Giants' Snelten shining in Arizona Fall League, Beede makes mechanics change

Giant Potential

Giants' Snelten shining in Arizona Fall League, Beede makes mechanics change

The Arizona Fall League has been in play for three weeks this year and D.J. Snelten is yet to allow a runner to score on him. Who is D.J. Snelten? The Giants selected Snelten in the ninth round of the 2013 MLB Draft, and while you won’t find his name anywhere on top prospect lists, the big lefty is following a solid showing this season over to the desert. 

The Scottsdale Scorpions have used Snelten five times out of the bullpen. In eight innings, he’s allowed four hits and walked four while striking out seven. Opponents are hitting only .148 off him. 

While Snelten’s stats halfway through the AFL are just a handful of innings, they fit the narrative of his performance in 2017. One year earlier, Snelten was far from spectacular in Advanced Single-A with the San Jose Giants. There he pitched to a 4.11 ERA, .302 opponents’ batting average and a 1.52 WHIP. Those numbers don’t ring encouragement, but the Giants still promoted Snelten to Double-A Richmond to start the 2017 season. 

All the 6-foot-7 lefty needed was 15 dominant appearances out of the bullpen to earn his way to Triple-A. Over 21.2 innings with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Snelten went 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA while striking out 28 batters to only five walks. Opposing batters hit .226 off him and he put up a 1.11 WHIP. 

Finishing the rest of the season in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League for the Sacramento River Cats, Snelten was every bit as good on the mound. He hurled another 52 innings, coming out of the bullpen in 36 games, and ended with a 2.42 ERA to go with his perfect 4-0 record. And both his opponents’ batting average (.197) and WHIP (1.08) went down in a tougher league for pitchers. 

Snelten stood 5-foot-8 as a freshman in high school. He’s now nearly a foot taller at 25 years old and his fastball sits in the low 90s. Simply put, any left-handed pitcher that stands that tall with velocity will get a long look. 

Beede makes change to windup

After struggling in his AFL debut, Giants top pitching prospect Tyler Beede found the strike zone and success followed in his second start on Tuesday. Beede allowed two hits and struck out four over four innings where both runs scored were unearned. 

The big news is Beede did not walk anyone after issuing three walks in two innings in his debut. Finding his rhythm to pound the strike zone may have come from a mechanical change too.

"I started going over my head, which was a more comfortable mechanic for me to find my rhythm and tempo,” Beede told “That was really the small adjustment that I made to kind of make a big difference for me.” 

The AFL is the perfect time to play with adjustments and Beede’s small change could play large dividends down the road. 

Report: Tim Lincecum throws 90-93 MPH at showcase


Report: Tim Lincecum throws 90-93 MPH at showcase

Tim Lincecum was back on a mound Thursday, trying to prove to teams once again that he still has a little bit of magic left in his right arm. 

The former Giants star held a bullpen session for scouts Thursday in Seattle. The event was closed to the media, but Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that between 25 and 30 scouts were in attendance. 

And Lincecum may have some of his velocity back. According to Heyman, Lincecum was sitting between 90 and 93 miles per hour. 

Lincecum last pitched in 2016 with the Angels. In that season, his fastball averaged just 88.4 miles per hour. In nine starts with the Angels, Lincecum was nowhere near what he once was and went 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA. 

The Giants planned to be at Lincecum's showcase, according to Insider Alex Pavlovic. 

Over nine seasons with the Giants, Lincecum posted a 108-83 record and a 3.61 ERA. He won back-to-back National Cy Young awards in 2008 and 2009, was a four-time All-Star and led the league in strikeouts three times. 

Slater fighting for outfield job after Giants' offseason overhaul


Slater fighting for outfield job after Giants' offseason overhaul

SCOTTSDALE — Catchers are usually the only position players to hit on the main field during the first few days of spring training, but Austin Slater snuck into a group Thursday to take a few cuts. With manager Bruce Bochy leaning against the back of the cage, perhaps Slater’s session will serve as a reminder: I’m still here, don’t forget about me.

The 25-year-old broke through last summer before injuries halted his progress. As Slater focused on getting healthy this offseason, Bobby Evans focused on overhauling the outfield. That has left several familiar faces in precarious spots, and Slater finds himself fighting for a fifth outfielder job a year after batting .282 in his first 117 big league at-bats. 

At the same time, he’s trying to balance competition with health. He wants to push for an Opening Day job, but also is very aware that he needs to back it down at times as he recovers from sports hernia surgery.

“You want to prove that you can play here and win a job, but (the staff) stressed health over everything,” he said. “It does no good to push and then start the season on the DL. For me, health is the most important thing. I feel like if I’m healthy I can prove myself. There’s nothing I can prove on the DL.”

Slater originally tore his groin on July 8 and the Giants thought it would prove to be a season-ending injury. He worked his way back ahead of schedule, though, seeing limited action before sports hernia surgery the last week of September. “They went in there and cleaned up the groin,” he said, smiling where others might grimace. The procedure kept Slater from playing in the Dominican Republic as planned, although that might have been a blessing in disguise. 

The Giants were aggressive with their winter ball plans because so many young players got hurt during the season. But Jarrett Parker lasted just 24 hours before being sent home with a health issue. Christian Arroyo’s hand swelled up soon after he arrived, and he headed home. Ryder Jones immediately got food poisoning and lost 12 pounds in just over three weeks before player and team decided a mutual parting would be beneficial. 

Slater stayed home throughout, living in the Bay Area and rehabbing. The Giants told him to focus on his rehab instead of lost at-bats and then come out and try to win a job in Scottsdale. By mid-November, he was hitting again. By Thanksgiving, he was on a regular lifting and running schedule. In late January, he felt like his old self again. 

For the Giants, that means a versatile option in a new-look outfield. Slater had a .290/.343/.430 slash line going before his first injury and he’s working to tap into more power. As Bruce Bochy pointed out Thursday, Slater has a long history of putting up numbers at every level. 

“He really did a nice job of figuring out what it takes to play in the major leagues, and he has a tendency throughout his career to just get better,” Bochy said. “You have to love his right-handed bat. He’s got some pop. I think he can play all three outfield positions, so he’s in the mix.”

The Giants have Andrew McCutchen in right and Hunter Pence in left and Austin Jackson as the third guy, and Bochy’s preference is to have a true center fielder as his fourth outfielder. That leaves Slater fighting for the fifth job, alongside many others. No matter what he did last year or does this spring, Slater has options remaining, and that will come into play. A year after using 13 different players in left field, the staff is intent on having greater depth at the Triple-A level. 

Slater is a Stanford product who spent the offseason surrounded by Giants fans. He knows the math after the offseason moves.

“It doesn’t change anything,” he said. “It just adds some great guys to learn from, and there are still outfield spots to be won, so it’s not discouraging, it’s encouraging. I didn’t expect them to keep an open roster spot for a guy with 120 at-bats. We’re trying to win a championship here.”