San Francisco Giants – 2014 UTR Organizational All-Stars

C – Ty Ross – LoA Augusta –  22 yo;  –  (2013 – 12th round) –
  • .246 – 24 2B  – 6HR – 48RBi – 45R –  .313/.347/.660 slash    – PAG: 2.36
  • Of all the current major league superstars, catcher Buster Posey gives off the impression as one of those rare players who could/will most likely spend his entire career with one organization; and who in San Francisco wouldn’t welcome that? Posey has done it all: 2010 Rookie of the Year, 2012 N.L. MVP, 2-time Silver Slugger, a 2-time All-Star and 3-time World Series champion; all within his first five years in the league. So, with Posey as the face of the franchise (and MLB) and top catching prospect Andrew Susac heading up the catching corps for the predictable future, Giant minor league backstops have time to bide. I’ll take the Giants 2014 O.A.S. catcher with a rather large grain of salt. Former LSU Tiger Ty Ross posted a pedestrian season at best for LoA Augusta. As the catching profile calls for, the 6’1 – 200 pounder logged a .990 fielding percentage, but his bat lags significantly behind. However, you can’t argue with a 43% extra base percentage. Ross might see HiA in 2015 which might elevate the offensive side of his game. 
1B – Skyler Ewing  – AZL Giants/Short Season Salem-Keizer  – 24 yo;  – (2014 – 6th round)
  • .282 – 13 2B  – 9HR –  39RBi  – 39R –   .401/.464/.864  slash   csPAG: 3.55
  • The Giants continue to leave many in a state of bewilderment.  Three World Series titles in five years all while the minor league system toils in the bottom 1/4 dregs of all minor league systems.  San Francisco uses tried and true administration and scouting experience that together help waltz unlikely players into the organization only for the them to help nail down baseballs biggest prize. It appears the Giants have catcher and first base shored up for the near future with Posey, catcher Andrew Susac and former UTR Breakout Prospect (from 2010) in first baseman Brandon Belt.  None the less, one of San Francisco’s budding corner infielders is Rice University draftee Skyler Ewing. Drafted as a catcher, Ewing was immediately tabbed as a first baseman after being taken in the 6th round. Regardless of what glove he uses in the field, the 6’1 – 225 pound righty is certainly known for one thing: crushing baseballs to the furthest parts of any ball park. Some scouts have likened him to former Atlanta Brave Evan Gattis (now with Houston); and if Ewing can settle on a defensive position, he has the bat (and newly found simplistic plate approach) to rocket through the system. In my opinion, Ewing already sits atop the Giants minor league depth chart. He has power, an above average bat and is a great first base defender (.996 fielding %).  Ewing could spend all of 2015 in LoA Augusta, further building on his standing as the top 1B prospect in the entire system.
2B – Blake Miller  – HiA San Jose/AA Richmond  – 22 yo;  – (2013 – 25th round)
  • .300 – 29 2B  –  8HR –  85RBi  – 56R  –  .358/.443/.801  slash  –  csPAG: 3.15
