Usually I am loath to cover the Fresno Grizzlies. I won’t lie, people. Fresno hasn’t had a good team since I’ve started covering the San Francisco Giants system. There have been prospects there (Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner) to write about, but they are fleeting.
This year, we have a pretty good group of guys in the central valley. The bullpen looks great and I’m looking forward to productive years out of Francisco Peguero and Roger Kieschnick. The infield has a few guys I’ve been watching for the durations of their careers and I hope against hope that they get it together as prospects.
You’ll also see a few returning members to the organization and a lot of veteran minor leaguers kicking around the roster. So it is for Triple-A ball.
|LHP||Travis Blackley||Free agent 2012||previously w/org in 2007|
|LHP||Brian Burres||Free agent 2012||previously w/org in 2005|
|RHP||Hector Correa||Trade w/FLA||7-day DL|
|RHP||Steve Edlefsen||16th round 2007|
|RHP||Eric Hacker||Free agent 2012||previously w/org in 2010|
|RHP||Heath Hembree||5th round 2010|
|RHP||George Kontos||Trade w/NYY|
|RHP||Andrew Kown||Free agent 2011|
|RHP||Mitch Lively||Free agent 2008|
|RHP||Shane Loux||Free agent 2011|
|RHP||Jean Machi||Free agent 2011|
|RHP||Yusmeiro Petit||Free agent 2012|
|LHP||Wilmin Rodriguez||Free agent 2004|
|RHP||Ryan Vogelsong||Free agent 2011||rehab|
|LHP||Matt Yourkin||Free agent 2009|
I added another column to the table for this report because the Fresno roster has some additional notes, like guys who are there on rehab assignments or otherwise inactive, plus I felt it was good to add notes on guys who had previously played in the organization.
I have official word on the Grizzlies rotation from the team. It’s Brian Burres, Andrew Kown, Eric Hacker, Shane Loux, and Matt Yourkin. Burres returns to the Giants organization after a seven-year absence. I’m showing my age because I remember when he was on the Double-A team then referred to as the Norwich Navigators.
Anyway among this group, there’s not an arm that stands out, but there’s a lot of that veteran savvy they love so much up the coast in San Francisco. I’d expect Travis Blackley to get some starts and Ryan Vogelsong will pitch until he’s ready to take his spot in the San Francisco rotation.
The bullpen has three studs in Hector Correa, Steve Edlefsen, and Heath Hembree, the team’s closer. Edlefsen has always pitched well whenever I’ve seen him and I like Correa a lot. He’ll start the year on the disabled list.
The rest of the bullpen contains a lot of journeyman guys, including the recently acquired George Kontos from New York. Mitch Lively is a guy I’ve always wanted to succeed as the Giants picked him up from an indepdent league (which no longer exists). Jean Machi came over last year and pitched well in the Venezuelan Winter League. I expect it to be Correa and Edlefsen setting up Hembree.
|C||Tyler LaTorre||Free agent 2006|
|C||Eli Whiteside||Free agent 2008||reserve|
|C||Jackson Williams||1st round 2007|
Yawn. Sorry, Eli Whiteside. I like what he did as the backup catcher and then starter after Posey was hurt. But this should really be Hector Sanchez playing every day and some also-rans. Also, nobody will ever be able to convince me that Jackson Williams is good.
|SS/2B||Joaquin Arias||Free agent 2012|
|2B/3B||Brock Bond||24th round 2007||7-day DL|
|2B||Charlie Culberson||Supp. Round 2007|
|3B||Conor Gillaspie||1st round 2008|
|2B||Nick Noonan||Supp. Round 2007|
|Util.||Skyler Stromsmoe||Free agent 2007|
No word from the team on the positioning for these guys. I think Charlie Culberson is a better option at short and Nick Noonan can stay at third. Conor Gillapsie returns for his second year as the Grizzlies’ third baseman. Those three are the ones I want to do well among this group. Skyler Stromsmoe is the definition of utility man.
Also, notice the lack of options at first base. Where’s Brett Pill when you need him?
|LF/CF||Justin Christian||Free agent 2011|
|OF||Tyler Graham||11th round 2006|
|RF||Roger Kieschnick||3rd round 2008|
|OF||Todd Linden||Free agent 2012||previously w/org in 2006|
|RF/CF||Francisco Peguero||Free agent 2005|
Look who came back. It’s Todd Linden! Maybe he can hit 30 homers again. Maybe we should pay attention to Peguero and Kieschnick instead. My hope for them is that Peguero continues to hit and walk well and that Kieschnick can get back to his form I saw in San Jose, where he hit really well and showed off a great arm.
I hope to get down to Fresno this summer at least a few times. If not, I will do phone interviews and get info from the team to share with all of you.