How Giants rank among minor league pitchers who threw 100 mph in 2018


How Giants rank among minor league pitchers who threw 100 mph in 2018

From afar, the Giants seem to be behind the curve of baseball's power versus power mentality. 

However, the numbers -- and the Giants talent in their farm system -- say otherwise. 

We may have already seen peak velocity in baseball as a whole. Sure, someone will come in and break the radar gun every season, but leaguewide, triple-digit flamethrowers are trending downward. According to Baseball America, the number of major league pitchers to throw at least 100 mph decreased from 40 in 2017 to 36 in 2018.

And the numbers in the minor leagues tell an even bigger story. There were only 63 pitchers down on the farm to hit the 100 mph mark; way down from 81 the year before. 

For every soft-tosser like Ty Blach, there's Ray Black, who happens to be one of three Giants to throw upwards of 100 mph as a minor league pitcher last season. There were seven MLB franchises that didn't have a single minor leaguer surpass 100 mph. San Francisco has three -- the same number as the Dodgers, who perennially have a great farm system.

Here's a look at each Giant to top 100 mph in the minors during 2018. 

Ray Black

At 28 years old, Black finally became healthy and was able to show off his fastball for the Giants. He dominated in the minor leagues (18 K/9 in Double-A, 16.13 K/9 in Triple-A), and though his ERA rose to 6.17 in his 26 appearances for the Giants, his fastball certainly followed him. 

Black pitched 23.1 innings for the Giants in 2018 and struck out 33 batters, good for 12.73 K/9. He also hit 100 mph on the radar gun 11 times in the 407 pitches he tossed for the big league club -- the eighth most in the majors -- despite such a small sample size. 

Out of 27 players to throw a pitch for the Giants in 2018, including Pablo Sandoval and Chase d'Arnaud, Black led the team by averaging 97.9 mph on his fastball

Melvin Adon

Adon easily has the best fastball, not only on the radar gun, of any Giants prospect. Black was called up quickly last year after showing he was healthy, and the 24-year-old Adon can do the same in 2019 after he was added to the 40-man roster in November.

Though he's been used as a starter in the minors, Adon dominated as a reliever in the Arizona Fall League. He struck out 21 batters in 12.1 innings and of the four earned runs he allowed, three came in his final 1.2 innings pitched. 

“The thing that’s so impressive with him, it’s just so easy. It just comes out really easy. You watch him, and it looks like he’s just flippin’ it in there and it comes out at 100,” former Giants reliever Aaron Fultz said on Adon

Camilo Doval

Only 21 years old, Doval was named a Giants All-Star for his 2018 season. Coming out of the bullpen 44 times for the Augusta GreenJackets, Doval struck out 78 batters in 53 innings, good for 13.25 K/9. 

The only downside: Doval also threw 15 wild pitches. Don't mind that though, at his age, the potential is worth a few Rick Vaughn references.

How recent cuts could fit in later on for Giants


How recent cuts could fit in later on for Giants


SAN FRANCISCO -- For years, the Giants have made cuts in bunches. They would send out eight or 10 players at a time, but this spring it's been a trickle, with 10 different sets of transactions thus far. 

The latest set cut some big names from the spring roster. As we did early in camp, and again earlier this week, let's take a look at the players the Giants took out of their Scottsdale Stadium clubhouse and their chances of returning:

March 18: Tyler Beede and Ray Black are optioned to Triple-A

Both of these players very easily could have started the season on the big league roster, but there's no escaping the axe when you have options. 

Beede was the story of camp on the pitching side, and while the numbers weren't pretty in the end -- seven earned in 10 1/3 innings -- he simply looked like a different guy. Or, he simply looked like the guy the Giants took in the first round five years ago. 

The 25-year-old has gone back to his roots, relying on a fastball that regularly hit 98 mph this spring, a big curveball, and a good changeup. That's it, and the mix flummoxed some good hitters and impressed Bruce Bochy from the start of the spring. Beede is currently about eighth on the starting depth chart, but internally, the Giants believe he could quickly pass at least a couple of the pitchers ahead of him if he takes this kind of stuff to Sacramento. He also could return in a bullpen role, where the fastball could be a real weapon. 

Black has as much upside as you could ask for. The spin rate numbers are off the charts and the velocity is unmatched on the big league roster. This was about keeping inventory, and Black should be up when the Giants need relief help. 

March 20: Anthony Garcia reassigned to minor league camp

Garcia, 27, is a right-handed hitting outfielder with some pop, so the Giants were really hoping he would grab a job. He hit .216 in 17 spring appearances with a pair of homers. Garcia hit 25 homers in Triple-A last year and there's very little blocking him in the big league outfield, but he'll need a hot start to get back on the radar. 

March 21: Joey Bart reassigned to minor league camp.

The Giants considered bringing last year's first-round pick to San Francisco for the Bay Bridge Series, but ultimately they'll let him get ready for life with the San Jose Giants. If you have the ability to go to a game in San Jose, you should do it early. Bart looks poised to move quickly. 

The 22-year-old had seven hits in 20 at-bats in his first big league camp. He homered once and drove in seven runs, three on a ninth-inning RBI double off the Dodgers. That'll play. 

Bart is advanced behind the plate, but still has work to do, and the Giants are excited about having him spend so much time with first-year San Jose manager Billy Hayes, a former big league catching instructor. 

In a perfect world, Bart would tear it up in the California League and move on to Double-A Richmond in a couple of months, potentially putting himself in line for a September call-up. The more likely path is a 2020 promotion, but the Giants aren't worrying too much about the timeline. Bart has lived up to their expectations so far, and when he's ready, they'll be ready. 

Giants release veteran Rene Rivera, clearing path for Aramis Garcia

Giants release veteran Rene Rivera, clearing path for Aramis Garcia

SAN FRANCISCO -- The battle to back up Buster Posey appears to be over. 

The Giants released veteran catcher Rene Rivera on Saturday morning, clearing the way for Aramis Garcia to begin the season on the big league roster. Rivera and Garcia had been the last two standing, and for the last couple of weeks, it appeared Rivera might have the edge. 

Instead, it likely will be Garcia, who had a big September cameo last year and backed that up by posting a .912 OPS this spring with a pair of homers. Rivera had a hot start to his first spring as a Giant, but the non-roster invitee tailed off recently, finishing with a .258/.303./387 slash line. 

The move gives the Giants more flexibility, as Garcia has minor league options and Rivera would have had to be added to the 40-man roster. They still have a veteran backup option in Stephen Vogt, who will begin the year with Triple-A Sacramento as he works his way back from shoulder surgery. 

[RELATED: What Cameron Maybin release means for Giants]

Garcia appears set for his first Opening Day roster after an impressive six weeks in camp. He showed power throughout and has impressed the staff with how far he has come defensively. The 26-year-old will be part of a bench that is coming into shape. Late Friday night, manager Bruce Bochy announced that Yangervis Solarte, Gerardo Parra and Nick Vincent have made the team. All were non-roster invitees like Rivera, so the Giants will need to clear at least three 40-man spots.