I began last week previewing the talent in the 2016 SAL with a look at the Asheville Tourists. Continuing alphabetically around the league brings me to the Augusta Greenjackets, the San Francisco Giants farm team.
The official rosters won’t be available until early April so this is speculation. For this preview I scoured the Rookie and Salem-Keizer rosters and came up with a list of names. I then chatted with Giants prospector Avi Watters to learn the Giants tendencies in regards to assigning prospects in the low minors. Avi Watters (on Twitter at @giantsprospects) is an excellent resource and one of my favorite Twitter follows. He said college draftees who can handle a bat often skip Augusta so that means Chris Shaw is likely San Jose bound. He also said the Giants make an effort to place the kids in the low minors close to their homes and since Phil Bickford lives in California he also might skip Augusta. Just my opinion on this but San Jose is a difficult place to pitch and I would be surprised if the Giants skipped him a level so he could go straight to the California league. I can’t rule it out though.
Bickford was the 18th overall pick in the 2015 draft out of College of Southern Nevada. He was the 10th overall pick two years earlier but didn’t sign electing to go to Cal State Fullerton instead. He left after one year at CSF to go to Junior College in Nevada so he could reenter the draft one year sooner. He’s 20 years old, listed at 6’5″ 205, bats and throws right. Baseball America wrote this prior to the draft: “Bickford hasn’t consistently reached the 93-96 he showed in the Cape, more frequently sitting in the low 90’s albeit with late sinking life. His Power Breaking Ball flashed plus last Summer but has remained inconsistent this Spring and his change remains in it’s nascent stages.”
Jalen Miller- Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft out of HS in the Atlanta area. Miller age 19 is listed at 5’10 173 lbs, he bats and throws right. According to MLB.com he’s likely a 2nd baseman at the highest level. He’s got a good bat and decent pop to go with the good speed. Looking forward to seeing Miller and I’ll do a write up on him when I do.
Marshall was drafted in the 4th round out of Chipola College. He was drafted one year earlier by the Astros, failed to sign and backed out of his commitment to LSU and elected to go to Junior College instead so he could reenter the draft two years earlier than he would have been eligible. He’s 20 years old and listed at 6′ 181 lbs, bats right and throws left. Here’s what Baseball America wrote about him before the draft “His changeup is a plus offering with tremendous tumble and his curveball has above-average potential. He has an excellent feel for pitching and fills up the strike zone with his whole arsenal.”
As stated above there’s a good chance that Shaw skips Augusta but I’m writing him here in case he doesn’t. Shaw was drafted at the end of the 1st round in the 2015 draft out of Boston College, He’s 22 listed at 6’3″ 229 lbs, he bats left and throws right. Here’s Baseball Ameica’s take on Shaw: “On the Cape, Shaw showed off his most impressive tool, his plus-plus lefthanded power, leading the league with eight homers. Shaw home runs became legendary, with reports of 450-foot bombs to dead center. Still, Shaw entered the spring with significant question marks on how much his hit tool would allow his power to play.”
Fox was a high profile July 2nd signee from the Bahamas he signed for 6.5 Mil. He’s an 18 year old switch hitting shortstop. He didn’t get into any games after signing but according to Avi Watters he had a great showing at Instructs. I still think it’s a long shot that Fox starts in Augusta as he seems like a candidate for rookie ball but we might get him during the year.
Around the diamond
Miguel Gomez could see time in Augusta. He’s been splitting time between catcher and 3rd base. He’s been hitting very well but he’s been old for the level at each stop so far. Fernando Pujadas and returnee Matt Winn could also see time. There are a few catchers from the AZL Giants who might make it to Augusta: Kleiber Rivas, Rene Melendez, Zachary Bowers all struggled offensively in small samples but one or more could conceivably take a step forward.
Jalen Miller likely gets the bulk of the reps at shortstop
Kelvin Beltre (I went back and included Beltre at the insistence of Avi Watters) He should be the the starting 2nd basemanTyler Brown, Kevin Rivera and Richard Amion could also be in the mix.
CJ Hinojosa could also be a factor here but he could be the starting shortstop in San Jose too. The dark horse here is Lucius Fox, if he makes it, then Miller likely slides to 2nd base and Augusta would have crossed the ridiculous threshold. Seriously that would be an awful lot of talent for an A-Ball squad.
Jose Vizcaino (7th rd pick in the 2015 draft from Santa Clara U) could be headed to Augusta as the starting 3B. He could go to San Jose too but there doesn’t seem to be another logical fit for Augusta
Chris Shaw will be the starting 1st baseman where ever he starts his year. If he’s in San Jose, Dillon Dobson and returnee John Riley could be in the mix for playing time at Augusta
Ronny Jebavy the 2015 5th rd pick will likely man center, he’s a good hitter who can run fast, good glove in center.
Steven Duggar- the Giants 6th rd pick will likely start in right field. He has great tools, but never really put it together in college. He has a high floor due to strong defense and his outfield arm has good speed.
Byron Murray- Is my guess for starting LF and yet another kid I’m looking forward to seeing. By all accounts he’s a well put together young man and the ball jumps off of his bat. The Giants may have something in this 24th rd pick.
Julio Pena and Asheford Fullmer might see playing time in the Greenjackets OF. Mikey Edie might make it to Augusta but he’ll probably start in Salem-Keizer because of Jebavy’s presence. The dark horse here and someone I’ve been rooting for for a long time is Gustavo Cabrera he was a high profile signee back in 2012 and suffered a horrific accident that nearly cost him his hand.
In addition to Bickford and Marshall, Michael Santos might be back.
We might see Logan Webb and Nolan Riggs up from Salem-Keizer this year.
Some chance we’ll get Deiyerbert Bolivar from the AZL Giants. and Sandro Cabrera from the Dominican Summer League is a possibility.
I had a lot of fun exploring this system. The Giants had a major talent infusion at the lower levels in 2015.
Once I see the 2016 Greenjackets you can expect a bunch of write ups. I’m not sure yet when that will be. I will be hammering away at a schedule soon after which I’ll post the dates on the site.