The SF Giants announced a series of minor league roster moves on Wednesday to trim organizational depth that included pitching prospect Trevor Oaks.
Oaks was originally selected off of waivers by the SF Giants from the Kansas City Royals last winter. The 27-year-old had a brief cup of coffee with the Royals in 2018 as he registered a 7.24 ERA across 13.2 frames. Furthermore, he was a key piece acquired in a deal that sent reliever Scott Alexander to the Los Angeles Dodgers before the 2018 season.
As the front office has done several times before, the Giants hoped to sneak Oaks through waivers earlier this year. Oaks cleared waivers and remained with the organization hoping for a shot in the rotation, but that did not come to fruition.
Along with the right-handed hurler, a handful of other prospects were released:
"#SFGiants have released the following minor league players: RHP Trevor Oaks RHP Yoel Veras RHP Melvin Martinez RHP Leonard Vilchez RHP Francis Pena RHP Josdeiker Marcano C 1B Keyberth Mejias Beicker Mendoza — MiLB-Transactions (@tombaseball29) December 22, 2020"
With the exception of Oaks, all of the other prospects above were signed in the J2 international signing period and none played above short-season rookie ball.
Beicker Mendoza is one of the notable names from the J2 signings as he commanded a substantial signing bonus during the 2014-20015 period. Ben Badler of Baseball America described him as a corner outfielder with intriguing tools:
"“A 17-year-old Venezuelan outfielder who signed for $210,000 on July 2, is a cruder version of Fabian. Mendoza is 6-foot-2, 185 pounds and impressed the Giants with his power and arm strength, with the righthanded bat still developing. His defensive tools fit best in a corner outfield spot, with the arm for right field.”"
However, Mendoza slashed just .281/.321/.398 with nine home runs and 96 RBI across five minor league seasons that culminated with a brief appearance in the Northwest League in 2019.
Similar to Mendoza, Keyberth Mejias was the other notable name as he commanded a similarly large signing bonus, but during the 2016-2017 signing period. Badler liked Mejias’ potential to stick behind the dish:
"“A 17-year-old Venezuelan catcher, stands out more in games than in workouts. Signed for $230,000, Mejias is a righthanded hitter with good hand-eye coordination who makes frequent contact in games, showing occasional power but mostly sticking with a line-drive approach. At 6 feet, 170 pounds, Mejias is very active behind the plate and should be able to stay back there with an above-average arm.”"
However, the young catching prospect struggled to the tune of a .585 OPS across three minor league seasons.
The decision to release this batch of prospects is likely due to the minor league contraction that is taking place, especially at the lower minor league affiliates. Organizations do not have the roster space to keep all of their prospects if they are losing an affiliate, and that is a sad realization for baseball.