Monday, December 10, 2012

Down on the Farm: Dr B's PRELIMINARY 2013 Giants Top 50 Prospects

Now that the Winter Meetings have passed and the Giants roster appears to be nearly set with no significant anticipated trades, time to break out DrB's 2013 Giants Top 50 Prospects list.  This list is a bit tougher than it's been in the past.  While there is no 1 or 2 prospects who stand out above the others, it is a deep system with interesting guys all the way down to #50 and beyond.  I thought I would put out a PRELIMINARY list and let is percolate for comments for a few days.  It's always easy to overlook somebody(I think I completely forget about at least 1 guy every year) or to just have a brain cramp in assigning rankings.  I appreciate any comments and input and will take it all into consideration and put out a final list next week, then start the individual reports.

1.  Gary Brown, OF.
2.  Joe Panik, SS.
3.  Kyle Crick, RHP.
4.  Chris Stratton, RHP.
5.  Clayton Blackburn, RHP.
6.  Adalberto Mejia, LHP.
7.  Martin Agosta, RHP.
8.  Gustavo Cabrera, OF.
9.  Mac Williamson, OF.
10. Heath Hembree, RHP.
11. Mike Kickham, LHP.
12. Ricky Oropesa, 1B.
13. Andrew Susac, C.
14. Ehire Adrianza, SS.
15. Edwin Escobar, LHP.
16. Chuckie Jones, OF.
17. Shilo McCall, OF.
18. Tyler Hollick, OF.
19. Francisco Peguero, OF.
20. Adam Duvall, 3B.
21. Brett Bochy, RHP.
22. Chris Heston, RHP.
23. Shawn Payne, OF.
24. Cody Hall, RHP.
25. Josh Osich, LHP.
26. Bryce Bandilla, LHP.
27. Steven Okert, LHP.
28. Ian Gardeck, RHP.
29. Steven Johnson, RHP.
30. Mason McVay, LHP.
31.  Eduardo Encinosa, RHP.
32. Roger Kieschnick, OF.
33. Chris Dominguez, OF.
34. Nick Noonan, IF.
35. Juan Perez, OF
36. Chris Gloor, LHP.
37. Jacob Dunnington, RHP.
38. Kendry Flores, RHP.
39. Austin Fleet, RHP.
40. Conor Gillaspie, 3B.
41. Carter Jurica, 2B.
42. Dan Burkhart, C
43. Edward Concepcion, RHP.
44. Jesus Galindo, OF.
45. Chris Marlowe, RHP.
46. Steven Neff, LHP.
47. Derek Law, RHP.
48. Kentrell Hill, OF
49.  Joseph Rapp, 3B/1B
50. Joe Biagini, RHP.

Honorable Mention:  Joan Gregorio RHP, Travious Relaford SS, John Polonius SS, Jonathan Jones 1B, Randy Ortiz OF, Andrew Leenhouts LHP, Emmanuel DeJesus LHP, Gabriel Cornier C, Alberto Robles 2B, Jose Valdez RHP, Fabio Castillo RHP, Scott Shuman RHP.


Have the young pitchers moved ahead of Brown and Panik as the top prospects in the system?

Any Dominican Dandies or newly signed international players who should be included other than Gustavo Cabrera?

Anybody I've forgotten about?

Fire Away!


  1. He won't be pitching for a while, but you left Surkamp off, not sure if that was oversight or deliberate. DrB loves him some Mejia! That is an aggressive ranking and I'd love to hear your thoughts on what differentiates Mejia and Escobar. We have the head to head comps from Augusta. I do tend to think Mejia has the better projection long term, but I'm not quite convinced there is that much spread between them.

    Thanks for putting Relaford in as a HM, maybe he breaks the 50 this year!

    I don't see RafRod and AnVil, don't know if that is deliberate or not. That's all I have right now. Love the list, and I think our top ten is getting better, not worse. Take that you top system raters! Giants have a great sleeper system.

    1. Thanks for the quick feedback.

      I forgot about Surkamp. Seems like I do that every year. I wasn't too high on him for a long time but was very impressed by the start I saw in person in 2012 Spring Training . Let's just hope he's one of the successful TJ survivors. Now I have to figure out where to put him.

      Several reasons I like Mejia better than Escobar. I'll get into them in the individual write ups.

      I am purposely excluding Angel Villalona until I see him back in the States.

      Debating Raffy. Will probably end up putting him in HM.

  2. Just a few names I notice that are missing...


    I think Fuentes is the biggest name, and I am not sure he deserves a HIGH ranking anymore, but not even an honorable mention?

    I think the big 3 pitchers may have all earned a right to jump Brown. I am not sure Brown has the ceiling of anything more than a regular starter. That that that is bad, but the pitchers all have the potential to be special. Even Panik, I think has a better shot at being an all-star than Brown.

    I am as excited as anyone about Cabrera, but I am awfully hesitant to rank him so high so early. RafRod, AnVil, Sosa all remind me that these Latin kids are a ways away.

    1. I addressed RafRod, Villalona and Surkamp in response to Shankbone's comment. Fuentes is in pretty much the same boat as RafRod so might get an Honorable Mention. Probably too early to completely give up on him but his 2012 was monumentally bad.

      I'm just not sure where Williams fits after being jumped over by The Hector. I probably should put Johnny Monell in HM too while I'm at it.

      Javier is a new international signee. I just don't have a lot of info on him. At least with Cabrera there are some decent scouting reports and videos available. Maybe HM for him too?

    2. My thought on leaving Brown and Panik at #1,2 is I think they both had better seasons than a lot of people are giving them credit for, all things considered, and I would like to see what the pitchers do in the Cal League before jumping them to the top of the heap.

    3. MCC prospect list discussion started, I'm fighting the good fight for Gary Brown but Crick will win out. I feel pretty strongly about Brown but not quite as strong for Panik. Maybe because the upside isn't quite there? I think I'd go Brown, then Crick/Stratton/Blackburn, and then Panik with a fight from Agosta. But I also think folks get way too fixated on the ranking over just getting the knowledge about the different prospects.

    4. Definitely agree with not getting too hung up on exact rankings.

  3. I think with Gary Brown, you could argue that he is ahead of or behind the young pitchers, but I would definitely put them ahead of Joe Panik. Panik is solid but that's all I think he could really project to be, but I see Crick, Stratton, and Blackburn possibly having extremely bright futures.

    I really like Javier. All of the things I've heard about him point to him being an extremely mature hitter for his age, that could hit for average and power. But again, you never know until they get here.

  4. I have been looking forward to this post. Thanks.

    Can you put how they ranked last year (for those who were around and ranked then) so we can see how they have moved up or down?

    1. Hmmm......lots of work, but I'll give it a try.

    2. It is. If you have time.


  5. I had some time. Not much overlap, really. Only 17 players survived from last year's list, and of those only 7 moved up. (Which I guess is another way of saying most prospects flame out.)

    1.  Gary Brown, OF. (+3)
    10. Heath Hembree, RHP. (+9)
    11. Mike Kickham, LHP. (+6)
    14. Ehire Adrianza, SS. (-6)
    15. Edwin Escobar, LHP. (+28)
    16. Chuckie Jones, OF. (-9)
    19. Francisco Peguero, OF. (-14)
    32. Roger Kieschnick, OF. (+4)
    33. Chris Dominguez, OF. (-9)
    34. Nick Noonan, IF. (-19)
    35. Juan Perez, OF (+13)
    37. Jacob Dunnington, RHP. (-9)
    38. Kendry Flores, RHP. (-20)
    39. Austin Fleet, RHP. (+5)
    40. Conor Gillaspie, 3B. (-28)
    41. Carter Jurica, 2B. (-10)
    42. Dan Burkhart, C (-10)

    1. Not sure you have the right list. Gary Brown and Joe Panik were 1,2 and at least 30 names are in both lists.

    2. I bet anon snagged the 2010 list by accident because the 2011 draft guys are missing.

    3. Sorry bout that. Got fooled by the 2011 date but the post was january.

  6. Might be worth a HM for the 2 3Bs we drafted, Mitchell Delfino, who got a special mention from Evans recently, and Shayne Houck, the guy from Kutztown (same as Vogelsong). Both guys are definitely deep sleepers, but they showed some game.

