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ChimpsDigTheLongBall Profile
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Registered: 11-2012
Location: Silicon Hills
Posts: 122
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What's Going On With Our MiLB Pitching?


Hey All,

Going into the 2014 season, there were a few things I felt really good about when it came to the Giants' MiLB system, but the two things I was looking forward to tracking were the starting pitching coming out of Augusta and San Jose.

Things haven't gone exactly as planned, though. Here's a summary of the starters I've been tracking since Spring...

22 year old AAA LHSP Edwin Escobar...was positioned to be rotational depth for the big club, but fell down hard at the beginning of the season. Over his last 3 starts, he's started to look like a prospect for the majors again, allowing only 7 ER in 20.1 IP...5 ER coming in 1 start...and his strikeout numbers (18 in 20.1 IP) and strikeout to walk ratio (2.5) are getting where they need to be. He may be ready for a call-up by season's end, but it looked hairy for a while.

21 year old AA RHSP Adalberto Mejia...One of several AA disappointments, to date. I assumed the pitching friendly Eastern League would really be a platform for success for Mejia, but he has, this far, not managed to miss nearly enough bats. 58 hits, 8 of them HR, in 47 IP, with an .87 ground ball rate says the EL hitters are hitting him hard and deep. My hope is that the Giants are forcing him to work on his secondary pitches, and that he'll come back into form in the second half...or maybe 2015.

21 year old AA RHSP Clayton Blackburn...My dark horse candidate to jump the crowd and make it to the majors before any of the other starter prospects has given up a .310 batting average to EL hitters. His GO/AO number of 2.18 would appear to be a good thing, and he hasn't given up a HR in 42.1 IP...another great thing...but he's got to improve either his strikeout rate, or his ability to keep batters off-balance. Just keeping the ball down is a good first step, but it's not enough to get you to the majors.

21 year old AA RHSP Kyle Crick...There's a LOT to like about Crick's numbers this year...his return to a being more of a ground out pitcher, which wasn't the case in San Jose, and no HR allowed in 34 IP, for example. But his control problems continue to be an issue. He's getting better, though. In his last 4 starts, he's walked 8 in 18.1 IP, about 4 per 9 IP, compared to his 18 walks in his first 15.2 IP, which was freaking me out. It would be great if Crick could continue to improve his IP per start, while cutting his walks. If he can do those two things, while retaining his ability to miss bats, he could be in SF sooner than later.

At Single A San Jose, all of the starters I've tracked have been disappointing to date. 23 year old RHSP Chris Stratton has given up 24 walks and 10 HR in 60 IP. 22 year old RHSP Kendry Flores has given up 20 walks and 9 HR in 53.2 IP. 22 year old RHSP Joan Gregorio is on the 7 Day DL, and is clearly having issues, having been dropped from the rotation. His 13 walks in 22.2 IP and .39 GO/AO rate mean he's having a hard time keeping the ball in the strike zone, and down. 23 year old Martin Agosta is also on the 7 Day DL, and is having terrible control problems.

So, all in all, not a very pretty picture. But it's still early in the season, and things could continue to improve for guys like Escobar, Blackburn, and Crick.

Chimps
6/7/2014, 8:01 am Link to this post    Blog
 
NLTCrow Profile
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Registered: 06-2014
Posts: 6
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Re: What's Going On With Our MiLB Pitching?


I saw Escobar pitch twice last month when the Grizzlies came to Reno.
I could not be any less impressed!
This guy is just another soft tossing lefty in the Reuter/Zito mold.
He cruised mid-80s and I can count on one hand the number of times he hit 88, I maybe saw 89 once, but never even a single 90.
Yeah, I know there's more to pitching than just throwing hard, but I just can't get excited about a guy at AAA who's already got below average MLB velocity. He's gonna have to develop excellent secondary pitches and pinpoint control and even if he's able put that all together, I've gotta believe it's gonna take some time, 2016 at the earliest.
On the bright side, he looked pretty good swinging the bat, lined a nice gapper to right center.
6/8/2014, 12:16 am Link to this post    Blog
 
ChimpsDigTheLongBall Profile
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PROVEN VETERAN POSTER

Registered: 11-2012
Location: Silicon Hills
Posts: 122
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Re: What's Going On With Our MiLB Pitching?


Hey NLTCrow,

quote:

He cruised mid-80s and I can count on one hand the number of times he hit 88, I maybe saw 89 once, but never even a single 90.
Yeah, I know there's more to pitching than just throwing hard, but I just can't get excited about a guy at AAA who's already got below average MLB velocity.



Since Escobar's fastball is generally in the 89-92 MPH range, I'm not surprised that you saw what you saw, but the Reno gun may also be a little slow.

I agree that it's difficult to get excited about a pitcher who's not got the velocity to blow by batters. At the same time, it's location, movement, and change of speeds that determine MLB success...95 MPH or not.

I've never viewed Escobar as a front of the rotation SP prospect. The question now is whether he can pitch in the majors...and if he can, whether it will be as a starter or a relief specialist.

I'm probably more upbeat on young players than most. My position on prospects is that I'll hold faith in their potential until it becomes clear they just don't have it, so if it seems like I'm overly positive, guilty as charged.

Regardless of my approach, unless and until Escobar proves he can dominate at Fresno, there's no way he's going to make any impact in the majors. If AAA/AAAA players can rake him, major leaguers will kill him.

Chimps
6/8/2014, 5:51 am Link to this post    Blog
 
fitdy eight giants Profile
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Registered: 05-2013
Posts: 8
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Re: What's Going On With Our MiLB Pitching?


