Thursday, January 31, 2013

DrB's 2013 Giants Top 50 Prospects #42: Conor Gillaspie

Conor Gillaspie, 3B.  DOB:  7/18/1987.  6'1", 195 lbs.  B-L, T-R.

AAA:  .281/.345/.441, 14 HR, 41 BB, 54 K's in 413 AB.

MLB:  .150/.150/.200 in 20 AB.

Conor Gillaspie was a supplemental first round draft pick by the Giants in the 2008 draft, after hitting over .400 for Wichita St.  Since then, he has moved steadily through the system until repeating at Fresno in 2012.  He has maintained a steady BA between .280 and .290 throughout most of his minor league career.  He has had 3 separate cups of coffee in the majors with varied results, but has mostly looked overmatched.  Defensively, he seems anchored to 3B where he seems to have improved his shaky defense.

Because of an apparent signing promise by the Giants to add him to the MLB roster in Sept of 2008, Conor will be out of options this spring.   The Giants will have to either keep him on the 25 man active roster or expose him to waivers.  Barring some unexpected developments in spring training, it does not appear that there is a place for him on the active roster, so we'll see what happens.

His main strength is a consistent ability to control the strike zone which should allow him to achieve a respectable BA in the majors.  It's just that it comes with marginal power at best, no speed and pedestrian defense with no positional flexibility.  It seems to me that his best bet at this point is to hope to be claimed off waivers or traded to a rebuilding team like the Astros or Marlins who can afford to give him the opportunity to play at the MLB level.


  1. OT, sort of: I've been waiting for a hitter prospect to share this link. An article in Fangraphs discusses the intracacy of scouting hitters over pitchers that I thought was pretty good:

    Evaluating a pitcher is simpler than evaluating a hitter. It isn’t easier, due to pitcher attrition, but pitchers show you everything they have to offer—stuff, location, delivery, athleticism, etc.—pitch after pitch and are dictating the action. Watching a hitter is more complicated since you’re evaluating their ability to react to what the pitcher is doing, along with the physical tools, ability to use them, approach at the plate, etc. Hitters can go a couple at bats without swinging and full games without having to show their ability in one of these key areas.

    The hit tool is the hardest tool to predict and also is the most important. Imagine the job of a pro scout grading the hit tool for every player on a team from a five game look. You’ll have notes from batting practice and every at bat of each player, but the information is asymmetrical. You don’t know how he responds to a fastball on his hands until one is thrown and maybe he never gets one or he doesn’t swing at it. You pay close attention to his plate discipline but maybe he doesn’t see any borderline pitches for a game or two. This is multiplied for every player on the team, some of whom play irregularly, so your notes can have some holes. Evaluating a hitter is difficult because it’s a passive act graded off of a short look but also because it’s very complicated by nature with countless components.

    While my method for grading hitters isn’t a revelation, it’s helped me organize my thoughts about hitters while taking notes mid-game and while writing the final evaluations. I separate the hit tool into three components –tools, plate discipline and bat control—and classify any observation into one of the three groups, then use the grades of each of these components to get to the hit tool grade. If I don’t take this methodical, checklist-type approach, I end up looking at a mess of notes, outcomes, stats and background info and gut-feeling my way to a hit tool grade.

  2. Yeah, I basically agree with your assessment of Conor. While in hindsight, the Giants shouldn't have put him on the 40 man, perhaps this is for the best because I don't think there is a spot for him in the majors and I'm not sure he's going to get any better. Unless he's hitting like George Brett in spring training, the Giants will have to DFA him.

    And yeah, I see a rebuilding team taking a flier on him, he has the hit tool, and that is why Keppinger got so much interest even though he's very similar to what Gillaspie is.

    If bench spots weren't at such a premium for how Bochy manages, I would love to see how Conor does in a full season of part-time play. If we had a DeRosa-type who could play well defensively in the MI as well as OF (and is healthy :^) who can hit well too, we could afford to keep Conor on the bench. But it looks like Arias got one MI spot sewn up, Torres got one OF spot sewn up, and the Giants appear to be leaning towards one of Pegs/Kiesch for the other OF, and that Japanese player for the other MI (Hector backup C natch), so Gillaspie realistically don't have a spot unless he can beat out Pegs/Kiesch, as we need two MI's.