Top 15 Prospects: San Francisco Giants

The Giants organization under General Manager Brian Sabean is known for fielding veteran big league ball clubs, with the occasional influx of high-level talent like catcher Buster Posey and pitcher Madison Bumgarner. The club went all-in in 2011 with the trade of top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to the Mets for aging outfielder Carlos Beltran. Sadly, the team did not even make the playoffs and will now have to watch New York develop a killer 1-2 punch at the top of its starting rotation with Wheeler and Matt Harvey.

The organization played it relatively “safe” in the 2011 amateur draft with a high number of college players taken but it did gamble on some higher ceiling, larger bonus college picks with question marks, such as C Andrew Susac, LHP Josh Osich, and RHP Ray Black. The Giants’ Top 15 prospect list features a high number of ’11 draft picks due to a lack of minor league depth and because the scouting staff make some intriguing selections.

1. Gary Brown | CF
BORN: Sept. 28, 1988
EXPERIENCE: 2 seasons (Reached A+ in ’11)
ACQUIRED: 2010 1st round, Cal State Fullerton (24th overall)
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: 5th

SCOUTING REPORT: I’ve been a little more conservative on my rankings of Brown than a lot of people but I’m starting to warm up to him. With that said, I’m not reading too much into his stats in 2011 because he played in a potent offensive league. Double-A will be a huge test of his talent. Brown’s best tool is his game-changing speed, which ranks as a pure 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He also shows above-average bat speed but his offensive game – which should be built around his foot speed – is hindered by his over-aggressive nature. Defensively, he has the tools to be a plus defender, but he’s still learning center field after bouncing around the field in college.

YEAR IN REVIEW: As mentioned, Brown’s ’11 season has a big ol’ asterisk beside it due to the league he was playing in and the odd decision not to challenge him with a mid-season promotion to double-A. Even so, you cannot scoff at a .411 wOBA and he showcased his blazing speed with 53 steals. He did get nabbed 19 times to he’s got a little bit of work to do in terms of success rate. The most encouraging number for me was the strikeout rate of just 12.1%. If he can get his walk rate (7.2%) up above 10% then he will be that much more dangerous.

YEAR AHEAD: Brown will face a stiff test at double-A in 2012 but he has the tools to succeed – he just needs some polish. He’s flashed some power in his career, both in college and in ’11 with a .182 ISO, but his game needs to revolve around his strongest tool. If everything goes well at double-A, Brown could see the Majors by July.

CAREER OUTLOOK: A lot of fast players with occasional pop have fallen prey to the allure of swinging for the fences. If Brown can avoid the temptation and work on “the little things,” then he will no doubt succeed as the Giants’ leadoff hitter and center-fielder of the future. Andres Torres is by no means a road block to playing time but the club will also have to avoid the temptation to commit too much money and too many years to veteran outfielders either on the open market or via the trade front.

2. Joe Panik | SS
BORN: Oct. 30, 1990
EXPERIENCE: 1 season (Advanced Rookie)
ACQUIRED: 2011 1st round, St. John’s U (29th overall)
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: NA

SCOUTING REPORT: Panik can hit. The middle infielder has proven it both in college and in his brief pro career. His hit tool has the potential to rank as a 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale, due to his solid bat speed, controlled swing and the ability to keep the barrel of the bat through the strike zone. Panik doesn’t possess much home-run power but he generates solid left-handed gap power. He stole 13 bases in his pro debut but he’s a plus base runner with average speed. Panik played shortstop in college but he’s likely to move to the right side of the infield down the road due to an average-at-best arm. He has good hands and decent foot work so he could excel at the position.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Panik signed quickly and got 69 games of pro experience under his belt, as well as development time in the Arizona Fall League (although his bat wilted after a long season). Assigned to the short-season Northwest League after turning pro, the infielder hit .341 (.354 BABIP) in 270 at-bats. Panik showed an excellent eye at the plate with a 9.2% walk rate and an 8.2% strikeout rate. If he can keep similar ratios moving upwards, he’ll be an excellent No. 2 hitter.

