Jalen Miller

Down on the Farm: Jalen Miller is this year's Giants breakout prospect

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Tim Cattera

Down on the Farm: Jalen Miller is this year's Giants breakout prospect

Every year in the MLB Draft, comparisons are thrown around for college and high school prospects, most of them way over the top. He's the next Barry Bonds. He's the next Derek Jeter. He's the next Chipper Jones. He's the next Pedro Martinez. 

When the Giants drafted Jalen Miller in the third round of the 2015 MLB Draft, the high school middle infielder from Georgia was often compared to a three-time All-Star who started out as a prepster middle infielder from the Peach State -- Brandon Phillips. While Phillips isn't a future Hall of Famer, he was a speedy second baseman with power and a golden glove, four Gold Gloves to be exact. 

Miller started off his professional career at 19 years old and immediately showed his speed and athleticism. The bat, however, was way behind any Phillips comparisons. In his first three seasons, Miller batted .218, .223, .227 with a combined 11 home runs. Now in his fourth season as a pro, and his second with the San Jose Giants, Miller is enjoying his breakout year before our eyes. 

At the All-Star break, Miller ranked seventh in the California League in batting average (.305), second in hits (81), and sixth in doubles (18). To open up the second half, Miller balsted his eighth home run of the year, the exact amound he hit in the California League Home Run Derby, and already two more than his previous career high of six. During his second stint in San Jose, Miller has made strides at the plate with his power and overall consistency. 

Aside from hitting for a low average his first three seasons, Miller also struggled reaching base. Not once in those first three seasons did Miller have an on-base percentage of .300 or higher. And from 2015-17, he struck out 249 to 74 walks. Miller has a .345 on-base percentage to go with his .303 batting average and .472 batting average in 65 games. All three parts of his slash line are career highs by a long shot. Though the 21-year-old still has a ways to go with his patience (61 walks to 15 walks this year), Miller has vastly improved his overall approach and pitch recognition. 

Just as he has become more consistent on offense, Miller has improved his consistency with his glove as well. Drafted as a shortstop, the 5-foot-11 Miller has solely played second base this season. His .965 fielding percentage is a career high and he has turned 45 doubles plays so far. 

Comparisons, just like the draft itself, is a two-eyes-closed leap of faith. Miller and Phillips, both high school prospects from the same state, were both drafted as athletic shortstops full of upside who transitioned to second base, with Phillips going one round higher. For Miller, the results are coming later than Phillips, and that's just fine as the Giants' No. 29 prospect gets closer to his Georgia counterpart. 

Down on the Farm: How Giants prospects performed in Single-A All-Star Games

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Tim Cattera

Down on the Farm: How Giants prospects performed in Single-A All-Star Games

The MLB All-Star Game is less than a month away and two Giants -- Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford -- are currently leading their position groups in fan voting to start for the National League. Down on the farm, prospects are already representing their teams in the MidSummer Classic.

In total, eight Giants prospects -- three from the Augusta GreenJackets and five from the San Jose Giants -- participated in All-Star Games on Tuesday night. The five from San Jose represented the North in the California League All-Star Game and the three from Augusta represented the South in the South Atlantic All-Star Game. 

Here's how all eight fared for the Noth and South: 

Augusta GreenJackets, South Atlantic League All-Star Game 

Manuel Geraldo, SS: Geraldo started at shortstop for the South and batted sixth in the lineup. The 21-year-old had a great night going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a solo home run to lead off the seventh inning, giving the South an 8-3 lead. Geraldo is batting .284 on the year with eight home runs and 16 stolen bases.

John Gavin, LHP: Gavin was the first pitcher out of the bullpen for the South, replacing Joe Cavallaro in the second inning. The San Jose native earned the win, allowing one earned run on three hits in one inning. Selecting in the eighth round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Gavin has been dominant this season with a 1.94 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 12 starts. 

