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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Giants' Top 20 Prospects for 2013: GBB Edition

Like we try and always do about this time of year, I wanted to get our version of the Giants top-20 prospect list out before spring training starts up. You'll find a lot of the names in pretty similar spots to last year, but with Gary Brown's off-year and the trade of Tommy Joseph, there has been some shuffling atop the list.

1. Kyle Crick, RHP: The toughest part of this list was picking between Blackburn and Crick for the number one spot, but I have to roll with Crick because of his off-the-charts potential. As far as pure stuff and 'strike you out' ability, the big right-hander is second to none. Giants scouts have compared him favorably to both Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, and both those guys were able to cruise through the minors quickly. Perhaps the most telling sign of his dominance though is his 1 HR allowed in 118 minor league innings thus far. The only knock on Crick is his knack for walking batters.

2. Clayton Blackburn, RHP: I seem to like this young right-hander a lot more than most scouts do. Andrew Baggarly had him 6th in his prospect list for Baseball America, but I really like the kids makeup. His winning percentage and K:BB ratio last year with Augusta stood out big time, and although he doesn't really overpower you like Crick does, his control is far more advanced. I can't wait to see how the 20 year-old does in the offensive-happy Cal League this year.

3. Chris Stratton, RHP: I really liked the selection of Stratton at pick 20 in last years draft, and I think this kid will be on the fast track to the big leagues starting in 2013. He didn't get to do much after being drafted last year as he got hurt and missed some time, but he showed hints in Salem that he'll make a smooth transition into the professional ranks. The last time the Giants selected a college arm that high in a draft was when they got Lincecum in '06 and we all saw how quickly he ascended to the big leagues.

4. Gary Brown, OF: His .279/7/42 line with 33 steals was a major fall-back from his 2011 line of .339/14/80 and 55 SB's. However, he was playing the notoriously pitcher-friendly Eastern League, and did come on strong in the second half. 2013 will be a crucial year for the 24 year-old, as he's entering that phase where it's put up or shut up time. He's going to start the year in Fresno, but in a perfect world, the Giants would love to see him force his way onto the big league roster at some point this season. His glove is polished, but I'd like to see his stolen base percentage and batting average go up a little bit.

5. Joe Panik, SS: Like with Brown, Panik had a somewhat pedestrian 2012 season. His batting average (.296) and OBP (.368) were solid, but his slugging numbers left something to be desired. After hitting 6 homers in 300 at-bats in 2011, he managed just 7 in 600 at-bats playing in the friendly confines of the California League. The 23 year-old should start the year in AA, but it wouldn't surprise me if he's moved up to AAA at some point if he's handling the bat well.

6. Heath Hembree, RHP: Hembree's injury-plagued off-year really came at a tough time for the youngster. The Giants lost Brian Wilson early in the year and probably would have brought Hembree up at some point if he were pitching better. After carrying an ERA under 2 for his first two seasons in the minors, it shot up to 4.76 as he struggled in Fresno. The silver lining here is that he wasn't fully healthy for most of last season, so hopefully he gets back on track in 2013. I'll be watching him especially closely this spring.

7. Mike Kickham, LHP: The 24 year-old lefty put together a real strong year for Richmond in 2012, and it really put him on the map. He's always had good stuff plus he's a lefty, so he's been on the radar, but he seemed to put it together in 2012 (11-10, 3.05 ERA, 137 K's in 150 innings). I'm looking for big things from him in 2013 as he should begin the year in Fresno and would be amongst the first guys looked at should the Giants need an extra starter to fill in at some point.

8. Martin Agosta, RHP: The 2nd round pick from 2012 didn't do a whole lot in the minors after being drafted, but he did show his ability to dominate with 19 K's in 10+ innings in the rookie league. He's got a little bit of Tim Lincecum in him as he's got a slender frame but can really hike up the velocity. With a good year in 2013, he could catapult into the top-5 based on his ability and long term potential.

9. Andrew Sussac, C: The 23 year-old catcher had plenty of hype after the Giants drafted him in the 2nd round in 2011, but he disappointed in his first full year as a pro. Still, he's got the skill-set, and the bat to adjust to pro ball, and it would surprise me to see him struggle with the bat again in 2013. Although he's not the athlete that Posey is, he's got a lot of similar skill-sets, and he's another guy who could find himself in the top-5 next year with a nice 2013 campaign.

10. Edwin Escobar, LHP: This guy is one of the most intriguing young arms in the Giants system. He was only 19 in 2012, and he put up some very impressive numbers in A-ball. He's got a lively fastball that sits around 91 MPH, and he's got a solid curve and change to go with it. Many who've seen more of the young lefty than I have believe his ceiling to be a mid-rotation guy, with his floor being a big league middle reliever.

