselves on the latest organizational top 30 prospects list:

Top catching prospect Aramis Garcia could open this season in San Jose

Top catching prospect Aramis Garcia could open this season in San Jose

2015 San Jose Giants on MLB.com’s top 30 list
1. Christian Arroyo, SS
2. Tyler Beede, RHP
6. Sam Coonrod, RHP
9. Aramis Garcia, C
10. Andrew Suarez, LHP
14. Ray Black, RHP
15. Chase Johnson, RHP
16. Jordan Johnson, RHP
20. Hunter Cole, OF/2B
21. Austin Slater, 2B
29. Ian Gardeck, RHP
30. Jake Smith, RHP

The full top 30 list can be found here.

* Former first round draft picks Arroyo and Tyler Beede occupy the top two spots on the MLB.com list. The duo were California League All-Stars last season and are both currently participating in major league camp for the San Francisco Giants.

* Sam Coonrod (#6), Aramis Garcia (#9), Andrew Suarez (#10) and Jordan Johnson (#16) each joined the San Jose Giants late last season. The quartet are all candidates to return to the California League this April. Garcia is the only catcher on MLB.com’s top 30 list while Suarez is the highest-rated left-handed starting pitcher. Coonrod, Suarez and Johnson were each profiled in this week’s 2016 San Jose Giants Starting Pitching Preview.

* Three members of last year’s vaunted San Jose bullpen garnered top 30 mention in Ray Black (#14), Ian Gardeck (#29) and Jake Smith (#30). The trio are all now members of San Francisco’s 40-man roster.

2015 San Jose Giants Pitcher of the Year Chase Johnson is rated the #15 prospect in the system by MLB.com

2015 San Jose Giants Pitcher of the Year Chase Johnson is rated the #15 prospect in the system by MLB.com

* Chase Johnson’s breakout 2015 season that resulted in All-Star honors and San Jose’s Pitcher of the Year award earned him the #15 prospect distinction. Meanwhile, Hunter Cole (#20) and Austin Slater (#21), a pair of midseason Cal League All-Star selections, were also included in the top 30. Johnson, Cole and Slater all finished last year playing for Double-A Richmond and could return to the Flying Squirrels to open this season.

* There’s a strong possibility that four players among MLB.com’s top 10 will open this season in San Jose. In addition to the potential returns of Coonrod, Garcia and Suarez, #5 prospect Chris Shaw could jump to the California League this April after leading the Northwest League in home runs last summer. Shaw is the only first baseman in the top 30. 2015 first round pick Phil Bickford (#3 prospect) could see time in San Jose this season as well.

* 23 of the 30 players on the MLB.com top prospect list have previous experience in San Jose. In addition to the 12 members of last year’s San Jose team mentioned above, the top 30 prospects who have previously played in San Jose include: #7 Mac Williamson, #8 Josh Osich, #11 Adalberto Mejia, #12 Clayton Blackburn, #17 Steven Okert, #18 Kyle Crick, #19 Jarrett Parker, #22 Joan Gregorio, #24 Ty Blach, #27 Derek Law and #28 Chris Stratton.

Breaking down the Giants’ 2016 Top 30 Prospects

News and Notes: Minor League Camp Begins Next Week, Schedule Info, Season Previews

By Joe Ritzo

cactus-leagueSan Francisco Giants minor league camp begins next week in Scottsdale. International players are due to report on Tuesday, March 1 while all U.S. players must report by Thursday, March 3. The first full workout is scheduled for Saturday, March 5. Giants minor leaguers will then participate in several workouts and intra-squad games over the following days before their exhibition opener on Wednesday, March 16.

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

An official announcement of the 2016 San Jose Giants roster will not occur until after the final exhibition game. Camp breaks on Sunday, April 3 with San Jose’s season opener set for Thursday, April 7.

Giants Minor League Camp Storylines

2016 SCHEDULE – GAME TIMES SET
All game times (home and road) for the 2016 San Jose Giants season have been set. You can view this year’s schedule here.

A few notes on the 2016 San Jose Giants schedule:
* The Giants begin the season at home for the first time since 2009. The opening seven-game homestand features series’ against the Lancaster JetHawks (Astros affiliate) and the Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks affiliate).

* Holiday home games this year are on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 8 at 1:00 PM), Memorial Day (Monday, May 30 at 2:00 PM), Father’s Day (Sunday, June 19 at 1:00 PM), Independence Day (Monday, July 4 at 6:30 PM) and Labor Day (Monday, September 5 at 2:00 PM – regular season finale).

The San Jose Giants open the season at home for the first time since 2009

The San Jose Giants open the season at home for the first time since 2009

* San Jose’s longest homestand is nine games (May 29-June 7). The Giants’ busiest stretch at home comes during the middle portion of the campaign as they play 27 out of 39 games at Municipal Stadium from May 29 through July 11. Conversely, San Jose has a 14-game road trip this season (May 15-28). It’s the Giants’ longest road trip since playing 13 straight away from Municipal Stadium during the 2009 season.

* In a change adapted last season, the Giants will continue to play 6:30 PM home games on most Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s throughout the first half. Thursday’s and Friday’s during the first half remain as 7:00 PM starts. There are no changes to the weekend start times: most Saturday home games will continue to begin at 5:00 PM. Sunday games in April, May and June will start at 1:00 PM before shifting to 5:00 PM in July and August.

* The Giants will also host eight weekday afternoon games this season:
– Wednesday, April 13 (12:30 PM)
– Thursday, April 28 (11:30 AM)
– Wednesday, June 15 (12:30 PM)
– Wednesday, June 29 (12:30 PM)
– Monday, July 11 (12:30 PM)
– Wednesday, July 27 (12:30 PM)
– Thursday, August 11 (12:30 PM)
– Thursday, September 1 (12:30 PM)

* The 2016 promotional schedule with theme nights, fireworks and giveaways along with the single-game tickets on sale date will be announced in the coming days.

SJ GIANTS LOOKING FOR HOST FAMILIES
The San Jose Giants are looking for host families for the 2016 season. Over the past 28 years, the San Jose Giants Host Family Program has been a vital part of the players’ success both on and off the field. Having the players become a part of a local family helps them stay grounded in an unfamiliar and new city.

Additionally, there are great activities for host families throughout the season including picnics, invitations to special events, and a family season pass to all San Jose Giants home games. At the last Sunday home game of the season, host families are invited to be Baseball Buddies for the day and get a chance to go on the field with the players during the National Anthem.

A number of homegrown Giants lived with host families while playing in San Jose, including Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Matt Cain, Brandon Crawford, Matt Duffy, Joe Panik, Sergio Romo, Hunter Strickland, Andrew Susac and several others.

If you are interested in becoming a host family or for more information, contact San Jose Giants Director of Player Personnel Linda Pereira at (408) 380-4519 or fill out the form online at sjgiants.com.

SEASON PREVIEW
2016 San Jose Giants position-by-position season preview articles began this week. The first preview article included a detailed breakdown of a potential Giants starting rotation. Top prospects Sam Coonrod, Andrew Suarez and Jordan Johnson are all strong candidates to open this season in the San Jose rotation. All remaining previews will be posted every Monday over the next month:
February 22 – Starting Pitchers
February 29 – Bullpen
March 7 – Infield
March 14 – Outfield
March 21 – Catcher

latestleaders_logoINSIDE THE SAN JOSE GIANTS BLOG
MLB.com has released their January blog rankings and we’re proud to see Inside the San Jose Giants check in at #2 in the “MiLB PRO” category. It’s also ranked first (in page views) among official Minor League team blogs for the month. Thanks to everyone for reading and we look forward to bringing you complete coverage of the 2016 San Jose Giants season in the coming months!

2016 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Starting Pitchers

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsOur 2016 San Jose Giants position-by-position preview series begins today with a look at the starting rotation.

Since the club’s inception in 1988, no California League team can match San Jose’s success on the mound. 10 Giants hurlers have won the Cal League Pitcher of the Year award while San Jose has led the league in ERA nine times over the last 12 seasons. Last year, the Giants pitching staff set a franchise record and led all of Minor League Baseball with a remarkable 1,345 strikeouts (9.6 per game).

Looking ahead to April, the starting rotation will likely be the strength of this year’s San Jose squad. The Giants added several top prospects to their rotation late last season and those hurlers will probably open this year back in the California League. They should be joined by some talented arms who headlined Augusta’s rotation last summer while a recent top draft pick may also be considered for a spot on San Jose’s starting staff.

A reminder that these are just roster projections/possibilities. The official 2016 San Jose Giants opening day roster will not be set until spring training concludes.

Sam Coonrod, who will enter the 2016 season rated as one of the top pitching prospects in the organization, could anchor the Giants rotation this year after an impressive postseason with San Jose last September. Coonrod, a former fifth round pick out of Southern Illinois University, spent the entire 2015 regular season with Class-A Augusta. In 22 starts for the GreenJackets, Coonrod fashioned a 3.14 ERA and ranked fourth in the South Atlantic League with 114 strikeouts (in 111 2/3 innings). The right-hander boasted a better than 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and surrendered only three home runs for the entire year.

Coonrod then put an exclamation point on his season with a pair of outstanding pitching performances for San Jose during the California League playoffs. In the winner-take-all Game 3 of the Mini Series in Stockton, Coonrod was summoned to work in long relief and fired four perfect innings. He then started the decisive fifth game of the Division Series at heavily-favored Visalia and struck out seven batters over 5 2/3 innings with three runs allowed.

Coonrod already possesses two plus-pitches with a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90’s and can reach 98 MPH. Coonrod’s slider was also a devastating pitch during the playoffs last September while his change-up remains a work-in-progress and will be a key offering for him going forward. Coonrod struggled with his control in college, but clearly took a major step forward in that regard during the 2015 season. Baseball America rates Coonrod the #6 overall prospect in the Giants organization entering this year. He’s the third-highest starting pitcher on the list behind only former first round draft picks Tyler Beede and Phil Bickford. Coonrod was extended a non-roster invitation to major league camp this spring and could potentially jump on the fast track to Double-A, but in all likelihood, will open the season as the headline name in San Jose’s starting rotation.

