Health delayed the inevitable, but now over two weeks into May, the San Jose Giants’ outfield is stacked with talent from the 2016 MLB Draft.
Last June, the Giants used three of their first five picks in the draft on outfielders. San Francisco went with back-to-back outfielders — Bryan Reynolds No. 59 overall and Heath Quinn No. 95 overall — to start off their selections. Three rounds after taking Quinn, the Giants went with Gio Brusa No. 185 overall for their fifth pick in the draft.
Reynolds and Brusa have both been on San Francisco’s Advanced Single-A affiliate since Opening Day, but Quinn had to wait his turn this year. Due to a hamate bone injury in his hand, Quinn started the season on the shelf. On Monday, Quinn was assigned to San Jose looking to soar in the outfield with Brusa and Reynolds.
Immediately, Quinn showed the impact he can make on a team.
Quinn, 21, went 1-for-4 with a double and a strikeout Monday. In his second game with the team, Quinn finished as the only Giant with multiple hits in Tuesday’s loss, going 2-for-4 with another double and a strikeout.
In 2016, the former Samford product forced his way to a small late-season stint with San Jose after dominating at Short Season Single-A with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. The right fielder had a .337 batting average, .423 on-base percentage and a .571 slugging percentage with nine home runs in 54 games. Across the board, he led the team in all three slash-line categories, plus doubles (19) and total bases (117).
After Quinn’s success with the Volcanoes, he finished the final four games with the Giants and just kept on hitting. Quinn went 6-for-17 with a double, good for a .353 batting average. He is ranked the Giants’ No. 7 prospect by MLB.com and No. 16 by Baseball America.
Reynolds, the highest ranked prospect of the three outfielders, is going through an up-and-down season so far. The center fielder started off on fire and stood at a .341 batting average after the first 10 games. Now 33 games into the season, Reynolds is down to .252 to go with a .318 on-base percentage and .356 slugging percentage.
On a positive note, Reynolds may be finding his swing. Prior to his 0-for-3 showing Tuesday, he produced big back-to-back games on Sunday and Monday. Reynolds finished the final two games of a four-game series against the Island Empire 66ers going 4-for-9 with two doubles, a triple and a run scored. The talent is certainly there for the top pick from 2016.
Out in left field, Brusa, a local talent from from the University of the Pacific, is off to a slow start and hasn’t hit any higher than .212 this season. Brusa has power — he was the only player to have more homers than Quinn in 2016 with the Volcanoes and has four long balls so far this year — but strikeouts are slowing him down. In 30 games, Brusa has struck out 37 percent of the time, going down 42 times in 114 at-bats.
While Reynolds and Brusa are facing a bit of a sophomore slump, there’s plenty of season left and the third piece to the puzzle in Quinn may have arrived at the perfect time.
Around The Horn
— Aaron Hill began his rehab assignment with San Jose on Tuesday night. The veteran utility man went 0-for-4 as the team’s DH with three strikeouts.
— Outfielder Austin Slater is on fire at Triple-A with the Sacramento River Cats. Slater collected two more hits Tuesday and is now batting .360 in May.
— Kyle Crick continues to be a story to watch in Sacramento. The former top prospect has been converted from a starting pitcher to a reliever and it’s been paying off lately. Crick has tossed six straight scoreless appearances out of the bullpen. Here’s the numbers in that span: Eight innings pitched, two hits, four walks and nine strikeouts.