Gregorio pitches most dominant start of season

BOX SCORES: SAC / RIC / SJ / AUG / SK

Though it fell just one point short of his best game score of the year, Sunday afternoon's start for tall right-hander Joan Gregorio proved to be his most dominant in a number of ways.

In 81 pitches, Gregorio recorded a season-high 15 swinging strikes that led to eight strikeouts — another season high. He also threw just 20 balls the entire outing, giving him a fantastic 74.1 strike percentage. You guessed it. That was a third season high. He walked one hitter, and has walked only five hitters in his last 23.1 innings. 

Interestingly, his 81 total pitches thrown was one short of a season low mark, but I would chalk that up to it being 108 degrees Sunday afternoon at Raley Field.

Giants Prospects Talk provided some key info the other day, and I agree with his point. Since 2017 is his final season to utilize options, now appears to be the time, especially in a season like the major-league club is currently having, to call him up and see what Gregorio can provide with consistent playing time.

The success Gregorio has had in the minors dealing out heavy doses of sinkers and sliders has been long chronicled. To me, his ceiling is a type of reliever similar to George Kontos, who can be called on to pitch three to four innings if absolutely necessary, but ultimately can be middle-to-late relief specializing in getting ground balls with two downward action offerings.

At the very latest, Gregorio, who is on the 40-man roster, will join the Giants in September when rosters expand. But like GPT noted: it would great to call him up sooner and give him a large chunk of innings so the club has a larger sample size to work with when analyzing his future in orange and black.

OTHER NOTES

Miguel Gomez hit his seventh home run of the season Sunday in Harrisburg, which means it's another excuse to remind you how good he's been this season. He's taken all the Eastern League stereotypes and thrown them away with his .319/.350/.474 batting line through 263 plate appearances. That's good enough for a 124 wRC+, which is due in part to his spectacular 12% strikeout rate. And he's maintained a low, but still reasonable 4.7 BB% since the beginning of 2016. His ISO marks near .150 in both the South Atlantic League and Eastern League lead me to believe there really is something there in terms of power. He profiles very similarly to Marco Scutaro in terms of his high-contact, low-strikeout characteristics, but has a good chunk more power. It took 285 plate appearances for San Francisco to move him from Augusta to San Jose last season, so may we be approaching another mid-season call-up? Considering Jae-Gyun Hwang's opt-out deadline is July 1, it's possible Gomez would be a perfect fit to replace him if Hwang were either recalled to San Francisco or if he chooses to opt out. Another possibility is that Ryder Jones is called up to the big-league club, potentially because of an Eduardo Nunez trade. That would open a door for Gomez, as well.

C.J. Hinojosa is picking up some steam after a slow start to the 2017 year. He has nine hits in his last four games, which has raised his OPS from a disappointingly-low .518 to .610. Still concerning is his .039 ISO, not that we're expecting a ton of power from Hinojosa, but .039, even in the Eastern League, is too low.

— The theme four games in for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes has been impressive starting pitching performances. Though they're 1-3 to start the year, three of the four starters have turned out great first impressions that were wasted by disappointing bullpen work. On Sunday, 22-year-old Julio Benitez pitched five strong innings allowing five baserunners while striking out six. I filmed Benitez in the AZL last July. Here's a look at his stuff.

TOMORROW'S STARTERS

  • Sacramento: Tyler Beede (4.86 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)
  • Salem-Keizer: TBD

TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP

  1. Tyler Beede: DNP
  2. Christian Arroyo: DNP
  3. Bryan Reynolds: DNP
  4. Steven Duggar: DNP
  5. Chris Shaw: DNP
  6. Sandro Fabian: 0-for-4, SO
  7. Heath Quinn: 1-for-4, 2 SO
  8. Joan Gregorio: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K
  9. Jordan Johnson: DNP
  10. Andrew Suarez: DNP
  11. Sam Coonrod: DNP
  12. Matt Krook: DNP
  13. Aramis Garcia: DNP
  14. C.J. Hinojosa: 3-for-4, 2 R, 2B
  15. Reyes Moronta: DNP
  16. Rodolfo Martinez: DNP
  17. Austin Slater: DNP
  18. Kelvin Beltre: DNP
  19. Dan Slania: DNP
  20. Cory Taylor: DNP
  21. Chris Stratton: DNP
  22. Chase Johnson: DNP
  23. Jalen Miller: DNP
  24. Melvin Adon: DNP
  25. Garrett Williams: DNP
  26. Dylan Davis: 0-for-3, BB, SO
  27. Ryder Jones: 2-for-4, SO
  28. Hunter Cole: DNP
  29. Miguel Gomez: 3-for-5, 2 R, HR, SO
  30. Ryan Howard: 1-for-4

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