Madison Bumgarner pitched in his first rehab game to a bunch of terrified teenagers in the Arizona Rookie League on Sunday, making one poor soul sweat tears through his batting gloves and toss his bat into Monday.
While Bumgarner being back on the hill in a game was the biggest news, there was another name to know on the Arizona Rookie League Giants that day.
One of the Giants’ top prospects, Steven Duggar, joined the San Jose Giants in Advanced Single-A on Wednesday, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned. He went hitless in three at-bats in the Arizona Rookie League while walking twice in his first two games of the season after dealing with a flexor strain in his forearm that kept him out for an extended period, plus hamstring tightness.
Duggar, a 23-year-old center fielder, is ranked as the Giants’ No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline and No. 10 by Baseball America.
The Giants’ sixth-round pick in 2015 out of Clemson is the franchise’s closest center fielder to the major leagues. Ever since the draft he’s answered the call at every challenge handed to him.
In 2016, Duggar excelled in San Jose and in Double-A Richmond after earning a promotion.
Duggar batted .284 with a .386 on-base percentage and a .462 slugging percentage while hitting nine home runs in 70 games for San Jose. Though his power fell in Richmond’s pitcher’s park to only one more home run, Duggar kept on hitting at Double-A. He slashed .321/.391/.432 with 78 hits in 60 games.
Duggar joined the Giants for his first big-league camp this spring training and impressed at the plate. The switch-hitter went 4-for-12 with a double and two stolen bases in 11 games. He even showed a keen eye at the plate, walking four times to help his .500 on-base percentage.
San Jose is now the home of the Giants’ top two center field prospects in Duggar and Bryan Reynolds. In his last four games, Reynolds has been on fire at the plate, hitting .500 (10-for-20) with eight RBI. It will be interesting to see how two key pieces to the Giants’ future fit in the same outfield. Duggar played primarily in right field with San Jose last season — 60 games to five in center — but then Richmond penciled him exclusively in center field. Reynolds has played 43 games in center, 11 in right and two in left field this year with San Jose.
If it weren’t for his injuries Duggar sustained in the spring, he most likely would have started off the season in Triple-A Sacramento and could have easily found his way to San Francisco’s revolving door of outfielders. Expect him to join Sacramento’s outfield after not too long in San Jose.
With the front office taking a hard look at their young players, it would be nice to see Duggar earn a September call-up for the Giants as the team continues to evaluate their future options in the outfield.
Around The Horn
— Jae-Gyun Hwang is officially with the Giants. The former star in Korea has an opt-out in his contract on July 1 and the Giants decided it was time to see how his bat transfers to the majors. Hwang hit .287/.333/.476 for Sacramento in 68 games and knocked his seventh and final Triple-A home run in his last game with the team.
— Giants top pitching prospect Tyler Beede tossed his best game of the season on Monday night. After coming off a performance in which he allowed seven earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings pitched, Beede went a season-high eight innings where he only allowed two earned runs — off two solo shots — and struck out seven batter to two walks.
— Giants top catching prospect Aramis Garcia has gone 3-for-7 in San Jose’s last two games. All three hits went over the fence, giving him 11 home runs on the season.