With the minor league regular season concluding last Monday, it's probably about the right time for some retrospection of the San Francisco Giants' farm system. Through the course of September and October, we'll have more posts highlighting certain aspects of the 2016 season, but first, we'll cover the top candidates for Giants' minor league Player-of-the-Year, split into three separate categories: offensive, starting pitching, and relief pitcher.
For all three categories, there exist a couple qualifications. Candidates must have played the majority of the 2016 season for a full-season team and all starting pitchers must have been starters from the beginning to the end of the year. We'll highlight short-season players and relievers turned starters in a later post.
As you scroll through the four candidates in each category, please vote for your choice. And expect results from the fan voting, as well as the final Player-of-the-Year selections next week.
Today we'll conclude with the relief pitcher candidates, having already done the offensive players and starting pitchers. You can scroll to the bottom and still vote for those, too.
RHP, Tyler Cyr
Cyr, a native of Fremont, Calif., was the long relief specialist of the Augusta GreenJackets before pitching in more late innings in San Jose. In the South Atlantic League for the GreenJackets, Cyr averaged almost two and two-thirds innings per outing, and threw three or more innings eight out of 20 times. During that time, Cyr owned a 31.9 strikeout percentage, a .197 opposing batting average, and a 2.34 FIP. It earned him a mid-season promotion to San Jose, where he his numbers understandably dipped in the hitter's league. But Cyr still finished 2016 in the top-five in many organizational categories, including second in ERA, fourth in WHIP, fifth in K/9, and fifth in FIP, all among full-season relief pitchers.
2016 Stats: 73.2 IP, 2.32 ERA, 3.1 RA/9, 1.09 WHIP, 2.66 FIP, .208 OBA, 30.2 K%, 8.5 BB%, 0.2 HR/9
RHP, Reyes Moronta
Moronta was the strikeout king of the San Jose Giants in 2016. In 59 innings, all in the California League, Moronta set down almost 40 percent of batters he faced, all while owning a respectable 8.2 walk percentage. Only four full-season relievers posted an opposing batting average lower than Moronta's .194 mark, and his WHIP was third lowest among full-season relievers, as well.
2016 Stats: 59.0 IP, 2.59 ERA, 3.1 RA/9, 1.07 WHIP, 3.17 FIP, .194 OBA, 38.3 K%, 8.2 BB%, 1.1 HR/9
LHP, Steven Okert
Okert's calling card in 2016 was many strikeouts and few walks. He recorded a career-high 5.45 strikeout-to-walk ratio pitching in the Pacific Coast League for the Sacramento River Cats, and at 2.1 walks per nine innings, owned the fourth lowest BB/9 mark among all Giants' minor league relievers. He struck out 28.4 percent of hitters that stepped to the plate against him, and posted the second lowest FIP among upper minors relievers in the Giants' system.
2016 Stats: 47.1 IP, 3.80 ERA, 5.1 RA/9, 1.35 WHIP, 2.43 FIP, .265 OBA, 28.4 K%, 5.2 BB%, 0.4 HR/9
LHP, Caleb Smith
Smith was sidelined by injuries throughout the season, but in his 38.1 innings, dominated hitters with high strikeout rates and low opposing batting averages. Smith was the most difficult reliever to hit in the Giants' system, posting a ridiculously low .145 OBA while giving up zero home runs. His FIP was fourth lowest in the whole system and his 12.7 K/9 mark was topped by only three other relievers donning a Giants' moniker.
2016 Stats: 38.1 IP, 2.35 ERA, 3.1 RA/9, 1.10 WHIP, 2.31 FIP, .145 OBA, 33.8 K%, 13.8 BB%, 0.0 HR/9
RHP, Tyler Beede
When Phil Bickford was sent to Milwaukee alongside Andrew Susac for lefty bullpen arm Will Smith, Beede became the unanimous choice for the Giants' top starting pitching prospect, though Giant Potential had him No. 1 all along. Beede's 2016 season was filled with dazzling performances, including his second-to-last start of the year where he notched his first career complete game, striking out 11 and allowing just three baserunners and no runs in the process, among other gems. Beede was crowned the Eastern League ERA king with a 2.81 mark, while finishing fourth in opposing batting average and fourth in strikeout percentage.