  • With 2011 – 1st round draft choice Joe Panik now locked into second base, The Giants second base situation in the minors almost seems more of a formality. That doesn’t mean no one put up a noteworthy performance in 2014.  In any other organization, Western Oregon University draftee Blake Miller might be looked at as organizational filler or someone who may never sniff the finely groomed grass of the major leagues. This is the Giants we’re talking about though. The 6’3 – 195 lb. righty came off a 2013 debut season posting a csPAG of 2.93 for the AZL and Short Season Salem-Keizer; where he logged better numbers after his promotion to the Volcanoes.  This season, he did what every organization likes to see. His game saw dramatic improvement across two more levels. He batted .299 with 24 doubles and 8 homers for HiA San Jose. He saw a promotion to Double A Richmond and even though his production eased up a bit, he still batted over .300 and committed only one error in 26 games for the Squirrels.  Miller can play all over the infield (boasting a two year fielding percentage of .977.) I’ve learned you can never count out a Giants player from becoming a contributor to another World Champion. Keep your eye on Miller. Just saying. 
3B – Mitchell Delfino  –  HiA San Jose  – 23 yo;  –  (2012 – 20th round)
  • .289 –  28 2B –  12HR  –  77RBi  – 78R  –  .333/.424/.757 slash   –  PAG: 3.21
  • The enigmatic thing about the Giants is one never knows who or where the organization is going to find the next “out of nowhere” contributor to the club. It’s near impossible to predict. With the recent exit of third baseman Pablo “Panda” Sandoval (to Boston) the Giants added 32 year-old veteran Casey McGehee.  The former Cal State Bulldog signed a 1 year deal through the 2015 season.  So, no one knows who might man the hot corner for the defending World Series champions in 2016.  For all we know, it could be the first inaugural San Francisco Giants third base O.A.S. choice Mitch Delfino. Delfino came to the Giants without much fanfare, which isn’t unusual for a 20th rounder. He was a two way player spending time at third base and as a pitcher. The Cal Berkeley draftee debuted in 2012 and posted a 2.51 PAG score for the AZL and Short Season Salem-Keizer. 2013 saw an assignment to LoA Augusta (his first full season). His PAG score increased (3.07) and every facet of his game on both sides of the ball improved. This past season for HiA San Jose was again, another leap forward on both sides of the ball. Even though Delfino’s stats don’t jump off the page, it’s exciting to see how he’s improving as he methodically ascends up through the ranks. His PAG deviations are very minimal and that’s what Jim and I look for when prospect mining. Delfino should receive yet another promotion, this time to Double A Richmond; and he gives me no reason whatsoever that he’ll regress. He’s a true sleeper in the system. 
SS – Christian Arroyo  – Short Season Salem-Keizer/LoA Augusta –  19 yo;  –  (2013 – 1st round)

