At the top of the list on concerns for the San Francisco Giants heading into the 2013 season was the organizational depth at starting pitching.
Should something go awry with one of the Giants’ five starting pitcher, there are questions on who would be able to step in and fill the void.
At the top of that list in right-hander Chris Heston. Heston was the Double-A Eastern League pitcher of the year in 2012, which is worth noting because former Giants prospect Zach Wheeler also pitched well in the Eastern League last year.
In his first two starts at Triple-A, Heston is learning the difference from pitching in the pitcher-friendly Eastern League and the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Still, after one week, Heston finds himself 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA after two quality starts. He gave up three runs in six innings in his first start against Tacoma, and three runs in six innings in his most recent start on Wednesday against Las Vegas. Wednesday also happened to be Heston’s 25th birthday.
Heston is also learning the value of keeping the ball in the park. He has 16 strikeouts and just two walks in 12 innings. But he’s also allowed three home runs. Five of the six runs he’s allowed were plated on those three home runs.
And if the Giants fans need a little more good news, we’ll offer you this. On Tuesday, Yusmeiro Petit outpitched Wheeler as the Grizzlies beat Las Vegas 4-1, even though Wheeler was only charged with one earned run (three unearned) is 5.1 innings of work.
- OF Francisco Peguero has continued his hot spring training into the Triple-A season. He leads the Grizzlies in hitting at .448.
- OF Roger Kieschnick, trying to rebound from injury-filled 2012 season, has 1 HR, 7 RBI and batting .345. But he also is tied for the team lead in strikeouts with eight.
- OF Gary Brown, former first-round pick, is off to another cold start, like the one he had at Double-A last year. He is hitting .161 with one walk and eight strikeouts.
- RP Heath Hembree has impressed so far this season. He has finished three games, earning two saves in two opportunities. He’s allowed no runs and just two hits and one walk in three innings.
- LHP Jack Snodgrass combined with Daryl Maday to throw a no-hitter in a 1-0 win over New Britain on April 5. Snodgrass allowed only one hitter to reach base in six innings of work — on a second-inning walk. He struck out two. The game was halted after seven inning, with Maday working the final inning.
- 3B Adam Duvall leads the team in hitting with .379 average and two HRs and 10 RBI.
- C Andrew Susac also had a nice week with 2 HR, 6 RBI and a .318 average.
- SS Joe Panik has been slow out of the gate, hitting just .235 in eight games.
CLASS A SAN JOSE
- P Clayton Blackburn is 1-0 with 0.82 ERA in 11 innings over two starts. He has recorded 12 strikeouts to one walk.
- P Bryce Bandilla has pitched five innings of relief, meaning he’s recorded 15 outs. Of those outs, 13 are by strikeout. He has an 0.00 ERA and just two walks.
- OF Devin Harris is tearing it up, hitting. 333 with .405 OBP in 33 at-bats. He has three doubles, two triples and two home runs.
- OF Mac Williamson is a name to watch. He impressed the Giants with his power in spring training. He has 2 HR and 5 RBI for San Jose, batting .348.
- 1B Angel Villalona has struggled. The years away from the game are evident. He is 1 for 33 (.030) with 13 strikeouts.
CLASS A AUGUSTA
- P Chris Stratton, last year’s first-round draft pick, gave up one run on six hits over 5 innings in his first start, getting the win with one walk and three strikeouts.
- P Joan Gregorio has notched 13 strikeouts (1 walk) in 11 innings over two starts, allowing just one run (0.82 ERA).