YEAR AHEAD: Because of his strong start in the Northwest League, his time in the AFL, and his draft pedigree, Panik could begin the 2012 season in high-A ball. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the infielder reach the Majors sometime in 2013. With an eye to his future role as a No. 2 hitter, look for him to work on small-ball aspects of the game such as bunting and situational hitting.

CAREER OUTLOOK: Panik will be in the Majors before too long but he possesses a limited ceiling. I have little doubt that he’ll be a valuable big league player but in the mold of former Pirates/Angels infielder Johnny Ray. He could be a perfect complement to some of the other young players already on the big league roster, such as Posey and Brandon Belt.

3. Tommy Joseph | C
BORN: July 16, 1991
EXPERIENCE: 2 seasons (A+)
ACQUIRED: 2009 2nd round, Arizona HS
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: NA

SCOUTING REPORT: Catching is a strength of the organization and the club is already set at the position for years to come with Buster Posey behind the dish. Despite that fact, you can never have too much of a good thing, as the club learned last season when the young leader was struck down for much of the year by a nasty home plate collision. Joseph, a former second round pick out of high school, flashes above-average power and could eventually have a 60 grade placed on his pop. His approach at the plate, though, needs work. He is too aggressive for his own good and will struggle to hit for average as a result. On the plus side, he does a decent job of making contact for a player with a big swing. Behind the plate, Joseph shows a strong arm but he struggles with his receiving and mobility.

YEAR IN REVIEW: After a somewhat disappointing pro debut in 2010 (although he received some credit for making his pro debut in full season ball as a teenager), Joseph showed improvements with the wood. He shaved 6% off his strikeout rate while seeing his power output increase with an ISO rate just shy of .200. He also raised his batting average 30 points to a more respectable .268.

YEAR AHEAD: Joseph, like Brown, will receive a big test in 2012 with a move to double-A. The catching prospect will look to maintain a batting average above .250 while keeping his strikeout rate below 20%. He also needs to show improvements in the aggressive approach that lead to a 5.2% walk rate and too many swings at pitcher’s pitches. Expect some early season struggles and don’t be surprised if the young hitter has to repeat double-A – he has plenty of time to work on his game (He’s still just 20 years old).

CAREER OUTLOOK: There has been some talk of moving him to first base but Joseph’s value would take a big hit. He’s much more valuable to the organization as a part-time catcher and occasional first baseman, similar to Mike Napoli – although I don’t see the prospect’s bat developing as far. Joseph could be an excellent complement to Posey behind the plate and Belt at first base.

4. Hector Sanchez | C
BORN: Nov. 17, 1989
EXPERIENCE: 5 seasons (AAA/MLB)
ACQUIRED: 2007 international free agent
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: 8th

SCOUTING REPORT: There weren’t many, if any, prospects in the Giants system that had bigger breakouts in 2011 than Sanchez. The portly catcher went from A-ball backstop to big leaguer in less than three months. He has the potential to be an average to slightly-above-average offensive catcher with above-average defense. Sanchez does a nice job of erasing base runners and is a solid receiver but he needs to do a better job of blocking balls and his game calling is improving.

YEAR IN REVIEW: When Sanchez appeared on my pre-2011 Top 10 list for the Giants a few people ordered me straight jackets. In hindsight now, the catcher had the breakout season that I was expecting (which makes up for whiffing on Jorge Bucardo). It’s somewhat impressive that Sanchez was able to hold his own at both triple-A and the Majors despite skipping over double-A completely. Interestingly, he showed better patience at the upper levels (7.7 and 8.8% walk rates) than in high-A ball (4.8%). He also significantly trimmed his strikeout rate between high-A and double-A (21.5 to 13.1%) but he may have gotten a little ‘homer happy’ in the potent California League, as the triple-A rates were closer to his career norms.

YEAR AHEAD: Sanchez will have to watch his conditioning in 2012 to avoiding giving The Panda a run for his money in the belt size department. He’ll likely open the season in triple-A and should be the first player recalled in the event of an injury to Buster Posey or his backup. It would probably be in Sanchez’ best interests to spend much of the year in triple-A working on developing the finer aspects of his game; he was rushed badly in ’11 out of necessity.

CAREER OUTLOOK: It’s not hard to envision Sanchez having a career similar to current free agent Jose Molina. The prospect doesn’t appear to have a huge ceiling but he could develop into a decent regular (if his conditioning allows) or a solid platoon player. He has youth on his side but does not appear to type of player that is going to age well so he’ll have to peak early.