  • .291 – 6HR – 62RBi – 49R –  .330/.404/.734 slash   – csPAG: 3.21
  • The right-handed hitting Arroyo has the distinction of being San Francisco’s top position prospect. The Giants signed the 6’1 – 180 lb. Florida native after selecting him #1 in 2013 luring him away from a scholarship to play for the Gators of Florida University. He brought good bat-to-ball skills, the ability to play multiple positions defensively and put on an impressive display in his 2013 debut in the Arizona League capturing the leagues MVP award. If it wasn’t for a thumb injury in early 2014, I believe Arroyo would have possibly reached HiA San Jose.  I don’t consider it bold to think that if Arroyo stays healthy and continues to successfully build his game, he could very well reach Double A Richmond by seasons end; and even the majors possibly by 2016. He certainly isn’t the sexiest short stop prospect in the game, yet, it’s magical how the Giants continue to churn out suspect draft choices (picks considered too high for their skill level) and turn them into champions. Arroyo could become 2016-17 version of 2014’s Joe Panik. 
LF – Tyler Horan – LoA Augusta/HiA San Jose –  23 yo;  –  (2013 – 8th round)  –
  •  .284  – 27 2B  –  25HR  – 81RBi  – 76R  – 15SB –  .356/.523/.879   – csPAG: 3.61
  • One of the many fun things about doing the O.A.S. lists is that Jim and I manipulate as much as we want, within reason. For example, if Player A is a shortstop, yet posts numbers atypical of a first baseman, I’m not listing Player A as a first baseman. If Jim has a starting pitcher posting sub-.070 TPS scores, he’s generally not tabbing him as a reliever. I have to stick with the position otherwise why bother listing positions? This is the beauty of having three outfielders to play with.  2013 – 8th rounder Tyler Horan logged more games in right field this past season than left and center combined, but it doesn’t matter. He more than deserved being on this list. The 6’3 – 215 lb. lefty came to the Giants boasting extreme power. The former Virginia Tech Hokie’s 25 home runs this season ranked second in the entire organization (including the major league squad) only to 2010 – 11th rounder Adam Duvall’s 27. Also, Horan’s 16 home runs in the 2012 Cape Cod League rank second all-time in a single season behind former major league veteran Cory Snyder’s 22 back in 1983. Horan brings the power, but also carries the usual suspects that come with it: a high strikeout rate. Yet, in his two seasons, Horan hasn’t sold out average for power. His first two seasons he’s posted an identical .284 average while increasing his extra base percentage from 38% in his debut season to 43% in 2014. In 2013 debut he posted a 3.51 csPAG score in the AZL and for Short Season Salem-Keizer. I really like Horan and wouldn’t be shocked to see him assigned to Double A Richmond to begin 2015. Regardless of where he plays though, he could be a power hitting highlight reel.   
CF – Mikey Edie  – DSL Giants –  16 yo;   (2013 – International FA/VE) 
  • .298  – 2HR – 24RBi – 54R – 14SB  –  .424/.383/.807   – PAG: 3.88
  • When combining age, level and present skill set, I’m not sure there is currently a hitter that could pose more promise than teenager Mikey Edie. Trained at the Carlos Guillen Academy in Venezuela, the 5’11 – 175 lb. Edie debuted in the Dominican Summer League after signing a 2013 contract and duly impressed. Ironically the newly switch-hitting Venezuelan didn’t lead the DSL in any categories but hit-by-pitches with 19. Edie is an exceptional athlete who brings rawness (expected from a 16 year-old) plus-plus speed, an advanced, level swing plane and a strong arm to center. Edie is as close to a 5-tool prospect one can get in the organization.  I’m divided on where Edie will begin 2015.  Part of me thinks Edie playing in the DSL again is important for his development.  On the other hand, assigning a 17 year old state side might be as equal a challenge as it could be a hinderance. Edie could be special and any step backwards could be a disappointment; especially for a system that needs someone like him. 
RF – Chuckie Jones  – HiA San Jose  –  21 yo;  –  (2010 – 7th round)
  • .256 – 15HR – 66RBi – 79R – 17SB –  .326/.404/.730   – PAG: 3.10
  • The 6’3 – 235 lb. Jones represents my last player in our off season UTR Organizational All-Star series.  If you’ve read my work over the last year (and maybe even before that over at MLBDepthCharts) you’ve become familiar with my use of analogies.  Imagine yourself driving on the open highway. It’s one of those days that you intermittently catch yourself trapped inside a moving cluster of cars. The car in the right lane is driving below the legal limit. You then glide over into the passing lane. There you discover you’re now behind a 300 horsepower Chevy Camaro driving one mile per hour over the speed limit. It’s fast, but just not as fast as you know that car can go. Frustrating isn’t it?  Meet Charles “Chuckie” Jones. The 2010 – 7th rounder was drafted as a near 5-tool talent out of Boonville HS in Colombia, MO. Even though he had his best overall year in 2014 for HiA San Jose, Jones’ production just hasn’t matched his tool package. He’s incredibly athletic. He won 2010’s Gatorade Missouri Baseball Player of the Year and also played football and basketball in high school . It’s frustrating to watch an incredibly gifted athlete show glimpses of becoming a top prospect, yet struggle on more than several occasions. He has power, speed and has shown good plate discipline. He’s posted PAG scores as follows: 2010 debut: 3.13 – AZL;  2011: 2.10 – Short Season Salem Keizer;  2012: (cs) 2.61 – Short Season Salem Keizer/LoA Augusta; 2013: 2.49 – LoA Augusta; then 2014 for HiA San Jose.  Jones has a bag of tools possibly unparalleled in the Giants system. I wait with baited breath as Jones embarks on a possible promotion to Double A Richmond or another stint with HiA San Jose.  

