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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Giants Minor League Review: Pitching

A couple weeks back, we started out 2010 Minor League Review by taking a look at some of the top hitters in the system from 2010. Now, since the Giants have quieted down over the last week, and with not much new to talk about on regarding possible free agent or trade targets, I figured I'd use today's post to finish off our 2010 Minor League pitching review.

Contrary to years past, the Giants actually have more promising young hitters in their system right now than they do pitchers. Their top prospect heading into 2011 will be first basemen Brandon Belt, who should be one of BA's top-20 as well. However, after Belt, there is a huge fall-off in terms of Major League ready prospects, both on the pitching front and the positional front. There are some young hitters who have upside like Thomas Neal, Francisco Peguero and Brandon Crawford, and you can read the report on them here, but as far as young arms, they no longer have that Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum or Madison Bumgarner waiting in the wings like they've had in years past. Their top pick from 2009's draft, Zach Wheeler, did OK in his first full year as a pro in 2010, but was far from spectacular, and made nowhere near the splash Bumgarner and Lincecum did when they first arrived. In 21 games (13 starts), Wheeler sported a 3-3 record with a 3.99 era. He threw 58.4 innings and allowed 47 hits while walking 38, good for a WHIP of 1.45. Granted, Wheeler wasn't 100% healthy, but in comparison to Bumgarner's first professional year at Augusta (15-3, 1.46 era, 164 K's in 141 IP in '08), Wheeler isn't even close. I was a little skeptical of the pick when they made it, I wanted either Alex White or Tyler Matzek, who have both started out very well with their respective clubs (as well as RHP Mike Leake, who's already a staple in the Red's rotation). That said, I still have high hopes for Wheeler, and I'm very confident that he'll have a big 2011 to put himself right back on radar. No matter what, I don't really see him making an appearance in SF until at least 2012.

Other than Wheeler, the Giants don't have any real national-known pitching talent know that Bumgarner has arrived in SF. I'd say the second best pitching prospect behind Wheeler at this point would be 23 year-old lefty Eric Surkamp (6th rounder from '08) who had a decent. Surkamp followed up a nice 2009 season with a solid start to 2010 in San Jose (4-2, 3.11 ERA, 108 k's in 101 IP) before going down with injury. Another young kid who made a nice impression in 2010 was 20 year-old rightie Jorge Bucardo. The kid dominated Low-A Augusta (9-4, 2.21 era, 95:33 K/BB ratio) before moving up to San Jose where he didn't fair quite as well, but still showed good signs. Othen than those guys, David Mixon shined in 2010 but it's tough to consider him a top-prospect cause of his age. Hacker, however, is the one guy right now who would probably be next in line for the Giants if one of their 5 starters were to go down, and that's the reason Sabean is searching for possible 6th starter candidates.

Big League Notes: The Vegas MLB Spread is already starting to compile, and for once, finally, the Giants have gotten some national attention. If you were to bet today, Vegas has the Giants as the 4th most likely club to win the World Series behind Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Not that this makes a difference in their actual chances whatsoever, just pointing out how an actual West Coast team is considered a legit possible 'Series contender. I guess that's what dominating the previous postseason will do for you.
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10 Comments:

  • At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Gigantes Hombre said…

    People I'm looking forward to seeing in Spring Training:

    OF Thomas Neal
    SS Brandon Crawford
    CF Francisco Peguero
    1B Brandon Belt
    IF Ryan Rohlinger

    Neal was considered their best outfield prospect last year, and Crawford was the same at short. 1 Bad year in 2010 and people lose track now....

    Belt seems to be the consensus #1 Prospect for the Giants, so no explanation needed.

    Rohlinger has never been given a full opportunity, and for some reason, I see a young Billy Mueller in this kid so "Bochian" needs to give him a big look for a utility infielder.

     
  • At 9:28 AM, Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said…

    If I recall correctly, Eric Hacker left the farm system as a free agent and signed somewhere else (Twins?).

    You got the top guys right, Belt and Wheeler, and list some other good prospects.

    I would also add Gary Brown, Tommy Joseph, Chris Dominguez, Charlie Culberson, Charlie Jones, and Jarrett Parker to the hitters, off top of my head, and Seth Rosin, Richard Hembree, and Mike Kickham to the pitchers, particularly Rosin.