2015 second round draft pick Andrew Suarez is a candidate to open the season in San Jose

2015 second round draft pick Andrew Suarez is a candidate to open the season in San Jose

Andrew Suarez is another top prospect starting pitcher who could begin this year with the Giants. Suarez had a fantastic collegiate career at the University of Miami before San Francisco selected the left-hander in the second round of last year’s draft. It’s rare for a player to reach the Class-A Advanced level in the same year he was drafted, but Suarez accomplished the feat late last summer and made the most of his opportunity.

After logging a 1.40 ERA in five starts for Short-Season Salem-Keizer, Suarez joined the Giants last August for the club’s playoff push. In three Cal League starts, Suarez compiled a 1.80 ERA, yielding just three runs in 15 innings with 16 strikeouts. Suarez is a polished arm with excellent control (he walked only five batters in 39 pro innings last season). Armed with a fastball in the 89-to-92 MPH range, an above-average slider and a quality change-up, Suarez could enjoy a big year in the California League this season. He’s currently rated the #12 overall prospect in the system according to Baseball America (second-highest left-handed pitcher behind Adalberto Mejia). A Coonrod-Suarez duo would be an exciting right-left combo at the top of the San Jose rotation this spring.

A third arm who appeared in the San Jose starting rotation late last season and will likely come back is right-hander Jordan Johnson. Johnson suffered through an injury-plagued collegiate career at Cal State Northridge before he was ultimately drafted in the 23rd round by San Francisco two years ago. Injuries to his lat and hamstring then prevented Johnson from making his 2015 season debut until June, but he quickly made up for lost time. In seven starts with the Arizona Rookie League Giants, Johnson logged a 1.54 ERA and owned an incredible 32-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was promoted to Salem-Keizer where he made just one start with the Volcanoes before receiving another promotion, this time to San Jose. He joined the Giants in early-August and made several key starts down the stretch to help San Jose reach the playoffs. In six starts overall in the Cal League, Johnson posted a 4.31 ERA and averaged over a strikeout per inning pitched (31 IP, 10 BB, 33 SO).

Jordan Johnson had a dominant start in the Championship Series last September

Jordan Johnson had a dominant start in the Championship Series last September

Johnson possessed some of the best pure stuff of any San Jose starting pitcher last season. His fastball generally ranged between 93 and 97 MPH that he could control to both sides of the plate. Johnson complemented the pitch with a hard curveball and an excellent change-up. All of his pitches were working in Game 2 of the Championship Series down in Rancho Cucamonga where he dazzled to the tune of nine strikeouts and just one run allowed in six innings against the high-powered Quakes offense.

Johnson is another poised and polished pitcher who looks to have a very bright future. He could turn into an excellent late-round find for the Giants and if fully healthy, is primed for a breakout 2016 season. Baseball America rates Johnson as the #15 overall prospect in the organization entering the year. If Coonrod, Suarez and Johnson all open this season in San Jose, the Giants rotation will boast three out of the top eight starting pitching prospects in the system.

In recent years, the San Jose Giants have used a six-man starting rotation (as opposed to the more traditional five-man staff). The extra starter allows for additional rest for these young arms in between starts and the expectation is that the organization will again use a six-man staff in 2016. So even if the trio of Coonrod-Suarez-Johnson is headlining the rotation once the season gets underway, there would still be three more spots to fill.

Left-handers D.J. Snelten and Mark Reyes were both outstanding last season in Augusta’s rotation and figure to be in line for promotions to San Jose. Snelten, a former ninth round pick out of the University of Minnesota, actually began last year with the Giants and had mixed success before a demotion in late-May. In his eight California League starts last season, Snelten owned a 4.84 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings. Snelten though quickly found his groove when he was sent down to the GreenJackets and became one of the top starting pitchers in the South Atlantic League throughout the second half.

D.J. Snelten ranked second in the Giants farm system with 126 strikeouts last season

D.J. Snelten ranked second in the Giants farm system with 126 strikeouts last season

Overall in 15 starts for Augusta, Snelten fashioned an impressive 2.86 ERA. He also struck out 95 batters compared to just 19 walks in 85 innings. Snelten had a pair of double-digit strikeout performances with the GreenJackets last season while he allowed two runs or fewer in 10 out of his 15 starts. His 126 total strikeouts last year (Augusta + San Jose) ranked second in the entire San Francisco farm system (behind only Chase Johnson).

Snelten primarily sat in the upper 80’s with his sinking fastball last year in San Jose. The 6’7″ southpaw also has a plus-change-up and a slider and would be a nice rotation option for the Giants this year if he makes it back up to the Cal League.

Reyes is a crafty lefty will look to build on a breakout 2015 season. A former 22nd round pick, Reyes ranked second in the South Atlantic League with a 2.13 ERA last year. The southpaw only struck out 89 batters over 139 2/3 innings, but also issued just 36 walks and surrendered only one home run. Reyes isn’t ranked on any of the prospect lists, but given the success he had in Augusta last season, would figure to be a strong candidate to move up to San Jose this spring.

Michael Santos is an intriguing San Jose rotation candidate this season. Santos, who checks in at #19 on Baseball America’s top 30 Giants prospect list, is a 20-year old right-hander who was limited to just nine starts in Augusta last year due to injury (sore arm). Santos posted a solid 3.44 ERA during his limited time on the mound with 23 strikeouts and just 10 walks over 36 2/3 innings. Santos owns a low-to-mid 90’s fastball and with his emerging offspeed stuff and lanky 6’4″ frame, has exciting potential. Whether the organization wants to push Santos up to San Jose or have him return to Augusta after his 2015 was cut short due to injury will be a major storyline coming out of camp this spring. Two years ago, Santos was one of the top starting pitchers in the Arizona Rookie League (2.56 ERA).

Jose Reyes made 14 starts with San Jose last year and is a candidate to return to the Cal League

Jose Reyes made 14 starts with San Jose last year and is a candidate to return to the Cal League

Other possibilities for the six-man San Jose starting rotation include Jose Reyes and Matt Gage. Jose Reyes (no relation to Mark) was arguably the most impressive starting pitcher in the South Atlantic League over the first two months of last season. In eight starts with Augusta, Reyes had a spectacular 1.36 ERA with 45 strikeouts over 46 innings. He was promoted to San Jose in early-June, but his earlier success didn’t often translate to the higher level. Reyes made 14 starts with the Giants over the final three months of last year and posted a 5.86 ERA. He often excelled early in starts, but would struggle when going through a lineup for a second or third time. Whether that results in a shift to a bullpen role this year (he pitched in relief during the playoffs last September) remains to be seen. Either way, Reyes almost certainly is coming back to San Jose and figures to be a candidate to take a spot in the rotation. He did finish the regular season strong with a 2.63 ERA over his last six starts.

Gage was a 10th round pick two years ago out of Siena College and made 15 starts with Augusta last season. He possessed a 4.07 ERA with an excellent 71-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio (77 innings) for the GreenJackets and then was promoted all the way to Double-A Richmond in July to bolster a depleted Flying Squirrels rotation. While Gage was essentially there just to fill a roster spot, he did manage to hold his own in the Eastern League (4.66 ERA in 38 innings). Gage could be yet another left-hander in this year’s San Jose rotation if he doesn’t return to Richmond.

Finally, it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility for last year’s first round pick, Phil Bickford, to pitch in San Jose this season. Bickford, who was drafted 18th overall last June out of the junior college ranks, is still just 20 years old and has yet to pitch above rookie-ball. Given his youth and lack of professional experience, a ticket to Augusta is probably his most likely destination to open the year. But could a strong spring elevate him up to San Jose? And even if he starts the year with the GreenJackets, Bickford could definitely end up in the California League before the season is over. The right-hander boasts a low-to-mid 90’s fastball, a plus-slider and change-up and opens the year ranked as the #3 prospect in the organization according to Baseball America (behind only Christian Arroyo and Beede).

2016 San Jose Giants Starting Pitching Candidates
(2015 regular season statistics listed)

Phil Bickford, RHP
– AZL-Giants: 10 GS, 0-1, 2.01 ERA, 22.1 IP, 6 BB, 32 SO

Sam Coonrod, RHP
– Augusta: 22 GS, 7-5, 3.14 ERA, 111.2 IP, 34 BB, 114 SO

Matt Gage, LHP
– Augusta: 15 GS, 4-4, 4.07 ERA, 77.1 IP, 13 BB, 71 SO
– Richmond: 9 G, 7 GS, 2-3, 4.66 ERA, 38.2 IP, 10 BB, 30 SO

Jordan Johnson, RHP
– AZL-Giants: 7 GS, 0-1, 1.54 ERA, 23.1 IP, 1 BB, 32 SO
– Salem-Keizer: 1 GS, 0-1, 3.86 ERA, 4.2 IP, 0 BB, 6 SO
– San Jose: 6 GS, 2-3, 4.31 ERA, 31.1 IP, 10 BB, 33 SO

Jose Reyes, RHP
– Augusta: 8 GS, 4-1, 1.36 ERA, 46.1 IP, 11 BB, 45 SO
– San Jose: 14 GS, 5-6, 5.86 ERA, 78.1 IP, 18 BB, 55 SO

Mark Reyes, LHP
– Augusta: 23 GS, 9-6, 2.13 ERA, 139.2 IP, 36 BB, 89 SO

Michael Santos, RHP
– Augusta: 9 GS, 0-2, 3.44 ERA, 36.2 IP, 10 BB, 23 SO

D.J. Snelten, LHP
– Augusta: 15 GS, 5-6, 2.86 ERA, 85.0 IP, 19 BB, 95 SO
– San Jose: 8 GS, 0-5, 4.84 ERA, 35.1 IP, 15 BB, 31 SO

Andrew Suarez, LHP
– Salem-Keizer: 5 GS, 1-0, 1.40 ERA, 19.1 IP, 2 BB, 15 SO
– San Jose: 3 GS, 1-0, 1.80 ERA, 15.0 IP, 2 BB, 16 SO

The 2016 San Jose Giants preview series will continue next Monday with a look at the bullpen.

