Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dr B's 2014 Giants Top 50 Prospects

This actually came together a lot faster than I thought it would.  I figure no sense in agonizing.  I've always taken tests on the premise that your first answer is usually the best and it's held me in very good stead.  There were really just 2 names that I had to think long and hard on:  Gustavo Cabrera and Keury Mella.

Had Cabrera not suffered that terrible injury early in the offseason, he would have been my #2 overall and I would not have had to think about it long.  He's a premium 5-tool position prospect whose on-field performance in the second half of the DSL bodes well for his future development.  With the severity of the injury and the uncertainty of full recovery, I will discuss him in the Dominican Dandies section.

With Mella, I honestly think he might be the #2 pitching prospect in the organization.  I initially penciled him in at #2 overall, but then got to thinking there is a long road between rookie ball and the major leagues.  Just ask Waldis Joaquin and Jose Valdez!  In the end it doesn't really matter whether Mella is #2 or #14.  If he's #2 it just bumps guys who other analysts have higher down a notch.  If he's as low as #14, it is a terrific sign for the organization that a kid like that is ranked that low!

Again, please don't get too hung up on the exact order here.  The main value of the exercise is it gives us a chance to become better acquainted with some of the prospects the Giants have in their farm system.  On with the list!

1.  Kyle Crick, RHP
2.  Edwin Escobar, LHP
3.  Heath Hembree, RHP
4.  Andrew Susac, C
5.  Mac Williamson, OF
6.  Christian Arroyo, SS
7.  Adalberto Mejia, LHP
8.  Clayton Blackburn, RHP
9.  Ty Blach, LHP
10. Chris Stratton, RHP
11. Joe Panik, 2B
12. Kendry Flores, RHP
13. Joan Gregorio, RHP
14. Keury Mella, RHP
15. Gary Brown, OF
16. Derek Law, RHP
17. Martin Agosta, RHP
18. Ryder Jones, 3B
19. Angel Villalona, 1B
20. Ricky Oropesa, 1B
21. Chase Johnson, RHP
22. Jesus Galindo, OF
23. Ehire Adrianza, SS
24. Mike Kickham, LHP
25. Cody Hall, RHP
26. Josh Osich, LHP
27. Jarrett Parker, OF
27. Adam Duvall, 3B
29. Chuckie Jones, OF
30. Matt Duffy, SS
31. Jeff Arnold, C
32. Mitch Delfino, 3B
33. Alberto Robles, SS/2B
34. Ian Gardeck, RHP
35. Stephen Johnson, RHP
36. Tyler Horan, OF
37. Shilo McCall, OF
38. Blake Miller, 1B
39. Brandon Bednar, SS
40. Brian Ragira, OF
41. Jeremy Sy, SS
42. Dan Slania, RHP
43. Pat Young, RHP
44. Luis Ysla, LHP
45. Donald Snelton, LHP
46. Carlos Diaz, LHP
47. Johnshwy Fargas, OF
48. Jonah Arenado, 3B
49. John Riley, C
50. Dylan Brooks, RHP

Honorable Mention:  Brett Bochy RHP, Chris Dominguez, Ryan Lollis OF, Jack Snodgrass LHP, Myles Schroder 3B, Devin Harris OF, Bryce Bandilla LHP, Hunter Strickland RHP, Rando Moreno SS, Joe Rapp 1B, Shayne Houck 3B, Joe Biagini RHP, Matt Lujan LHP, Mason McVay LHP, Tyler Mizenko RHP, Joe Kurrasch LHP, Steve Okert LHP, Eugene Escalante C, Ryan Tuntland 2B, Ryan Jones, 2B, Tyler Hollick OF, Ty Ross C, Chris Johnson RHP, Andrew Leenhouts LHP, Cameron McVey RHP, Raymundo Montero RHP, Christian Jones LHP, Eduardo Encinosa RHP, Nick Jones LHP, Ben Leslie OF, Christian Paulino 3B, Craig Massoni 1B, Dusten Knight RHP, Carlos Alvarado RHP, Eury Sanchez RHP, Nick Gonzalez LHP, Nick Vander Tuig RHP.

Dominican Dandies:  Gustavo Cabrera OF, Nataniel Javier 3B, Jean Angomas OF, Carlos Valdez OF, Kleiber Rivas C, Eusebio Encarnacion RHP, Jose Morel RHP, Raffi Vizcaino RHP, Cesar Yanez RHP, Luis Castillo RHP, Michael Santos RHP


  1. I like this blog but it's almost impossible to take this seriously when Surkamp and Bandilla can't even make your top 50. Bandilla is a strike out machine, played for the hitter friendly league the SJ Giants play in, and clearly has great potential if he can work on his command. Surkamp, still youngish, is a former top prospect who killed it in the minors before he got injured. Last year was his first he back in a long time, and he showed signs of being his former self. They both at the VERY least deserve to be in the top 50. You put so many people in that list ahead of them that were drafted in late rounds for the Giants and performed ok to solid at best for the rookie league. There are a few people who played lower than High A that performed okay at best that you put high than them. Surkamp performed great in every single level he's been and put up good numbers for AAA, and Bandilla put up good numbers in a hitters league for high A. How do you justify not putting them in?
    Not to mention Martin Agosta tore it up before he got hurt. How is he not higher than 17? How do you justify putting Mella, a talented prospected who played in the lowest of the low of leagues (The Dominican league)? You're way overrating him. He may be talented, but he hasn't been even close to facing real competition yet, while Agosta tore up low A. What gives?

    1. Hey there, buddy! Ease up just a bit! I think I prefaced the whole thing by saying don't get too hung up on the exact order of things here. IMO, the Giants have a very deep system and I had to leave some guys off who I think are very solid prospects.

      I saw Bandilla pitch. He throws hard, but his stuff looks a bit straight to me and he has major command issues. He also is significantly overweight which impacts his throwing motion. Interesting prospect, but a LOOGY at best and has a long way to go.

      I would not call Surkamp youngish anymore. He missed a critical year with TJ and did not prove he was all the way back last year. He has clearly been passed up on the depth chart by Escobar and possibly by Kickham too. Again, I would not write him off or I would not have put him on the HM list, but IMO, he is not one of the top 50 prospects until he proves he is all the way back from TJ and can get MLB hitters out.

      You answered your own question about Agosta with the phrase, "....before he got hurt." He went out with "arm fatigue" and "forearm tightness", never regained his velocity and struggled after that. He would have been higher than #17, which is still a high ranking, were it not for the injury.

      Over the years, I have learned some things about scouting and what to look for in a prospect. Covechatter has a link to video of Mella from the instructional league. He was consistently sitting at 95-96 MPH and I really liked what I saw. He has good numbers form both the DSL and Arizona Leagues and has the pedigree of a mid-6 figure signing bonus. I believe a great prospect is a great prospect no matter what level they have pitched at. I believe on talent alone, Mella is probably the second best pitching prospect in the organization. I actually downgraded him on the list due to his youth and lower level of competition so far, but mark my word, he is a serious prospect!

      Anyway, if you don't like this list, there are a lot more out there that you might like better. You are also more than welcome to post your own list in the Comments so others can comment on yours.

    2. Anon, its good to keep in mind that events will not unfold the way this list projects or any other list. We are all just expressing our opinions, albeit some more educated than others, maybe in one area, but not in other areas, or perhaps in all areas.

      And DrB is right. It would be interesting if you have a list to share. I come here almost everyday, but I am not organized enough to have a list. So first my gratitude to Dr. B and you if you so share, and my apologies in advance for not having to share.

      A question to anyone - Osich, is he no longer a starter? If so, why? Is it due to his stuff or is it a health issue? And if it's a health issue, is it short term or does it more or less limit him to relieving? I read somewhere that some people in the organization are still high on him.

    3. Sometime during the 2012 season, Osich expressed a strong preference for the bullpen, said he just felt more comfortable there. He's been a reliever ever since. I assume that is where his future lies at this point.

    4. Let me first say..Thank You and Great job to Dr. B......talking in this thread can go on for months!

      And, I agree, getting caught up the exact rankings can be counter productive to the spirit of the thread and place..

      But, to be honest, the first thing I did when looking at the top 50 was to think about names that I thought belonged but weren't on the list.

