After more than a week of leaving pitchers off the 2016 Scottsdale Scorpions official roster, three San Francisco Giants' minor league pitchers have been added to the list, bringing the total to a complete seven. The group will head to Arizona for the month-long, off-season league to face some of the top talent in the minor leagues. Let's take a look at the crew, two of whom we guessed correctly in last week's prediction. We'll begin with that pair:
C, Aramis Garcia
As noted in the aforementioned prediction, Garcia was as obvious of a choice as it gets. The Giants' top catching prospect missed two months after suffering facial fractures stemming from a hard slide into second base. He'll get much-needed plate appearances after finishing his second full season with only 183.
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 finished at 513 — still eighth most in the organization. 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 should be a good place for him to get work in at second. In 2015, Slater played second base and center field for the Scorpions.
3B, Ryder Jones
Jones falls into the Hunter Cole category of "finished around top-10 in plate appearances in organization, but could still use more playing time." Once considered a top-20 prospect on the Giants' farm, a bit of the mild hype surrounding Jones, drafted in the second round (64th overall) out of high school in 2013, has diminished with now three consecutive underwhelming campaigns. Still, Jones is just 22, and his .150 ISO in 2016, considered slightly above-average, was seventh highest among hitters in the Giants' upper minors, though his 88 wRC+ was forgettable. He's likely to get work at third and first base with the Scorpions.
C, Eliezer Zambrano
This one I can't wrap my brain around. Zambrano is 29 years old, and has been in the Giants' system since 2006. Only five players over the age of 25 have played for the Scorpions since 2007, with one being a 26-year-old Kevin Frandsen in 2008. Zambrano has a career .560 OPS in the minor leagues (that's really bad), so my best guess is that his defensive skills as a catcher are quite good and the Giants still see some use, likely in the area of a trust for him catching their top pitching prospects.
RHP, Chris Stratton
This one was obvious, and should have been part of the prediction. Stratton got his first big-league call-up and practically sat in the Giants' bullpen, logging just 10 innings while being on the 25-man roster for just over a month. That's a lot of not-pitching for a starter who averaged 134 innings per year his first three full-seasons in pro ball. He still totaled 125.2 this year, pitching quite well in his final 12 starts (2.6 RA/9, 8.2 K/9, .297 opposing slugging percentage) to finish the season with a 3.87 ERA and a 3.73 FIP — fifth best in the Pacific Coast League among qualifying starters.
RHP, Rodolfo Martinez
This 100-mph flame-thrower struggled when promoted from San Jose to Richmond. Check these drop-offs between Single-A and Double-A:
- San Jose (30.2 IP): 0.88 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 2.96 FIP, .202 OBA, 9.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9
- Richmond (23 IP): 6.65 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, 4.66 FIP, .305 OBA, 6.7 K/9, 5.9 BB/9
It won't be any easier for Martinez facing hitters like Yoan Moncada, Austin Meadows, Bradley Zimmer, and Ozzie Albies in a couple months.
RHP, Tyler Mizenko
Mizenko's first two-ish months in 2016 had to have had Giants' personnel happy for their sinkerballing reliever. He led the organization in FIP his first 19 outings, totaling 21.1 innings. He owned a 2.5 RA/9 and 9.3 K/9 with zero home runs and just two extra-base hits. But in the 33 innings that followed, hitters slugged .523 off Mizenko with a noticeable dip in strikeouts (5.2 K/9). Mizenko missed about two weeks in April, so this time in Arizona will help make up for that.
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