With Major League Baseball beginning its annual pitchers and catchers reporting dates this week, it’s time to start paying attention to spring training rosters. Those who follow the Augusta GreenJackets have some to choose from among the Giants spring roster, as well as in minor league camps.
Among non-roster invitees on the Giants spring training roster, the following have experience in Augusta:
Brett Bochy, Edward Concepcion, Justin Fitzgerald, Mitch Lively, Michael Kickham, Jose Valdez
Johnny Monell, Jackson Williams
Brock Bond, Adam Duvall
From the list, those with real prospect intrigue are Kickham and Duvall.
Kickham, a sixth-rounder out of Missouri State in 2010, threw 111.2 innings in Augusta in 2011, recording a 4.11 ERA with 103 strikeouts to 37 walks. He answered an aggressive promotion by the Giants with a 3.05 ERA in 150.2 innings with Double-A Richmond in 2012, including 137 strikeouts.
Kickham is ranked fifth in the Giants system by Baseball America. Perhaps the one knock on the left-hander is the walk rate, which jumped to 11.9 percent with Richmond. He isn’t the typical command and control lefty, recording strikeout rates above 20 percent while ranking as the best slider in the system by BA. He will need to continue working on his control as he gets closer to the majors. He could see time in San Francisco as soon as this season.
Duvall was ranked outside the top 10 by Baseball America, but the publication rated him as the best power hitter in the system, and for good reason. The 24-year-old third baseman hit 30 home runs with Class-A Advanced San Jose last season, following his 22-homer season with Augusta in 2011.
Duvall will have his share of strikeouts as a power hitter, but he has also shown good walk rates so far. A move to the upper levels will tell the tale of his true discipline at the plate. If he can stick at third base while maintaining the ability to walk in Double-A, Duvall could see time in the majors before long. A solid spring on the big league roster could go a long way toward that.