    1. I definitely have Houck in my top 25.

  7. OK, here's last year's list with how much they moved up or down:

    1. Gary Brown- no change.
    2. Joe Panik- no change.
    3. Tommy Joseph- traded.
    4. Heath Hembree- down 6.
    5. Francisco Peguero- down 14.
    6. Kyle Crick- up 3.
    7. Andrew Susac- down 6.
    8. Eric Surkamp- ? Will be added to final list somewhere.
    9. Hector Sanchez- graduated!
    10.Ehire Adrianza- down 4.
    11.Chris Dominguez- down 22.
    12. Ricky Oropesa- no change.
    13. Clayton Blackburn- up 8.
    14. Jesus Galindo- down 30.
    15. Adalberto Mejia- up 9.
    16. Jarrett Parker- Hmm...probably off the list. Maybe HM?
    17. Mike Kickham- up 6.
    18. Seth Rosin- traded.
    19. Josh Osich- down 6.
    20. Hector Correa- released/minor league FA, signed elsewhere.
    21. Leonardo Fuentes- off the list. Maybe HM?
    22. Rafael Rodriguez- off the list, HM?
    23. Angel Villalona- ???thought I left him off last year. Maybe this was still when I thought he would be getting a visa?
    24. Joan Gregorio- off the list, HM.
    25. Charlie Culberson- traded for Marco Scutaro and a championship!!!
    26. Roger Kieschnick- down 6.
    27. Dan Otero- Off the list. Graduated? HM? He's kind of in limbo land right now.
    28. Kendry Flores- down 10.
    29. Conor Gillaspie- down 11. Not sure he should be on the list at all. I'm still debating.
    30. Jake Dunning- I think I forgot him. I think I will need to add him somewhere.
    31. Austin Fleet- down 8.
    32. Chris Marlowe- down 13.
    33. Alex Burg- off the list. Will probably add him to HM.
    34. Brett Bochy- up 13.
    35. Adam Duvall- up 15.
    36. Jacob Dunnington- up 1.
    37. Chuckie Jones- up 21.
    38. Ryan Cavan- off the list. Maybe add to HM?
    39. Justin Fitzgerald- off the list. Maybe add to HM? Maybe add to list somewhere?
    40. Chris Heston- up 18.
    41. Stephen Harrold- off the list.
    42. Shawn Payne- up 19.
    43. Kentrell Hill- down 5.
    44. Edward Concepcion- up 1.
    45. Bryce Bandilla- up 19.
    46. Ray Black- off the list. HM?
    47. Cody Hall- up 23.
    48. Emmanuel DeJesus- off the list. HM
    49. Demondre Arnold- off the list? Reconsider? HM?
    50. Jean Delgado- off the list. HM?

    Here's a list of last year's HM's who are currently on this years top 50: Dan Burkhart, Chris Gloor, Edwin Escobar, Derek Law. Probably need to add Brett Krill to this year's HM list.

    1. Thanks for doing that. Pretty cool to look at. It appears the Giants really like Dunning, even with all this drafting, the two converted guys Hall and Dunning might make the most noise.

      I wouldn't bother with a HM from Parker. He was terrible repeating the CA. I do think Justin Fitzgerald deserves a HM. If you wait long enough Conor G will get traded somewhere and you won't have to think about him. I think Ray Black still hasn't thrown a pitch.

      I'm surprised Payne was that low on your list, because you raved about him quite a bit.

    2. I personally would keep Villalona on the list. He got back to playing organized baseball in the DSL and showed he still has his power. I put him down at 20 on my list that I put up yesterday. He is still pretty young too.

    3. Problem is Angel V ain't going anywhere as long as he can't get a visa to come to the USA. DSL is not much of a challenge for someone who has played high A ball.

    4. Shankbone,

      I might have to move Conor G to HM to make room for a Dunning or Surkamp. He looked so overwhelmed in his cup of coffee last year and he's no spring chicken. So near and yet so far!

    5. With respect to Angel's visa problem, the 'reason' was something about not being an elite athelete.

      One way to counter that is to put up big numbers (compared with other players who are coming over).

      So, I would tend to believe his numbers should still be relevant.

    6. I'd leave Conor G on, but I'm a sucker for "near" big-league talent. I'd probably have him and Noonan higher.

    7. I hear you on proximity to the majors, but is Conor G really that close? I mean if the chasm is 5 feet across, but you can only jump 4, it might as well be a mile. Noonan has a better chance to stick as a utility guy because of his ability to play multiple positions but that's his absolute ceiling barring an unexpected spike in his performance.

    8. Villalona had the 8th best OPS in the Dominican Summer League and was 7th in HR, which should get him his "elite athlete" label that he needs to get his visa into the U.S. I would still put him near the bottom of the Top 50 since he looks like he should have a good chance of returning to the U.S.

      Gillaspie regressed much in 2012, was he injured or something? Showed nice bat control in the majors, he could be like a Mark Sweeney type bat off the bench, but not that useful defensively. Still, only 25 YO in 2013, so perhaps I'm being a bit unfair to him. But I like Noonan more than Gillaspie, so I would prefer that relative ranking. And I don't see either one above the ones ranked above right now, so I think both are just about right, though maybe Gillaspie should be over Fleet.

    9. I think Baggarly put it pretty accurately when he surmised that the elite athlete thing was just an excuse. The real reason they didn't let him have a visa is they are not convinced he is innocent of the murder charge. If they really don't want to give Villalona a visa, they will always be able to find a reason.

      I don't think we'll ever know what really happened, but the whole think smells like a shakedown to me. I hope Angel V gets a chance to play baseball in the USA again, but I'm not holding my breath and won't count him as a prospect until I know for sure he is going to get that chance.

    10. I agree that it was a politically induced excuse. But I don't think that there could be many more excuses easily available to keep Angel out.

      But I'm no immigration lawyer, so that's just my supposition.

      Maybe you can meet us Angel supporters halfway: put him in the HM (assuming you think he belongs there) and give us a thumb in the air guess at where you think he would rank, should he ever get his visa and actually get to play.

      We should know more by spring training. If he's not allowed by then, then there must be further excuses they can lean on to keep him out, and he can just about forget about coming back to the States ever.

  8. Thanks.

    I guess kids move up and down, depending on what progress they made in the past year and their health. That's understandable.

    It looks like we have a deep, if no many elite ones at the top (so maybe we should say, wide) system. Having more prospects means more 'at-bats' at deliverying replacement players at the big league level - and they don't have to be all all-stars. One can always bunch a few everyday players for a star player.

  9. Crick, Stratton and Blackburn should all be ahead of Panik and I also think either Crick or Stratton should be the #1 prospect. Just my opinion.

    I see a higher ceiling in these 3 guys than Browns or Paniks.

    1. I think you could take the top 4 or 5 and draw any one out of a hat and make a case for them to be #1. I appreciate the input, but am inclined to leave Brown and Panik be as I think most observers are underrating their 2012 performances.

  10. What ever happened to that Cuban pitcher we signed a couple of seasons back?

    I also remember kid from Panama - Barrio or something like that.

    1. Reiner Roibal's stuff has been a disappointment and Barrios has been injured most of the time since his signed.

    2. Along these lines, has the younger Bucardo, Jorge Bucardo, vaporized? I recall some excitement about him, but perhaps because he went backwards as he went higher in the Giants farm system, I note that he wasn't on DrB's list last year, and I don't see any mention of him anywhere this year.

    3. I read on Bay City Ball that Wilber Bucardo is pitching fairly well in winter ball, but I'm not sure he's even in the organization anymore. Jorge had TJ surgery and did not resurface last year so I'm not going to list him until I at least see him pitch again.

  11. Preliminary comments from the Dreaming of Noonan files: I'd have him higher - proximity to majors and draft pedigree. And I'd have Adrianza lower. BR has Noonan RF/G for SS in 2012 at 4.58, higher than Ehire's in AA. Their Fielding% is about the same. And overall Noonan's career RF/G is only a bit lower than Ehire's. I sometimes think Noonan might be the Theriot of our organization - Career ~80OPS+, with some worse years at the beginning. If he can ever supplant the real Theriot.

    1. I really don't think there is any comparison between Adrianza's ability to play SS and Noonans. Yeah, Adrianza may never hit, but Noonan's bat isn't exactly breaking down doors. We've all now seen how much of a difference an elite fielding SS with a questionable bat can make. Hechevarria and Simmons are younger and thus may have more upside, but Adrianza is in their class on D and they have both been in demand this winter. Again, to each his own and I don't like to get hung up on exact rankings, but no way would I put Noonan above Adrianza or even close, for that matter.

    2. My knowledge of the system does not go down that far, but I will say that I still really like Noonan. People forget that he's still was only 23 YO for the 2012 season. He had a nice nondescript batting line in AAA, but he had a roughly 50% BB/K ratio and 83% contact rate, which are nice and he's young for the league, and thus relatively inexperienced.

      People are looking for a star and right now it does not look like it will happen. I really like this description of him being like a Theriot. There is still a lot of value to be had, if that were true. He could be a nice complementary starter for a couple of years like Theriot, then become a super utility MI journeyman, as he has nice rep for baseball smarts.

      I still think that he could possibly break out. He had a great second half when he was at San Jose, 90% contact rate, 1.0 BB/K ratio, both excellent. The problem has been that he has not been ready for each new level and not progressing one level at a time, which discourages prospect hounds, but to me, as long as he eventually makes it, that's what's more important and interesting.

