Three hot hitters from Opening week are still riding their hot sticks throughout this last week in Christian Arroyo, Bryan Reynolds, and Aramis Garcia. Arroyo looks like he’s up to the challenge and hit the Triple-A running, while Reynolds and Garcia have the looks of a mature hitters at their age. The only concern that I have for the two SJ hitters is their BB/K ratio. While Reynolds has drawn his fair share of walks in the early going, both are striking out at a pretty high rate, especially Garcia. That can be explained by overaggressiveness at the box but their bats are living up to the billing when they make contact.
After scuffling out of the gate, Chris Shaw has found his signature power stroke last week, thumping extra vase hits and a pair of HRs. What I like about Shaw is that whether he is scuffling or on fire, he’s still taking pitches well while not striking out at an alarming rate. Look for Shaw to be promoted to AAA soon if he continues to hit at this rate.
Conner Menez’s start last week (6IP, 6 hits, ER, 6 K's) is a good indication of what can he become: A future starting option for the parent club. Menez has little problem spotting his pitches wherever he wants, especially with his fastball and slider. There’s deception in his mechanics so he can work very well as a reliever if he moves up the ladder but right now, the Giants will give him all the chance to start.
The greatest reliever in the system right now is Reyes Moronta with his downright nasty stuff and mature command of his two-pitch repertoire. But the most impressive pitcher in the low Minors right now is Patrick Ruotolo. One of my readers, Carmot, has taken a liking to him in the offseason but I have followed him since he was drafted. A bulky 5’10”-215 lb. pitcher, he has the size, and the quirky mechanics that are like Tim Lincecum’s but taken to the max and with an above-average fastball and curve with future average command. About time that Ruotolo will be used as the Augusta closer for the rest of the season. He has eight strikeouts in 5.2 innings this season.
Strong starts by Sam Coonrod and Andrew Suarez will be given a nod on the good this week. The low minors pitcher to commend is Stephen Woods. An 8th rounder last year from New York, he has impressive stuff but struggled with command at college. The Giants did some tinkering in his mechanics and it made him command the baseball a little better at the start of the season, pumping a low to mid-90s heater with a hammer knuckle-curve. He is on the verge of breakout this 2017 season. Melvin Adon rebounded very well after a rocky 2017 debut. http://www.scout.com/player/216390-stephen-woods?s=316
I am not sugarcoating or having bias here. Tyler Beede's start at Salt Lake is considered bad when you look at the box score, but there are positives to be taken away from that one. He showed his athleticism reacting to a bunt, made quality pitches and the ump was really squeezing him, but when you still look at it, the weather and other elements got away from him and made his start a forgettable one.
Jalen Miller went cold at the plate, sporting a 0-for-15 hitting slump and the hot start is slowly fading. The good thing is that he’s drawing more walks and taking better pitches in the zone and he isn’t striking out a lot so the slump may be just a case of BABIP.
Kyle Crick getting hit by a foul ball and sustaining a concussion is a gut punch in a very impressive start of his official reliever career. I hope that he will be back from it soon because he’s on the road to redemption.
Cory Taylor has been struggling with command of his power sinker and the same goes with Dan Slania struggling with his command but unlike Taylor, he’s been effectively wild, getting strikeouts at an above-average rate.
I say RIP to Clayton Blackburn after getting traded to the Rangers. It is a good thing for him because he got traded to the team of his dreams but the Giants could’ve asked better like an international signing pool slot to help improve chances to have a good J2 prospect. I don’t really get why they traded him but it’s pretty clear that the chances of him breaking the club is slim.
Gio Brusa has become the definition of a three true outcomes player, a guy who hits homers while taking a lot of walks but strikes out a lot. He has shown that he can handle premium velocity when he took Oakland Athletics top prospect A.J. Puk deep, but there’s still a lot of questions and doubt if his approach will lead to a Major League call-up someday.
I know I am cheating but Matt Krook's start is very interesting as he had five walks but only allowed a single hit. Talk about an effectively wild pitcher right here. It’s a nice thing that he has thrown more strikes than balls in this one but he’s still a pretty long way to go to have the command that his nasty repertoire needs.