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  1. How was Beltran a playoff contributor? He played well for them, but they finished 8 games out that year.

    Comment by Nate — December 11, 2012 @ 8:09 am

  2. “key contributors during their playoff hunts”

    They were 4 games up on Arizona the day they acquired Beltran. He went on to hit .323/.369/.551 for them.

    Comment by Santos — December 11, 2012 @ 8:28 am

  3. No Chris Heston? I understand he’s somewhat of a Michael Fiers-esque prospect type, but the guy has dominated for 2 straight years now. Yes, he is already 24, but in 2011, he went 12-4, 3.16 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 131/40 K/BB, and then again in 2012, he went 9-8, 2.24 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 135/40 K/BB….did he get any consideration at all?

    Comment by Clifford — December 11, 2012 @ 8:39 am

  4. Not showing up for the 2012 NLCS was nice (and by “not showing up” I mean OPSing less than 1.000 and only hitting one homer, which, by his standards, is nearly enough to suggest some sort of game-throwing chicanery).

    Comment by Bhaakon — December 11, 2012 @ 8:44 am

  5. What is the dope on Brett Bochy? You don’t really expect nepotism picks to light up the box score, but it’s hard to argue with a 11/3 K/BB ratio (well, nepotism pick might be a little harsh, the 20th round isn’t exactly the 40th, but it isn’t where you’d normally take a guy who you think has the goods either).

    Comment by Bhaakon — December 11, 2012 @ 8:50 am

  6. Nice write up. The Giants system has improved a lot with the emergence of the young pitching prospects. It’s still a little light at the very top, which is where rankings come from, but I think depth is a strength rather than the weakness you mention in the preamble.

    I have 3 quibbles: 1. It seems to me that your own write up shows Mejia to be a far better prospect than Escobar. Personally I would put Mejia up to #6 ahead of Kickham, but definitely ahead of Osich. 2. I would put Ricky Oropesa in the top 15, but admit I’m biased as I work with his mom. 3. I would put Panik above Kickham.

    I always advise my readers to not get too hung up on the exact order of these rankings, though. The main benefit is to become more familiar with the prospects in an organization and get a feel for which ones we may be seeing in major league stadiums in the future. So, the above are just quibbles.

    Thanks for a well researched write up. I know the Giants farm system well, and yet I learned several things from reading this.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — December 11, 2012 @ 9:35 am

  7. Great to see the Giants have so many good pitching prospects.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — December 11, 2012 @ 10:14 am

  8. Heston is No. 16… He was on the list as recently as two days ago before I had a change of heart.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 11, 2012 @ 10:47 am

  9. Terrible to see the Giants have so few bad pitching prospects.

    Comment by Hurt lockertwo — December 11, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  10. If you could have either Crick or Matt Cain on your team for the next two years, who would you take?

    Comment by Hurtlocker two — December 11, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  11. The reason Hembree was limited was due to elbow issues that got to the point of shutting him down. He couldn’t pitch on back to back days. Big concern.

    Comment by Bill — December 11, 2012 @ 11:35 am

  12. Easy Cain. Crick will be lucky to reach the bigs in the next two years. The list of A ball SP prospects who fail to develop is incredibly lengthy.

    Comment by Pirates Hurdles — December 11, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  13. Good to know, thanks. No one I spoke with mentioned the elbow issue…

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 11, 2012 @ 11:58 am

  14. Mejia was a tough player to rank. I ended up favoring the more advanced arms, as people I spoke to used the term “projectable” with Mejia, so I erred on the side of caution.

    I considered Oropesa in the same group as Kieschnick, and Duvall but went with Duvall because of the positional value (if he can stick) and with Kieschnick based on what I heard from some people “in the know.”

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 11, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  15. Is Eric Surkamp still around anyone know?

    Comment by Bryce — December 11, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  16. He may yet make the team in 2013, but I don’t think he’s still considered a “prospect.”

    Comment by harperhill — December 11, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

  17. Martin Agosta needs to be included on this list. You may be holding him back because he was just drafted this past summer but he has considerable upside.

    The one name I don’t agree with is Ehire Adrianza. While I don’t believe its time to give up it clearly is time to temper our expectations of him. He looks like another Emmanuel Burriss with better defense right now. True, that does have some value but to put him ahead of guys like Heston and especially Agosta who have legitimate chances of being pieces of a major league rotation seems wrong to me.

