Top starting pitching prospects Kyle Crick and Adalberto Mejia headline a group of five 2013 San Jose Giants set to begin play in the Arizona Fall League this week. Pitchers Cody Hall and Derek Law along with first baseman Angel Villalona have also been chosen to participate in the prestigious fall league. The 31-game AFL season begins on October 8.
Both Crick and Mejia were limited during the first half of this season due to injury, but each returned to post stellar numbers after the All-Star break. The 20-year old Crick fashioned a 1.57 ERA in 14 starts overall to go with a whopping 95 strikeouts in just 68 2/3 innings. He limited the opposition to a paltry .201 batting average and struck out 10 or more batters in five of his starts. Crick, who played in the Futures Game last July, was recently named by Baseball America as the third-best prospect in the California League this season.
Mejia logged a 7-4 record to go with a 3.31 ERA in 16 starts with the San Jose Giants this year. The left-hander struck out 89 batters compared to just 23 walks in 87 innings. Mejia, who began the season as the youngest pitcher in the league (19), allowed two runs or fewer in six out of his last seven starts.
Hall and Law were both dominant relief pitchers with San Jose in 2013. Hall began the year with the Giants and compiled a sparkling 1.34 ERA in 26 appearances. The right-hander struck out 48 batters in 33 2/3 innings and held opposing hitters to a .130 batting average. Hall allowed just one earned run over his last 29 2/3 innings pitched in the California League before a late-June promotion to Double-A Richmond. With the Flying Squirrels, Hall posted a 2.39 ERA and eight saves in 20 games.
Law joined San Jose from Augusta (A) in early-July and quickly assumed the role of closer. In 22 appearances with the Giants, Law boasted a 2.10 ERA and was a perfect 11-for-11 in save opportunities. The right-hander also owned a remarkable 45-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 25 2/3 innings.
Villalona is the lone 2013 San Jose position player headed to the Arizona Fall League. The slugging first baseman returned to the United States this year and emerged from a 2-for-41 slump to begin the year to earn midseason California League All-Star honors. At time of his late-June promotion to Double-A, Villalona was among the league leaders with 14 home runs to go with 16 doubles, 42 RBI's and a .229 batting average. Villalona clubbed eight more home runs with Richmond to end the year (.235 AVG).
Crick, Mejia and Law can use the Arizona Fall League as a springboard to their first taste of Double-A ball. After enduring significant injuries early in the season, the AFL will give Crick and Mejia an opportunity to make up for lost developmental time. 2013 was a breakout year for Law, a former ninth round draft pick. An impressive effort in the fall league would only enhance his prospect status heading into next spring. Meanwhile, Hall and Villalona could use standout fall campaigns to put themselves in the discussion for a spot on Fresno's opening day roster come April.
Former San Jose Giants Andrew Susac (2012) and Jarrett Parker (2011-12) round out the San Francisco prospects that will play in the Arizona Fall League this season. Susac, considered the top catching prospect in the organization, hit .256 with 17 doubles, 12 home runs and 46 RBI's in 84 games with Richmond this year. Parker led the Flying Squirrels with 18 home runs to go with 57 RBI's, 13 stolen bases and a .245 batting average. Both players are former second round draft picks.
All seven players will suit up for the Scottsdale Scorpions. The AFL season continues through November 16. Prospects from the Giants, Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations will make-up the Scottsdale club. Our Inside the San Jose Giants Blog will provide frequent updates on these players over the coming weeks.