Cove Chatter 100: #19

Cody Hall | RHP, 26 yo, 6-4, 220 | 2011 Draft – 19 | (A+) 33.2 IP, 1.34 ERA, 2 SV, 4.0 h/9, 1.9 bb/9, 12.8 k/9 | (AA) 26.1 IP, 2.39 ERA, 8 SV, 5.8 h/9, 2.7 bb/9, 9.2 k/9 |  (AFL) 9 IP, 3.00 ERA, 13 H, 4 BB, 7 K

While Derek Law might be getting the hype when it comes to Giants relief prospects this winter, I think Hall is a guy we’re going to hear from this summer. He wasn’t a high draft pick, and he’s never been on the young side of the age versus level curve, but what he has been is very impressive in his three seasons as a professional (career 2.00 ERA, 12.1 k/9 and 3.3 bb/9). He earned a promotion to Richmond last season after logging a 1.34 ERA in the Cal League as a member of the “dog pound” little Giants bullpen. He took over the closer’s role in Richmond and was still very successful. He allowed less than 5 hits per 9 innings for the season while posting a .153 BAA. That’s domination.

I saw him toss an inning in one of the televised AFL games, and the dude looks cut from the same cloth and Heath Hembree, with a fastball nearly as impressive. I think he’s in the same boat as a lot of other MiLB power relievers (Hembree included), in that he really just needs to find a consistent secondary pitch to make it. He’s not the youngest guy by any means, but his 2014 numbers don’t lie. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m pretty excited to see some of these big-bodied relievers break through. Hall should be part of that bunch, and he seems to be the guy that nobody’s talking about.

If you have a chance, take a look at the article I linked below. It’s a mid-season piece from the Richmond newspaper, gives a lot of information about Hall’s background. Essentially, the guy didn’t start pitching until junior college. I didn’t know that. Couldn’t find any video, but the article is an interesting read.

They said it: “Hall throws hard with a fastball regularly in the mid 90’s and with continued good success, should find himself knocking on the door for a big league call-up late in 2014.” ~ Joe Ritzo, San Jose Giants broadcaster

Hall article:

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(Twitter)

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Scenes from the AFL

Just wanted to give a quick tip for those interested in Crick and the boys in the Arizona Fall League. Conner Penfold over at sfgiantpotential.com made the trip out to the desert to get some footage of the Giants prospects, and he’s got some sweet new video up from the last couple of days. He also has a write-up from each of the games he attended… so far, there’s video posted of every Giant farmhand except Cody Hall and Derek Law. As of the 8th inning in Peoria today, neither of the two relievers have pitched. I’ve seen a few clips on Law before, but Hall is a guy I’d be very interested to watch. Just how hard does he throw that fastball? Kyle Crick, who is working out of the pen in preparation for the AFL All-Star game, tossed two scoreless innings today, and his ERA has crept down to 4.66.

More about the videos. In Crick’s one inning of work, he’s rocking the heater. To me, he seems to really increase his pace when he’s in a groove. I love pitchers who do that, a la Tim Lincecum in his prime. My favorite part of that Crick footage though? Mr. Colin Moran, pride of North Carolina… grab some pine, meat! A side note here: I recently watched the “Homegrown Giants” feature that was produced as part of the “Inside the Clubhouse” series by the Giants media team. This one was released in September, but I hadn’t seen it before. Very cool stuff. Posey, Romo, the All-Star Game in New York… but it follows Crick around for a bit, and gives quite a bit of insight on the Giants’ player development philosophy. If you haven’t seen it, I’d definitely recommend setting 20 minutes aside to check it out. Here’s the link. In regards to Crick, I’ve just got to say, I really admire the kid, and I think the Giants have another future stud on their hands. Everyone involved understands what he needs to do to make it, but I get the feeling nobody thinks he can’t get there. He’s an intelligent young man – confident and incredibly talented… and I really am excited about his future.