    Comment by SF 55 for life — December 11, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  18. This lilst needs more Mac Williamson

    Comment by jct — December 11, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

  19. In the Brian Sabean era, San Francisco has been unable to produce a single starting (+2 WAR) outfielder. Not even a star, a STARTING outfielder. The closest they came was Nate Schierholtz, who was actually a converted third basemen. With two corner outfield spots at every level of the minors, that must be hard to do.

    I’m surprised to see three OF prospects even ranked in the top #15.

    Comment by Near — December 11, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

  20. Well Bochy was good in college closing for the Jayhawks, but was recovering from TJ during the draft I believe, which dropped his stock considerably. Bruce undoubtedly stumped for his kid to the front office, and with him still on the board in the 20th round it seems like it was a sensible time for a lottery ticket of sorts, if one who is somewhat old relative to his league.

    Comment by Big Six — December 11, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

  21. Surkamp had Tommy John surgery in July after developing a sore arm during spring training. He didn’t throw a pitch during the 2012 season.

    Comment by Lefty — December 11, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

  22. He had midseason Tommy John. It’ll be a while before he comes back.

    Comment by Naveed — December 11, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

  23. He is recovering from elbow surgery, and probably won’t be pitching until the end of 2013 at the earliest, which is disappointing. By that point, Kickham and/or Heston may have passed him on the depth chart.

    Comment by Big Six — December 11, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

  24. Mr. Hulet do you think the 4 and 40 given to Pagan is any indication about how the Giants feel about Gary Brown and his ability to be the everyday player?

    Comment by ataltman — December 11, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  25. I think it’s more an indication that Brown won’t be ready for next season. The Giants were hoping Pagan would be a stopgap for when Brown takes over in 2013. But when Brown struggled this past season, they needed a quality centerfielder for at least this next season. And since quality centerfielders don’t normally come on 1 year deals, you have the 4/40 deal for Pagan.

    However, Pagan isn’t much of a roadblock for Brown. Since the Giants don’t have any major commitments in the outfield outside of Pagan beyond 2013, he can be moved over to a corner spot when Brown’s ready.

    Comment by Brian — December 11, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

  26. A.) I dont really think past development of a specific position really has anything to do with present day rankings. while they havent developed any OF, they have developed some ok hitters. you know, Buster Posey, Panda, Brandon Belt, etc.

    B.) In relation to A.), performance of past OF should have no bearing on the evaluation of present-day OF prospects. the two are seperate entities.

    C.) Despite pitching being obviously different than position player development, id say the Giants are doing something right when you consider Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, and Co.

    Comment by Clifford — December 11, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

  27. Omissions – Mac Williamson, he’s borderline top 10 for me. Agosta as stated above.

    Hembree drops out of the top 10 with his arm concerns. I would have Escobar in the 5-7 range.

    Comment by Gianator — December 11, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  28. Well, you need to speak to better contacts then, that was a big deal with Hembree. How would your ranking change given this new bit of knowledge?

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — December 11, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  29. I sat near a scout at a Richmond game that Heston started this year, and he was nice enough to talk to me a bit during a rain delay. When I asked what he thought about Heston’s chances in the big leagues he told me “Heston really knows what he’s doing out there, but his margin for error is pretty slim.” I think in the end his future is going to be middle relief/setup, but if things break right I can see a back of the rotation starter as well, though probably not first division.

    Comment by Roger — December 11, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  30. Bochy is mostly a command and deception guy at this point. I saw him three times this year and he was working in the 87-88 mph range with his fastball. According to Richmond’s play by play guy, teammates referred to Bochy’s fb as the “invisi-ball” because opposing hitters had such a hard time picking it up. Something like a Chris Young fastball I guess, though it remains to be seen if he’ll have as much success with big league hitters.

    Comment by Roger — December 11, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  31. Actually I thought it was forearm.

    Comment by Roger — December 11, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  32. Hi Dr B! I agree with most of what you say, though I would still have Escobar slightly ahead of Mejia and both at the back end of the 10s/front end of teens. And I disagree with your notion that this is a deep system right now. I think it’s a bit light on both impact and depth personally, although a year from now could change the impact part of that equation. But all in all there’s way too much filler in the org (particularly with position players) to call it deep.

