The Giants, with one of the oldest rosters in baseball, have turned to their farm system more often than in the past during this tumultuous season. As they look to get younger though, the youth movement has come more from the offensive side of the ball compared to on the mound.
Already, the Giants have looked to offensive prospects such as Christian Arroyo (21 years old at time of his debut), Austin Slater (24), Ryder Jones (23), Miguel Gomez (24), and Orlando Calixte (25).
On the hill, Kyle Crick (24) is the only real prospect who has been promoted and seen substantial time in San Francisco. The Giants also called up Dan Slania (25) for one inning.
In Sacramento on Thursday night, Andrew Suarez (24) gave a glimpse into the potential bright big-league future he has on the rubber. The Giants’ second-round pick from 2015 set a season-high of nine strikeouts over seven innings pitched in the River Cats’ 2-1 win over the Round Rock Express for their third straight victory. Suarez also only allowed one earned run on four hits and walked two batters. At one point, he retired 14 straight batters.
“He came in and he was not intimidated at all by the (Pacific) Coast League,” River Cats announcer Johnny Doskow recently said about his first impressions of Suarez.
The Pacific Coast League can tear you down as a pitcher. Lazy fly balls turn into home runs and ERAs can be deceiving to how a pitcher is truly performing. Suarez’s stats have took a bit of hit since his mid-season promotion from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A with the River Cats, but he sits only behind Joan Gregorio, who is currently suspended due to PED use, as the team’s leader in ERA among starting pitchers. Over eight games, seven starts, Suarez is now 4-4 with a 4.18 ERA and has struck out 45 batters in 47.1 innings pitched for the River Cats.
With his ninth and final strikeout of the night on Thursday, Suarez reached 100 strikeouts on the season between Richmond and Sacramento. He is only 24 strikeouts off his career-high in which he set last season in five more appearances.
As the Giants continued to tumble in the standings, the front office will have to take a longer look at their prospects. Even if a slot doesn’t open via a trade, there’s no reason Suarez shouldn’t get at least a look in San Francisco as a September call-up.
The lefty is ranked as the Giants’ No. 6 prospect by Baseball America and No. 11 by MLB Pipeline. Suarez sits behind only Tyler Beede, who is now expected to miss the rest of the season with a groin injury, as the top pitching prospect in the organization.
Around The Horn
— For everything you need to know about familiar faces in Triple-A, Alex Pavlovic has you covered.
— Sandro Fabian, who is only 19 years old at Low-A with the Augusta GreenJackets, had a huge game Thursday night. The outfielder went 3-for-5 with two home runs and three RBI.
— Panda Watch: Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-4 Thursday night. He is now batting .211 (4-for-19) between the San Jose Giants and Sacramento River Cats.