Down on the Farm: Top Giants minor leaguers from June
Giants' top minor league performers from June
The youth movement continues for the Giants. In the deciding game of their first sweep of the season, San Francisco’s lineup consisted of seven players who have been with the Sacramento River Cats either this year or in the past.
June saw two more players for our list make their way to the bigs and expect the numbers to keep climbing as the year goes on. Here’s the best of the best from the month of June for the Giants’ minor leaguers…
SP: Matt Gage, 24, Richmond Flying Squirrels
Innings Pitched: 32.2
Gage is a big lefty at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds. He is also a really good athlete who played basketball and soccer in high school along with baseball. At Siena, Gage holds records for the most single-season strikeouts and career strikeouts.
The former 10th-round draft pick in 2014 has earned a promotion to Triple-A after his superb month of June.
RP: Kraig Sitton, 28, Sacramento River Cats
Innings Pitched: 12.2
Sitton is a journeyman enjoying success this season in Sacramento. He’s clearly not a prospect at 28 years old, but he’s the reliable veteran every team needs in Triple-A to surround around their younger players.
Opposing batters are hitting well against him — they even hit .301 against him in his solid June — yet Sitton continues to prevent runs from scoring at a high rate and that’s the name of the game.
C: Aramis Garcia, 24, San Jose Giants
Batting Average: .293
On-Base Percentage: .337
Slugging Percentage: .549
Home Runs: 5
Garcia now leads the San Jose Giants in home runs (12) and is tied for third in the California League despite missing a chunk of games earlier in the season due to a concussion. After a slow May, Garcia got back on track in June and continues to be far and away the best catching prospect in the organization.
Behind the dish, Garcia has allowed 34 stolen bases while throwing out 16 base runners.
1B: Jae-gyun Hwang, 29, Sacramento River Cats
Batting Average: .324
On-Base Percentage: .424
Slugging Percentage: .559
Home Runs: 3
Hwang had an opt-out in his contract with the Giants on July 1 and did everything in his power to make it to San Francisco. And the key may have been patience. Hwang walked 14 times in June after he didn’t register one in the whole month of May.
The primary third baseman mostly wore a first baseman’s mitt in June for the River Cats. His bat is much more of his calling than his glove at either position.
2B: Orlando Calixte, 25, Sacramento River Cats
Batting Average: .278
On-Base Percentage: .296
Slugging Percentage: .456
Home Runs: 1
There’s no way around it, the Giants’ weakest spot in their farm system is second base. We saw Calixte up with the Giants earlier in the year as an outfielder and he hasn’t exactly lit the minors on fire since his demotion.
The biggest healthy name to watch among second baseman in the minors for the Giants is Miguel Gomez in Double-A, but his June was a far cry from his impressive May.
3B: Ryder Jones, 23, Sacramento River Cats
Batting Average: .343
On-Base Percentage: .450
Slugging Percentage: .701
Home Runs: 5
Bruce Bochy had his eyes on Jones for a long time and for good reason. In June, Jones put together his best month of the season crushing the ball to earn his way up to the bigs.
He may not be what his June stats show, but Jones is far from what he’s been with the Giants. He’ll be just fine as he only turned 23 on June 7.
SS: Ryan Howard, 22, San Jose Giants
Batting Average: .348
On-Base Percentage: .376
Slugging Percentage: .427
Home Runs: 2
Howard just keeps on hitting. The California League All-Star will probably never be a power threat, but his consistency has been eye opening this season.
The lowest Howard has hit for a month this year is .315 in May. Through July 4, he’s only three hits away from 100 on the season.
LF: Chris Shaw, 23, Sacramento River Cats
Batting Average: .297
On-Base Percentage: .314
Slugging Percentage: .515
Home Runs: 5
With Christian Arroyo out for two months due to a broken left hand, Shaw is Sacramento’s best hitter and by a long shot. In only 33 games since his promotion from Double-A, Shaw is already third on the team in home runs with eight.
Shaw needs to work on getting on base with only four walks to 35 strikeouts with the River Cats this season, but there’s no denying the potential of his power and overall hit ability.
CF: Justin Ruggiano, 35, Sacramento River Cats
Batting Average: .280
On-Base Percentage: .357
Slugging Percentage: .580
Home Runs: 4
Even at 35 years old, Ruggiano is finding ways onto the field. He only hit .217 in 19 games with the Giants this year, but he too is the kind of veteran you need in the minors, especially with a young prospect like Shaw.
RF: Bryan Reynolds, 22, San Jose Giants
Batting Average: .322
On-Base Percentage: .344
Slugging Percentage: .522
Home Runs: 2
The health of Steven Duggar and Ronnie Jebavy has forced Reynolds to play more right field. He’s still the Giants’ top center field prospect, but Reynolds is now at 16 games played in right on the year.
With the bat in his hands, Reynolds has been another hitting machine in the minors. He’s not putting up huge home run numbers with four this season, though the power is there for the switch hitter. Reynolds also has seven triples, which leads the California League, and 16 doubles.