Joey Marciano, LHP: Marciano is the final GreenJacket and second lefty out of the bullpen. He was the fifth pitcher to toe the rubber for the South and tossed a scoreless fifth inning, allowing one hit and striking out one batter. The 23-year-old is 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA and 1.11 WHIP this season. 

San Jose Giants, California League All-Star Game

Jalen Miller, 2B: Miller started at second base and was No. 2 in the lineup for the North. He went 1-for-5 with a double in an 8-1 win over an eventful weekend. Prior to Tuesday night's game, Miller was in the Home Run Derby and hit eight long balls. In 64 games, Miller is on the rise with seven home runs and a .305 batting average. 

Wander Franco, 3B: Franco's day didn't go quite as smooth as Miller's. He started at third base and batted sixth, but went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. The 23-year-old is batting .294 with 22 doubles this season. 

Johneshwy Fargas, CF: Coming off the bench, Fargas was a perfect 2-for-2 with two runs scored and three stolen bases for the North. The speedy 23-year-old has 18 stolen bases this year to go with his .266 batting average. 

Logan Webb, RHP: The Rocklin native was the first bullpen arm for the North and earned the hold for the night. Webb threw one scoreless inning, allowing one hit and striking out one batter. The 21-year-old is 1-2 with a 2.30 ERA over 14 appearances, 13 starts. 

Sandro Cabrera, LHP: Two innings later, it was Cabrera's turn to get on the bump and it couldn't have gone any better. Cabrera pitched one perfect inning and struck out two batters. He has appeared in 14 games this season -- half as a starter, half as a reliever -- and is 6-2 with a 3.49 ERA. 

Down on the Farm: Two San Jose Giants hit for the cycle in same game

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Down on the Farm: Two San Jose Giants hit for the cycle in same game

Lightning struck twice Wednesday night in Lancaster. 

In a game where the offense put together 25 hits, one off the team record, two San Jose Giants hit for the cycle in the same game as part of their 18-6 win over the Night Hawks. Gio Brusa and Jalen Miller became the fourth and fifth players in San Jose’s 31-year history to accomplish the rare feat. 

Every kid rides their first bicycle. No baseball team has a bi-cycle. One team having two players hit for the cycle in the same game has never been done in Major League Baseball history. According to statistician Ryan Spaeder, this has never even happened with two players on opposing teams in the same game in MLB history. Data currently does not show if this has ever been done in the minors. 

Brusa, who entered the game with only four hits on the season, put his name in the record books first with his 4-for-6 night. The local product from the University of Pacific came out swinging and knocked a home run in the first inning, singled in the second, doubled in the fourth, and then capped off his cycle by tripling in the eighth. 

The Giants’ leading home run hitter from last season attributed his cycle to getting in the right mindset through his faith earlier in the day. 

"Honestly, I'm going to have to say my faith," Brusa told MiLB.com after the game. "Today I had a great devotional, and it was all about the verse, 'Today is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.' It's very easy to look at the big scheme of things, but it just kind of really planted me in today and grounded me to focus and enjoy each and every pitch, each up, each down, each twist and turn."

Miller tied the San Jose single-game record with five hits and ignited the team’s offensive onslaught, knocking in the first run of the game on a RBI single in the first inning. The infielder singled again in his next at-bat, doubled in the sixth, and homered in the eighth. 

Hitting a triple is by far the hardest and most unlikely part of a cycle. And yet on this magic night, Miller’s triple in the ninth gave him the cycle and meant both he and Brusa’s last leg of the cycle came on a triple. 

"When I got on third, no one knew that I had actually hit for the cycle." Miller said to MiLB.com. "One of my teammates, [pitcher] Mac Marshall, he looked at me from the dugout and mouthed, 'Cycle?' I shook my head in a 'yes' way, and after the inning, we all celebrated. It was pretty cool."

The last San Jose Giant to hit for the cycle was Thomas Neal in 2009. The two other Giants to hit for the cycle are Carlos Valderrama in 2002 and Kevin Frandsen in 2005.