 

As I stated earlier in the week touting our last month of O.A.S. postings….”It All Comes To This”!

After an entire season of tracking, breaking down stats and running the TPS formulas throughout the low minor leagues for almost 2,500 pitchers (and Marc’s PAG for approximately 3,800 hitters), my final list of 2014 is to follow.  As Marc and I said at the beginning of the month as we prepared to post each division, “Its been tedious work, but incredibly enjoyable all at the same time.” It would be so easy to get burned out, which we have seen recently on the web with different websites; we’ve seen several that have flashed and crashed.  However, we are committed.  We’ll be here for the long run and plan to improve each and every season.  So, as I put the final Giants pitchers on the page…I can take a long awaited sigh of relief….and then a deep breath…..because its time to begin my preparations for the upcoming Fantasy Draft at the end of month. Yes, it will take all three weeks to get ready for the auction draft gauntlet of the much talked about PFL (Pennsylvania Furnace League.) A keeper league that’s been in existence for almost 25 years now.  There will be no doubt that several of the names Marc and I have brought to you over the last several months will be called-out during the draft’s end-game simply because of how our league values minor leaguers. No matter how deep they are in a system (or still in college for one of our owners), if you’re an incredibly patient owner and do your homework, there are gems to be mined for your roster.  Most owners in our league have done just that. Just when you have someone on your list that you think nobody’s tracking, bingo: that players name gets placed on the board when you least expect it. It’s gotten worse (or better; whichever way you look at it) since Marc and I have begun our work and now our website.  We believe we’ve made the owners more cognizant of under the radar prospects. It really comes to light during the seasons FAAB cut-off period, when you don’t want to take the chance in next year’s draft to get the minor leaguer you’ve been watching. Raising this kind of awareness has been, is and always will be our goal.

Marc and I sincerely hope the work we do is able to help you succeed in some little way; either in your fantasy league or helping spark the interests of fans who might not be familiar with some of the deeper, more embedded kids playing in their favorite organization. You might not reap any benefits this year, but please, stay with us. Some of the kids on our lists (you’ve never heard about until this past season) could start making some noise in 2015. We hope you enjoyed our post-season Organizational All-Stars and now have a cocked eyebrow over where some of our UTR kids fell amongst some the minor league elite prospects. With the start of the Minor League Season on April 9th…we will see you on April 10th when be begin posting our UTR Top Performances of Day.

 

 

Kendry Flores ranked #2 on the the mention list but was traded to the Marlins back in December in the Casey McGehee deal.

Top 5 Starting Pitchers – (Mention Points) / TPS
 
 1. LHP Christian Jones(12) SP/TPS .098
  •  23 years old – (LoA Augusta)
  • 18th round – 2013
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (April 14th, April 21st, June 19th)
  • In his second year as a pro, Jones was thrusted into the rotation at LoA Augusta, the first time since 2011 during his collegiate days at U. of Oregon. He never missed a beat putting up a respectable 3.33 ERA with 100 strikeouts over 110.2 innings. He allowed only one earned run or none in 14 of his 22 starts. This actually isn’t a fluke, as the left-hander was once pegged as a possible 1st round pick, but underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 witch caused his stock to fall. The side-armer throws a low 90’s fastball with sink that generates a ton of ground balls.
 
2. LHP Luis Ysla – (8) cSR/TPS .088
  • 22 years old – (LoA Augusta)
  • Undrafted – 2012
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (May 13th, June 9th, June 28th)
  • Ranked 11th by MLBPipeline
  • Ysla is one the top ranked lefties in the Giants system. He won the South Atlantic ERA title last season by posting a 2.45 ERA over 24 appearances (23 starts) and 121.1 innings. He comes at hitters with a mid 90’s fastball, a plus change-up, and developing slider. Might not hold on as a starter due to his lack of a quality off-speed pitch.
3. RHP Chris Stratton(8) cSR/TPS .094
  • 23 years old – (HiA San Jose / Double-A Richmond)
  • 1st round – 2012
  • Ranked #3 by Baseball America / #8 MLBPipeline
  • Stratton has slipped in the prospect world, but could still make it to a back-of-the-rotation spot. Stratton has lost velo on his fastball and thus lost his spot in the Giants Top 10 prospect list with Baseball America. The lack of a fastball made Stratton more hittable (9.7/H9) and the tendency to give up the longball (1.1/HR9); both increases from previous years. Alarming trends, but his TPS indicates he still has 1st round pedigree…..so let’s wait and see. 
4. RHP Joe Biagini(8) SP/TPS .110
  • 24 years old – (HiA San Jose)
  • 26th round – 2011
  • Led the San Jose staff in 2014 with 10 wins. Coming out of the draft, Biagini was known for a live arm and a bulldog on the mound, but really didn’t do anything special with UC-Davis. The Giants have been stretching Biagini along, but it seems he could be a workhorse type who’s improved as he goes up the ladder. Could be fun to watch this true UTR at Double-A where I hope to see him at Altoona this Summer.
5. LHP Joe Kurrasch(8) cSR/TPS .152
  • 23 years old – (HiA San Jose)
  • 8th round – 2012
  • UTR Mention (May 11th)
  • Since moving into the rotation, Kurrasch has shined. He was an extreme groundball pitcher prior to this season, but only posted a 37% GB rate, decreased his K rate (4.8) by half, nor issued many home runs (8) if he’s supposed to have flyball tendencies…Go Figure! He’s only allowed 4 home runs over his career of 158.1 innings. In the hitter feast of the California League, Kurrasch went 8-4 with 3.07 ERA, so with those peripherials how will he fare at Double-A Richmond, where it’s more kind to pitchers?
 