Jarrett Parker is quite a bit slimmer than I thought. He’s listed at 6-4, 210 pounds, but he doesn’t look it to me. We know he strikes out at incredible rates, but he puts on a pretty spirited AB too. He gets deep into counts, takes his share of walks, and hits for a good amount of power. Sounds like he covers a ton of ground out in center as well. His lefty bat will need to find those gaps at AT&T if he wants to make it as a big leaguer, but hey, the guy is a former 2nd round pick, he’s probably headed to Fresno next year, and the organization sent him to Arizona to run with the big dogs. They’ve got their eye on him, and as far as I know they’re still looking for someone in the organization to grab ahold of left field…

Adalberto Mejia made his first start of the fall yesterday and got knocked around a bit in 2.1 innings of work. The first inning got off to a rough start after DeShields battled for a walk right out of the gate. Personally, I thought Mr. Mejia had him beat with an 0-2 slider that snapped in at the knees (4th pitch of the AB)… but he didn’t get the call and couldn’t put him away. DeShields is a tough out, and Mejia is still just a young kid gaining some tremendous experience this fall. He really wasn’t that wild, he just couldn’t quite find the zone… and he left some pitches up, which will get you run pretty quickly against competition like that.

A couple more thoughts on the young lefty. Wow, he’s a big-bodied kid! Very similar body type to Clayton Blackburn, in my humble opinion. If you’ve never been over to Giant Potential, I’d highly recommend clicking on the video section of the blog. Penfold gets some great footage, in full-on HD quality. In a previous piece about Mejia, he talks about him throwing a back-foot slider that’s very Bumgarner-esque. It didn’t look to me like he threw too many of them in the AFL clip, but that 0-2 pitch to DeShields was nasty. If he can hone that sucker in, the sky is absolutely the limit for him.

Andrew Susac and Angel Villalona went hitless, but Angel V. did put together some tough AB’s. Personally, I’d like to see the Giants challenge him with a Fresno assignment this season and see if he can hang. His time out of the country definitely set him back a bit in terms of professional development, but he showed the power potential in Richmond. So I say send him to AAA and see if he can swim. If not, he’s back in Richmond. If he does, look out ladies and gents!

Susac is a player I’m growing fonder of by the day. Small sample sizes in the AFL aren’t anything to get too worked up about, but the more digging I do on this guy, the more I like. In my eyes, he’s got a legitimate major league bat. Maybe not a big batting average guy, but he’s patient, powerful, and seems to have a real calm at the dish. If he’s even average defensively, the Giants have their excuse to get Buster Posey out of the gear. Speaking of Posey, I couldn’t help but notice Susac has a few tendencies in his batting stance and swing that remind me a lot of Buster… even the leg kick in his load. Now, I hope nobody reads too much into this comment, I’m not saying anything about Susac being the hitter/player Posey is. But I do think the kid has the potential to have a solid MLB career if he can change his injury-prone ways, and I hope he does so with the Giants. Is it crazy to say Susac is a bit of a sleeper in the organization?

Lastly, I just wanted to note that the blog hasn’t been as active lately. I apologize for that, but I hope you will stick around, as I’ve been working on some very big projects on the minor league front. I’m learning more and more about the Giants farm system every day, and I hope to start sharing some of these things pretty soon. I know they will be worth the wait.

Fall Ball Catch-Up

Kyle Crick takes the mound for Los Escorpiones de Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League this afternoon. It’ll be Cricky’s 3rd start in the fall league, and he’ll oppose Andrew Heaney, the former Oklahoma State lefty (and top 10 pick) who ranks pretty high in the Marlins’ system. So you’ve got Crick, the prep righty and Heaney, the college lefty, squaring off for a pretty sweet showdown between highly regarded hurlers. Neither will probably last more than 3 innings, but I’m interested to see whether or not Crick can command the strike zone. The Giants top minor league arm struggled in his first start for Scottsdale, but bounced back with a nice 3-inning effort in his last outing, allowing a run while striking out 5. If you’re scoring at home, that’s 5 bb and 9 k in 5 innings of work for the hard-throwing righty, who just happens to be one of the youngest players in that prestigious AFL. He’s been pumping 94-97 steadily in both starts. Here’s the link to MLB.com Gameday if you want to check in on Crick and the gang this afternoon.

