Results tagged ‘ Tyler Horan ’

Streaking Giants Begin Road Trip At High Desert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outfielder Tyler Horan has been activated off the disabled list

Outfielder Tyler Horan has been activated off the disabled list

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

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

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

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

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

Giants Return Home For Three Games Against Visalia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

San Jose Giants Open Regular Season Thursday At Lancaster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inside the San Jose Giants Season Preview Podcast

2015 San Jose Giants Roster

San Jose Giants Announce 2015 Roster

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

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

Catchers
Matt Pare
Ty Ross
Ben Turner

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

Outfielders
Jesus Galindo
Tyler Horan
Ryan Lollis
Brennan Metzger
Rafael Rodriguez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roster Press Release

Report from Arizona: SJ Giants Spring Training Update

By Joe Ritzo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Outfield

By Joe Ritzo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015 SJ Giants Starting Pitching Preview

2015 SJ Giants Bullpen Preview

2015 SJ Giants Infield Preview

Follow @SJGiants on Twitter
Follow @JoeRitzo on Twitter

Episode 46 – Inside the San Jose Giants

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

Episode 45 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants podcastWith spring training right around the corner, Joe and Ben discuss top San Francisco Giants minor league camp storylines on this podcast episode. The two address Mac Williamson returning from injury, where some of the elite prospects in the organization could start this season and which relief pitchers end up on the “fast track” to the big leagues in 2015. They also examine which players are in need of a bounce back year and the recent high draft picks who could play in San Jose this season.

Giants Minor League Camp Storylines

By Joe Ritzo

Spring training gets underway in less than two weeks while we’re now exactly two months from the San Jose Giants season opener. The San Francisco Giants (all members of the 40-man roster plus the 22 non-roster invitees) will hold their first official full team workout of the spring on February 24 while all remaining minor leaguers report to camp during the first week of March.

With over 160 players expected in minor league camp, 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:

Mac Williamson's health this spring is a main storyline after he missed the majority of the 2014 season

Mac Williamson’s health this spring is a main storyline after he missed the majority of the 2014 season

Mac Williamson’s Health
Top outfield prospect Mac Williamson missed nearly the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his ailing right elbow. The former third round draft pick enjoyed a stellar 2013 campaign in San Jose when he blasted 25 home runs, collected 89 RBI’s and hit at a .292 clip. By all reports, Williamson is expected to be a full participant in camp this spring. Can he pick-up where he left off and after sitting out for almost a year, does the organization feel he’s ready for the Double-A test right out of the gate?

Kyle Crick – Double-A or Triple-A?
After a dominant second half of 2013 in San Jose, Kyle Crick endured an up-and-down 2014 season with the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels. The positives last year included 111 strikeouts in just 90 innings, a solid .234 opponents batting average and a respectable 3.79 ERA. The negatives: six walks per nine innings and high pitch counts that resulted in an average of just over four innings per start. Crick is still just 22 and remains one of the elite pitching prospects in the system. This spring may help determine whether he receives a promotion to the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League or if he’s sent back to Double-A. Crick, like Williamson, is a non-roster invitee to big league camp, but will probably be sent down by the time minor league spring games start in mid-March.

2014 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. Blake Miller and Brian Ragira did it in 2014 while Williamson and Ty Blach were among the first-year pros on SJ’s 2013 roster. The Giants took several college players with their early picks last June and many could find their way to the California League this April. Possibilities include first rounder Tyler Beede, a top starting pitching prospect out of Vanderbilt. Catcher Aramis Garcia (2nd round), outfielders Dylan Davis (3rd round) and Austin Slater (8th round) and first baseman Skyler Ewing (6th round) could also make the jump. Which of these players (or others from the 2014 draft class) will perform well enough this spring to warrant a promotion to San Jose?

Which Relievers Are Fast-Tracked?
The San Francisco Giants feature several exciting relief pitcher prospects in their system right now and a few could be placed on the “fast-track” to the big leagues at the conclusion of spring training. Ray Black missed the first three years of his pro career due to arm injuries before finally seeing the field last season. Armed with an upper 90’s fastball that routinely hit triple-digits, Black dominated in Augusta (Class-A) last year, impressed after a late-season promotion to San Jose and is now on the 40-man roster. What does Black show in camp and could it be enough to receive a jump to the upper levels of the system come April? Lefty Steven Okert also had a breakout year in 2014 notching 24 saves between San Jose and Richmond before a standout Arizona Fall League. Like Black, Okert will start in big league camp. Will he then continue his quick rise with a promotion to Triple-A? Cody Hall, Josh Osich, Bryce Bandilla and Tyler Rogers are among some of the other relief pitchers who have had strong stretches over the last couple of years. Relievers can move quickly – remember that Hunter Strickland went from Double-A to the late-innings in San Francisco instantly … could the groundwork be laid this spring for someone to follow a similar path in 2015?

Youngsters
The Giants took a pair of high school position players with their first two picks in 2013: shortstop Christian Arroyo (1st round) and third baseman Ryder Jones (2nd round). Arroyo, who is still just 19 years old, struggled last April in Augusta before a spectacular summer in Salem-Keizer (.333 AVG, 5 HR, 48 RBI). Meanwhile, Jones (age 20) had more success with the GreenJackets, but a mid-summer slump resulted in a demotion to Salem. Will either be considered for a spot on San Jose’s opening day roster this spring or do they need to show more in Augusta first?

