Giants

Down on the Farm: Giants prospect Suarez sets season-high with nine Ks

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USATSI

Down on the Farm: Giants prospect Suarez sets season-high with nine Ks

The Giants, with one of the oldest rosters in baseball, have turned to their farm system more often than in the past during this tumultuous season. As they look to get younger though, the youth movement has come more from the offensive side of the ball compared to on the mound. 

Already, the Giants have looked to offensive prospects such as Christian Arroyo (21 years old at time of his debut), Austin Slater (24), Ryder Jones (23), Miguel Gomez (24), and Orlando Calixte (25). 

On the hill, Kyle Crick (24) is the only real prospect who has been promoted and seen substantial time in San Francisco. The Giants also called up Dan Slania (25) for one inning. 

In Sacramento on Thursday night, Andrew Suarez (24) gave a glimpse into the potential bright big-league future he has on the rubber. The Giants’ second-round pick from 2015 set a season-high of nine strikeouts over seven innings pitched in the River Cats’ 2-1 win over the Round Rock Express for their third straight victory. Suarez also only allowed one earned run on four hits and walked two batters. At one point, he retired 14 straight batters.

“He came in and he was not intimidated at all by the (Pacific) Coast League,” River Cats announcer Johnny Doskow recently said about his first impressions of Suarez.

The Pacific Coast League can tear you down as a pitcher. Lazy fly balls turn into home runs and ERAs can be deceiving to how a pitcher is truly performing. Suarez’s stats have took a bit of hit since his mid-season promotion from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A with the River Cats, but he sits only behind Joan Gregorio, who is currently suspended due to PED use, as the team’s leader in ERA among starting pitchers. Over eight games, seven starts, Suarez is now 4-4 with a 4.18 ERA and has struck out 45 batters in 47.1 innings pitched for the River Cats. 

With his ninth and final strikeout of the night on Thursday, Suarez reached 100 strikeouts on the season between Richmond and Sacramento. He is only 24 strikeouts off his career-high in which he set last season in five more appearances. 

As the Giants continue to tumble in the standings, the front office will have to take a longer look at their prospects. Even if a slot doesn’t open via a trade, there’s no reason Suarez shouldn’t get at least a look in San Francisco as a September call-up. 

The lefty is ranked as the Giants’ No. 6 prospect by Baseball America and No. 11 by MLB Pipeline. Suarez sits behind only Tyler Beede, who is now expected to miss the rest of the season with a groin injury, as the top pitching prospect in the organization. 

Around The Horn 

— For everything you need to know about familiar faces in Triple-A, Alex Pavlovic has you covered

— Sandro Fabian, who is only 19 years old at Low-A with the Augusta GreenJackets, had a huge game Thursday night. The outfielder went 3-for-5 with two home runs and three RBI. 

— Panda Watch: Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-4 Thursday night. He is now batting .211 (4-for-19) between the San Jose Giants and Sacramento River Cats.

Giants Review: In limited time, Avelino was 'a breath of fresh air'

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AP

Giants Review: In limited time, Avelino was 'a breath of fresh air'

SAN FRANCISCO — Abiatal Avelino had just 11 at-bats in the big leagues in 2018, three of which resulted in singles. He left a much larger impact on the front office, though. 

When Larry Baer, Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy met with beat reporters before the season’s final day, Bochy smiled as he recalled a conversation he had with the rookie in his office a day earlier. Sabean called Avelino “a beautiful young kid” and “very passionate.”

“He has a lot of fun playing the game, and that’s half the battle,” Sabean said. “He’s an interesting personality and I mean that in a positive way. He was a breath of fresh air, even though he didn’t play that much.”

Giants coaches noticed how Avelino seemed to grow two feet the second he got that first hit out of the way, brimming with confidence in subsequent at-bats. They noticed that he was often the first one out of the dugout, greeting teammates who had never heard of him a week or two earlier. He did all the right things off the field, and on the field, there’s plenty of talent. 

Here, Avelino is the latest profiled in our look at the 2018 Giants. If you missed any of them , here are Pablo Sandoval, Ty Blach and Nick Hundley. You can find the rest of them here

What Went Right

Avelino broke through with Double-A Trenton, hitting .337 with 10 homers, 28 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 49 games. That earned him a promotion to the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate. His numbers took a dip there, but overall, he hit .283 in the minors in 2018, totaling 15 homers, eight triples, 13 doubles and 27 stolen bases for three affiliates. 

Avelino made his MLB debut on Sept. 8 and picked up his first two hits on Sept. 26. He singled off Clayton Kershaw in his second-to-last appearance of the season. 

Avelino did not play enough to make any kind of real determination about his defense, but he appears to be a true shortstop with the skills to play other infield spots, and team officials want to see if he can play the outfield, too. 

(Also he had one of the funniest celebrations of the season.)

What Went Wrong

It’s hard to take too much away from the Major League numbers. At two Triple-A stops, Avelino struggled a bit, posting a .663 OPS after a promotion with the Yankees and then going 2-for-13 with the River Cats. He was 23 and repeating Double-A, so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that he dominated the level in 2018.

The Giants would like to see more from him in Triple-A early next season. 

Avelino is certainly fast, but some on staff believe he’s more of an above-average runner than the elite burner that his minor league stat lines say he is. That’s to be determined. He didn’t get to run much in September. 

Contract Status

Avelino was added to a 40-man roster for the first time in September. He has not used any minor league options. 

The Future

Avelino, acquired in the Andrew McCutchen trade, will play winter ball this offseason and the Giants will be open-minded about him when he arrives in Scottsdale. But a number of things will have to go wrong elsewhere for him to be in the big leagues early next season. He needs more minor league at-bats, but he should be a factor at some point in 2019.

It’s been a while since the Giants had a true backup for Brandon Crawford, and Avelino could become interesting quickly if he shows he can be a super-utility player.

Giants executive David Bell named finalist for Reds next manager

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AP

Giants executive David Bell named finalist for Reds next manager

SAN FRANCISCO -- As the Giants continue their search for a new head of baseball operations, one of their top executives may be headed elsewhere.

The Cincinnati Reds announced Thursday morning that three men will get second interviews in their search for a new manager: Joe Girardi, Brad Ausmus and David Bell, currently serving as the Giants' vice president of player development. 

Bell, who joined the Giants last offseason, also reportedly has interviewed with the Rangers and Blue Jays. Some within the Giants organization have viewed him as their future manager, but it seems a decent bet that he'll get his shot well before then.

Bell was a manager in the Reds' minor league system earlier in his career and his father played for the Reds. 

The Reds had 12 candidates interview initially, according to MLB.com. Bell was joined by, among others, current Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens.