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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Giants Top 10 Prospects

Baseball America recently listed the Giants' top 10 prospects heading into 2008. The most surprising thing about this list is how many players it contains from the 2007 amateur draft. That just goes to show you how thin the Giants' farm system is when 4/10 of the prospects listed were in high school at this time last year. Here is a short rundown of the players who were listed and my quick take on them, as well as a few guys who didn't make the list but should be watched as well:

1. Angel Villalona, 3b- The 17 year-old is still at least 3 years away, but is the Giants' equivalent to what Miguel Cabrera was for the Marlins when he was coming up. He's playing 3rd now, but could move to first by the time he reaches the bigs. Easily the best Giants' positional prospect in the last 15 years and he's still just 17. Only Giants' prospect to make baseball's top 50 list.
2. Tim Alderson, rhp- Scouts feel the Giants' 2nd overall pick from '07 could be the first of the class to reach the majors. Has been starting, but could be a future closer because of wacky delivery and overpowering stuff.

3. Madison Bumgarner, lhp- #10 overall pick signed late and didn't pitch any professional ball this summer. Expectations will be big in '08 for the hard throwing lefty. The Giants expect him to be on a similar time frame to Matt Cain as far as reaching the bigs, which means we probably won't see him until 2010.

4. Nate Schierholtz, of- Always has hit .300, but power and patience haven't showed up at the big league level yet. He will get more ab's in 2008, but has to show improvement in those areas to be a starter at this level.

5. Henry Sosa, rhp- One of the most intriguing arms in this system. I really like the potential this kid has. The 22 year-old rightie has Francisco Liriano stuff, (2.44 era, 11 wins, 139 k's in 126 ip in A), and made the futures game in '07. He has the best fastball in the system and should be kept in the rotation.
6. Nick Noonan, 2b/ss- Another first rounder from the '07 draft had a solid season in the rookie league. Not much power, but a good contact hitter with a solid glove. Baseball America believes he's the Giants' most disciplined hitter in their system.

7. Eugenio Velez, of/2b- I'm surprised he made this list. He's a solid player and still has upside, but he's almost 26 and has moved past the prospect phase. Should bring value to the Giants as a super utility guy with premier speed in 2008.

8. Wendell Fairley, of- I really liked this pick when the Giants made it in June, I think this guy was one of the best athletes in the draft and should be a future star. He has Carl Crawford and Grady Sizemore type athleticism and potential, hopefully he can reach it.

9. John Bowker, of- 24 yr. old hit 22 home runs in AA last season and was the Giants top power hitter in the minors. Will probably start the year in Fresno and could get a shot at some point in '08 but he's got about 6-7 guys ahead of him on the depth chart right now.

10. Emmanuel Burriss, ss- The potential heir apparent to Omar Vizquel has a lot of glove and speed but has yet to show the bat to get him out of Low A ball. Had a good Fall League showing though and could be destined for a big 2008 season in AA.

Guys who didn't make it to keep an eye on

Travis Denker, 2B- Obtained in the Mark Sweeney trade in August. He has always shown a good bat with some power and a good glove. He's been compared to Marcus Giles because of his height and power potential. Excelled with San Jose after the trade (.400, 1hr 9 rbi in 7 games). Hasn't done much yet beyond single A, but is only 22 and still has some time.

Sergio Romo, rhp- The 24 year-old rightie had about as good of season as one could have in 2007. He dominated the California League for San Jose this summer to the tune of a 6-2 record, a 1.36 era, and a k/bb ratio of 106/15 in 66 innings pitched. Then he went on to the AFL and pitched even better against tougher competition. Could see the bigs as soon as the second half of the '08 season.

Kelvin Pichardo, rhp- Another hard throwing righty who struck out over 1.5 batters per inning in the low minors last season. The 22 year-old moved up to AA late in the year and continued throwing well. Still has some control issues, but has a very live arm with huge potential.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 3:58 PM, Anonymous sfgiantsfan25 said…

    I didn't know the Giants had a guy named Romo. The name alone should put him in the top ten. I never saw a picture of Villolona until this one. He doesn't seem as big as I thought he was.

  • At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What happened to Merkin Valdez?