For the Giants, Jarrett Parker (2nd) and Andrew Susac (6th) are both in the lineup for the Scorpions today, who play at 12:35pm Mountain Time. Angel V. sits – I don’t think all three hitters have been in the same lineup through the first 10 games, although they’ve all had some early contributions. Susac was the star last night, starting behind the dish and smacking a 2-run HR as part of a 3-hit night. Susac had been showing some nice plate discipline early, but last night’s blast was his first flash of power in Arizona. That game, which Scottsdale claimed 5-1 over Glendale, was the radio game of the day… I believe Bernie Pleskoff was one of the guys on the mic, so I’ll be interested to see if he puts together a short write-up on Susac. He’s pretty good about things like that, and I’ll post a link in my Twitter feed if I find anything.

Here’s a quick rundown on how the Giants are faring in the AFL.

Kyle Crick, RHP – 2 GS, 5 IP, 7.20 ERA, 5 BB, 9 K: Looking to string a couple nice starts together, but velocity has been there. Needs to keep working in the hitter-friendly environment.

Adalberto Mejia, LHP – 3 G, 4.2 IP, 17.36 ERA, 3 BB, 4 K: Another one of the youngsters in the league. He’s struggled out of the pen, giving up 2 HR. Right now, it’s all about the experience, but I’d like to see him get a start or two.

Cody Hall, RHP: 3 G, 3 IP, 6.00 ERA, 2 BB, 3 K: Hall gave up 2 ER in his first outing, but has tossed two scoreless innings since. A strong showing could earn him a big league spring training invite.

Derek Law, RHP: 4 G, 5.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 BB, 6 K: Very nice start for Law, who’s been getting all kinds of press lately. Arguably a top-25 guy in the organization after his second half in San Jose. Keep turning heads, young man.

Andrew Susac, C – 6 G, .368/1.026, 1 HR, 3 RBI: Showing his advanced plate discipline early with .500 OBP. Gaining steam with a big HR last night.

Jarrett Parker, OF – 5 G, .235/.569, 1 RBI: No multi-hit games so far, but he’s got a hit in 4 of the 5 games he’s played in. He’s also got 2 K’s in 4 of the 5, but that’s not especially abnormal for Parker.

Angel Villalona, 1B – 7 G, .273/678, 2 RBI: Angel V. is a guy who a lot of people have their eyes on this fall, and he’s holding his own so far. Hopefully he smacks a few out of the park before season’s end.

*Update: Scottsdale beat Glendale 5-1, and six of the seven Giants farmhands took part in the action. Crick showed the good and the bad in less than two innings of work, breezing through the first with 2 K and a fly-out, but allowing a solo shot and walking the bases loaded in the second. Crick was pulled in favor of Mejia, who had a coming-out party with some brilliant relief work. The young lefty allowed only one base-runner in 3.1 IP and fanned 5. Mejia had struggled a bit in his first few outings, but this should give him a nice boost of confidence.  Crick left him with a pond full of ducks in the 2nd, and Mejia was nails with a 3-pitch K of the Glendale leadoff hitter. Cody Hall and Derek Law pitched scoreless innings out of the pen. All together, the Giants pitchers combined to toss 7 innings for Scottsdale, allowing two hits and one run. They struck out nine. Susac stayed hot at the dish, reaching base 3 times and driving in a run with a sac fly. There’s a nice recap from MLB.com that focuses on the performances of Crick and Mejia here… a good day for the Giants youngsters, even if Crick didn’t have his best stuff.