    Regarding Rohlinger, the Giants have been saying that he's been groomed to be a utility MI, and he has had some chances, but really, a utility player don't have any place in a discussion of prospects, unless he's a super utility hitter type, and he hasn't really shown that he's that good a hitter so far in the minors.

     
  • At 3:41 AM, Blogger Vinnie Cestone said…

    It's so good that the Giants finally have a decent farm system. I remember back in the early 2000s when they would call up people like Cody Ransom or some other light-hitting young player. I can't wait to see what Brandon Belt does. Sandoval better watch out if he doesn't get his act together. Too bad we don't have someone like Bryce Harper waiting in the wings.

    As far as having not many pitchers coming up, we're fine. We got a set rotation for years to come. It's a good thing Sabean held on to everybody instead of making the AJ Pierzynski deal again.

    I like your blog a lot, and I'll put your link on my site where my favorite blogs go. You know the team inside and out, especially the minor leaguers that the casual Giants fan may know nothing about. I blog too about the Giants, and you inspired me to do some research on the Giants' prospects.

    http://talkinggiants.blogspot.com/

     
  • At 12:47 PM, Anonymous CP30 said…

    Giants have no young pitching now..
    Sorry Giants Fans, but I think Wheeler will be a big bust. Kid has no guts. I don't know. but he's been in the system 2 years now and hasn't made a peep. WEAK SAUCE! They shoulda got Leake who was in the exact same mold as timmy and dropped in the draft because of it. Besides Strasburgh if he gets healthy, I think Leake ends up the best pitcher from that draft.

    Just my Opinion, no expert though~

    And yeah, great blog, finally an actual Giants blog that talks baseball and not stupid jokes or dumb ass propositions... Keepin it Real Trevor and The Giants Blog... Nice work

     
  • At 2:48 PM, Blogger Vinnie Cestone said…

    @CP30 FireSabean.com comes to mind as one of those stupid blogs. I wonder what that guy has to say now that he put together a championship team!
    http://www.talkinggiants.blogspot.com/

     
  • At 8:44 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Obssessive-

    Yeah, Hacker did sign with the Twins in November, forgot about that, was still in the WS afterglow, LOL.

    Also, I was more so talking about pitching in this post, not hitting, I discussed some of the better hitters in the system a few weeks back and Dominguez and Joseph both mentioned. I like Matt too but he's a horrendous defender and a strikeout machine. Still, those things can be worked on and I still have some expectations for him.

    As far as the other guys you mentioned, yes, I did leave out Cubleberson for some reason which is weird on my part cause I was really stoked on the year he had with San Jo. I just hope he doesn't go the way of Brandon Crawford and fall off above A-ball.

    Brown, Jones and Parker have nice upside, BUT THEY HAVEN'T YET DONE ANYTHING AT THE PRO LEVEL TO REPORT ON? They could be great, but let's wait to see them face some pro competition before deeming them elite prospects.

    The same can be said about the other 3 pitchers you mentioned. They certainly have upside, but they have no track record yet whatsoever. (Though that Hembree kid looked lights out in his brief sting in the AZL)

     
  • At 8:48 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    -Vinnie

    Thanks for the kind words about the site.

    The 5-man rotation is absolutely set, not denying that at all. But, (knock on wood), say Sanchez or Cain or someone needs to miss 1-2 months with an injury; who do they go to in that situation? Even if they had to miss just a few weeks. I guess they could cross that bridge if they get to it, but they don't have an option at this point.

     
  • At 10:42 PM, Blogger Vinnie Cestone said…

    @Trever you got a good point there! The rotation seems pretty durable to me, but in case of an injury, they probably need to take a chance on a middle-of-the-road prospect. Usually does not bode well.

    Also, I just added a Giants trivia game to my blog. Check it out and see if you all can get all 15 questions right! If Marty Lurie is reading this, I directly challenged him! Got some tough questions there!
    http://talkinggiants.blogspot.com/

     
  • At 3:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think we all agree then:
    Sabean needs to add another starting pitcher, one that can start big league games if need be.

    They also still need a backup ss, not sold on Fontenot and apparently Renteria is saying no. Now What?

     
  • At 4:07 AM, Blogger Vinnie Cestone said…

    @Anonymous I actually don't like Fontenot. He has poor defense and makes too many errors. He's versatile, but has a hard time throwing the ball to first.

    As far as back-up infielders, I say give Emmanuel Burris a try. He's a speedy infielder with a good glove. His offense is poor, but he's only a back-up.

     

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