Giants Winter Leagues Report
Credit: ©Kyle Terada-USA TODAY
Pablo Sandoval is judging Miss Universe contests. Brian Wilson is contemplating his next move in Major League Baseball. Who, then, is left to play a little offseason ball?
With the end of the winter leagues rounding the corner in the next few weeks, here’s a round-up of the Giants’ major and minor leaguers’ offseason progress.
Venezuelan Winter League
Giants players: 12
With the exception of Joaquin Arias, the VWL hosts the majority of major league Giants this winter: Pablo Sandoval, Hector Sanchez, and Gregor Blanco.
Pablo spent five games with the Navegantes del Magallanes, where his most notable accomplishment was managing not to strike out in 21 of 22 PA. Hector Sanchez continues to best his 2012 performance with a .292/.325/.472 line, 16 RBI, and 3 home runs in 78 PA. Blanco, for his part, is batting .329 in 17 games with 4 stolen bases and a single home run.
Top performers: OF Javier Herrera, RHP Jon Meloan
Herrera, who drifted around in the Independent Leagues from 2010-2012 with a .300+ average and 16 home runs, is leading the VWL Giants with a .356 average in 97 PA.
Meloan last saw the major leagues in 2009, when he earned an 0.00 ERA in 9 appearances for the Oakland Athletics, striking out 11 over 8.1 IP. He is currently sporting a 1.31 ERA in 20.2 IP, the lowest of any Giant in the offseason leagues with more than 9 IP.
Dominican Winter League
Giants players: 14
The only DWL Giant with a significant major league presence last year, Joaquin Arias has batted .242/.242/.273 in 33 PA so far. He has the third fewest strikeouts of the offseason crowd, just ahead of Sandoval with two strikeouts in seven appearances.
Top performers: C Jackson Williams and RHP Fabio Castillo
Both Williams and fellow league-mate Angel Villalona tout a DWL-leading .273 average, though Williams has an additional 9 PA under his belt. He spent the entirety of his minor league career in San Francisco’s farm system and the past three seasons in Fresno, where he batted .228/.294/.360 with a .653 OPS.
Castillo carries a 1.86 ERA in 19.1 IP, his most recent outing a 2-strikeout affair in an inning of relief for the Toros del Este. In 2012, he finished his seventh season with the Texas-affiliated Round Rock Express, holding a 4.82 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, and 0.93 K/BB in 14 appearances.
Puerto Rican League
Giants players: 3
Catcher Johnny Monell and his .295 average, 7 home runs, and 17 RBI fall in the middle of a packed Criollos de Caguas lineup, headed by Kansas City’s second baseman Rey Navarro.
Monell completed his second season with the Richmond Flying Squirrels in 2012, improving his 2011 numbers with a .257 average, 11 homers, and 50 RBI.
Relievers Edwin Quirarte and Gaspar Santiago make up the remaining Giants in the PWL. Quirarte holds a 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, striking out three and holding opposing batters scoreless over his last two appearances. At 26, he has five seasons with the minor league Giants on his rèsumè, finishing a second season in Double-A with a 3.18 ERA and 2.13 WHIP in 45.1 IP.
Southpaw Gaspar Santiago is newer to MiLB, a 28th round pick by the Giants in the 2010 amateur draft. In 14.1 innings with the Cangrejeros de Santurce, Santiago has a 2.51 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, striking out 12 and walking 6 in 7 appearances.