Episode 58 – Inside The San Jose Giants

2016-Inside-the-Podcast-480 x 270Spring training is underway, so it’s time for another edition of Inside the San Jose Giants! In this podcast episode, Joe Ritzo and Justin Allegri are joined by San Jose Giants manager Lipso Nava. The Giants skipper discusses last year’s run to the North Division title, Christian Arroyo’s development, the inner-workings of minor league spring training and the style of play he’s bringing to Municipal Stadium this year. Joe and Justin also breakdown the top storylines of Giants minor league camp.

Pitchers and Catchers Report Today

By Joe Ritzo

SF Giants logoSan Francisco Giants pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale today signifying the official start of spring training. A few days later, all 62 players invited to camp will have arrived with the first full squad workout scheduled for next Tuesday. Of the 62 players in camp, 38 are former San Jose Giants. Several of those former San Jose players will be attempting to earn spots on the opening day roster while others are appearing in their first big league camp looking to make a good impression.

With the San Francisco Giants once again expected to contend for a World Series, there are very few questions when it comes to the opening day roster as the spring gets underway. The homegrown infield of former SJ Giants Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford and Matt Duffy remains intact. Of course, former MVP Buster Posey is locked in behind the plate while former SJ Giants Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain will make up two out of the five spots in the starting rotation. Meanwhile, Josh Osich, Hunter Strickland and Chris Heston could join veteran Sergio Romo as the former SJ Giants in San Francisco’s bullpen.

Former SJ Giant Josh Osich has an opportunity to establish himself as a top late-inning arm in the San Francisco bullpen

Former SJ Giant Josh Osich has an opportunity to establish himself as a top late-inning arm in the San Francisco bullpen

For Osich and Strickland, the duo will look to take more central roles in the San Francisco ‘pen this season. A strong spring from Osich would be an encouraging sign that he’s ready to fill the void left by the retired Jeremy Affeldt. Osich and veteran Javier Lopez are expected to be the only two left-handers in the Giants bullpen when the season begins in April. Osich debuted in the big leagues last July and fashioned an impressive 2.20 ERA over 35 relief appearances. He was just as tough against right-handed hitters (.213 AVG) as he was against left-handers (.222 AVG) – a trait Affeldt possessed during his run with the Giants. This spring is a critical one for Osich and could set the stage for a breakout first full season in the major leagues.

Strickland, like Osich, began last season in the minor leagues. The hard-throwing right-hander earned a call-up in late-May and remained in the San Francisco bullpen for the remainder of the season. Overall, Strickland boasted an impressive 2.45 ERA over 55 appearances with a 50-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio. After struggling with the longball during the 2014 postseason, Strickland allowed only four home runs in his 51 major league innings last season. With his electric pure stuff and ability to throw strikes, Strickland could emerge as San Francisco’s closer in the future. If he can pick up where he left off last summer, it’s likely a role as a key setup man for Strickland this year.

If Osich and Strickland make the team coming out of camp, as expected, it would be the first time for both to find themselves on San Francisco’s opening day roster. They each were members of San Jose’s 2013 bullpen with both earning California League All-Star honors.

As for Heston, the right-hander was thrust into the San Francisco starting rotation during the first week of last season due to injuries elsewhere and was a reliable arm throughout most of the campaign. In 31 starts, Heston logged a 12-11 record with a 3.95 ERA while his 177 innings pitched was second only to Bumgarner. Heston made national headlines last June when he threw a no-hitter against the New York Mets and while he tailed off a bit throughout August and September, the future remains bright for this former San Jose Giant.

With the blockbuster free agent additions of Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, the San Francisco five-man starting rotation is set and does not include Heston. Still, Heston’s presence is a nice insurance policy should injuries strike this spring. If all goes according to plan, Heston would figure to be the long reliever in San Francisco’s bullpen when the regular season begins.

On the position player side, several former San Jose infielders and outfielders will be battling for spots on the opening day roster this spring. San Francisco’s starting infield is set (barring something unforeseen), but former San Jose Giants Ehire Adrianza, Kelby Tomlinson and Conor Gillaspie will each be in contention for a reserve role on the opening day roster. Adrianza owns a career major league batting average of just .211 in 228 at-bats over the last three seasons, but remains an outstanding defensive player. He’s also the only one of the three with substantial big league experience at shortstop (Tomlinson has played short in the minors while Gillaspie has never played the position). That ability to capably handle the shortstop position could be a major determining factor for Adrianza’s inclusion on the roster.

Tomlinson was a great story last season after making his major league debut in August. He garnered substantial playing time at second base over the final two months filling in for the injured Panik and hit an impressive .303 in 178 at-bats. Meanwhile, Gillaspie returns to the organization that drafted him after stints with the White Sox and Angels. Gillaspie has the most major league experience of the trio having served as Chicago’s primary third baseman during the 2013 and 2014 seasons when he batted a combined .265 with 20 home runs and 97 RBI’s over the two years. He struggled though last season hitting only .228 in 75 games with Chicago and LA and is hoping to bounce back this year in his return to the Giants. Gillaspie played in San Jose during the record-breaking 2009 championship season where he was teammates with Posey, Bumgarner and Crawford.

While Adrianza and Tomlinson are already on the 40-man roster, Gillaspie is a non-roster invitee to camp and thus a spot would have to be cleared, which may factor into the organization’s decision-making process. Both Adrianza and Tomlinson are middle infielders while Gillaspie has been almost exclusively a third baseman throughout his career (with sparse playing time at first). The battle for these back-up infield spots throughout the spring will be interesting to follow as it’s hardly a guarantee that all three of these players will make the opening day roster.

There’s also opportunity this spring for a couple of former San Jose Giants outfielders to make the opening day roster. While the top four outfield spots on the club are set with veterans Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, Denard Span and Gregor Blanco, it seems likely that the Giants will carry a fifth outfielder on the roster. Former SJ Giants sluggers Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson figure to both be in contention for that spot.

Jarrett Parker will look to pick-up where he left off last September in San Francisco

Jarrett Parker will look to pick-up where he left off last September in San Francisco

Parker hit 23 home runs in Triple-A last season before going deep six more times in San Francisco during his September call-up, including a three-homer barrage one afternoon in Oakland. Meanwhile, Williamson returned from Tommy John surgery last year and slugged 13 homers between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento before a September cup of coffee in “The Show”. Like Parker, Williamson is regarded as one of the top power hitters in the system. The competition this spring between the two should be fierce although there’s a real possibility that neither makes the team if non-roster invitee Kyle Blanks, formerly of the San Diego Padres, makes the team. Blanks would provide versatility as a fifth outfielder and back-up first baseman. The organization may also want Parker and/or Williamson playing regularly in Triple-A early in the season to further their development instead of receiving sparse playing time at the major league level. Spring training games will determine which direction the organization will go heading into the start of the season. Remember, Matt Duffy forced his way onto the major league roster last year with a torrid spring training at the plate – could something like that happen again for one of these players?

At the catching position, Andrew Susac remains the favorite to land the back-up role. Susac, who was once rated the #1 prospect in the organization, battled injuries last season and hit just .218 with three home runs in 133 big league at-bats. A member of the playoff roster two seasons ago when the Giants won the World Series, Susac will certainly be looking to show this spring that he’s ready to stay in the major leagues for good.

Susac will no longer face competition from Hector Sanchez (who is now in the White Sox organization) for the back-up catcher role, but Trevor Brown will be in camp this spring. Brown was primarily a back-up catcher in Sacramento last season, but held his own in San Francisco, both offensively and defensively, after a September call-up. Brown is probably headed back to the minor leagues for the start of the season, but could push Susac for a spot on the roster. Veteran catcher George Kottaras, who has 313 games of major league experience, will also be in camp as a non-roster invitee.

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This spring will be an important one for starting pitching prospect Clayton Blackburn as well. Blackburn, who was added to the 40-man roster last November, isn’t a strong candidate to make the team coming out of camp, but would like to put himself in contention for a call-up later in the year. Blackburn won the Pacific Coast League ERA title last season in Sacramento and could figure prominently in the organization’s starting pitching plans down the road.

Chris Stratton and Ty Blach, two other starting pitchers with substantial Triple-A experience, are also in camp and looking to make a strong impression. Like Blackburn, both Stratton and Blach were just added to the 40-man roster. Former #1 prospect Kyle Crick, another recent 40-man addition, is in camp and in search of a bounce back year after struggling with his control in Double-A last season. Adalberto Mejia remains one of the top starting pitching prospects in the system and will get a taste of big league spring training this year. Former SJ Giants Derek Law, Steven Okert and Joan Gregorio also all have experience in the upper levels of the system and will hope that strong efforts this spring will help position themselves for a major league debut in 2016.

Giants fans should get an opportunity to see Ray Black light up the radar gun in big league spring games next month

Giants fans should get an opportunity to see Ray Black light up the radar gun in big league spring games next month

Three standout relievers from last year’s San Jose team in Ray Black, Ian Gardeck and Jake Smith, will begin the spring in major league camp. Black, with his 100+ MPH fastball, could advance quickly through the system this year if he can remain healthy. Fans will hopefully get a chance to see Black light up the radar gun against some major league hitters this spring. Gardeck and Smith both enjoyed breakout years in the California League last season as the Giants’ top late-inning arms which resulted in each earning a spot on San Francisco’s 40-man roster. Their time in big league camp may be brief, but still important as they look to make a positive impression in front of the San Francisco coaching staff.

Top starting pitching prospects Tyler Beede, Chase Johnson and Sam Coonrod – all members of the 2015 San Jose Giants – were extended non-roster invitations to major league camp. None of the three are candidates to make the opening day roster, but have a chance to impress in their first taste of major league camp. Coonrod, who was promoted to San Jose for the playoffs last September, could return to the California League for the start of this season.

Shortstop Christian Arroyo, regarded as the #1 prospect in the Giants farm system entering this season, is a non-roster invitee. Arroyo is still only 20 years old and has yet to play above the Class-A Advanced level, but any playing time he receives in major league camp this spring will be watched closely. It’s expected that Arroyo will open the regular season in Double-A. Fellow infield prospects Ryder Jones and Rando Moreno were also extended non-roster invites.

Veteran outfielder Ryan Lollis is another former San Jose Giant in big league camp this year. Lollis enjoyed a banner 2015 season that saw him lead the Giants farm system in batting average (.340) across three levels, including San Jose. He also earned two brief stints in San Francisco garnering a total of just 12 at-bats. While Lollis probably opens the spring behind Parker and Williamnson on the outfield depth chart, he should receive ample playing time in exhibition games.

