Wednesday was a rough day at the Giants minor league camp. It was difficult for all, but especially for the 13 players San Francisco released.
Augusta GreenJackets outfielder Charles Jones tweeted: "Rough day, seeing your friends go cuts deep. Cherish the moment and the people around you." His teammate, catcher Eric Sim responded, saying: "This sucks. By far the worst time of the year."
Clearly something no minor league player enjoys. But nonetheless, we must talk about it. Here's the list of the thirteen:
The release of Ryan Cavan, Joseph Rapp, and Christian Diaz surprised me the most. Cavan, who dealt with a neck injury in 2013, has had multiple great seasons in the Giants system, including a 2011 campaign with San Jose in which he hit 12 home runs, drove in 90 runs, and slugged .435 from the middle infield. The power numbers were down in 2013, but before the neck strain, which caused him to miss all of June, Cavan was having another solid season (.313/.365/.395). What's interesting is after the breakout 2011 and a struggling 2012 with Richmond, he was sent back to San Jose, instead of repeating with the Flying Squirrels.
I had predicted Joseph Rapp to be a key contributor, if not a starter, with the 2014 San Jose squad. Teammate Tyler Mizenko gave him high praise, calling him one of the better defensive first baseman he had every played with. Rapp, a 2012 draft pick who had played just two professional seasons, hit 17 home runs and posted a .269/.348/.412 career line with Salem-Keizer and Augusta combined.
Christian Diaz is just 20-years-old, and the Giants gave up on the 2011 11th-round pick after two subpar seasons with the AZL team. He didn't play a single game in 2013, likely due to injury (sorry, I have no other information other than speculation). Still. Seems extreme to cut him so quickly. Obviously, the organization knows something we don't.
A few other notable names spot the list. Casey Weathers was an eighth overall pick by Colorado in 2007 out of Vanderbilt University, and has never pitched in a pro game higher than the Double-A level. Control has clearly been the issue for Weathers, who had allowed 101 walks in his last 79.2 innings. The Giants signed him to a minor league contract on Dec. 19, 2013.
Mark Teahen was given a minor league deal in February, and failed to impress in camp. Teahen played a mix of first and third base while competing with the Triple-A squad at the Giants' minor league facility. Teahen is a career .264/.327/.409 hitter in seven major league seasons, and was once rated a Top-100 prospect by Baseball America in 2005.
The 13 releases should open up opportunities for other prospects, like 2013 draftee Tyler Horan, who could make the San Jose roster and play right field. I predicted Rapp would play first base with former Stanford product Brian Ragira getting most of the starts in right field, however, the Rapp departure should allow Ragira to play first base with Horan moving in to play right. And Ryan Cavan's absence opens a slot at second base with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, which will likely be filled by Kelby Tomlinson.