Here we are again on our journey from Club to Club as we take a look at the Top 10 prospects from each team before opening it up to our Top 21s later in the winter. In this installment, Staff writer Copicetic breaks down our San Francisco Giants Top 10. The Giants are not as rich with top-level talent as they were in the recent past. However, there are some very interesting prospects to examine and we’ve thrown in a couple of bonuses for you as well. Let’s take a look at the future of this organization.
1. Gary Brown CF 09/28/1988 Height:6’1” Weight:190 – Having been drafted in the 2010 season we have only the 2011 season of data on Gary Brown. The early returns are very positive. We did a scouting report on Brown here Prospect Instinct|Gary Brown. As indicated in the article, Browns’ game (and value) is predicated on speed. He covers ground very well in Centerfield and gets to a lot of balls that other players don’t have the speed to reach. His 53 stolen bases in 559 at-bats is the premium indicator of what his offensive game could be as a major leaguer. A couple of markers that we like are his 115 runs scored and the slash line of .336/.407/.519. This all suggests a productive table setting bat that is capable of hitting for moderate power. This is a great profile for a fleet-footed CF, however, Brown’s game comes with some questions. While he did keep a reasonable strikeout rate of 77k’s over 559 ab’s, we don’t like the low number of walks. When a player draws only 46 free passes in 559 at-bats, getting on base becomes completely dependent on a high batting average.
Our Instinct: We are concerned that the hitter-friendly California league may have inflated his batting average. Double AA ball will be a huge indicator of Brown’s legitimacy as a top of the order bat. If we don’t see some adjustment in strike zone management he could become a below average OF hitting in the bottom side of the batting order.
2. Joe Panik SS 10/30/1990 Height: 6’1” Weight: 193 - Picked in the 1st round of the 2011 draft, Panik was viewed by many as an overdraft. Fortunately Panik wanted to play baseball and was signed quickly by the Giants rather than hold out for a higher signing bonus as so many of the 1st round draft picks had done. Therefore, we were able to see Panik play in short season ball in 2011…and play baseball he did. He is becoming known for a high baseball IQ, and this was reflected in well-rounded stats that indicate a player that is good at a lot of things. Defensively, there is still question whether he can stick at SS. But offensively he profiles extremely well for a middle infielder. He carried a nice batting average of .341 and a solid .401 on-base percentage. He definitely finds ways to get on base, which was nicely complimented by 13 stolen bases during the 2011 season. With 49 runs scored and 54 rbi’s, Panik has the look of an offensive player that can cause damage in all sorts of ways. Another very promising marker for Panik is excellent strike zone management with 28bb/25k.
Our Instinct: This is a player that will make pitchers work and can maximize his tools. He needs to carry this performance to higher levels, but Panik has the potential to become a high-level middle infielder at the major league level.
3. Tommy Joseph C 07/16/1991 Height: 6’1” Weight:220 - Having played 2 professional seasons, it is still difficult to gauge the value of Joseph to the organization. He has shown much improvement from his unremarkable 2010 season. He improved his defensive skills by cutting down on his error rate and passed balls while increasing his percentage of runners caught stealing. The offensive numbers showed nice improvement as well. With 95 rbi’s and 22 hr’s in 514 ab’s there is definitely some potential for power productivity in his bat. However, the 102k/29bb could stand for some improvement. His .317 OBP underscores his need to increase his walk rate. We would like to see an increase his contact rates and lower the number of strikeouts. As we noted in our Touch ‘em all article, he took nicely to being played consistently at the catcher position during the last half of the 2011 season.
Our Instinct: Unfortunately, being a catching prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization doesn’t necessarily provide for a great future. Unless the Giants decide to move Buster Posey to another position, there isn’t an obvious home for Joseph at the major league level. A position change may be in order for Joseph to get him to the show and he does have enough of offensive tools for that to happen. Joseph has to improve contact rates and increase his strike zone management, before he can be considered a legit contributor at the major league level. Lots of good offensive tools to work with and he is young enough that more development should be expected. His bat is good enough to get him to the major leagues even if he moves off the catching position.
4. Kyle Crick SP 11/30/92 Height:6’4” Weight:220 – Another 2011 draft pick, Kyle Crick was nabbed as a compensatory pick in the 1st round and 49th overall. He saw very little professional time logging only 7 innings pitched. As with most players drafted in 2011, the data sample is too small to have any significance. The scouting reports indicate that he is a right-handed prototypical power pitcher. His pitching arsenal consists of a 95+ mph fastball, a slider that shows promise, and a developing curve. Like so many young pitchers that throw this hard, he can struggle with control. However, there is huge potential with Crick and he has a frame that suggests that he could become an innings eater.