      So I see him at minimum as a nice super-utility MI, and if a chance ever opens up, he could surprise somewhere along the way as a starter, could maybe break out if he can continue to develop, there is nothing wrong with a prospect figuring things out when he is 25-26-27, and contributing. It is because he started with us at 18 YO that it becomes a big deal.

    3. BTW, my current issue of BA has nice article about none other than Nick Noonan. Seems the Giants don't want to give up on him quite yet. They promoted him to Fresno because he was doing terrible in Richmond and they thought a change of scenery might do him some good. He was greeted by Steve Decker who asked him to remember when he was first drafted and considered a good prospect, "what were you good at." Noonan thought for a minute then said, "I was pretty good at pulling fastballs through the hole between 2B and 1B" or something to that effect. Decker told him to try to re-establish that part of his game as his first priority. He did. His hitting improved and he made himself more versatile by playing 3 IF positions.

    4. Thanks for sharing the BA article info. I don't want the Giants to give up on him either. I still think that potential is still in there.

      Decker is now the roving batting instructor, right? Good advice to Noonan, it clearly seems, as it was his best season in a long while. Now he needs to build on that in 2013, he's still young, and he could cut his teeth being a good utility guy for us, and maybe figure it out later, give Panik some competition for the starting position.

  12. So I've been thinking about the ranking of the 3 young pitchers. I would slot Brown first and then the 3, then Panik. But after all this Rays silliness today, I realize the Rays are sitting on a ticking time bomb, where they will have to sell off David Price. This is a bit left field, but what about...

    Trading for Price. He will be dreadfully expensive in 2014-15. Negotiate a window with him, and lock that dude down. (This is assuming Mr. Timmy ain't up to snuff next year). Send all 3 of these guys along. Listen to the rage, and how Friedman is a genius. And then chuckle as we've robbed the Dodgers of the chance to spend their gazillions, and then we get to go take MadBum/Price/Cain on a rampage.

    Just something to think about. I don't think Dayton Moore got robbed, I think he made an interesting neutral trade. And frankly, I'm sick of this Friedman as genius talk. He has made some great moves, they are a well run org. He has also made mistakes, and their window might be closing fast. And he might have gone the wrong direction on the prospect grab.

    1. I agree about the Friedman as genius talk, that 2% book, seems to me that it just gives a guy an opportunity to publish a book, which then hypes the subject. A lot of the "smartness" of Friedman comes from years of Ray's losses, enabling him to pick up a lot of top overall draft picks that have paid off for them.

      And I still cannot believe that they chose Beckham over Posey, seems like a natural, he made his name in Florida and they had a lot of young pitchers coming up.

      When I first read this idea, I thought, no way, at least one if not two of Crick, Blackburn, Stratton, will turn out good in the majors, but I then looked at Price's stats and, wow, there is a lot to like there. I wouldn't have the guts to pull off such a trade, but if the Giants thought it was worth doing, I'm willing to go along for the ride.

      And I'm thinking, even if Timmy is up to snuff, can you imagine a quartet of Lincecum/Price/Cain/Bumgarner (he doesn't like that nickname :^) rampaging through the playoffs?

      I'm liking the Brown, 3 pitchers, Panik ranking too.

    2. I would trade all 3 of those prospects for Price in a second, provided there was some kind of assurance Price could be signed long term at the time of the trade.

    3. Its funny to see the reports get reeled in as BA checks in with real life scouts:

      I'm participating in minor league ball a bit, and they are all up in arms as much as the F/G crowd.

      I guess my mentality might be changing a bit, but its funny to have nothing invested in a situation and just look at this Royals/Rays thing. People over value prospects. I know that I do too, but when you are away from the situation I think it changes. To every prospect hound, the dream of Wil Myers (and all the WAR measurements that go along with loooow salary and hiiigh stats) is worth way more than a proven, oldish (31), only under control for 2 years (at hiiiigh salary no less). I have come to find this attitude foolish on occasion. As in, examine the particular players one at a time always, but don't let your preconceived notions kill the facts.

      Apparently Keith Law's snark got Dayton Moore steaming mad. The implication that he's trading for his job really stings.

      Also, if we're dealing with noxious ESPN personalities, apparently Buster Olney said that a NL talent evaluator still likes the Gints more than the Doyers. I don't think that factoid is getting him a Sabes Christmas Package however.

    4. So I just thought it was interesting - we have these pitching prospects coming online, maybe next year they'll start getting into the top 50 or something. What if Sabes flips em for a big whale like Price? I know the outrage would come out immediately. But the proven arm is what we need now, not the promise. Oh man, I am full on apologist mode now. But I'm sorry, competing at the highest level, having your team run the table, not once but TWICE in THREE years, that is absolutely addicting. It beats the hell out of staring at prospects and minor league stats and dreaming of one day, one day...

    5. A lot of this internet outrage over the trade is tied to a longstanding contempt for Dayton Moore. I think those of us who have lived through Brian Sabean's ups and downs know how much that bias can affect people's judgement about any move. After awhile the guy can't do anything right in some people's minds. I like Wil Myers a lot, but it has to tell you something that Moore got rejected twice on 1 for 1 trades for Shields and Brett Anderson respectively and I think Wade Davis is going to prove to be a much bigger piece in this trade than anyone is giving credit for right now.

      As for Sabean trading prospects down the road, The Core won't stay together and healthy forever. You always need replalcements coming down the pipeline. Trading prospects to help put a contending team over the top is a legitimate use of the farm system, though.

      And hey, I can be happy with winning now and still be happy dreaming on prospects too!!!

  13. Just a quick note that REALLY needs to be mentioned...

    Brown - 1st rounder
    Panik - 1st rounder
    Stratton - 1st rounder
    Crick - 1st rounder (ish)
    Blackburn - 16th rounder

    Not news to anyone, but still nice to remind ourselves of...

  14. So I would start with Brown, 3 pitchers, Panik 1 to 5. But I see your point about them doing something in Advanced A first, but he didn't exactly do that well either in Advanced A, though he improved greatly in the second half. Still, he didn't hit as well Brown did in the same league.

    Then I am not sure why Mejia is #6. His stat line is not that impressive. Great control, but he's going to need to strike out more than that in the majors to do well. I understand that he's younger than the competition, but that's still a low K-rate.

    I would go with what you got next, Agosta, Cabrera, Williamson, Hembree, then Mejia would battle with Kickham and Oropesa for #10. And I think I would have Mejia 10th, for now. Why is he above the other four?

    I can see Agosta and Cabrera since they have not played yet. But both look like they have potential to be good at something, whereas Mejia looks to be good only in control, so that is why I have them above. Hembree is almost in the Show, even if only as a reliever, but I think he could be a great help in the set-up area and potential closer. And Williamson really raked, even if he's a bit old for the league.

    1. My only comeback is that Mejia was very young for his league and came on strong in the second half after initially looking overmatched.

    2. Wow, he was amazing with his K/BB in his last couple of months. Basically, he started the season as a reliever, then moved into the starting rotation. He was pretty good as a reliever in terms of K/BB but I guess the adjustment to starting threw him a little before he got it back together again the last couple of months.

      I just read his BA description for 2012 and it sounds like he has an advanced feel for pitching and, with a slender body, already pitching 88-90 MPH and touching 92 with projection to gain velocity as he matures.

      OK, that's pretty good stuff there. The K-rate is still pretty low to me, but given that additional information, I can see him above the others as you have him. That low K-rate, however, just really bothers me, so right now I see a much lower ceiling for him than Agosta and Cabrera. But I can see your ranking as valid now too, I think this bunch is pretty much interchangeable, with some good and some negatives.

    3. OGC - Mejia has been a twinkle in DrB's eye, his Dominican Dandy. I would argue that he has a very nice frame, report is he has a loose body, and easy delivery. Those things, especially in a lefty, are very valuable. He's also very young, so its a total gamble. But I can see it. Looking forward to seeing where the Giants put him - back in Augusta, SJ pen, SJ rotation? Escobar might get first crack because he is a year older and had more consistent and better results, but long term Mejia might be the guy.

    4. Since when has Escobar had more consistent and better results? Maybe last year? Well, look at the 3 years prior to that when he was kicking around the AZL. Now, compare that with Mejia's 2011 in the DSL which I thought was downright astonishing. Take away one single terrible start on July 14, and Mejia had on ERA of 2.12 over the last 3 months of the season. So, you are going to say he is less consistent because of 1 single bad start?

      Here's what I like about Mejia: 1. Size, and yes, it matters! 2. Age vs level. 3. Amazingly low walk rates. 4. Rapid adjustment to a big jump in levels. 5. Consistency. Yes, consistency. Look at his numbers from the DSL and SAL post-adjustment and they are actually amazingly consistent.

    5. although he was consistent over the last part of the season, Escobar did have the most consistent overall season. Personally I would make Escobar a starter and put Mejia in the bullpen until someone gets moved to double-A. You have to reward Escobar for his season, and since Escobar is older they should attempt to move him a little more quickly than Mejia, who is in no rush right now. That being said, I like Mejia's potential more than Escobar, but I ranked Escobar higher on my list than Mejia because I see him being closer to being a contributor, and he was more consistent last season.