      And the names that came to mind were indeed Eric SURKAMP and Hunter STRICKLAND and CHRIS DOMINGUEZ..However, I did notice both Surkamp and Strickland on the HM list.

      I can see that placement for Strickland because of the TJ surgery but keep an eye on this kid once healthy and I think he will rocket up the charts.

      The other two, SURKAMP and DOMINGUEZ, are at the age where the prospect is often discounted and forgotten, many times with good reason, in favor of the shiny new toys that will eventually go through the same process they did. I might have put Dominguez in the second half of the top 50 because I really like what he did at Fresno last year, hitting for some power, but also hitting for ave and gettting on base.,,and playing both 3B and the OF... COuld just be Fresno or a guy that has fianlly taken a big step..We'll see...

      I feel a bit more stronger on SURKAMP..His age, of course, is an issue but keep in mind the TJ surgery and I also think he pitched FANATASTIC ball for Fresno late in the year and I was shocked the Giants didn't let him pitch in SEPT...Was that a true indication of how they see him or just giving him more rest...? I still see as him as a major prospect for one more year (and would have him replace alot of the players on the list) and won't be surprised to see him help the Giants this year..But it very far from a slam dunk...and I understand the non-ranking because of age and time running out

      And, of course, there is my other DARK HORSE favorite. ..MITCH LIVELY who destroyed the competiton in the VWL and by all accounts has major league Stuff...who I also cans in SF some time this coming year...

      And, yes, I plead guilty for still carrying the torch for the "old guys"!


    5. Ooops, the other guy I was surpised to not see somewhere on that list was JESUS GALINDO..Had a problem staying hea;thy but is a speed demon and seemed to play well for AUGUSTA and even got the call up to SJ for the POs


    6. I should probably add Chris Dominguez to the HM list. It's just that he's getting so old! He did have an interesting year at Fresno, but then again, pretty much everybody does, well, except Gary Brown. I would be open to including LIvely in the HM section too. I just don't see either Dominguez or LIvely as top 50 candidates at this time. That is more of a commentary on how much stronger and deeper the system is than even 1 year ago than it is on negatives for Dominguez and Lively.

    7. Forgot about Jesus Galindo. Yes, he is definitely top 50. I may have to revise it to make room for him. Then, who to leave off?

    8. Probably slot Galindo at #22 ahead of Adrianza then drop off Brooks, much as I hate to do that because I really, really like Brooks. Brooks is very risky even if his ceiling is high. Maybe I will just make a bonus #51 for Brooks, or else leave the list as is and discuss Galindo separately as a placement error. I'll have to think about it. Kind of leaning toward the bonus #51 for Brooks as this would be the easiest correction.

    9. OK, one more...STEVE OKERT from Augusta..Bottom 25? HM?.To be honest, I get confused between Johnson and Okert and I can't remember which one of the two was supposed to hit 100 mph before being drafted..But, both have done a very good job for Augusta last year and the stats seem to imply good stufff for both


    10. Okert should be in HM. Johnson is the triple digit dude.

    11. BLSL - Adding to what Dr.B said..He became the part time closer in Richmond late last year sharing someduties with Cody HAll..I watched him a few times,,He had tow great out where he was throwing theentire aresenanal and was unhittable and one where he just got destroyed..But, honestly, I rteally think he has the stuff to be a ML reliever, just needs to learn consistency

      DrB - Like I said, I have a soft spot for the "old guys"! but I also think in baseball some of these guys can still have productive ML futures after fianlly figuring "it" out, even if time seems to be running out..And, like you said, shows how the depth of the system is improving again..


    12. I never write a guy off completely. There are just too many Ryan Vogelsongs and Gregor Blancos out there to think that way. On the other hand, I'm not sure you can really count guys like Mitch Lively and Eric Surkamp as prospects anymore. They are guys out there still trying and with some reasonable hope of success, but in a sense, they are kind of post-prospects. Lively, in particular, is really an organizational player who goes where he is needed but a very good one who probably still has a sliver of hope of eventually pitching in The Show.

    13. I'd say you made the right call on Surkamp. DFA this morning. Didn't see that coming!

  2. Wow, Anon really got the comments section off on the wrong foot. Sheesh! I think it's a great list. Personally, I don't even consider Surkamp a prospect anymore. Comparing your list to mine, there are quite a few similarities through the top 30. I think it's pretty interesting to see some of the guys you listed from 31-50. I certainly may have ranked the Arenado/Fargas/Riley/Brooks group a little high. I considered Sy and Ryan Jones pretty heavily, but decided to leave them out. I may have gotten a little reliever-happy with my top 50.

    I do have a couple of questions, though. I know you have always been very high on Mejia. How come he slipped below the 3 hitters? Also, I'm digging the love for GNAC star Blake Miller! I attended and work for a GNAC school...But why such an aggressive ranking?

    Great list like always.

    1. Thanks, Covechatter. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that most of the SP's after Crick are extremely hard to separate. I gave some extra weight to Escobar because he is the one who got the callup to AA and the one who Sabes seems to have pegged as the next guy in line for a shot at the MLB starting rotation. I suppose I could have just listed all the SP's together ahead of the 3 hitters, but then the hitters would have been too low, IMO. I really like all three of those hitting prospects and think they might be undervalued on some lists due to the perception(inaccurate, IMO) that the Giants are much better at developing pitchers than hitters. So, it's not so much that my opinion of Mejia is down, but I just really like the hitters!

      I have no problem with being aggressive on Arenado, Fargas, Riley, Brooks. If you are weight ceiling more heavily, they definitely deserve to be higher. All 4 may well be a lot higher by next year, That would sure be a good thing!

      I kind of believe in Blake Miller's bat. He absolutely raked in college and kept right on raking in the pros. S-K is an aggressive placement for a guy from a small college program and he did very well there. I acknowledge it is an aggressive ranking for him, though.

  3. Hey, sounds good to me! Now I only wish I'd had the guts to give Geno Escalante a spot. I am very high on Mac/Susac/Arroyo too, but I still feel that the Crick/Escobar/Mejia/Blackburn quartet is the class of the organization. The hitters can certainly change that next season, though.

  4. Other than Hembree being too high on the list, it looks good. Hembree came up and got outs, but it wasn't like his stuff knocked anybody's socks off. It would seem fair to have him somewhere between 10 and Derek Law. Just how I feel about relief prospects - as do others.

    Adam Duvall probably deserves more love than some of the guys in front of him. Especially Villalona. There's no future for Villalona in the Giants system. Duvall has an outside shot at third.

    Other than that, the play was was pretty good for Mrs. Lincoln.

    1. Ryan, I am not sure whether Villalona has or has not a future in our system, but I think the Giants were sort of cool towards him about a year ago. That's how I remember it, but others can correct me. In the meantime, maybe the Giants are more receptive to a future role, especially in light of their placing him in the AFL.

    2. Personally, I thought Hembree's stuff look pretty darn good! 94 MPH may not knock your socks off, but there's more to "stuff" than velocity. Hembree's FB looked faster than that, it had excellent movement and his breaking ball was hard for hitters to distinguish from the FB until it was too late. I think Hembree was purposely dialed back to improve his command which was plenty good enough in the cup off coffee. Perhaps when he gets more comfortable, he will dial it back up? If not, I was more than happy with what I saw. My ranking him that high was based on the notion that he is almost guaranteed a significant MLB role in 2013 and is a possible future closer.

      You cannot say there is no future for Angel Villalona in the Giants system. Things happen. Even if there isn't, there may be a role for him in someone else's system. Blocked prospects still have value as trade bait.

      Duvall is an impressive hitter, but he has never solved the error problem and won't really be a prospect until he does.

    3. Well, yes, Ryan, Hembree did come up and got outs. He pitched 7.2 innings, or for 23 outs, and just over half, 12, were strikeouts. He had a WHIP of 0.783. What would you consider stuff that knocked socks off? I agree wholeheartedly with DrB that HH, if healthy, should have a significant role with the Giants this coming season, and that he deserves to be so high because he is so proven, in comparison to other prospects.

      I take it that the crack about Mrs. Lincoln is to be taken as an idle attempt at humor rather than as a way of implying that DrB's gaffes, in not sharing Ryan's prejudices about relief pitchers, Duvall, and Villalona, are so disastrous as to overshadow the--I think highly valuable and well-considered--prospect list.