Top 3 Relief Pitchers – (Mention Points) / TPS
 
 1. RHP Ray Black (13) RP/TPS .041
  • 24 years old – (HiA San Jose)
  • 7th round – 2011
  • Everybody jumped on the Ray Black bandwagon, even the organization, who added him to the 40-man roster in his debut year at the age of 24.  Wait….drafted in 2011 and 2014 was his debut year? He had to rehab for three years from a shoulder injury coming out of the draft. The rebuilt shoulder is border-line bionic now as the right-hander is now throwing 100 mph and has topped 101. It easy to get excited about Black, but some are taking wait and see attitude if he’s able to hold the command of his pitches at the higher levels. He needs innings at this point. Based on the composite of the Giants bullpen, if the wheels fall off, it would be so easy to call up Black. I remember seeing another hard-throwing reliever coming up through the Cardinals system fell prey to the same scenario. Jason Motte was brought-up too early and failed on the big stage and it messed with his psyche. 
2. LHP Steven Okert(13) RP/TPS .060
  • 22 years old – (HiA San Jose / Double-A Richmond)
  • 4th round – 2012
  • Ranked #10 by MLBPipeline / 24# Baseball America
  • If your read my preamble above, you would recall about how I mentioned how our fantasy keeper league values minors. At the trade deadline last season, I lost Heath Hembree (who I had drafted in 2012) to Boston. Okert being a lefty reliever, drew attention to himself with consistent TPS rates in 2012 and 2013 and was high on my list of Giants relievers. At the end of July, the last time we can roster free agents for the season, I picked up Okert and he will remain as one my 5 minor league keepers for 2015. Okert has the stuff thats more that LOOGY material. He may have the opportunity to become a closer. He made 57 appearances in 2014 and converted 24 saves while striking out 92 over 68.1 innings.
3. LHP Mason McVay(10) RP/TPS .076
  • 23 years old – (HiA San Jose)
  • 26th round – 2012
  • Up and down year for McVay in 2014. He started off cold with a 10.22 ERA in 9 appearances and then didn’t allow an earned run in 11 appearances in May and only four through June. Another one the big-bodied arms in the Giants system at 6’7″ 230 lbs. who’s ceiling could be in long relief. 
 