    6. Well, in my mind you have to put the guy with the higher ceiling priority over rewarding a 1 season performance and there is really no question in my mind that Mejia has the higher ceiling and it's not like his current performance is anything to apologize for.

    7. Yep, I was just saying the direct comparison in Augusta. I knew some of your reasons but I enjoy the rapid fire passionate response! Not all prospecting should be rational. And great reasoning.

    8. Let's put it this way. At age 19, Escobar was struggling in Rookie Ball and in a short stint in Augusta. Mejia, at age 19, struggled for a month (though not as much as Escobar), then pitched really well for the rest of the season. If you cover just his 11 starts at the end, 69.0 IP, 3.00 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 0.9 BB/9, 7.00 K/BB. And remember, he was doing this against players who were, on average, 21-22 YO, who had 2-3 years extra experience on him.

      Even looking at his overall seasonal stats, he was 22nd in the league in K/BB, 8th among starters with at least 14 starts, 6th among starters with at least 100 IP, and 2nd among 19 YO starters with at least 14 starts and at least 100 IP and 3rd among 19 YO starters. I like young guys who are also among the leaders in his league, the way I see it, each level is like a sieve and only the best will get through to the next level, and less, so it is the guys who are among the leaders who generally and eventually makes it through the gauntlet, to become a major leaguer.

      The main worry points are his low K/9, but because he's facing older and more experienced players, and his tendency for more outs by air than grounders (0.93 GO/AO ratio). His 0.3 HR/9 is very low, considering that he generates more air outs than ground outs, so that could go against him if he regresses to the mean in this area.

      Still, very good stats for a young pitcher in his first year in a full-season league (similarly for Escobar), particularly considering that he's significantly younger (Escobar is just a year younger than most). Escobar might be closer by age, but since they were very similar in performance, Mejia should rise faster than him to the majors.

      Consistency is nice, but if you want to be picky, from May to July, Escobar had a 4.76 ERA, and he sandwiched that bad middle with great April (1.88 ERA) and August (1.21). That is hardly the epitome of consistency.

      I'm just happy we have both of them, both look like good prospects.

  15. That makes sense, and I do agree with you that you need to capitalize on a prospect that has potential. He did have a solid season, but I think Escobar needs to be in the San Jose rotation to start the season. I would love to see Mejia in the rotation as well, so maybe make it a 6 man rotation to start? It would take stress off of all of their arms, and you could move one of them to Double-A around May or June.

    1. I guess I don't quite get all the enthusiasm for Escobar. Yes, I'm happy the Giants have a guy that good that deep in the system, but he had a pretty good season in low A ball after kicking around rookie ball for 3 years, for crissakes! In my mind Mejia is a far better prospect for the reasons I listed earlier, and it really isn't at all close!

    2. I totally agree the Mejia is the better prospect. He could be great. But Escobar definitely has potential. possible 6 man rotation?

    3. Oh, I agree Escobar has potential and it's a really good thing that the Giants have prospects like him. It's not every team that can boast a LH pitching prospect like Escobar as deep in their top prospect lists as he is with the Giants.

  16. The milb article about Giants Organizational All-Stars said that the Giants believe Peguero still has the best bat speed of any of their prospects. Any votes for moving him up higher than #19? If so, how high?

    1. I like the guy. I would push him 5-7 spots, depending on how you feel about the various relievers and lefties. I think he slots in after Brown/Panik/Williamson/Gustavo. I'd put him in back of Ricky O.

    2. I think he should be in the low teens somewhere. His defense and speed/SB was amazing in that little bit of September, which gives me hope that he can be a regular starter in baseball, basically any OF position, so he could be valuable in CF, if necessary. He's not as good a hitter as Pablo, or perhaps even Hector, but still, there could be some development there left, he's still young.

  17. Remember Kevin Correia? I wasn't too happy when the Giants let him go for nothing and he was picked up by San Diego. Well, he just signed a 2 year/$10 M contract with the Twins. For a guy who nobody pays a scrap of attention to, he's carved a nice little MLB career for himself and will take away a nice financial bundle from the game if he spends and invests it wisely. I wonder what his total earnings are so far in his career?

    1. Ha! By the time he is done with this contract at age 34, Correia will have earned a total of almost $23 M in his career.

    2. I always liked both Correia and Brad Henny. I was of course excited to replace them with better pitchers, but I thought they were solid back of the rotation/middle reliever types. Good for Kev.

    3. Remember him? I thought he would have been a good part of our rotation for years to come, still not sure why they let him go like that, other than to let him go pitch for his boyhood team, the Padres. Does not surprise me, he was really good for us as a reliever, so I thought he could be OK for us as a starter.

      Sad family story, forgot why, but if I recall right, lost parents at young age, so he and a sister and brother were very tight. However, not sure what the brother had, but from what I recall, his actions were very manic-depressive, and he leaped to his death a couple of years ago. I think that might have been the 2010 season, when he had a really bad season.

      Not that he has been that good the past couple of seasons, but good enough.

      I wish him the best, except when facing the Giants.

  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  19. Fangraphs just came out with their list. Giants pitching staff looks to be in good shape in the years ahead.

    1. I left a comment over their. I like the write up and I agree, it shows the Giants system in good light and is an big improvement over last year's list.

    2. Beat me to the punch! :^)

      Some comments. Obviously, different from DrB's, as he has the pitchers (in different order too) then Brown, then whoa, way different...

      That Crick description really got me excited! Kyle's challenge sounds the same as what Cain had to go through: trusting your stuff. Cain should be a great mentor for him.

      I love that quote in Blackburn: "They do it extremely differently but they're very good for each other... They now understand that there are other ways to [pitch successfully]". Though that other one was, OK...: "He has a good feel for pitching". Talk about obvious, 19 walks and 143 strikeouts in 131.1 IP, heck yeah, he has an excellent feel for pitching!

      Does anyone agree with assessment of Blackburn as a #3 innings eater? What am I missing? 93 MPH heat. High ground ball rate. High strikeouts, low walks. How is that a #3? I know he's only in A-ball, but that seems like good skills to have.

      Wow, did not know Stratton got hit in the head to end his season. But how is he just a #3 starter ceiling too? I would think at least #2 ceiling for both.

      The Brown description shows the writer bought into the hype, noting that Brown has not developed as quickly as hoped. And his base running didn't take a step back, he was not that good in 2011 either (though admittedly better, but a guy with that speed should not be getting caught so much).

      I also don't agree with the writer about Brown abandoning his hitting approach. This "small ball" recommendation is the same "slap the ball" crap that screwed up Torres until he learned how to properly hit. Brown should continue what he has been doing, that is why I've been as high on him, he's got the right approach at the plate.

      I see Brown as a future steady performer who will be on the edge of making the All-Star game in some seasons. I agree with the comments made by the contact. Perhaps that last comment by the author is a swipe at Brown because of his struggles stealing bases. Even if he doesn't figure that out, he should be plus defensively at minimum, particularly for our home park, plus as a runner because he's going to get on base, a lot, even if he don't steal to his potential. And he'll have some gap power, perfect for our home park.

      Wow, Hembree and Kickham next. The author complained about the lack of usage, but Hembree was injured and couldn't be used more. This is probably why Hembree is ranked this high. I like Kickham, but I would not rank this high.

      WOW, then Osich. I was going to make a pitch to DrB about moving Osich up, but as he astutely noted, don't get too hung up on ranking, plus my knowledge of the system don't go down that far, I can't argue moving him above the guys just ahead of him. But I really like Osich's tools and think he is a sure major leaguer as long as he can stay healthy, and he could be high-end, a good set-up reliever (maybe closer like Righetti?), or if they think he can hold up, a very good starter.

    3. Panik fell down to #8. They also note that Panik might get his first taste of failure, but to push Panik down to there, and not view 2012 as a failure season would suggest that the other players rose above Panik, than Panik falling. I know the people here viewed the first half as a failure that challenged Panik and then he did well in the second half. Looking at his monthly stats, he started slow in April, hit his talent level for three months, then had a great month in August. As we've discussed here, he's fine, had a stumble that got others in a tizzy, but I'm still expecting him to be our starting 2B in 2-3 years, and that he'll be solid there, low K's, high BB's, nice BA, OK OPS, plus good defense. Solid value for the pick.

      Susac is pretty interesting. Had a down year but the author was not swayed by that (unlike for Brown or Panik). I was wondering if learning how to catch as a pro slowed down his offensive development, that is something I've read happens. I'm still high on him.

      Peguero I've never been too high on, until now, after seeing his September call-up stats. Not that I now think he's a starter, I think he'll need to prove it at every level, but his SB and defense really impressed me, that he could at least be an OK OPS with great speed and defense in the OF. Solid #4 OF at minimum, I think, along the lines of Blanco, I think.

