The San Francisco Giants feature a top-heavy farm system that boasts a handful of potential big league prospects, but isn’t flush with enough talent to support the future of the 25-man roster.
Talented right-handed pitcher Kyle Crick headlines the Giants’ thin layer of potential big league players at the minor league level, and could be permanently inserted into San Francisco’s starting rotation in 2015. But Crick is one man in the greater scheme of consistently developing players capable of contributing at the highest level of competition.
The Giants’ current roster features few key veteran players who are nearing the end of their respective careers, although San Francisco’s front office brass appears more adamant about improving the team through home grown talent as compared to becoming extraneously active in free agency.
Second baseman Marco Scutaro hasn’t flashed signs of slowing down at the age of 38, but could potentially be unable to man his position everyday as soon as 2015. The Giants highly covet 23-year-old middle infielder Joe Panik, but the could-be future big leaguer posted average numbers in double-A last season. Panik recorded a .257 batting average with four home runs and drove-in 57 runs in 599 plate appearances. He’s hardly on the verge of becoming a concrete contributor for the Giants.
The Giants’ long-term building strategy is evidenced by their conservative attitude about big-time contracts. General manager Brian Sabean took a firm stance against signing a marquee free agent, like Jacoby Ellsbury, who received an excess of $150 million over seven seasons from the New York Yankees. The Giants’ approach to constructing a formidable roster capable of consistently competing for a championship is ultimately based on the success of their farm system.
San Francisco was detracted from pursuing certain free agents, who had been tendered qualifying offers this offseason, because they’d be forced to give up a draft pick as a consequence. There is a distinctive dichotomy at play in reference to how the Giants expect to build for the future though. San Francisco refuses to spend big money to improve their roster, outside of existing players already on the roster, but don’t boast a deep enough talent pool at the minor league ranks to sustain long-term success.
The Giants’ emphasis on building a big league roster from developing prospects has arguably led to two World Series championships. A majority of San Francisco’s current cast of key contributors are home grown, but the future is bleak beyond a few household names, like Crick.
Sabean’s decision not to become sellers at last season’s trade deadline when it was obvious the Giants would not contend down the stretch is highly questionable, especially when considering their model for future success. San Francisco needs to actively replenish their farm system by doing a better job of scouting prospects in order to constantly challenge the spending-happy Los Angeles Dodgers and become permanent contenders.