A Minor Review of 2008: The Giants

The Graduate: Sergio Romo | Born: March 1983 | Right-Handed Pitcher

A former 28th round selection, Sergio Romo has faced an uphill battle to the Major Leagues but he made the most of his opportunities and appeared in 29 games with the Giants in 2008. He allowed just 16 hits in 34 innings with rates of 2.12 BB/9 and 8.74 K/9. His minor league numbers have been almost video-game like with rates of 1.73 BB/9 and 10.06 K/9 in 271.1 career innings. His stuff is underwhelming with a fastball that averages 88.9 mph and a slider at 77.5 mph. He utilized a change-up 3.3% of the time.

The Riser: Madison Bumgarner | Born: August 1989 | Left-Handed Pitcher

The Giants organization knew it had something special with Madison Bumgarner, who was a first round selection out of high school in 2008. He spent the entire year in A-ball and posted an unbelievable 1.46 ERA in 141.2 innings. He allowed 111 hits and posted rates of 1.33 BB/9 and 10.42 K/9. Bumgarner, if he continues to pitch this well, could reach Double-A in 2009. The southpaw’s fastball works in the low 90s most of the time but he can touch 96 mph. His slider and change-up are works in progress.

The Tumbler: Wendell Fairley | Born: March 1988 | Outfielder

Wendell Fairley was considered a bit of a reach at 29th overall in the 2007 draft, as some suggested it was a selection to help the club save money as it had multiple picks in the first two rounds. Fairley struggled to hit in Rookie Ball at the age of 20, with a line of .259/.346/.337 with an ISO of .078. He also stole just seven bases in 52 games. On the plus side, Fairley has a lot of athleticism and showed a willingness to take a walk (11.9 BB%).

The ’08 Draft Pick: Roger Kieschnick | Born: January 1987 | Outfielder

Roger Kieschnick, the Giants’ third round selection in 2008, signed too late to appear during the regular season so the organization sent him to the fall Hawaii Winter Baseball league. He held his own but struggled to hit for average with a line of .236/.333/.482 with six homers in 110 at-bats. He also struck out 46 times, though. Kieschnick should begin 2009 in A-ball.

The ’09 Sleeper: Clayton Tanner | Born: December 1987 | Left-Handed Pitcher

Bumgarner and Tim Alderson got a lot of attention in 2008 but Clayton Tanner has some intriguing talent as well. The 20-year-old southpaw was drafted in the third round of the 2006 draft. He has been hittable in his career – 288 hits allowed in 278.1 innings – and has not struck out a ton of batters (6.89 K/9) but there are a number of positives. He has allowed just seven home runs in his career and has excellent control (2.94 BB/9). Tanner features a high 80s fastball that can touch the low 90s, as well as a slider and change-up.

Up Next: The Toronto Blue Jays

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Sergio is a right-hander. Also, I think Pablo Sandoval would have been a better choice for graduate. Say, where do we get stats like that on minor league pitchers regarding their speed and percentage of pitches?

Also, Bumgarner’s stats are skewed by 3 horrible starts to begin his pro career because the Giants had him change his mechanics. He went back to his old mechanics after that and had, like, a 0.90 ERA after that.

About Wendell Fairley, he started the season with injury problems but must have ended it well because Baseball America put him on their Top 20 Prospect list for that league. I think Henry Sosa would have been a better pick for tumbler.

For the 2008 draft, I’m not sure why you didn’t pick Buster Posey instead, he hit really well, the only problem was defense, which all the scouts said he has the ability to pick up.

About Tanner, I like him but 2.94 BB/9 is good but not what I would call excellent. Low 2’s and below I would call excellent.