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Where we tend to talk about the recent past a lot

Updated: 2017-06-25T11:36:42-07:00


Prospect Roundup, 6/28/17


The Giants seem ready to Round Up the prospects to the Majors. The Secret of Ryder Jones So, Ryder Jones got called up. I’m going to warn you, I haven’t seen Ryder Jones this year, so I’m going to base the things I write here partially on the words of trusted others. But if Ryder Jones can become a good major leaguer, especially a starter, then this is a good sign for the Giants. Perhaps the first sign in a long time that the Giants can truly develop a hitter with a broken/imperfect swing. Jones came into pro baseball as a free swinger with power. His numbers have mostly reflected that over his career. He has almost always slugged in the high .300s previously in his career, but was brought down by a low batting average. His K% would waver from 15% to 23%, pretty high. So what has changed this year? Not his strikeouts. At a 20.2 K% in Triple-A, his rate is the highest it’s been in three seasons. However, his BB% has increased to a career-high 11.4%, with a general assumption that he’s being more selective with his pitches. While it hasn’t reduced the strikeouts, it seems to mean he isn’t making the weak contact he used to, with his isolated slugging at .254 (more than 100 points than his previous career high) and a high BABIP at .345. One other way to look at how hard he’s hitting is the percentages provided by the MiLB GameDay system, albeit however subjective those might be. Compared to the last three seasons, Jones has lowered his groundball percentage from the mid 40’s to 38.2%, an increase that has mostly gone into fly balls, going form the mid 30’s to 40.1%. He’s also pulling the ball more than his has nearly his entire career, at 49.3% of his hit balls going to right field. All these numbers are encouraging, but there’s some questions to mention as well. A big part is asking whether his improved power comes from the change in pitch selection, or just his own personal growth (he turned just 23 in June), or perhaps just the very-hitter friendly confines of the Pacific Coast League. Also, the .345 BABIP is likely unsustainable, and however much of his better numbers are helped by that will have to be seen. And that’s all before wondering how the Willie Mays wall and the McCovey Cove breeze will affect the left-handed hitter. Optimism or pessimism aside, Jones’ callup is a signal that the team is ready to push their young players hard. For better or worse, San Francisco may soon be just as much of a farm team as Sacramento. Other Callups to Watch For Joan Gregorio, as mentioned below, is 3rd in the PCL in ERA and out of options next year. The Giants need to see what he can do. Chris Stratton has been up and down. He’s likely a player the Giants might look for as a reliever. Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson might get a look again. Tyler Beede has not been sharp this year, but the team might push the former first rounder, maybe even a start in September. Certain commenters might be upset if I don’t include Dusten Knight, the 26-year old 28th round pick from 2013, who has a 3.19 ERA in Sacramento and has put together a solid year. Tyler Rogers and his submariner delivery is divisive, but the Giants’ bullpen will get a lot of looks at a lot of people. And then there’s Jae-Gyun Hwang… Jae-Gyun Hwang - Will he Stay or Will he Go? The 29-year old Korean infielder has an opt-out clause in his contract for June 30th. And it’s unclear what he might do. Hwang was expected to go to Sacramento to acclimate to American ball, and for the most part he has done well. His .287/.331/.466/.797 batting line has dipped a bit lately, but still isn’t unreasonable for a player at Triple-A. While neither his power (6 home runs) nor speed (5 stolen bases) have shown up for big numbers, his 19 doubles and 4 triples show that he is hitting balls well and can run. On the downside, 56 strikeouts in 251 at-bats clearly shows a swing-and-miss potential, although that was hardly unexpected. However, he has shown improvement. After walking just 5 times in April and not a sin[...]

Eduardo Nuñez wants to come back, but he’s not a great fit for the Giants


The Giants infielder is optimistic about the future of the team, but there might not be room. Picture a world without Buster Posey. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images No, it’s not pretty. But in this world, this awful, awful world, the Giants would have exactly one likely representative at the 2017 All-Star Game. That would be Eduardo Nuñez. If it seems odd, consider that this was the exact situation that befell the Twins last year. And now they’re contending! So the Giants are right on track! But if you look at the traditional stats that voters/coaches/players look at, as well as the options the Giants would have in a non-Posey world, it would be Nuñez. Nuñez is a pending free agent, and he is indicating that he wouldn’t be against sticking around. From the San Francisco Chronicle: Rather than playing one position every day elsewhere, Nuñez said he’d rather remain a Giant even in a super utility role — he has played third, short, second, left and right since arriving in July — because he envisions the Giants winning again in the near future. “We know this is going to change,” Nuñez said. “I prefer to stay here.” First: I appreciate the sentiment, and I hope he’s right. Second: I like Nuñez and think he’s a nice player to have on a baseball team. I think his 0.0 rWAR has a lot to do with his defense in left, which we’ve all agreed never to discuss again. He can help a team if used properly. Third: I’m almost certain the Giants are going to be the best fit. Nuñez is a late bloomer, which is great for him and inspiring to hundreds of fringe infielders waiting for their shot. It’s not great for anyone who wants to give him a multi-year contract after this season. He’ll be 31 next year, and as we’ve seen with Denard Span, it’s tough for a player to age gracefully when his value is inextricably tied to his legs. I could see Nuñez getting an NRI in 2019 a lot easier than I could see him being a key contributor on a contending team. That written, I’m not exactly sure what the going rate would be for someone like Nuñez. Is the right comp Juan Uribe, who parlayed his success into a three-year contract? If that’s the case, I don’t even have to tell the Giants to forget about it. They’ve been manufacturing utility infielders down at the plant, and even if Nuñez has been hitting for a high average, they aren’t going to pay to see if he can continue to do so into his 30s. And, as a reminder, if Nuñez isn’t hitting for average, he’s incredibly replaceable, even with his stolen base prowess. As a rule, teams shouldn’t feel comfortable paying for average-dependent players. The batting-average fairy drinks a lot, and her wand is merciless. If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that the Giants just can’t assume that Christian Arroyo is going to wrest the third-base job away from anyone. He’s still young, still raw, and he doesn’t have to be ready by next April (even if his glove will be). So if Nuñez reads the offseason landscape and decides he can live with a one-year deal, it’s certainly possible that the Giants would be interested. His ability to move around the infield and give the pair of lefties at the keystone some rest would allow the Giants to ease Arroyo in. My guess, though, is that he’s playing his way out of a one-year deal. As such, it’s hard to see how he’s a part of the great reloading of 2017-2018. He’s been a fine player, and it’s easy to see what the Giants saw in him. But his defense and age make him an imperfect fit. And, really, I’m just here for the B- prospects at the trade deadline, at this point. [...]