Thursday, December 14, 2017

Your 2018 Giants: Rule 5 Draft: Lose One, Gain One

In the Rule 5 Draft today, the Giants selected the Rockies flame throwing RHP, Julian Fernandez, who has been recorded as hitting 102 MPH before.  Just 22 YO, the Giants are paying $100K to find out if this right-handing can jump to the majors from A-ball, where he did pretty well.

Meanwhile, the D-backs grabbed Albert Suarez from the Giants.  He was valuable in 2016, and the D-backs clearly hope to return him to that for 2018, after a poor 2017 season.


ogc thoughts

Julian Fernandez sounds interesting.  He had a 3.26 ERA in the Sally, with a good 57/18 K/BB ratio of 3.2 and 8.8 K/9 (only 58 IP in relief; he has never started a game).  As MLB.com noted, he's got the best velocity outside of Chapman, and noted what a pair he and Roldofo Martinez, who also throws 102 MPH, would make in the Giants bullpen.  Fangraphs noted his velocity and wildness, and Steamer projects 6.40 ERA, while Clay Davenport translation had him as 5.53 ERA

Here is what MLB.com noted: "Fernandez is one of the hardest throwers in the Minor Leagues, reaching 102 mph with his fastball, though he lacks a reliable secondary pitch and doesn't have much of a history of throwing strikes. He had a 3.26 ERA and 57/18 K-BB ratio in 58 relief innings in low Class A."  Odd that it's noted that the don't throw strikes as he got 57 in 58 IP, plus 3.2 K/BB ratio, which is good.  He wasn't ranked on the Rockies Top 30 by MLB Pipeline, though.

Reminds me some of when the Giants moved Jonathan Sanchez to the majors pretty fast, after a great season in the low minors (same A-ball league, Sally), and that is pretty good command of his pitches, with that good K/BB ratio (though only 86th in the Sally, and K/9 only 65th; and he was slightly better than the league in BB/9, K/9, K/BB while basically same age as league, basically league average), though not as good as Dirty did, who overpowered everyone and had a huge K/9.

As usual, the Giants zigs when everyone zags.  Fernandez was not mentioned in any of the Rule 5 Draft articles I read through.  Looking over some of the other names, Nestor Cortes of the Yankees was grabbed, and he's a lefty who has had success in AAA, with a great ERA and strikeout rate.  He could have made a nice loogy.  Still, 102 MPH speed is very attractive, and would work as well on LHH as RHH (however, not in the minors, LHH hit him pretty well, .330/.380/.420/.800 in 108 PA with .400 BABIP; maybe he's viewed as a great roogy, only .169/.248/.234/.482 with .225 BABIP).  .

But, oof, that's a huge jump to reach the majors from there, no matter how you slice it.  We'll see if the Giants scouts got it right or not.  They must see some way to improve his off-speed pitch for him, or maybe liked what he did on the road, where he was slightly better, 9.5 K/9 with 3.50 K/BB.  That gets him to roughly 45th in the league in K/9 (jumped 20 spots) and 72nd in K/BB (hardly better there), and drops his WHIP to great 1.088.

I like the move, quality arm, and maybe Tidrow can do some magic with him, like he did with others.  If you can corral his fastball, maybe they can figure out how to get him to cut something off his slider without losing his mechanics, and that would do it.  He just needs one great off-speed pitch to make him MLB worthy, and maybe it could be teaching him another pitch that he hasn't tried before or done much with before.

Bullpen Jam

Looks like, unless there is a trade of a reliever, that Crick will have even greater speed competition for that last spot in the bullpen.  Of course, Okert and Osich will be back to battle for that spot as well.  I had thought the Giants would want a loogy for this last spot, but I guess his speed was too good to pass up.

Still, only $50K (if they return back to original team, they get $50K back) to see if he can stick (or, sometimes a team can work out a trade so that they can keep the Rule 5 draft pick).  That's worth the risk, given how well he did in A-ball as a 22 YO, and his god-given velocity, something you can't teach.

Thought Maybe CF

I was hoping the Giants would pick up a strong defensive CF from the Rule 5 Draft.  Seems like those type of CF are dime a dozen in the minors, thought at least one interesting one would be available.  In particular, Jose Cardona of the Rangers, because he's not only good defensively, but also makes good contact.