      Escobar over Mejia according to the author. :^) Here, I think he got it right that Escobar is a future 3/4 starter. Yet, he don't realize that he put Escobar on par with Stratton and Blackburn as future #3's. To DrB's point, Mejia is underrated because of his early struggles. If you take out his April, in 98 IP, he had 76 K's and 14 BB's, 7.0 K/9, 1.3 BB/9 and 5.43 K/BB, all better than Escobar and Mejia is a year younger. In any case, another interesting prospect the Giants picked up on trade in Escobar, still only 20 YO, so he could develop more velocity and the report is that he's hitting 94 MPH.

      For Mejia, I noted above how his stats look much better after his initial difficulties, which I would attribute to it being his first full-season league in the U.S. He didn't strike out as much as Escobar, but he's a year younger and still developing, making him, to me, a more advanced prospect than Escobar. I see now why DrB ranks Mejia so much higher than Escobar. The author mentioned how stacked San Jose could be with Crick, Blackburn, Stratton, Escobar, and Mejia. Great problem to have.

    4. Ehire, my adopted Giants player, continues to hang on, according to the author, because of the lack of MI depth in the system. I don't see any reason to rank a prospect higher just because the system lacks someone playing his position. What we need to remember is that usually only the top prospects in the game make it to AA at age 22. Adrianza is not a top prospect in the game, so to my view, he's playing in a league above where he should be right now, which results in his poor batting line. Given that, his contact rate is not that bad (not that good either) and his relatively high level of walks to strikeouts is pretty encouraging to me. Given that Noonan probably will be starting at SS in AAA in 2013, Adrianza will probably repeat AA, allowing his age to catch up with the league. Given Crawford's development, too, the urge to push Ehire should lessen and the Giants can take more time with him. He's still young enough that the Giants probably prefer to keep him at SS, to max his trade value, they probably don't start preparing him for utility until age 24, I would think.

      Kieschnick is another one that I wondered if he should be much higher in DrB's ranking. I was really impressed with his 2012 batting line, too bad he went down with an injury, he would have gotten some MLB playing time in September I agree. I would have put him in the teens, I think, looking at the names. But as I noted, I'm not as great past the top 10 right now, so this is more gut feel than anything. I just really liked Roger's 2012 season.

      Duvall, wow, according to the author, could BOOST his power by using his lower half more. If he did that, maybe he'll be another Matty Williams, lots of HR and Strikeouts, not that great batting average.

    5. Big test coming up for Duvall. I've been full draw brakes on that guy, and don't forget his defense is very nondescript to be polite. But if he keeps hitting like this in the Eastern he's legit. Before you get too excited OGC check his contact rates.

    6. As I noted, lots of strikeouts. :^)

      Yes, horrible contact rates, but I've seen too many of these low contact rate, big HR guys fly up the D-backs system and do OK enough in the majors. At this point, to drive home that core group theme that you have been using, we have the core, we only need complimentary players to fill out the team and still win with our pitching, and if Duvall can deliver the HR power, say, in the 6-7 spot, a lot of strikeouts is acceptable.

      But yeah, to your point, with his contact rates, he needs to prove it at every level he gets promoted to, and moreover, as everybody knows, the leap to AA is the first big chasm suspect prospects need to cross to more to serious prospectdom on the other side, if he makes it. And even top prospects need to cross that AA chasm to keep their prospectdom.

  20. Great stuff much information....Pretty much everything covered...just some of my thoughts and nitpicks...

    Love the pitching up at the top...still well stocked...Unfortuantely, the same can't be said for OFs and other postition players..

    I see Kickham and Hembree at 10 and 11, but they should be the first pitching propsects to make it to the Bigs. Personally, after seeing them in Richmond when on a few times, I would have moved them up a few spots..but no biggie..

    Guys that I think might be unde-rated a little and where I give a little more weight to what they keep on doing are Duvall, Bochy, Heston

    And after a very strong year in Fresno at a very young age, I think Noonan is back on the propsect track big time and see him much higher, but JMO...

    OTOH, I think guys like Adrianza, Jones and even Peguero have shown little other than their initial potential to be ranked so high


    1. We are pretty set positionally for a while, I think.

      Posey at C, then Susac or Sanchez.
      Belt at 1B, then Sandoval or Posey
      2B, probably Panik but I still like Noonan.
      3B, Sandoval, then maybe Posey
      SS, Crawford
      LF, Blanco is good enough, could become good with more starts
      CF, probably Brown, but Pagan covers it OK
      RF, still hoping for Pence to be signed long-term, but Peguero would be the big IF among all these positions.

      And this covers the next 2-3 years, at minimum, longer for many positions.

    2. I did a lefty position scarcity look-see, we are looking nice with the 3 starters Kickham, Mejia and Escobar. The three injury concerns of Bandilla, Osich and Surkamp are also interesting. Okert as a high draft pick and McVay as a lower draft pick both performed well. McVay might make me break my tall pitcher bias even! That's 8 guys who can be impact arms.

      I'm starting a up the middle position scarcity look (and I'm looking at draft prospects at the same time) and its a bit more bare. We have Brown, Panik and Susac. We have GUSTAVO. We have Hollick and McCall. Then there's the longshots Chuckie Jones and RafRod, who are young enough to make noise but are getting unhyped fast. No real impact catching prospects behind Susac. Then there are the utility guys Noonan and Adrianza. Its not bad, I think we need a middle infielder and a catcher to dream on though. The CFs are nice, I'd say CF is an organization strength. I forgot to add Galindo, who's bat is looking a bit tarnished right now. I think we need to look hard at HS SS's. If the right one is there... And I'm looking right at McGuire from VA prep ranks on that call. Crawford (JP) and the kid from Florida will be long gone.

    3. I would say that the scarcity of impact catching behind Susac is minimized by our boy Hector. I think between the two, we should be covered at catching when Posey moves to another position for a long time.

      I am still holding out prospect hope for Noonan, he's still very young and had a nice comeback season. Now he needs to build on that in 2013. You didn't mention Payne, thought you liked him.

    4. Strictly minors, so no Sanchez. One graduation, one trade, one championship and our farm is suddenly one catcher instead of 3. That's the result of success, not failure. I'm glad a writer finally put that down. It seems like a no-brainer but its not.

      Payne has been played strictly in LF by the Giants. I am assuming at this time he cannot handle CF, early reports rate his defense as average. I actually have a crazy idea to put him back at 2B where he played in hs and jc. His hero is Brandon Phillips. Dream big, propayne, and keep grinding!

    5. Oh, Payne seemed like one of our classic CF, sorry about my mistake. But it would be great if he could be another Brandon Phillips, I had him on my old keeper league, or really anywhere on the field if he can play like Brandon otherwise.

      OK, minor only, but I thought the point is coverage for the future? That is why I mentioned Sanchez.

    6. Sorry OGC, I came in on your thread, not the other way around. Yep, you were looking at it from the major league down angle. I was just talking about my post that was looking at the depth from the bottom up to Fresno.

      Also, I mentioned this in that other thread but you might not have checked back to it - happy anniversary! Many happy returns.

  21. I just remember that there was a reliever in San Jose last year. You mentioned his physical presence, quite a specimen. He was your dark horse, I think, to break out for a couple of years. Where do you rank him? I think he had some good outings last year.

    1. Jose Valdez. I didn't see it earlier but I see now his name is among the HMs.

      There was a lefty in the San Jose rotation. He throws 90-92 and the game I saw in San Bernardino, he looked good. Where would he be on the list?

    2. Lefty might be Jack Snodgrass? Also SJ had a righty that looked better in person than his stat line suggests in Justin Schumer. Had a FB up to 92 which is about 4 MPH more than I anticipated before I saw him pitch in person.

      Yeah, I still really like Jose Valdez. I just don't know what his roster status is. He's been around a loooonng time some might be a minor league FA by now.

  22. You know, that question of organizational depth that came up in F/G today got me thinking. Since 2006, I have seen a noted change in philosophy and its showing up more and more. You look at the BA top ten from 2006, its stronger at the top, but not even close to what we have now. Sure we have the benefit of hindsight, and a bunch of these guys will fail, but there are key differences, especially with depth.

    We have to prepare for a lot more trades - its all about win-now mode. But look at how much stronger we are, it really harks back to the olden days when Sabean was ripping off GMs left and right. That's what depth gets you. The position of strength. I think what happened in the dark days is the cupboard goes bare, and the moves had to be made on the open market. I used to think Sabean in the middle market was dangerous. I'm amending that to ANY GM on the middle market is dangerous. its really the option of last resort. Now its even more expensive in years and dollars then back ten years ago, because teams are so hyper aggressive about locking up their talent and better at scouting.

    Maybe just thinking about Dayton Moore, and how he's getting tooled on got me thinking from a different perspective on Sabes. I sure did enjoy the hell out of 97-02. Burks, Schmidt, Lofton, Nen, Fat Livan, Santiago, Big Cat... It just feels like the guy has his mojo back, and I think a lot of that is being in a position of strength again. Having that core group.

    1. This is what I try to get at with my Phoenix Rebuilding theory. When the team is starting to circle the drain, pulling in free agents to stem the slide down only lengthens the ETA of the next cycle of rebuilding. As the team ends up in the middle, where you still have lousy draft picks and thus poor chances of finding that good player you need to rebuild, you just end up this mediocre, neither good nor bad stasis, a limbo if you will, where your team just floats along (e.g. Giants 70's and 80's).

      But ultimately, it also depends on how good you pick up interesting prospects in the draft. You can lose all you want, and horribly so, and don't figure it out for a long time (Royals, Pirates, Orioles, for examples). And you can still try to find interesting enough prospects while winning to keep some flow of MLB talent into your team while winning (Braves, Phillies, Reds, Cards seem to do a good job of that, Giants now).

      I think the key thing was the loss of Jeff Kent. We were able to dig around enough rocks to replace his production for one or two years, but the slide started there and continued downward.

      Now, this is where Naysayers blame Sabean. But this is mostly inevitable. Your core declines or leaves, and you don't have good replacements coming up. Our best bullets were AFW, but each fell by the wayside, unfortunately. Looking back, Williams helped turn back the clock by delivering his electrifying performance in 2003 and he was OK in 2004, but then he just lost it. Heck, AFW all contributed in 2003. But the odds are just that bad even that early in the draft, them failing was a likely thing. One in Ten is the odds I found in my research, for first round picks for teams contending for a playoff spot. Cain ended up being our one in ten for that period, as Ainsworth, Foppert, Williams failed, and so did Lowry and Hennessey as well as others.

      As DrB noted, who knows what would have happened during that period had any of them been good. We probably, however, would have missed on Lincecum and probably Posey, had Williams continued pitching as well as he did in 2003. And we signed a lot of guys who didn't do much during that period, trying to replace that production. So in the end, for us, it worked out eventually, but given we are the first to win 2 of 3 in the NL since the Reds in the 70's, that is not a given for most teams, most of the time it does not work out.

      That is why I've been touting Sabean's focus on pitching for all these years. Free agency does not help much, and to Shankbone's point, even less today as the good players are locked up. Given the difficulties building a team with the draft, you need to focus on a core area and build that up well. Pitching is all purpose now, given the Reliever era, as even your former failures at starting can be great relievers, plus you can just add on top of what you got if you find extra, whereas for position players, if you find an extra player you basically have to trade one (e.g. McCovey/Cepeda, Teixiera/Hofner/A-Gon) and that introduces another layer of risk of failure into the rebuilding process, for trades can go wrong (though for Sabean, not so much on our end).

    2. I still don't think it is a matter of mojo, it is more a matter to me of lack of top end talent.

      I touched on this on another thread, but GM's seem to operate on a CYA basis, accepting that BA's rankings are equivalent across teams, much like a lot of the commenters I see on-line when they discuss prospects. One team's #3 prospect is not necessarily the same as another team's #3 prospect, in fact, as we all know, there can be a huge difference.

      When you have clear #1's like we did with Cain, Lincecum, Bumgarner, Posey, it becomes hard to discourage the other teams from focusing on them and accepting lesser prospects. Once they graduate, then the other teams start focusing on the next layer of talent, which we know to be not as good. That makes it easier to do trades for Sabean, as the Giants are now willing to give up those upper prospects that they don't have on their "Don't Trade" list.

      I know DrB didn't like my assessment of trading Wheeler away, but my main point about that was that his struggles in Advanced A meant to me that he'll probably not contribute as a top line pitcher until at least 2014. I think that timetable is still pretty good.

      I am also wondering now if the Wheeler trade was calculated. Someone commented here asking about why Wheeler over Brown. I've thought that was because we had all this pitching already but we need a leadoff type guy and in CF for defense. And it might still be that, as part of the reason.

      But around that time, a Yahoo columnist wrote a post about how other teams need to beware of dealing with Sabean. Then he proceeded to do what I usually do and run down all the trades Sabean has done before, and show how little the other teams have gotten in trade from Sabean. As much as many fans hate to admit it, there are smart people sitting the GM chairs, and if regular people like me notice something like that, you can be sure that other GMs notice it, and then even talk about it (since Brian won't return their calls :^), spreading the news. That is also part of Sabean losing his mojo, if nobody is willing to trade with him, or at minimum, very wary.

      I know DrB and I disagreed on Wheelers potential back then (and he's winning by a lot so far), and I'm willing to say it looks like I am horribly, horribly wrong about Wheelers potential. But now, given that, I wonder, what if he was the sacrificial lamb the Giants did in order to throw chum into the trading waters?

      If nobody wants to trade with you, you can't get any trades going for the players you think you can steal away, er, trade for. :^D Could the Giants been calculated enough to trade Wheeler over Brown in order to grease the wheels for future deals with lesser prospects? Because that worked like a charm for Sabean early on, his predecessor left the farm system in shambles, but he was able to trade off a lot of them plus his early picks, to get useful players, which aided in building up his core, as you aptly put it. But once he started having players he wanted to keep, like AFW and Cain, then trading became harder, and stayed hard until Belt was promoted. Since then, we have picked up a number of good vets via trades.

      I don't know, but thought it was something to think about and discuss/share.

    3. Followup to my thought on pitching building on itself in the last part of my first comment.

      What I mean is best explained by this example. If you have a good firstbaseman then find a better firstbaseman, you have to trade the good firstbaseman or move him to a defensive position that he's probably not good at.

      If you have an ace pitcher (say, like Cain :^), then find a better ace pitcher (say, like Lincecum :^), you can keep both of them in the rotation and push out the 5th starter. And if your wannabe ace pitchers fail (like the A's and Met's Four Aces of the early 90's), they can be good relievers.

      In those Four Aces cases, Isringhausen was the only one to be a great closer, but Karsay was a good reliever. Another example is Wood, who has been a good closer as well, after flaming out as a starter. And, of course, the Big Bang of that trend, Dennis Eckersley. I would also mention our own Todd Worrell, he wanted badly to be a starter, but said that he didn't become a good reliever until he accepted that he was a reliever. Salomon Torres is another Giants example.

      Thus, the pitching staff can get good over time faster than position players, given how players develop so randomly and so unlikely. There is less odds of bad luck in needing to trade away someone you found to be good, plus even when you have bad luck and your starter fails, he could still become a good reliever or closer (oh, shame on me for not noting Joe Nathan above).

      Put another way: Finding a better pitcher just pushes out the worse pitcher on your staff, generally. Finding a better position player could push out your first, now second, best hitter.

    4. Speaking of Joe Nathan, along the lines of DrB's "what might have happened", had he not been traded, we would not have had the Benitez disaster signing, nor the closer disaster area that we had during that period. That definitely would have pushed our picks back in the draft, enough that we probably would not have picked Lincecum, Posey, or even Bumgarner.

      And I'm not justifying the trade this way, as some have commented before, but it certainly was an unforeseen benefit. That is, let it go, it worked out for us in the end.

    5. Wheeler trade. I don't think think there is enough talent in baseball to play games with trading away better talent to grease wheels. I do agree with you that Wheeler's struggles made him an ETA 2014 or even later, remember he had a good recovery upon being traded to the Mets, and finished the season strong. There was some talk of him going back to his original HS delivery, that surprised me because usually the Giants don't mess a ton with mechanics and they were messing with his.

      I would note that the draft had happened, and they had Crick in the fold. I'm not sure how they felt about Blackburn at that moment in time, he was still more of a sleeper HS guy that one scout got on his soapbox for most likely. But its possible they looked at the rest of the crew and said OK, we'll rest on our laurels of pitching development with what we have and what we'll go get in the future.

      I think Wheeler is a great prospect and it hurt to lose him. I would rather have lost him than Brown though. That's not looking good now, but nothing is decided yet. Two things stick out to me, and I started with saying he's a wonderful prospect because I don't like it when fans denigrate a player after he leaves, but these two things stood out: 1. Sabean called him a possible bullpen arm as an aside while he was talking about its his and Tidrow's job to get more pitching. 2. Wheeler does have the dreaded inverted W just like Strasburg. I was always a bit scared he was more of an injury risk. Then you throw the blister issues on top, and I didn't get the feeling he was as blue chip as Cain/Bumgarner. And last, I tried to reassure myself that they wouldn't let him go if they felt that way, and hey look at Sabean's record with trading.

      I think its going to get sorely tested. Wheeler looks very sweet. But as we've seen with Trevor Bauer, and countless others, its one thing to tear up the minors, its another to get in the majors and do it. I'm also bummed because Wheeler seems like a great guy. But flags fly forever. Instant challenge trade, we lost. I'm glad, so glad, they didn't chase Beltran and sign him to a big contract to justify it.