  • At 9:28 PM, Anonymous kwilson21 said…

    Good stuff man. It sucks that the giants best prospects are still 3 years away from getting here to help. Hopefully Sabean is patient with them and doesn't deal them away like he did in the AJ Pierzynski and Shea Hillenbrand.

    I thought Valdez had surgery last year, haven't heard much about him sense.

  • At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Manny Stiles said…

    Manny Stiles

    My son found a HR ball hit by Nate Schierholtz against team China in AFL and Nate also gave him and my daughter each a foul ball at another game... Needless to say, I'm a big Nate fan!!!

    Eugenio Velez is an enigma. I saw him sit on a breaking ball and hit an absolute bomb once - but where was that power the rest of the time?, his glove seems to be adequate enough - although he'll be an outfielder eventually, and his speed is absolutely sick-sick-sick. Maybe he'll be a career pinchrunner?

    Manny Burris also played a lot of 2B in Arizona Fall league and looks like he'll be a better player long term than Velez.

    Yet, at times "Exxon" Velez looks like he doesn't belong on the field. I don't get him. He is VERY exciting and somewhat disappointing player - if that's possible...

    Romo was good at AFL but looks to me like he'll be a career bullpen arm.

    Where's Dan Ortmeier? Or isn't he a prospect anymore?

  • At 5:37 PM, Blogger Trevor said…

    Manny, did you get a chance to cover the AFL closely this fall? Ortmeier is a little old to still be considered a prospect as he's going to be 27 this coming season. I don't think he'll ever be a full time starter at the big league level either all though he could get a shot at first this summer.

    Velez is a rare player. I have seen the flashes of power, but he is more of a gap to gap, slap hitter. He hit 2 triples in less than 20 ab's with the Giants this September though. I think he's going to be a serviceable utility guy.

  • At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Manny Stiles said…

    I covered the entire season but focused mostly on the Scottsdale Scorpions (comprised of Rays, Giants, Mets, Blue Jays and D-Backs) and Phoenix Desert Dogs.

    Velez is a freek but he is SKIN-NNNNY. Super-duper fast. Not just fast, but quick too.

    I forgot Ortmeier was 27. He has a decent glove.

  • At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Kelsdad said…

    Schierholtz should start in rightfield for the Giants this season, Velez will make the team by default..he's out of options.

    Everyone else is at least two years away at best.

    I don't see Velez as a utility man because he can only play one position. The Giants did experiment with him in centerfield but he is too inexperienced at the position to play at the ML level. He improved quite a bit defensively at second during the Fall League by having some one on one instruction (the whole point of the league), but it is doubtful he could play every day in San Fran. He may become one of the Herb Washington/Matt Alexander type players, have more runs scored during a season than at bats.

    Schierholtz is an impressive hitter. The ball just comes off his bat different than most other guys. Defensively he'll do OK in right but if he makes an All-Star team down the road it will be because of his bat.

  • At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Merkin Valdez fell of the face of the earth. He was their top rated prospect for a few years after they traded for him, but has never panned out. What a bust.

  • At 5:26 PM, Blogger Trevor said…

    Velez can play 2nd and fill in at short as well as all outfield positions. Not great in center or at short, but managable. His bat doesn't compare to Chone Figgins, but the rest of his game does.

    The problem with Schierholtz is that he doesn't walk. And had over 100 ab's at the big league level last year and didn't hit a home run. I think his power will come, but his patience is going to have to come first. He makes contact, but he has to learn how to work counts and get better pitches to hit. If he proves he's worth starting, he'll be starting. The Giants started him on most nights over the last 6 weeks of last season so I think they're committed to giving him a legit shot.

  • At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Kelsdad said…

    Based on what he did in Fresno, Schierholtz should hit 20-25 homers next year and get close to 30 as he gets more experience.

    I'm not concerned about his walks because he doesn't strike out alot either. To do that, you're a good hitter, period. He doesn't swing and miss much, puts the ball in play and obviously understands how to work pitchers. There are alot of guys in the majors right now who can't do that.

    .300 average, 20-30 homers, 80-100 RBI? I'll take that anyday, who cares how many walks he gets.


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