Minor League Free Agents

By Joe Ritzo

A minor leaguer is eligible for free agency six years after his first season in the organization, provided the player is not on the 40-man roster. Earlier today, Baseball America posted a complete list of the minor leaguers that have been declared free agents. 13 players within the San Francisco organization were listed, three of which were members of the San Jose Giants during the 2013 season.

* Brock Bond, INF – It was a disappointing 2013 season for Bond, who began the year on the disabled list after an oblique injury sustained during spring training. Once healthy, he was assigned to San Jose, but never managed to fully get on track and return to the upper levels of the farm system. In 92 games with the Giants this year, Bond hit .240 with 16 doubles, three home runs and 39 RBI’s. Bond was second on the team in walks (49) contributing to a .339 on-base percentage, but the low batting average stands out after ranking among the Pacific Coast League leaders in hitting while with Triple-A Fresno during the 2012 campaign. Bond did receive an invitation to big league camp last spring and made a positive impression there when he took home the Jordan Award (given by SF to the player who makes the biggest impression in his first big league camp).

* Edward Concepcion, RHP – Another player who battled injuries this year, Concepcion began the season at Extended Spring Training before joining San Jose in June. After only three relief appearances (with seven runs allowed) and two stints on the disabled list, Concepcion was sent down to Augusta. Concepcion made a far greater impact on San Jose’s 2012 team when he pitched in 46 games and logged a 6.10 ERA with more strikeouts (51) than innings (48 2/3). The right-hander regularly featured a mid 90’s fastball last year, but control issues often held him back. Like Bond, Concepcion did receive a non-roster invitation to major league spring training before this season.

* Skyler Stromsmoe, INF/OF – The veteran Stromsmoe played in 16 games with San Jose this season (all during the month of June) and hit .262 with two doubles and two RBI’s. A versatile utility player with experience throughout his career at second, short, third and outfield, Stromsmoe started and finished his 2013 season with Double-A Richmond. The 29-year old also played briefly with the Giants in 2012 and was a key reserve on the 2009 California League championship team, when he hit .267 with 15 RBI’s.

Other former San Jose Giants that have been declared minor league free agents include pitchers Steve Edlefsen and Daryl Maday along with catchers Tyler LaTorre and Jackson Williams. Edlefsen is the only one of the group with major league experience having made 27 relief appearances with San Francisco over the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Both Edlefsen and Maday pitched for San Jose in 2008 and finished this season working out of the Fresno bullpen. LaTorre and Williams also played on San Jose’s 2008 team. Williams is a former supplemental first round draft pick, but owns just a .219 career batting average over seven minor league seasons. He hit .230 with five home runs and 30 RBI’s with Fresno this year. Top prospect Andrew Susac figures to be a strong candidate to move up to Triple-A in 2014 and handle the bulk of the catching duties for the Grizzlies next spring.

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

Earlier in the offseason, 2013 San Jose pitchers Jorge Bucardo, Kelvin Marte and Luis Rojas re-signed with San Francisco thereby foregoing impending minor league free agency. Bucardo began the year with San Jose, but suffered an arm injury after just five appearances. Upon returning from the DL, he was sent to Augusta where the right-hander dominated putting up a 1.84 ERA and six saves over 27 relief appearances. Bucardo may be a candidate to return to San Jose in 2014. Marte was 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 25 games (15 starts) with the Giants this season. He ranked third on the team in innings pitched (105 1/3). Rojas led San Jose with 49 appearances this year logging a 7-6 record and a 4.86 ERA.

The next significant personnel decisions this offseason involving minor leaguers will be determining who is added to San Francisco’s 40-man roster. The deadline to set the roster and thus protect players from the upcoming Rule 5 draft is November 20. The Rule 5 draft will be held on December 12 at Baseball’s Winter Meetings.

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