5. Ehire Adrianza | SS
BORN: Aug. 21, 1989
EXPERIENCE: 6 seasons (A+)
ACQUIRED: 2006 international free agent
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: 4th

SCOUTING REPORT: Adrianza is a glove-first shortstop that could eventually produce some Gold Gloves at the MLB level, assuming he can hit enough to reach The Show. He is a fluid fielder with excellent range and a strong arm. There is no doubt that he can stick at the position. At the plate, he may struggle to be a 30 or 40 hitter (on the 20-80 scale) at the MLB level unless he makes the necessary adjustments, which includes shortening his stroke.

YEAR IN REVIEW: The shortstop prospect got off to a delayed start in 2011 thanks to surgery for a hand injury. He was eased back into the flow of things with a short assignment to low-A ball and later moved up to high-A where he took a liking to the favorable hitting environment. Adrianza hit .300 but he was aided by a .361 BABIP. Although he has just average speed, the Venezuelan nabbed 33 bases in 2010 but that number dropped to just eight last season.

YEAR AHEAD: Adrianza needs to embrace his strengths – and weaknesses – and learn to use the whole field and do the little things that make up for the lack of a premium bat. He needs to trim his strikeout rates (17.6% at high-A in ’11) and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him begin the 2012 season in high-A once again. He should reach double-A at some point in the year if he’s healthy.

CAREER OUTLOOK: Adrianza is never going to offer a huge offensive output but he could hit well enough to warrant regular playing time to take advantage of his slick glove. The betting man, though, would probably put his money down on a future prediction that sees Adrianza coming off the bench in the late innings to provide defensive stability at shortstop, second base and perhaps even the hot corner.

6. Andrew Susac | C
BORN: March 22, 1990
EXPERIENCE: College
ACQUIRED: 2011 2nd round, Oregon State U
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: NA

SCOUTING REPORT: The addition of Susac to the organization further strengthens the Giants’ catching depth. He is a potentially-average defender behind the plate with a strong arm and a reputation for shutting down the running game. His receiving and game calling both need polish. At the plate, he doesn’t currently project as a hitter that will provide much of a batting average but he has the chance to hit for above-average power as he matures.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Susac missed about a month of his college season due to a broken hamate bone and that may have cost him first round consideration but he still signed an above-slot contract. He signed late and was unable to get his feet wet in pro ball during the 2011 season.

YEAR AHEAD: He will likely open the ’12 season in low-A ball. With experience hitting with wood bats from his time spent in the Cape Cod League in 2010, Susac should face an easy adjustment and it’s his defense that should require the most attention.

CAREER OUTLOOK: Susac probably won’t be a fast riser through the system and will likely take it one level at a time. Luckily, there is plenty of depth ahead of him so the organization can be patient and allow him to iron out the wrinkles in his game. Once he reaches the Majors, expect his to be an average big league catcher in the mold of Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy.

7. Josh Osich | LHP
BORN: Sept. 3, 1988
EXPERIENCE: College
ACQUIRED: 2011 6th round, Oregon State U
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: NA

SCOUTING REPORT: A seventh round pick of the Angels in 2010 (while recovering from Tommy John surgery), Osich gambled and improved his draft stock by one round in ’11. He had the potential to go much higher in the draft – even in the supplemental first round – but health concerns caused him to slide. He signed an above-slot deal is a smart gamble by the organization. The southpaw flashes an above-average fastball and is slider has plus potential.

YEAR IN REVIEW: The lefty did not pitch after signing but that was probably a good thing because he threw a career high 76.2 innings at Oregon State and worked out of the starting rotation for the first time in his collegiate career. He also missed the entire 2010 season due to injury and threw a total of 51 innings in his first two college seasons.

YEAR AHEAD: Osich may get an easier introduction to pro ball with an assignment to low-A ball to begin the 2012 season but he could probably handle an assignment to high-A. Job No. 1 in the year ahead will be to prove his durability and avoid the disabled list. If he can do just that, Osich could be in the Majors at some point in 2013 or 2014.

CAREER OUTLOOK: There might be some temptation to try him in the starting rotation but he could move quickly as a two-pitch reliever. Osich has the ceiling to be a high-leverage reliever at the MLB level. As a starter he has to potential of a No. 2 or 3 pitcher.

8. Francisco Peguero | OF
BORN: June 1, 1988
EXPERIENCE: 6 seasons (AA)
ACQUIRED: 2006 international free agent
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: 3rd

SCOUTING REPORT: Peguero is an interesting player. He’s always hit for a high average but he’s also produced very high BABIPs, which he’s been able to consistently maintain throughout the past four seasons. He has speed on his side, which helps him beat out more infield hits than the average player. Peguero hasn’t shown much in-game power but scouts feel there is home-run potential that has yet to be tapped into. His overly-aggressive approach leads to low walk rates and he’s eventually going to have to learn to be more selective. He has the chance to be a plus defender at the MLB level in center or right field.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Peguero’s season was interrupted by injury. Even so, he tallied 285 at-bats in double-A and hit .309. His walk rate of 1.7% was the lowest of his career but he kept his strikeouts under control for the most part (15.2%). After stealing 40 bases in 2010, Peguero nabbed just eight in double-A but he improved his success rate immensely. He was likely slowed by his early-season knee injury. The outfielder is playing winter ball during the off-season, which will help him make up for the lost at-bats due to time spent on the disabled list.

YEAR AHEAD: Depending on how aggressive the organization wants to be with Peguero, he may return to double-A to try and work on slowing his game down a bit. It would not be shocking to see him make his MLB debut in 2012, especially with the Giants’ outfield in a state of flux.

CAREER OUTLOOK: With Gary Brown eventually ticketed for center field in San Francisco, Peguero’s raw power needs to develop sooner rather than later if he’s going to nail down the right field job. If it doesn’t, though, he could end up being a valuable fourth outfielder who sees a fair bit of playing time due to his speed and strong defense.

9. Eric Surkamp | LHP
BORN: July 16, 1987
EXPERIENCE: 4 seasons (AA/MLB)
ACQUIRED: 2008 6th round, North Carolina State U
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: 11th

SCOUTING REPORT: Surkamp once again produced stellar minor league numbers in 2011 but he still has yet to quiet the concerns that filter up from the scouts. The pitcher has average stuff at best and gets by on command and control of his entire repertoire, as well as smart pitching. He features an 86-90 mph fastball, curveball, cutter, and changeup. His success is based on his ability to locate the heater and keep his pitches down in the strike zone.

YEAR IN REVIEW: The southpaw made his long-awaited (at least for diehard Giants fans) MLB debut in 2011 and the results were… mixed. Surkamp displayed a potentially-plus changeup but he struggled to command the remainder of his repertoire on a consistent basis. While in the minors, Surkamp made easy work of double-A with a 2.37 FIP and a strikeout rate of 10.43 K/9.

YEAR AHEAD: Surkamp will likely battle Barry Zito for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. If he loses the challenge, expect the young lefty to continue to hone his craft in triple-A while awaiting an injury or an implosion from Zito or Ryan Vogelsong. Now that the club has traded some of its depth with the swap of Jonathan Sanchez for outfield depth in the form of Melky Cabrera, Surkamp could become an important arm at the bottom of the rotation.

CAREER OUTLOOK: For Surkamp to be a useful pitcher in the Major Leagues, he’s going to have to command his fastball better than he did in his first taste of The Show. On the plus side, it was rarely an issue for him in the minors so it might be a case of needing to trust his stuff and getting the butterflies out of the way. He should have a number of solid years in the Majors as a No. 4 or 5 starter but could eventually work his way to the bullpen as a long reliever or middle man.

10. Heath Hembree | RHP
BORN: Jan. 13, 1989
EXPERIENCE: 2 seasons (AA)
ACQUIRED: 2010 5th round, College of Charleston
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: Off

SCOUTING REPORT: Hembree is a big, strong pitcher who is still learning his craft after receiving limited opportunity to throw while playing for a small college program. His control continues to be his biggest weakness but, when he finds the plate, he can over-power hitters with his mid-to-high-90s fastball. Hembree also features a potentially-plus slider and a developing changeup. He has the makings of a high-leverage reliever if he can find a way to get left-handed batters out on a consistent basis.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Despite his limited amateur success as a pitcher, Hembree has moved through the minor league system rather quickly. He split the 2011 season between high-A and double-A but produced a walk rate of +4.00 BB/9 at each level. He’s also an extreme fly-ball pitcher.

YEAR AHEAD: Hembree could open 2012 in triple-A if the organization wants to continue to be aggressive with him. The added pressure of pitching against lineups stacked with hitters with big league experience could force him to smooth out the rougher edges of his game. As with a lot of other players in the Top 10, Hembree could make his MLB debut in the coming year and would likely be eased in with middle relief work.

CAREER OUTLOOK: If he reaches his full potential, Hembree could be Brian Wilson‘s successor for saves in San Francisco. If his control does not improve enough or he can’t find a way to solve his issues with left-handed hitters, the right-hander could settle into an eighth inning gig.

The Next Five

11. Kyle Crick, RHP: The only prep player nabbed in the first seven rounds of the 2011 draft, Crick is a raw, hard-throwing Texas product that will probably need a fair bit of development time. He has a very high ceiling, though, with the potential to throw in the mid-to-upper 90s with a pair of good breaking balls.

12. Clayton Blackburn, RHP: Taken in the 16th round out of an Oklahoma high school, Blackburn was given an over-slot contract worth $150,000. He had a stellar debut with a 2.72 FIP (1.08 ERA) in 33.1 rookie innings. He showed above-average control (0.81 BB/9) and throws a heavy fastball in the low 90s.

13. Ricky Oropesa, 1B: Oropesa has been a top amateur player since his high school days but his game has always been pretty one dimensional hitter. He has massive left-handed power but struggles to make consistent contact. Oropesa played third base in college and has a 70 arm but his lack of range and quickness will force him to first base in pro ball.

14. Joan Gregorio, RHP: If you’re looking for a breakout candidate for 2012, look no further than Gregorio. The right-hander stands 6’7” but is just 180 lbs. Once he adds some muscle to his slender frame he could see his fastball sit in the mid-90s on a more consistent basis; the teenager currently sits 89-90 but has touched 92-93 mph. For a tall pitcher, he also shows the ability to work the lower half of the strike zone and induce a decent number of ground-ball outs.

15. Chris Marlowe, RHP: Drafted by the Jays in 2010, Marlowe spurned the organization’s advances and transferred to the University of Oklahoma where he continued his bullpen dominance. A smaller right-hander, he lacks control and has some effort to his delivery. On the plus side, he showcases two potentially-plus pitches with a mid-90s fastball and biting curveball.

SLEEPER ALERT: Seth Rosin, RHP: If you’re a rival executive talking trade with the Giants this winter you’ll want to ask for Rosin as a throw in to any deal. The right-hander features an 88-93 mph fastball, curveball and changeup. He’s made easy work of pro ball so far. He has a big, strong frame at 6’5” 240 lbs and has shown the ability to both start and relieve, while producing both strong strikeout rates and good ground-ball numbers. Despite spending the entire 2011 season in low-A (for no good reason), the club challenged the right-hander with an assignment to the Arizona Fall League and he’s more than held his own. As a pitcher from a northern state (Minnesota) he could be a late-bloomer.



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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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cpebbles
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cpebbles
4 years 9 months ago

ASTERISK

Scout Finch
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Scout Finch
4 years 9 months ago

Wow ! Panik all the way to #2!

This is more an indictment of the Giants farm than anything else. The inclusion of all those ’11 draftees reinforces this.

Yikes!

Ben
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Ben
4 years 9 months ago

Any consideration for Jarrett Parker or Chris Dominguez? What are your thoughts on those two guys?

Scout Finch
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Scout Finch
4 years 9 months ago

my thought as well. must be long in the tooth for respective levels.

Graham
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Graham
4 years 9 months ago

Dominguez had a .272 OBP as a 24 year old in AA and struck out in 25% of ABs while walking less than 3% of the time.

Parker is a little more interesting, but still strikes out too much as well.

gstantonisaboss27
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gstantonisaboss27
3 years 8 months ago

Yes and also Adam Duvall has lots of pop in his bat especially at 3rd base

Bigmouth
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4 years 9 months ago

You forgot Angel Villalona. He’s back… in POG form!

