Slater, a Stanford product who hails from Jacksonville, Fla. and just finished his second full season as a pro, split time between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento in 2016. As a member of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, in 172 plate appearances, Slater amassed a .407 wOBA and 154 wRC+ thanks to eight doubles, five home runs, and a stellar 14 percent walk rate.
Slater's .395 on-base percentage was third best among all Giants' minor leaguers, while his 12.7 percent walk rate was fifth best. His season wOBA of .397 was highest among the candidates, but ultimately it was the comparison between Slater and Steven Duggar's time in Double-A that sent Slater over the top. Duggar, in 276 plate appearances with Richmond, yielded a still-impressive .374 wOBA and 131 wRC+, but numbers much lower than Slater's.
Blach, a former Creighton Blue Jay who has steadily moved through the Giants' system one level at a time, made quite an impression on the Pacific Coast League in his first crack at facingTriple-A hitters. In a league where offensive numbers reign supreme, Blach managed to produce a 3.6 RA/9 mark, just one-tenth of a point behind Tyler Beede, who led the four candidates for starting pitcher.
Blach kept that RA/9 ratio low thanks to a spectacular 5.8 percent walk rate, which was second lowest among Giants' starters in the upper minors. He was the workhorse of the organization, pitching more innings than any other farmhand at 162.2, and led all candidates in opposing batting average and WHIP. Doing all this in a hitter's league is what gave him the nod.
For similar reasons, Moronta was selected in the relief pitcher category. Pitching 58 innings in the California League, Moronta struck out a ridiculous 38.3 percent of batters he faced, which was by far the highest mark among Cal League pitchers who totaled at least 50 innings. And despite allowing just over one home run on average per nine innings, Moronta had the lowest RA/9 and WHIP between the four candidates.
And like Blach, all this done in a hitter's league, pitching in some of the most stressful times of the game as he took over as the closer for the San Jose Giants with the departure of Rodolfo Martinez to Richmond on June 29. His .194 opposing batting average was the fifth lowest among all Giants' full-season relievers, while his WHIP was third lowest.
In terms of the fan vote, thank you to all who participated. Below are the results of the fans' choices for all three categories.
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