Now that September is here, the Giants can seek some relief from the minor leagues in the form of September call-ups. Any player that is on the 40-man roster or disable list is eligible for the expanded rosters of September. Let’s take a look at who the Giants brought up to the big club.
OF Nate Schierholtz – Nate is one of the few players that could be tagged with the phrase “hitting prospect” in the Giants system. Though, some are still split on if Nate will hit enough to become a starting outfielder in the majors, his excellent season in AAA can’t be ignored. Nate compiled a strong campaign in Fresno with the line (.333/.365/.560). Ideally, I would like to see a better walk rate from Schierholtz but he’s still very young at 23 and could grow into a more patient hitter. He’s a big strong kid and there’s a lot to like about him. Nate could have a good chance to earn a starting OF spot in 2008.
LHP Jonathan Sanchez – Sanchez has bounced between the bigs and the minors this year. The Giants initially had him working out of the bullpen but injuries and the Matt Morris trade opened up a rotation spot for Sanchez. I can’t say that I’ve been crazy with the way the Giants have handled Sanchez, throwing him between starting and relieving, but Sanchez should get a few starts before the season is done. Sanchez throws in the low 90′s and demonstrates a plus changeup.
RHP Scott Munter – Munter, owner of the “bowling ball sinker”, hasn’t exactly put it together in the major leagues since his 2005 season. He’s not going to strike guys out but if he can keep the ball on the ground and not walk guys, he could be valuable. Munter’s year in Fresno was not great but not awful either. He posted a 4.12 ERA 58.1 innings and kept the ball on the ground with a GO/AO of 2.86, which is solid. This could be Munters last chance to show the club that he belongs on the 40-man roster.
LHP Erick Threets – Another reliever with good stuff but not-very-good control. Sounds like the hallmark of Giants relievers, doesn’t it? At one point in time Threets could touch 100mph but I think those days are gone and Threets has throttled himself down some. The fact that he still works in the mid-90′s and from the left side adds to his potential value. He posted a 3.46 ERA in Fresno in 54.2 innings. To go along with those 54-some innings, he walked 35 and struck out 40. Threets did a good job of keeping the ball on the ground when batters did make contact, his GO/AO of 2.00 also gives us some hope. With Taschner still struggling, Threets could take over his spot in the pen next year with a strong showing this September.
2B/OF Eugenio Velez – Velez is a interesting story. He was claimed by the Giants in the minor league Rule V Draft from Toronto in 2005 and then went on to earn SAL MVP in 2006 when he hit (.318/.373/.560) with 29 2B’s, 20 3B’s, and 64 SB’s. The performance was impressive until you consider that Velez was a 24 year old playing in A-ball. Velez played SS/2B for Toronto and initially played some SS/2B for the Giants before the team moved him to CF because of defensive concerns. Velez was then promoted to AA this year where he hit (.298/.344/.399) and grabbed 10 AB’s in Fresno before getting the call-up. The obvious concerns for Velez is that he lost over 100 pts in slugging between A and AA. The Eastern League is tough on hitters but it’s still not something you like to see. He’s also entering a crowded OF, one in which it might be hard for him to find playing time. What Velez has going for him is that he’s fast and seems to be able to make contact.
RHP Dan Giese – Giese is a minor league journey man who is getting his first call to the majors at age 30. I remember seeing Giese pitch some in Spring Training and wasn’t overly impressed. He’s not going to blow you away, fastball that tops out in the mid to upper 80′s and a big loopy curve. He’s had good results in AAA this year, but so did Scott Atchinson, with a 2.82 ERA. He posted a decent K/9 rate of 9.33 and a BB/9 of 1.23. Despite lack of “stuff” I’ll be rooting for Giese, it’s always nice to see guys that stick with what they love to get to the big show.
C Eliezer Alfonzo – Alfonzo is back after getting hurt in a home plate collision on June 8th. There really isn’t any difference between G-Rod and Alfonzo. Alfonzo will hit more for power but the Giants like G-Rods defense better. They both are backups with little upside. If the Giants decide to rest Molina even more, Alfonzo could get a few starts but right now he’s the 3rd string catcher.
The September call-ups are mostly yawn-worthy. You’ve got two actual prospects (Schierholtz and Sanchez), one reliever with some mild upside (Threets), one position player with very mild upside (Velez), and a couple of spare parts from AAA (Giese, Munter, Alfonzo).
Even though the selection is slim, I hope Bochy changes his tune and gives these kids (two who are near 30) some starts. I really want to see Schierholtz get some playing time and for Sanchez to remain in the rotation, which remains a good bet now that Ortiz is done for the year and Lowry is still hurting some.
Here’s my ranking on the interest-O-meter for the September call-ups:
1. Nate Schierholtz
2. Jonathan Sanchez
3. Erick Threets
4. Eugenio Velez
5. Dan Giese
6. Scott Munter
7. Eliezer Alfonzo
Comment Starter: Which call-up is the most intriguing to you?