Table
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Table
4 years 9 months ago

That’s allot of backup catchers for a top 10…

Darren
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Darren
4 years 9 months ago

I’m not sure people realize Conor Gillaspie turned 24 a few months ago. He has to be at least as good a prospect as Oropesa.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
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4 years 9 months ago

Oropesa could become a big HR hitter, as all the talk was about his raw power that he has problems tapping into.

Gillaspie doesn’t field well enough at any position, doesn’t hit for power, has no SB speed or skills. He can hit the ball for singles and walk enough to have a good OBP. He’s profiling as a bat off the bench right now.

Now, he has shown some improvement in 2011, in terms of power and he swings the bat well, so I still have some hope, and he’s close to the majors, but he will have to take another step forward to get in this prospect list.

DrBGiantsfan
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4 years 9 months ago

Not sure why Surkamp keeps getting ranked so high when he struggles to hit 90 MPH with the heater. Dominating the Eastern League is a far cry from surviving as a 5’th starter in the majors. His lack of stuff was exposed in the majors. K and BB ratios are great, but velocity and scouting reports are still more important in evaluating prospects. I’d rank any number of higher velocity pitchers in the system higher, including Rosin, BTW.

Walter Guest
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Walter Guest
4 years 7 months ago

Surkamp might be a soft-tosser but he has the numbers of a BB throwing super stud. In the minors the 23-year-old has 7.8H/9, 0.4HR/9, 2.5W/9 and 10.6K/9. I don’t care how hard he throws, those are serious numbers and have earned respect. He projects to be a solid ML starter.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
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4 years 9 months ago

I like the order of the list, no huge quibbles. However, there were some parts that I have to comment on.

Why do so many people see plus plus speed and just want to pigeon-hole the hitter? This is what leads so many “coaches” to teach hitters to slap at the ball and use their speed, which costs them a good career because they don’t know how to really hit the ball (see Andres Torres sad story).

Read Ted William’s “The Science of Hitting”. That is how hitters should hit, work to get on base but if the pitcher gives you the ball where you can do damage with it, you swing for extra-bases. That is why Gary Brown has had such a high SLG in college and pros (he led the Big West in his last college season; in fact, had the high for the prior 6-7 seasons), because he doesn’t listen to such nonsense, while also doing what he can to get on base and use his god given speed. Because, when he is running on a hit, he is using his speed to get more doubles and triples.

The reason he didn’t get a mid-season call-up was because he was in the middle of a huge slump right around then and didn’t get out of it until later, at which point the Giants probably decided that they better be sure of what they got first, and if good, he could always be challenged in AFL (which they did).

How did Panik wilt? He hit .341/.401/.467/.858 in NWL and .308/.392/.431/.823 in AFL. If that is wilting, I’ll take more of that!

Given all the blasts about the Giants picks in the comments, I would note that the Giants were uniformly blasted for selecting Panik first, then Crick and then Susac, two other picks that most mock drafts had ahead of Panik, but it is Panik who is #2 on this list. The reason the Giants don’t have as many good prospects on the list is because their good prospects have been jumping to the majors really quickly, Lincecum, Romo, Sandoval, Posey, Bumgarner, Belt. If they followed more traditional times-to-major, Sandoval, Posey, Bumgarner, and Belt would still be part of their farm system instead of getting so many ABs in the majors, and Lincecum would have just graduated.

In addition, this is the price of winning: getting worse first round picks, less chance of finding that great Top of Majors prospect to make your farm system look good. Given that they have no remaining Top 10 overall picks left in the farm system, it is impressive to me that they have Gary Brown, who few thought should have been drafted that high, who is making some prospect experts Top Overall Prospect lists.

The description of Andrew Susac is not as positive as what I read when he was drafted. Perfect Game noted: “Even though he has much less experience in college than most of his peers, Susac has clearly established himself as the best all-round catching prospect in the 2011 college class with his combination of a strong, durable frame, natural athleticism, solid catch-and-throw skills and improving offensive tools.” Mayo: “…Susac is mentioned frequently near the top of the catching list in this year’s class…”.

