Posted August 21, 2014 10:53 pm

Black, Smith promoted to San Jose

Right-handed relievers Ray Black and Jake Smith have been assigned to Advanced-A San Jose and will report to the Giants on Friday.


The two relievers have been steady contributors for the Augusta GreenJackets this season. Black recorded a 3.73 ERA with 14 walks to 64 strikeouts in 31.1 innings. His 50.8 percent strikeout rate is the best in professional baseball this year.


Smith had a 2.79 ERA with 30 walks to 77 strikeouts in 58 innings. His 48 appearances is second most in the South Atlantic League.


Both have been rewarded for staying strong down the stretch by getting thrown into a potential playoff hunt. San Jose is five games back of Stockton in the California League's North Division.


"I’ve been fortunate to stay healthy the whole season and put up good enough numbers to get in games that matter now," Smith said. "They’re in a playoff hunt and that’s going to be awesome."


Black made waves in professional baseball by recovering from a serious shoulder surgery and setbacks to make his pro debut three years after getting drafted. He came out firing with one of the best fastballs in pro baseball, routinely sitting 94-99 with the occasional 100-101. He touched 102 in one outing.


The Giants have been careful with Black in his first full season by throwing him every three days if the schedule allows. He has mowed down lesser competition and proven himself healthy over 30-plus innings.


"A personal goal for me this year was to just try to get through the year healthy," Black said. "With the advancement of a level, it’s a little bit of icing on the cake."


Black adds a hammer breaking ball that has clocked 79-86 depending on the shape. It has flashed plus-plus and has 70 potential. The big right-hander has closer potential.


Smith was a great story for the GreenJackets as the local kid from North Augusta who was discovered on the Lake Olmstead Stadium grounds crew. He surprised some by being perhaps the most reliable reliever in the Augusta bullpen despite a heavy workload.


The 24-year-old throws low-90s with the ability to hit 95-96 when fresh. He has a solid slider to pair with it.


The two leave Augusta as perhaps the two biggest stories of the GreenJackets season. One is a flamethrower who drew national attention for his comeback story and triple-digit heat. One drew local attention for his story of being discovered and pitching for the hometown team.


For Augusta, the two will be greatly missed both on the field and off.


"It’s a little bit bittersweet when it happens because you leave guys behind, a few friends from the team," Black said. "This is another step for me. I’m just working up another level and trying to prove I can pitch at the next level."


"I'm excited about the opportunity to go up another level and be able to challenge those hitters and see what I can do," Smith said.