We’re heading to Fresno!
Hot off the heels of a nail biting win over the Purple Ones, the Giants made a roster change involving the ever-speedy Eugenio Velez.
From the SFGiants.com
The Giants optioned Velez to Triple-A Fresno after Tuesday night’s 6-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies, and replaced him with infielder Travis Denker, who was recalled from Fresno.
“This was a move to get Eugenio playing again every day so he can continue his development and get his game back on track,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
The ‘Eugenio Velez Experiment’ started off quick before bursting into flames and disintegrating upon reentry into a fiery explosion of base running gaffes, iron glove work, mental errors, and paper thin offense. Velez was always “exciting” but the excitement he created never seemed to carry over into actual honest-to-goodness success. Velez’s defense was subpar, as advertised, but he also made mental mistakes resulting in defensive woes that would make Glenallen Hill cringe. It’s about what you would expect for a 25-year-old player, who until last year, had never been in AA or AAA. The Giants were going to push him aggressively and it was either sink-or-swim for Velez.
Velez also seemed to get picked off a ton in the majors, especially against LHP. First base coach Roberto Kelly has always preached aggressiveness on the basepaths but Velez’s inability to pickup a major league pickoff move was most likely the final nail in his coffin, for now. When you’ve got one tool — Speed in Eugenio’s case — you’ve got to use it well and he didn’t. He swiped 8 bags but was caught 5 times.
More seasoning should help Eugenio but it’s possible that his very small window is already on its way to shutting. He could very well end up as one of the many AAAA speedsters floating around the minor leagues, hoping to resurface with a team that desperately needs a speedy speedster. The Chone Figgins comparisons seem but a distant memory now.
Travis Denker, the other guy in this move, is a 2B/3B without a tremendous glove. His defense is supposed to be anywhere from average to below and the Giants might use him to spell Ray Durham and Castillo at their respective positions of second and third. I’ve heard talk that during his time in the Dodgers system — Denker was acquired last year in the Sweeney to LA trade — that Denker could eventually find himself in LF at the next level, but to my knowledge has never played a professional game in the outfield. Because his speed is average to below, LF is his ceiling as an OF. As we all know, the Giants have a glut of outfielders, so, Denker seems to be destined for infield duties.
Denker is a lot like Velez in some respects. He has spent the most of his career in the lower minors, never reaching AA or AAA until this year. His glove is also weak, much like Velez’s glove. But unlike Velez he has plate discipline and some pop. His career minor league numbers are (.276/.376/.453) which you’d love to get from your 2B. He has 291 career walks to 353 career strikeouts. He was struggling this year in AA Connecticut hitting (.184/.308/.263) in 76 AB’s. The Giants sent him to Fresno and over 54 AB’s he hit better at (.315/.422/.500).
The Giants will hope that Denker will give them something more than what Velez gave them. I’m skeptical of either contributing much but this is the year to find out these sort of things. I’d probably take Denker for now because of his bat. Both are weak defensively. Velez runs better but Denker gets on base and hits better and is younger.
Comment Starter: True or False, Eugenio Velez will collect 250 more AB’s in his career in a Giants uniform?