San Francisco Giants – 2016 UTR Organizational All-Stars – Pitchers

 
The Giants will wrap-up the 2016 off-season posting schedule. Marc and I have also completed our fantasy drafts last week and it occurred to me that my posts this week may have been too late to assist our readers. Hopefully, those in the deep leagues conclude their drafts with a minor league phase at some point after their MLB draft. Trust me, you won’t miss anything from the San Francisco Giants from this past season, as the UTR pool is very thin. Most of the pitchers from the past two UTR-OAS seasons are still languishing within the system. This isn’t the same system back when I started tracking pitchers 8-9 years ago.

From the 2014 roster, three pitchers are currently ranked within the Giants Top 30 according to Baseball America. Joan Gregorio was my 2012 Breakout candidate and is now a 7-year minor league veteran who finally reached Triple-A in 2016. He bounced through some injuries early in his career and 2015 was spent mainly from the bullpen, He eclipsed the 100 inning mark last season for the first time by pitching 134.1 innings across Double-A and Triple-A. The now 25-year old can post high K-rates and might be posed for an audition in the SF bullpen later this season. Chris Stratton made his MLB debut in May 2016 making 7 relief appearances. He’s still hanging around as one of the Giants top pitching prospects, clinging to his #21 ranking going into the 2017 season. He dominated the lower minors, as he should as a 1st round pick (2012), but hit the proverbial wall once he reached AA and AAA. Matt Gage has been an out-of-sight-out-of-mind type. The former 10th round pick in 2014 reached Double-A Richmond in 2016 and still displays his outstanding control. He’s only allowed 8 home runs in 285.1 innings over 3 seasons since becoming pro. The only snag toward his advancement into a future MLB rotation might be the lack of strikeouts, which may indicate a role in middle relief. Don’t write-off Gage quite yet, as it may click in 2017. The rotation at Triple-A Sacramento is congested, so Gage could find himself back at Richmond beginning that role. Couple pitchers from the 2014 roster have found themselves working as relief pitchers. Luis Ysla is now with the Boston Red Sox, working from the bullpen and currently is on the 40-man roster. Christian Jones had a solid season with the Double-A Flying Squirrels. The relief side on the 2014 OAS featured Ray Black, Steven Okert, and Mason McVey. Black was drafted in 2011 but didn’t make his debut until 2014 due to shoulder injuries. That may have been tough to overcome, as the hard-throwing righty struggled with command and control and was DFA last week by the Giants. Okert made 16 MLB appearances last season and was battling to make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training. He was sent back to Triple-A, but should be the first call once the need arises at AT&T Park.

The 2015 UTR-OAS roster didn’t spotlight any repeaters from the previous season. The crop of arms included Chase Johnson, DJ Snelten, Jordan Johnson, and Sam Coonrod. Chase Johnson was added to the 40-man roster and was assigned to the Sacramento bullpen. Snelten had a very strong 2015 season over two levels reaching Hi-A San Jose. He returned back to Hi-A last season and took a step back in the role of the swing-guy with the SJ Giants. Jordan Johnson and Coonrod appear below earning the “Legit UTR” tag.
As I stated, the UTR choices in this edition was very weak. Three pitchers that actually ranked tops within my system were excluded due to their age/level or was traded away. Michael Connolly and Jake McCasland, who turned 25 during the end of the 2016 season, pitched the whole season at LoA Augusta. Both were up-and -down guys and dominate the younger hitters in the Sally League. Phil Bickford was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers and is currently serving a 50-game suspension for using a drug of abuse. Bickford is only 21 years old and I believe he will eventually become an impact arm in the Brewers bullpen in the future.
 
Top 5 Starting Pitchers – Factor Score / TPS
 
 1. RHP Cory Taylor – 15 / .086
  •  22 years old – (LoA Augusta / HiA San Jose / AA Richmond)
  • 8th round – 2015
  • Taylor excelled in his first full season as a pro. He posted outstanding numbers at Augusta and getting cups of coffee at San Jose and Richmond. Though getting 2 starts at Richmond, the projectable righty (6’2″ 225 lbs) should begin the 2017 campaign getting more seasoning at HiA San Jose. Taylor fires a sinking low 90’s fastball, that will touch 95 mph, and goes along with an above-average slider and work-in-progress change-up.
 2. RHP Sam Coonrod – 11 / .126  *Legit UTR*

  • 23 years old – (HiA San Jose / AA Richmond)
  • 5th round – 2014
  • Coonrad posted a 9.2 K9 rate last season which buoyed his mention as a post-season UTR-OAS. That number tumbled last season (6.0), but the culprit cause might be that he battled bicep tendinitis for part of the season. Coonrod stated that his secondary pitches were inconsistent and thus his command suffered. Built similar to Cory Taylor, the right-hander has a plus fastball (90-95) and a hard controlling slider. Once he improves his fringy change-up, watch for his K9 rate to increase. Despite his troubles in 2016, let’s not forget that he remained unhittable by posting an incredible 6.7 H9 rate.
3. RHP Jordan Johnson10 / .105  *Legit UTR*
  • 22 years old – (LoA Augusta)
  • 22nd round – 2014
  • Johnson will join Coonrod in the Double-A Richmond staff. Not bad considering that the projectable right-hander completely skipped LoA Augusta. Astounding for a 23rd round pick that missed a majority of time two seasons prior to the 2014 draft while at Cal State Northridge. Johnson however got bombarded with 24 home runs in 2016, which unfortunately led all South Atlantic League pitchers. He possesses a 4-pitch mix with command and clean, effortless delivery. Watch for Johnson to open some eyes this season.
4. LHP Mark Reyes – 10 / .152

  • 23 years old – (HiA San Jose)
  • 22nd round – 2014
  • Reyes had a rollercoaster 2016 season and struggled mightily with command and control (5.7 K9 / 1.33 K/BB). Reyes also plunked 9 batters and threw another eight pitches in the dirt. Entering his 24-year old season, Reyes needs to harness his pitches to continue moving through the system. The lone bright spot was the lefty posted a +50% groundball rate. I could say it would be best for him to pitch-to-contact, but he did surrendered 137 hits over 127.1 innings last season. Not sure if he’s trying to be too precise by nibbling around the zone and allowing hitters to wait for their pitch. This won’t work at the higher levels, so look for Reyes to repeat at HiA San Jose.
5. RHP Miguel Figueroa – 9 / .139
  • 18 years old – (DSL Giants)
  • International Free Agent – 2016
  • The system is thin folks….with Reyes cracking the Top 5 and ending with a teenager out of the Dominican League. The only info found about Figueroa comes way of video at mccoveychronicles.com
 
 
Top 3 Relief Pitchers – Factor Score / TPS
 
 1. RHP Reyes Moronta – 17 / .052
  • 24 years old – (HiA San Jose)
  • International Free Agent- 2010
 2. RHP Tyler Cyr – 16 / .067
  • 23 years old – (LoA Augusta / HiA San Jose)
  • 10th round – 2015
3. LHP Caleb Smith  – 11 / .057
  • 23 years old – (LoA Augusta)
  • 17th round – 2014
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