Top 5 TPS – Starting Pitchers
 
1. LHP Deiyerbert Bolivar cSR/TPS .068 
  • 18 years old – (DSL Giants)
  • Undrafted – 2014
  • 2-Time UTR Mention (July 22nd, July 28th)
  • Smallish left-hander put up decent numbers in his debut season and could be brought to the U.S. for 2015
2. RHP Victor ConcepcionSP/TPS .077
  • 17 years old – (DSL: Giants)
  • Undrafted – 2014
  • UTR Mention (July 24th)
  • Debut season for the youngest of the Giants DSL pitchers and could be worth watching in the coming years.
3. LHP Matt GagecSR/TPS .082
  • 22 years old – (AZL Giants)
  • 10th round – 2014
  • UTR Mention (August 5th
  • Another large presence on the mound, Gage goes at 6’4″ 240 lbs but has an easy, repeatable delivery of a 4-pitch mix. He came out Siena College (NY) where he only allowed four HR’s in 248 innings.
4. LHP Luis Ysla – cSR/TPS .088
  • 22 years old – (LoA Augusta)
  • Undrafted – 2012
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (May 13thJune 9thJune 28th)
  • Ranked 11th by MLBPipeline
  • Ysla is one the top ranked lefties in the Giants system. He won the South Atlantic ERA title last season by posting a 2.45 ERA over 24 appearances (23 starts) and 121.1 innings. He comes at hitters with a mid 90’s fastball, a plus change-up, and developing slider. Might not hold-on as a starter due to his lack of a quality off-speed pitch.
5. RHP Joan GregoriocSR/TPS .089
  • 22 years old – (HiA San Jose / LoA Augusta)
  • Undrafted – 2010
  • UTR Mention (August 11th)
  • Ranked #17 by Baseball America / #18 MLBPipeline / #8 Baseball Prospectus
  • The right-hander was added the 40-man roster for 2015, which is good news considering he didn’t have a steller 2014 season. He streaked to a fast start with HiA San Jose, before falling on the DL and using that time to work out kinks in his mechanics. Upon his return, he made one start and landed back on the DL with a back injury. We was able to return with LoA Augusta to finish out the season. I had listed Gregorio as a breakout candidate in 2012, which may still may occur, but he needs to work on his secondaries. Look for him to return to San Jose in 2015.
 
Top 3 TPS – Relief Pitchers
  
1. RHP Ray Black – RP/TPS .041
  • 24 years old – (HiA San Jose)
  • 7th round – 2011
  • Everybody jumped on the Ray Black band-wagon, even the organization, who added him to the 40-man roster in his debut year at the age of 24.  Wait….drafted in 2011 and 2014 was his debut year? He had to rehab for three years from a shoulder injury coming out of the draft. The rebuilt shoulder is border-line bionic now as the right-hander is now throwing 100 mph and has topped 101. It easy to get excited about Black, but some are taking wait and see attitude if he’s able to hold the command of his pitches at the higher levels. He needs innings at this point. Based on the composite of the Giants bullpen, if the wheels fall off, it would be so easy to call-up Black. I remember seeing another hard-throwing reliever coming up through the Cardinals system fell prey to the same scenario. Jason Motte was brought-up too early and failed on the big stage and it messed with his psyche. 
 2. RHP Greg BrodyRP/TPS .049
  • 22 years old – (AZL Giants)
  • 11th round – 2011
  • Closer in college where he once was also an infielder. Was totally dominate in the AZL with a 0.63 ERA over 14 appearances with a 27:3 K:BB rate. The right-hander must have wondered why he didn’t get a shot at Short-Season Salem-Keiser before the season ended. He could be too intriguing to have him working in Instructional’s waiting for the Short-Season to begin in July, so an assignment to LoA Augusta could be in the cards. 
 3. RHP Eury SanchezRP/TPS .057
  • 21 years old – (Short-Season Salem-Keizer)
  • Undrafted – 2012
  • I’ve listed some big pitchers for the Giants, but Sanchez comes in with a 5’10” frame with a punch out arm. In 33.1 innings at Short-Season Salem-Keizer, the right-hander struck out 50 and issued 15 walks. His stuff has been described as nasty with superb control.
2014 Breakout Grades
 
The following pitchers were chosen in early March. Their selection was based solely on their previous season’s TPS rating and using the UTRMinors.com criteria for those under the radar.
 
SP Keury Mella – Rotator cuff scare had Mella missing some time this season. He possesses awesome stuff with a mid 90’s fastball with movement, but need to work out some kinks in his command. Grade B-
 
RP Derek Law –  Law almost made the big team out of Spring training, but was the last cut for the start of the MLB season. He started at Double-A Richmond and was basically abiding his time to receive the call-up, but a UCL tear halted his season as he underwent Tommy John surgery in June. I focused on Law earlier in the season when the Spring weather wrecked most of the day’s games…and can be read here.  Grade B
 
 

 

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