San Francisco Giants: Full Scouting Report for Each September Call-Up
When September rolls around, it means Labor Day and the end of summer. Kids are heading back to school, and for baseball teams it means roster expansion.
In 2012, the Giants were in the midst of a pennant race. Roster expansion meant they could bolster certain areas that could help the team win. This gave manager Bruce Bochy much more flexibility. He utilized that to perfection, as the Giants ultimately won the NL West.
This year, it is an entirely different story. The Giants are not in a pennant race, so roster expansion will give Bochy and GM Brian Sabean an opportunity to take a closer look at players who will be competing for jobs next spring.
For young players, the promotion is a reward for a good season, and the "cup of coffee" will give them a taste of the majors.
The Giants have several players they need to make decisions on. The month of September gives them valuable time to evaluate each player before spring training next year.
Let's take a closer look at the players the Giants have called up and see how they might fit in.
All stats are courtesy of baseball-reference.com.
Tony Abreu has spent parts of five seasons in the majors. This year, he has battled a balky knee, which has limited his playing time.
Abreu has split time between San Francisco and Fresno but has only played in 58 total games. If healthy, Abreu can be a good utility infielder. He has a decent bat and is a switch-hitter which gives manager Bruce Bochy added flexibility as a pinch hitter.
In 91 at-bats with the Giants, Abreu is hitting .242, with an OBP just under .300 and OPS just under .700. Defensively, Abreu sometimes has trouble covering a lot of ground. His knee could be limiting his mobility.
Playing in Fresno, the Giants' Triple-A affiliate, Abreu was hitting .338, with an OBP of .366 and OPS of .889. Abreu has nine doubles and one home run in only 65 at-bats.
With Marco Scutaro suffering from a bad back and other physical problems, Abreu should get a fair share of playing time in September. The main thing he needs to prove is whether his knee can handle playing on a regular basis.
Abreu would give the Giants a decent utility man, much like Joaquin Arias. The Giants typically carry two middle infielders, so there would be space for both Abreu and Arias.
If healthy, Abreu could definitely win a big league job in 2014.
Just before the 2012 season, the Giants acquired relief pitcher George Kontos in a trade with the Yankees for backup catcher Chris Stewart. It was one of those seemingly trivial moves that often go under the radar.
However, in 2012, Kontos was one of the biggest surprises for the Giants. He pitched very well, as he appeared in 44 games and fashioned an ERA of 2.47, to go along with a 1.053 WHIP. In 43.2 innings of work, Kontos allowed 34 hits and 12 walks, while striking out 44.
Kontos was expected to be one of the mainstays of the Giants bullpen in 2013, but that has not happened. His ineffectiveness, combined with Santiago Casilla's injury problems, created a large void in the Giants' bullpen from the right side.
In 2013, Kontos has thrown 46.1 innings, allowed 53 hits and 16 walks, while striking out 43. His ERA skyrocketed to 5.05 and his WHIP was a very poor 1.489.
Kontos is known for his slider, which was his best pitch in 2012. However, this year, he has not had the same command of that slider and has left it up out over the plate. The pitch looks like it's sitting on a tee when this happens. Major league hitters made him pay dearly.
Kontos' fastball is only average, but he needs to utilize it effectively, with good movement. Hitters have learned to just sit on the slider and wait for a mistake, which has happened far too often this year.
In his first outing since being recalled, Kontos pitched to one batter and got him out.
Kontos has spent a lot of time in Fresno this year, as he tries to get back in the groove. He has been throwing the ball better of late, which is why the Giants recalled him for the month of September.
In 23.2 innings of work at the Triple-A level, Kontos allowed 19 hits and only three walks, to go along with 26 strikeouts. His ERA of 4.18 is too high, but he has a very good WHIP of 0.930.
Kontos will have to fight for a job on the Giants' 25-man roster next spring. His audition starts now.
Francisco Peguero gets another chance in the majors with his second September call-up in the past two years. Peguero also played for the Giants earlier this season, but it was a very brief opportunity.
Peguero has good speed, is a good defensive player and has a very strong throwing arm. The question is whether he can hit at the big league level.
A gap-to-gap hitter, Peguero has little power and has never hit more than 10 home runs in a season at any level.
Peguero has had success in Fresno, hitting .316, with an OBP of .354 and OPS of .762. In 272 at-bats. Peguero has just three home runs and 30 RBI. He also does not utilize his speed to steal bases, as he has only three steals.
Peguero has struggled to establish consistency when with the Giants. Part of this is because he has never received regular playing time, but the other issue is that when he has played, he has not produced.
In 37 big league at-bats, spanning two seasons, Peguero is hitting .189, with no home runs or RBI.
A free swinger, with little plate discipline, Peguero's OBP is also .189, and he has only one extra-base hit, a double. Peguero will need to develop more patience and discipline at the plate. Pitchers know they do not need to throw Peguero strikes, and he will get himself out.
Peguero gets another chance to show if he has learned anything at the Triple-A level that can translate into major league success.
Peguero joined the Giants organization at the age of 18. Now 25, he has been with the Giants for eight minor league seasons. There are still doubts about his offensive skills after all these years, and a change of scenery might do Peguero a lot of good.
Stuck in the Giants organization, Peguero looks like the classic 4-A player.
Nick Noonan had a good spring and earned his way onto the Giants' Opening Day roster. Early on, he got sporadic playing time and never really got things going for any extended period of time.
Noonan is primarily a second baseman but can also fill the role of utility infielder. He is a decent defensive player and pretty solid with his fundamentals.
However, Noonan lacks offensive punch, which is becoming a common theme for many of their prospects.