But this also fits in with their goal to upgrade their bullpen, having a 102 MPH flame thrower would certainly perk up this bullpen.  Perhaps this will free up the Giants to try to use the value of one of their relievers (Strickland, Gearrin, maybe Dyson, to work out a trade for a good defensive CF or a power-hitting 3B, though I still think they are going to end up with a slimmer Sandoval as their starting 3B in 2018).

Bye to Suarez

Good luck to Suarez, but with Blach, Stratton, Beede, and even Andrew Suarez, all knocking on the door to the Giants bullpen or starting rotation, there really was no opportunity for him here, and hence why he was dropped from the 40-man.  I guess the D-back had no space at that time to pick him up, because a waiver call would have been cheaper, I would think, and no worries about sending him back.

6 comments:

  1. Poking about, found more info: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa737347&position=P

    Looking at his batted balls stats, wow! His K-rate is nothing to smile about, as noted, way down low in league, but look at infield flies! 32% last season, and it has been in the 20-40% range, which is huge, because that's basically as good as a strikeout. Obviously, 102 MPH thrower is over powering the young developing bats, will be interesting what happens at MLB level.

    Also, outside of those, he gets a lot of groundballs to boot, resulting in very low homeruns given up, and that speed probably also results in the low HR/FB ratio.

    I'm still not sure how well he does, coming from A-ball. Evans noted in interview that he could have pitched at a higher league last year, and yeah, he probably could have, but he needed to figure some stuff out, as he walked so many in 2016.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, last year's Rockies Top Prospect list included him: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/top-24-prospects-colorado-rockies/

      "Scouting Report
      Fernandez can’t do much else right now, but he’s incredibly loose, athletic and touches 102. His arm action and acceleration are incredible and he was up to 99 during instructional league. He has an upper-80s slider and changeup. Both are well below average, as is his command. Only one of the secondaries needs to come along for Fernandez to profile as a late-inning reliever. His ceiling is obviously higher than that."

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    2. https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/baseball/news/giants-julian-fernandez-goes-to-giants-in-rule-5-draft/

      "Fernandez has a very live arm, and can live in the upper-90s, but he is a reliever all the way. This actually makes him a very appealing Rule 5 selection, as he has the stuff to get big-league hitters out in short stints. "

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    3. I wasn't going to include this, but Baseball America published this LAST year on him, before he found control in 2017: https://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2016-rule-5-draft-preview/#fRlgSOvHjjmiuP5T.97

      "Asking Fernandez to pitch in the big leagues right now would be like tossing the keys to a new Ferrari to a 16-year-old and telling them take it for a spin around the Nurburgring. Fernandez walked 7.8 batters per nine innings in short-season Boise–he struck out 19 and walked 20 in 23 innings. He's yet to throw a pitch in full season ball. But Fernandez has a truly special right arm. As a reliever, Fernandez sits at 98-100, touching 102-103 with outstanding life. He doesn't really have a secondary pitch he can rely on yet and his fastball misses the zone almost as often as it finds it, but a rebuilding team could take a chance on one of the best arms in baseball, sit him on the bench in all but blowout games and hope that a few years from now, they have a dominant reliever."

      Obviously, Giants are not a rebuilding team, but he did find control last season. And as I noted from his stats above, just as good, popped up a lot of hitters, just as good as a strikeout, if he can keep it up in the majors (tall order though...).

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    4. After reading these, I'm a lot more pumped up about him. This is classic Giants, a prospect on nobody's radar this season (though was last season, so not sure why not this year too) and they pick him.

      Oh, and I'm reading that the cost is only $50K now to draft a player, even cheaper now! Though, for an MLB team, $100K, $50K, that's pocket change.

      Delete
    5. A well-known MiLB prospect analyst, Sickels, had this to say on him:

      https://www.minorleagueball.com/2017/12/14/16777728/2017-mlb-rule-5-draft-summary-and-reports

      "Julian Fernandez, RHP, Rockies: Age 22, from Dominican Republic, posted 3.26 ERA in 58 innings in low-A with 57/18 K/BB; throws extremely hard, up to 102 MPH; although his control improved in 2017 he was left unprotected due to erratic secondary pitches; he could stick as back of the bullpen arm."

      Delete

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