Finally, catchers Aramis Garcia and Ty Ross – two members of the 2015 San Jose team – will open the spring in big league camp as non-roster invitees as well. The experience of major league spring training should prove invaluable for both before they each open the season back in the minors, perhaps in San Jose.

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All position players are due to report by Monday. San Francisco’s first spring training game is Wednesday, March 2 versus the Los Angeles Angels. The 35-game Cactus League schedule runs through Saturday, April 2. The SF Giants open the regular season on Monday, April 4 in Milwaukee.

Giants Minor League Camp Storylines

And of course, we continue to look forward to the start of the San Jose Giants season on Thursday, April 7 which is now just 50 days away!

News and Notes: Baseball America Top 100, FanFest, Former SJ Giant Returns

By Joe Ritzo

2015 San Jose Giants MVP Christian Arroyo was ranked among the top 100 prospects by Baseball America

2015 San Jose Giants MVP Christian Arroyo was ranked among the top 100 prospects by Baseball America

2015 San Jose Giants standout Christian Arroyo was included on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list released today. Arroyo, the only member of the San Francisco organization to crack the top 100, was ranked at #62 overall.

Arroyo, who was also tabbed the #82 overall prospect by MLB.com last month, hit .304 with 28 doubles, nine home runs and 42 RBI’s in 90 games for the San Jose Giants a season ago to earn California League All-Star honors. Arroyo has been extended a non-roster invitation to major league camp this spring.

A Look Back: Christian Arroyo’s MVP Season In San Jose

Last year, the Giants also placed one prospect on Baseball America’s top 100 list in catcher Andrew Susac (#88). Susac no longer qualifies for prospect rankings after seeing substantial time in the major leagues last season. Pitcher Kyle Crick (#33) was a Baseball America top 100 prospect entering the 2014 season.

fanfest_logoSJ GIANTS AT SAN FRANCISCO FANFEST THIS SATURDAY
The San Jose Giants will be taking part in San Francisco Giants FanFest this Saturday, February 13 at AT&T Park. Manager Lipso Nava, 2014-15 SJ Giant first baseman Brian Ragira and Giants prospect John Riley along with members of the San Jose front office and Gigante will be on hand to get fans excited about the 2016 season. Fans who purchase a ticket package at FanFest will receive one free premium giveaway item to accompany their purchase. The event is FREE to the public and will run from 10 AM to 3 PM.

For more information on FanFest, click here.

(All players subject to change without notice)

CONOR GILLASPIE RETURNS TO GIANTS ORGANIZATION
Conor Gillaspie has returned to the organization as the former San Jose third baseman recently signed a minor league deal with San Francisco. Gillaspie spent the entire 2009 season in San Jose and helped the Giants to a franchise record 93 wins and a California League championship. He hit .268 with 31 doubles, four home runs and 67 RBI’s in 126 games with San Jose seven years ago.

After playing briefly in San Francisco during the 2011 and 2012 seasons (21 total games), Gillaspie was traded to the Chicago White Sox in February of 2013 for relief pitcher Jeff Soptic. He was the primary third baseman for the White Sox in 2013 and 2014, but struggled in Chicago last year and was eventually traded to the Angels in July. After a brief stint with Los Angeles, Gillaspie was designated for assignment in August and finished the year in Triple-A. Gillaspie owns a career major league batting average of .255 with 25 home runs in 368 games.

Gillaspie is one of a remarkable 17 players from San Jose’s record-setting 2009 team to have reached the major leagues. The 2009 opening day lineup included future big leaguers Gillaspie (3B), Brandon Crawford (SS), Buster Posey (C), Roger Kieschnick (RF), Darren Ford (CF), Thomas Neal (LF) and Nick Noonan (2B). Madison Bumgarner was also a member of the ’09 club.

Gillaspie has received a non-roster invitation to big league camp where he’ll compete for a spot on San Francisco’s opening day roster.

SAN JOSE GIANTS JOB FAIR
The San Jose Giants are looking for enthusiastic and dedicated individuals who are committed to providing guests with a positive entertainment experience for the 2016 season. All interested job candidates must submit their resume for their desired position(s) via the San Jose Giants TeamWork Online page and also answer all accompanying questions associated with that position. Only applicants who have submitted their resume online will be invited to the team’s annual job fair that will be held on Saturday, February 20 from 9:30 AM until 12:30 PM at Municipal Stadium. Available positions include beverage deck attendant, concessions staff, fun zone attendant, program and scorecard vendor, ticket taker, Turkey Mike’s BBQ staff, usher, merchandise and grounds crew.

PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT NEXT WEEK
The start of baseball season is almost here! San Francisco Giants pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Scottsdale next Wednesday, February 17. All other position players must then report by Monday, February 22. The first full squad workout is on Tuesday, February 23 while the 35-game spring training schedule gets underway on Wednesday, March 2.

62 players are expected in San Francisco’s big league camp this year (all players on the 40-man roster + 22 non-roster invitees). 38 of the 62 players in camp are former San Jose Giants.

Giants Minor League Camp Schedule

cactus-leagueMajor league spring training for the San Francisco Giants is set to begin next week, but what about the minor leaguers in the organization? All players not on San Francisco’s 40-man roster or been extended non-roster invitations to big league camp are scheduled to report to Scottsdale during the first week of March before a 2 1/2 week exhibition game slate against other farm teams.

San Francisco’s minor league spring training officially begins on Tuesday, March 1 when all international players are due to report. U.S. players will report on Thursday, March 3 before the first full workout on Saturday, March 5. Giants minor leaguers will participate in several workouts and intra-squad games over the following days before their exhibition opener on Wednesday, March 16.

Minor league spring training is an ultra-competitive setting as over 150 players will be fighting for roster spots on the four teams scheduled to begin their seasons in early-April (Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels, High-A San Jose Giants and Class-A Augusta GreenJackets). Beginning on the 16th, the San Francisco front office will put players on the four individual teams: a Triple-A squad, a Double-A team, a High-A team and a Class-A club. Those four teams will play a 14-game exhibition schedule over the following 2 1/2 weeks against other organizations in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.

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

IMG_1343Wednesday, March 16 – at Diamondbacks
Thursday, March 17 – vs. Rockies
Friday, March 18 – at Cubs
Saturday, March 19 – at Angels
Monday, March 21 – vs. Athletics
Tuesday, March 22 – vs. Cubs
Wednesday, March 23 – at Angels
Thursday, March 24 – vs. Diamondbacks
Friday, March 25 – at Rockies
Saturday, March 26 – at Diamondbacks
Monday, March 28 – vs. Cubs
Tuesday, March 29 – vs. Diamondbacks
Wednesday, March 30 – at Cubs
Friday, April 1 – vs. Angels

All games begin at 1:00 PM. Giants home games are played at the Giants Baseball Complex in Scottsdale (8045 E. Camelback Road). Diamondbacks and Rockies home games are in Scottsdale, Cubs home games are played in Mesa and Angels home games are in Tempe.

10 of San Jose’s 14 spring training games are against teams from the California League with four contests against Visalia (Diamondbacks), three games against Inland Empire (Angels), two games versus Modesto (Rockies) and one game against Stockton (Athletics). The four remaining games will be played against Myrtle Beach – the Cubs’ High-A affiliate from the Carolina League.

The rosters for the four clubs within the San Francisco farm system during spring training are fluid meaning several players will shift up-and-down throughout the exhibition season. A strong spring training performance during these games can certainly help a player’s cause whether it’s attempting to earn a promotion up the minor league chain or perhaps just make a team out of spring for the first time. Unfortunately, spring training can also have negative consequences for minor league players with a handful likely to be released at various times during March.

An official announcement of the 2016 San Jose Giants roster will not occur until after the final exhibition game.

Stay tuned to Inside the San Jose Giants for updates from minor league camp next month.

The San Jose Giants open their 140-game regular season on Thursday, April 7 versus the Lancaster JetHawks at Municipal Stadium.

The primary field at the Giants minor league facility in Scottsdale

The primary field at the Giants minor league facility in Scottsdale

Another field at the Giants minor league complex

Another field at the Giants minor league complex

Giants Minor League Camp Storylines

By Joe Ritzo

Spring training gets underway next week while we’re now less than two months from the San Jose Giants season opener. The San Francisco Giants (all members of the 40-man roster plus the 21 non-roster invitees) will hold their first official full team workout of the spring on February 23 and then all remaining minor leaguers report to camp during the opening week of March.

With over 160 players expected in minor league camp next month, there are a bevy of questions regarding personnel and roster decisions. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the primary storylines in Giants minor league camp this year, involving both former and potential future San Jose players:

Will former first round pick Tyler Beede open the season in Richmond or Sacramento?

Will former first round pick Tyler Beede open the season in Richmond or Sacramento?

First Round Picks
The San Francisco Giants took a pair of right-handed starting pitchers with their last two top draft picks in Tyler Beede (2014) and Phil Bickford (2015). Beede had an outstanding first half a season ago in San Jose before an up-and-down second half with the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels. Meanwhile, Bickford saw limited action in the Arizona Rookie League last summer after signing his professional contract. The progress of both hurlers – arguably the top two pitching prospects in the system – will be watched closely this year, beginning with spring training. Advancing to the Double-A level in his first full professional season was a significant accomplishment for Beede and he had several impressive moments in the Eastern League despite an ERA over five. Does a strong spring training elevate Beede all the way to Triple-A Sacramento in April or does he return to Richmond? If he ends up back with the Flying Squirrels, could Beede then follow a similar path to his 2015: excel in the first half and earn a midseason promotion. As for Bickford, does the organization push him to San Jose for the start of his first full professional season, just as they did with Beede last April? At just age 20 though and with far less experience (Beede pitched in College World Series’ at Vanderbilt while Bickford was drafted out of the junior college ranks), a spot in Augusta’s rotation to open the year is perhaps the most likely destination.

