What the Giants' farm system lost in trade for Evan Longoria

What the Giants' farm system lost in trade for Evan Longoria

The Giants desperately wanted to save face after losing 98 games in the 2017 season. Their home sell-out streak ended, there were times when seagulls outnumbered humans at AT&T Park and Giancarlo Stanton said no thanks in San Francisco's pursuit of the National League MVP. 

Step one came to life Wednesday with the team trading for 32-year-old, three-time All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria. The Giants sent outfielder Denard Span along with prospects Christian Arroyo (INF), Matt Krook (LHP) and Stephen Woods (RHP) to the Rays to acquire Longoria. 

Around the league, the Giants are already seen as a team with a low-ranking farm system. Losing a player like Arroyo, who made his MLB debut at 21 years old in 2017, will certainly hurt them even more. 

Let's take a look at what all three prospects bring to the table. 

Christian Arroyo, 22, INF

Arroyo is clearly the prize that brought Longoria to San Francisco. He was ranked as the Giants' No. 4 prospect by Baseball America and was the team's top prospect for before the trade. 

At only 21 years old and the youngest player on the team, Arroyo began the year with a scorching start in Triple-A for the Sacramento River Cats. Through just 16 games, Arroyo earned a call-up to the big leagues by hitting .446 with three home runs and seven doubles. 

In 34 games, Arroyo found out how different San Francisco is compared to Sacramento. Before being sent back down, Arroyo only hit .192, but bashed three more balls over the wall. While his bat forced the team's hand, Arroyo was clearly rushed to the majors.

Though he isn't seen notoriously as a future star, the Giants let go of a young bat who has all the tools to be a solid big league hitter and has the ability to play third base, shortstop or second base.

As Insider Alex Pavlovic points out, the Giants clearly chose a reload over a rebuild in letting go of Arroyo. 

Matt Krook, 23, LHP

Krook, like so many others, fits into the "p word" for prospects -- potential. Baseball America ranked Krook as the team's No. 19 prospect and had him down at No. 25.

The big lefty was drafted No. 35 overall by the Marlins out of high school, but did not sign after failing his physical. Krook then dominated the competition at Oregon as a freshman before being injured again. 

After his freshman year, Krook underwent Tommy John surgery. Ever since, he has struggled mightily with command and the Giants took him in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft. 

The Giants tried to stick it out with Krook as a starter. At the end of the season, he transitioned to the bullpen for the San Jose Giants and mowed down hitters to a 1.02 ERA and struck out 25 batters to seven walks in 17.2 innings. 

Stephen Woods, 22, RHP

Woods is also in the Krook model of prospects. The right-hander isn't seen as a top-tier arm, but like Krook, he can throw in the mid to high 90s with rough control at times. 

At the time of the trade, Baseball America ranked Woods No. 25 overall for the Giants and saw him as the team's No. 30 prospect. 

Woods finished the 2017 season in Low-A with a 6-7 record, 2.95 ERA, 113 strikeouts and 64 walks for the Augusta GreenJackets. He finished his final six starts with a 1.22 ERA and 24 strikeouts, but also walked 16 batters.

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.

Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential


Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For most pitchers, spring training is a time to experiment and add a pitch or two. Josh Osich is using this month to go the other direction. 

Osich spent the offseason watching film of his 2015 season, when he looked like he might one day be the closer in San Francisco, and decided that he needed to get back to his roots. That means the curveball, which he tried so hard to mix in last year, is now far back in the cupboard. The four-seam and two-seam fastballs are once again the focus, with an emphasis on changing eye levels more than he did a year ago. The changeup and cutter will round out his arsenal for the most part. 

Osich’s raw stuff is still as good as just about any lefty reliever in the league, and he hopes to take advantage of that while putting a rough 2017 season in his rearview mirror. He had a 6.23 ERA last season and 1.73 WHIP.

“It’s just one of those learning years,” Osich said. “I tried to live at the bottom of the zone and I was, but I was actually below the zone. So then I would fall behind and need to throw a strike and that’s when guys would hit me.”

Osich, 29, had a 2.20 ERA and 1.12 WHIP during that 2015 season that he keeps going back to. He walked eight batters in 28 2/3 innings, a far cry from the 27 he walked in 43 1/3 last year. While watching the 2015 version of himself, Osich saw that his hands were higher, and that’s something he’s working to replicate. He’s also trying to slow his pace to the plate. So far, the results are nothing but encouraging. Osich allowed one hit and struck out one in a 2 1/3 inning appearance on Wednesday night. Manager Bruce Bochy let him extend himself to keep the good vibes going. 

In six appearances this spring, Osich has allowed just four hits over seven scoreless innings. He has seven strikeouts and one walk. 

“O, it just seems like he’s got confidence,” Bochy said. “He’s kept it simple, he’s not tinkering with different pitches. He’s throwing more strikes, and more than anything he’s just trying to pound the strike zone now with quality strikes. That’s all he has to do. You look at him and he’s hitting 95 with a couple of good off-speed pitches. That works here.”