Many Arizona Fall League rosters were announced Wednesday, but the Giants were not one of them. San Francisco should be sending six or seven prospects to Scottsdale, Ariz. to play for the Scottsdale Scorpions beginning October 11.
There seem to be some trends by which players wind up in Scottsdale each fall, so the representatives can be accurately guessed if you know what do look for. The group will usually be made up of at least one starting pitcher, two relief pitchers, one outfielder, and one infielder. That makes a total of five, so since there are typically seven from each team, the remaining two spots go to any of those four categories, or to a catcher.
Now, in terms of who fills those roles, those can be guessed, too. The players are usually top prospects, generally considered in the top-40 of the team's collection of minor leaguers. If a player missed a considerable amount of time (say, more than three weeks) due to injury during the season, they are good candidates. Team personnel will want to make sure the player/pitcher get their full compliment of plate appearances/innings for the year. Take for example some of last year's Scorpions, like Christian Arroyo and Adalberto Mejia. Arroyo missed the last half of April and almost all of May, finishing the year at just 409 plate appearances. Mejia was serving suspension for violating baseball drug policy and didn't begin his season until June.
Don't be surprised to see these names when the full Scorpions roster is released, likely on Thursday or Friday.
C, Aramis Garcia
This one feels like a no-brainer. Garcia, the organization's top catching prospect, missed two full months after sliding into second base and suffering facial fractures from a collision with the base-covering infielder. He returned to action quicker than many expected, but when the minor league season wraps up next week, he'll still be well short of 250 plate appearances, which is less than half for a normal full season.
OF, Hunter Cole
Cole only hit the disabled list once this year, missing a week toward the end of July, but could still use some more plate appearances as he sits at just 484 with a week to go. Much like one of last year's players, Austin Slater, Cole has been experimented with in the infield (25 games at second base in 2015) while playing mostly right field, so the Fall League could be a place for him to get some work in at second. In 2015, Slater played second base and center field for the Scorpions.
1B, Dillon Dobson
Dobson doesn't quite meet the criteria of top prospect, but is one who is in need of more playing time. Dobson missed nearly three weeks in June and has amassed 421 plate appearances for the Augusta GreenJackets this year. Dobson is a prospect on the rise, though. With a slash line of .280/.330/.479, Dobson has been one of the organization's top hitters, also owning well-above average marks in wOBA (.361) and wRC+ (128). He has split time in 2016 playing third and first base, and could get more opportunities to fine tune both in Arizona.
RHP, Chase Johnson
This hard-throwing right-hander was placed on the disabled list August 10, but if healthy by October, would be a solid option to get more work before season's end. He missed almost a month from mid-June to mid-July, as well. Johnson converted from a starter to a reliever mid-season, and has been working from the bullpen since May 26. He's been good in his new role, totaling 15.2 innings, 12 hits, four runs, five walks, and 16 strikeouts for a 2.30 ERA and 1.085 WHIP.
RHP, Joan Gregorio
The candidates are slim for the Giants' in terms of starting pitchers, since so many of them (Tyler Beede, Sam Coonrod, Andrew Suarez) haven't been injured at all this year. Gregorio isn't necessarily in need of any more innings, but I doubt 10 to 20 more would prevent the Giants from showcasing one of their best starting pitching arms against top talent. Gregorio sits at 129.1 innings after Wednesday night's start — his 25th of the year.
RHP, Ray Black
Black would be a repeater in the Fall League, but that certainly would not be the first time that's happened. Joe Panik played in the fall in back-to-back seasons in 2011 and 2012, while Clayton Blackburn was slated to pitch again in 2015 after a 2014 debut but ended up not making the trip. Black has only thrown 31.1 innings as of August 31, mostly due to missing three weeks in July before going back on the disabled list earlier this month. Black hasn't pitched since August 5, but like Johnson, if he's healthy by October, I'm sure the Giants will want him to finish out the season with more innings.
RHP, Cory Taylor
Taylor has burst onto the prospect scene with a breakout season for the Augusta GreenJackets in 2016. It earned him a promotion, first to Richmond for a couple starts, then to San Jose where he'll likely make one more start before the season comes to an end. Taylor is a horse, capable of eating innings and throwing 90-100 pitches aper game with ease. At just 117 innings in 22 starts, Taylor probably has a few more bullets left.
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