Infielder Blake Miller enjoyed a breakout 2014 season in San Jose - now where does he open 2015?

Infielder Blake Miller enjoyed a breakout 2014 season in San Jose – now where does he open 2015?

2014 Breakout Performers – What’s Next?
There were several breakout performers during the 2014 Giants minor league season – now what do they have in store for an encore? 25th round pick Blake Miller came of nowhere to win San Jose’s team-MVP award last year. Miller spent the last month of the season in Double-A where he more than held his own offensively (.304 AVG). Miller has bounced around the infield a bit throughout his career – does he settle in on one position this spring and will he head back to Richmond? Outfielder Tyler Horan smacked 25 home runs between Augusta and San Jose in 2014 (ranked second in the Giants farm system in HR’s) before a playoff promotion to Richmond. The Flying Squirrels outfield could be crowded with exciting prospects this April (Williamson & Daniel Carbonell to name two strong possibilities), does Horan join the group? Brian Ragira emerged in the second half last season in San Jose hitting 14 of his 20 homers after the All-Star break. Was that enough for the first baseman to move up and now get his first taste of Double-A? Middle infielder Kelby Tomlinson led the Eastern League with 49 steals in 2014 and is a non-roster invitee to big league camp. Could a strong spring for Tomlinson result in a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento?

On the pitching side, Joe Kurrasch (3.05 ERA in 15 starts) impressed in the San Jose rotation last season as a breakout performer and will be fighting for a spot on the Richmond staff this spring. Fellow lefty Matt Lujan won 12 games between Augusta and San Jose in 2014 to lead the Giants farm system. He’ll also be pushing for a spot with the Flying Squirrels this spring. Luis Ysla (2.45 ERA in 23 starts) and Christian Jones (3.33 ERA in 22 starts) performed well in the Augusta rotation last season and figure to each be competing for San Jose spots.

Bouncing Back
Conversely, there are a handful of players who endured some struggles in 2014 and will look to this spring as a launching point for a bounce back season. First baseman Angel Villalona is no longer on the 40-man roster, but remains an intriguing prospect due to his powerful bat. He hit just .227 with 10 home runs in Double-A last season. Villalona has played in Richmond the last year and a half – will this spring finally result in a move up to Triple-A? Former third round pick Ricky Oropesa also has struggled to get on track in Double-A (.241 AVG, 5 HR in ’14) and could use a strong spring to help his cause. Martin Agosta, a second round selection in 2012, had a difficult season in San Jose (9.23 ERA in 11 starts) and is in desperate need of a bounce back year. This spring should help determine whether Agosta gets another crack at the California League.

Any Surprises?
Will there be surprises with the roster assignments for any of the top prospects in the system? If not, look for Ty Blach and Clayton Blackburn to anchor the Triple-A Sacramento rotation while Daniel Carbonell and Mac Williamson lead the way in the Double-A Richmond lineup. Meanwhile, top starting pitching prospect Keury Mella should move up to San Jose.

Follow @SJGiants on Twitter
Follow @JoeRitzo on Twitter

Five SJ Giants Named Organizational All-Stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MiLB.com San Francisco Organizational All-Star Team

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

MiLB.com Article

News and Notes: California League Affiliation Shuffle

By Joe Ritzo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow @SJGiants on Twitter
Follow @JoeRitzo on Twitter

Episode 39 – Inside the San Jose Giants

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

2014 San Jose Giants Season In Review

season recap graphic3By Joe Ritzo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INDIVIDUAL STANDOUTS

• Joe Biagini, RHP (23 GS, 10-9, 4.01 ERA) – Bay Area native was a steady performer in the starting rotation leading the team in wins and ranking fifth in the league in ERA.
• Elliott Blair, OF (.316, 5 HR, 35 RBI) – Versatile outfielder returned for his second season in San Jose and was leading the team in batting average at time of his promotion to Richmond on August 1. Played all three outfield positions and hit .360 after the All-Star break.
• Daniel Carbonell, OF (.344, 3 HR, 12 RBI) – Top prospect outfielder joined San Jose in early-August after signing a major league contract with San Francisco two months earlier. Batted .344 and had multi-hits in nine out of his 21 games.
• Mitch Delfino, 3B (.289, 12 HR, 77 RBI) – Tied for the team lead in games (131) and won San Jose’s Defensive Player of the Year award for his play at third base. Steady performer offensively who led the club in doubles (28) and hits (154), was second in RBI’s and third in home runs.
• Kendry Flores, RHP (20 GS, 4-6, 4.09 ERA) – 40-man roster member, struck out 112 in 105 2/3 innings. Had a 2.60 ERA in eight second half starts before an early-August season-ending shoulder injury.
• Tyler Horan, OF (.321, 10 HR, 27 RBI) – Had a stellar final month with the Giants after his promotion from Augusta. Hit 10 home runs in 28 games and had an OPS of 1.046.
• Chuckie Jones, OF (.256, 15 HR, 66 RBI) – Primary right fielder hit 12 out of his 15 home runs after June 1 and was second on the team with 17 stolen bases.
• Joe Kurrasch, LHP (15 GS, 8-4, 3.05 ERA) – Inserted into the starting rotation in early-May and went onto win the team’s Pitcher of the Year award. Allowed two runs or fewer in 11 out of his 15 starts.
• Matt Lujan, LHP (12 GS, 6-2, 3.42 ERA) – A workhorse in the starting rotation during the second half after his midseason promotion from Augusta. Pitched at least six innings in 10 out of his last 11 starts and had a 1.64 ERA in his final five outings.
• Blake Miller, 2B/SS (.299, 8 HR, 73 RBI) – San Jose’s team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year after a stellar first full professional season. Hit over .300 in April, May and June. Was among the league leaders in RBI’s at the time of his promotion to Double-A on August 1.
• Tyler Mizenko, RHP (59 G, 3.48 ERA, 14 SV) – Led the league in appearances and was San Jose’s primary closer in the second half. Had a stretch of 17 consecutive scoreless innings throughout June and July.
• Steven Okert, LHP (33 G, 1.53 ERA, 19 SV) – San Jose’s lone All-Star representative was leading the California League in saves at the time of his promotion to Richmond in late-June. Struck out 54 in 35 1/3 innings. Named the club’s Relief Pitcher of the Year.
• Brian Ragira, 1B (.260, 20 HR, 82 RBI) – Everyday first baseman recovered from a slow start to lead the team in home runs and RBI’s. Hit .297 with 15 home runs in the second half.
• Tyler Rogers, RHP (47 G, 2.00 ERA) – Standout set-up man in the Giants bullpen. Allowed just one earned run over his last 25 2/3 innings.
• Ben Turner, C (.298, 2 HR, 40 RBI) – San Jose’s main catcher hit .336 from June 1 through the end of the season.