Our Instinct: San Francisco seems to do well developing young pitchers, so this would appear to be a good fit. Patience will be needed with this player as he will need to be able to learn how to pitch as opposed to just throw hard. There is high ceiling potential with Crick, but that potential also comes with a high risk that he never reaches that ceiling. This rating is rather aggressive and would be much lower in stronger farm systems. But there is no denying that his potential great. Raw talent demands that he is watched carefully.
5. Andrew Susac C 03/22/90 Height:6’1” Weight:200 - Drafted by San Francisco in the 2nd round as the 86th overall pick of the 2011 draft, Susac provides little professional data to analyze. He spent some time the Cape Code League in 2010. He saw 108 at-bats with 5 hrs and 15 rbis and a .269 batting average. With such a small data sample this is all but meaningless in terms of judging his prospect status. He is known for averages catching skills and can flash a plus throwing arm. At the plate, there is moderate power projection and decent contact rates. This could end being a very good draft pick for the Giants organization as he has the potential to be a productive starting catcher.
Our Instinct: All that we can do is rank Susac on potential, until we can see some professional data. As with Joseph, it is hard to see exactly where he fits in the organization with Buster Posey slotted in as the starting major league catcher. Unlike Joseph, Susac does not have the kind of bat that is good enough to profile in another position. Thus it is unlikely that he would find a path to the major leagues other than as a catcher. Good set of offensive and defensive skills at a premium position. Probably the most well-rounded of the catching prospects in the Giants organization. Susac is a player that should be monitored in 2012. He could surprise the prospect world.
6. Eric Surkamp SP 07/16/87 Height:6’4” Weight:190 – There has been little buzz about Eric Surkamp. He has the kind of “stuff” that makes scouts doubtful that it will translate to the major league level. His fastball tops out at 89-90mph which leaves him little margin for error. But his “off speed” pitches help mitigate the lack of a dominate fastball. He brings a deceptive slider and curve; and he has sharp control of all of his offerings. In fact he has a surprisingly strong ability to fan hitters coming in at 165k’s in 148.1 innings pitched. That nice strikeout ratio combined with a stingy 45 free passes over that same 148.1 innings indicates a potent combination.
Our Instinct: Despite the cautions of the scouts, it is getting hard to ignore Surkamps’ results. He did pitch 26.2 innings in the majors last season and did struggle with control. But with his polished pitching arsenal, it is reasonable to expect him to adjust well. He has the markings of a productive, innings-eating starter in the major leagues. I would not be surprised to see him in the bottom half of the Giants’ rotation in 2012.
7. Francisco Peguero OF 06/01/88 Height:5’11” Weight: 195 – Peguero has been in the Giants system for 5 years. He is a speedy player that can do damage when he gets on base. During the 2010 season he swiped 40 stolen bases and scored 78 runs over 538 plate appearances. He also carries decent pop. This can be seen in his slugging percentage of .488 in 2010 and .445 in 2011. Unfortunately, his 2011 season was skewed by an early season knee injury and this impacted his developmental path significantly. However, with a late season promotion to double A ball, Peguero held up to the competition with a .309 batting average, hitting 5 home runs and driving in 37 rbi and scoring 34 runs.
Our Instinct: Unfortunately, his inability to draw any free passes is a severely limiting factor. His game is way to dependent on his raw contact abilities. He must learn how to manage the strike zone better, and learn how to draw a walk. His game cannot be fully realized without enhancing his on-base skills. Likely he is a 4th outfielder type, but there is room for more if he can adjust his approach at the plate.
8. Héctor Sánchez C 11/17/89 Height:5’11” Weight:235 – Another catching prospect in the San Francisco system, Hector Sanchez already has gotten a taste of major league baseball. Due to the injury of Buster Posey, Sanchez saw a whopping 34 plate-appearances in the show. This promotion was way ahead of schedule and isn’t really a good indicator of his future potential. In addition to his major league time he had 365 abs in the minors across 2 levels of competition in 2011. With a slash line of .285/.328/.452 there is decent contact rates. Additionally he was good for 12 hrs and 84 rbi’s in those 365 abs, so there is some power production in his bat. He has a decent k-rate, but has to learn to draw more free passes. Something else that needs to be monitored is his physique. Standing under 6 feet tall, he should not be adding any more weight to his existing 235-pound frame. There is concern that he will not be able to manage his weight as he continues to mature and this would inhibit his overall development. He needs to be allowed to consolidate his game in triple A ball at the start of the 2011 season after having been rushed into the show to try to fill the hole left by Posey’s injury.
