Giants add eight pitchers to 40-man roster
Top prospects Crick, Okert, Mejia, Stratton, Blach, Blackburn protected
SAN FRANCISCO -- Focusing exclusively on pitchers, the Giants purchased the contracts of five right-handers and three left-handers from Minor League affiliates to fill their 40-man roster Friday.
Six of the additions were ranked among the organization's Top 30 prospects: right-handers Kyle Crick (No. 6), Chris Stratton (14) and Clayton Blackburn (21), as well as left-handers Steven Okert (9), Adalberto Mejia (12) and Ty Blach (20). Also added -- and therefore protected from next month's Rule 5 Draft -- were right-handers Ian Gardeck and Jake Smith.
Formerly a full-time starter and the Giants' No. 1 prospect, Crick made 25 relief outings and 11 starts for Double-A Richmond this year. He limited opponents to a .208 batting average but walked 66 batters in 63 innings. Stratton went a combined 5-10 with a 3.95 ERA at Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento.
The Giants have high hopes for Blackburn, who finished 10-4 with a 2.85 ERA in 23 games (20 starts) at Sacramento. The same can be said of Okert, who struck out 69 batters in 61 1/3 innings spanning 52 relief outings at Sacramento, and Mejia, who missed 50 games after testing positive for a stimulant but managed to finish 5-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 12 games (nine starts) for Richmond.
Blach, a non-roster invitee to Spring Training this year, was 11-12 with a 4.46 ERA in 27 starts at Sacramento.
Smith enjoyed the best of his four professional seasons, converting 16 saves in 19 opportunities for Class A Advanced San Jose. He amassed 118 strikeouts and walked just 21 in 56 appearances spanning 84 1/3 innings. Opponents hit .172 off him.
Gardeck also thrived in relief for San Jose, striking out 104 and walking 24 in 86 1/3 innings. He recorded three saves in five chances over 61 games.