Stratton, Agosta will anchor GreenJackets staff

2013 Augusta GreenJackets pitching staff:

 

Martin Agosta (RHP, 6-1, 180, 4/7/91, St. Mary's-2012 2nd round)

 

Agosta figures to be the No. 2 starter at the beginning of the season. He's an athletic college arm who reportedly sits in the low-90s on his four-seamer. Agosta said he has started to develop a bit of a sinker, while the cutter he used in college has largely been ditched at the instruction of the Giants. In Agosta's words regarding the slider/cutter: "It depends on the count. If it's 1-0, I make it more of a cutter. It's 0-2, I'll make it more of a hard slider. It's just depending on what the count is and who's hitting." Baseball America attributes his size as having scared some scouts away, but his athleticism and feel for pitching work in his favor.

 

Joseph Biagini (RHP, 6-4, 215, 5/29/90, UC-Davis-2011 26th round)

 

Biagini will be used as a starter for the GreenJackets. He made nine starts in Augusta at the tail end of the 2012 season, allowing 28 earned runs in 34 innings. After recording a 2.7 BB/9 in 59 innings for short-season Salem-Keizer earlier in the year, that number jumped to 7.7 in Augusta. Small sample size is the obvious warning, but it's worth monitoring Biagini's control. He has size and a live arm going for him at 22 years old.

 

Brandon Farley (RHP, 6-2, 215, 8/1/90, Arkansas State-2012 33rd round)

 

Farley will pitch out of the bullpen for the GreenJackets. He gave up just three earned runs in 22.2 innings for Salem-Keizer last season, including 20 strikeouts and seven walks.

 

Kendry Flores (RHP, 6-2, 175, 11/24/91, Dominican Republic-2009)

 

Flores has been in the Giants system since he was 17 years old, making his stateside debut in 2010. The Giants have understandably taken it slow with Flores since then, giving him a season in the Arizona League and two in Salem-Keizer. He made a little noise as a sleeper prior to the 2011 season, but after ERAs of 5.06 and 4.46 in the past two years, his stock fell a bit. Flores maintains excellent walk rates (combined 2.5 BB/9 in 90.1 innings at Salem-Keizer) and is only 21 years old in his first attempt at full-season ball in Augusta's rotation.

 

Ian Gardeck (RHP, 6-2, 215, 11/21/90, Alabama-2012 16th round)

 

Gardeck pitched for three colleges in three years, getting drafted in the eighth round by the White Sox in 2011 but opting not to sign, and profiling as a big name in the junior college ranks at one time. The Giants nabbed him in the 16th round last year for his high-90s fastball and hard slider, and he proceeded to strike out 45 in 30 innings at Salem-Keizer to end the year. Gardeck could be a fast riser as a reliever in the system if he can harness his control.

 

Joan Gregorio (RHP, 6-7, 180, 1/12/92, Dominican Republic-2010)

 

Gregorio is immediately noticeable because of his size, but he could be a name to be noticed in the prospect ranks with a good season in Augusta's rotation. The 6-7 right-hander succeeded in his first taste of stateside ball in the Arizona League, recording a 2.32 ERA in 50.1 innings in 2011. He gave up more hits and runs in Salem-Keizer last season, but his strikeout/walk ratio actually improved, sporting an 8.1 K/9 in 76.1 innings. Gregorio reportedly has a low-90s fastball with a good curveball and developing changeup. How he fills out his 6-7 frame as he ages is on plenty of minds, I'm sure.

 

Stephen Johnson (RHP, 6-4, 205, 2/21/91, St. Edward's-2012 6th round)

 

Johnson is another flamethrower in the bullpen for the GreenJackets. He's a college relief arm who gave up 10 earned runs in 19.1 innings at Salem-Keizer to end last season, striking out 19 and walking 12. Johnson, ranked 21st in the Giants system by Baseball America, reportedly has a fastball sitting 94-98 that has touched 101. He pairs that with a hard curveball in the mid-80s. Baseball America rated Johnson's fastball as the best in the 2012 Giants draft class.

 

Derek Law (RHP, 6-3, 218, 9/14/90, Miami Dade South CC-2011 9th round)

 

Law is repeating Augusta despite a 2.91 ERA in 55.2 relief innings for the GreenJackets last season. He sported a 10.8 K/9 while limiting the walks to 3.7 BB/9. I don't expect him to remain in Augusta for the majority of the season.

 

Mason McVay (LHP, 6-7, 230, 8/15/90, Florida International-2012 26th round)

 

It's rare to see a left-hander of McVay's size, making him an intriguing arm in his first full season in the GreenJackets bullpen. McVay started in college but was moved to the bullpen for 30.1 innings at Salem-Keizer after signing, allowing just four runs while striking out 43 and walking 13. He reportedly gets his fastball into the mid-90s in short stints.

 

Tyler Mizenko (RHP, 6-1, 200, 4/9/90, Winthrop-2011 28th round)

 

Mizenko is more of a control reliever, walking just five in 31.2 innings at Salem-Keizer last year. He struck out 29 with a 1.99 ERA, earning his full-season promotion. Mizenko is reportedly in the low-90s with excellent command and control.

 

Steven Okert (LHP, 6-3, 210, 7/9/91, Oklahoma-2012 4th round)

 

Okert could prove to be a valuable relief arm as he rises in the system. A left-hander with a mid-90s fastball and hard slider against left-handed batters gets you an easy ticket to the majors. Okert is ranked 18th in the Giants system by Baseball America, which describes his motion as a cross-fire delivery, but he shows good feel and repeats his mechanics. The publication would like to see his changeup continue to develop to neutralize right-handed batters.

 

Jose Reyes (RHP, 6-1, 184, 1/3/91, Dominican Republic-2010)

 

Reyes will be in Augusta's rotation to start the 2013 season. He made his stateside debut last year, recording a 4.53 ERA with 41 strikeouts to 18 walks in 47.2 innings in the Arizona League. He showed the best K/9 of his short career last season at 7.7, which is good to see considering the jump.

 

Chris Stratton (RHP, 6-3, 186, 8/22/90, Mississippi State-2012 1st round)

 

Stratton is the prize of the 2013 GreenJackets. The 2012 first-rounder (20th overall) is ranked third in the Giants system by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. His calling card is pitchability, as he shows an advanced feel for the zone and sequencing. He sits 91-93 and touches 95 on the fastball, and throws a good slider with a developing curveball and changeup. His four-seamer can work plus in the mid-90s, while his two-seamer shows good late movement in the low-90s. Stratton said his slider has been his out pitch, while he worked hard on the curveball and changeup in spring training to catch them up. The ability to show more than two above-average pitches will be important, but the feel Stratton shows for pitching is in his favor, and he could end up with four above-average offerings. Stratton's 2012 season ended abruptly with a concussion on a batting-practice line drive at Salem-Keizer, but he said he's "happy to be back and ready to get going." He will do so as the ace of the GreenJackets rotation.

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