Giants notes: Another young power hitter is knocking on the door to make his big league debut
San Francisco Giants’ Ryder Jones scores on a single by Michael Morse as the Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell stands by in the 7th inning, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, in Cactus League play at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Az. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
DENVER – Christian Arroyo is most often lauded as the Giants’ top hitting prospect. He’s the organization’s only position player on Baseball America’s Top 100 list.
But the high school kid drafted one round behind him in 2013 is beginning to make some noise – and he is positioning himself to be the next new face promoted to the Giants roster.
Ryder Jones just turned 23 last week and he hit a home run for the third consecutive game Friday for Triple-A Sacramento. He has 10 homers this season and blends some on-base skills (.295/.393/.563) with his power.
Jones is clearly positioning himself as the next player to make his big league debut, ahead of Chris Shaw and Jae-gyun Hwang.
“His confidence has really grown,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s a power threat. He’s a guy I’m watching. He’s a guy we don’t have here, who has a lot of power.”
Jones also has versatility. He has started 22 games at third base, 11 games at first base and 15 games at the two corner outfield spots.
As for Arroyo, he hasn’t played since getting hit on the hand with a pitch Wednesday, but X-rays ruled out a fracture and he isn’t expected to be out for long.
A reminder: Hwang can opt out of his contract July 1. It’s hard to imagine the Giants would let him get away without giving him a look at the big league level. But they also will want to continue to play Eduardo Nuñez in case they can showcase him for a potential trade. So perhaps the Giants can convince Hwang to stick around until nearer to July 31.
Jones is in the same boat as Arroyo when the season began. He’s not on the 40-man roster, but he would have to be added after the season to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. So if Jones keeps this up, there’s every reason to believe he’ll make his major league debut at some point this season.
Nuñez (hamstring) is available in an emergency only. He likely won’t return to the lineup any earlier than Monday’s series opener at Atlanta.
Buster Posey (left ankle) was cleared to catch but he’s starting at first base as Brandon Belt gets a day off. Belt somehow went hitless in two games here in which the Giants scored 17 runs. His average is down to .221.
“Belt is going through his struggles,” Bochy said. “I want to give him a break, more on the mental side.”
Brandon Crawford and Denard Span are also getting a rest day. Joe Panik might rest on Sunday.
Any update on Hunter Strickland’s appeal?
“I don’t even check anymore,” Bochy said. “He’s on the roster. He’s ready to pitch.”
It’s flat-out ridiculous, and Major League Baseball should be embarrassed that it has left one of its clubs in the lurch for so long without any explanation.
Lineups as Matt Cain tries to hold onto his rotation spot and the Giants try to snap a franchise-record seven-game losing streak to the Rockies, who lead them by 17 ½ games in the NL West: