Kim Klement, USA Today

San Francisco Giants Minor League Signings So Far

The Giants have been relatively busy on the Minor League free agent market this winter, stockpiling talent for a rainy day

The San Francisco Giants are expected to make at least one big signing this winter as their need for a dominant closer has been written about over and over, and showed itself in the NLDS. While the market has been quiet thus far, and we may have to wait just a bit longer to see some sort of resolution, the Giants have been active nonetheless. 

According to Baseball America, the Giants signed outfielder Wynton Bernard and re-signed outfielder Carlos Moncrief. Bernard was with the Double-A affiliate of the Tigers in 2016 while Moncrief was with Sacramento. Richmond catcher Jeff Arnold was also re-signed, but the rest of the additions have been of the external variety. We have already touched on the addition of speedster Orlando Calixte, while Chris Marrero (1B) and Juniel Querecuto (SS) round out the infield. 

The team also signed left-hander Michael Roth, a former 9th round selection in 2012 of the Angels, lefty Kraig Sitton, a 2010 7th rounder (Rockies) from the Mariners and righty Jose Dominguez.

One thing that most of these additions have in common is that they have at least had a taste of the Major Leagues. Roth was hurried to the Anaheim/Los Angeles area just a month into his first full professional season and has not quite put it together at the game's highest level. Dominguez first reached the bigs in 2013 with the Dodgers and most recently tossed 35 2/3 innings out of the Padres bullpen in 2016. His walk rate (4.29) was almost equal to that of his strikeout rate (5.05) and ERA (5.05) in San Diego. 

Querecuto signed with the Rays as an International free agent in 2009 and made his debut this past season at the tail end of September, playing in four games and grabbing eleven at-bats. He hit just .091 and struck out in six of those eleven ABs. He has been on the move frequently the past couple of years, never spending more than a couple of months with one affiliate. 

Marrero has spent the last season and some change in the Red Sox organization and tied a career-high in home runs with 23 with Triple-A Pawtucket. He hit .284 with a .344 on-base percentage in his age 27 season. He was taken by the Nationals in the 1st round (15th) of the 2006 Draft and was subsequently ranked in the Nats' top three prospect rankings for the next three seasons. He started to drop in the rankings and was eventually granted free agency, where he has bounced around a little. In his two big league stints, Marrero has hit .232 with a .256 OBP across 39 games and 133 plate appearances. 

Finally, Bernard has proven he can hit Double-A pitching, batting .301 and .308 in his time in Erie the past two seasons. He started off the 2016 campaign in Triple-A Toledo but was sent back to Erie at the beginning of June after batting just .235. Bernard doesn't have a lot of pop, as his career high in homers is seven, which he hit last year, but he has showed the ability to accrue stolen bases. Over the last three seasons he has swiped totals of 45, 43 and 23 bags. The problem here has been that his caught stealing rate is far from elite. In those seasons he was 45 of 64 (70.3%), 43 of 59 (72.9%) and 23 of 28 (a much improved 82.1%). 13 of those 23 steals last season came in Double-A, along with two of the times he was caught. 

Overall, the Giants look to have done a nice job of bringing in players that could help supplement their big league roster moving forward. 

Roth, a lefty, has shown improved command in recent years and that could translate to some success out of the bullpen if the team doesn't bring back Javier Lopez and feel they need a third option in addition to Will Smith and Steven Okert. Bernard could become an excellent depth option if he can figure out Triple-A (and MLB) pitching, which would seemingly make either Jarrett Parker or Mac Williamson available to trade for a need at the deadline. 

Sitton, another left-hander, has solid numbers throughout his Minor League career and apparently has some solid sideburns. In his first exposure to Triple-A last season, Sitton totaled 43 innings in 35 appearances (he made one start, the only of his career) and held a 2.93 ERA, striking out 31 and walking seven. Bullpens these days like pitchers with high strikeout rates, and Sitton certainly isn't that, but he has proven to be effective. 


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