Our Instinct: He has enough raw tools to become regular starting catcher in the major leagues, but he needs to increase his strike zone management. It is important that Sanchez is allowed to work on his swing and continue to develop his defensive game to be more prepared for the next time that he is called up.
9. Heath Hembree RP 01/13/89 Height:6’4” Weight:210 – Here is a relief pitcher that can come in with some heat. He has been dominating across 2 levels of professional ball so far. With a fastball that sizzles in consistently at 95-96mph, he simply overpowers opposing batters. With a k/bb ratio of 78/25, control is not an issue, and the 78k’s in 53.1 innings pitched is quite remarkable. Another positive sign is how Hembree took the jump from high A to double A with no adjustment time needed. His fastball is fairly straight, so he needs to develop his cutter to become a more consistent pitch.
Our Instinct: With 38 saves and 36 hits allowed in 53.1 innings, he has been the definition of a lock-down closer. However, it is important to see how he does as he climbs the ladder. He will not be able to get away with just dominating major league hitters with his fastball alone. Some development is in order, but he has the potential to be a high-leverage pitcher at the major league level. He could move quickly within the organization. He has the raw tools to be an impact pitcher in the bull pen, much will depend on the role that Giants want him to assume.
10. Ehire Adrianza SS 08/21/89 SS Height:6’0” Weight:170 – After playing in the Giants organization since 2006, Ehire Adrianza’s development path was slowed by injury in the 2011 season. Known as a player with strong defensive skills at shortstop, the questions surround his offensive abilities. With his slight build, Adrianza is not going to hit for a lot of power. He does have some speed and did swipe 33 bases and score 70 runs in 2010. Additionally he has a decent understanding of the strike zone with 41 free passes in 430 plate appearances in 2011.
Our Instinct: His contact rates are marginal with .258, .256 and .273 as his respective batting average over the last 3 seasons. His glove will carry him, and the Giants have to hope that there is some development left in the swing. This is a player that won’t carry your fantasy team to the championship. He looks to be major league capable shortstop with a weak bat.
Top 21 Freeview
Here’s a couple of pitching prospects that we really like, in no particular order or rank. However, they will appear later this winter in our top 21 list. Now, for your viewing pleasure:
Clayton Blackburn SP 01/06/93 Height 6’3” Weight 220 – Drafted in the 16th round and 507th overall, Clayton actually provided a little bit of data for us to analyze. He was in the Arizona rookie for six starts in 2011. While the sample size is ridiculously small, we have taken notice of the k/bb ratio of 30/3 in 33.1 innings of work. Being so stingy with the walk rate at the age of 18 is a very positive sign. The scouting reports indicate a fastball that touches 90 mph and a curveball.
Our Instinct: In order to continue his further his developmental path, Blackburn will have to add another pitch in the arsenal. However, there is potential here. It would make sense to move Blackburn into the Northwest league. If so, we will get some video for you and keep you updated on our impressions of Mr. Blackburn.
Joan Gregorio SP 01/12/92 Height:6’7” Weight: 180 – Signed out of the Dominican Republic Joan Gregorio has been throwing for 2 years now. He has achieved decent numbers with a 2.61 era and 9-3 record in 26 games started in professional ball. We like the fact that the strikeout ratio has improved from 2010 to 2011. He garnered 43k’s in 50.1 innings pitched in 2011. We would like to that trend continue. At 19 years old he reportedly can bring his fastball at 90+ mph.
Our Instinct: One could reasonably expect some projection as he physically develops. Standing at 6’7” there should be good downward plane to the ball, which makes it harder on hitters to square up on his pitches. There is some room for projection with Gregorio. He is another candidate for the Northwest League in which case there will be video and scouting reports in the offing.
Check back soon as we profile more Top 10 Lists for each MLB team and also get our baseball geek on and take a look at some of the later draft picks from the 2011 draft that we think could be big names on the prospect radars in the near future. While you’re here, take a look at a recent article in this series:Miami Marlins Top 10 List and be a step ahead of the game. Also, check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be. So don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at email@example.com.