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

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

TEAM NOTES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A LOOK TO 2015

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

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

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

The 2015 San Jose Giants season begins on April 9

The 2015 San Jose Giants season begins on April 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giants Continue Final Homestand Against Visalia Tonight

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

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

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

Playoff Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 38 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants podcast

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

Final Homestand Of The Regular Season Begins Tonight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Versus The Nuts

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

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

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

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

On Deck

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

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

Giants Continue Road Trip In Stockton

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

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

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

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

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

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

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

Broadcast Information

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

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

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

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

Struggling Offense

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

Playoff Race

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

Carbonell’s Immediate Impact

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

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

Power Surge

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

Starting Strong

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

Delfino Delivers

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

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

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

Seven-Game Road Trip Begins Tonight In Rancho Cucamonga

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

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

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

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

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

Broadcast Information

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

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

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

Winning Ways

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

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

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

Trouble With The Ports, Rawhide

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

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

Versus The South

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

Power Surge

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

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

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

Giants Host Lancaster In Four-Game Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

Broadcast Information
The games on Friday and Saturday will be televised live on Comcast Hometown Network, Channel 104 with Joe Ritzo handing the play-by-play and Joe Castellano providing color commentary. The entire series can also be heard live on sjgiants.com and inside Municipal Stadium on 92.9 FM. All 140 games this season will be aired on the club’s official website and the San Jose Giants Mobile App. Additionally, every home game is streamed live and available on demand through MiLB.TV.

Giants Begin Four-Game Series Against Lancaster Tonight
The San Jose Giants return home this evening to begin a four-game series against the Lancaster JetHawks at Municipal Stadium. Nick Vander Tuig (1-0, 3.60) is slated to make the start on the mound for San Jose tonight. The Giants are 1-5 against Lancaster this season with this series marking the first and only meeting between the teams in San Jose.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giants Travel To Bakersfield For Three-Game Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Series

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

Recent Struggles

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

Playoff Race

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

Trouble With The Ports, Rawhide

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

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

On The Road

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

Bednar Extends Hitting Streak To 13 Games

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

One-Run Success

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

Delfino Delivers

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

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

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

Episode 30 – Inside the San Jose Giants

Inside the San Jose Giants GraphicIn the final podcast before the team arrives at Municipal Stadium, Joe and Ben make starting lineup projections for the 2014 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.

2014 San Jose Giants Season Preview: Outfield

By Joe Ritzo

2014-Season-PreviewThe San Jose Giants season preview series continues this week with a look at the outfield. The possibilities are exciting for the Giants this year with several new faces expected to play central roles. One of the fastest players in the system is presumed to take over in center while a handful of power hitters are competing for the corner outfield spots.

In all likelihood, the speedy Jesus Galindo will assume the role of everyday center fielder for San Jose this year. Galindo spent the entire 2013 regular season with Augusta (Class-A) before joining the Giants for the Cal League playoffs. Galindo’s strengths are his speed, his switch-hitting capabilities and defensive prowess in center.

In 89 games with the GreenJackets last year, Galindo hit .273 with an organizational-leading 48 stolen bases (in 54 attempts). In fact, Galindo has stolen at least 40 bases in his last four professional seasons (despite having never played more than 90 games). The 23-year old Venezuelan possesses very little power, having connected for just 12 extra-base hits last year and only three home runs for his entire pro career. However, with the ability to draw a walk combined with plus-speed and excellent base stealing skills, Galindo is a logical candidate to bat leadoff this season in San Jose if he finds himself on the Giants opening day roster. Galindo can still improve defensively in center, but features a strong arm while his speed allows him to get great jumps on fly balls.

In seven California League playoff games last September, Galindo was 6-for-23 (.261) with a triple and three RBI’s.