 

AFL Opening Day: Mixed Bag for Susac, Mejia

Yesterday was Opening Day for the Arizona Fall League, which as always is littered with top minor league talent. This year’s notables include Byron Buxton, Addison Russell and Jameson Taillon, among others. The Giants sent 7 players to the Scottsdale squad this year, many that I’d consider top 25 prospects in the system. Kyle Crick, Adalberto Mejia and Andrew Susac are the headliners, and all are in the organization’s top 10 in my book. The Giants also sent Cody Hall and Derek Law as stout right-handed bullpen reps, and Angel Villalona and Jarrett Parker as power bats. To me, this is one of the more exciting groups the Giants have sent to the AFL in recent years. With a nice mixture of positions represented, I’m guessing you’ll see at least one of them in the box score nearly every day.

Susac started behind the dish in the opener for Scottsdale last night, and had a pretty eventful game. He hit 1-3 at the plate, with a walk, a strikeout, and an RBI single. On the other side, he played all 9 innings and caught 7 different pitchers in the process. He nailed a runner attempting to steal 3rd with an impressive throw (according to Bernie Pleskoff, who was at the game). He also made a throwing error. I’d say that’s a pretty full 9 innings, for sure. There are two other catchers on the Scottsdale roster, but I think Susac could see the majority of the starts.

Susac also caught Pirates’ phenom Taillon – who should join Gerrit Cole to make an even stronger Bucco rotation next year – for the first two innings. Taillon was followed by Mejia, who had a rocky AFL debut in his relief appearance. He couldn’t find the strike zone in the 3rd, walking two and allowing a hit before serving up a 3-run bomb to Kyle Parker of the Rockies. I wasn’t sure if the young lefty would even make it out of the inning, but he did, and even pitched a 1-2-3 4th before being pulled. Not the best start for the kid, obviously, but with Mejia, you have to keep in mind that he was the youngest player in the Cal League on Opening Day in April. The AFL is also a great hitter’s environment, so the fact that he settled down and breezed through the next inning was a good sign. He’ll be just fine, and I’d guess that he’ll be a part of the rotation at some point… you generally don’t see starters throw many innings in the winter leagues anyway.

I had heard Crick was supposed to start tonight, but it looks like Aaron Northcraft of the Braves got the nod. If Crick goes tomorrow, I’ll definitely try to get a short write-up done the next morning. If you want a direct link to the AFL homepage, try mlbfallball.com.

San Jose Season Recap: Part 1

The San Jose Giants were swept out of the Cal League championship series by Inland Empire, ending their season a couple nights ago with a 3-1 loss. The Giants were the last remaining minor league affiliate of the MLB Giants still in play, and were seeking to bring a title home after winning the deciding game against Visalia in the league semifinals. San Jose’s bats went cold in the championship series, though, as Ricky Oropesa and company were held to only 2 runs and a .133 average (per MiLB.com) in three games. The Giants certainly had to be the favorites in this series, as Inland Empire entered the postseason despite a sub-.500 regular season record.

This seems to be a case of a team (Inland Empire) getting hot at the right time, as often happens in playoff play in every sport, but I’m sure a championship sweep is not what Kyle Crick and his teammates had in mind. Either way, the Giants had another superb season, and remain one of the most successful clubs in minor league baseball. They finished the regular season 83-57, the best overall record in the Cal League.

Let’s take a look back at the season that was for the Giants’ high-A affiliate.

The storyline entering the season for San Jose was the starting pitching, and it remained the focal point of the club all year. The rotation was the backbone of this team, and on Opening Day featured highly touted 2011 prep draft picks Crick and Clayton Blackburn, along with international lefties Edwin Escobar (acquired from Texas in 2010) and Adalberto Mejia. All four were 20 years old or younger entering the season, with loads of promise.

