The slate of starting pitchers getting the nod on Memorial Day for the San Francisco Giants' affiliates was an impressive one to say the least. Four of the team's top-11 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, were scheduled to start their respective team's games, and they did not disappoint.
Let's start with Adalberto Mejia, who at this point is probably too advanced for Double-A ball and needs a new test. He's been in Richmond since 2014, compiling 212 innings. On a list of player's most deserving of a promotion, I'd say Mejia has to be at the top, or at the very least strongly competing for the top spot. His near complete game on Monday was the fifth in a string of starts where the left-hander has given up just 23 hits and seven walks in 36.1 innings, all while owning a 0.74 ERA. He's struck out 28 hitters in the span, including a career-high 10 in his latest outing. On the season, Mejia has opposing hitters slashing .190/.250/.265.
In Sacramento, it was a second consecutive dominant outing for Clayton Blackburn. His last two starts have been mighty impressive, going 13 innings while allowing just one earned run on six hits and two walks. His 16 swinging strikes on Monday helped produce a season-high eight strikeouts as the sinkerballer went seven strong. The swing-through total is likely his career high, though data from the 2012 and 2013 seasons are incomplete. His home/away splits are now quite drastic as Blackburn's ERA is a full three points lower at home than away from the state's capital.
Moving on to Sam Coonrod, who is probably in close competition with Mejia in terms of promotion talk. With his 6.2 scoreless innings on Monday, Coonrod is 31.1 frames into a stretch where he has surrendered just two earned runs — good enough for a 0.57 ERA. His season mark is now down to a California League-leading 1.18, while he is also tied for third in WHIP at 1.095. Coonrod tied a season-high in strikeouts with seven, bringing his season total to 32 in 49.2 innings. Despite his high strikeout rate last year with Augusta, Coonrod has managed to strike out fewer batters in 2016 while actually improving as an all-around pitcher, grooving a sinking two-seam fastball that has produced copious ground balls and other weakly hit balls.
Lastly, Phil Bickford made his ninth start of the season, and fourth consecutive allowing one or fewer runs. He struck out seven in five innings on Monday, making it six out of nine times this season where Bickford has finished an outing with more strikeouts than innings pitched. His 57 punch outs are tied for third in the South Atlantic League.
— Chris Shaw hit his 11th home run of the season, bringing him one shy of his total of 12 last season with Salem-Keizer. It took 200 plate appearances to hit 12 in 2015, and he sits at 202 plate appearances in the current year, though he has six more doubles under his belt this time around.
— Johneshwy Fargas has made four starts since his demotion to Augusta, and has made the most of it thus far. He has five hits in 13 plate appearances to go along with four stolen bases.
TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP
- Christian Arroyo: 2-for-4, R, 2B, SO
- Tyler Beede: DNP
- Phil Bickford: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
- Lucius Fox: 0-for-5
- Chris Shaw: 1-for-4, R, HR, RBI
- Sam Coonrod: 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
- Mac Williamson: 2-for-4, R, 2B
- Aramis Garcia: DNP
- Andrew Suarez: DNP
- Adalberto Mejia: 8.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
- Clayton Blackburn: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
- Jalen Miller: 1-for-4, R
- Ray Black: DNP
- Chase Johnson: DNP
- Jordan Johnson: DNP
- Steven Okert: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
- Kyle Crick: DNP
- Jarrett Parker: DNP
- Hunter Cole: 1-for-4, SO
- Austin Slater: 1-for-3, BB, SB
- Joan Gregorio: DNP
- Michael Santos: DNP
- Ty Blach: DNP
- Rodolfo Martinez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- Mac Marshall: DNP
- Ronnie Jebavy: DNP
- Chris Stratton: DNP
- Ian Gardeck: DNP
- Jake Smith: DNP
- Dylan Davis: DNP