11. Adalberto Mejia, LHP: Mejia is another young lefty (19 years old) with tremendous upside and is coming off a solid 2012 season. He's got above average command and stuff for his age and he rarely gives up the long ball. Between he and Escobar, the Giants have some very talented young lefties in low in their system who appear ready to really start making some noise.

12. Mac Williamson, OF: The Giants third round selection in last June's draft did nothing but impress in limited time after arriving in the organization. Between rookie ball and low-A, he managed a .321/9/32 line with a .965 OPS in just 145 at-bats. This guy has legit pop, and I think he could be in for a huge year in San Jose.

13. Roger Kieschnick, OF: Much like Hembree last season, Kieschnick got bitten by the injury bug at the worst possible time. He was tearing up AAA pitching, and would have been the Giants clear-cut choice to take Melky's roster spot had he been healthy, but he went down. In only 55 games before going down, he was hitting .295 with 15 jacks, 14 doubles and a .942 OPS. If he's healthy this spring, and the Giants want to go with 5 outfielders out of the gate, he may be first in line for that 5th spot.

14. Chris Heston, RHP: This guy has done nothing but improve each year since he became a pro, with 2012 being his big breakout year. The 24 year-old went 9-8 with a 2.24 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 148 innings in AA Richmond. Will start 2013 in AAA, and is likely the 6th starter on the organizational depth chart after Barry Zito, meaning he's first in line should one of the top-5 go down with injury.

15. Francisco Peguero, OF: We saw a small sample of Peguero after Melky Cabrera's suspension in August, and although he didn't particularly stick out, he showed he can handle the glove and has some good wheels. I think he needs some more time in Fresno to fine-tune some things, but the 24 year-old very much in the mix for one of the remaining bench spots on the 25-man roster.

16. Josh Osich, LHP: Osich is intriguing for a number of reasons. He's a big lefty who hits the upper 90's with his heater, was dominant in college and has already overcome Tommy John surgery. He was used mostly as a starter in school at Oregon State, where he threw a no-hitter. With his history of being a starter and his ability to go multiple innings in relief, he reminds me a bit of Jeremy Affeldt, and I think he's going to be a plus big league reliever in the very near future (so long as he keeps that left arm healthy of course).

17. Adam Duvall, 2B: Duvall was one of the most talked about prospects in the Giants system in 2012, as he led the whole organization with 30 long balls to go with 100 RBI in high-A ball. He'll enter 2013 at 24 years of age, and after his success in 2012, the Giants will let his play dictate how quickly he advances. I would be surprised if he's not in AAA early in 2013 and earn an eventual September call-up.

18. Stephen Johnson, RHP: The 22 year-old flamethrower makes the list without having thrown but 19 innings as a pro, and the reason why, he can hit triple digits with that fastball of his. So long as he can harness it, and polish up his secondary pitches, he's got future set-up man, or possibly even closer, written all over him.

19. Brett Bochy, RHP: The younger Bochy really reminds me a lot of Sergio Romo. Both are ridiculously effective without being terribly overpowering. Then there's also the late-bloomer aspect to both. Brett will be 26 in August, but he's only had two minor league years under his belt. He's been dominant in those two though, and I think he's shown he's more than prepared for AAA and extremely close to being big league ready.

20. Gustavo Cabrera, OF: To round things out, I had to go with the guy with perhaps the most raw talent in the organization. The Giants signed the 17 year-old last summer as he was rated by BA as baseball's the top international prospect. He's drawn comparisons to Justin Upton, and he's going to have plenty of time to piece everything together as the Giants can afford to bring him along slowly.

Honorable Mention: Ehire Adrianza-SS; Bryce Bandilla-LHP, Nick Noonan-IF; Ricky Oropesa-1B; Chris Marlowe-RHP; Eric Surkamp-LHP; Steven Okert-LHP; Angel Villalona-1B
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4 Comments:

  • At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good list, but I like Brett Bochy in the top-10. Comparing him to Romo is a perfect comparison. I got to see him pitch in college and I think he's the real deal.

     
  • At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Kenny Jonerz said…

    LOL, Forgot about Angel Villalona.. I don't know if I could ever root for that guy so I won't be mad if he tanks. Something tells me he will, but isn't he still only like 20 or something like that. I don't know though, tough to judge when I hardly know the story outside of him paying 100k to get out of it, but maybe he was innocent.

    Weird situation though if he does tear it up and makes the Giants decide what to do with him.

    -KJ

     
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