Friday, December 27, 2013

Dr B's 2014 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #4 Andrew Susac

It seems like we got the Andrew Susac discussion out of the way in the Heath Hembree post, but we can keep it going here or circle back to talk about Hembree or we can move on to other prospects.

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

AA   .256/.382/.458, 12 HR,  42 BB, 68 K in 262 AB.
AFL  .360/.507/.480, 2 HR, 16 BB, 11 K in 50 AB.

Susac put up very strong numbers in the first half for AA Richmond, a place that is usually kryptonite for Giants hitting prospects.  His numbers tailed off in the second half and he got shut down early with injuries raising questions about whether the first half was due to sample size idiosyncracies or the second half was due to the injuries.  Susac mostly answered those questions with a most impressive showing in the AFL putting himself in position to start 2014 at AAA Fresno.

There  is really nothing at all to not love about Susac's batting line except for the time missed due to injury.  With a projection over 600 PA's, he's at 24 HR's over a full season which is most impressive for the EL.  He's got the tremendous OBP and both his walk rates and K% are beyond solid.

So, it really comes down to whether he can polish up the finer points of catching in the pros and can he stay on the field for a full season?  If his AA and AFL numbers are any indication, he should destroy PCL pitching when at the plate.

Looks like 2015 season will bring with it some very big decisions involving the catcher position which almost automatically drags 1B and/or 3B into the discussion and possibly LF too!  Great, great problem to look forward too!

Just for fun, here are Susac's MLB projections for 2014(this is if he skipped AAA and went straight to the majors):

Steamer:  .238/.317/.384, 13 HR in 450 PA.
Oliver:     .229/.313/.374, 16 HR in 600 PA.


  1. Susac is one of my favorite prospects in the system after watching him in the AFL. I think his defense is fine, he's got a terrific arm, and he looks to have 20-HR power at the plate in my estimation. But he does seem to be one of those guys who always seems to find himself on the DL. Not that it's an end-all-be-all...Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Kemp are players who I'd put in the always hurt category, and they've been pretty terrific contributors in their careers. I do think the injuries are the biggest challenge for Susac to overcome at this point, though.

    I asked Jim Callis a question about Susac for his MLBPipeline Inbox today, and was pleasantly surprised by his response. Susac doesn't seem to get much love outside Giants circles.

    Callis: "Relative to his talent, Susac is one of the more underhyped catching prospects in baseball. A 2011 second-round pick who signed for $1.1 million out of Oregon State, Susac has the tools to become a big league regular. He stands out most for his offensive potential, as he combines above-average raw power with patience at the plate."

    "Susac needs to clean up his receiving, but he has a strong arm and should be at least an average defender. His biggest needs are to make more consistent contact at the plate and to do a better job of staying healthy. A broken hamate bone marred his Draft year, and he missed part of 2013 with shoulder issues."

    1. Susac is finally getting rumblings from all over. I don't know if it was the AFL that woke people up, sometimes its scoffed at as not that important, but he had a pretty huge breakout. I'd take him over a fair amount of the hyped HS catchers who make up top 10 lists. I think the top 10 lists get very controlled by age. For example that MLB pipeline list has 3 guys in their teens still, and is dominated by 21-22 year olds. Its pedigree dominated for the most part.

      Susac may become a better catcher than Posey in the end, as far as the defensive spectrum and his arm. I've said this a few times, but he's one of the big reasons the Giants have a sleeper system - he can threaten the show next year, its time to recognize but he might just sneak in the way Brandon Crawford did, with very little fanfare and no top 100 hype at all.

    2. Almost anyone you ask now says they see Susac as a MLB regular, yet even Baggs left him out of the Giants top 10. I still don't understand that. Should change when Sickels releases his list, as he gave the kid a B grade. That should put him in the top 5 if I'm correct (1 A-, 4 B's). That's some love, but pretty much right on par with where most serious Giants prospect followers would rank him.

      I don't know why, but I have a slight hunch that this kid might not have a future with the Giants. The front office seems a bit stubborn on the whole position shuffling ordeal. Posey is a C, Belt is a 1B... don't ask us anymore questions! If the need arises for an upgrade in LF at the trade deadline, I have to believe Susac is a prime trade candidate. I would love to see him get a look in SF, but the powers that be are sure talking a lot more about their pitchers. The Susac's, Panik's and Mac's of the world aren't getting a ton of mention. Am I alone in feeling this way?

    3. Covechatter,

      You may well be right. You are certainly not alone in thinking Susac may well be someone other teams like who the Giants might think is expendable. It will probably come down to H Sanchez vs Susac with trade value vs which one the Giants prefer to keep as a backup catcher being the deciding factor. There will not be room for both in the organization by as early as midseason 2014 and certainly by 2015 if everybody stays healthy.

  2. I see Susac and most minors catchers in general as taking an extra year in development to really hit their stride. There is just so much to learn and especially with the Giants as a pitching forst team. Posey is an exceptional exception. Sanchez has taken several years to find his bearings after the jump from High-A and frankly only in 2014 does he seem ready to hit his stride. Learning the Tools of Ignorance is hard.

    As DocB points above Susac does create some great problems for the Giants down the road, most likely on 2016. Move Posey to 1st/3rd. Share catcher with Sanchez, Trade Sanchez or Susac? All great problems to have at a premium position. .