    4. Aren't you special Campi?

      DrB has a great list and he does a great thing. I imagine he's perfectly comfortably and capable of defending his choices. Personally, I don't weight reliever prospects as high as starters and positional players. Perhaps Hembree is the third best prospect in the Giants system, but that might be more of an indictment of the rest of the farm. Hembree's good, but I'm cautions about "great". I try not to be overwhelmed by small samples sizes.

      Let's what Mr. Sickels has to say - which should be tomorrow or just around the corner.

    5. For some of the dollar figures relief pitchers (especially closers) are getting right now, Hembree and relief pitchers coming through the minors shouldn't be dropped down a rung because they are merely relief pitchers. Gone are the days where good relief pitchers came on the cheap.

      When I think of Hembree, I think of a guy who came from a smaller program and because of the fact he pitches in relief, he still has limited experience pitching to quality hitters compared to say a college starter from a major program turned relieve. With that mindset, I think Hembree's stock will probably rise a bit more, especially as he eases off the command and let's it fly.

      My question: Any news on Gustavo Cabrera's injury rehab? And... if he weren't in your "Dominican Dandies" List, where would you put him overall?

      Thanks. Andy in SD

    6. Ryan,

      Right now good closers are pulling down $10-15 M per year and setup guys are getting $10 M. A relief pitcher who can come in and dominate is just as important to the success of a team as anyone else on the roster. Hembree may be a reliever, but he has shown the ability to dominate including in a small sample at the MLB level. He is as close to a lock for a 25 man roster spot for 2014 as any prospect in the system.

      I agree with whoever it was who rated the Mejia/Blackburn/Blach/Stratton tier of SP's as future #3's. #3 starters are extremely valuable and this puts the organization in great position for the future, but I'm not sure it puts them ahead of a guy who is a near-lock for the 25 man and who looks like he can dominate in his role.


      No news on Gustavo's rehab. I might have chickened out at the last minute like I did with Mella, but I intended to rank Gustavo #2 overall before the injury.

    7. Oh and Ryan,

      John Sickels has his list, Andy Baggarly has his for BA, Marc Hulet has his for Fangraphs, Covechatter has his and I have mine. I respect the other lists. They add to my own understanding of the Giants farm system. I don't accept that anyone else's list is right and mine is wrong anymore than I think mine if infallible. It's my list, though, and I stand by it!

  5. Hey Dr.B thanks for putting in the time and effort to getting this list together. I was wondering though, what about Nick Van Der Tuig? Not to nit pick just curious what your thoughts on him were.

    1. I think I might have left off a whole level of HM's so I will go back and check and add them in if I did. Yes, the Pitching Dutchman should be on the HM list.

    2. There, yes, I had skipped a whole level of HM's. I just added them on. Thanks for the heads up on some of these.

  6. Say DrB, do you plan on doing that thing where you post 5 prospects at a time with a little blurb about each player?

    Another question: would say that a prospects ranking sheet amounts to which players you would ask for in trade or inquire about if you were a rival GM? Or perhaps representative of what you think a consensus would be?

    In other words, rival GMs would first and foremost ask about Crick. Next on the list: Escobar, then Hembree, then Susac and Williamson and so forth.


    1. I will post the Top 50 with a short write up 1 at a time then do the HM's and Dominican Dandies in groups of 5 or so.

      Trade value would be one way of looking at it, but I did not think if it that way when I was making the list. I look at tools, skills, position scarcity, future ceiling and proximity to MLB.

    2. Also, pitchers seem to be the popular trade currency. Whether that is because more GM's want to acquire pitchers or are more willing to part with them, I am not sure. Trade value does not exactly equal prospect value in my mind.

    3. Oh, I also factor in current performance in my rankings although tools, skills, future ceiling and proximity to the majors are probably more important, but performance at a given level should not be discounted. Susac's performance in AA and the AFL was a big factor in his ranking because I think that performance means something.

  7. Dr.B,

    Been a longtime reader and love the blog. I'm wondering who you think are the most "toolsy" players in the system that haven't quite put it together yet. For instance, Chuckie Jones probably has a higher ceiling than even a guy like Joe Panik, but his chances of reaching that seem to be getting slimmer. Who would you say those guys are right now?

