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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Giants Minor League Report

With the draft in June taking up most of our organizational focus, it's been a couple months since we've had a chance to take a look at whats happening down on the farm with the Giants' minor league affiliates.

Since our last minor league update, the teams top-2 prospects have finally been called-up to the Big Leagues, and I think it's for good this time for both guys. With those two up with the Giants, the guy who has stepped into the spotlight in the minors this year has been Brandon Belt. The 22 year-old put up ridiculous numbers in the first half of the year in San Jose (.383 avg, 10 HR, 62 RBI, 18 SB and a 1.121 OPS in 269 at-bats). Then the 6'5" first basemen got the call-up to AA Richmond last week, and arrived with a bang there as well. In his first 3 games with the Squirrels, he's got 5 hits in 11 at-bats, including 2 more solo home runs. The Eastern League has traditionally been a tough hitters league, so if he can keep this up there, that would be huge. The way Belt has kind of came from under-the-radar to bust out like this really reminds me of the way Pablo Sandoval did it in 2008. He had a few solid years in the minors prior to that year and was a guy on the rise, but nobody saw an offensive explosion to the extent that he showed in '08 at all levels he stopped at. Not saying Belt is going to be the next Panda, but he very well could be the next young successful hitter to join Buster and Pablo up with the Giants at the big league level.

Speaking of hitters, one of the Giants top-5 prospects has really started to turn his season around, and that guy is Thomas Neal. I discussed Neal a bit a few posts back, and even though his overall numbers for the year don't jump out at you (.283, 8 hr, 44 RBI), he really has gotten stronger as the year has gone on. Again, he's in that Eastern League, so I didn't expect big time numbers from him anyway, but was still expecting 20 hr/85 RBI and around a .300 avg and I still think he could make it there. A couple other Giants prospects in AA haven't had quite as much success though. Roger Kieschnick (.251, 4, 23) and Brandon Crawford (.244, 7, 22) and a guy I had some expectations for after the spring he had, Darren Ford (.235, 4, 26, 25 sb) really have struggled all year. I was hoping Crawford would fair a little better, seeing that he's already spent some time in AA prior to this year, but that hasn't been the case. The only real notable arm in AA currently is 22 year-old Clayton Tanner who's been decent, going 4-5 with a 3.28 era and a .239 BAA. Only negative with Tanner is his inability to strike people out. He's got just 39 in 82 innings of work.

Down In San Jose, the Giants have one guy I'm keeping tabs on, somebody who's been in the system for a few years now, but just turned 21, and that guy is Charlie Culberson. The 2nd basemen has really found his swing in his 4th professional season. It's kind of a surprise too, because prior to this years breakout (.322, 10 hr, 51 RBI, 12 sb, .894 OPS) he was carrying a career minor league average of .254 and had only 6 home runs in nearly 1000 minor league at-bats. The rest of the young Giants prospects, and most of the guys who were taken in the '09 draft are with low-A Augusta. Third basemen Chris Dominguez, who I really liked when the Giants took him in the third round last year, is hitting .275 with 12 homers and 53 RBI. 2nd rounder Thomas Joseph hasn't been quite as good, but has been heating up and has 9 homers and 44 RBI on the year (.325 with 3 jacks and 7 RBI in his last 10 games). Zach Wheeler has been out since the middle of May, so there's nothing new to talk about with him, but he's scheduled to return after the all-star break, so hopefully we'll be seeing the 6th overall choice from 2009 back in action very soon. Also, although he's not in Augusta, Emmanuel Burris has come back from his groin injury and has started off well in Fresno now giving the Giants a versatile and speedy middle infield option if they need one in a pinch.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah, I just heard this Belt kids name the other day. Smooth swinging left hand first basemen? Remind you of anyone? Will Clark, hint, hint!!

  • At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Bharath Venkat said…

    Good Post regarding the Giants young talent. I just wrote a post on my blog (pardonmybias.com) regarding Buster Posey and his success so far. Feel free to take a look and comment on it. Here is the direct link to that post: http://pardonmybias.com/buster-posey-the-best-young-hitter-in-the-game-today/


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