Andrew Suarez is a 2015 draftee who could begin the year in San Jose

Andrew Suarez is a 2015 draftee who could begin the year in San Jose

2015 Draft Class – Who Jumps To San Jose?
Every year there are a handful of players who begin their first full professional season with an assignment to San Jose. Mac Williamson and Ty Blach did it in 2013 while Blake Miller and Brian Ragira were among the first-year pros on the 2014 San Jose opening day roster. Last year, Beede and Austin Slater were the two first-year players on the San Jose roster coming out of camp and both proved very worthy of the assignment as each earned All-Star honors and midseason promotions to Double-A. In addition to Bickford, there are several 2015 early-round draftees who could be in line for a spot in San Jose this April with a strong spring training. First baseman Chris Shaw, a supplemental first round pick last June, led the Northwest League with 12 home runs last summer while playing for Salem-Keizer. The organization lacks other top first base prospects right now, so Shaw could easily jump on the fast-track with a big 2016. Second rounder Andrew Suarez has already seen time in San Jose making three successful starts late last season after a promotion from Salem-Keizer. The left-hander is a logical candidate to return to the Cal League this April. Sixth rounder Steven Duggar had a solid summer in Salem before receiving a promotion to San Jose for the Championship Series. Given the lack of standout outfielders in Augusta last season, Duggar, who played his college ball at ACC powerhouse Clemson, might find himself in San Jose with an impressive spring. Shortstop C.J. Hinojosa (11th rounder) is another possibility to make San Jose’s team coming out of camp.

Austin Slater hit .294 between San Jose and Richmond last season

Austin Slater hit .294 between San Jose and Richmond last season

2015 Breakout Performers – What’s Next?
There were several breakout performers during the 2015 Giants minor league season – now what do they have in store for an encore? Former third rounder Chase Johnson was a California League All-Star and San Jose’s Pitcher of the Year last season. He earned a mid-August promotion to Richmond and is probably headed back to the Flying Squirrels for the start of 2016. Shortstop Rando Moreno came out of nowhere to earn Eastern League All-Star honors in Richmond last year. He’ll open this spring in big league camp, but will probably spend the bulk of March at the minor league complex. Can Moreno earn a spot on Sacramento’s roster coming out of camp or will he have to fight for time back in Richmond? Jake Smith and Ian Gardeck were standout relievers in San Jose last season and the organization certainly took notice as they placed both pitchers on the 40-man roster. In all likelihood, they open the year in Richmond’s bullpen, but given their 40-man status, a fast track option is always a possibility. Slater and Hunter Cole had breakout 2015 seasons that included California League All-Star honors and near .300 batting averages in Richmond during the second half. Both are clearly on the map now and will enter this year with high expectations. Could one or both challenge for a spot on the Triple-A roster this spring or will they have to show more in Richmond before earning a promotion?

Outfielder Tyler Horan will look to bounce back in 2016

Outfielder Tyler Horan will look to bounce back in 2016

Bouncing Back
Conversely, there are a handful of players who endured some struggles in 2015 and will look to this spring as a launching point for a bounce back season. What role is Kyle Crick going to have this season? The former #1 prospect in the system lost his spot in Richmond’s rotation last year and while he remained tough to hit throughout the campaign, the right-hander continued to struggle mightily with his control. Crick probably heads back to the Flying Squirrels this April, but does he get another opportunity at starting? Daniel Carbonell signed a big contract out of Cuba two years ago, but hit well below .200 in Richmond last season before significant defensive struggles in San Jose late in the year. Carbonell is no longer on the 40-man roster, but the organization is still heavily invested in the outfielder as he looks to bounce back in 2016. Does Carbonell begin to show signs of improvement this spring and perhaps get another opportunity at the Eastern League? Tyler Horan had a frustrating, injury-plagued 2015 season in San Jose after smashing 27 home runs a year earlier. Horan hit only .215 in the Cal League last season, but boasts intriguing left-handed power. Can he breakthrough this spring paving the way for a bounce back year, perhaps with a promotion to Double-A?

Any Surprises?
Will there be surprises with the roster assignments for any of the top prospects in the system? If not, look for Christian Arroyo to anchor the Richmond lineup come opening day. Clayton Blackburn will probably be back in Sacramento despite winning the Pacific Coast League ERA title last year. Top catching prospect Aramis Garcia figures to return to San Jose after a late-season promotion from Augusta. Top 10 prospect Sam Coonrod spent the entire 2015 regular season in Augusta before two impressive pitching performances for the Giants during the Cal League playoffs. The expectation is that Coonrod opens the year as the headline arm in the San Jose rotation, but could there be a spring surprise promotion to Richmond?

Will 40-man hurler Joan Gregorio be used as a starter or reliever this season?

Will 40-man hurler Joan Gregorio be used as a starter or reliever this season?

The 40-Man Arms
The Giants certainly have some exciting pitching prospects on the 40-man roster. And while all of these arms will open spring training in big league camp, many will eventually find their way back at the minor league facility as March wears on. The progress of these pitchers this spring and their subsequent roster placement coming out of camp will be a major storyline. Can Ray Black, with his 100+ MPH fastball, begin to put together a full season of good health? After spending all of last season in San Jose, is Black headed to the Richmond bullpen or does the organization elevate him all the way to Sacramento? Adalberto Mejia missed the first half of last year serving a 50-game suspension, but made up for lost time with a solid second half in the Richmond rotation before a successful stint in the Arizona Fall League. Mejia remains one of the top starting pitching prospects in the system and will look to get his first taste of Triple-A ball coming out of camp this year. Derek Law came back from Tommy John surgery last season and was overall successful as Richmond’s closer down the stretch. With his major injury now even further in the rear-view mirror, does Law reestablish himself as an elite relief pitcher prospect in the system, perhaps as a late-inning arm in Sacramento? Joan Gregorio has flown a bit under the radar, but he proved tough to hit in Richmond last season, first as a reliever and then as a starting pitcher late in the season. Can Gregorio build on his successful year and will it be as a starter or a reliever?

Youngsters
The San Francisco Giants gave 18-year old Lucius Fox a $6 million signing bonus last summer and the youngester immediately became one of the top position player prospects in the system. 2016 will serve as Fox’s debut professional season and he’ll get it started down at spring training. Could Fox impress enough this spring to warrant time on Augusta’s roster this season or does he stay back in Arizona and kick things off in June at a Short-Season or Rookie-ball level? Jalen Miller, a third round pick last June, is another exciting young shortstop prospect in the system and will be going through his first spring. Miller played for the Arizona Rookie League Giants last summer after signing out of the high school ranks.

Top Prospects Know The Way To San Jose

By Joe Ritzo

SF Giants logoBaseball America recently published their San Francisco Giants Top 30 prospects list with several of the players mentioned having recently seen time in San Jose. The list is highlighted by 2015 San Jose standouts Christian Arroyo and Tyler Beede in the top two spots. Of the 30 players on Baseball America’s list, 23 have previously suited up for the San Jose Giants.

BASEBALL AMERICA TOP 30
(Bold indicates prior San Jose experience)
1. Christian Arroyo, SS
2. Tyler Beede, RHP

3. Phil Bickford, RHP
4. Lucius Fox, SS
5. Chris Shaw, 1B
6. Sam Coonrod, RHP
7. Aramis Garcia, C
8. Clayton Blackburn, RHP
9. Jarrett Parker, OF
10. Adalberto Mejia, LHP
11. Mac Williamson, OF
12. Andrew Suarez, LHP
13. Ray Black, RHP
14. Chase Johnson, RHP
15. Jordan Johnson, RHP

16. Jalen Miller, SS
17. Ian Gardeck, RHP
18. Joan Gregorio, RHP

19. Michael Santos, RHP
20. Ty Blach, LHP
21. Ronnie Jebavy, OF
22. Jake Smith, RHP
23. Derek Law, RHP
24. Steven Okert, LHP
25. Steven Duggar, OF
26. Chris Stratton, RHP
27. Kyle Crick, RHP

28. Mac Marshall, LHP
29. Hunter Cole, OF
30. Austin Slater, 2B

Notes –
* 19 of the 30 prospects on this year’s list are pitchers. There is also one catcher, one first baseman, one second baseman, three shortstops and five outfielders.

Top catching prospect Aramis Garcia could return to San Jose this season

Top catching prospect Aramis Garcia could return to San Jose this season

* #6 Sam Coonrod (RHP), #7 Aramis Garcia (C), #12 Andrew Suarez (LHP), #15 Jordan Johnson (RHP) and #25 Steven Duggar (OF) were all late-season additions to the San Jose Giants in 2015 and are strong candidates to return to the California League this year. Coonrod, Suarez and Johnson would be headline prospects in a potential San Jose starting rotation this April. Coonrod had a terrific regular season in Augusta (3.14 ERA, 114 SO in 111 innings) before two memorable outings with San Jose during the playoffs. Suarez, a second round pick last June, logged a 1.80 ERA in three regular season starts for the Giants after receiving a promotion from Salem-Keizer. Johnson averaged over a strikeout per inning in his six regular season starts with the Giants before a dominant performance in the Championship Series at Rancho Cucamonga (6 IP, 1 R, 9 SO). The trio make up three out of the top eight starting pitching prospects in the organization entering 2016 according to BA. Meanwhile, Garcia is the only catcher on the top 30 list this year. The slugging backstop mashed 15 home runs in Augusta last year before joining San Jose in August. He was at his best during the playoffs last September posting a .333 batting average with a pair of key home runs. Duggar, who like Suarez was a 2015 draftee, joined the Giants for the Championship Series after batting .293 with Salem-Keizer during the regular season.

* Other top 30 prospects who could potentially play for San Jose in 2016 include #3 Phil Bickford (RHP), #5 Chris Shaw (1B) and #19 Michael Santos (RHP). Bickford, last year’s first round draft pick, has limited professional experience and has yet to pitch above rookie-ball, but could force his way up to the Cal League at some point this season. Shaw, the only first baseman on the top 30 list, is probably the more likely of the three to open the year in San Jose. A supplemental first round pick last June, Shaw led the Northwest League with 12 home runs while playing for Salem-Keizer (.287 AVG). Santos was limited to nine starts in Augusta last season due to injury (3.44 ERA), but could see some time in the San Jose rotation this year.

