Stock Up <—> Stock Down

Six weeks into the season, there’s a lot of players that have had hot streaks, and then cold streaks, or had their cold streaks before the hot ones.  Mixed results are pretty normal.

So let’s look at the abnormal results.  What prospects have had unqualified hot starts to raise their stock?  Which ones have lowered theirs with cold starts?  Here’s five in each direction.

Stock Up

Joey Bart – The only thing that’s really interrupted Joey Bart’s season has been a groin injury that kept him out a week and a half.  But otherwise, Bart has been consistently hitting in Sacramento for average and power.  The only thing missing has been walks, where he has 25 K’s and 5 BB in 91 plate appearances.

Caleb Kilian – As an 8th round pick who got 16 innings of work in his rookie season of 2019, Kilian came into this season very much an unknown quantity.  He was one of the organization’s hottest starts, and while he hasn’t dominated as much, Kilian hasn’t truly cooled off even after a promotion to Double-A.  He has a 1.67 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 4 walks in 37.2 innings.

Diego Rincones – The 22-year old outfielder has been in the Giants system since 2016, but is finally being taken seriously with a .297/.387/.547 batting line in High-A Eugene.  Even taking time to help out his native Venezuela in the Olympic qualifying tournament didn’t cool him off, as he was one of Venezuela’s top hitters there, and came back to continue hitting.

R.J. Dabovich – Relievers have had a lot of ups and downs in short time already this season, but Dabovich’s numbers have been dominating at High-A Eugene.  He’s struck out 28 with six walks in 12.2 innings, and has held batters to a .050 batting average (two hits, both home runs).

Armani Smith – It would be very easy to overlook Armani Smith on a San Jose team with a lot of prospects.  But the 22-year old Smith, other than missing time with a minor injury, has been one of the more consistent hitters on the team, batting .339/.365/.627 with four home runs, three doubles and a triple. 

Stock Down

Tyler Beede – Technically, Beede might not be a prospect, but every year has seemed to be a season of hope that the first round pick could finally break out.  Unfortunately, his rehab stints in Sacramento have been very shaky, showing a lot of control problems, and pitches that are getting hit a lot harder than in the past.

Gregory Santos – This feels a bit unfair, but his struggles are a function as much about his advanced push after being named to the 40-man roster.  He had a 22.50 ERA in three appearances in the Majors, and a 6.57 ERA in 11 Triple-A appearances, giving up nine walks and 15 hits in 12.1 innings.  But also the conversion of him to reliever (not unexpected after getting put on the 40 to help rush him) removes the value of being a starter from his stock.

Tyler Cyr – 2019 was a breakout season for Cyr, and there was a lot of buzz on Cyr in the spring of 2020 before the pandemic. That’s led to a letdown in 2021, as Cyr has struggled with hits, giving up runs, and allowing walks.  He does have a good K rate, but in a season where the Giants bullpen has desperately needed help, Cyr has missed his window so far.

Patrick Bailey – I know I might get some heat for this, considering my dislike for the draft pick in 2020, but Bailey has been struggling this early season.  The 17 walks in 142 plate appearances hasn’t been bad, but Bailey has struggled to make contact, especially from the right side, where he’s 2-for-20 with a home run, and one walk to eight strikeouts.

Sean Roby – Roby is another player who had a lot of buzz in the spring of 2020 whose 2021 has start out lackluster.  Although Roby had a huge home run earlier this week, he’s still batting .189, with just four home runs and a double.  He is drawing walks (13 to 25 strikeouts in 89 plate appearances), but with a strong contact rate, his power isn’t really playing well yet.

Arizona League and Dominican Summer League Start Dates

We finally are getting some information on the other half of the farm system, and when they’ll start….barring any COVID-19 complications

The Arizona Rookie League will get started on Monday, June 28th, and the Giants will once again have two teams in the AZL.  The AZL will have two regular off days each week, on Sundays and Wednesdays, and will play through Saturday, September 11th. 

The AZL will have 18 teams taking part, with the Giants being one of three organizations submitting two teams to the league, with both teams playing in the East division.

The Dominican Summer League will start late and end later.  The league will start play on July 12th, and end play on October 2nd, far after all the other leagues will have ended.  The Giants will field two teams, one of 18 organizations putting in two teams, with everyone else putting in one team, except the Braves, who aren’t participating in the DSL this season.  That’s 47 teams…which is a lot.

The DSL will also have Sundays off, with the possibility of a second day off as well being discussed.  The schedule hasn’t completely been worked out yet.

Comparing Home Run Leaders

Three players now share the California Low-A West League lead in home runs, ncluding San Jose’s Casey Schmitt.  But these three players have some interesting similarities and differences.  So let’s compare Schmitt, Modesto’s Noelvi Marte, and Visalia’s Neyfy Castillo.

Games: Schmitt – 27; Castillo – 30, Marte – 34.  Schmitt has the lead on games played, with an injury helping to lead him to play as many as seven games less than his competition.

Average: Schmitt – .208; Castillo – .216; Marte – .324. Noelvi Marte is certainly having the better all-around season hitting, wise, not just in average, but also.

Doubles: Schmitt – 1; Castillo – 2; Marte – 9.  It seems that for two of the three home run leaders, other extra-base hits are hard to hit.  In addition to this doubles difference, Marte also is the only one with a triple.