Hey Lone,

At Richmond:

"Closer Derek Law entered for the ninth inning and recorded the first two outs. He then surrendered a double to Aaron Altherr. His first two pitches to Anthony Phillips were balls and for an unknown medical reason, he was lifted from the ballgame."


Andrew Baggarly @CSNBaggs · 2h
Gulp. MT @ProfessorParks Lots of power relievers in Reading. #Giants RHP Derek Law was 94-98 before walking off mound holding his forearm.

Alex Pavlovic @AlexPavlovic · 2h
Down at Double-A, right-hander Derek Law felt tightness in forearm today. Will see doctor tomorrow.


I actually had Law ahead of Hembree for a 2015 closer candidate, I think he was only at AA so he could get the closer innings and not disrupt Hembree's innings at Fresno.
 

Last edited by fitdy eight giants, 6/8/2014, 9:44 pm


---
And on the eighth day God said " and let there be orange, and black" and so it was....
6/8/2014, 9:42 pm Link to this post    Blog
 
ChimpsDigTheLongBall Profile
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Registered: 11-2012
Location: Silicon Hills
Posts: 122
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Re: What's Going On With Our MiLB Pitching?


Hey 58,

Bad news on the Law front. Thanks for posting it, but dang...

With Hembree and Dunning having issues at Fresno, and Law and Hall where they're at, pretty much all the young bullpen depth the Giants had to start the season is off the table.

Kontos and Runzler? Oh, my...not past the 6th inning, thank you!

Chimps
6/9/2014, 6:12 am Link to this post    Blog
 
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ROOKIE PHENOM

Registered: 06-2014
Posts: 10
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Re: What's Going On With Our MiLB Pitching?


Good post as depressing as it is. I guess if the team is winning at an incredible clip can't feel to downbeat on the minors.
6/9/2014, 8:25 pm Link to this post    Blog
 
ChimpsDigTheLongBall Profile
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PROVEN VETERAN POSTER

Registered: 11-2012
Location: Silicon Hills
Posts: 122
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Re: What's Going On With Our MiLB Pitching?


Hey mb,

quote:

I guess if the team is winning at an incredible clip can't feel to downbeat on the minors.



Yep...and that's EXACTLY the thing I'm concerned about...that the Giants winning...and building such a big lead in the West...will lead them to be complacent at the Trade Deadline.

This team can get better, and deeper, still. Second base is still an issue, as is bullpen and rotational depth. The Giants can still be sunk by injuries, and have to make certain they do whatever they can to fortify themselves against them.

It's too bad the bullpen depth is in such bad shape, but this is an area where Sabean has shined in the past...getting that shutdown bullpen arm to fit into the Giants' mix...so hopefully, he'll find a way to get what the club needs.

George Kontos must never be allowed to pitch past the 6th inning in any game of consequence.

Chimps
6/10/2014, 6:30 am Link to this post    Blog
 
fitdy eight giants Profile
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Registered: 05-2013
Posts: 8
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Re: What's Going On With Our MiLB Pitching?


Although they haven't actually said the words, probably TJ surgery for Law.

UPDATE: SF Giants relief prospect Derek Law has elbow injury
Posted on Thursday, June 12 at 5:50pm | By Henry Schulman

UPDATE, 5:50 p.m.: There is more news on relief prospect Derek Law. It is not good. Here is what I filed for the paper:

Derek Law, one of the Giants’ top relief prospects, has an elbow injury and will meet with team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki in Arizona on Saturday for an examination and a discussion on the next step.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Law had an MRI on the elbow. Bochy confirmed that the elbow is injured but stopped short of saying that Law has a torn ulnar-collateral ligament, which usually requires Tommy John surgery.

However, the injury first was described as “forearm tightness,” often a symptom of a torn UCL.

Law, 23, had a 2.57 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 28 innings for Double-A Richmond, Va. He came to spring training with a chance to make the team.


http://blog.sfgate.com/giants/2014/06/12/season-and-bullwinkle-are-saved-sf-giants-avert-sweep/

---
And on the eighth day God said " and let there be orange, and black" and so it was....
6/13/2014, 7:54 am Link to this post    Blog
 
ChimpsDigTheLongBall Profile
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PROVEN VETERAN POSTER

Registered: 11-2012
Location: Silicon Hills
Posts: 122
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Re: What's Going On With Our MiLB Pitching?


Hey 58,

Ugh...I just got through reading that story by Schulman.

Regarding the direction the Giants' prospects have gone this season, it'd be hard to define a scenario much worse than the reality we've seen.

Mac Williamson goes down to TJ...Susac with concussion problems...Hembree suffering from a dead arm...and now Law likely headed to TJ.

Quoting that great baseball mind, Buster Posey...

"Baseball's weird."

And yes...he actually said that this week in response to a reporter's question as to why things happen the way they do.

Chimps
6/13/2014, 8:31 am Link to this post    Blog
 
fitdy eight giants Profile
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Registered: 05-2013
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Re: What's Going On With Our MiLB Pitching?


Okay Lone you need some good news on the minors pitching front,

Runsler, I know the guy has been kicked around and sometimes deserved it but he is putting up a very nice year so far. Didn't Dan have an injury in an at bat with the big club? Seemed like he was not the same following his rehab from that injury.

This year he has an 0.95 ERA, just 1 ER in his last 10 games and 16 K's in those 11.2 innings. 28.1 innings overall just 17 hits and 35 K's. I know Bochy would like another lefty to replace Huff and I figure Kontos is on the bubble when Casilla comes back, but I see a sleeper here, not on the 40 man.

---
And on the eighth day God said " and let there be orange, and black" and so it was....
6/13/2014, 4:30 pm Link to this post    Blog
 


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