Three former San Jose Giants - Gary Brown, Adam Duvall and Hunter Strickland - were added to San Francisco's 40-man roster earlier this week. Brown had one of the finest all-around seasons in San Jose Giants history in 2011 en route to winning the California League Rookie of the Year award. Duvall set a club record when he hit 30 home runs the following year while Strickland was a key member of San Jose's bullpen this past season before going down with an injury.
Brown, a midseason and postseason All-Star while in the Cal League, hit a stellar .336 for the San Jose Giants. The former first round draft pick set a team single-season record for hits (188) while also producing 115 runs, 13 triples, 14 home runs, 80 RBI's and 53 stolen bases. In addition to claiming the league's Rookie of the Year award in 2011, Brown was also named the Topps California League Player of the Year and MiLB.com Class A Advanced Hitter of the Year.
Brown spent the 2012 campaign with Double-A Richmond and finished with a .279 batting average, seven homers, 42 RBI's and 33 stolen bases. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Fresno at the start of 2013, but often struggled as the center fielder hit just .231 in 137 games this year. Brown produced solid power numbers with 29 doubles, six triples and 13 home runs, but stole only 17 bases (in 28 attempts). He'll likely return to Fresno at the start of next season.
Duvall was San Jose's co-team MVP in 2012 after his record-setting year at the plate. In addition to slugging a league-best 30 home runs, Duvall collected 100 RBI's, knocked out 24 doubles and hit .258. His 100 RBI's rank fifth on San Jose's single-season list.
Duvall was elevated to Richmond this year where he hit .252 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI's in 105 games. He finished strong posting a .311 batting average in August. The third baseman should compete for a spot on Fresno's opening day roster next spring.
Strickland was claimed off waivers by the San Francisco Giants from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the start of the 2013 season and was immediately assigned to San Jose where he became the club's closer. In 20 games out of the Giants bullpen, Strickland compiled a spectacular 0.86 ERA and was a perfect 9-for-9 in save opportunities. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out 23 batters compared to just five walks in 21 innings and limited the opposition to a .145 batting average.
Unfortunately for Strickland, a late-May elbow injury required season-ending Tommy John Surgery. He is expected to return to the mound early in 2014.
The San Francisco Giants also added pitcher Kendry Flores to their 40-man roster. Flores is a candidate to open the 2014 season with San Jose after an excellent year with Augusta. As a member of the GreenJackets starting rotation this season, Flores fashioned a 2.73 ERA to go with a 10-6 record. Flores finished the year with 137 strikeouts in 141 2/3 innings while issuing just 17 walks. He ranked first in the South Atlantic League in WHIP (0.92), second in innings, third in strikeouts and fifth in ERA.
Currently, the San Francisco Giants have filled all 40 spots on their 40-man roster. 24 of the 40 are former San Jose Giants.
With the inclusion of these players on the 40-man roster, not only do they greatly increase their chances for a big league call-up in 2014 (Brown, Duvall and Strickland in particular), but the organization has now protected them from other teams in the upcoming Rule 5 draft.
Players signed at age 18 or younger (high school draftees and most international signees) must be added to the 40-man roster after five years or they become at risk to be drafted by another organization through the Rule 5 process. Players that are signed at 19 or older (college draftees) have to be protected after four years or they also become eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft. For example, Brown and Duvall were both drafted out of the college ranks in 2010 and have completed their fourth seasons in the minor leagues.
It costs teams $50,000 to add a Rule 5 player to their roster. However, the team must then keep that player on the major league roster all season, otherwise they have to offer the player back to their original team for half the price ($25,000). There are also Triple-A and Double-A phases to the Rule 5 draft with price tags of $12,000 and $4,000 respectively.
The Rule 5 draft is scheduled for December 12 at Baseball's Winter Meetings in Orlando.
Notable Rule 5 eligible players left unprotected by the San Francisco Giants include outfielders Jarrett Parker, Devin Harris and Jesus Galindo, infielder Chris Dominguez, catcher Jeff Arnold and pitchers Brett Bochy, Chris Gloor, Mitch Lively and Edwin Quirarte. Top minor league prospects such as Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn, Joe Panik, Andrew Susac and Mac Williamson are not yet Rule 5 eligible and thus don't need to be protected on the 40-man roster this offseason.