San Jose Giants
Kyle Crick – R (20): 1.75 era, 56.2 ip, 6.5 h/9, 5.6 bb/9, 12.5 k/9 – Oblique injury limited his season significantly, but Crick has been nearly unhittable for the second year in a row. Still working on the control while blowing hitters away with the fastball.
Clayton Blackburn – R (20): 3.61 era, 122 ip, 7.6 h/9, 2.3 bb/9, 9.1 k/9 – Blackburn struggled a bit early on in the Cal League, but he’s rebounded to put together another very nice year. Old pro in a young man’s body.
Adalberto Mejia – L (20): 3.45 era, 78.1 ip, 7.9 h/9, 2.5 bb/9, 8.7 k/9 – Dominican lefty is another exciting prospect who’s shined in San Jose. Career bb/9 of 1.8. He’s young with lots of talent.
Ty Blach – L (22): 2.95 era, 119 ip, 8.8 h/9, 1.1 bb/9, 8.2 k/9 – First pro season has been a huge success for the college lefty. 15 walks in 119 ip… wow.
Bryce Bandilla – L (23): 5 sv, 3.48 era, 44 ip, 5.1 h/9, 4.7 bb/9, 14.7 k/9 – Bandilla is a power lefty with filthy stuff. Staggering k/9. Staying healthy is his biggest concern at this point.
Derek Law – R (22): 12 sv, 2.31 era, 58.1 ip, 6.8 h/9, 1.7 bb/9, 13.4 k/9 – Has thrived as San Jose’s closer with Bandilla out. Since promotion from Augusta, he’s got 30 k and 0 bb in 17 ip. A definite bullpen sleeper.
Chris Marlowe – R (23): 3.93 era, 71 ip, 8.9 h/9, 4.2 bb/9, 6.8 k/9 – Best curve in the system. Now pitching in relief.
Kelvin Marte – R (25): 3.72 era, 92 ip, 9.2 h/9, 1.6 bb/9, 6.9 k/9 – Pro since 2007, having a nice year in San Jose. Great control. Next year could be huge for him.
Hunter Strickland – R (24): 9 sv, 0.86 era, 21 ip, 4.3 h/9, 2.1 bb/9, 9.9 k/9 – Former Red Sox farmhand is out for the season with TJ surgery. Another big bullpen arm who the Giants want to keep around.
Jose Casilla – R (24): 3.43 era, 57.2 ip, 10.6 h/9, 2.0 bb/9, 6.1 k/9 – Santiago’s younger brother is back after missing all of 2012, and is still young enough to make some noise.
Stephen Harrold – R (24): 3.72 era, 48.1 ip, 8.6 h/9, 3.4 bb/9, 7.6 k/9 – Pitched in the Arizona Fall League (2011). Has good stuff, but hasn’t advanced as well as hoped since.
Jeff Soptic – R (22): 5.89 era, 36.2 ip, 9.3 h/9, 7.4 bb/9, 10.3 k/9 – 6 foot 6 righty has an electric arm and the typical control issues that follow. Former White Sox 3rd round pick.
Austin Fleet – R (26): 3.75 era, 105.2 ip, 8.4 h/9, 2.6 bb/9, 7.7 k/9 – Starting for the first time since 2010. Has spent time in Fresno and San Jose, and could be back in the former next year.
Overview: This is the meat of the system, even with Escobar, Hall and Osich moving up mid-season to Richmond. Between, Crick, Blackburn and Mejia, you have three of the youngest, highest upside starters in the organization. Crick is the gem, and he is unhittable at times. He has to keep working on his offspeed stuff and command, but he has a chance to be very good. Blackburn lacks the plus velocity of Crick, but he’s got twice the command. His secondary stuff is above average, and most consider him the Giants’ number 2 or 3 prospect in the system. Mejia has missed some time with injury this year, but he’s had a solid year overall. He works low 90’s with a good slider from the left side. Like Crick and Blackburn, he’s a baby with tons of upside. Those 3 are some of the youngest players in the California League… and some of the most talented. All 3 should be in Richmond next season.
Ty Blach always seems to get left out of the discussion, but his numbers are very impressive. While higher 2012 draft picks Stratton and Agosta are still in Augusta, Blach has put together a stellar campaign in his first professional season. I’d probably rank him in the top 20 overall for the system right now, and he’s definitely one of the top 5 LHP starters.
The Giants have a ton of power bullpen arms in the system, and Bandilla and Law are the San Jose representatives. Bandilla has incredible strikeout numbers, but he’s been hurt an awful lot in his career. Law is a guy who’s a little under the radar, but he’s putting up quite the campaign this year. Definitely a guy to keep an eye on. Marlowe has been up and down this year, and is now working from the pen. He’s got nice velocity to go with the big curve, but he’s not striking out many hitters in High-A.
The rest of this group features a mixed bag, with international minor league vets like Marte, who still has a chance to put it together, and TJ surgery guys like Strickland and Casilla. Harrold was sent to the AFL in 2011, so the Giants obviously have their eye on him. Soptic is a big-bodied project, and Fleet is a converted reliever who should get another look in Fresno next season.
This group of guys has made San Jose one of the top minor league teams again this year. While Richmond will house an impressive pitching staff next season, the High-A Giants won’t be too bad off themselves. Augusta’s staff, which will move up next year, isn’t as far behind the current San Jose pitchers as most would assume.