While Galindo’s presence in center seems almost certain, who fills the corner outfield positions is more of a mystery as the 2014 season approaches. Among outfielders that were in Augusta last season, Chuckie Jones is the most likely candidate to move up with Galindo in 2014. Jones, a seventh round draft pick four years ago out of the high school ranks, is a physical presence on the baseball field at 6’3″ and 235 lbs. Jones has excellent raw power, can run and has experience playing all three outfield positions, although was almost exclusively a right fielder last season. As recently as two years ago, Jones was considered one of the top 20 prospects in the San Francisco farm system.

The downsides for Jones have been low batting averages and high strikeout totals. He began the 2012 season in Augusta, but his struggles were so great that he quickly found himself back in Extended Spring Training before finishing the year in Salem-Keizer (Short-Season level). He received another chance to play in Augusta last season and enjoyed modest success ranking second on the team in home runs (10), doubles (21) and hits (96) and third in RBI’s (51) and runs scored (58). However, Jones, by a large margin, led the GreenJackets in strikeouts (140 K’s in 407 AB’s) and managed just a .230 batting average. Solid power numbers (that could jump up even more in the hitter-friendly California League) and improved overall production at the plate as the season progressed last year (.275 AVG in July, .290 AVG in August) though could be enough to warrant a promotion to San Jose. Despite 2014 marking Jones’ fifth professional season, he is still only 21 years old.

Other potential newcomers to the corner outfield spots in San Jose this season include Tyler Horan and Brian Ragira, two of San Francisco’s top draft picks last June. Horan would be a much-needed left-handed bat in the middle of the San Jose lineup if he proves he’s ready for a promotion to the California League. Listed at 6’1″ and 230 lbs., Horan is big and strong and was one of the top sluggers in the ACC the past few years while playing at Virginia Tech. Horan hit 26 home runs over his last two collegiate seasons (116 games), in addition to a whopping 16 homers in just 41 games in the prestigious Cape Cod Summer League after the 2012 campaign. The result of that success was his selection in the eighth round of last year’s draft by the SF Giants.

Last summer in Salem-Keizer, Horan produced solid numbers batting at a .295 clip in 44 games to go with 11 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 25 RBI’s. Horan finished the year strong hitting .319 in August while garnering starts in both left field and right. Now 23 years old, Horan could certainly fit into San Jose’s plans in 2014.

Meanwhile, Ragira was mentioned in last week’s preview as a potential first baseman on this year’s Giants squad. A fourth round pick last June out of Stanford, Ragira was exclusively a first baseman at the collegiate level, but saw more time in the outfield last summer with Salem-Keizer (mainly in RF). Overall in 47 games for the Volcanoes, Ragira posted a .263 batting average to go with 12 doubles, three home runs and 36 RBI’s. Ragira also drew 26 walks resulting in an impressive .371 on-base percentage.

While in college, Ragira hit at least .320 in each of his three seasons, leading Stanford in home runs (8) and RBI’s (42) as a junior. It remains to be seen whether Ragira, who was drafted as a first baseman, continues to work more at that position or if his experience in the outfield last summer in Salem-Keizer is a sign of his future role as a professional. Either way, given his draft pedigree, his success at a top collegiate program and overall solid production last year in the Northwest League, Ragira figures to be a strong contender for the San Jose roster this spring.

Potential outfield returnees to San Jose in 2014 include the versatile Elliott Blair and the speedy Shawn Payne. Blair, who saw substantial time as a center fielder last season in a Giants uniform, could be hard-pressed to earn a promotion to what’s expected to be a crowded Richmond outfield. In 69 games in the California League a year ago, Blair hit .229 with three home runs and 26 RBI’s. The former 46th round draft pick has played all three outfield positions in his pro career, in addition to occasional time at first base.

Payne entered the 2013 campaign with high expectations after leading Augusta in batting average the year prior, to go with a whopping 53 stolen bases. Unfortunately, that production did not lead to much success in the California League as Payne struggled to a .229 batting average and one home run in 73 games last season. Payne hit just .191 in May and .157 in June with the Giants before he was sent down to Augusta. Payne was able to get somewhat back on track down the stretch managing a .259 batting average with 10 doubles and four homers in 36 games for Augusta and will look for another crack at the California League this season. Payne has been exclusively a left fielder over the last two years.

One other potential 2014 San Jose outfielder worth noting is Brett Krill, a former 25th round pick out of UCLA. Krill was penciled into the Giants outfield last year after coming on strong during the second half of 2012 with Augusta. A late-switch during spring training though elevated Krill up to Double-A where he spent the entire 2013 season. In 85 games with the Flying Squirrels, mainly in a reserve outfield role, Krill hit .258 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 28 RBI’s. Krill, who can play either corner outfield position, struggled late in the year batting just .217 after the All-Star break. He could return to Richmond this season or perhaps make the first appearance of his professional career in San Jose.

2014 San Jose Giants Outfield Candidates
(2013 regular season statistics are listed)

Elliott Blair, CF
– San Jose: .229 AVG, 3 HR, 26 RBI, 4 SB

Jesus Galindo, CF
– Augusta: .273 AVG, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 48 SB

Tyler Horan, LF/RF
– Salem-Keizer: .295 AVG, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 4 SB

Chuckie Jones, RF
– Augusta: .236 AVG, 10 HR, 51 RBI, 12 SB

Brett Krill, LF/RF

– Richmond: .258 AVG, 2 HR, 28 RBI, 3 SB

Shawn Payne, LF
– San Jose: .229 AVG, 1 HR, 29 RBI, 21 SB
– Augusta: .259 AVG, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 6 SB

Brian Ragira, OF/1B

– Salem-Keizer: .263 AVG, 3 HR, 36 RBI, 1 SB

The 2014 San Jose Giants preview series will continue next week with a look at the catching position.

