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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Giants Minor Leagues Low on Big Talent

After the the trades Sabean made this July, sending away Zach Wheeler, Thomas Neal and others, the Giants farm system was sure to take a hit. They're really banking on 2011's class to help re-invigorate a dying system.

There just weren't a whole lot of players who stuck out in the Giants system this season, and those who did, found their way up to the big league roster. Obviously, there are still a few elite guys like Gary Brown, Francisco Peguero and Joe Panik to help re-shape this farm system, but their pitching, which has been their strength for the better part of the last 1/2 decade, is no longer as deep as it normally is. It's like the team's philosophy has changed and all the sudden they have a plethora of power hitting prospects who have huge holes in their swings. Now Brown (.336/14/80/54) should start 2012 as the teams top ranked prospect, but 2011 top pick Joe Panik (.341/6/54, 69 games) will be right on his heels. Then I'd expect Francisco Peguero to round out the top 3, giving the Giants three positional players as their top-3 prospects for the first time that I can remember. Peguero quietly put up another very effective year, to the point where I was surprised the Giants didn't give him a look see in September. He figured out how to hit in the Eastern League, which a lot of Giants prospects can't seem to do, hitting over .300 with with a team-high .763 OPS. Another guy who had a standout year with the bat was 2009 supplemental pick, 20 year-old Tommy Joseph (.270/ 22/95) who really came alive in the 2nd half in the Cal League. Because of that power potential, Joseph will always have value, problem is finding him a position he can play comfortably.

On the pitching front, things are pretty thin at the moment, and if your wondering if the Giants may deal a starting pitcher for offense this winter, it may not be the case. 2011 Supplemental pick, Kyle Crick, who supposedly gave the Giants the confidence to deal their top prospect in Wheeler after they took him in Junes draft. However, even if he is the next MadBum or Cainer, he's just out of high school and even on an accelerated path, still 2 full years out. The only other guy close to the top-10 as far as Giants prospects coming into the year, besides Wheeler, was lefty Eric Surkamp, and he was less than spectacular at the big league level in his brief stint. He did go 10-4 with a sub-2.50 era in AA Richmond, and can pitch, but doesn't have overpowering stuff and needs to learn to throw with confidence and trust his location. He's probably destined for AAA Fresno to start 2012, but he could be in line for some starts again if he can improve in that area. Other than Surkamp though, as we saw in September, it's Barry Zito or Jonathan Sanchez. The Giants really don't have a bunch of options, and should they trade Sanchez, they better be willing to dip into free agency for some insurance. That's if Sanchez even has any value at this point. The best thing to do in his case would be to let him come to spring training and show baseball he's back, rather than try dealing him after the year he just had.

The Giants strength is still their pitching, don't get me wrong, but depth has become and issue, so much so that it likely will keep the Giants from dealing anyone away this winter. The relief front is a whole other story, as the Giants are stacked with them, and could package a guy like Romo with a solid prospect like Peguero and really get themselves a bat that way. I know there are plenty of teams looking for proven late-inning bullpen help, especially a closing-type 28 year-old.
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6 Comments:

  • At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I wish they could trade Sanchez for a good leadoff guy... I personally think a Sanchez/Pagan trade with the Mets would be perfect for both teams. The Mets get a much needed lefty starter, and the Giants get a guy who Andres Torres resembles on his best of days. I think that would be a good start.... Then sign a big bat at 1B and a decent SS! I could dig this:

    Pagan CF
    Sanchez 2B
    Sandoval 3B
    Fielder 1B
    Posey C
    Belt/Huff LF
    Schierholtz RF
    Crawford SS

    Now that's a lineup!

     
  • At 9:08 PM, Blogger Trevor said…

    I think you have a nice starting point there. I'd take Pagan atop the lineup. Doubt they can afford Fielder though. Maybe more along the lines of Michael Cuddyer.

    I really think they're going to get a shorstop though, just cause Sabean can't seem to get enough of aging, veteran shortstops. My guesses, sadly, are either Jimmy Rollins or Rafy Furcal. Maybe he learned his lesson with OC and Tejada though.

     
  • At 1:49 AM, Anonymous Carla Herndon said…

    My three biggest questions for next year are where will Nate and Brandon Belt play? Is Huff going to the bench, or is Belt going to outfield.

    There's no way they put Belt down in AAA again, that would be a slap in the face.

    Can you do a post letting us know who's free agents and not, so we know who's coming back... I have no idea who will be back besides the obvious guys like Timmy, Matty, Panda, Posey, Huff and Wilson.

    Thanks, great web site! Go Giants!

     
  • At 3:12 AM, Blogger Diomar said…

    watch the most awaited fight of pacqauio online

     
  • At 10:28 AM, Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said…

    This is what happens when a team starts winning regularly, they get the poorer picks in the back of the first round of the draft, where there is not as much obvious talents, though the Giants have done well the past two seasons picking up Brown and Panik, and poorer picks all down the line.

    Plus, normally a pitcher like Bumgarner would still be in the system, making the system look good, instead of the major league team look good.

    I agree that for the Giants to get best value for Sanchez, he needs to pitch in spring and maybe early season, and show his value, before they can trade him for best value.

    The issue is not that Sabean loves old aging SS, the problem is that when you don't have a shortstop, other teams want an arm and a leg from you in trade, so you have to go on the free agent market, and the only players available there are the old, aging, veteran shortstops. Remember, he's the guy who drafted Derek Jeter for the Yankees. It is up to BCraw to hit really well in AFL and give Sabean the proof that he is ready to hit in the majors.

    Bochy has already said in his post-season conference that Nate is the starting RF. I think Belt and Torres will battle for starting LF spot, with loser as bench/4th OF. Huff will be giving 1B, but with very short leash in 2012.

    But I think Huff understands that his great 2010 was due to coming into camp in great shape and that his poor 2011 was due to coming into camp in poor shape, so I expect him to come into camp in good shape (if only to have a great season before free agency again) and have a good (but not 2010 great) season in 2012. But that would be good enough for our offense if Posey and Sanchez are back, and Belt and Crawford are ready to hit in majors. Plus, hopefully, an OK CF (Coco Crisp seems the obvious Sabean choice right now).

    People like to berate Giants management for Belt, but forget that he was not a heralded prospect going into draft. Giants saw his potential, gave him the right training and changes to hitting, then promoted him aggressively in 2010 when he produced, so cut them some slack if they think that he was scuffling and needed to sit.

    And he admitted at the end of the season that he has troubles hitting off-speed stuff, hence why he agreed to go to Winter League and play. The Giants also said in the post-season conference that he was thinking too much in his ABs and hurting his performance, while also praising Crawford for not letting one AB affect the next AB.

    And as much as fans liked to complain, Belt didn't really do much of anything in his ABs until late September, with flashes of brilliance to keep the fan's flames roaring, but way too many strikeouts to justify giving him a starting spot. Bochy knows a lot more about his players' mental state, sitting with them on the bench, than us fans sitting in our seats, our cars, our homes.

    The Giants know what they got. Else they would not have promoted him so quickly in 2010 nor would they have thought enough of him to push him to majors when Ross's injury opened up a spot, they could have did the same old, same old, and kept Ishikawa.

     
  • At 1:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I wish they would have just stood pat at the deadline. Wonder how things would have turned out.

    I have a feeling the G'men make a big splash in free agency this winter... Prince Fielder anyone?

     

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