Giants Players Finish Arizona Fall League Season
By Joe Ritzo
The Arizona Fall League season has come to a close and several Giants enjoyed standout campaigns. Top prospect Kyle Crick was nearly unhittable over his final few outings while Derek Law maintained a perfect ERA for the entire fall season. Offensively, 2012 San Jose Giant Andrew Susac led the charge with the top batting average on the Scottsdale Scorpions.Crick was unquestionably the headline Giants prospect in the AFL this year and the hard-throwing right-hander did not disappoint. He finished the fall season with five starts and two relief appearances compiling a 2.87 ERA over 15 2/3 innings. Crick struck out a whopping 24 batters, walked 11 and allowed just nine hits for an impressive .161 opponents batting average.
After giving up four runs over two innings in his first start, Crick would allow just two runs for the remainder of the AFL season (13 2/3 IP). Over his last two starts to close the season, Crick fired six scoreless frames with just one hit allowed and 10 strikeouts.
Crick will enter the 2014 season as the #1 prospect in the San Francisco organization and he almost certainly will begin the year in the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels starting rotation.
Likely joining Crick in the Richmond rotation next season will be left-hander Adalberto Mejia, who didn’t enjoy nearly as much success in the fall league. Overall in seven appearances (including three starts), Mejia logged an 8.47 ERA. The southpaw surrendered 16 earned runs in 17 innings while issuing eight walks and collecting 14 strikeouts.
Mejia’s finest outing came on October 22 in long relief when he picked-up the win after tossing 3 1/3 scoreless innings with one hit allowed, no walks and five strikeouts. Mejia though would give up at least two runs in all six of his other appearances.
For both Crick and Mejia, the Arizona Fall League was an opportunity to further their development and make up for lost time after each spent a substantial part of the first half in San Jose on the disabled list. By all reports, Crick was outstanding, in particular during his dominant stretch during the final couple of weeks. And while Mejia didn’t fare nearly as well (important to note the small sample size of statistics), the experience should prove valuable and he too is still clearly one of the elite pitching prospects in the Giants organization.
Out of the bullpen, it was a spectacular fall effort for Law, who also put together a terrific second half of the 2013 season as the San Jose closer. In 11 AFL appearances, Law worked a total of 12 1/3 innings with no earned runs allowed. The right-hander yielded just eight hits, walked six, struck out 16 and limited the opposition to a .186 batting average.
After a breakout second half with San Jose and a remarkable fall season, Law is clearly ready for a promotion to the upper levels of the farm system. Armed with a mid-90’s fastball, an assortment of offspeed pitches and a deceptive delivery, Law could certainly move quickly through the organization next year with continued success.
Cody Hall also worked in relief for the Scorpions this fall. Over nine games, Hall logged a 3.00 ERA registering seven strikeouts with four walks in nine innings. Hall did surrender 13 hits over the course of the AFL season leading to a .317 opponents batting average.
Hall was as dominant as any reliever in the Cal League during the first half of this season before having success as the Richmond closer in July and August. Like Law, he features an explosive mid 90’s fastball and can throw strikes consistently. Whether he returns to the Eastern League or gets a shot at Triple-A Fresno to open 2014 remains to be seen, but in either case, he’ll begin the year as one of the top relief pitcher prospects in the organization.On the hitting side, Susac was the star among Giants minor leaguers. The former second round draft pick received 50 at-bats during AFL play and hit a team-best .360 with two home runs and seven RBI’s. The two round-trippers were Susac’s only extra-base hits. The catcher also walked (16) more than he struck out (11) leading to a stellar .507 on-base percentage.
Susac had a productive (.256 AVG, 12 HR, .362 OBP in 96 games), but injury-affected 2013 with Richmond. As an athletic catcher drafted highly with some power and the ability to draw a walk, he’s certainly one of the top position player prospects in the organization. His overall solid year in the Eastern League combined with good numbers in the fall league could very well push Susac up to Fresno at the start of 2014.
Outfielder Jarrett Parker also had some hitting success in the Arizona Fall League this year. Another member of the 2012 San Jose Giants, Parker finished the fall season with an even .300 batting average in 60 at-bats. The former second round draft pick produced almost no power (a triple was his only extra-base hit), but the high batting average (albeit in a small sample size) is encouraging given his .249 career mark through three professional seasons.
Finally, Angel Villalona struggled to gain much traction offensively in the Arizona Fall League. The slugging first baseman managed just a .200 batting average in 65 at-bats to go with three doubles, no home runs and seven RBI’s. He struck out 19 times compared to just three walks and finished with a .243 on-base percentage.
Both Parker and Villalona are expected to compete for spots on Fresno’s opening day roster next spring.
Scottsdale finished the fall league season with a 10-21 overall record. The Scorpions were third in the three-team East Division – 9 1/2 games out of the top spot. After starting 7-6, Scottsdale lost 15 out of their last 18 games, including seven in a row to end the season.