While it was thought by most that top 2012 picks Chris Stratton and Martin Agosta would be joining the quartet of under-21 prospects in San Jose, the Giants brass decided to fill the final rotation spot with Ty Blach, an unheralded southpaw taken in the 5th round of the 2012 draft out of Creighton. Stratton and Agosta, though higher selections, were assigned to Augusta for Opening Day.

The rotation of Crick, Blackburn, Escobar, Mejia, and Blach entered the season with very high expectations. Aside from a couple of injuries that kept Crick and Mejia out for extended periods early in the year, the group didn’t disappoint.

2013 with SJ

Crick: 14 gs, 3-1, 1.57 era, 6.3 h/9, 5.1 bb/9, 12.5 k/9

Blackburn: 23 gs, 7-5, 3.65 era, 7.5 h/9, 2.4 bb/9, 9.3 k/9

Escobar: 16 g (14 gs), 3-4, 2.89 era, 8.2 h/9, 2.0 bb/9, 11.1 k/9

Mejia: 16 gs, 7-4, 3.31 era, 7.8 h/9, 2.4 bb/9, 9.2 k/9

Blach: 22 g (20 gs), 12-4, 2.90 era, 8.6 h/9, 1.2 bb/9, 8.1 k/9

Impressive stuff. Escobar, who may be the Giants’ breakout prospect of the year, was the lone member of San Jose’s rotation to get a midseason bump to AA Richmond. He was just as good after the promotion, logging a 2.67 ERA over 10 starts while averaging a strikeout per inning. Overall, Escobar finished the season with 146 K (10.2 k/9) and 30 BB (2.1 BB/9) in 128.2 IP. He’s moving very quickly through the organization all of a sudden, and he’s already on the 40-man roster to boot. In other words, don’t be surprised if he gets an invite to big league Spring Training next year. If he shows his stuff, we could see him in San Francisco sooner rather than later. My guess is that the Giants want to see how he holds up in the bandboxes of the PCL before they get too crazy with him. Either way, this Venezuelan lefty should easily be on every Giant top 10 list out there, if not most top 5’s.

Kyle Crick’s season was cut significantly short by an oblique strain in this third start. Honestly, I think the injury is the only thing that kept him from joining Escobar in Richmond. He was the staff ace in the second half, and opened the postseason with an absolute gem in game 2 against Visalia – a 3-hitter over 7 scoreless innings, with 8 K and 0 BB. Crick is the crown jewel of the system, “Mr. Untouchable” in the trade market. His fastball was too big for the Cal League in July and August, and he’ll get a chance to see how it matches up with some top talent in the AFL this fall. If he can get a handle on his wild cannon next year in Richmond, I say he’s knocking on Fresno’s door by mid-season.

Blackburn was steady-Eddie for most of the season. Got knocked around a few times, but kept the very good K/BB rates that he’s shown ever since the Giants stole him in the 16th round two years ago. He’s an old pro in a young man’s body, and he’ll take his game to AA with the rest of the bunch next year, still only 20 years old. As is Mejia, the 6-foot-3 Dominican lefty nobody’s talking about. But they should be, and I think they will by next season, if he can keep plugging along. He’s got as much upside or more than Blackburn, and the Giants liked him enough to give him a spot start in Fresno this year. He’s very unknown to the mainstream group, but I think that’ll change soon. Like Crick, Mejia missed some time to injury this year, and gets to spend his fall in the AFL with the big dogs.

Blach is the forgotten man in this group, but he had one hell of a season for anybody, let alone a guy who wasn’t even the second-most hyped pitcher in the Giants’ 2012 draft class. While Stratton and Agosta got all the press, Blach made an impact from the very start, and eventually earned San Jose team MVP honors in the process. He’s not fancy, and he’s just a tad older than the rest of this group, but his walk rates were insane. All. Season. Long. If it were any other year, Blach would be a household name after the season he put up, but for now he’ll hopefully continue to do his thing under the radar in Richmond in 2014.