2014 San Jose Giants Previews

Corner Infield

Middle Infield

Starting Pitchers

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

Follow @SJGiants on Twitter
Follow @JoeRitzo on Twitter

Episode 27 – Inside the San Jose Giants


Inside the San Jose Giants podcastWith spring training right around the corner, Joe and Ben discuss top San Francisco Giants minor league camp storylines on the latest podcast episode. The two analyze where some of the elite starting pitching prospects in the organization could start this season and preview position battles at first base and shortstop. They also examine which recent high draft picks could play in San Jose this year.

Giants Minor League Camp Storylines

By Joe Ritzo

SF Giants logoSpring training gets underway down in Scottsdale in less than two weeks while we’re now under two months from the San Jose Giants season opener. The San Francisco Giants (all members of the 40-man roster plus the 26 non-roster invitees) will hold their first official full team workout of the spring on February 19 while all remaining minor leaguers report to camp by February 27.

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

Starting Pitching Prospects

The strength of the Giants farm system right now is unquestionably the deep crop of starting pitching prospects. According to Baseball America, eight out of the top 14 prospects in the organization are starting pitchers. And while a handful of these pitching prospects will begin spring training in big league camp, none are expected to compete for spots on the opening day roster and thus should find themselves back in minor league camp before too long. The big question then becomes, assuming full-health for everyone, where do all of these pitchers land at the beginning of the season? It could be as simple as each starter moving up a level from where they finished in 2013. If that’s the case, look for Edwin Escobar, the closest of the group to the big leagues, to start the year with Triple-A Fresno. The quartet of top prospect starters from last season’s San Jose team – Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn, Adalberto Mejia and Ty Blach – would jump to Double-A Richmond. Meanwhile, 2013 Augusta headliners Chris Stratton, Martin Agosta, Kendry Flores and Joan Gregorio move to San Jose.

However, projecting the opening day starting rotations in the Giants farm system may not be that simple. Escobar will be under the microscope all spring trying to prove that he’s ready for a promotion to Fresno (not to mention a possible big league debut later in the year) despite just 54 career innings at the Double-A level. Mejia was excellent in the second half last season with San Jose, but missed most of the first half due to injury. At just 20 years old, it would be an aggressive promotion to the Eastern League if that turns out to be his assignment. Meanwhile, perhaps one of the top starters from last year’s Augusta team gains consideration for a jump over San Jose all the way to Richmond. Possible candidates could include Stratton, with his first round pedigree, and Flores, who was placed on the 40-man roster last offseason. How each of these pitchers (who are all listed among Baseball America’s top 30 prospects in the system) fare this spring is a major storyline and it’ll be interesting to see where they all begin their 2014 seasons.

Law And The Relievers
Outside of perhaps Crick, there wasn’t a player in the Giants system that was generating more buzz last October/November than Derek Law. After a dominant second half as San Jose’s closer, Law went to the Arizona Fall League where he fashioned a perfect 0.00 ERA. Law, along with Heath Hembree, are considered the top relief pitcher prospects in the organization right now. Law will initially get an opportunity to pitch in big league camp this spring and if he impresses, might a jump to Fresno and a spot on the fast track be in the works?

The placement of some other relief pitcher prospects this spring is also worth noting. Hard-throwers Cody Hall and Josh Osich were midseason promotions to Richmond last year. Do both return to the Eastern League or show enough this spring to get a look in Fresno right off the bat? Injuries have plagued Bryce Bandilla throughout his pro career, but when healthy, he’s been as dominant as anyone in this system over the last two seasons. Is the talented lefty ready to go this spring and in line for a promotion to Double-A? Augusta’s bullpen was stacked last season as well with the likes of Stephen Johnson (a top 30 prospect), Steven Okert (another top 30 prospect), Tyler Mizenko (All-Star closer), Ian Gardeck and Jorge Bucardo. Do they all move up together this spring and continue the tradition of strong San Jose bullpens?

Starting pitcher Pat Young is one of several players from the 2013 draft class who could open the season in San Jose

Starting pitcher Pat Young is one of several players from the 2013 draft class who could open the season in San Jose

2013 Draft Class – Anyone To San Jose?
The top two picks from last June’s draft – shortstop Christian Arroyo and third baseman Ryder Jones – both excelled in the Arizona Rookie League, but are each still teenagers and thus an aggressive promotion to San Jose seems unlikely. Arroyo and Jones figure to both have an opportunity to make the Class-A Augusta roster this spring. But what about some of the other 2013 draftees – could any of them jump to the California League for the start of the 2014 season? The best bets might be fourth rounder Brian Ragira, an outfielder/first baseman out of Stanford who was second on Salem-Keizer’s club with 36 RBI’s last summer and eighth rounder Tyler Horan, an outfielder out of Virginia Tech who hit .295 for the Volcanoes and has impressive raw power. Utility infielder Brandon Bednar (seventh round) and catcher Ty Ross (12th round) are also candidates after each were drafted out of the college ranks and played key roles in Salem last summer.