With Marco Scutaro battling a bad back and other assorted aches and pains, Noonan figures to get some playing time. He must take advantage of this opportunity and show that he can hit big league pitching.
While with the Giants earlier this year, in 91 at-bats, Noonan compiled a batting average of .209, with an OBP of .250 and OPS of only .481. These are abysmal numbers.
The concern is Noonan's Triple-A numbers are not that exciting either. While at Fresno this season, Noonan hit .255, with an OBP of .323 and OPS of .668, in 165 at-bats. He had no home runs and 20 RBI.
Noonan actually did a lot better in Fresno in 2012, so his lack of progress is a red flag. His future in the majors is quite cloudy at this point.
Due to injuries and ineffectiveness in the Giants bullpen, Jake Dunning was brought up to the majors earlier this year. He pitched well and showed good poise on the mound.
The Giants returned him to Fresno after he appeared in 20 games, as they wanted him to get regular opportunities. In 19 innings of work, Dunning allowed 14 hits, six walks and struck out 14. His ERA was a very solid 2.84, to go along with a good WHIP of 1.053.
In Dunning's first outing since being called up, he was charged with the loss, as he walked the leadoff hitter, who eventually scored. He also gave up a single to the next batter.
Dunning was not one of the Giants' highly touted prospects in the minors, but he definitely opened some eyes with his stint in the majors earlier this year.
If Dunning pitches well in September and in spring training, he will be in the mix for a roster spot in 2014.
Johnny Monell is one of the most intriguing prospects on the Giants' list of call-ups. Monell will be 28 years of age prior to the onset of the 2014 season.
Monell has really blossomed this year. In 415 at-bats at Triple-A Fresno, Monell hit .275 with 20 home runs and 64 RBI.
If Monell can hit well in the month of September, it may enable Giants GM Brian Sabean to either trade him or Hector Sanchez for another quality player. The Giants also have highly-touted catcher Andrew Susac playing at the Double-A level in Richmond.
Monell needs to improve defensively as he made 13 errors in only 48 games behind the plate. He also threw out only 16 percent on steal attempts this year.
With pitching and defense playing such an integral role in the Giants' success, Monell could be used as trade bait if his value increases with a good September.
At a minimum, Monell's presence may force Hector Sanchez to wake up and come into spring training in shape this year. This past spring, Sanchez reported significantly overweight, got injured and was ultimately sent down to Fresno. If he does that again, he could become the trade bait and not Monell.
Juan Perez got a chance to show Giants manager Bruce Bochy what he could do earlier this year. He gave the Giants a much needed spark but tailed off badly.
In his first stint with the Giants, Perez hit .238, with an OBP of .283 and OPS of .545. In 42 at-bats, Perez had only one double and no home runs. He has very little power, so he must improve his OBP.
Since being called up, Perez is 0-3.
Perez has excellent speed and is an excellent defensive player. He impressed the Giants by throwing out would-be baserunners, who were attempting to take another base.
In 382 at-bats for the Fresno Grizzlies, Perez hit .291, with 10 home runs, 50 RBI and 18 steals. His OBP was .323, and his OPS was .789.
The Giants will take a good, long look at Perez, as he could be a valuable reserve for them in 2014. The key for him is whether he can hit in the big leagues.
Perez must also improve on the little things he can do to help his team win. There were multiple occasions when Perez was asked to bunt and failed to get the job done. He also made several mistakes on the basepaths.
If he makes it at all, Perez's ceiling is likely as a fourth or fifth outfielder.
Ehire Adrianza is an excellent defensive player at the shortstop position. The Giants already have Brandon Crawford at shortstop, and Adrianza is unlikely to supplant him in the immediate future.
Adrianza opened the 2013 season in Richmond, the Giants' Double-A affiliate. In 250 at-bats, he hit .240, with an OBP of .331 and OPS of .643. He had two home runs, 23 RBI and 11 steals.
Although his offensive numbers at Richmond were mediocre, his defensive play earned him a promotion to Fresno. In 145 at-bats, Adrianza surprised everyone with his offensive production.
Adrianza hit .310, with an OBP of .409 and OPS of .851. This earned Adrianza his September call-up. Barring an injury to Crawford, Adrianza will likely open the 2014 season in Fresno as the Giants will want to see him get regular at-bats.
Defensively, Adrianza is ready for the majors, but his offense is still a question mark. If he can sustain his production at Fresno in the first half of 2014, he may ultimately get an opportunity with the Giants. His success could also open up some trade possibilities for GM Brian Sabean.
After seemingly being on the cusp of a promotion to San Francisco for the past two seasons, Heath Hembree finally gets his opportunity. He was once deemed the closer of the future for the Giants and could ultimately step into that role at some point.
Hembree has an excellent fastball, clocked in the mid-90s. However, it was his secondary pitches that needed improvement. Over the course of the 2013 season, Hembree has developed much greater command of his slider, which is his second-best pitch.
Hembree has battled some arm issues over the past couple years but appears healthy now. If he has a good showing in September and a good spring, he should make the Giants roster on Opening Day.
The Giants need right-handed relief help out of their bullpen, and Hembree could fill that need. At Fresno this year, Hembree threw 55.1 innings, allowing 54 hits and 16 walks, while striking out 63.
Hembree's ERA is a high 4.07, and he has a WHIP of 1.265, but he has pitched much better than those numbers suggest in the second half of the season. Hembree has 31 saves for the Grizzlies.
In his first big league action, Hembree pitched a clean inning, striking out two.
With only Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo locked into the Giants bullpen from the right side, Hembree has an excellent chance to be pitching in the majors in 2014.