* In the supplemental “Best Tools” section, Baseball America rates Shaw as being the “Best Power Hitter” currently in the Giants farm system. Duggar is considered to have the “Best Strike-Zone Discipline” and Suarez possesses the “Best Slider.”

Jake Smith cracked Baseball America's top 30 list after a spectacular 2015 season in San Jose

Jake Smith cracked Baseball America’s top 30 list after a spectacular 2015 season in San Jose

* Christian Arroyo takes over the #1 spot on BA’s top 30 list this year and is also rated the “Best Hitter for Average” and the “Best Defensive Infielder” in the farm system. Andrew Susac was #1 last year, but no longer qualifies after spending most of 2015 at the major league level.

* Three members of the vaunted 2015 San Jose bullpen crack the top 30 list this year in #13 Ray Black, #17 Ian Gardeck and #22 Jake Smith. All three are currently on San Francisco’s 40-man roster. To no surprise, BA rates Black as having the “Best Fastball” in the Giants system. Gardeck and Smith were not ranked in the top 30 entering last season.

* Of the seven players who received All-Star honors for San Jose last season, five are on BA’s top 30 list: #1 Arroyo, #2 Tyler Beede, #14 Chase Johnson, #29 Hunter Cole and #30 Austin Slater. All-Stars Dan Slania (unranked) and Keury Mella (traded to Cincinnati) are not listed.

* Two players on the top 30 list have already seen time in the big leagues: #9 Jarrett Parker and #11 Mac Williamson.

* The players who saw the biggest jumps in their Baseball America prospect ranking from last year to this year:
– Arroyo #10 to #1
– Coonrod unranked to #6
– Garcia #16 to #7
– Parker unranked to #9
– Black #24 to #13
– C. Johnson #20 to #14
– J. Johnson unranked to #15
– Gardeck unranked to #17
– Smith unranked to #22

* Conversely, the players who dropped the furthest from last year to this year:
– Crick #3 to #27
– Blach #7 to #20
– Stratton #12 to #26
– Carbonell #14 to unranked

Arroyo Ranked Among Top 100 Prospects

By Joe Ritzo

Former SJ Giant Christian Arroyo has been ranked the #82 overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com entering the 2016 season

Former SJ Giant Christian Arroyo has been ranked the #82 overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com entering the 2016 season

Former San Jose Giants shortstop Christian Arroyo received mention on the MLB.com Top 100 prospects list released last week. Arroyo, who was the only Giants prospect on the list, has been rated the #82 overall prospect in baseball.

Arroyo had an excellent 2015 season in San Jose earning team MVP and California League All-Star honors. The former first round draft pick batted .304 in 90 games while also producing 28 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 42 RBI’s. Additionally, Arroyo was honored as the club’s Defensive Player of the Year at the conclusion of the regular season.

Arroyo is certainly no stranger to success at the professional level. He won the Arizona Rookie League MVP award in 2013 just months after his selection in the draft. The next year, Arroyo was recognized as a Northwest League All-Star while playing for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. Then following his standout campaign in the California League last season, Arroyo batted an impressive .308 in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. Arroyo owns a career .303 batting average over his first three professional seasons.

MLB.com notes that “Arroyo is an extremely advanced hitter for his age, with outstanding hand-eye coordination that allows him to barrel balls repeatedly” and “has sure hands and solid arm strength at shortstop.”

The MLB.com scouting report also mentions that while San Francisco believes Arroyo is an underrated defender, his “fringy speed and range” combined with Brandon Crawford’s presence at shortstop will likely lead to a position change down the line. MLB.com states that “Arroyo might profile best at third base and also could wind up on an outfield corner.”

Arroyo is the 17th highest shortstop prospect on this year’s top 100 list. Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus have already named Arroyo the #1 prospect in the Giants organization entering this season.

Arroyo has received a non-roster invitation to major league camp this year and should get an opportunity to participate in early spring training games. He’ll likely open the regular season with the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels. A major storyline throughout the year will be whether Arroyo sees extended playing time at a position other than shortstop in possible preparation for a different role at the major league level. Arroyo turns 21 in May and should be one of the youngest players at Double-A.

Last year, pitcher Kyle Crick was the only Giants prospect on the top 100 list as he checked in at #79. Crick fell out of the top 100 after a difficult 2015 in Richmond where the right-hander walked 66 batters in 63 innings and was moved to the bullpen midseason. Crick was ranked as high as #32 overall by MLB.com entering the 2014 season.

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop prospect Corey Seager has been rated as the #1 overall prospect by MLB.com.

MLB.com Top 100 Prospects List

To be eligible for the list, a player must still have rookie eligibility.

Episode 57 – Inside The San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants podcast

Inside the San Jose Giants is back! Joe Ritzo is joined by new co-host Justin Allegri on the first podcast of the new year. On this episode, the two broadcasters debate their top 10 San Francisco Giants prospect lists. Their in-depth analysis includes a breakdown of the standout performers in the organization, a discussion of #1 prospect Christian Arroyo and a glimpse of the up-and-coming young players likely headed to San Jose in the future.

Former SJ Giants Receive Spring Training Invites

By Joe Ritzo

2015 San Jose Giants standout Christian Arroyo has received a non-roster invitation to San Francisco's big league camp

2015 San Jose Giants standout Christian Arroyo has received a non-roster invitation to San Francisco’s big league camp

Eight players who suited up for the San Jose Giants during the 2015 season, including team MVP Christian Arroyo and Pitcher of the Year Chase Johnson, received invitations to major league spring training this week. Top prospect pitchers Tyler Beede and Sam Coonrod, catchers Aramis Garcia and Ty Ross, third baseman Ryder Jones and outfielder Ryan Lollis were also extended non-roster invitations to San Francisco’s big league camp.

It’s unlikely that any of these players will be considered for spots on San Francisco’s opening day roster, however the experience of participating in major league camp and seeing action in a handful of exhibition games provides a great opportunity to make a positive impression within the organization. Pitchers and catchers are due to report on February 17 with all other position players scheduled to report on February 22. The Giants’ first spring training game is set for March 2 versus the Los Angeles Angels.

Players currently on the 40-man roster are automatically guaranteed a spot in big league camp. The organization then selects a handful of addition players (non-roster invitees) to also participate. Generally, these non-roster players are either minor league veterans (often with some prior major league experience) or up-and-coming prospects.

All eyes will be on Arroyo this spring as the standout shortstop enters the year regarded as the #1 prospect in the organization. The former first round draft pick had a spectacular 2015 season in San Jose earning California League All-Star honors (.304 AVG, 9 HR, 42 RBI) before excelling in the Arizona Fall League. In all likelihood, Arroyo will open the 2016 season as the starting shortstop for the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels.

A Look Back: Christian Arroyo’s MVP Season In San Jose

Arroyo was chosen was San Francisco’s first pick in the 2013 draft. It was then Jones who was selected in the second round and the duo have thus far climbed the organizational ladder together (AZL-Giants in 2013, Augusta and Salem-Keizer in 2014 and San Jose in 2015). Jones anchored the third base position for the SJ Giants last season before missing most of the final six weeks and all of the playoffs with various injuries. He finished the campaign with a .268 batting average, six home runs, 47 RBI’s and a team-leading 29 doubles. Now Jones and Arroyo have both earned non-roster invitations and will get a chance to showcase their skills in major league spring training this year.

Lollis is the only one from this group of non-roster invitees to have previously played above the Double-A level. In fact, Lollis even enjoyed two brief stints in San Francisco last season (two hits in 12 at-bats) and will be looking to return to “The Show” at some point in 2016. Last season was a breakout campaign for the veteran outfielder as Lollis led the entire San Francisco farm system in batting average when he hit a combined .340 across three levels (San Jose, Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento). Lollis likely returns to the River Cats to open this year.

Garcia and Ross garnered the bulk of the catching duties in San Jose last season and both have now received non-roster invitations to big league camp. Garcia is considered the top catching prospect in the system as the former second round pick slugged 15 home runs in Augusta (Class-A level) last year before a late-season promotion to the California League. Prior to Garcia joining the team, Ross served as Giants’ primary catcher last year as he hit .244 with three home runs in 82 games. Garcia and perhaps Ross are candidates to return to San Jose this April.

Top prospect Tyler Beede will participate in big league camp this spring

Top prospect Tyler Beede will participate in big league camp this spring

On the pitching side, Beede and Johnson – two California League All-Stars last season – have received non-roster invitations to big league camp. Beede will enter 2016 as arguably the top pitching prospect in the Giants organization. The former first round draft pick had a stellar two months in the Cal League early last year (2.24 ERA in nine starts) before spending the remainder of the season with Richmond. The spring marks Beede’s first taste of big league camp before possibly returning to the Flying Squirrels.

Arroyo, Beede Headline Top Prospect List

Johnson enjoyed a breakout 2015 season in San Jose. A former third round draft selection, Johnson emerged as the Giants’ ace last year after Beede’s promotion to Double-A. In 18 starts with San Jose, Johnson fashioned a 2.43 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 111 innings. The hard-throwing right-hander boasted an incredible 0.94 ERA in 47 2/3 innings after the All-Star break before spending the final three weeks of the year in Richmond. Johnson almost certainly begins this season in the Flying Squirrels starting rotation.

Coonrod was added to the San Jose roster for the playoffs last September after a banner regular season with the Augusta GreenJackets (3.14 ERA, 114 SO in 111 IP). He then excelled with the Giants in two high-pressure postseason outings. Coonrod has received top 10 prospect mention in the San Francisco farm system this offseason and could headline the San Jose rotation in April.

Former San Jose relievers Ray Black, Ian Gardeck and Jake Smith will also participate in major league spring training this year as all three hurlers are currently members of San Francisco’s 40-man roster. Gardeck and Smith were placed on the 40-man last November after dominating in the Cal League during the 2015 season. Black, who features the best fastball in the organization, has been on the 40-man roster since after the 2014 campaign. With these three relievers combined with the eight non-roster invitees mentioned above, there will be 11 players from the 2015 San Jose Giants in big league camp next month.

A Look Back: San Jose’s Bullpen For The Ages

As of now, San Francisco is set to open camp next month with 61 players (the 40 players currently on the 40-man roster + 21 total non-roster invitees). 37 of those 61 players are former San Jose Giants. As spring training progresses, players will be sent to minor league camp before the Giants set their 25-man opening day roster in advance of their first game on April 4.