    6. What you say makes sense. Just had to throw that thought out, you are right that there isn't enough talent just to do that.

      But it is not exactly that. They wanted Beltran to push for the flag. Their choice was not to just trade to make a statement that "hey, we are OK to trade with". Their choice was either Brown or Wheeler. Given that both timetables look to be out to 2014 at minimum, and to your point, they had Crick in hand, could giving up Wheeler, if he was viewed as only slightly better than Brown (versus the view as you noted that Wheeler is a top line pitcher), been partly done to goose future trades? Again, just a thought, but now a fading thought as you make good points.

      Forgot all about the bullpen comment. That is a strong statement considering most people viewed Lincecum as a sure bullpen pitcher and they said, no way, he's a starter.

      I would note that the Giants have mucked with pitchers mechanics before. Screwed around with Simon's when they got him from the Phillies. They messed around with Bumgarner but then decided to let him go, at which point he dominated. And also Wheeler's. Though openly said that they were not touching Lincecum's. I would also note that perhaps Wheeler's blister issues had to do with his modified mechanics per the Giants changes, and now it's better since he went back to his old way.

      I would also note that DrB ripped me a new one :^) for bringing up Sabean's trade record as a way to denigrate Wheeler's potential. And rightfully so. But you bring up other good points why he's not as stellar a prospect as might might think looking at his stats. He could be a Francisco Liriano redux, making a splash in the majors but then bouncing up and down as his body fails him.

      I would throw out Homer Bailey as another example of a pitcher who looked like a sure thing in the minors, only to not figure it out in the majors. Heck, throw out AFW in there too.

    7. On the other stuff, well, I guess its a butterfly effect. Those doors were opened, one at a time. Sabean famously wore his 2002 NL ring to remind himself how close we got. And that's where it gets a little old for me on the bash Sabean train, the guy wears his heart on his sleeve, if you care to look for it. One of the things that I just could not figure out is if Sabean is such a total jerk, how are all these guys working with him, I mean working with him big time, for so long. Why is there so little turnover? Now I do have a couple inside sources that say Sabean can be a tad awkward socially, but I'm not going to hold that against the guy. He's just plain spoken in a world that expects a bunch of corporate truisims. Maybe that is going to simple, or too far, and Sabey Sabes could use a PR polish, his mouth has definitely got him in trouble. However, I still find it refreshing.

      And that's one thing that I realized. I just don't like the new age MBA type Gms. While I think WAR is a fun tool, ultimately I just don't care where the most efficiency is. I love Campanari's Accountant Eyeshade comment. I'm totally using that all the time from now on. I'll credit him like... every sixth time. Its all fun to examine the economic part of the game, and you do have to marshall resources, that's all good. But in the end, what is important? Getting the best haul of prospects and increasing your WAR ratios? Putting money in the owners pockets? Being a hero at all costs with the world beating you down and having a tiny budget? All ownership groups have demands, and issues. Each situation is uniquely different. There is no guarantee that one of the small market GMs with money to spend would do anything nearly as wise. And from that vantage, I've really come around to your view on just how much of a cramp the ownership group has been in the past on Sabean. (I'm not giving you Rowand though!)

      Anyways, like we've been saying, Sabean is a unique piece of history, a GM that stretches an entire generation of Giants fans. I think that is awesome and amazing, and very very doubtful it will be replicated any time soon. I'm very glad he got a chance at a second act, and I'm glad he crushed it. Great American story, and everybody loves a comeback.

      As I've got more experience on the interwebz, I realize why you and DrB say things a certain way sometimes. I'll give your careful wording of studies as the example. Now I realize what its like to put up something and have it get torn into. You used to cite your own work, but now you just can't be bothered, so you defer to the HBT, BP, etc. Its smart. Sad that people can't be more thoughtful, but smart on your part to just change up your game.

      I think the Gints are good at changing up your game. I stumbled on some info about this camera system. I'm gonna post up some links.

    8. Alright OGC, here ya go: Profile on a the Giants CIO, gent by the name of Bill Schlough. I wasn't looking for it, a poster on the Pavlov blog put it up. I know you and DrB occasionally are on there and post very infrequently, Bacci does on occasion. I think a few posters are quite good, but there is a lot of clutter on that joint, its hard to sift through.

      and from a couple years ago:

      Here is the part from the 2nd article that will catch your attention:

      The team also has cameras -- part of its Sportvision Player Tracking System -- installed throughout the upper reaches of the stadium to track player movement, taking measure of every rounded base and every dive along the third base line. The team uses this video for player tracking, examining a player's range, let's say, or his real speed around the bases (rather than the less accurate stop watch). Spray charts tell where every ball was hit, and where every player was when the ball was hit. And all of that data gets processed and crunched and viewed.

      (end quote)
      I'm thinking that one of the best advantages is seeing our NL West foes. It allows for better positioning in the 2nd half of the season. That would be the use that stands out to me.

      I love the picture of some stats geek chasing after Bochy with some color print outs. Not the way it goes down, but its a funny mixture the Giants have.

      But here's my point about this CIO: doesn't it completely fly in the face of every meme and joke about the Giants that they have people this bright doing work? The Giants just have a more low profile about it, and a staff that self deprecates. I really hope they keep that up. Winning is fun, if they can somehow manage to be unspoiled by winning, that is amazingly special.

    9. On the Wheeler trade, there was an interesting article that centered around how long the trade actually took to come about. It was from the Mets perspective for the most part, and one of the things they had to do is sort through all the offers and decide what they wanted. Then the Giants had to decide. I enjoyed it because it showed how long and drawn out it can be, and how much work goes into evaluating a player and a prospect. It took longer of course because Don Carlos had a no-trade clause, and would only take a contender. I guess with most trades the teams all know the needs of other teams, so it shouldn't be a shocker, but my only complaint about the trade was the Giants might have wanted to take the Mets down to the wire to pressure that no-trade deadline of theirs, they had to commit before any other team. However, in the end, I was psyched to have Beltran, he was the best hitter IMO on the market. I was doing a jig.

      Didn't turn out. Hurt, wouldn't play until fully healthy, and then put up what looked like to me a pretty empty set of hitting feasting off of NL West callup pitching. If he hadn't done that, folks would have been calling for Sabean's head. Instead they had to wait another month until the not signing and then call for his head. DrB had a great piece about that. It still drives me crazy the FO is blamed for not making a move... a move 27 other FOs decided to emulate.

      And that's the last thing - the fact the Giants have come out and set the record straight, on Beltran's statements as well as Cody Ross's. They did have conversations, in Ross's case they had a deal he backed out of. For them to take advantage of the Giants non-disclosure monks of MLB tendencies, that was weak. I boo'd the hell out of Don Carlos from the 20th row baby! Proud of it. Holiday too, it was the Scutaro take out game. I'm glad Bobby Evans stepped up on that. Now we'll see what Don Carlos has left in the tank. If he had quit on us in the NLCS like he did on the cards, that would have been heartbreaking. Quit too strong? Injured is fine. That is the risk they took, and it cost em. It goes back to those risk factors we're talking about. Now the Cards are locked into that 2nd year, and with Furcal too. Giants went a different direction, and suddenly the cry is for more vets? Hmmm...

  23. Drb, Thanks for posting this! I think Brown and Panik had good enough years not to lose their top spots on the prospect list. I see other prospect websites still talking highly of them which is a good sign. I like seeing all the pitchers listed in your top ten, and look forward to reading more about them, such as their ceilings.. Besides, pitching is what the Giants are all about..

    My question has to do with them using their high picks the past few years on hitters like Kieshnick, Parker, Dominguez. I'm wondering if anyone has a theory as to why these hitters haven't put up better #'s. Does the organization need to address the type of hitters they're drafting, or does thier minor league hitting instructors need to do a better job?

    Anyway, its hard to question anything they do after winning 2 WS, but just wondering if anyone sees a problem with them developing hitters? Thanks.


    1. Because, when you get past the first round of the draft, the odds of even "high" picks like the ones used to pick those hitters, are probably under 5%. At least from the data from my draft study done years ago (I need to update it given that there is plenty of better data available now). That's my theory that I've been sharing for the past 6-7 years now.

      This has been the final shred of argument that the Naysayers (not saying LG is) are clinging to, that Sabean don't know how to develop hitters. First it was that he was washed up. Then OK, he can get lucky with a pitcher or two, but he's not good at anything else. Then OK, he can build a rotation and bullpen, but he can't find hitters. Then OK, he got lucky with that championship, but he still can't find hitters. Now, well, he has two championships and a middle lineup of Sandoval, Posey, Belt, plus Crawford is looking pretty good.

      That's a pretty good set of hitters, I think. The draft is too hard to find all the parts of a team, just check any other team, you will find that none of them have build an entire lineup out of homegrown players, they have, at best, half the lineup. If they have more, then look to their pitching and see if it is homegrown and any good. You should find that they aren't.

