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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Minor League Depth Put To Test

With the rash of Giants' injuries that's wiped out a good portion of this clubs top contributors, the Giants have been calling on more and more minor leaguers to step up and fill some pretty big shoes.

The latest and perhaps biggest minor league call-up came Friday, as the Giants brought up new top pitching prospect, Eric Surkamp, who was absolutely dominating AA Eastern League batters. Surkamp was 10-2 with a 2.02 era in 142 innings in AA, striking out 162 batters while sporting a WHIP slightly over 1. With Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito each shelved with ankle problems, the Giants basically had to call on the 23 year-old lefty by default, but he sure didn't pitch like an emergency starter Saturday in Houston. The newest Giant went 6 solid innings, allowing just 1 run on 6 hits with 4 strikeouts. He got out of trouble a few different times and really looked a bit like Bumgarner and Cain in the way he was able to mow through the Houston Astros despite allowing a few base runners. I was extremely psyched that the Giants ended up holding onto the prize lefty with all the trades they made and prospects they dealt, cause I truly think this kid's going to be a solid big leaguer. The Giants will need that to be the case too because it looks like Jonathan Sanchez's ankle injury is serious enough to shelve him for the remainder of the season and there just aren't any options after Surkamp with Zito down. The Giants could still add another veteran starter as insurance before the 31st, but Surkamp's solid showing may allow them to hold off. It would sure be something if this kid can supply that shot in the arm this pitching staff needs and provide a boost for the September run.

Speaking of September, it can't come fast enough for Bruce Bochy, who's seen his team ravished by injuries all season long, and a whole slew of them in August. Boch has been relegated to using Mark DeRosa way more than he should and I like DeRosa, but his wrist has turned him into a fraction of the player he was before he came to San Francisco. With Sandoval and Keppinger each banged up, the Giants need some help on the infield, and I think a guy like Connor Gillaspie would bring more to the table than DeRosa right now. Another guy who's really tearing it up in AAA and having perhaps the best year of any Giants' minor leaguer is 26 year-old 1B/2B Brett Pill. Unfortunately his main position is first base, and he kind of got lost in the shuffle behind Brandon Belt, but Pill has been a monster this year in Fresno, finally realizing his power potential, and has always been a solid average guy. Because of Belt, the Giants tried Pill out at 2nd base and the outfield as well, so he can play either of those positions too. He's hitting .310 with 24 HR and 104 RBI so far this year, and hit 35 HR with 193 RBI in 2009/10. He's one of the guys I'm definitely looking forward to being called up September 1st.

Other minor league Giants that should get the call-up September 1st and factor into the mix is outfielder Darren Ford. The speedy center fielder would probably be up with the club right now, but he's been injured and was slow to get going with the bat, but has come around in August. Still, he'll be up and be used as a pinch runner/defensive replacement quite often when the rosters expand. Hector Sanchez, who's bounced all around the Giants system this year will likely re-join the club in a few days as well. Sanchez came up for a day on the 23rd and had an RBI hit, then was sent back down the next day to make room for Surkamp. Besides youngsters like Sanchez, Ford and Gillaspie, the Giants will also likely be getting Pat Burrell back when the calendar turns, which will also help out a ton. Burrell's days as a starting left fielder are likely gone, but it will be nice for Bochy to have him on the bench to pinch hit.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Irvingston420 said…

    At least we got Romo off the dl today cause without Wilson, this team is in need of a closer. I wonder if Romo will be closer for the rest of the year without the beard?

  • At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ouch! Two former Giants come back to bite them with the Astros. Sosa and Downs each contributed for the Stros in their series win.

    The Giants look finished. With Wilson and Posey and the Sancehz's all out, they probably can't do anything anyway. They have Chris Stewart catching for cryin out loud.

  • At 5:18 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    The Giants are now 4 games out with 26 left... Not adding up for Giants. Their failure vs. Houston in these last two series could very well be what keeps them from making the playoffs. They've lost at least 3 games on AZ in the standings with all these losses to Houston, who just happens to be the worst team in baseball! Just in-explicable!

  • At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    Giants are to hard to watch right now. I can't remember a team that just all the sudden tanked like they have. It all happened after they traded for Beltran and Cabrera... Not sure if that has anything to do with it, but what a waste if they don't end up making it to playoffs.

  • At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Giants Tickets said…

    There is a lot of good SF Giants information here! Thanks!

  • At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What about cody looser Ross and Andrew torres


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