News and Notes: Spring Training Report Dates, Cal League Managers, Free Agent Updates

By Joe Ritzo

SF Giants logoThe start of major league spring training is only a few weeks away as San Francisco Giants pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Wednesday, February 17. All other position players must then report by Monday, February 22. Big league camp will consist of all players on the 40-man roster in addition to those extended non-roster invitations. The San Francisco Giants have yet to announce which players will receive a non-roster invite to big league camp.

For everyone else in the organization, Giants minor league camp is set to begin on March 1 in Scottsdale. The first full workout is on March 5 with the minor league exhibition game schedule starting on March 16. The “Inside the San Jose Giants” podcast and blog will have full spring training previews and reports from Scottsdale in the coming weeks and months.

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE MANAGERS
All 10 California League teams have now announced their coaching staffs for the upcoming 2016 season:

North Division
* Bakersfield Blaze: Eddie Menchaca
Menchaca is one of only four returning managers in the league this year as 2016 will mark his second season at the helm in Bakersfield. The Blaze had the worst record in the North Division a season ago (61-79), but did finish 24-12 in their last 36 games. Menchaca has managed in the Mariners farm system for six years.

* Modesto Nuts: Fred Ocasio
Ocasio, now in his 20th year in the Rockies organization, returns for a second season as Modesto’s skipper. Last year, the Nuts were 67-73 – missing the playoffs for a second straight season (after qualifying for the postseason the previous seven years). Ocasio managed Class-A Asheville to the South Atlantic League title in 2014. He’s been a manager in the Rockies system since 2006.

* San Jose Giants: Lipso Nava
For more on new Giants manager Lipso Nava click here.

* Stockton Ports: Rick Magnante
Magnante returns as Stockton’s manager this year after directing the Ports to a 74-66 record and a wild card berth a season ago. Magnante was a scout in the A’s organization for nearly a decade and has been a minor league manager in their farm system since 2006.

* Visalia Rawhide: J.R. House
House is back for a second season as Visalia’s skipper. He was the California League Manager of the Year in 2015 after leading the Rawhide to first and second half titles in the North Division and a league-best 84-56 regular season record. House also directed the Short-Season Hillsboro Hops to the Northwest League title in 2014. This year marks only his third season as a minor league manager.

South Division
* High Desert Mavericks: Howard Johnson
Johnson is one of five new managers in the South Division this year. A 14-year major league veteran and two-time All-Star (228 career home runs), Johnson previously served as the Seattle Mariners hitting coach in 2014 and 2015 before joining the Rangers organization this year. His only previous managerial role was as the skipper for Short-Season Brooklyn (Mets affiliate) during the 2002 season.

* Inland Empire 66ers: Chad Tracy
Tracy moves up a level in the Angels system this year after serving as manager for Class-A Burlington in 2015. Tracy is only 30 years old having played as recently as the 2013 season. His father, Jim, is a former major league manager with the Dodgers, Pirates and Rockies.

* Lake Elsinore Storm: Francisco Morales
Morales takes over in Lake Elsinore this year after serving as Fort Wayne’s manager (Padres Class-A affiliate) last season. 2016 marks Morales’ second year as a minor league manager. He previously served as San Diego’s bullpen catcher.

* Lancaster JetHawks: Ramon Vazquez
Vazquez will begin his first season as Lancaster’s manager this year. Previously, he was the JetHawks’ infield coach for two years, including on their 2014 championship team. Vazquez played in parts of nine years in the major leagues from 2001-09. 2016 is Vazquez’s first season as a minor league manager.

* Rancho Cucamonga Quakes: Drew Saylor
Saylor joins the Dodgers organization this year after serving as hitting coach for the Modesto Nuts last season. The 31-year old was previously a manager for Short-Season Tri-City in the Rockies system during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Bill Haselman, who managed Rancho Cucamonga to a California League title last year, will manager LA’s Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City this season.

MINOR LEAGUE FREE AGENT UPDATES
Former San Jose outfielder Darren Ford re-signed with the Giants earlier this month. Ford, who became a minor league free agent at the conclusion of last season, spent all of 2015 with Triple-A Sacramento. He hit .261 for the River Cats in 110 games with 13 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs and 33 stolen bases. Ford played in 26 games with the San Francisco Giants during the 2011 season – primarily as a pinch-runner. He returned to the organization in 2014 after stints in the Mariners (2012) and Pirates (2013) systems. Ford was the primary center fielder on San Jose’s 2009 California League championship team.

Ford joins Ryan Lollis as former San Jose outfielders to have re-signed with the organization this offseason. The duo will likely return to the Sacramento outfield this April and could be joined by Mac Williamson and/or Jarrett Parker if neither make the big league roster coming out of camp.

Former San Jose infielder Juan Ciriaco has also re-signed with the SF Giants this offseason. Ciriaco, who split last season between Double-A Richmond and Sacramento, played for San Jose in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Former San Jose Giants Kelvin Marte (Pirates), Juan Perez (Cubs), Hector Sanchez (White Sox) and Jackson Williams (Rockies) are among the players who signed minor league deals elsewhere this offseason.

Other minor league free agent updates involving former San Jose Giants:
* Tim Alderson, RHP (2008-09 in SJ) – re-signed with Nationals
* Scott Barnes, LHP (2009) – signed with Cubs
* Alex Burg, C/INF (2011-12) – re-signed with Rangers
* Emmanuel Burriss, SS (2007) – signed with Phillies
* Charlie Culberson, 2B (2010) – signed with Dodgers
* Antoan Richardson, OF (2007) – signed with Pirates
* Sharlon Schoop, SS (2008) – re-signed with Orioles
* Jason Stoffel, RHP (2010) – re-signed with Orioles
* Eric Surkamp, LHP (2009-10) – signed with Athletics

San Jose Bees Legend George Brett Inducted Into California League Hall Of Fame

The San Jose Giants will honor George Brett during a home game this season with several promotions planned surrounding the night.

The San Jose Giants will honor George Brett during a home game this season with several promotions planned surrounding the night.

To kick off the celebration of its 75th anniversary season, the California League announced its inaugural Hall of Fame class this week with George Brett representing the San Jose franchise. Brett, a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, spent the 1972 season with the San Jose Bees before a 21-year major league career.

As a 19-year old in the California League, Brett hit .274 for the Bees (a Royals affiliate) in 117 games. He led the team with 68 RBI’s and was tied for second with 10 home runs. Brett also produced 13 doubles and five triples.

San Jose Giants Director of Player Personnel Linda Pereira, who is in her 49th season with the team, fondly remembers Brett and his time in the California League.

“George was quite a character when he was here,” remarked Pereira. “He always played hard and was a great teammate.”

The 1972 Bees finished with a solid 76-64 overall record with Brett leading the charge. Other notable future big leaguers from the ’72 club included Frank White, Al Cowens and Greg Minton.

“That was a good group of guys that year,” added Pereira. “Those players did a lot of things together and it really was a stepping-stone for them on the way to the big leagues. A lot of them played in the major leagues for many years.”

The Bees were a Royals affiliate from 1970 to 1974.

Brett debuted in the major leagues on August 2, 1973 – just one year after his season in San Jose. By 1974, he had established himself as Kansas City’s starting third baseman before earning his first All-Star selection in 1976. In 1980, he made a run at the magical .400 mark – a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since Ted Williams in 1941. Brett ultimately finished with an incredible .390 batting average (to go along with 24 home runs and 118 RBI’s) to win his first and only American League MVP award.

In 1985, Brett hit .335 with a career-high 30 home runs to lead the Royals to the World Series Championship. Five years later, at age 37, he won his third AL batting title.

Brett spent all 21 of his major league seasons with the Royals. His 3,154 career hits are the most by any third baseman in history and 16th all-time. Brett finished his career with a .305 batting average and 317 home runs. He is one of only four players in major league history with 3,000 hits, 300 home runs and a .300 batting average. A 13-time All-Star, Brett was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 – the only former San Jose player to have achieved the honor.

In addition to Brett, the inaugural 14-player California League Hall of Fame class includes: Jose Cruz, Jr. (Lancaster), Don Drysdale (Bakersfield), Ken Griffey, Jr. (San Bernardino), Rickey Henderson (Modesto), Reggie Jackson (Modesto), Sam Lynn (Bakersfield), Pedro Martinez (Bakersfield), Xavier Nady (Lake Elsinore), Vada Pinson (Visalia), Gary Sheffield (Stockton), Bob Talbot (Visalia), Fernando Valenzuela (Lodi) and Omar Vizquel (Salinas). Additionally, a 15th player will be selected via an online fan vote during spring training. Former San Jose and San Francisco Giants third baseman Bill Mueller and current San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy (who managed the Riverside Red Wave in 1990 and High Desert Mavericks in 1991) are among the 10 candidates. The league will host a Hall of Fame celebration on June 21 in Lake Elsinore prior to the California-Carolina League All-Star Game.

The San Jose Giants will honor George Brett during a home game this season with several promotions planned surrounding the night. A full 2016 promotional schedule will be released on sjgiants.com in the coming weeks.

Projecting the 2016 Roster – Who makes the jump from Short-Season ball?

By Joe Ritzo

san jose giantsThe majority of the players on the 2016 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 2015 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. Tyler Beede and Austin Slater, for example, did it last year and each were All-Star performers with the Giants.

Who might those players be in 2016? 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:

Steven Duggar, OF
Duggar didn’t technically end last season in Salem-Keizer as he earned a surprise promotion to San Jose at the start of the Championship Series when the Giants roster had suddenly been gutted due to injury and other player movement. Duggar was San Francisco’s sixth round pick last June out of ACC power Clemson. After signing his pro contract, Duggar was sent to Salem-Keizer where he served as the Volcanoes’ everyday right fielder last season. In 58 games, he hit a solid .293 with 12 doubles, one home run, 27 RBI’s and six stolen bases. Though it didn’t result in many stolen base attempts last summer (9), Duggar is regarded as having plus-speed, something that was very evident during his limited playing time during the Cal League playoffs. Duggar is a solid all-around player with a line drive stroke, power potential, a good eye at the plate (he drew 35 walks in 58 games with Salem) and excellent defensive skills. A strong spring training could certainly push Duggar past Augusta and to the California League this year. Duggar is currently rated the fourth-best outfield prospect in the system by MLB.com (#29 overall prospect).

