San Jose Giants | Position Players
The San Jose Giants had bursts of offensive power from a number of players in 2013, including Mac Williamson and Devin Harris, en route to a California League First Half Championship. Which power bats from Augusta (or elsewhere) will head west in replacement? The majority of San Jose's impending 2014 lineup should be comprised of Augusta GreenJackets graduates, but don't be surprised to see a few Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.
C - Ben Turner
1B - Brian Ragira
2B - Trevor Brown
SS - Jeremy Sy
3B - Mitch Delfino
LF - Charles Jones
CF - Jesus Galindo
RF - Tyler Horan
Following in the footsteps of Mac Williamson, Brian Ragira could bypass Augusta all together for a shot to start in right field (or first base) for San Jose. Though Williamson's 2012 season with Salem-Keizer was statistically superior to that of Ragira's last year, the organizations willingness to boost Williamson's progression as a polished collegiate right-fielder leads me to believe Ragira will experience the same. Ragira's raw athleticism impressed MLB prospect raters quickly as he emerged into the team's Top-20 before playing a professional game. He's known to create above-average bat speed and use it to hit baseballs over fences, though it wasn't displayed in his time at Stanford as much as scouts would have liked. Ragira, like Williamson, plays a great right field with an average to above-average arm. Nine home runs in the Cape Cod league proved the power he's able to tap into so hopefully he finds that again in 2014 for San Jose.
Another Salem-Keizer surprise could be Jeremy Sy — a 2012 12th-round pick who led the Volcanoes with eight home runs in 2013. His .294/.391/.518 line was also impressive and considering he'll turn 25 towards the end of the year, I'm guessing management will see him as a guy who could survive in Advanced A ball. If everything works out, the competition for the starting job between Sy and Alberto Robles should be a joy to watch.
Three of the eight players listed above were shipped to San Jose to bolster the team's playoff lineup last September, and chances are they'll all head back to the Bay Area at the conclusion of Spring Training. Jesus Galindo will likely be the Little Giants' replacement for Chris Lofton, who should play the new year in Richmond. What Galindo lacks in power compared to Lofton, the Venezuelan makes up for it with exceptional speed. Not that Lofton didn't have speed, because he certainly did, stealing more than 20 bags the previous three seasons. But Galindo stole 48 in 2013, which surprisingly was fifth in a speedy South Atlantic League list that included notorious lightning rod Micah Johnson. Galindo was caught just six times and showed promise at the plate, as well, averaging less than a strikeout per game and 31 walks in 89 games. Galindo was also a 2013 All-Star Futures Game participant opposing Kyle Crick.
Mitch Delfino was the GreenJackets' offensive force in 2013, leading the squad in home runs (13), RBIs (76) and doubles (25). His power should inflate in the California League, but it will be a good chance to see if he can replicate numbers put up by Devin Harris.
Tyler Horan is an intriguing Salem-Kezier outfield graduate. Horan was the Giants eighth-round pick in 2013 and can play both corners in the outfield grass. The Virginia Tech graduate has a remarkably compact swing (video above) and was a key part of the Volcanoes playoff squad a season ago, with four home runs, 11 doubles and 25 RBIs in 44 games. Horan showed good speed on the base paths, as well, and if you're into comparisons, he could be a left-handed Mac Williamson.
BENCH: (OF) Andrew Cain, (C) Eric Sim, (SS) Alberto Robles, (IF) Travious Relaford, (IF) Rando Moreno, (OF) Brennan Metzger
Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to comment on the 2014 Minor League Roster Predictions page. Discussion is always good.