The San Francisco Giants' Northwest League affiliate Salem-Keizer Volcanoes begin play this Thursday, and their roster should be announced some time Tuesday. Which prospects might be headed to Oregon's state capital for some summer baseball? I have my guesses. We'll start with a projected lineup.
Update: The roster is now out. I added an asterisk next to players who in fact did make the team. Click here for the complete roster.
- C - Jeffry Parra*
- 1B - Robinson Medrano*
- 2B - Manuel Geraldo*
- SS - Jose Layer
- 3B - Nick Hill
- LF - Christoph Bono*
- CF - Malique Ziegler*
- RF - Byron Murray*
- DH - Nathanael Javier
There are a good chunk of debuts here. Players from the 2016 draft who excelled in the AZL but were never promoted to Salem-Keizer include Parra, Ziegler, and Layer.
Parra is a 19-year-old Dominican catcher who attended high school in northeast New Jersey just outside New York City. He OPS'd .745 in 46 brief plate appearances and caught 106 innings behind the dish.
Ziegler played all three outfield positions in rookie ball, but most of his appearances came in center field. He made no errors and recorded two outfield assists while slashing .290/.384/.419 with a 13.7 percent walk rate. The 20-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa is 6'2" and bats right-handed.
Layer is a converted shortstop who was drafted as an outfielder. The Puerto Rican right-hander spent spring training, both regular and extended, honing his skills at short and will likely begin 2017 in Salem-Keizer. He displayed legit contact skills in his AZL debut, averaging .283 in 61 plate appearances while only striking out seven times.
The rest of the lineup features Dominican/Venezuelan talent who are hoping make their Volcanoes debut after AZL stints, as well as some who spent at least some time in the Northwest League in 2016.
Medrano is a powerful bat who rakes every time I've seen him (twice), but it has yet to transpire into impressive season numbers. Maybe the 21-year-old can break out in Salem-Keizer.
Hill poked his head into the Salem-Keizer dugout and got 13 plate appearances in 2016 before the season ended. In 194 AZL trips to the plate, he displayed solid hitting (.263) without a lot of power (.080 ISO).
Now a look at the pitching staff.
- SP - Victor Concepcion
- SP - Hengerber Medina*
- SP - Alex Bostic*
- SP - Chris Falwell
- SP - Sidney Duprey*
- SP - Nick Deeg*
- RP - Julio Benitez
- RP - Reagan Bazar
- RP - Justin Alleman
- RP - Jake Greenwalt
- RP - C.J. Gettman
- RP - John Timmins*
- RP - Kendry Melo*
- RP - Rayan Hernandez
I was surprised when Concepcion was not assigned to Augusta to begin full-season play. It's possible he was injured, though he was at least healthy and pitching well when I shot this footage in March.
Falwell and Duprey are both 2016 draftees who recorded single digits innings with the Volcanoes before the close of the season. Bostic was assigned to Augusta out of camp but struggled mightily. So he'll either be shipped to the Northwest or remain in Extended.
The bullpen should be highlighted by Gettman, who impressed during Extended. Prolific backfields scout Chris Kusiolek had this to say about Gettman a few weeks ago.
CJ Gettman 94-98 w/ decent dive 87-90 SL; arm loose and fairly quick, more compact arm w/ limited extension. Arm is very legitimate— Chris Kusiolek (@CaliKusiolek) May 26, 2017
Despite the high walk rate (12.5%), Gettman was effective in 22.2 innings with the Volcanoes in 2016, so I sort of expected to see him in a GreenJackets uniform in April. He was left in Extended for an apparent reason, so unless he was injured between Kusiolek's tweet and the present time, I'm sure we'll see him pitch high leverage innings in Salem-Keizer.
Rounding out the roster are the bench players.
— For the latest on #SFGiants minor leaguers, follow @Giant_Potential on Twitter