San Francisco Giants Fall-Stars: Stratton Struggles While Rogers Rocks

Oct 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Scottsdale Scorpions pitcher Chris Stratton of the San Francisco Giants against the Glendale Desert Dogs during an Arizona Fall League game at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Scottsdale Scorpions pitcher Chris Stratton of the San Francisco Giants against the Glendale Desert Dogs during an Arizona Fall League game at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Two San Francisco Giants’ prospects took part in Saturday’s Fall-Star Game, with one struggling while the other made the most of his chance.

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The annual Fall-Star Game, the Arizona Fall League’s personal All-Star showcase, took place on Saturday night, and two San Francisco Giants’ farmhands were involved. Two pitchers were among the postseason league’s top performers.

Chris Stratton, a right-hander who gained some big league experience last season, was the starter for the East team. In four starts in the AFL leading up to this game, Stratton pitched to a 3.94 ERA while going 2-1. In 16 innings he gave up one home run among his 23 hits allowed, and posted an outstanding 16:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Stratton pitched well in the first inning, spotting his low 90’s fastball (which touched 93 occasionally) nicely while mixing in a mid-80’s changeup and low-80’s slider with good downward bite. The first batter he faced, Nick Gordon grounded out to shortstop. Cody Bellinger was way ahead of a changeup early in his at-bat, but adjusted and made loud contact against another Stratton change. He hit a long flyball to center field, but was just a loud out. The last batter of the inning was Tyler O’Neill, and Stratton set him down with a three-pitch strikeout.

The second inning was much worse for Stratton. He lost command and began to miss with fastballs in poor locations. Drew Ward grounded into the shift for the first out, but Harrison Bader followed by lacing a double into left field. Ryan O’Hearn took a four-pitch walk, and Carson Kelly‘s seeing-eye single brought home the game’s first run. Willie Calhoun kept the line moving with a base hit to load the bases.

Stratton left another fastball in the middle of the plate to Michael Gettys, and Gettys did not miss. He rapped a double to left-center field, clearing the bases and making it 4-0 West. Gordon hit a ball hard in his second at-bat, but a nice back-handed stop by third baseman Brian Anderson resulted in the second out. Bellinger was jammed with a fastball on his hands to ground out to first for the third out.

Overall, Stratton threw two innings, allowed four hits, a walk, and four runs with one strikeout. He threw four pitches, a fastball, changeup, slider, and curveball, but his command in the second inning was not good.

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In 2016, Stratton made 21 appearances (20 starts) for the Triple-A River Cats. He went 12-6 with a 3.87 ERA and 1.265 WHIP. Stratton struck out 103 in 125.2 innings while walking a career-low 2.8 batters per nine innings. In seven relief appearances in the big leagues, he allowed 11 hits and four runs in 10 innings, with six strikeouts and five walks. He also earned his first career win.

In the seventh inning, Tyler Rogers entered facing a 12-3 deficit. The submarine thrower made six appearances in his second year in the Arizona Fall League, allowing two runs (both unearned) in 5.2 innings. He struck out six while not walking anyone and recorded a save.

Rogers faced two batters and made quick work of them by throwing six pitches to get a pair of outs. Courtney Hawkins struck out on four pitches, eventually succumbing to an 81-mph changeup for the third strike. Next was Jose Trevino, who lifted another changeup to center field for a lazy flyball.

The unusual hurler started last season at Double-A with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, where he made 35 appearances. Rogers pitched to a 0.77 ERA and 0.943 WHIP, and didn’t allow a home run among his 25 hits over 35 innings. His groundball rate was an outstanding 80 percent, and he earned a call-up.

Triple-A wasn’t as kind to Rogers, as his ERA and WHIP ballooned to 6.10 and 0.943, respectively. He allowed 16 walks and 38 hits in 31 innings.

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Mentioned prospects’ organization and rankings:
Nick Gordon – Minnesota Twins’ number-two prospect, 47th overall
Cody Bellinger – Los Angeles Dodgers’ number-one prospect, 31st overall
Tyler O’Neill – Seattle Mariners’ number-two prospect, 59th overall
Drew Ward – Washington Nationals’ number-10 prospect
Harrison Bader – St. Louis Cardinals’ number-three prospect, 82nd overall
Ryan O’Hearn – Kansas City Royals’ number-seven prospect
Carson Kelly – St. Louis Cardinals’ number-11 prospect
Willie Calhoun – Los Angeles Dodgers’ number-four prospect, 87th overall
Michael Gettys – San Diego Padres’ number-10 prospect
Courtney Hawkins – Chicago White Sox number-14 prospect
Jose Trevino – Texas Rangers’ number-20 prospect
Brian Anderson – Miami Marlins’ number-four prospect