    Andy in SD

    1. Great to have you as a regular reader, Andy. I always appreciate your comments. Chuckie Jones is a guy I view as having a high ceiling. He showed signs of putting it together in the second half of 2013. 2014 will be an important year to see if he can sustain that. I think I have him ranked a bit lower this year even though I am more optimistic about him making it now. That is mostly because the system has gotten so much stronger. A lot of Giants prospects had really good seasons last year!

      The toolsiest player in the system is Gustavo Cabrera, by far, but now there's the injury concern.

      He's not a 5 tool guy, but a player with mind-boggling power potential if Leonardo Fuentes. His biggest problem is he can't seem to stay on the field.

      Johnshwy Fargas is another potential 5 tool guy. I don't know how much power potential he has but the other 4 tools seem to be there.

      Mac Williamson is a true 5 tool player with quite a high chance of making good on his potential.

      Then, of course, there is Gary Brown.....

      Right now, the Giants seem to be emphasizing the hit tool over everything else in their scouting and drafting of position players.

  8. Prospect listing is a fun time of year. Especially when the Giants hot stove has been turned off. It's refreshing when a list has it's own flavor. I've come around in this short span to see Hembree at third as a flavor twist within the Giants Top 10 prospects. I know you've seen Marc Hulet's list:

    where Hembree comes in at #9 (Baggarly's BA has him at 7). This is the line that helps temper my enthusiasm on Hembree: "Hembree returned to Triple-A for a second straight season in 2013 and produced respectable results".

    Neither of these lists give Susac the love I think he deserves. So Dr.B, thank you for giving Susac some of that good ol' prospect love. I love what he did in the AFL.

    1. My response to the Hembree comment is that the return to AAA and the results there is trumped by what I saw of his stuff and results on the field at the MLB level, though admittedly it was a small sample size, but sample sizes only matter in statistical analysis not in scouting his stuff.

  9. Hmmm, Surkamp gets DFA'd to make room for Morse so I guess Dr. B doesn't need to explain himself anymore on that one! Love the list Dr. B, I feel smarter everytime I come to this website!

    1. surprising move considering he was recovering from tommy john and did pretty well in the minors during rehab. I thought the move would be pill may be sold to a korean team.

    2. Well, thank you, Pato! I appreciate you coming to read and participate.

  10. Hah, shows how much I know! Surkamp not pitching in Sept. obviously was not a result of the Giants saving him but how they felt about him.....Can't say I agree but I obviously had a screw loose in thinking he should be in the top Giants top 50...Honestly, I think somebody is gonna get a ML pitcher with him.....We'll see..


    1. That's a surprise.

      And if they sell Pill to a Japanese team, does it free up one more spot for a minor league signing?

    2. My understanding of the rule is that if Pill goes overseas before the end of the 10 day DFA period for Surkamp, the Giants can pull Surkamp back. This may simply be a procedural move to give themselves 10 more days.

  11. DocB,

    Thanks for putting Stratton at #10. Too many people have him ranked higher based upon draft pedigree not production. Maybe he turns it on in SJ next year, but compared to other arms in the system he hasn't cracked any nuts for me yet.

    Agree on Hembree. At some point making the Majors counts, and he still has upside as a closer.

    Think you are being generous on Ricky. Couldn't cut it at AA, sent down. Villalona moved ahead of him. To me that earns him a HM at best for his power tool. What else does he have? Hope he breaks out this year!

    Again thanks for doing the list so we can all jump in.

    1. I have this sneaking suspician that Ricky is still highly regarded in the organization and I am not so sure Angel V is necessarily seen as being above him. I didn't quite have the guts to rank Ricky higher than Angel V but I do feel strongly that they are at least viewed approximately equally.

    2. I saw Ricky play in Richmond 5 time last year and in 4 of the games he was an absolute horror at the plate, and all against righties...The 5th time was against a tough Lefty and he smoked every ball...Go figure.....He was also adequate at best at 1B....I really can't see the Giants viewing him all that highly right now.....And I think the moving of AV up to Richmond and keeping him there despite being part of a rusty comebck year might be some evidence to that..

