Your 2012 Non-Roster Invitees: Part 4
By Ashley Varela
With another round of cuts expected early next week, here are the last remaining non-roster invitees still hanging around the Giants’ major league camp. After reading up on them, I think I can safely say that one or two will be regulars in San Francisco within the next year or so.
A Double-A corner infielder, Chris was selected by San Francisco in the 3rd round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft. He advanced to Richmond after three seasons in the lower rungs of the Giants’ farm system, finishing with 78 games at third base, a .932 FP, and a .222/.257/.354 batting line in 313 PA. In Cactus League play, Chris is 2-for-8 with 2 strikeouts, a single, and an RBI double.
The only non-roster shortstop left in Major League camp, Nick began his time with the Giants as a first-round draft pick in 2007. He climbed from Single-A San Jose to Triple-A Fresno in 2011, spending the bulk of his season in Double-A Richmond for a .215/.206/.292 line, .273 wOBA, and a high strikeout rate of 20.1%. Defensively, Noonan started 71 games for the Flying Squirrels, with 91 putouts, 198 assists, 9 errors, and 39 double plays for a .970 FP. Over 6 Spring Training games and 7 PA, Noonan is 1-for-4 with a double, 3 strikeouts, and 3 walks.
Finally, a name that should be ringing in the ears of Giants fans this spring. Gregor Blanco was acquired in the 2011 offseason to provide added depth in the outfield. Over the last six years, Blanco spent one full season in Atlanta and five seasons with the Braves, Nationals, and Royals Triple-A affiliates. In 2011, he put up a .203/.335/.343 line over 51 games, holding a walk rate of 15.0% and strikeout rate of 20.3%. He continues to impress in the Cactus League, and is currently 12-for-23 with 6 runs, 3 RBIs, 4 walks, and 6 stolen bases. Alex Pavlovic tweeted this during yesterday’s 2-2 tie with Cleveland:
"“Gregor Blanco just went first to third on a groundout to second base. Then scored on a groundout to SS. Welcome to the bigs, Gregor.”"
Still have doubts? Check out Bryan’s thoughts on Blanco here.
Although he has the least amount of minor league experience under his belt, Brown has not flown under the radar of any Giants fan. He ripped up Single-A San Jose in 2011, batting .336/.407/.519, with a total of 188 hits, 115 runs, and 80 RBIs in 131 games. Over 120 games in center field, Brown contributed 254 putouts, 16 assists, 3 double plays and 3 errors for a .989 FP. He left the Arizona Fall League with a bad case of the flu, but has returned to participate in Spring Training, going 2-for-11 with a pair of singles, 3 strikeouts, and a stolen base.
Off the field, he continues to make a strong impression on those he meets. From Andrew Baggarly:
"Rookies are supposed to be seen and not heard, and Brown is being as dutiful as possible as he enters his second big league camp. But his is a spirit that can’t be bottled up.On a recent morning, Brown hustled through the clubhouse and walked past another speedy center fielder, Willie Mays. Most players are too intimidated to say anything to the Say Hey Kid, too awed by his regal presence and his status as the game’s greatest living player.“Hey there Willie!” Brown chirped, not slowing his pace."
San Francisco picked up outfielder Juan Perez in the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft, sticking him in Low-A Augusta in 2009. By 2011, Perez advanced to Double-A Richmond, batting .256/.303/.381 in 131 games for 58 runs, 40 RBIs, and 22 stolen bags. He started 122 games in center field, accumulating 333 putouts, 9 assists, 4 double plays, and 8 errors for a .977 FP. Spring Training has brought Perez nothing but success, with a home run, triple, and stolen base in 6 PA. It’s my guess that his name falls pretty low on the list of outfielders, but with his speed and a little more minor league seasoning, he should work his way up to SF pretty soon.
2012 marks Christian’s tenth year in the minor leagues, and his second season with the Giants. After conquering the Double-A and Triple-A levels of the farm system, he cracked the 40-man roster for 18 games in September. In Fresno, where Justin played three times as much, he batted .336/.427/.571 with a .455 wOBA, picking up 57 runs, 33 extra base hits, and 36 stolen bases. On defense, Justin played the majority of his Double-A games in left field, his Triple-A games in right, and his major league games in center. Spring Training has seen him in left field for seven games, with no starts in right or center field. So far, he’s 4-for-14 with an RBI, a stolen base, and 3 strikeouts.