On the pitching side, Nick Vander Tuig (sixth round) is a polished right-handed starter out of UCLA and while he has only 10 innings of professional experience, could follow a similar path as Blach and jump to the San Jose rotation for his first full season. Pat Young (13th round) had a 0.92 ERA in eight starts with Salem-Keizer last summer before handling himself well in the playoffs with the Giants. Chase Johnson (third round) was the first pitcher taken by San Francisco in last year’s draft. After working as a reliever in college, Johnson transitioned to the role of a starter last summer with Salem-Keizer and impressed. Meanwhile, Dan Slania (fifth round) is a power arm out of Notre Dame who finished last season as an effective late-inning reliever for the Volcanoes. Which of these players (or others from the 2013 draft class) will perform well enough this spring to warrant a promotion to San Jose?

Shortstops

At the start of spring training, there doesn’t seem to be a clear pecking order for the shortstops in the Giants system. At the highest level, Ehire Adrianza, who is out of options, will be fighting hard in big league camp for a role on the opening day roster. Nick Noonan surprised last spring by earning a spot in San Francisco and will look to do the same this year. Minor league free agent signee Brandon Hicks, another shortstop, has some prior big league experience and is a non-roster invitee. The shortstop job in Fresno probably comes from this group. Beyond that, minor league camp should determine the shortstop logjam throughout the rest of the system.

Matt Duffy, one of the top shortstop prospects in the system, could begin the season in Double-A with a strong spring

Matt Duffy, one of the top shortstop prospects in the system, could begin the season in Double-A with a strong spring

Matt Duffy jumped up the prospect charts with his output last year, both in Augusta, where he was an All-Star, and then San Jose. He has just 34 games of experience in the California League, but with no top prospect blocking his path to Double-A, Duffy figures to have a golden opportunity to make the Richmond roster coming out of spring. Kelby Tomlinson, San Jose’s opening day shortstop in 2013, put up solid numbers in the California League when he was healthy (.276 AVG) before receiving a July promotion to Richmond, where he struggled mightily down the stretch. If Duffy jumps to Richmond, does Tomlinson then come back to San Jose to play short everyday? Jeremy Sy was the primary shortstop at Salem-Keizer last season, where he led the the Volcanoes in home runs (8) and RBI’s (41), but did commit 13 errors in just 34 games. Bednar (6 HR, 34 RBI in Salem) also has shortstop experience. And then there’s Arroyo, who won the Arizona Rookie League MVP award last summer. If Arroyo is ticketed for Augusta, then does that allow Sy and/or Bednar to get an opportunity with San Jose? The shortstop position should be a fascinating development throughout minor league camp next month.

Others
* Angel Villalona is a 40-man member, so he’ll begin the spring in big league camp, but his starting point in 2014 is a question. Villalona hit just .235 in Double-A last year after his midseason promotion from San Jose, but with incredible raw power and his option clock ticking, does he head to Fresno coming out of camp? If Villalona is assigned to Fresno, that would allow Ricky Oropesa to return to Richmond to play first base everyday.

* Keury Mella is a 20-year old right-hander who became the ace starting pitcher (2.25 ERA, 41 K’s in 36 IP) on the AZL-Giants team last summer that won the league championship. Rated the #13 prospect in the system by Baseball America, could Mella jump all the way to Augusta in 2014 with a strong spring training?

* Will there be any surprises with the roster assignments for any of the top hitting prospects in the system? If not, look for Andrew Susac, Joe Panik, Gary Brown and Adam Duvall to headline Fresno’s lineup, Mac Williamson to anchor Richmond’s middle of the order and Arroyo to lead the way in Augusta.

Projecting the 2014 Roster – High Draft Picks

By Joe Ritzo

San_Jose_Giants157Taking a look at the top 10 rounds of the last two San Francisco Giants drafts and examining which players could end up in San Jose this season.

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

Last June marked the first time since 1974 that the San Francisco Giants used their top two draft picks on high school position players. Both Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones thrived in the Arizona Rookie League last summer (Arroyo won the league MVP award), but a jump to San Jose at the start of this season for either seems unlikely. Look for the teenage duo to man the left side of the infield in Augusta (Class A) when minor league rosters are announced at the end of spring training.

The Giants then went to the college ranks with their third through tenth picks. I noted in an earlier article that the chances seem good that outfielders Brian Ragira and/or Tyler Horan could jump to San Jose from Salem-Keizer this season. Both played major college baseball for three seasons and enjoyed some success in the Northwest League last summer. The lack of top-level outfield prospects on last year’s Augusta team also helps each of their causes for a jump to the California League. Fellow position player Brandon Bednar put up solid numbers with the Volcanoes as well (.272 AVG, 6 HR, 34 RBI) seeing action at second base, third base and shortstop. That versatility should prove valuable and could put Bednar in contention for a roster spot in San Jose this spring.

The remainder of the top 10 picks from last June were college pitchers. Chase Johnson, Nick Vander Tuig and D,J, Snelten are each starters. Of the trio, Vander Tuig probably has the best chance to make the San Jose roster coming out of spring training. A polished right-hander, Vander Tuig was one of the star pitchers on UCLA’s national championship team last year. He has only 10 innings of professional experience entering 2014, but with big-game pitching experience from his college days and pinpoint control, he’ll likely be considered for a spot on the Giants staff. Meanwhile, Johnson was the highest drafted of the group and threw well in Salem last summer (3-2, 4.17 ERA in 10 starts). Johnson though was a middle reliever his final season in college and while he may turn out to be a great find for the Giants, he’s still considered fairly raw and will probably build innings in Augusta this year. Snelton, a 6’7” lefty, was a successful starting pitcher at Minnesota, but has yet to pitch above rookie-ball (had a 1.57 ERA in the AZL last summer).

