The San Jose Giants will start Thursday night’s game minus a significant amount of talent as LHP Madison Bumgarner, RHP Tim Alderson, and SS Brandon Crawford were promoted to AA Connecticut Wednesday evening.
Bumgarner, the headliner of the list, seemingly hasn’t missed a beat since last season’s remarkable performance, going 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA and a 4 BB/23 K ratio in 24.1 IP. The Giants have been conservative with Madison’s workload as he is averaging just five innings per start, perhaps in an effort to save him for a September call up to San Francisco. Bumgarner pitched very well this spring in limited action for San Francisco, but I don’t know if he will be adaquately prepared to make his big league debut this season. Bumgarner has pitched well at High-A, but has not dominated in the same fashion that he did last season. Of the 10 runs that he has allowed this season, only 4 of them have been earned and, while his BB/K ratio has been excellent, he is not striking out hitters at nearly the same pace that he did last season. Watch his first couple of outings against AA hitters as I believe that it will give a sound bearing on where he is developmentally and may help the Giants better determine their September plans.
Tim Alderson has exhibited excellent control as well with a 3 BB/20 K ratio, but has not been nearly as effective as Bumgarner, going 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA. California League hitters are batting .292 against Alderson and he has surrendered 4 HR’s in 5 outings. Alderson remains an uber-bright talent, but this promotion may be premature. Like Bumgarner, his first couple of AA starts will be a good indicator of his development to this point. Unlike his left-handed counterpart, he has virtually no shot at making the Giants’ roster at any point this season.
Brandon Crawford has exceeded several scouts’ expectations thusfar this season, hitting .371 with 6 HR 17 RBI and 21 runs scored through his first 28 games. The one knock on him is the same knock that scouts had when he was drafted last season. His 10 BB/32 K’s is a prime indicator that the high batting average may well be a misnomer that could be subject to change significantly following his promotion. Couple that with the fact that he is vacating the friendly hitting environments of the California League for the less generous Eastern League and it spells out D-E-C-L-I-N-E. Crawford has promising power potential, especially as a shortstop, but don’t expect the batting average to threaten the .300 level after his promotion, and don’t be surprised if it dips below .260.
San Jose lost some nice talent, but there is still plenty more primed for a promotion later this summer. Buster Posey, Angel Villalona, Connor Gillaspie, Thomas Neal, and Roger Kieschnick have all played exceptionally well this spring and have given Rice-A-Roni Nation several reasons to be excited for what should be a prosperous N.L. West run for many years to come.