April Minor League Report
So far, the talk of April as far as positional prospects go has been all about Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval is off to a ridiculous start, hitting .423 with 7 home runs, 24 rbi and 11 doubles while sporting an OPS over 1.3. Sandoval is helping lead the Giants single A affiliate, San Jose, to one of the better records in the California League. The 21-year old catcher looks like he could be the first guy to get the shot when Bengie Molina's contract runs out at the end of the '09 season. Sandoval still has some work to do defensively, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him up with Connecticut before long and then possibly Fresno before the end of the season. I know it's still way early, but any time you have a young, left-handed hitting catcher on pace for 30 plus home runs in a season, that's certainly something to get excited about.
Another youngster helping out the San Jose Giants is 2007 first round pick Tim Alderson. The 19 year-old righty is 3-1 with a 2.67 era in 5 starts. He looks like he could be the first player from the '07 draft class to wear a Giants uniform at this rate. The Giants have him on a fast track so seeing him in early '09 is a possibility. A few other arms thriving in San Jose are 22 year-old Ben Snyder (3-0, 1.23 era, 23:4 K/BB in 29 ip) and 20 year-old lefty Clayton Tanner (2-1, 2.55 era 16:8 in 25 ip).
There really aren't too many other guys sticking out in the Giants system early on in April. In Fresno, Elizier Alfonzo (.316, 3 hr, 13 rbi) and Nate Schierholtz (.315, 2 hr, 13 rbi) have been solid, but not spectacular. Billy Sadler and Jessie Foppert are sporting fairly solid numbers on the mound in relief for the Grizzlies, but both have been too wild to even be considered a potential call-up.
The 2 biggest names in the Giants system have gotten off to slow starts. The 2007 10th overall pick, Madison Bumgarner, turned in his first real dominant performance as a professional on Sunday night. The 18 year-old lefty finally looked comfortable going 6.1 innings while striking out 8 hitters and allowing 1 unearned run on only 2 hits. Bumgarner had struggled in his previous starts so it's good to see him get his first taste of success as a pro. The top dog in the Giants' system, 17 year-old Angel Villalona, hasn't seen the success he's accustomed to quite yet. The Giants' top rated prospect has gotten off to a slow start hitting only .233 with 1 home run in 70 at-bats in low A Augusta. Keep in mind he's still one of the younger players in that league and I fully expect to see him around .300 with 15+ home runs before the end of the year.