      The draft is a crapshoot for the most part. It is impossible to build entirely from homegrown parts, though possible to trade to build one. But if you look at most championship teams, each team has some sort of flaw, maybe one team didn't develop hitters, another don't develop pitching, etc. There just is not enough easily identifiable talent in the draft, it is not like basketball where you can pick up a sure star with a top pick, but is like it in that most second round basketball picks are not very likely to develop. It is definitely not like football, where you can pick up starters up and down the draft.

      And baseball is not only hard to find talent in the draft, it is not like you can expect anyone to contribute in the next year or two, even the top picks overall. Lincecum, Bumgarner, Posey, they were all anomalies, most players take 2-3 full seasons in the minors to develop and then start contributing as a good player. It is just hard, period to find players, and if you are looking for a fault with any MLB team, you just need to pick the areas where they fail at, because, like in hitting, there is a lot of failure.

    2. Great Post, OGC. I think a lot of fans discount the HUGE finds the Giants have had in the last 10 years or so...

      Sanchez (X2)

      Just to name some of the bigger home run pick ups.

      The Giants are doing just find in the drafting / scouting department.

    3. uh, POSEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    4. The problem, again, is not so much developing hitters as spending most of your first round bullets on pitchers until recent drafts, when the Giants drafted Posey, Brown, and Panik (not coincident that they were our top hitters in the farm system). Once you get beyond that, there are a lot of flaws that need to be fixed before they can be good hitters, generally.

      Thinking further, another way to look at this is that you can't teach a hitter bat speed, per se, either you got it or you don't for the most part, unless your mechanics were really bad when drafted (like Belt's). That is a major component to hitting. However, while pitchers can likewise not be taught velocity, for the most part, pitchers can and do learn pitches that greatly improve their performances. Plus learn how to mix and match pitches in order to trick hitters, even when their stuff is not as great when they are older.

      That is something hitters cannot pick up, they mainly need a lot of AB's (I think the Giants tout 1,000 plate appearances) against good pitchers to learn and develop. Hitters is a matter of reps and latent talent, pitchers no matter how much talent they got, they need to have the pitches in the their repertoire and a way of mixing them up, as well as some talent.

    5. Maybe this will also illustrate how hard it is to identify hitting talent. I was looking through my BA prospect book at the draft, and realized that Mike Trout was the 25th pick of the 2009 Draft.

      MIKE TROUT! I think I've read comparisions of him and Willie Mays. You know how great he is and how young he was, yet 24 teams (including the Giants) bypassed him to pick someone else in 2009 (we got Zack Wheeler). So, was almost everybody in baseball stupid and the Angels smart, or is it just that hard for professional scouts to see exactly what it is that makes one prospect Mike Trout the 25th pick, another one Matt Bush the first pick overall (and Tim Beckham is looking to join that latter category), when it should be Mike Trout, #1 pick? (OK, the Matt Bush pick was already a big push when it was made, so maybe bad example)

      And to be accurate, I would say that Washington was right to pick Strasberg first, but the other guys, not so much.

      Looking through my BA profile of Trout, it did note that he fell to 25th because he put out a $3.5M bonus demand, reportedly. So at least he recognized his talents, if not the MLB. It also noted that 22 teams passed on him, so there were two teams that passed on him TWICE. ouch...

      All in all, examples like this that I've seen in the draft (I've combed through a lot of the history of the draft) convinces me that it just is that hard to identify exactly what it is that makes a prospect a major league player. There are maybe 5-6 clear favorites, generally, but even among those, around 55% failed to become a good baseball player. Then it just way worse after that.

      That's why I think the Phoenix Rebuilding Theory I've put out there, where you sell off all valuable remaining players in order to get the prospect to build on for the future (and I have see this happen over and over in the past, Connie Mack with the Philly A's, Charlie O. Finley with the Oakland A's, Expos, Marlins, and Tigers under Dombrowski, I guess Beane too, to go with the A's history trail), is the fastest way to rebuild. Whether you purposefully lose or trade off all good player and give your prospects the opportunity, potato, pohtato, that gets you a great draft pick in the first round, in the fishing in the barrel section of the draft, rather than the fishing in the Bay section of the draft, and much better than the fishing in the ocean that is mostly the draft.

      Not that teams cannot be bad at developing players or certain types of players. But given Posey, Sandoval, Belt as great hitting products out of the system, I think we can take that final negative label off of Sabean's lapel and discard it as false.

      Or one could research this and easily see this. Pick any good GM, in your mind, and pull out all the drafts he has been in control of, and see how he has done. Has he filled out a team, top to bottom, with good players at every starting position plus closer? How many good hitters have he actually drafted and developed? Can't count guys he inherited (for example, Cashman inherited, I believe, Jeter, Pettitte, Posada, and Riviera; I know the latter two were not drafted, but the key parts of this Yankees dyansty, I believe were in place before he became GM). I've seen enough to say that most likely: No.

    6. I'm going by memory on this comment on Trout since I no longer have my 2009 BA issues. Scouts didn't get a chance to see him play that much because he played high school baseball in New Jersey where alot of their games were affected by bad weather.. I remember the BA mock draft ranked him about where he was picked. The reason I remember him most of all is that the scouting report I read compared him to Aaron Rowand.

      I agree, it must be tough for scouts to identify hitting talent.. How can they judge a high school player's hitting talent when they are facing high school pitchers who don't throw 90 MPH?


  24. What about Keury Mella? I hear hes touching mid 90's as a 19 year old.

    1. I'll look up his stats again. I thought about him for the Top 50 then thought might be better to mention him as a Dominican Dandy. Good thought on Mella. Possibly yet another interesting Giants pitching prospect.

    2. DrB - there is another Dominican Dandy signing from January of this year. Skinny tall 6'4 kid. I had forgotten about it for a while, there was a photo posted up in the MCC prospect ranking. They paid 250K for him.

  25. We're over 100 responses to this post. I think that is the first time in the history of the blog we've done that. Keep up the good work, everybody!

  26. I'm here to talk about Gillaspie of course...

    His BABIP dropped lower from 2011 to 2012. Average PCL BABIP was .320, his was a bit below .300. I think he still has a future, but maybe I'm even more alone in this than I was a year ago.

    He also had a broken toe in July 2012 and came back after just two weeks, maybe too early? His numbers were better than 2011 before that injury.

    1. Well, there is a huge shortage at 3B throughout baseball. Because of that, I could see Gillaspie winding up in another organization. Barring an injury to Pablo or Pablo ballooning to 400 lbs, neither in impossibility BTW, I just don't see room on the 25 man roster for Conor. I think he has to stick this year or be exposed to waivers. He just hasn't shown any versatility in what position he plays and he looked so overwhelmed in his cup of coffee.

    2. Hey, Brian Buscher has a nice major league career out of the Giants minor league system, as the Twins picked him up from us and started him, though he was never that good, at least offensively. So I totally agree with DrB that Conor will probably be signed as a free agent after waivers - I think he's out of options and I see no way either of him sticking - by a team with a 3B opening (or weakness), and they will keep him around for competition. Since hitting is his big tool, he probably will get picked by an AL team that can give him plenty of DH opportunities as well.

      He probably did come back too early. I'm no Dr but two weeks seems too soon to come back to running around as a baseball player with your toe recently broken. I know that was always a problem with Schierholtz, so this wouldn't surprise me if other players did this too. And I can understand that impulse, but really, get healthy first.

      FYI, BABIP is not league driven but career numbers driven, and that for major league numbers for sure. DrB disagreed with me before, but I like to look at prospects' minor league BABIP to at least get an idea of what type of BABIP he has done before, and to see outliers, like you are trying to do here. But I see DrB's point, each league is very different (EL extreme pitchers league, PCL extreme hitters league), so it is not a straight forward comparison, but I think that insight can still be derived if handled right.

  27. Where are some of the young Dominican hitters? Royel Astacio, Hengerber Medina, Anthony Gomez, Julio Pena and Nichol Parra?

    I always enjoy your wrap ups on the DSL games and have started to like and follow these guys.

  28. I will do a separate list called Dominican Dandies in which I will cover some of the DSL guys. Nobody really stood out enough to include in the Top 50 list, IMO.

  29. The #11 prospect Mike Kickham had a good year in AA 11-10 3.05 ERA 137 K'S IN 150 IP. I've read that Kickham could move up quickly because he has a good fastball according to Baggs. I like LHP who throws hard, but I'm wondering if anyone knows what kind of progress he's made developing his breaking ball and changeup? He did walk 75 in 150 IP. I'm wondering if the Giants view him as a future starting pitcher or reliever?


    1. I believe I read somewhere that Kicks is making good progress with his secondary stuff. The Giants are clearly developing him as a starter, but they always say that roles will be determined by team needs.

  30. Anyone know what Angel Villalona is up to '13? Does anyone scout this guy anymore?