Slania and Rogers are a pair of intriguing relief arms that should open 2014 in either San Jose or Augusta. Slania, a hard-thrower who is listed at 6’5” and 275 lbs., compiled a 3.95 ERA and was a perfect 3-for-3 in save chances over 12 relief appearances with Salem-Keizer last summer. Rogers, a submarine style right-hander, was promoted to San Jose for the playoffs last September after notching a 3.10 ERA in 14 games out of the Volcanoes bullpen. Rogers struggled in his lone playoff appearance with the Giants (2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB). The bullpen was a real strength for Augusta last season and with many of those relievers likely ticketed for San Jose, both Slania and Rogers will have to impress greatly during spring training games to gain consideration for a promotion to the Cal League.

2012 DRAFT
– 1st round: Chris Stratton, RHP, Mississippi State
– 2nd round: Martin Agosta, RHP, St. Mary’s
– 3rd round: Mac Williamson, OF, Wake Forest
– 4th round: Steven Okert, LHP, Oklahoma
– 5th round: Ty Blach, LHP, Creighton
– 6th round: Stephen Johnson, RHP, St. Edward’s
– 7th round: Eduardo Encinosa, RHP, Miami
– 8th round: Joe Kurrasch, LHP, Penn State
– 9th round: Shilo McCall, OF, Piedra Vista HS
– 10th round: Trevor Brown, 2B/C, UCLA

A few of the top 2012 picks have already seen time in San Jose. Of course, Mac Williamson and Ty Blach were stars on last year’s Giants team and both should be headed to Double-A Richmond for the start of this season. Trevor Brown joined San Jose from Augusta last August and after initially struggling, led the Giants in batting average during the playoffs (.345). Drafted as a catcher, Brown saw considerably more action at second base last year. Brown is expected to return to San Jose this season and play a major role on the club.

2012 first round draft pick Chris Stratton could land in San Jose this season (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

2012 first round draft pick Chris Stratton could land in San Jose this season (photo courtesy MiLB.com)

As it relates to the possible composition of the 2014 Giants roster, Chris Stratton and Martin Agosta figure to be the headline names from the 2012 draft class. Stratton was San Francisco’s first round draft pick a year and a half ago after winning the SEC Pitcher of the Year award at Mississippi State. The right-hander spent all of last season in the Augusta rotation where he fashioned a 9-3 record and a 3.27 ERA in 22 starts. Stratton was second on the GreenJackets staff in innings pitched (132) and strikeouts (123). The 23-year old is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the Giants system (Baseball America rated him #3 entering 2014 – behind only Kyle Crick and Edwin Escobar) and could be one of the anchors of San Jose’s starting rotation this season. Stratton reportedly features an 89-to-95 MPH fastball with a plus-slider and an improving curve and change-up.

Agosta, who will turn 23 in April, actually outpitched Stratton in Augusta last season, when he was healthy. Agosta logged a 9-3 record with a sparkling 2.06 ERA in 18 starts for the GreenJackets. He also averaged well over a strikeout per inning (109 SO in 91 2/3 IP) while the opposition hit at just a .180 clip against him. Agosta was limited to just four starts after July 5 due to a pair of stints on the disabled list (a blister issue and then suffered from some arm fatigue). Agosta was a starting pitcher in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game last year and along with Stratton, could form a lethal 1-2 punch in the San Jose rotation in 2014.

In addition to Brown, Stratton and Agosta, the most likely players from the top of the 2012 draft class to start the year in San Jose are relievers Steven Okert and Stephen Johnson. Okert was a solid contributor out of the Augusta bullpen last season compiling a 2.97 ERA in 44 games with 59 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings. Okert is expected to be one of the top left-handed arms in the Giants ‘pen this spring. He held left-handed batters to a .189 batting average and just one extra-base hit last year. Meanwhile, Johnson features an electric mid 90’s fastball and should join Okert as a reliable late-inning reliever in San Jose. Last season, Johnson possessed a 3.61 ERA and eight saves in 45 games with the Volcanoes. Johnson was at his best late in the year with no runs allowed over his last 15 appearances (19 innings).

Finally, Kurrasch pitched as a starter in both Salem-Keizer (5.03 ERA in 34 IP) and Augusta (1.78 ERA in 25 IP) last season with mixed results. Encinosa (3.12 ERA, .143 opponents average) was tough to hit in the Volcanoes bullpen a year ago and is probably headed to Augusta. McCall, the only high school player taken in the first 10 rounds by the SF Giants in 2012, hit .235 with four home runs in Salem-Keizer and is likely at least a year away from reaching the California League.

Projecting the 2014 Roster – Who makes the jump from Short-Season ball?

By Joe Ritzo

San_Jose_Giants157The bulk of the players on the 2014 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 2013 Giants squad to return to the California League this year.

However, every season there always seem to be a small handful of players that skip straight over Augusta and arrive in San Jose directly from the Short-Season level. Mac Williamson, for example, did it last year and turned in one of the finest offensive seasons in San Jose Giants history.

