Monday, December 31, 2012

DrB's 2013 Giants Top 50 Prospects #13: Andrew Susac

Andrew Susac, C.  DOB:  3/22/1990.  6'2", 210 lbs.  B-R, T-R.

High A:  .244/.351/.380, 9 HR, 12.9 BB%, 23.5 K%.

Andrew Susac is another 2011 draftee who the Giants gave an aggressive assignment for his first professional experience.  A tidbit of information we found out after the Giants drafted Buster Posey is that on college ball, pitches are called by the coaches from the dugout, while in the pros, it is the catcher's duty to call each pitch.  That is a huge mental jump right there.  Add in the aggressive placement and Susac had his work cut out for him in 2012.

At first glance, you might not be impressed with his batting line, but factor in the level of play, the mental adjustment and then look at his OBP/BB% and there is plenty of reason for optimism.  He also finished the season strong hitting .333 in August and .378 over his last 10 games.  I turn, once again, to Fred Stanley's comments to Joe Ritzo at

"....Susac was trying to do two things.  He was trying to learn how to catch at the professional level with pretty good arms that were throwing out there.  Plus, learning the league, remembering which hitters can do what and how we can get this guy out.  Knowing what a pitcher's best stuff is.  His role was harder than anybody's.  Not only was he learning how to hit, but he was also learning how to catch.  That's a very tough task.  I think a lot of people don't realize how difficult it was to do what Posey did.  What Buster did was off the radar.  For a catcher to move as fast as he did and be as good as he was on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively. He's one of a kind."

I saw Susac play several games.  I can't say anything I saw really stood out.  I seem to recall a couple of nice throws to 2B.  The one big impression was an apparent teachable moment.  I'm not sure exactly what happened, but it was something on defense.  It was a complex play involving several throws and several baserunners and it just looked a bit funky.  When he got back to the dugout, Andy Skeels spoke with him and a couple other players for a couple of minutes.  As they broke up, Steve Kline called Susac back and Skeels continued to have a prolonged, animated discussion that went on seemingly forever, although it was probably no more than 2-3 minutes. My impression was not that there was any problem between them, but rather that Skeels was taking advantage of a game situation to teach his butt off and make a point that would not be forgotten.

As for where Susac will be assigned next spring, Stanley had some very interesting comments on that, shedding some light on the Giants decision-making process:

"We'll evaluate in spring training.  He'll get a chance to impress the ones that need to be impressed..  Brian Sabean will make that final decision about what's best for him.  Whether they think it's best for him to repeat- Pablo Sandoval did it, so that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world and would give him a chance to play everyday.  He could make the double-A team too.  It depends on what Dick Tidrow and Brian Sabean want to do.

Stanley went on to say that players drafted out of major conferences like the SEC and Pac-12 are candidates for aggressive placement due to the high level of competition in those conferences.


  1. Buster Posey is pretty amazing. One of those players who can soak it up. The other cautionary guy I think we're a tad spoiled by is Pablo Sandoval. Not everybody recovers right away from hammate bone surgery, as Pablo has done twice now. I think Susac has a lot of power potential that will fill in next year with some time removed from the broken hammate. He was a slow starter at OSU as well, as he adjusted to that level of competition. Susac definitely followed the line of power hitters with contact issues that the Giants have going. But he finished strong, and had a lot of stuff thrown at him. Looking forward to him catching his old battery mate Agosta. I bet they hold him back in SJ to help his confidence and pair with our awesome staff there.

    1. That would be nice - the class of 2015/2016 (or maybe sooner in case some graduate early).

    2. Great point about his hamate bone surgery recovery!

      Looking at his stats, he suffered from the poor hometown batting: .210/.340/.329/.669 with 25.4% K% at home, .273/.362/.423/.785 with 21.8% K% on the road. He also improved on his K% as the season went on, as well as on his batting line, ending with .322/.388/.511/.899 in August, with his ISO rising from around 100 early, 135 middle, and ending with 189, showing what Shankbone was noting, the power coming later.

      I wish the Giants would just fix the park, but I assume they are waiting for San Jose to fix that park and that is not happening with our budget crisis. I am not sure what would be worse for Susac, suffering at home in SJ in 2013 or suffering everywhere in the Eastern League. I think maybe he should spent his start in 2013 wherever Skeels end up, to keep up the close-by catcher training, which probably means SJ, which I suppose would help him as he now knows the league, is fully recovered from his surgery and able to take advantage of the hitting parks in the league, before having to go the gauntlet through the Eastern League.

    3. Actually, from what I recall, just to be exact, while Pablo did heal faster than most (I think I recall anywhere from 6-12 months, but please correct if I'm wrong), he did take about a month or so both times (longer for his second one, again, from what I recall). The way I judged when he "recovered" was by when he started hitting for more extra base hits, it was pretty obvious, I think I marked it by his first game with multiple extra base hits.