    Comment by Roger — December 11, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

  33. I agree with this statement!

    Comment by Roger — December 11, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

  34. I think the more important point is that the Giants have developed great starting pitchers like Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, plus Dirty, and bullpen closers like Wilson and Romo. Plus picked up good pitchers like Vogelsong, Casilla, and Kontos for little cost.

    This focus on one position is nit-picking because if you apply this to every GM in history, probably 99.999999% of them did not develop 2+ WAR players at any particularly position.

    In any case, research by BP and THT research showed that it is pitching (and fielding) that wins championships, that lead to deep runs in the playoffs. So I don’t really care that Sabean has never developed a 2+ WAR outfielder (and if Brown continues to develop, he should make that statement false in a couple of years).

    What a Giants fan should care about is that he has built up a superlative pitching rotation of home grown starters that is the envy of the majors and coupled that with shut-down closers and strong defensive teams. That is the formula, per BP research, that has ended up with World Championships.

    Both BP and THT research found that offense had negligible effect on a team’s capability to go deep and to win it all. So worrying about the lack of 2+ WAR OF is like worrying about your car’s lack of an air freshener when the engine is missing.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — December 11, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

  35. Legitimate major league fielding SS are at a tremendous scarcity in the industry, though. Back end rotation/bullpen arms can be found much easier. That validates the Adrianza ranking I think even though his bat has been abysmal. Maybe not quite Iglesias level of abysmal but close, though that makes a point in and of itself.

    Comment by Roger — December 11, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  36. I’m sure my contacts will be pleased to hear that. My rankings don’t change… mild flexor tendon strain was the diagnosis so a red flag, yet, but limited lost time and should be healthy to begin 2013.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 11, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  37. The contacts in the actual organization that I spoke with favored Adrianza and were hesitant to push Agosta too aggressively, which is why he was left off after originally appearing on my tentative list.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 11, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  38. Interesting compare and contrast. In talking to the Giants beat reporters last month Sabean said Brown had a lot of baseball to learn and he wouldn’t be concerned with signing a vet to a long term deal that appeared to block Brown. Last night on MLB network Cincinnati’s Asst. GM when asked about Billy Hamilton’s development said, “well we won’t be signing any CF to 4 year deals, let me put it that way.”

    Comment by Roger — December 11, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  39. Right on!

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — December 11, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  40. I agree about Williamson. He’s going to be aroudn 10 for me. I watched quite a few SK games on MiLB tv last year and he has some crazy power with a very very easy swing. Very nice base and really leverages his long arms. Rep from college was that he had Kieschnick-esque contact issues, but at least in his first pro test they weren’t too bad. The Cal league will be a nice test for him. Kieschnick K’d 23% of the time in SJ at a similar age. We’ll see how Mac measures up.

    Comment by Roger — December 11, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  41. I know who Williamson is… and he has a FanGraphs player page too. He was another player who appeared on a version of the original list that did not make it after speaking with the people that I did. Honestly, hard-throwing arms like Stephen Johnson and Steven Okert got more love than Williamson and Agosta.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 11, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

  42. Giants are in full win-now mode and definitely don’t make many decisions on what prospects might or might not do…

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 11, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

  43. As I mentioned above, Williamson did not get as much love from within the organization as in this chat thread… he was described as more of a “sleeper” and he did not have huge pre-draft buzz either. You can’t read too much into half-season, short-season numbers.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 11, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

  44. First off, thanks for the nice research on Giants prospects. I learned a lot of interesting things and loved the comments that you included from your contacts.

    I disagree about some of the rankings but my personal opinion is that once you get past the first 5-6 of any farm system, odds are that they won’t really matter in the long-run anyway, unless they reach the top spot in the future, so ranking that deep could result in a lot of quibbling. The true value is the discussion that such a ranking generates.

    First off, I disagree that Panik hasn’t run into some form of failure. He struggled to start off the season in April then ended it with a good run. But I do agree that the jump to AA will be a big test for him.

    Second, I think Mejia should be above Escobar. He struggled initially, probably due to transitioning to full-season league in another country, but if you look at his stats after April, they are better than Escobar’s plus he’s a year younger, age 19 season vs. 20 season for Escobar. And as DrB noted, the description seemed better too.

    Third, obviously, you ranked them higher, but you have Blackburn, Stratton, and Escobar as #3 starters (Escobar 3/4), are they that close in your opinion?