Wow, got a little long-winded there. That’s a lot of talk about 5 guys. But those 5 are some of the best and brightest horses in the Giants’ minor league stable. They’ll make up the best rotation fans of the Richmond Flying Squirrels have ever seen next season, maybe to be joined by Chris Stratton if the brass so chooses.

We’ll shorten it up a bit on the bullpen, which featured partial seasons from a handful of very talented arms. Cody Hall and Josh Osich burned through the Cal League before taking their talents to AA mid-year. Osich struggled to get his feet under him in Richmond while Hall thrived for most of the second half. Both guys have a chance to be nice pieces in Bochy’s pen in the next couple years. Another partial season came from oft-injured Bryce Bandilla, whose 14.6 K/9 was the best in the organization this year. The big lefty lasted only 44.1 innings though, the same exact amount he tossed in 2012 before succumbing to injuries.

Hunter Strickland, a 24 year-old former Red Sox farmhand, made it only 21 innings before his arm failed him. He had 9 saves and a 0.86 ERA when he went under the knife for Tommy John surgery. It looks like the Giants want to keep him around, but I have no idea when he’ll be back on a mound.

Derek Law was called up from Augusta in July, and absolutely dominated as San Jose’s closer in the final months of the season. In 25.2 IP with the little Giants, he saved 11 games to the tune of a 2.10 ERA. He fanned 45 hitters and walked just one. Try that on for size! Law has pitched very well since the Giants drafted him in 2011, and he’s another underrated guy who is starting to make some noise.

Chris Marlowe is the final pitcher of interest to us here, and the only one who doesn’t fit the mold of beefy power arm like the rest of these relief guys. Marlowe runs his fastball low 90’s, but supposedly has the best curve in the organization. He made 7 starts for San Jose, but spent most of his season in the pen. His overall numbers aren’t bad, but I don’t think he did enough to earn a promotion. Richmond’s roster is going to be mighty crowded next year as it is.

Ok, I think that’s enough for one night. Can you tell how I felt about this pitching staff? Can’t forget about Mac and the San Jose bats though! I’ll have to get to them another night. I can only hope this was enough to keep your appetite wet for the rest of the story…

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Organization Pitching Depth Recap

Over the past few weeks, we broke down some of the top pitchers for each team in the Giants’ minor league system. We covered a lot. 70 arms to be exact. 48 righties, 22 southpaws. There are others in the organization, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Even after profiling 70 guys, I’m sure I still missed a few potential sleepers in there, but I think we’ve covered most of the meat.

I learned a ton about the organization while doing this series. I hope you did as well, or at least enjoyed catching up on a few guys you hadn’t given much attention recently. I’ll say this about the Giants: They have pitching. Not a ton of it is major league ready, which was definitely a factor in this season’s struggles. But they do have a wealth of arms below AAA, and it’ll be interesting to see who makes the jump to the next level. Are Cody Hall and Edwin Escobar in the bigs next year? Does Hembree win a spot out of Spring Training? Will the San Jose rotation of 2013 be as successful as the Richmond rotation of 2014? Is Kyle Crick in Fresno this time next season? How about the Augusta staff? Who separates themselves from this year’s draft class? Are Mella and Ysla for real? Lots of questions, and all good ones. You can’t have too much pitching, ever.

I decided to write this recap of the entire pitching series because I felt like there should be a place where we can tie all these posts together. Also, I wanted a spot where each of these pieces could be easily found. So here are the team links if you need a refresher.

AAA Fresno

AA Richmond

A+ San Jose

A Augusta

A-ss Salem-Keizer

Rookie Leagues

So, 70 pitchers that may or may not be the future of Giants baseball. One potential ace (Crick), lots of potential valuable pieces, both starters and relievers. The overlying trend for the top starters tends to be control above velocity, while some of the bullpen guys can definitely dial up the heat.