OK, one small quibble, why is Heath Hembree only 10th when he could be Brian Wilson’s replacement, while all those other prospects that you deem no more then future bench players are placed above him? Particularly since Hembree looks like he’s going to be close to the majors soon, unlike the others who are still big question marks? Does he look that unlikely to take over as closer to you? I would also noted that Wilson when he came up walked a lot of batters too.

Lastly, you note that he was kept in A-ball “for no good reason”. At 22 YO in a league where the average pitchers is 21.9, he was not exactly dominating in his stint there (43rd in ERA), though clearly good since he struck out more than 1 per IP. Yeah, he could have been pushed ahead, but it was not like he was lights out either in the Sally League anyway. Also, more importantly, he had a 3.88 ERA at the end of June, suggesting that he still had something to learn in A-ball before heading to the next level. His below 3 ERA in the last two months July and August showed that he did learn something necessary there, and at THAT point he was ready to move up, which is probably why they gave him a shot at the AFL.

Scout Finch
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Scout Finch
4 years 9 months ago

nice take OGC.

Walter Guest
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Walter Guest
4 years 7 months ago

You are comparing Brown’s approach to that of Ted Williams? Brown had a 2 or 3% walk rate in college. Williams, at that level, would have been around 25%.

Larry Yocum
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Larry Yocum
4 years 7 months ago

That’s not really what he did. The book, “The Science of Hitting” is really well known. Williams suggested driving the ball over “slap hitting” and had always encouraged even great hitters like Tony Gwynn to get better hip rotation and drive the ball. I believe what the poster is saying is that Brown has taken the approach to try and drive the ball over relying on his speed as a slap hitter. That is also why he noted Andres Torres. When Torres first started, he was taught to slap hit and had a swing more like Ichiro’s. He refined his swing and started to drive the ball better and only then was it that he became a major league hitter. More speedsters should learn to actually hit over settling for a slap swing. What works for Ichiro won’t work for everyone.

jason_mack
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jason_mack
4 years 5 months ago

He’s not comparing brown to Ted Williams. That’s RIDICULOUS! Brown is WAYYY faster than Ted Williams.

wat
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wat
4 years 9 months ago

Damn Wheeler is already a successful 1-2?

Darryl0
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Darryl0
4 years 9 months ago

Very solid effort, Marc. Also, props on your spot on Hector Sanchez rating last offseason.
I have 2 main comments:
1. I really disagree with your assessment of Susac’s defensive skills behind the plate. When I saw him play in the NCAA Regionals and Super-Regionals in June I was pleasantly surprised in how much improvement he made between the end of the 2010 college season and the end of the 2011 college season. From what I saw, his defense is better than Buster Posey’s was when he came out of college. I’ll be shocked if Susac isn’t an above-average defensive catcher in his pro career. IMO, how his bat turns out will decide whether he’s a top-tier catcher or just a journeyman in the majors. I also think that you’re way off in where you project Susac to start next year. Unless he has a disastrous spring training campaign, Susac will be in San Jose (Cal League) to start next season. That’s just how the Giants roll with their 7 figure signing bonus, early round draft picks.
2. Stealing your idea, if I were an opposing GM looking to cherry-pick an obsure prospect from the Giants farm system the first guy that I’d ask about would be Adalberto Mejia. He’s a LHP who dominated the Dominican Summer League this year as a 17/18 year old rookie pro. The Giants were so impressed with him that they broke precedent and actually brought him to AZ in September to participate in the AZ Instructional League. Keep an eye on this kid when he makes his USA debut in 2012.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
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4 years 9 months ago

Thanks for your great observations, I really enjoyed them.

Baseball Is Life
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Baseball Is Life
4 years 9 months ago

Could not agree more, Darryl0.

I have seen Susac play at least a dozen college games in person and on TV, including the NCAA regionals and the Cape Cod league with a wooden bat. It is puzzling how anyone questions him DEFENSIVELY, when I see that as his strength, and his ability to hit ‘consistently’ may be his biggest question mark.

I also agree that there is nearly a zero chance he starts next spring in Low A Augusta, and he is heading for San Jose in April 2012.

