I know, I know. As the famous soundbite from Herm Edwards will forever reverberate, “You play to win the game.” But for the San Francisco Giants, long-term goals should be at the forefront of objectives for the franchise.
What the team should focus its game-by-game attention on is its development of the group of talented minor league prospects that will be coming to San Francisco in two days when the rosters expand. Guys like Roger Kieschnick and Brett Pill have already benefitted this season from seeing game time. Although he has just a .225 BA, Kieschnick has especially been a surprise for manager Bruce Bochy, who has been able to pencil in the rookie on a regular basis.
Expect players like Nick Noonan and Francisco Peguero, who have been optioned back and forth from the minor leagues many times this season, to see extended playing time through September. These types of players with previous big league experience cherish this time of the season to prove they have what it takes to compete at this level.
It’s the prospects in the Giants farm system who have not yet seen any big league innings that the organization should seriously consider playing down the stretch. Outfielder Gary Brown and pitchers Kyle Crick and Heath Hembree, guys with huge upside and promise, deserve a shot at a Major League debut at the end of this washed up season.
Imagine what the experience would do to these players come spring training next season. They would have already seen big league innings, and if they are as good as advertised, they will respond positively to the extra competitive edge of Major League experience. If it’s all about adjusting to big league pitching, then why not start adjusting now?
There’s even monetary motivation. The Giants organization loves to sell tickets — that’s no surprise. Well then, why do they call up these well-known prospects and market their debuts? Any well versed Giants fan is familiar with the names above. People will come.
Brown is a former first-round pick in the 2010 Amateur Draft. He hasn’t had a stellar season with Triple-A Fresno, but he’s easily the best offensive prospect the farm system has and many think his time is now. Brown has a .230 BA with a .377 OPS in 2013.
Pitchers Hembree and Crick would help out this feeble Giants bullpen as it limps to the end of the 2013 season. Crick has pitched very well in Class-A San Jose. In 14 starts this season, he has posted a 1.57 ERA in 68.2 IP, allowing just one home run all year. As for Hembree, some believe he is the closer of the future for the Giants but has somewhat struggled in Fresno, posting a 1-4 record with a 4.14 ERA.
Winning games in September isn’t going to increase the Giants chances of getting another ring. So then shouldn’t the team look toward the future, and try out its prospects on the big stage? All I got to say is, why not?