2016 Stats: 147.1 IP, 2.81 ERA, 3.5 RA/9 1.28 WHIP, 3.48 FIP, .245 OBA, 22.1 K%, 8.7 BB%, 0.6 HR/9
LHP, Ty Blach
Blach was the workhorse of the Giants' minor league arsenal, recording a Pacific Coast League-leading, and organization-leading 162.2 innings. He also finished third in the league in WHIP and opposing batting average, while his 2.1 walks per nine innings were the second fewest on average among Giants' starters in the upper minors. His final 11 starts of the year yielded a stellar 2.0 RA/9 and 0.895 WHIP. It all earned him a well-deserved September call-up.
2016 Stats: 162.2 IP, 3.43 ERA, 3.6 RA/9, 1.14 WHIP, 3.79 FIP, .239 OBA, 17.3 K%, 5.8 BB%, 0.5 HR/9
LHP, Matt Gage
Gage was among the top-five league-leaders in the Eastern League in many categories, including first in FIP and HR/9, fourth in WHIP, and fifth in opposing batting average and ERA. Gage and Beede provided the consistency for the Flying Squrriels rotation as the two paired to throw the first and second most innings on the club. Gage's 2.81 FIP, thanks to a crazy-low home run rate and solid walk rate, was the fourth lowest in the entire organization among starting pitchers.
2016 Stats: 136.0 IP, 3.38 ERA, 3.6 RA/9, 1.21 WHIP, 2.81 FIP, .247 OBA, 18.8 K%, 6.0 BB%, 0.1 HR/9
RHP, Cory Taylor
Taylor struck out almost one out of every four batters he faced in the South Atlantic League in 2016, which would have been seventh best in the league among starters if he had accumulated the qualifying number of innings. His ERA was the third lowest among full-season starters in the organization. The highlight of his year had to have been a 75-game score performance in his second Eastern League start after being called up, where he struck out eight in seven shutout innings.
2016 Stats: 119.0 IP, 2.72 ERA, 4.2 RA/9, 1.30 WHIP, 2.88 FIP, .256 OBA, 23.5 K%, 6.6 BB%, 0.3 HR/9
RF, Dylan Davis
Davis promoted to San Jose on June 29 and took off. Already having a solid year in Augusta, Davis increased his slugging percentage from .496 to .521 with 18 home runs and 10 doubles in 276 plate appearances in the California League. He led the entire farm system with 26 home runs and 92 RBI, while also finishing second in ISO and fifth in slugging.
2016 Stats: .283/.356/.521, 27 2B, 5 3B, 26 HR, 9.5 BB%, 21.8 K%, .238 ISO, .386 wOBA, 139 wRC+
CF, Steven Duggar
No Giants minor leaguer recorded more plate appearances or hits than Duggar. The former Clemson Tiger stepped to the plate 587 times and tallied 153 hits, using his 12.3 percent walk rate to finish the season with a .388 on-base percentage — second best among Giants' full-season players. He was also fifth among full-season players in OPS, wOBA, and wRC+.
2016 Stats: .302/.388/.448, 28 2B, 8 3B, 10 HR, 15 SB, 12.3 BB%, 19.9 K%, .146 ISO, .377 wOBA, 131 wRC+
3B, Miguel Gomez
What a year for Gomez. His .330 batting average was third highest in the organization, and highest among full-season players. Though his stats dipped a bit after moving to San Jose, Gomez still managed to conclude the season with the second highest wRC+ among full-season players, plus the fourth lowest strikeout rate on the entire farm.
2016 Stats: .330/.363/.519, 26 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 4.3 BB%, 11.3 K%, .189 ISO, .390 wOBA, 144 wRC+
CF, Austin Slater
Slater, the only full-time upper minors player listed here, had a standout season that will likely catapult him into many prospect lists' top-five by next year. At .393, Slater's on-base percentage was topped by only two short-season players (Jacob Heyward and Heath Quinn) for best in the organization. Slater did it all in 2016, hitting for average and power, while producing the fifth best walk rate on the farm.
2016 Stats: .303/.395/.500, 20 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 8 SB, 12.7 BB%, 19.8 K .195 ISO, .397 wOBA, 143 wRC+
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