If I had to rank the top guys right now, it’d probably look something like this:

RH Starters

Kyle Crick

Clayton Blackburn

Chris Stratton

Martin Agosta

Keury Mella

Sleeper: Joan Gregorio

LH Starters

Edwin Escobar

Adalberto Mejia

Eric Surkamp

Ty Blach

Mike Kickham

Sleeper: Luis Ysla

RH Pen

Heath Hembree

Cody Hall

Derek Law

Dan Slania

Stephen Johnson

Sleeper: Ian Gardeck

LH Pen

Josh Osich

Bryce Bandilla

Mason McVay

Steven Okert

Nick Jones

Sleeper: Nick Gonzalez

There’s your top 24. If you can get 4-6 regular players and a few trade pieces out of that crop (which I think the Giants can), I’d consider it a successful group. Next season should be a big one for the hurlers, that’s for sure. As always, feedback is welcome and appreciated. I’m hoping to do a few more of these throughout the winter, looking at position-player depth in the organization. Thanks for reading, and go Giants.

Org Pitching Part II: Richmond

Continuing the look at the noteworthy arms in the Giants’ system… Flying Squirrel edition.

Richmond

Edwin Escobar – L (21): 2.78 era, 116.2 ip, 8.0 h/9, 1.8 bb/9, 10.2 k/9 – First of the San Jose starters to get the bump to AA. Low 90’s fastball with excellent control, could be in Major League camp next spring.

Cody Hall – R (25): 9 sv, 1.31 era, 55 ip, 4.1 h/9, 2.3 bb/9, 11.5 k/9 – Big, power arm has thrived in the closer role since his promotion from SJ. May move quickly.

Josh Osich – L (24): 14 sv, 3.84 era, 61 ip, 8.0 h/9, 2.8 bb/9, 10.0 k/9 – Flame-throwing lefty was dominant in SJ, but has struggled since moving to AA.

Jose Valdez – R (25): 4.74 era, 49.1 ip, 9.7 h/9, 7.7 bb/9, 8.8 k/9 – 6 foot 7 monster. 78 K’s in 57 IP last year at San Jose. Major control issues this season.

Scott Shuman – R (25): 25 g, 10.55 era, 21.2 ip, 5.9 h/9, 16.5 bb/9, 15.6 k/9 – Rule 5 draft pick who throws serious heat, gives up few hits, but has absolutely no idea where the ball is going.

Edwin Quirarte – R (26): 10 sv, 2.67 era, 60.2 ip, 8.6 h/9, 3.6 bb/9, 5.3 k/9 – Former 5th round pick, doesn’t have amazing stuff, but induces tons of grounders. May be a useful bullpen arm for a Major League team one day.

Phil McCormick – L (24): 3 sv, 3.44 era, 49.2 ip, 7.8 h/9, 5.3 bb/9, 8.9 k/9 – Crafty lefty with sink and deception. Big groundball rates, but the walks have inflated this season.

Chris Gloor – L (26): 3.56 era, 139 ip, 8.9 h/9, 2.5 bb/9, 6.9 k/9 – 6 foot 6, big-bodied lefty. Second year in AA, first full season as a starter. Should get a chance in Fresno next year.

Overview: A team that began the season with little high-end pitching talent has seen three of the top arms in the system promoted from San Jose. Escobar may be the Giants’ breakout candidate of the year, and he seems to be getting stronger. Will he compete for a big league rotation spot next spring? Hall and Osich are two of the organization’s big bullpen arms. Hall may surpass Heath Hembree, while Osich needs to work out some kinks. All 3 are big bodies that feature elite velocity. The rest of these guys are long shots. Valdez and Shuman are wildcards – big arms with no control. Quirarte was once a future closer candidate, but he doesn’t seem to have the stuff to strike out professional hitters. Maybe he gets a shot in a middle-relief role someday. If McCormick can continue to induce the grounders, could he work himself up as a situational lefty? Gloor is a grinder who should be in AAA next season.

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