Here’s a 6-pack of Giants topics to get your weekend started on the right foot. Actually, the Giants already helped us get it started last night with easily one of their best wins of the year. 10 game win streaks? How about a 10-spot on the road?! It won’t get any easier today, but last night sure seemed like a statement victory from a team that really needed one.
1. Joe Panik was never a “hyped” prospect. Not on the day he was drafted. Not when he hit over .340 in his first professional summer. Especially not when he struggled offensively in AA. And not when he caught fire at the dish in Fresno this summer. Joe Panik has 144 MLB plate appearances… and he’s a .316 hitter, with solid BB/K rates, 6 extra base hits, a fine infield glove/arm, and now a clutch 400+ foot home run. The pundits can keep their hype. I’ll take Panik for the next 5 years.
2. Andrew Susac, the pride of Roseville… owner of a big league, opposite field home run. He’s hitting .286 in 8 games this month. He’ll start today against Strasburg, but I believe he should be starting at least 3 times a week right now. Between Belt’s concussions and Posey’s “chronic hip injury,” it seems obvious to me that both of the catchers should be in the lineup as much as possible. Ishikawa has provided a nice little boost this week, but I’d put Posey at 1B for the next 5 games and not think twice about it.
3. Sticking with the roster/lineup theme here: Brandon Crawford is hitting .196 against RHP and .290 against lefties for the year. He owns a .179 average this month after posting a .173 mark in July. He made his 18th error on a routine grounder yesterday. So, I ask you, why is Matt Duffy sitting on the bench? Duffy could hit .175, I guarantee you that. But I think he, like Panik, could provide a little spark to the lineup right now. Just a thought.
4. On the farm: Speaking of Duffy… there seems to be another totally under-the-radar Giants prospect hitting his way onto the scene. If you visit Cove Chatter often, then Blake Miller isn’t a new name to you. But he might just be another draft win for the Giants. No, his .344 average in Richmond won’t last forever. But when anybody puts up the kind of numbers Miller has this year, let alone a 25th round pick, you have to take notice. He strikes out more than Duffy, and he’s a little older. But he’s also bigger and has more power, and for the last three months, all this kid has done is hit. Apparently he was the best hitter for Sac State as a true freshman. That’s before he transferred to D2 Western Oregon. He’s probably the kind of guy who will have to grind twice as hard all the way through, but the fact that he was called to replace Duffy in Richmond… and that he hasn’t missed a beat at the plate since, tells me the front office is taking notice.
5. Ray Black and his 100 mph heater are in San Jose now. I hope the Little Giants have a televised game soon, because I can’t wait to watch this guy pitch. 64 K in 31 IP… wow. San Jose is making a push for the playoffs, and the recent additions of Daniel Carbonell and Tyler Horan have really helped boost that lineup. Now Black and Jake Smith should bolster an already solid bullpen. The only person I feel bad for in this ordeal is Augusta’s David Lee, who no longer gets to watch the best fastball in the minors.
6. Clayton Blackburn has his groove back. Last night, he followed up his 11-K masterpiece with a 9-K outing over 7 shutout innings. His last two starts look like this: 15 IP, 9 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 20 K. As excited as I was for Panik and Susac to reach Fresno (and the majors) this year, that’s how pumped up I am about Blackburn, Blach and likely Crick getting their shot in AAA next season.
One for the Road: Salem-Keizer lost last night, but the Giants NWL club is still right in the thick of things in the second half. Having Keury Mella rehabbing on your club surely doesn’t hurt your cause, I’ll say that… and word on the street is Tyler Beede is Oregon-bound as well. But it’s that Volcano lineup that has me excited right now. Christian Arroyo, Aramis Garcia, Ryder Jones, Austin Slater, Dylan Davis, Skyler Ewing, Johneshwy Fargas, Hunter Cole… this team has very little offensive talent when the summer season started. Now they’re a powerhouse at the plate. The Giants have plucked some very underrated hitters from the last two drafts, and we’re seeing some nice early returns. The fact that most of these guys could end up together in San Jose next season is exciting. Frankly, I’ll be a bit irked if the organization doesn’t send Arroyo and Jones to the Cal League with these college bats. I’d keep this group together as long as I could.
Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend everyone!