Welcome to the annual series that provides both a review of your favorite teams’ 2016 season, as well as a early look toward 2017. It also serves as a helpful guide for keeper and dynasty leagues.
The Graduate: Derek Law (RHP): Law, 25, should have been in the Majors in 2014 or ’15 but Tommy John surgery threw a wrench into those plans. Healthy in 2016, the Giants eagerly threw him into a very uncertain bullpen scenario and he thrived. No pitcher on the club (minimum 30 innings) has walked fewer batters per nine innings (1.59 BB/9) and he’s fourth on the team in strikeouts per nine (8.29 K/9). Toss in the third best ground-ball rate (50%) and the best homer per fly ball (5.3%) and you have yourself a potential high-leverage reliever for 2017 and quite possibly Santiago Casilla’s eventually replacement in the ninth inning thanks to his nifty fastball/slider combination.
The Riser: Chris Shaw (1B): Shaw was selected 31st overall in the 2015 draft — in part because he hit so well with wood bats as an amateur (as opposed to aluminum used in college) — and he’s done nothing but hit since turning pro. He added power to his resume in 2016 with 38 doubles and 21 home runs. His early success in ’16 came in the California League (a notorious hitter’s league) and he slowed down when he was promoted to double-A but he was by no means overmatched. Brandon Belt has tied down the first base job in San Francisco for the foreseeable future so Shaw will be given lots of time to develop in the minors and could even eventually end up as trade bait. Shaw, 22, has the potential to eventually hit more than 20 home runs from the left side of the plate in The Show.
The Tumbler: Kyle Crick (RHP): Crick — a former first-round pick of the Giants — was ranked as the system’s tumbler in 2015 so to see him here again in ’16 really doesn’t bode well for right-hander’s future. He blew through the low minors but has hit a wall at double-A. He’s spent the past three years at the level amassing a BB-K rate of 194-270. His K-rate over those three years has gone from 11.06 to 10.43 to 7.10 K/9. Crick, 23, doesn’t have much trade value left at this point despite a fastball that has the potential to be a plus offering when (if) he can learn to control it. The lack of development on his breaking pitches suggest his days of starting should be over and the Giants should be permanently moving him to the bullpen in hopes of turning him into a seventh- or eighth-inning reliever.
The ’16 Draft Pick: Bryan Reynolds (OF): The Giants love their college-groomed outfielders and it was a rather big shock to see Reynolds available to them with the 59th overall selection in the second round. The switch-hitter had a solid debut with an .847 OPS across two low-level minor league teams but a BB-K rate of 14-61 suggests he has some work to do to tighten up his approach at the plate before he can succeed in the upper minors. Veteran centerfielder Denard Span had a disappointing first year in San Francisco — both offensively and defensively — but he’s locked in for another two years which should buy Reynolds time to develop… and for the organization to decide if he can handle center in the Majors. If not, he’ll flip over to left field where Angel Pagan is keeping the spot warm for someone with (hopefully) impact potential.
The Lottery Ticket: Rodolfo Martinez (RHP): Relievers that can hit the upper-90s and tickle triple digits are the new “in things” around Major League Baseball. Martinez, 22, could be that man in San Francisco after showing the ability to hit 100-102 mph in A-ball. He’s still quite raw, though, and saw his average-against jump from .205 to .315 when he moved up to double-A near the middle of the year. His walks also increased while the strikeouts decreased. Improved command and control are a must for Martinez as he looks to conquer the upper minors en route to a big league job in 2017 or ’18.
For reference sake, here is the 2015 Review.
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