San Francisco Giants Top 50 Prospects: #41-49
#41: Ian Gardeck, RHP, Age 25: Big, hard-throwing right hander was among the many arms protected from the Rule 5 draft this winter by the Giants. He was originally drafted by the White Sox as an 8th rounder in 2011, but instead of signing he transferred from a JC in Texas to the University of Alabama. He signed when the Giants picked him in the 16th round the next summer. He’s never had a problem striking hitters out, as evidenced by his 11.1 K/9. The problem for Gardeck (at least as a professional) has always been command (career 5.5 bb/9). However, he appeared to turn a corner for San Jose in 2015, walking 24 in 86.1 IP (2.4 bb/9). Whatever tweak he made last summer earned him a spot on the 40-man and a likely spot in the Richmond bullpen. The Giants just keep rolling out these mid-90’s fastball arms, and it appears Gardeck could be one of the next to arrive.
#42: Martin Agosta, RHP, Age 25: Agosta should be one of the more recognizable names on the list so far. The Sacramento native and former 2nd round pick from St. Mary’s was off to a great start to his professional career in 2013 for low-A Augusta. Maybe he was giving up a tad more walks than you like to see, but otherwise he was absolutely handing it to SALLY hitters (generally what you’d expect from a successful college pitcher) through June. Then came the “dead arm” period and a rocky second half. After logging 10 starts between April and May, he’d make only 8 more the rest of the 2013 season. 2014 saw more injuries and an absolute loss of the strike zone for Agosta.
In 2015, however, he seemed to get his control problems back in check while striking out well over a batter an inning. His peripherals look good, the ERA and HR allowed not so much, and his velocity doesn’t seem to be where it was in college anymore…but maybe most important, he was finally healthy again. What the future holds for the once promising St. Mary’s right-hander, I’m not sure. There were always questions about his size and durability, but it’s obvious he has strikeout stuff when healthy. I’m not ready to write him off just yet.
#43: Rodolfo Martinez, RHP, Age 22: The Giants signed Martinez out of the Dominican a couple years back, and he made his pro debut as a 20 year old in the AZL. It didn’t go well, as he allowed a run per inning (27 in 27.2) and battled control problems. The organization certainly knew what they had in him though, and they assigned him to Augusta for 2015. The 6-2, 180 righty fared much better, logging a 2.54 ERA while walking only 14 batters in 46 IP (a major improvement from his 5.2 BB/9 in 2014). The kicker with Martinez is his velocity… David Lee had him sitting mid-90’s all summer, touching 101 on occasion. That kind of heater alone should have me rating him higher, which I would gladly do if the Giants decided to try him out as a starter. Right now, it sounds like he’s a two-pitch guy, and still trying to develop his slider at that. With that kind of arm though, the sky is the limit.
#44: D.J. Snelten, LHP, Age 23: 6-6 lefty spent 2014 pitching primarily in relief, but earned a spot in San Jose’s rotation after a nice spring training. He struggled in the Cal League and was sent to Augusta, where he settled in as one of the club’s best starters. Armed with an above average fastball from the left side, Snelten had a run of 8 consecutive starts with at least 7 strikeouts. He pitched deep into games, and finished the season with 126 K in 120 IP, one of the top strikeout totals in the organization. He should get another chance in San Jose next year, and should get every opportunity to remain a starter.
#45: Matt Gage, LHP, Age 23: Southpaw was drafted 10th round in 2014 out of Siena College. He’s a big guy (6-ft-4, 240) who goes high-80’s/low-90’s and generally stays around the strike zone. He was steady if unspectacular for most of his time in Augusta, but tossed easily his best outings in his final two starts as a Greenjacket (14.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 15 K). The Giants immediately promoted him to Richmond when a starter (can’t remember which one at the moment) went on the DL, and Gage spent the rest of the season in AA. Aside from a two start stretch in August where he allowed 12 total runs, the lefty surrendered no more than two runs in any other other appearance with the Squirrels. Whether the organization intended for him to remain at AA for the rest of the season is hard to tell, but once he got there, he sure made it hard for them to send him back down. That’s precisely how you earn yourself some points with the men in charge.
#46: Deiyerbert Bolivar, LHP, Age 20: One of the coolest names in the system (how do you say that?) just happens to be a young lefty with a good fastball. Though he’s still very much an unknown (here’s the only first-hand report on him I’ve ever read), his professional career has gotten off to a very nice start. After dominating during his debut summer in the DSL (2014), an apparent injury limited the scrawny Venezuelan southpaw to only 8 appearances and 30.1 IP in the AZL in 2015. I’m sure the organization will continue to take it slow with him, but I’d love to see an Augusta challenge next spring.
#47: Logan Webb, RHP, Age 19: Webb was a pop-up guy who the Giants drafted 4th round out of Rocklin High in 2014. He was reportedly hitting 96 on the gun late his senior season, but he was also throwing a ton of pitches down the stretch as well. It doesn’t sound like he’s throwing quite as hard anymore, but the Giants were somewhat aggressive with Webb in sending him to Salem-Keizer last summer. The results were inconsistent, but he also spent the entire season pitching at age 18. For a kid that age, his 2.4 BB/9 and 2 HR allowed over 60 IP are what stand out to me. The Giants have plenty of starting pitching depth in the majors and upper minors, so there’s no reason to move Webb too fast. For now, he’s one of the younger, more interesting starter prospects in the organization.
#48: Mitch Delfino, 3B, Age 25: The former Cal Bear just never got his bat going in Richmond last season, but I really don’t think it’s enough to set him back too much. I’m actually more surprised when a hitter’s numbers improve in Richmond than I am when they decline at this point. Oddly enough, it’s his defensive struggles in 2015 (21 errors) that have me a bit concerned, as the Giants invited him to MLB spring training and lauded his glovework in the process. A year later and Duffy seems to have a stranglehold on the position, but I think there’s potential for a reserve corner infield spot for Delfino if he can get his offensive numbers back on track in Sacramento (where I think he ends up) next season.
#49: Rando Moreno, SS, Age 23: Moreno was #49 on my 2014 list after an impressive season between rookie ball and Augusta, but struggled mightily when he was assigned to San Jose that spring (Christian Arroyo & Ryder Jones were ticketed for Augusta, and the org felt Moreno was worthy of a starting gig somewhere, so they gave him a push… that’s my theory, anyway). Naturally, after failing in the Cal League he resurfaced in AA for 2015, where he held down the starting shortstop spot and held his own offensively for three-quarters of the season. Go figure! While he hasn’t shown any power to speak of to date, the Ehire Adrianza-sized infielder seems to do everything else pretty well. He doesn’t have a standout tool, but he’s got a good arm, playable defense at short, a little in-game speed, and he puts the ball in play. I think he has a MLB utility future, and #49 again felt like an appropriate spot for him.