      Hopefully BOTH find the key next year..


    3. I could be wrong. Just a gut feeling I have.

    4. So that would be your 6th sense!

  12. DocB and others:
    It appears to me that there are various methods of stratifying prospects in the minors:

    1) Experience / proximity to MLB readiness
    2) Potential ceiling or raw talent
    3) Positional value to organization (e.g. pitchers and catchers or SS appear slightly more valuable)
    4) Intangibles

    How do you see the above 4 in terms of importance in your evaluation of the Giants farm system? Feel free to include other factors as you see them.

    1. I would put them in this order:

      1. Talent/Ceiling
      2. Performance on the field
      3. Age vs level
      4. Positional value
      5. Proximity to majors.
      6. My gut feeling.

    2. I am not as knowledgeable as some on here in terms of evaluating prospects...but I kinda agree with the parameters indicated by DrB...However, my struggle is always evaluating #1 versus #2 where I might value #2 a little more higher than most in some instances..Reality over potential..substance over style...etcc...But, there are alo many instances where it just a matter of waiting for that talent and potential to finally come forth.....Not an easy job as reflected by all the busted draft picks everywhere...


    3. Talent gets you noticed and gets your foot in the door, but at some point you have to be able to translate that into production on the field. A guy who is viewed as highly talented will be given more opportunity to do that.

    4. DocB, how are you judging Proximity to Majors?

      Does that mean level in the Minors? Or, chance of making the Majors even as a utility guy?

      For example, it's a high score for Hembree or Brown but a lower score for McCall or Arroyo?

    5. Just as one example, I think Keury Mella has a significantly higher ceiling than Edwin Escobar but Escobar has a far higher chance of achieving a significant MLB career than Mella.

    6. One more point: Proximity is not the same thing as probability. There are lots of guys playing in AAA as well as so-called AAAA players who are so close in proximity to the majors they can smell the coffee brewing every day, yet they have almost no chance at a significant MLB career. There are other guys pitching in the lower minors who have very good chances of becoming significant MLB'ers. Case in point: Chris Stratton has a far higher probability of a MLB career than Mitch Lively even though Lively is pitching in AAA and Stratton has not pitched above low A ball.

  13. Well, I think the fact that Surkamp was DFA'd the morning after DrB left him off the list, pretty much erases any doubt as to whether or not DrB is a prophet of Allah Almighty.

    1. I'm not sure why this is such a shock to everybody. When the Giants call a guy up, they expect him to produce. Sabes expressed some frustration with Surkamp's performance in his season-ending presser. You don't have to be a prophet or anything close to it to read those tea leaves!

    2. But they may be the wrong tea leaves if Surkamp's future is based on one outing during a TJ rehab year and then he went to to Fresno and flat out dominated...

      If you have an injury to a SP coming out of the gate, what are the options right now? I think Escobar needs at least a few months, so that means you're looking at Petit, who does not have me convinced, and what?..The next best options are probably two guys not on the 40 man--Surkamp and Lively...

      Prospect rankings aside, Sabean and staff would be foolish not to give these guys a chance,.or find somebody else from outside the org...

      We'll see..


    3. Flat out dominated? I guess it depends on how you define the word Dominate. Surkamp went 7-1 for Fresno with a 2.78 ERA which looks dominant on the surface, but he also had just 54 K's in 71.1 IP for a K/9 of 6.81 which is not at all dominant. He also had GO/AO of 0.89 which is a fairly strong flyball tendency. The combination of low K rate with a flyball tendency is not what will give you refills on your cup of coffee!

      As for replacement starters, there is Petit, as you mentioned, as well as Escobar. I also expect the Giants to sign 1 or 2 veteran pitchers to minor league deals with spring training invites by the end of the offseason.

      Also, just because he was DFA'd does not mean Surkamp is out of the organization. He may end up clearing waivers and being outrighted to Fresno or as someone suggested in an earlier comment, the Giants might pull him back if a deal for Brett Pill can be worked out.

    4. If you read my post , I said dominated AFTER the bad outing.....7 starts of at least 7 innings, a WHIP of 0.83 and ERA of 1.94..almost 7 K's per 9IP and 4-1 KK/BB ratio..I find that, outside the 7K's, pretty darn dominat for the PCL....Oh well, all moot, we'll see what the future brings and I hope the Giants are smart enough to give SURKAMP another chance...