Miguel Gomez, 3B/C
Gomez made headlines within the organization last summer when he hit safely in 22 straight games to set a Salem-Keizer franchise record. He finished the season with a league-leading 52 RBI’s to go with 14 doubles, six home runs and an impressive .319 batting average. Gomez’s fantastic year earned him Northwest League All-Star honors. He’s no stranger to success though as Gomez was honored as the MVP of the Dominican Summer League in 2014 and owns a career minor league batting average over .300 in four seasons. Originally signed as an international free agent by the Giants out of the Dominican Republic, Gomez is a contact hitter who was the toughest to strikeout in the Northwest League last season. The 23-year old split time between third base, catcher and DH with the Volcanoes and has previous professional experience at first base. That versatility could make him an invaluable member of the San Jose Giants, perhaps as soon as this spring.

C.J. Hinojosa, SS
Hinojosa was San Francisco’s 11th round draft pick last June out of the University of Texas. Regarded as one of the top college prospects in the country entering 2015, Hinojosa fell down the draft boards a bit after a pedestrian junior season at Texas. Hinojosa may end up being a steal in the 11th round as he thrived in the Northwest League with Salem-Keizer last summer and has likely positioned himself for a look in San Jose this year. Over 48 games with the Volcanoes, Hinojosa batted .296 with a team-leading 18 doubles, five home runs and 19 RBI’s. A tremendous contact hitter who struck out only 15 times in 189 at-bats, Hinojosa certainly showed some power last year as well. He was also at his best late in the year batting at a .375 clip during the month of August. Hinojosa saw action exclusively at shortstop with the Volcanoes. He is regarded as a smart and savvy ballplayer who plays the game with great enthusiasm. Christian Arroyo is moving up to Double-A and there were no standout shortstops in Augusta last season which could pave the way for Hinojosa jumping to San Jose this April.

Chris Shaw, 1B
Shaw would be one of the headliners of San Jose’s roster if he makes the jump to the California League this season. A supplemental first round draft pick last June (31st overall selection) out of Boston College, Shaw showcased his plus-power with the Volcanoes in 2015. The slugging first baseman finished with 12 home runs (in just 46 games) to lead the Northwest League. An imposing presence in the left-handed batters box at 6’3″ and 240 pounds, Shaw also produced 11 doubles and batted .287. He’s a patient hitter who can draw a walk, but will need to cut down on his strikeouts as he climbs the ladder. Shaw enters 2016 regarded as the top first base prospect in the system. Baseball America rates the 22-year old as the #5 overall prospect in the organization. The SF Giants will often send their top hitting prospects out of the college ranks to San Jose for their first full professional seasons and Shaw would definitely fit that criteria in 2016.

Cory Taylor, RHP
The most likely players to make the jump from Salem-Keizer to San Jose this April are probably hitters (see above), but Taylor is a definite pitching possibility after his excellent season with the Volcanoes. An eighth round draft pick last June, Taylor pitched out of the Salem bullpen after signing and posted a 2.45 ERA over 18 relief appearances. The right-hander struck out a whopping 50 batters in just 33 innings while issuing 12 walks and allowing only one home run. While Taylor pitched in a set-up role for Salem-Keizer and may very well continue to be used as a reliever, he was a highly successful starting pitcher throughout his collegiate career at Dallas Baptist University. The 22-year old was 7-1 with a 3.60 ERA as a junior last spring and threw a complete-game three-hitter against powerhouse Texas in NCAA Tournament play. Whichever role he’s in this season, Taylor could be considered for a promotion to San Jose.

Others to Consider: Third baseman Jose Vizcaino, Jr. was a Northwest League All-Star last summer after batting .288 with six home runs in 48 games … Vizcaino was drafted in the seventh round last June out of nearby Santa Clara, but will face stiff competition at the hot corner from Jonah Arenado and perhaps Ryder Jones (if he doesn’t move up to Double-A) for a spot in San Jose … Lefty Grant Watson was a four-year starting pitcher at UCLA earning All-Pac-12 honors as a senior before the Giants selected him in the 16th round last June … Watson had a 0.67 ERA in 26 innings in rookie-ball last summer before making three starts with Salem-Keizer late in the season (4.50 ERA) … It will be tough to crack the SJ rotation coming out of camp, but Watson could put himself in the competition … Fifth rounder Ronnie Jebavy hit .263 with eight homers and four triples as Salem-Keizer’s center fielder and leadoff man last season … Augusta is probably his most likely destination this April, but he could force his way up to San Jose at some point during the year … Ryan Halstead (2.33 ERA, 8 SV, 32 SO in 27 IP) and Caleb Smith (3.51 ERA, 7 SV, 42 SO in 25 IP) were top relievers for the Volcanoes last season and could be under-the-radar additions to the San Jose bullpen this spring if either skips Augusta … Finally, San Jose fans should keep an eye on the progress of 2015 first rounder Phil Bickford … Bickford wasn’t in Salem-Keizer last season, but rather in the Arizona Rookie League (2.01 ERA, 32 SO in 22 IP) … A move to SJ would be a big jump over two levels for the 20-year top prospect, but it’s a possibility.

Prospect Rankings

By Joe Ritzo

SF Giants logoSeveral former San Jose Giants have found themselves on recently released top prospect lists:

Baseball America Top 10 SF Giants Prospects
1. Christian Arroyo, SS
2. Tyler Beede, RHP
3. Phil Bickford, RHP
4. Lucius Fox, SS
5. Chris Shaw, 1B
6. Sam Coonrod, RHP
7. Aramis Garcia, C
8. Clayton Blackburn, RHP
9. Jarrett Parker, OF
10. Adalberto Mejia, LHP

MLB.com Top 10 SF Giants Prospects
1. Tyler Beede, RHP
2. Christian Arroyo, SS
3. Phil Bickford, RHP
4. Lucius Fox, SS
5. Sam Coonrod, RHP
6. Kyle Crick, RHP
7. Jalen Miller, SS
8. Chris Shaw, 1B
9. Steven Okert, LHP
10. Josh Osich, LHP

Baseball Prospectus Top 10 SF Giants Prospects
1. Christian Arroyo, SS
2. Lucius Fox, SS
3. Tyler Beede, RHP
4. Jalen Miller, SS
5. Phil Bickford, RHP
6. Sam Coonrod, RHP
7. Chris Shaw, 1B
8. Kyle Crick, RHP
9. Aramis Garcia, C
10. Adalberto Mejia, LHP

Christian Arroyo has moved up to #1 on several Giants top prospect lists entering the 2016 season

Christian Arroyo has moved up to #1 on several Giants top prospect lists entering the 2016 season

* Christian Arroyo’s fantastic 2015 season in San Jose has elevated the shortstop on these top prospect lists. Arroyo is now the #1 prospect in the system according to Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus and #2 by MLB.com (behind Tyler Beede). Arroyo though is not the only shortstop in the system who is garnering elite prospect status. Lucius Fox, the 18-year out of the Bahamas who inked a $6 million signing bonus with the Giants last summer, is a consensus top 5 prospect. Baseball Prospectus gives Fox his highest rating at #2. 2016 will mark his debut professional season. Meanwhile, Jalen Miller, San Francisco’s third round pick last June, was included on the MLB.com and BP top 10 lists. Miller played in the Arizona Rookie League last summer after signing his professional contract. Fox and Miller (19 years old) are still teenagers, so it’s unlikely either will see time in San Jose this upcoming season, but both should be exciting prospects to watch at Municipal Stadium in the future.

* Former SJ Giant Tyler Beede is the highest rated pitching prospect on all three lists. He tops out at #1 on the MLB.com list while he’s #2 according to Baseball America and #3 for Baseball Prospectus.

* Kyle Crick has spent the last few years widely considered one of top 1-2 pitching prospects in the system, but saw a significant drop in his status after 2015. Crick posted a solid 3.29 ERA for Double-A Richmond last year, but averaged over a walk per inning pitched and was moved to the bullpen midseason. He dropped to #6 on the MLB.com list, #8 according to Baseball Prospects and completely out of Baseball America’s top 10.

* Starting pitcher Sam Coonrod and first baseman Chris Shaw are top 10 prospects who could possibly open the 2016 season in San Jose. Coonrod, who joined the SJ Giants from Augusta for the playoffs last September, was rated either #5 or #6 on all three lists. Shaw, last year’s supplemental first round draft pick, is also on all three lists with a high of #5 (BA). Shaw led the Short-Season Northwest League with 12 home runs last summer and could make the jump all the way to the Cal League at some point this year. Catcher Aramis Garcia, who cracked the top 10 for both BA and BP, is another possibility to open the year in San Jose. Finally, 2015 first round draft pick Phil Bickford is a unanimous top 5 prospect. Bickford has yet to pitch above rookie-ball, but could be in contention for a San Jose roster spot this spring.

Here is my top 10 list entering the 2016 season:
1. Christian Arroyo
2. Tyler Beede
3. Phil Bickford
4. Mac Williamson
5. Lucius Fox
6. Clayton Blackburn
7. Adalberto Mejia
8. Sam Coonrod
9. Kyle Crick
10. Chris Shaw
Just missed the cut: Ray Black, Aramis Garcia, Derek Law, Jalen Miller, Andrew Suarez

The big difference is my inclusion of former San Jose outfielder Mac Williamson all the way at #4. None of BA, BP or MLB.com have Williamson even in their top 10’s. Former San Jose starting pitchers Clayton Blackburn and Adalberto Mejia are also rated higher by me than any of the publications.

For reference, my top 10 list entering 2015 was: 1. Kyle Crick (moved down nine spots this year), 2. Tyler Beede (same), 3. Andrew Susac (graduated to MLB), 4. Christian Arroyo (up to #1), 5. Adalberto Mejia (down two spots), 6. Mac Williamson (up two spots), 7. Clayton Blackburn (up one spot), 8. Daniel Carbonell (dropped out), 9. Keury Mella (traded), 10. Hunter Strickland (graduated to MLB).

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