Coming up with just one player of the month was a difficult task for the first month of the 2017 campaign, but we do have a winner. While Domenic Mazza tossed a perfect game last week and Dillon Dobson smashed three home runs in a game this weekend, our award for the best San Francisco Giants minor leaguer of the month goes to someone who has put together the best month.
That player is relief pitcher Dusten Knight down in San Jose.
While he is a relief pitcher, meaning fewer innings, his innings numbers stand up pretty closely with those of many of the starting pitchers in the system. In 16 1/3 innings pitched spanning eight appearances, Knight holds a 1.10 ERA through the first month to go along with a minuscule 0.43 WHIP. While those stats are all well and good, the determining factor came from his sheer number of strikeouts and his lack of walks allowed. Entering May, Knight has struck out 24 batters and walked just one. Of the outs he's recorded, 48.9% of them have gone down via the good ole K.
Two of Knight's teammates, Caleb Simpson (20.70 K/9) and Carlos Diaz (14.14) have higher strikeout rates, pushing Knight down to 11th in the California League, but Knight's results have fared much better and his command is superior to both of the other San Jose Giants. What makes this even better is that Knight's FIP (1.33) backs up his solid start to 2017 and provides hope of more good things to come. On Monday morning Knight was called up to Sacramento to take the place of Bryan Morris in the bullpen. Morris was called up to San Francisco to take the place of recently DFA'd Neil Ramirez.
Chris Shaw is one of only three SF Giants minor leaguers to have accumulated at least ten walks this season, joining Gio Brusa and Will Albertson with eleven each. Shaw is batting .275 with a .390 OBP, 3 home runs, 15 RBI and 12 strikeouts.
Another standout from San Jose has been catcher Aramis Garcia, who is batting .348 with a .388 OBP, 4 homers and 15 RBI in just eleven games. His strikeout to walk rate isn't quite as good (13:2), but with that batting average he's showing what he can do at the plate.
In Sacramento, both CF Carlos Moncrief and 3B Jae-Gyun Hwang are off to similar starts statistically, but it's Moncrief that has the edge in the early going. Moncrief is batting .333 with a .440 OBP, has one home run and has driven home six. He also has two stolen bases and eight walks against eleven K's.
Finally, in Augusta, Kevin Rivera is one of the few standouts for the 10-14 GreenJackets, batting .284 with a .333 OBP while collecting two homers and 12 RBI. He has struck out 16 times and walked five times.
The Rest of the Top 5
Well, we have already talked about Chris Shaw (#3) and Christian Arroyo (#2) has already been called up to The Show so he is disqualified, so that leaves us with three.
Tyler Beede (#1): 1-1, 3.67 ERA, 27 IP, 16 K's, 11 BB's, 1.30 WHIP. Beede has been having tremendous starts every other go, and that trend continued yesterday in Tacoma when the 23-year-old righty went six frames, allowed one earned, three hits, one walks and struck out three. Consistency will be key for Beede moving forward if he hopes to crack the Giants roster in the near future.
Bryan Reynolds (#4): Through 21 games played in San Jose, Reynolds is batting .253 with a .316 OBP to go along with one homer and five RBI. He has struck out 23 times in 87 at-bats and has also drawn seven free passes. As last year's second round selection gets more experience and the weather warms in the Cal League, those power numbers should begin to pile up for Reynolds.
Andrew Suarez (#5): The 24-year-old lefty was taken in the second round in 2015 and has made the climb up to Double-A Richmond to begin the year. It's also where he spent the majority of his time in 2016, so we should be seeing Suarez in Triple-A at some point this summer. Through four starts, the southpaw is 1-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 20 2/3 innings pitched. The opposition is batting .310 against him, which is a bit high and has certainly helped contribute to his 1.55 WHIP. He has struck out 19 and walked five.
Well, the big league Giants aren't the only ones struggling.
SF Giants: 9-17, last in NL West, 7.0 back of 1st
Sacramento River Cats: 7-16, last in PCL Pacific Northern, 7.5 back of 1st
Richmond Flying Squirrels: 9-12, last in EAS Western, 3.5 back of 1st
San Jose Giants: 11-13, last in Cal North, 3.0 back of 1st
Augusta GreenJackets: 10-14, second to last in SAL Southern, 6.0 back of 1st
Totals: 46-72 record, .389 winning percentage. That's the equivalent of a 63 win team in the majors. At the same time, that is why it is important to celebrate the great performances that we're seeing in patches throughout the farm system!