A young Giants fan propped himself in prime autograph signing position prior to Friday night’s game against the Mets at AT&T Park, shouting mercilessly at every coach, player and executive who passed for an autograph.
Bruce Bochy, lumbering into his home dugout 10 hours after landing at SFO from the east coast, heard the enthusiastic fan’s pleas, peered over and smirked:
“Hasn’t he seen our record?”
The Giants are 28-48, 21.5 games back of the first-place Colorado Rockies in the NL West and on track to record a historically awful, lost season — one on pace to be the worst in the Bochy/Buster Posey/Madison Bumgarner era.
With 2017 essentially in the can, the Giants will start to look at what their young talent can provide a team tasked with filling the now visible gaps between reality and the extraordinarily high bar its set this decade. And it’s time for all those enthusiastic fans who still fill AT&T Park looking for a little glory and some autographs to do this, too, said Bochy:
“Unfortunately, we put ourselves in a position where we’re going to get a look at some young players here.”
Christian Arroyo kicked off the prospect parade in late April, was sent down to Sacramento again to regain his stride and ended up getting hit in the hand with a fastball in (no major injury).
Saturday afternoon, Ryder Jones got the next call — forcing the club to designate Aaron Hill for assignment, who had a .120 average — and will make his debut in the lineup at third against Jacob deGrom. Jones said he always hoped to have his debut against a stud like deGrom.
To simulate the big matchup, Jones took on deGrom in PlayStation’s MLB: The Show last night after he heard the news of his promotion:
“Arroyo played deGrom. I got a knock, maybe a pop-up.”
Jones made a quick ascension through the Giants system, finding his stride in the latter half of his season with the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels. He honed his approach at the plate, practicing patience instead of forcing plays, in Arizona Fall League, batting .302. He broke out with the Triple-A Sacramento RiverCats, batting .299 with a .944 OPS.
“The biggest thing is not trying to impress people. It’s one of those things, when you’re 18, 19 and get drafted, you want to be worth the second round pick, hit home runs, steal bases and make plays you shouldn’t make.”
Jones was the Giants’ second round pick, drafted out of high school in Washington in 2013.
So, who’s next in the prospect parade? The options are running slim out of Sacramento. Chris Shaw (.284, .830 OPS, 43 RBI), a potential slugger who made a transition to the outfield this year could be a late-season call-up, though he may best be suited to get a full season in at triple-A. Infielder Jae-Gyun Hwang (.290, .799 OPS, 43 RBI) could get a look, though there is a plethora of infielders already in San Francisco. The rotation is not an open for experimentation, especially when Bumgarner returns, but Tyler Beede (5.40 ERA) and Andrew Suarez (3.32 ERA) would be next in line there.