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Friday, November 16, 2012

2012 Minor League Report

I know free agency is starting to heat up, but with Buster Posey winning the NL MVP Thursday, I wanted to take a quick look back down on the farm and see who the next big stars are that will be heading our way.

We'll be right back into the free agent frenzy this weekend, by which time it wouldn't surprise me if the Giants make another move, but until then, I wanted to look at some of the standouts from the minors this year.

First off, we'll start down in Low-A Augusta, where the name of the game down their for the Giants was their starting pitching, particularly in the form of their two brightest young arms in Kyle Crick and Clayton Blackburn. The 19 year-olds each had their way with the the SAL's hitters, as Blackburn piled up an 8-4 record, 2.54 ERA and an astounding 143:18 K/BB ratio over 133 innings of work. Crick was equally impressive, firing off a 7-6 record, 2.51 ERA and 128 K's in 111 IP. He didn't show the command Blackburn did, but got stronger as the season wore on. Before the season, it was Crick who was considered the premiere of the two arms, but in the 2013 Giants' prospect edition, Blackburn should overtake that role. Starter Edwin Escobar (7-8, 2.98 ERA) and outfielder Shawn Payne (.309 AVG, 57 SB's) also stood out for the Green Jackets.

San Jose had a few bright young players come through this season as well, and contrary to how the Augusta team was set-up, the SJ Giants were stocked with hitting. Whether he'll end up at shortstop in the future (doubtful with the way Crawford has come on) or second, Joe Panik is the Giants top young infield prospect and he had a solid finish to an otherwise mediocre season. The 22 year-old did hit .297, but didn't quite show the power the Giants had hoped for, with just 38 extra-base hits in over 500 at-bats in a notorious hitters league. Fellow infielders Adam Duvall and Ricky Oropesa had no such problem in the power department. The 24 year-old Duvall led everyone in the Giants' organization with 30 homers, and drove in 100 runs, but hit only .258. The Giants may hike him up to AAA Fresno next year and see if they can't get that average to rise. 22 year-old Ricky Oropesa belted out 16 homers and had 30 doubles, but the Giants hope the .263 average and 150 K's improve in '13. The disappointment from San Jose this year, Jarrett Parker (.247, 175 K's in 409 at-bats), though he did manage 15 long balls and an .366 OBP.

Up in AA Richmond, the Giants had a few guys who we may be seeing next September in San Francisco. Although he didn't quite have the season he was hoping for, Giants top prospect Gary Brown turned it on in time to hit .279 with 7 HR and 33 SB's in one of the tougher leagues to hit in. The part they want to see improve next year in Fresno is that OBP and his caught stealing rate (nearly %39). On that pitching staff, the Squirrels had a pair of good years out of Brett Bochy and Chris Heston. Bochy sported a 2.53 ERA with 69 K's and 14 saves in 53 innings of work. Heston led Giants minor leaguers with a 2.24 ERA to go with his 9-8 record and 135 K's in 25 starts. I'd look for all three of the aforementioned players to be in Fresno in 2013 and on a short list of possible early season call-ups should the need arise.

And finally, we end up in Fresno, where there were really just three guys considered bright prospects getting a lot of time. One made it up to the big league level, Francisco Peguero, so we all know about him and the slightly above-average season he was having in Fresno. However, it probably wouldn't have been Peguero to get the call had Roger Kieschnick been healthy when the Giants lost Melky Cabrera. Kieschnick was hitting .306 with a team-high 15 HR and 40 RBI before going down with a season ending injury in July. The 25 year-old is certainly someone to keep an eye on come Spring of 2013 as he could battle for a backup outfield spot, depending on how the cards play out this winter (only Pence and Blanco are assured to return). The other prospect in Fresno this year was Heath Hembree, who had somewhat of a wasted season in the sense that he was just never that healthy. The Giants expected closer-of-the-future has looked much better in the AFL and finished off the year nicely with the Grizzlies after his return, but a 4.74 ERA is hardly what the Giants had in mind for their young fire-baller.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Rick D. said…

    So Melky goes to Toronto? And Angel wants ridiculous money? What will the Giants do in the outfield if they can't get back Angel? Think Brown has a shot at starting in center in 2013?

  • At 10:20 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    In short, no I don't think Brown has a shot at starting the year with the big club, let alone as the starting CF'er. He could make a cameo at some point, depending on team needs and his progress, but he didn't tear it up in 2012 like the Giants had hoped.

    As for losing Pagan, it's a very real possibility. We'll talk about possible back-up plans in our next post, but it's a thin FA market this season all-around.

  • At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Giants system is looking kinda weak right now. They lost a lot over the last two seasons. Is Brown still the #1 or is it Blackburn now.

  • At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Ryan Lee said…

    I honestly think we should pay Pagan


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