D.J. Snelten

Beede, Garcia among Giants protected from Rule 5 draft

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AP

Beede, Garcia among Giants protected from Rule 5 draft

SAN FRANCISCO — A top pitching prospect highlighted the list of Giants added to the 40-man roster before Monday’s deadline. 

The Giants put right-hander Tyler Beede on their 40-man roster, along with Aramis Garcia, Tyler Herb and D.J. Snelten. The four players were protected from the Rule 5 draft, held in December on the final day of the annual Winter Meetings. To clear roster spots, the Giants designated Orlando Calixte and Micah Johnson for assignment and outrighted Dan Slania to Triple-A. 

Beede, a 24-year-old former first-round pick, likely would have ended up on the roster earlier if not for a groin injury that ended his Triple-A season early. The Giants anticipated him making a September debut, but he ended up needing time in the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost innings. Beede was sharp in the AFL once he knocked the rust off, allowing three runs over 10 innings in his final two starts. He is expected to compete for a rotation spot at some point next year, although he also stands as one of the organization’s best offseason trade chips. 

Garcia, 24, has struggled with injuries at times in the minors, but he hit 17 homers in just 402 at-bats in 2017 and earned a promotion to Double-A Richmond. Garcia is currently one of just two catchers on the 40-man roster. 

Herb was essentially the player to be named later in the Chris Heston deal. The 25-year-old had a 2.76 ERA in 10 starts for Double-A Richmond last season. Snelten is a lefty reliever who had a 2.20 ERA across two levels last season and could break into the big leagues as a bullpen weapon next year. 

The roster now stands at 40 after the churn, which included a couple of players picked up as flyers because the Giants are at the front of the waiver process. Johnson was added in October and infielder Engelb Vielma, added during the season, was claimed by the Phillies on a  waiver claim. Slania, who made his big league debut during the season, cleared waivers and joins Triple-A Sacramento’s offseason roster. 

How seven Giants prospects performed in the 2017 Arizona Fall League

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USATSI

How seven Giants prospects performed in the 2017 Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League came to an end for seven Giants prospects on Thursday as the Scottsdale Scorpions (12-17-1) came up short from playing in Saturday's championship game. 

Let's take a look at how these seven names fared against some of the top young talent in all of baseball. 

The Hitters

As the Giants are linked to trade targets in center field like Billy Hamilton and Jackie Bradley Jr., a young in-house option only helped his case in the desert.

Steven Duggar likely would have seen the AT&T outfield this season, but his season was hindered by injuries, keeping him to only 44 games between three levels. With the Scorpions, Duggar took advantage of his opportunity with more at-bats. 

Duggar left Arizona with a .263/.367/.421 slash line over 20 games. The speedy lefty also stole nine bases and hit three home runs. Even if the Giants go for an experienced glove in center field this offseason and keep Duggar, the 24-year-old has also played 135 games in right field during his minor league career. 

For the second straight year, the Giants sent catcher Aramis Garcia to the AFL. And he's sure to be coming home much happier this go around with an up-and-down campaign.

Splitting time behind the plate with three other catchers, Garcia appeared in 13 games and slashed .259/.293/.333 and hit one home run. Garcia struggled to get one base with only one walk to 10 strikeouts, but showed his natural ability to drive runs in with 10 RBI. 

Rounding out the Giants' trio of bats they sent to Arizona is arguably their top prospect, but his time in the AFL was cut short. Chris Shaw only played in five games and hit .158. He dealt with a sore shoulder.

The Pitchers

The Giants sent two starting pitchers (Tyler Beede and Joan Gregorio) and two relievers (Tyler Cyr and D.J. Snelten) to the AFL. 

Pitching for the first time in nearly three months, Beede showed exactly why he's the Giants' top pitching prospect. Beede went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts, but his final three show the potential he's full of -- 14 innings pitched, three earned runs, a 1.93 ERA, 10 strikeouts and only one walk. 

Gregorio, who was suspended this season for Performance Enhancing Drugs, pitched in eight games (three starts) for Scottsdale. He left with a 1-0 record and 5.87 ERA. In Triple-A, Gregorio went 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA this year over 13 starts. The 25-year-old presents an interesting arm that can help sooner than later in the bullpen. 

Cyr's stats don't look pretty (0-1, 5.63 ERA, 8 IP), but he's catching some attention. The right-hander was named to the Fall Stars Game and is most likely to start 2018 in Triple-A after converting 18 saves at Double-A in 2017. 

Snelten, a 6-foot-7 lefty, impressed in eight appearances out of the bullpen. He didn't allow an earned run until his final outing of the fall, bringing his ERA from a perfect 0.00 to 2.25 in 12 innings pitched.

After combining for a 2.20 ERA to go with an 8-1 record between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017, Snelten is a name to know as the Giants look to find more lefties for their bullpen.

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

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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 MLB.com. “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.