In the organization's first big prospect promotions of the 2016 season, left-hander Andrew Suarez (video above) and tall right-hander Joan Gregorio have been moved up one level from their respective teams.
Suarez, the 2015 second-round pick out of the University of Miami, was proving to be too advanced for the California League through his first five starts with the San Jose Giants. He'll join another highly ranked prospect, Tyler Beede, in the Richmond Flying Squirrels rotation.
Though his stats weren't completely eye-popping, Suarez, at a 2.43 ERA and 1.011 WHIP, had given up just three earned runs over his past 20.2 innings while owning a 23/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Suarez used his excellent command of mostly three, and sometimes four pitches to shut down hitters. He was holding left-handers, in 38 plate appearances, to a .143 average while righties were much higher at .263. Still, using both sliders and changeups to right-handers, he was able to produce a strikeout in 24.6 percent of plate appearances.
(Below are highlights from his second start of 2016, against the Inland Empire 66ers in San Bernardino, while the video above is an outing in minor league spring training back in late March.)
Exiting Richmond and heading back west to Sacramento will be Gregorio, the 6'7" right-hander who was having an excellent season in his second stint with Double-A Richmond. Both righties and lefties were batting under .180 off Gregorio, who is on the 40-man roster and will now be just a phone call away from the big leagues. Gregorio reached the United States in 2011 after being signed a year earlier, but weighed just 180 pounds then. Gregorio has since filled out, most noticeably in the 2015-2016 offseason, and now tops out at 250 pounds. His calling card is good command down in the zone with his heavy, sinking fastball.
Gregorio had 30 strikeouts to six walks in 27 innings during his five starts, including one outing, his season opener, where he was pulled from the game before entering in the fifth having not allowed a hit. At 72 pitches, he was replaced as a precaution in typical early-season form. Since, he's surrendered 15 hits in 23 innings, and his season WHIP sits at a crazy low 0.778, which is second lowest in the Eastern League among starting pitchers, and lowest in the Giants' organization. He'll take the place currently of Albert Suarez in the Sacramento rotation while the 26-year-old Venezuelan serves as the long man for the San Francisco Giants.
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