Gonzalez lava-hot at the plate through five games

BOX SCORES: SAC / SJ / AUG / SK / AZL / DSL

Jacob Gonzalez is only 19-years old. In fact, he turned 19 less than two weeks ago. Very rarely has the Giants organization ever promoted a player from the Arizona Rookie League to a more advanced level, say the Northwest League, in their first half season. 

The most recent high-school draft pick to move past the AZL in their debut season (the same year they were drafted) was Clayton Tanner in 2006. Tanner, a third-round pick from De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., was not assigned to the AZL squad but was instead sent straight to Salem-Keizer where at age 18 he was the youngest player on the team. 

Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones, drafted in back-to-back rounds out of high school in 2013, both spent the entirely of that 2013 season in Arizona. Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson, both high-school picks in 2007's first round, were held out of pro ball and made their organizational debuts in Augusta the following season.

But, in Gonzalez's hypothetical case, a high-school player who was first assigned to the AZL and then in the same year promoted to Salem-Keizer, I got tired of searching. Tanner in 2006 was the closest scenario I could find.

Needless to say, the Giants seem to be dead set when they decide on the assignment of a young player like Gonzalez. But they've never had a player start the season 15-for-20 with four doubles, a triple, and three walks.

Will Gonzalez force the Giants' hand? Obviously we can't expect Gonzalez to maintain a .750/.783/1.050 batting line. He will certainly regress. But at what point, at what amount of plate appearances, might the organization say, "Okay, he's seen enough," and give him a harder test?

Game five for Gonzalez saw the third baseman go 3-for-5 with two singles and a triple. It actually lowered his batting average from .800 to .750. 

My brief take is this: Since Gonzalez is barely 19 and likely still in need of defensive work at third base, Arizona is the place for him considering it's home base for the organization. Plus Gonzalez is from Scottsdale so making him feel comfortable in his first year is likely of importance, as well. But if he gets 30-50 plate appearances into his debut and is still striking out at a low rate, I think that may be the indication they need to put Gonzalez somewhere else. There's no way he'll still be hitting anywhere near .750 in two to three weeks, as BABIP will show up and bring him back to reality. But if the strikeouts stay away, who knows.

OTHER NOTES

Heliot Ramos got back on the field and seemed healthy after leaving Tuesday's game with an apparent injury. He went 2-for-4 with two walks and two stolen bases. 

Garrett Williams threw seven shutout innings for the Augusta GreenJackets to lower his ERA to 2.47 — lowest among the team's starting pitchers. He allowed four hits and no walks, struck out five, and forced a season-high 16 ground balls.

D.J. Snelten's relief appearances have been legit over his last five chances, totaling eight innings, four hits, one walk, and 10 strikeouts. Eighty-two percent of balls in play during those eight innings have been grounders, which puts his season GB% at a crazy-high 70.9%. Opposing hitters are batting just .159/.237/.250 off him since he joined the River Cats.

TOMORROW'S STARTERS

TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP

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

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