Seven players who suited up for the San Jose Giants during the 2012 season, including co-team MVP's Adam Duvall and Joe Panik, received invitations to major league spring training today. Catcher Andrew Susac, infielder Ricky Oropesa and pitchers Edward Concepcion, Josh Osich and Jose Valdez were also extended non-roster invitations to San Francisco's big league camp.
It's highly unlikely that any of these players will be considered for spots on San Francisco's opening day roster. However, the experience of participating in major league camp and seeing action in a handful of exhibition games provides a great opportunity to make a positive impression within the organization. Pitchers and catchers are due to report on February 12 with position players scheduled to report on February 15. The Giants' first spring training game is set for February 23 versus the Los Angeles Angels.
Duvall and Panik headline the list of 2012 San Jose Giants in big league camp after each shined in the California League a season ago. Duvall established a San Jose Giants record with 30 home runs last year while also producing 24 doubles, 100 RBI's and a .258 batting average. He's hit 52 homers over the last two seasons and was recently ranked the top third base prospect in the Giants farm system according to Baseball America.
Panik hit .297 with the SJ Giants last season while also contributing 27 doubles, seven home runs and 76 RBI's. The former first round draft pick, who batted .337 after the All-Star break, was third in the California League in hits (159). Baseball America has ranked Panik the #2 overall prospect (and top position player) in the San Francisco organization.
Susac and Oropesa each debuted professionally last year after their selections in the 2011 draft. Susac served as San Jose's primary catcher and hit .244 with nine home runs and 52 RBI's. It was an up-and-down year for the young backstop as he struggled mightily at the plate in June (.207) and July (.189) before batting at a .333 clip during the month of August. Defensively, Susac threw out 32 percent of attempted basestealers – the second-highest mark of any catcher in the California League. Baseball America considers Susac the top catching prospect in the system.
Oropesa was one of the best run-producers in the California League last season as the slugging first baseman collected 98 RBI's to go with 16 homers and 30 doubles. Oropesa finished the year with a .263 batting average.
Concepcion, Osich and Valdez were all members of the San Jose bullpen last season. Concepcion struggled to a 6.10 ERA with the Giants, but did strike out 51 batters in 48 2/3 innings while limiting the opposition to a .218 batting average. Osich logged a 3.62 ERA and struck out 34 in just 32 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, Valdez recorded seven saves and posted a 2.83 ERA in 53 appearances. Valdez struck out a whopping 78 batters in 57 1/3 innings and was honored as San Jose's Relief Pitcher of the Year at the conclusion of the season. All three hurlers throw hard as Concepcion and Osich both reached 98 MPH with their fastballs last year in San Jose.
Other former San Jose Giants extended non-roster invites include outfielder Gary Brown, infielder Brock Bond, catchers Tyler LaTorre, Johnny Monell and Jackson Williams and pitchers Steve Edlefsen, Justin Fitzgerald, Heath Hembree and Mitch Lively. Brown and Hembree are considered the best prospects among this group after each excelled with San Jose during the 2011 season. Brown spent all of last year at Double-A Richmond where he batted .279 with seven homers and 33 stolen bases while Hembree registered 15 saves and had a 4.74 ERA while working out of the Triple-A Fresno bullpen.
Of the 30 total non-roster invitees, 18 have once played for the San Jose Giants.
All players on the 40-man roster will also open the spring in big league camp. That includes new additions to the 40-man roster this offseason in former SJ Giants Jake Dunning, Chris Heston, Nick Noonan and Juan Perez.
San Francisco will begin camp next week with 69 players. 40 of those 69 are former San Jose Giants. As spring training progresses, players will be sent to minor league camp before the Giants set their 25-man opening day roster in advance of their first game on April 1.
The first workout at San Francisco Giants Minor League camp is scheduled for March 2.