On a day when the big club put one centerfielder on the disabled list and called up another, the hottest Giants' minor league outfielder on the planet hit his fifth home run in his last four games. Austin Slater has a ridiculous 15 hits in his last 24 plate appearances, including three doubles and five home runs. The five-game stretch has increased his Sacramento River Cats batting average from .258 to .300, and slugging percentage from .397 to .507. Having split 2016 between Richmond and Sacramento, Slater's slash line now sits at an impressive .307/.395/.500.
The right-handed Slater is hitting it to all parts of the field, too. If you remember back to Spring Training, Slater introduced himself to many unaware Giants' fans with a bomb off Yordano Ventura to dead straight-away center field. Tuesday's home run, his 11th since joining the River Cats, went to right-center field, while Monday's pair of dingers went to right field and center field, respectively. Slater doubled in his third at-bat of that game, too, on a ball to center field that missed being his third homer by a few feet.
And it isn't just the last five games for Slater, either. Over his last 23 games, he is batting .416 with a .742 slugging percentage and 14.1 percent strikeout rate. Among Giants' minor leaguers with at least 200 plate appearances, Slater now has the fourth highest wRC+ at 144, trailing only Heath Quinn, Jarrett Parker, and Dylan Davis. He also has the seventh highest ISO (.193).
Slater plays all outfield positions, including 40 games in 2016 in center field, and countless more in previous seasons. With the expiring contracts of Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco at the end of the year, Slater may be a household name in the Bay Area by this time next year.
— An update on Jarrett Parker since being sent back to Sacramento: the power-hitting left-hander is still striking out way too much. He is rocking a 33.9% rate in 15 games, but is still managing to make good contact when he isn't striking out. He has four doubles, a triple, and three home runs, good enough for a .560 slugging percentage. Five of those eight extra-base hits have come in the last seven games.
— Clayton Blackburn, over his last six starts, has allowed 1.9 walks and 3.9 runs per nine innings. He struck out six to go along with one walks on Tuesday night, making it five straight starts going six or more innings. He hasn't been incredible in 2016, but certainly good enough be a legitimate candidate for the fifth spot in the 2017 rotation.
— Bryan Reynolds is now four games into his Augusta GreenJackets debut week, and is packing a punch hitting in the third spot in the lineup. He went 0-for-3 in his debut, but has six hits, including two doubles and a home run in the three games since. Reynolds' homer on Monday came from the left side and went to the opposite field. Expect the switch-hitting center fielder to begin the 2017 season in San Jose.
— 17-year-old Dominican right-hander Johan Herrera threw eight one-hit innings for the DSL squad on Tuesday, lowering his season ERA to 2.09 in 77.2 innings. He isn't striking out a ton of hitters (5.8 K/9) but his other per-nine averages are way above average, including a 7.5 H/9 and 2.1 BB/9, culminating in a 1.069 WHIP.
TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP
- Christian Arroyo: 1-for-4, 2B, SO
- Tyler Beede: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 6 K
- Chris Shaw: 1-for-4, R, 2 SO
- Bryan Reynolds: 2-for-4, R, 2B, BB, SO
- Aramis Garcia: 1-for-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, 2 SO
- Joan Gregorio: DNP
- Andrew Suarez: DNP
- Jordan Johnson: DNP
- Steven Duggar: 0-for-4, 2 SO
- Steven Okert: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
- Rodolfo Martinez: DNP
- C.J. Hinojosa: 1-for-4
- Clayton Blackburn: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
- Jalen Miller: 0-for-1, SO
- Ray Black: DNP
- Dylan Davis: 3-for-5, 2 R, HR, RBI
- Chase Johnson: DNP
- Heath Quinn: 3-for-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, SO
- Matt Krook: DNP
- Hunter Cole: 1-for-3, R, HR, RBI, BB
- Austin Slater: 2-for-5, R, HR, 4 RBI, BB, 2 SO
- Ty Blach: DNP
- Reyes Moronta: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
- Kyle Crick: DNP
- Chris Stratton: DNP
- Cory Taylor: DNP
- Ian Gardeck: DNP
- Ronnie Jebavy: 1-for-5, SO
- Gio Brusa: 0-for-5, 3 SO