San Francisco Giants Minor League Major Performers: 2018 Hitters of the Year

San Francisco Giants (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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SURPRISE, AZ – MARCH 05: Miguel Gomez #52 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Texas Rangers during the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 5, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Second Base: Jalen Miller

2015 third-round pick Jalen Miller made a huge jump in 2018 after a disappointing campaign in San Jose in 2017. In his second year in the Cal League, he set personal bests in just about every category. His .276/.321/.434 slash-line, 141 total hits, 35 doubles, 14 home runs, 62 RBI, and 73 runs scored all marked career-highs as a pro. He also matched his best with 11 stolen bases.

The 21-year-old Miller was among the top hitters in the Cal League, and in the Giants’ system, in many categories. He was first in the San Francisco system in runs, second in doubles, third in hits, fourth in RBI, and tied for fourth in home runs. In the league, he was tied for fourth in doubles, eight in runs, and ninth in hits. For his efforts in San Jose, he was named a midseason and postseason Cal League All-Star.

This was a bit out of nowhere from Miller, especially the power numbers. In his first three seasons, he hit 11 total home runs and had never slugged over .350. During the 2018 season, Miller found a spot on the Giants’ top-30 prospects list on MLB Pipeline, where he currently sits at 25th. He will only be 22 next season when he presumably moves up to Richmond, so his continued development would be a nice boost to the farm system.

Honorable Mentions:

2017 26th-round pick Kyle McPherson had a tremendous year playing in Salem-Keizer. He hit .314/.370/.493 in 65 games with the Volcanoes, and was among the most prolific hitters in the Northwest League. He led the league with 88 hits, was second with 23 doubles, and tied for second with 49 runs scored. His 140 wRC+ tied for fourth, while he was fifth in slugging and tied for sixth in average. Playing mostly as the leadoff hitter, he was the table-setter for an excellent Salem-Keizer offense.

No one will confuse Miguel Gomez for a patient hitter (he walked nine times in 452 plate appearances between AA, AAA, and San Francisco for an absolutely astounding 1.9% walk rate), but he continued to prove that he is excellent at making solid contact. In 116 minor league games, he put together a .291 batting average and hit 26 doubles and five triples. He struck out in 14.4% of his plate appearances, the seventh-lowest mark in the Giants’ system.