Two key Giants prospects making noise in the Arizona Fall League


Two key Giants prospects making noise in the Arizona Fall League

Baseball Rumor Twitter is here and it’s only going to get worse. The good news: there’s still a little over one week of real baseball left in the Arizona Fall League. With time winding down, two Giants prospects that should play a role in the team’s near future one way or another, are putting together numbers to notice. 

Tyler Beede took the mound for the third time in the AFL on Tuesday night and was nearly perfect outside of giving up a moonshot to Brewers prospect Monte Harrison. Beede pitched five innings (his longest outing of his three starts), allowed four hits and one run. The 24-year-old also struck out five (the most of his three starts) and walked one batter.

For the second straight start, Beede pounded the strike zone. In his 63 pitches, 46 were thrown for strikes, good for a 73 percent strike rate while sitting between 90 and 95 miles per hour with his fastball. After a rough debut in which Beede walked three and allowed five earned runs in two innings pitched, Beede has now struck out nine to one walk in nine innings pitched his last two starts.

Before looking at possible trades, the Giants’ first four spots in their rotation seem locked up for the second straight season, with the fifth and final spot being the big question. Ty Blach has proved worthy the last two season and Chris Stratton earned a long spring training look with his time in San Francisco this year as well.

But, if Beede’s last two showings carry over to the spring, the team’s top pitching prospect and former first-round pick, will add his name to the competition in the starting staff. 

Steven Duggar goes deep

Brian Sabean recently made it clear the Giants’ three main positions in need of an upgrade are center field, third base and the bullpen. The team will be linked to free agent options in center field — Lorenzo Cain (doesn’t make sense) and trade options — Billy Hamilton (makes sense) and Jason Heyward (already debunked by the Giants), but their top young in-house option is showing the skill set he brings to the table when healthy in the AFL. 

Steven Duggar hit his first home run in the desert while going 2-for-4 and stealing a base for the fourth straight game on Monday. The speed has always been there and is an area of need for the Giants, but the power is really encouraging. 

Duggar stands 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. In three minor league seasons, he’s hit 17 home runs. There’s more power in him than those numbers suggest. 

The Giants have already started working on Duggar’s bat path and it’s evident in his deep blast to right-center field. Duggar is now on a five-game hitting streak where he is batting .450 (9-for-20). Overall in 15 games, Duggar is slashing .286/.388/.375 with nine stolen bases. 

San Francisco needs to get younger and more athletic. Duggar is tied for the lead in stolen bases in the AFL and has the athleticism to play in AT&T Park’s huge outfield. Instead of once again paying aging outfielders, project ahead with fleet feet running the show. 

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.”