San Francisco Giants AFL Review: Pitchers Impress in Arizona

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 09: General view of AT&T Park with a tarp covering the infield during a rain shower before the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 9, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 09: General view of AT&T Park with a tarp covering the infield during a rain shower before the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 9, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

The Arizona Fall League season is over, and San Francisco Giants’ pitching prospects used the time in the desert quite well.

Another Arizona Fall League season has come and gone, and the seven San Francisco Giants’ prospects who participated are done for the year. The pitching prospects had good showings, but the hitters left a lot to be desired.

Right-hander Melvin Adon grabbed most of the attention, doing so with his blazing fastball and nasty slider. He earned a spot in the Fall Stars Game with his tremendous performance in his first seven appearances. Across 9.2 innings before the Fall Stars Game, Adon allowed just three hits and two walks that led to two runs (one earned) while striking out 19 batters.

He didn’t fare so well in the Fall Stars Game itself, though. He allowed a run on a couple hits in an inning of work, but he did strike out baseball’s top prospect, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. That was the start of a rough ending to Adon’s AFL season. In his final two outings, he gave up four hits and a walk, leading to three runs in 1.2 innings without a strikeout.

Still, Adon’s final numbers were more than respectable despite that small rough patch. He finished with a 2.92 ERA and 0.811 WHIP in 12.1 innings, all out of the bullpen. He struck out 21 batters, and hitters mustered just a .163 average against Adon. He acquitted himself quite well, and with him being eligible for the Rule 5 draft this offseason, it seems likely he earned himself a spot on the Giants’ 40-man roster.

One pitcher who started well and finished well was fellow righty Sam Wolff. After spending a large portion of the regular season rehabbing from offseason forearm surgery, Wolff went to Scottsdale in an attempt to make up for the lost time.

Wolff didn’t earn the limelight that Adon did, but he was quietly outstanding from beginning to end. He made 10 appearances for the Scorpions, all out of the bullpen, and allowed just one unearned run in 10 innings. Hitters only reached four times against Wolff (two walks, two hits), and they struck out 14 times. Wolff finished his AFL campaign with six straight shutout outings, during which he struck out 10 and didn’t allow a hit. He also tied for the team lead with three saves.

More from Golden Gate Sports

The right-hander, who was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Matt Moore trade last offseason, had some control issues upon his return to the minor leagues. He issued 17 free passes in 31.1 innings in 2018, but bounced back by allowing just two in 10 innings. Both walks came in his final outing. He showed excellent strikeout ability all year, striking out 58 batters in 41.1 innings between Giants’ affiliate seasons and the AFL. He’s another candidate to be added to the 40-man roster.

The Giants’ lone left-handed representative, Garrett Williams, had some great flashes during the past month. He started brilliantly, allowing just one run in his first four starts, spanning 15 innings. He struck out 15 in those four games, and on October 23rd, he pitched the first four innings of a near combined no-hitter that lasted until extra innings.

Williams’ last two starts weren’t as successful. He gave up five runs (four earned) in nine innings while walking five batters. He still got his strikeouts though, totaling 12 in his nine innings.

Command was a major issue for Williams all season, much more so than it was for Wolff. In AA Richmond, Williams allowed 61 walks in just 81.2 innings (6.8 walks per nine innings), and it got so bad that he was moved to the bullpen in an effort to simplify things.

Pitching exclusively as a starter with Scottsdale, Williams was able to limit his walks more than he was during the regular season. He allowed 11 walks in 24 innings (4.1 BB/9), which although still higher than it should be, is an improvement. Hopefully, it can be a starting point as Williams tries to get back on track.

The fourth and final Giants pitcher on the Scorpions’ roster was righty Chase Johnson, who is currently on the Giants’ 40-man roster. He missed the first month of the season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, and also missed a couple weeks after suffering a concussion caused by a foul ball that hit Johnson in the dugout. His first outing for Scottsdale was just about a disaster. He allowed three hits, including a big three-run home run, across an inning of work.

Live Feed

MLB Rumors: Braves striking out, Ohtani spurned Giants, Soto-Yankees extension
MLB Rumors: Braves striking out, Ohtani spurned Giants, Soto-Yankees extension /


  • MLB Rumors: Cody Bellinger market takes shape after Jung Hoo Lee dealFanSided
  • Jung Hoo Lee contract details and grade: Giants finally land big fish with KBO starFanSided
  • SF Giants break free agent slump with massive 6-year deal for Korean starAround the Foghorn
  • 5 best free agents available after Shohei Ohtani deal and where they’ll signFanSided
  • SF Giants' quest for Yamamoto is a chance at redemption after losing out on Shohei OhtaniAround the Foghorn
  • Johnson quickly settled in, and those would be the only runs he allowed across the AFL season. He finished off with eight consecutive scoreless outings that spanned eight innings. He gave up four hits while striking out eight batters.

    Johnson’s walk total is a bit concerning, though. He handed out seven walks in nine innings, and though he was able to strand each and every walk, it provided way too much traffic on the basepaths. He didn’t walk nearly as many batters during the regular season (21 walks in 58.1 innings), but it is encouraging to see 10 strikeouts in nine innings in the AFL after he struck out just 37 in AA Richmond.

    For all the positive developments from Giants’ pitching prospects, San Francisco hitting prospects really struggled during the month-plus in Arizona. Catcher Matt Winn, infielder C.J. Hinojosa, and outfielder Heath Quinn combined to hit just .134 (17-127).

    Winn has never really been known for his bat in the organization, and his .122 average in Scottsdale backed that up. However, he did do two things well. He worked 12 walks, tying him for second on the team and leading to a rather respectable .321 on-base percentage. He also finished strong with some pop. He had three extra-base hits in his last four games, including a pair of solo home runs and an RBI triple.

    Quinn had an outstanding season at San Jose, hitting .300/.376/.485 as he shook off injuries that limited him to 75 games in 2017. He managed just five hits in 39 at-bats in Scottsdale, leading to a disappointing .128 average. Quinn, who hit 14 home runs and 24 doubles in San Jose, had no extra-base hits for the Scorpions.

    Next. Unsurprisingly, Giants Shut Out of Awards. dark

    Hinojosa had only seven hits in 47 at-bats (.149), but he made the most of them. He had a pinch-hit, three-run double on October 25th that helped turn the tide in a comeback win. On November 7th, Hinojosa drove in three more run with a three-run home run that briefly put Scottsdale ahead in the seventh inning.