    Fourth, your Crick description has me excited, that was an issue with Cain coming up (and Lincecum a little in the majors), about trusting your stuff and making the hitters hit your pitch, instead of being fine and going with secondary pitches.

    Lastly, excited about the comment about Duvall maybe getting even more power!

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — December 11, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  45. This was all very good, and I appreciate the info. However, I was interested in two rankings as compared to last year. Panik you had at #2 last year and were a big fan. Hembree you had at 10 last year, and now he has suffered through arguably his most difficult year.

    Comment by hammystyle — December 11, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  46. What happened to Joan Gregorio? He was on fangraph’s top 20 Giants prospect list this time last year, now i can’t find anything on him

    Comment by chetrick — December 11, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

  47. They have done very well despite not having developed a corner outfielder.

    Comment by JohnDM — December 11, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  48. I was also concerned about Joe Panik’s performance in the AFL. I am a Panik fan do we attribute this to being tired or lack of abilities?

    Comment by JohnDM — December 11, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  49. Vogelsong actually came up in the Giants’ organization, I do believe.

    In response to the original complaint by Near, the Giants organization has focused primarily on developing pitching in their farm system for two reasons: 1) Pitching and Defense wins championships (as 2010 and 2012 showed) and 2) Pitching depth is more valuable than hitting depth in the trade market. That’s not to say that Sabean has always used those trade chips well, but he’s had his fair share of successes.

    Comment by JManuola — December 11, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  50. >performance of past OF should have no bearing on the evaluation of present-day OF prospects. the two are seperate entities.
    >This focus on one position is nit-picking because if you apply this to every GM in history, probably 99.999999% of them did not develop 2+ WAR players at any particularly position.

    The key distinction between Sabean and other GMs is that Sabean is the longest tenured GM in baseball, and so has had more opportunity to fashion his minor league system than most GMs. His draft style makes it unsurprising that he’s developed several major league caliber pitchers – he employs good talent evaluation and coaching at all levels of the minor leagues, drafts pitchers earlier in rounds where he’s more likely to get good talent, and has the luxury of starting a different pitcher every day in each of his farm teams. Given all that insurance, it’s extremely UNLIKELY he’d fail to develop a quality pitcher. What is surprising is that the pitchers the Giants promote are consistently above average at worst, yet all have superstar upside.

    Here at Fangraphs, we use historical performance to predict future performance for players. Why can’t that be applied to organizations, especially organizations with as relatively little personnel turnover as San Francisco? For that reason, I find the Giants an interesting system to discuss, along with the White Sox and Tigers.

    Success in some areas doesn’t excuse weakness in others. I can believe than San Francisco, drafting pitchers so early at the expense of position players, may have less talent to work with in their outfielders. But with fifteen years worth of data, with two corner outfield positions and one center fielder in each farm team, I have no choice but to identify that lacking as an organizational weakness. Corner outfield isn’t even a premium position, which makes the dearth of Giant outfielders all the more interesting. I would view any Giants OF prospect with extreme skepticism.

    Comment by Near — December 11, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

  51. First they came for Genovese’s boys, and I said nothing. Gone were Maddux, Matthews, Bonds, Kingman, Clark and Davis. Then they came for Bonds boy, and Tom Haller let him go over a measly 5K, and I said nothing. Then Peter the Pink decided to snip snip where it wouldn’t be noticed, and Genovese was gone, and it was time. That final act awoke the Baseball Gods. No outfielders for you, Gigantes!

    Comment by Shankbone — December 11, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

  52. Hey Hulet! Very nice writeup. A gentleman never tells, but I’ll ask anyway: are your contacts a) MLB scouts and front office, b) from established network arena (MLB, ESPN, BA) or c) independent? I’m just a tad curious. Thanks in advance, and no pressure to answer.

    Comment by Shankbone — December 11, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

  53. Hey, you must be Roger The Curmudgeon from MCC? Well, if you would rank Escobar above Mejia and have both of them down in 10′s/teens, I would consider that a deep system right there as I would most definitely not consider Mejia organizational filler.

