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Friday, August 29, 2008

September Auditions On Horrizon

We have officially hit the dog days of the major league baseball season, which means that the September call-ups are right around the corner. Unfortunately, the Giants haven't been able to deal off any of their veterans before the August 31st waiver-deadline. And although Randy Winn, Rich Aurilia and Dave Roberts are still going to steal some at-bats away from the likes of Nate Schierholtz, Jon Bowker and Ryan Rohlinger, this is going to be an important September as far as analyzing some of the Giants' young talent. As the team stands now, the whole infield could have a different look come opening day 2009. The outfield seems pretty set as Aaron Rowand, Winn and Roberts are all under contract through next season and none of them are likely to go anywhere. The Giants also have Fred Lewis, who has entrenched himself as the teams' everyday left fielder and should be a cog in the Giants outfield for years to come. Outside of the outfield and the starting rotation though, the Giants will have a lot of roster spot that will need to be filled. Here is a quick look at some of the call-ups I'm looking forward to seeing audition over the next month.

OF Nate Schieholtz: He's had another terrific year in Fresno hitting well over .300 and showing above average power and run producing ability. The only thing holding Schierholtz back, and and the reason he isn't playing right field everyday for the team right now is Randy Winn. Winn still has one year left on a contract that will pay him over 8 million dollars next season. Still, if Schierholtz comes up and tears the cover off the ball in September and looks good next spring, he'll certainly start stealing at-bats from Winn the way Lewis did from Roberts.

IF Travis Denker: The 22-year old was up with the team a few times earlier in the year, but, like Schierholtz, the Giants wanted him playing everyday and they had Rich Aurilia, Jose Castillo, Ray Durham and Eugenio Velez all in the mix as well. Denker has been swinging a hot bat over the last couple weeks in Fresno though and looks ready to come back up and get some consistent playing time this time around. Over his last 10 games in Fresno, Denker is hitting .368 with 4 home runs, 9 RBI's and 14 runs scored. I think he's ready.

IF Matt Downs: Downs was tearing it up in San Jose, was sent up to Fresno and cooled down, then was sent back down to San Jose and has since heated back up. The 24 year-old should get a look this September as he can play two of the positions the Giants need depth at, 2nd and 3rd base. On the year between Fresno and San Jose, he's hit .299 with 20 home runs and 82 RBI.

SP Joseph Martinez: He may not get the call-up, but he's really been the Giants best starting pitcher, in the higher part of their farm system, all year long. The Giants 12th rounder from 2005 earned Eastern League All-Star honors this summer and is sporting one the best era's among Eastern League starting pitchers. On the year he's gone 10-10 over 26 starts while sporting a 2.56 era and striking out 111 batters in 141 innings pitched. He really has turned it on as of late though going 3-2 with a 1.72 era in August.

RP Justin Hedrick: Has kind of come out of nowhere to be the bullpen leader in Connecticut this year. The Giants have had a few relievers break onto the scene with success in 2008 (Alex Hinshaw, Merkin Valdez, Sergio Romo) and Hedrick could be next. He's been dominant as a closer for the Defenders this year and has looked almost untouchable over his last 10 outings (0.75 era, 18 strikeouts and 4 hits over 12 innings, 4 sv). He's a little on the older side at 26 to be considered a real prospect, but he's a reliever, so he has a fresh arm and is starting to come into his own.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Kelsdad said…

    The Giants will make call-ups, and they the guys who come up, for the most part, will not ride the pine. Randy Winn is veteran enough to understand what is going on, he plays for a lousy team whose only responsibility organization wise for the next 35 games is to showcase minor leaguers.

    I love Nate Schierholtz, and I know one guy who likes him more than I do. I just right now as I'm writing this finished reading my latest prospect report, consider this...

    Last night, Schierholtz went 4-5 with 2 runs, 2 ribbies, and raised his average to .320. He hit is 21st double and his 16th and 17th HR of the season.

    Shierholtz not only will get a call, he will play most everyday, and, he has a legitimate shot to be named minor league player of the year.

    I got news for you, Tre. The guys the Giants had up this year, Bowker, Denker, Velez, etc, are NOT legitimate prospects. Those guys were left in the minors to learn how to play, and play everyday. It's funny, when a bad team calls up a guy, everybody thinks he's the next savior, when in fact it is the opposite.

    When a good team, like the Red Sox, call up a guy, (Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss) it is to legitimately fill a role. While they're arguably not as good as the guy they're replacing, they're still good enough to pencil into the lineup every day, even if it is just for a week or so.
    Other than Schierholtz, the Giants farm system is nude. The two big names they signed this year, Posey and Gillaspie, don't count because it's too early.

  • At 1:19 AM, Anonymous Manny Stiles said…

    Yes, I am a huge Schierholtz fan, but it has more to do with his personal makeup, respect and understanding of the game (he's fundamentally very sound) and personal interactions I've had with him than his amazing natural abilities - especially his uncanny "pop".

    I enjoy watching Velez play but he's more of a freekish athlete and not really a good baseball player.

    But as always Trev - nice work, you've made me a little bit of a Giants fan!

  • At 1:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey, the Giants are looking better these days. I wouldn't count them out for next season.

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