Walter Guest
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Walter Guest
4 years 7 months ago

Trouble is, for Susac, the Giants are loaded at the position. They had three (3) good catchers at short-season A, in addition to Burg, Joseph and Sanchez above that.

Nivra
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Nivra
4 years 9 months ago

Re: Gary Brown

You mention that if he could bring his BB% rate above 10%, he would increase his value. Funny thing about him, is that he actually uses the HBP to get on base. In his own words, he just doesn’t move from inside pitches. In fact, he had 23 HBP to 46 walks. Most players would only have 1-2 HBP. Adding the extra 20+ HBP into his BB-rate boosts it to 10%+

obsessivegiantscompulsive
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4 years 9 months ago

I totally agree, that has been part of his offensive value from freshman year in college to San Jose. The thing is that most analysts don’t like to count it as something that a batter can do reliably, as it requires the pitchers to be a bit more wild. Plus, while he’s feasting on A-ball pitchers, major league pitchers will not be as wild, so HBP theoretically should go down as he rises.

However, I would point out major leaguers like Frank Robinson and Ron Hunt, who would get a lot of HBP every year. Chase Utley led three years in a row with roughly 25+ per year, Richie Weeks regularly gets 20+ per year, so it is not like it can’t happen in the majors today.

But back to the original point, it is not like Brown can make pitchers hit him, so analysts tend to shy away from assuming he can boost his OBP with HBP.

ICAINdoit
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ICAINdoit
4 years 9 months ago

Where the anvil. I would move him to top 5 automatically.

Jesse
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Jesse
4 years 9 months ago

Conor Gillaspie will have a better career than most guys on the list, but no one will notice for a while.

StashRider
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StashRider
4 years 6 months ago

I like the list. Panik is a very good looking player.

The kid to keep your eye on is pitcher Austin Fleet. Not as big as Rosin, but fundementally much sounder, and throws as hard.

Fanadapanda
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Fanadapanda
3 years 11 months ago

Folks, thanks so much for the enlightening commentary. I’ve learned a lot here already.

With regard to Gary Brown and hit by pitches, former Giant Ron Hunt indeed was the modern-day king of the hit by pitch. Out of curiosity I went back and looked at his 1971 Strat-O-Matic card, the only season I have from that vintage.

With 18 hit by pitch out of 108 card chances against both lefties and righties his hit by pitches themselves equated to an on base percentage of .167 (with his card on base vs. lefties totaling .552 and against righties .437). Not bad…

Though Don Baylor surpassed Hunt in career plunked by pitches, Baylor’s single season high of 35 falls short of Hunt’s 50 in 1971. Looking at a stat I just compiled, that translates to a whopping 7.94 HBP/100 plate appearances (Baylor’s best was 5.996 and he had a total of two seasons at or above 5.0…Hunt had four such seasons).

Carlos Quentin is experiencing his career best this season at 4.91. Chase Utley’s high was 4.08. Frank Robinson topped out at 3.03, in his rookie year, no less.

All-time, Hughie Jennings had the two highest season HBP/100 PA ratios, in 1896 (8.63) and 1897 (8.73) and Frank Chance holds the 1900 or later mark (in 1900) with 8.38.

But the modern day king might surprise you, also at 8.38 (though percentage points behind Chance).

He was a Dodger when it happened, and it was 2003. He managed to get hit by pitch 16 times in 191 plate appearances over 88 games. He scored 25 runs, had 35 hits including seven doubles and five home runs, drove in 14, walked 13 times (fewer than hit by pitch), and struck out 38 times. With one stolen base and three caught stealing, it wasn’t likely he was violating baseball’s code that way. And with a triple slash line of .216/.335/.352 you gotta wonder why he got hit so much.

If any team had it in for him it was the Rockies (4 HBP), Giants (2), Diamondbacks (2), and Cleveland (2), but since 3 of those are N.L. West opponents it’s not surprising.

He did hit .370/.507/.648 vs. lefties, so maybe that was it.

Of his 16 HBP, only 5 were against righties (with Jake Westbrook hitting him twice). Lefties included Randy Johnson twice, Giants Damion Moss, Scott Eyre, and Noah Lowry once each, and future Giant Javier Lopez once.

If you know the answer to this without looking it up, you’re a trivia god.

(space down for answer)

Mike Kinkade

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