San Francisco Giants Top 10 Prospects
Top 10 Prospects for the San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants’ farm system features a lot of depth on the mound but are short on impact positional players although they did seem to restock a little during the 2012 draft. The system was depleted over the years through trades.
Over the years the Giants have made several trades that have seen players like Zack Wheeler, a top pitching prospect, get dealt for a half-season of Carlos Beltran, depleting a once-promising farm system. However, the Giants system has produced key players like Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Pablo Sandoval, Tim Lincecum, and Madison Bumgarner among others who should be around for several years until the next crop of players is ready to reinforce the Giants roster.
Last year’s number one prospect, outfielder Gary Brown had a down year and took a slight step back at the plate but the tools are there for him to become an integral piece of the Giants’ future. However, the Giants will need to continue to have drafts like last year to truly restock the system with impact talent.
Most of the prospects in the Giants system are at least a couple of years away from having an impact on the MLB level but there are a couple who could play a role on the Giants in the 2013 season, even if only in reserve roles. Right now, the Giants don’t have glaring needs that will call for a prospect to be rushed to the majors as Brian Sabean has made several astute free agent signings and trades over the years, some of which depleted the system but strengthened the big league club and has allowed the Giants to win two of the last three World Series.
Here are the top ten prospects of the defending champion San Francisco Giants heading into the 2013 season:
#10 Andrew Susac, C
10. Andrew Susac, C – Susac was drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft. He has shown very good athleticism behind the plate given his size of 6’2” and 210 pounds. To be more consistent at the plate he will need to shorten his swing which should help him make more consistent contact and allow him to tap into his power more consistently. With Buster Posey behind the plate he might have to switch positions to get an everyday job or will be used as trade bait.
#9 Shilo McCall, OF
9. Shilo McCall, OF – McCall is only 18 but has a very good knowledge of the strike zone and shows very good plate discipline for a hitter at his age and level as evidenced by his .246/.366 average and OBP numbers. His defense is solid enough to play all three positions but as he matures and fills out he might be better suited for a corner outfield slot. He might need to change his swing to make more consistent contact but that should come with proper instruction. Has the raw power tool to develop into a 20+ homer bat.
#8 Francisco Peguero, OF
8. Francisco Peguero, OF – He does have some MLB experience, playing in 17 games with the Giants last season. He could push for a spot in Spring Training if he shows he can hit. The problem with Peguero is his defense might be best suited for a corner spot but his offense doesn’t translate as his power numbers aren’t great, as he slugged just .394 in AAA last year. He is 24 so the best he might offer is as a fourth outfielder at the moment with some speed for pinch-running and late-inning defense. He ranks eighth because he still can develop into a starter if he learns to make more contact.
#7 Mike Kickham, LHP
7. Mike Kickham, LHP – Kickham needs to improve his overall command if he wants to stick in the rotation. I don’t envision him as a strictly lefty-on-lefty guy out of the bullpen but someone who could be a decent set-up guy out of the pen. The Giants are sticking with him in the rotation for now which is the right course because if he can develop his command he could be a solid mid-rotation starter.
#6 Joe Panik, SS
6. Joe Panik, SS – Panik can hit. He just can’t hit for much power. He probably projects more as second baseman but at worst will be a solid utility guy. Jeff Keppinger might be the best comparable at the moment. At worst he will be a utility guy at the big league level. At best, he will be a singles-doubles hitter unless he suddenly develops some pop in his bat.
#5 Martin Agosta, RHP
5. Martin Agosta, RHP – He may be bullpen bound but that might not a bad thing. He struck out hitters at a rate of 16 per nine in 10.2 innings. He can toss it up to 96 MPH but the harder he throws the wilder he gets. He will need to learn to control himself on the mound. He also features a slider that shows promise but needs work. Also has a cutter that can be very good. If he can master his secondary pitches and be consistent he could be a very good starting pitcher. However, I see a dominant reliever here if he develops his slider further.
#4 Clayton Blackburn, RHP
4. Clayton Blackburn, RHP – He put up excellent numbers in the South Atlantic League, walking about 1 batter per nine and striking out more than a hitter per inning. However, Blackburn was a little advanced for this level and those statistics don’t tell the whole story. I don’t see a dominating top of the rotation starter here but rather a solid, mid-rotation guy who could have a couple of really good seasons but won’t be a dominant guy. He will need to improve his control which can be inconsistent, even if he didn’t get bit by walking a lot of batters.
#3 Chris Stratton, RHP
3. Chris Stratton, RHP – There is a lot of potential here. He features a sinking fastball that gets into the low-90s and also features a curveball with a good, late break. I envision Derek Lowe when I see Stratton. A good, mid-to-top of the rotation guy who any team would love to have a number two or three starter.
#2 Gary Brown, OF
2. Gary Brown, OF – I still believe that Brown’s prospect shine is there after struggling at the plate. However, he will have to show me he has made adjustments at the plate fairly quickly this season to stay there. He still has the defense and speed to make a viable option for the Giants in center field as long as his bat comes around. Brown can go either way, becoming a viable starting center fielder or continuing to regress and be nothing more than a potential fourth outfielder type. He still has a lot of work to do and needs to clean up his swing and improve his base running and learn how to use his speed to become more of a threat on the basepaths.
#1 Kyle Crick, RHP
1. Kyle Crick, RHP – Crick did very well at Augusta in the South Atlantic League, especially for his age. He allowed only just over 6 hits per nine innings last season and averaged 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Crick can get his fastball up to 96 MPH but sits consistently around 93. He also features an interesting curveball that looks like a hybrid slider-curveball. He still has some work to do on his secondary pitches and needs to improve his command. He will need to be more consistent with his delivery and cut his walks down. It will also be interesting to see how his stamina holds up as he saw a dip in his velocity as the season wore on. The talent is there for him to be a top of the rotation starter but he needs to work on a few things to make sure he gets there.