Postseason Grades: Ehire Adrianza

Our Postseason Grades series continues as Reuben takes a look at up-and-coming shortstop Ehire Adrianza.

It’s kind of weird to think about, but for a while Adrianza was considered a better prospect than Brandon Crawford. 18 months younger and lacking anything resembling power, he nevertheless dogged Craw’s heels throughout the minors thanks to a much lower strikeout rate, impressive footspeed, and a glove generally perceived to be even better. His likely path to the majors is similar – hit just enough to not be a total embarrassment, and make up for it by hoovering every ground ball in his general zip code.

Adrianza spent most of the year on Richmond’s AA squad doing a Manny Burriss impression at the plate. Upon promotion to Fresno, he posted numbers that, while strong even by the standards of the hitterish Pacific Coast League (Fangraphs grants him a 130 wRC+, or 30% better than the average PCL hitter), were inflated by a .391 BABIP and six triples* in 145 ABs. Either way, it was enough for a cup of coffee.

(*Not to knock Ehire, but minor-league triples can bear a suspicious resemblance to Little League inside-the-parkers.)

20 PAs and 45 defensive innings isn’t much to rate, but this play to nail Yasiel “Large Hadron Supercollider” Puig provided a good example of Adrianza’s defensive capabilities – great first step, good range, hellacious throwing arm. He also hit a dinger to ruin Andy Pettite’s last start in Yankee Stadium, so he’s got that going for him. Great defense, above-average speed, not much at the plate, fluky power in a hitter’s park – 9 games of Ehire Adrianza writ small. And hey, he’s already matched Burriss for career homers, so if you set that as a baseline his future looks bright.

Verdict: Ehire made no great strides, but didn’t go backwards. His total lack of pop might condemn him to a future as a utility infielder in the Cliff Pennington mold; then again, in today’s ballgame, Zack Cosart and Alcides Escobar are starting shortstops for conceivable contenders. (Of course, so’s Pete Kozma). Only 24 to start the 2014 season, he should be back in Fresno trying to develop that “keep-pitchers-honest” kind of power and maybe honing his glovework at 2nd and 3rd if the Giants think he’s more likely to help the big club in a reserve role.

Grades:
Reuben: B-
Nathan: B
Britt: B-
Overall: B-

Giants Minor League Preview

Today is Opening Day for all of the Giants’ full-season minor league affiliates, so I wanted to run through the rosters of each of the teams and highlight a few players to watch on each team. The four full-season affiliates are: AAA Fresno Grizzlies, AA Richmond Flying Squirrels, high-A San Jose Giants, A Augusta Greenjackets. We’ll start with Fresno.

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Chukchansi Park in Fresno, CAFresno Grizzlies:

Last year’s record: 74-70, 3rd in South Division

Manager: Bob Mariano

Roster: Click here.

Players to watch: P Chris Heston, P Mike Kickham, P Heath Hembree, OF Gary Brown, OF Francisco Peguero, OF Roger Kieschnick Continue reading

A Look At The Giants Roster: The Infield

(Flickr/sjsharktank)

It’s January, which means it’s a slow month for baseball news. Many of the biggest free agents have signed, the winter meetings are finished, and the major transactions are wrapped up. Except for a waiver claim here and a minor league free-agent signing there, the Giants are ready to go for Spring Training.

So how is the roster shaping up, anyway? The good news is that you’ll recognize most of these players. The bad news is that they’re all a year older, and that could be a big deal. Continue reading

Minor League Baseball Playoffs: For Game 1, Anchors Dropped In San Jose

Players line up along the first base line in a pre-game ceremony. (Photo by Mac)

While the San Francisco Giants were facing their arch nemesis in the Dodgers, 50 miles south, the San Jose Giants were playing in Game 1 of the North Division Series in the Cal League playoffs.

The San Jose Giants, class A+ affiliate for the big league team, are the reigning Cal League champions. Not only that, but they won back-to-back in 2009 and 2010. With Game 1, the set forth to repeat again.

Their foe was the Stockton Ports (A+ for the Oakland A’s). The Ports had defeated the Modesto Nuts (A+, Colorado Rockies) in a North Division mini-series, which determined who would advance to the North Division Series and face the San Jose team.

For San Jose, it was Craig Wescott (13-4, 3.42) on the hill. For Stockton, Robert Gilliam (12-7, 5,04).

Continue reading