So, who might those players be in 2014? Here are five prospects that were in Salem-Keizer at the end of last regular season who could jump all the way to the Giants in April:

Tyler Horan, OF

If Horan makes the jump to San Jose this spring, it would be unrealistic to expect him to duplicate the production seen from Williamson. However, there are some interesting comparisons between the two. Both are big, strong corner outfield prospects who played collegiate baseball in the ACC (Horan, who is listed at 6’2″, 232 lbs., went to Virginia Tech). Like Williamson, Horan isn’t particularly young (was on the VT team for four seasons) having turned 23 last month. As for the numbers, Horan wasn’t quite as impressive as Williamson in the Northwest League, but with a lack of outfield prospects in Augusta last season, a chance to make the San Jose roster coming out of spring seems possible.

Horan, an eighth round draft pick in 2013, hit a solid .295 in 44 games with the Volcanoes last summer. He also contributed 11 doubles, three triples, four home runs and stole four bases. After a slow start upon joining the club, Horan finished strong hitting an impressive .319 in August. Additionally, all four of his home runs were hit after August 1. Horan was primarily a left fielder in college, but split time between left and right with Salem-Keizer last season. He led his Virginia Tech team in batting average (.342), doubles (26) and home runs (11) as a redshirt junior last spring. With all of the top power hitters from last year’s Augusta team right-handed, Horan would be a much-needed left-handed power bat in the middle of San Jose’s lineup this season if he proves he’s ready for the jump.

Brian Ragira, OF/1B
With the lack of big-name prospects in last season’s Augusta outfield, Ragira, like Horan, figures to be a candidate for a promotion to San Jose coming out of spring training. Ragira has a Bay Area connection having played collegiately at Stanford before his selection in the fourth round of last June’s draft. The 2011 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Ragira had a stellar three-year college career. He led Stanford in home runs (8) and RBI’s (42) last spring to go with a .320 batting average playing exclusively first base. He then began his stint with Salem-Keizer last summer as a first baseman before shifting to mainly corner outfield in late-July. In 47 games with the Volcanoes, Ragira finished with a .263 batting average, 12 doubles, three homers and 36 RBI’s. He ended the season second on the club in RBI’s and third in doubles. Ragira also proved he could draw a walk taking 26 free passes to result in a .371 on-base percentage.

Ragira was the first collegiate position player taken by San Francisco in last year’s draft (with Horan not far behind). The organization has shown a tendency in recent years to challenge some of their recent high draftees from the college position player ranks with an assignment to San Jose for their first full professional season. If he ends up in San Jose, Ragira could provide nice versatility as someone who plays left, right and first base.

Jeremy Sy, SS
Arguably Salem-Keizer’s top all-around hitter last season, Sy could be given consideration for a jump to the California League this spring. Sy, a shortstop, was a 12th round pick in the 2012 draft out of Louisiana-Monroe, where he was the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year as a senior. He didn’t make his professional debut until last summer due to injury, but impressed offensively with the Volcanoes. Sy led Salem-Keizer in home runs (8) and RBI’s (41) last year while also producing a .294 batting average, 12 doubles and 13 stolen bases. Sy is already 24 and with last year’s first round draft pick Christian Arroyo likely headed to Augusta, where he’d play shortstop everyday, San Jose could provide an opportunity for Sy to see regular playing time. Furthermore, if Matt Duffy is elevated to Richmond to begin this season, that would further enhance Sy’s chances for a promotion to the California League.

Nick Vander Tuig, RHP
A standout starting pitcher on last year’s national championship UCLA team, Vander Tuig was chosen in the sixth round of the 2013 draft by the San Francisco Giants. With the Bruins last spring, Vander Tuig logged a stellar 14-4 record and a 2.16 ERA in 19 starts. The right-hander isn’t particularly overpowering, but showcased outstanding control with only 18 walks in 129 innings (he struck out 93). With his heavy workload in college, Vander Tuig was understandably fatigued last summer and was limited to just three starts with Salem-Keizer (allowed 10 runs in 6 2/3 innings overall before he was shutdown). The Augusta rotation was loaded last season, but given San Jose has often used a six-man starting staff, there should be room for a starter or two from last year’s Salem-Keizer squad to earn a spot in the Cal League.

Of note, while Vander Tuig didn’t pitch at Municipal Stadium last season and thus may not be a familiar name to San Jose fans, he does have prior California League experience. The 22-year old helped out a short-handed Giants staff last July making a spot-start in a game in Lancaster. He lasted 2 1/3 innings before reaching his pitch count limit and was promptly sent to Salem-Keizer after the game.

Pat Young, RHP

Young will be looking to return to San Jose this spring after joining the club from Salem-Keizer during the playoffs last year. A 13th round draft pick last June out of Villanova, Young earned himself a promotion to the Giants last September after a dominant stint in the Northwest League. In eight starts with the Volcanoes, Young fashioned a spectacular 0.92 ERA yielding just four earned runs in 39 1/3 innings. He walked nine and struck out 27 while holding the opposition to a .186 batting average.

An imposing presence on the mound (6’7″, 220 lbs.), Young was thrust into the spotlight with San Jose as the right-hander was given the ball to start the decisive North Division Series Game 5 against Visalia. Armed with a low-to-mid 90’s fastball, Young handled himself fairly well in the high-pressure start as he struck out seven batters in just 3 2/3 innings while scattering nine hits with two earned runs allowed. Given his dominant work in Salem-Keizer and cup of coffee with San Jose last September, Young figures to be competing for a spot in the Giants rotation this spring.

Follow @SJGiants on Twitter
Follow @JoeRitzo on Twitter

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29 other followers