    I agree the organization has shifted back to a pitching heavy balance, but that’s always been how they roll with a great deal of success.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — December 11, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

  54. I was never impressed with Surkamps scouting reports and always ranked him lower than a lot of people who were impressed by his strikeout totals at lower levels. Then I saw him make a start in 2012 spring training and came away impressed. Depending on how he recovers from TJ, I think he can be a starter in the majors.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — December 11, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  55. Near,

    Brian Sabean brought John Barr over from the Dodgers and made him is scouting director prior to the 2008 draft specifically because of his expertise in evaluating hitters. Barr’s first #1? Buster Posey! Wheeler came next but then Gary Brown and Joe Panik followed after that. The jury is still out on Brown and Panik but Barr hit a HR with Posey.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — December 11, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  56. Hey Hulet! Thanks very much for the write up and for answering questions as you go on this board. Also thanks to obsessive for his input.

    Comment by Gigantes15 — December 11, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

  57. Hey mr.Hulet, love the content on here. Have any of your contacts mentioned anything on Eric Sim? Have you ever seen him play? I played with him in high school, so I was wondering if you had any thoughts on him, and if so, what they were. Thank you.

    Comment by Shane — December 12, 2012 @ 4:17 am

  58. Hi Shankbone, contacts for these lists are scouts and/or front office peeps… and first-hand observation on as many of the players as possible.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — December 12, 2012 @ 7:56 am

  59. I didn’t say Mejia was org filler, Doc. He’s an interesting arm. Like to see him miss some bats, but hopefully that projectibility will kick in. But put him in Texas’ system or a few other particularly deep ones and he has trouble making the back end of the top 30, and I don’t know that he’s the 10th best SP prospect in their depth chart. He certainly isn’t in the top 10 of SP depth chart in Arizona (even today). Putting Mejia at 11 or so is the prime example of why I think the system isn’t deep.

    Comment by Roger — December 12, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  60. Who is Giants 6th starting pitcher if one of the 5 gets injured?

    Comment by Paul — December 12, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

  61. Where is Angel Villalona?

    Comment by Richard — December 12, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

  62. I totally disagree that Mejia would be a #30 prospect in any other system.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — December 12, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

  63. Still trying to convince the USA State Dept. that he is an elite athlete, something they seem to be skeptical of.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — December 12, 2012 @ 11:13 pm

  64. That is a big problem. I’m sure they will bring in a couple of minor league FA’s to bide their time in Fresno. As of right now, Eric Hacker would get the emergency start. Then take your pick of Kickham, Heston or Chris Gloor. Kickham has the best stuff and highest ceiling. Heston is probably the most ready to pitch in the majors right now.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — December 12, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

  65. Some very nice work, loved inclusion of comments.

    Comment by Black and Orange Always — December 16, 2012 @ 3:16 am

  66. Why in the world would anyone rely on the analysis of Fangraphs rankings of SF Giants prospects? Aren’t these the very same people that concluded the Giants baseball operation should be ranked TWENTY SEVENTH? Seriously 27th?

    But that’s what happens when those that have never played the game above T-Ball think they can have a true understanding of the game and it’s players from numbers alone.’

    Good day

    Comment by Matt — December 16, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  67. have to take issue with this statement ^^^^^ – with Gary Brown and Panik showing some weaknesses and Susac looking like a dud the 2010 and 2011 drafts would have to be rated well below avg already at this point even taking into acct the lack of high first round drafting position.

    (formatting prob wont work but whatever – would be nice if fangraphs had a preview option and explained better how to use html tags)

    Comment by xcv — December 16, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

  68. eh, that statement (by Hulett) was:

    “But the overall depth in the system is somewhat thin. It’s not a result of poor drafting or inept talent evaluation – it’s actually the complete opposite.”

    Comment by xcv — December 16, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

  69. With Crick being #1 as a #49 pick from a supposedly “bad” draft class, is it fair to say that class is more underrated than bad? There’s a ton of 2011 draftees in top 5 prospect lists now.

    Comment by PL — December 28, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

  70. why is there no mention anywhere of juan perez? I know he’s 26 but he
    had a very good year in pitching-tough AA and will definitely get a
    look in spring training this year.

    Comment by sfg756 — January 4, 2013 @ 9:07 am

  71. The problem with Juan Perez is he’s 26.

    Comment by Bubba — March 7, 2013 @ 8:57 pm

  72. Jesse Foppert is the truth.

    Comment by Hunter Pence's thorax — March 9, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

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