Strikeouts: Schmitt – 18; Castillo – 49; Marte – 39.  Even with playing seven less games, Schmitt is striking out at far less of a clip than the others.  That may be the biggest difference in the favor of Schmitt, and the player he’ll become as he overcomes a slow start.

Players of the Week

The Giants farm has had its ups and downs, and some of the teams have struggled, but damn, some of their players keep standing out.

Early in the week, Joe McCarthy won the Pacific Coast Triple-A West League Player of the Week, for the week of May 31-June 6.  For that week, McCarthy was 10-for-23 (.435) with four doubles and three home runs.  The 27-year old outfielder is having a breakout season, currently batting .324/.393/.593 over 28 games, with seven home runs and eight walks.  The week helped launch Joe McCarthy to a 16-game on-base streak, and it is still ongoing.

On Monday, the California Low-A West League gave the San Jose Giants a sweep of the pitcher and hitter awards.  On the hitting side, Casey Schmitt woke up with a huge week.  The 2020 2nd round pick was 9-for-20 (.450) with four home runs and 10 RBI, including hitting home runs in three consecutive games, and saw Schmitt take over the team lead in home runs with 8, and a share of the league lead.  Schmitt was ice cold in April, but has picked things up in May.  Still, his batting line for the season is .208/.277/.455.

Meanwhile, on the pitching side, Wil Jensen got the weekly award after his Friday start against Stockton, when he went 6.0 innings, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out 7.  On the season, working mostly as a starter, Jensen has a 2.64 ERA, with 41 strikeouts in 30.2 innings.

Highlights of the Week

Let’s start this off with a 6-year veteran of the minors getting his first big league hit.  Okay, okay, he’s a pitcher.  But still, Phil Pfeifer did it, and brought home some runs while doing so.

He wasn’t the hitter of the week in his league, but Joey Bart still is hitting with power.  Who doesn’t want to see Bart home runs?  

Oh, but Joey’s not the only top prospect who can go the other way.  Heliot Ramos can do the same thing.

You know, I’m starting to wonder if those opposite field shots will get over the wall in Oracle Park…

Speaking of home runs, here’s Jaylin Davis’ first of the season, a frozen rope on a pitch that had more of an arc than the home run drive likely did.

How about Arismendy Alcántara hitting a game-tying home run with two out in the bottom of the ninth?  That’s some clutch power!

Okay, that’s a lot of power.  How about some defense.  Some people call these superman dives, but they are fitting for the Richmond mascot…

And I know this isn’t a minor leaguer, but damn, this was a hell of a Major League debut out of the farm system.  Sam Long is going to make a future impact.

But if you want to look at the biggest minor league thing…Long’s former teammates exercising while watching their teammate’s big debut.  Even if you aren’t still wearing the same jersey, they’re still teammates.

The Reading/Listening List

Marco Luciano has really turned things around, and the Chronicles has noticed.

It was a good week for power hitting in the Giants farm system, and it showed on Baseball America’s hot sheet, as three hitters form the system made it.

Dalton Johnson over on NBC Sports Bay Area took a look at how the 2020 Draft picks are doing so far this season.

Monday’s Quick Notes:

AAA: Tacoma 5, Sacramento 1

Top Lines

C Joey Bart: 3-4, 1 2B (6)
SS-2B Thairo Estrada: 2-4, 1 R, 1 3B (1)
1B Joe McCarthy: 1-3, 1 2B (8), 1 SO

SP John Brebbia: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO
RP Kervin Castro: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO
RP Gerson Garabito: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR
RP Tyler Cyr: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO

Both teams had six hits…so how did Tacoma score five runs, and Sacramento just on?  One was Sacramento committing two errors, leading to one unearned run.  The other was Tacoma drawing five walks to Sacramento getting no free passes.  Sacramento’s only rally came in the first from a Thairo Estrada triple coming ahead of a Joey Bart single.

Other Notes:

  • John Brebbia started the game, but came out early, after just three batters.  There was no word on the cause of his early removal.
  • In other interesting first inning moves, Thairo Estrada started the game at shortstop, while Mitchell Tolman started at second base.  After the top of the first, the two players swapped positions, but otherwise stayed in the game.
  • Gerson Garabito made his Triple-A debut, after having it delayed from Sunday’s rainout.  Garabito had a 4.56 ERA after six starts in Double-A, and has a 4.50 ERA after giving up two runs in 4.0 innings in relief.

The Wrap-Up:

Things are slowly getting back to normal, and one thing that means for me is that minor league teams are wearing different uniforms, and some of them are nice, and some of them really aren’t.  And so, we got these uniforms from Richmond.

Faux-back uniforms can be really really bad, especially since we often fake a throwback to some of the worst uniform times in history.  And looking at the pieces here, I don’t think I should like these.  The oversized “R”, with the Virginia silhouette.  The very 1960’s cartoon squirrel patch on the arm.  The off-color piping on the legs.

And yet, these really work.  Maybe it’s the oversized logo on the hat, compared to a lot of logos today.  Maybe it’s that it’s otherwise a clean look, without extra stuff.  Maybe it’s the lack of a nike logo on the chest.  But in the end, these do look great.  So yeah, I like these.

Now do the Emeralds with a faux-back.  Those could really go either way, good or bad.