- Jacob Dunnington, RHP
- Chris Gloor, LHP
- Heath Hembree, RHP
- Dan Runzler, LHP
- Ricky Oropesa, 1B
- Joe Panik, MI
- Chris Dominguez, 3B/OF
- Gary Brown, OF
Some are not too surprising. Hembree and Runzler are coming off injury seasons and could use the extra competition. Panik and Brown were here last season, and could still use some more competition against better players, particularly Brown who missed most of last year's AFL due to some sort of nasty Valley Fever that was running around. Perhaps that lingered into the start of this season, partially explaining his slow start, which is probably mostly related to it being the AA Eastern League, which is a strong pitcher's league. Oropesa and Dominguez are two of our biggest sluggers in the minors, and could also use elevated competition so that the Giants can better assess how advanced they are or not. Oropesa did not do that well, considering he's a college draftee in a hitter's league, plus he struck out a ton (150 in 518 AB). I'm a little surprised about Dominguez, given how poor his batting line was, but looking at his PA, he must have missed some time with injuries and thus that is probably the reason he is here.
The two surprises for me are Dunnington and Gloor, though mainly because I'm not that familar with them. Gloor spent the whole season in AA and had a nice 2.81 ERA in 105.2 IP (13 starts, 19 relief), giving up 99 hits and 29 walks, striking out 74 for a 6.3 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 and 2.55 K/BB, which is good, while the K/9 is not really that good. Nothing against Gloor, but I have to think that had Brett Bochy not got shut down due to a physical problem, this slot would have been his. Still, Gloor had a nice season, though at 25 YO and in AA, this is probably his big chance to show off what he can do against better hitters.
Dunnington I first learned about at DrB's great blog, and he did well during the season, 2.84 ERA overall. Given that he did well in 2011 and his number of appearances appear small, I have to think that he started the season injured, then came back with Augusta to rehab and get into game shape, then was moved up to AA, which is where he should have been given how well he did last season. Wow, his K/9 has been over 11 at every stop he has been except AA this season, when it was 10.6 K/9. He's a bit wild too, BB/9 over 4.5 most leagues, resulting in only a 2.25 K/BB in AA this season, which is right in line with his 2.30 K/BB for his career. And he's only 21 YO for this season, he could be ready for the majors next season if pushed, but definitely by 2014, I would think. But wild guys like him can be up and down really fast, in terms of performance, but he has had nice ERAs, for the most part, everywhere he has went. And normally gives up a lot less hits than IP, making up for his high walk rate and resulting in his low 1.19 WHIP for his career.
The guys I would watch for are the obvious ones, Panik, Brown, Hembree, Runzler, plus Dunnington. But if you are there and watching, you probably want to also watch Oropesa and Dominguez, they strike out a lot but when they connect, boom, outtahere!
The ones I have strong hopes they will perform well and advance themselves in the eyes of prospect hounds are Panik, Brown, Hembree, and Dunnington. Both Brown's and Panik's prospect status took a hit this season, and a good showing in the AFL would help boost their profile going into 2013, and earn them promotions for 2013. Right now, I have to think that Panik is very much on the line right now, and Brown probably is staring at a return trip, as his AFL performance will speak to whether his first half performance is his current talent level or his second half is. Hembree also took a hit as well, but I have to think he pitched while battling his injury before submitting to the DL. A good showing here would confirm that. Dunnington is bucking to be promoted to AAA with a good performance.
In Runzler's case, he is not really a rookie anymore, so I'm not sure why he's eligible, I would have thought he accumulated a lot of MLB time already, but I hope to see good work out of him - he has done great so far in the September Call-Up - as he could be the guy the Giants are hoping to take Affeldt's place in the bullpen for 2013. Hembree is also considered close to the big show as well and a good showing here would bode well for his ascension in spring training and making the club. I would also think that Dunnington could push himself into the equation for 2013 with a strong AFL showing as well, though I think spring training at best he can make himself better known there, not leap up like Runzler or Hembree could.
I think that Oropesa is playing right now for where he will be placed in 2013. A good showing could put him in AA, but a poor showing would mean that he repeats in San Jose, which is a slight set back to his prospect status, but not fatal. He at least was around league average and that bodes well for him being at least a bench player in the future.
Dominguez is probably mostly playing to get extra ABs against advanced competition and pitching, after missing about a third of the games this season. He's probably going to end up in AAA, and I noticed that he spent most of the season playing in LF, not 3B. Heck, he played almost as many games in RF (3) as 3B (4). He needs to start hitting to restart his prospect status, and a good showing is needed. He will be 26 next season and need to have a good showing.