    5. A sub 7 K/9 is not dominant at any level and when you add in the flyball tendency, it's a big red flag. Very, very few pitchers with that profile are successful in the majors.

    6. Perfect pitcher for SF and most of the NL west....As I said, again, everything outside of the 7K per 9 was pretty darn dominat for the PCL...especcially the WHIP..Guess we'll see if he can buck your trend..


    7. Let's see, everything was dominant except the one stat that is the single best indicator of dominance? You know, I saw Surkamp pitch in spring training 2012 and was actually pretty impressed. He was going against the Seattle Mariners travel squad, admittedly not the strongest competition you could think of, but decent. He outpitched none other than Felix Hernandez that day! He had good command of 3 pitches and I really thought he was ready to step into the back end of a MLB rotation if needed.

      I agree with you in the sense that I am more willing to chalk up last year to not being fully recovered from TJ. I was ready to see him step it back up a notch this year after another offseason to fully heal and a spring training to get ramped up to full strength.

      I just thought from the tone of Sabes quotes from the season ending presser that his take was less patient than mine and I figured Surkamp might not get another chance with the Giants. I kind of have the same feeling about Kickham, but I figure his next shot will be out of the bullpen.

      I just don't think you can point to Surkamp's Fresno stats and be all that encouraged by them. A K/9 of less than 7 combined with a pretty extreme flyball tendency is just not going to cut it at the MLB level, NL West or anywhere else.

  14. Great list, Doc. I look forward to this post every year, as I suspect most do. You put soooo much work into this list that anyone who criticizes you should simply be ignored. Disagreeing with some placements is one thing (I don't agree with everything myself), but some Anon's take it too far.

    I put together a quick top 10 myself (anything more than that is really nit-picking, I think, unless you put in the amount of time that you do) and it was actually pretty close to yours.


    Cabrera, Hall, Law, Blach, Agosta, Ryder Jones, Panik

    I think Crick and Escobar are probably a lot closer than many of us Lunatic Fringers think. Sabey-Sabes has really talked him up over the last year or so.

    Susac/Mac/Arroyo/Cabrerra are all legit, potential blue-chippers. I basically separated them based solely on age/injury concerns. I would not be shocked if my ranking for them is completely flipped come this time next year (although I get awfully excited about Mac).

    Blackburn, Mejia, Flores, Blach, Stratton, Agosta, Mella, etc are all so interchangeable, it is tough to separate them as well. Their rankings are pretty much random. A lot of gut/proximity used in my rankings for them.

    Brown has sunk like a rock. He was pretty much a consensus #2 in the org coming into the season. Now no one bats an eye that he is hardly in the top 20. (I would put Law, Hall, AnVil, Ryder, Adrianza, Panik, Mella, Blach, and maybe McCall and Ragira ahead of him.

    Why did you put Adrianza so low? The org is still apparently VERY high on him, he is just blocked. If he were to be DFA'd, he would likely be scooped in in a second, even though he has no options left. I am not worrying about exact placement, but I would have thought he would have been in a higher group than landing at 23 would dictate.

    1. Adrianza was kind of a tough one. I really like him a lot and suspect he may well be a better longterm option at SS than Brandon Crawford. It's just that the Giants are historically very reluctant to take a chance on something as radical as replacing a known established commodity for an unknown potential until they are almost forced to. I realize I probably should not let the possibility that a player may ultimately reach his potential with another organization impact my ranking, but it sometimes does.

  15. Great comments here. Great job tending to them with thoughtful responses, Dr. B. And thank you for your responses to some random dude like me. Cheers and happy holidays.

    Eric Surkamp is going to be some kind of experiment somewhere. As will Pill in Asia?

    Surkamp and Heston DFA'd such a short time after such success in Richmond. Should this make pitchers like Blackburn and Blach shudder because they rely more on control than stuff?

    1. Thank you, Ryan.

      IMO, Blackburn has way more stuff than Heston ever did. Blackburn has gotten a reputation for pitchability which has pigeonholed him in some people's minds. While his stuff may not be what Kyle Crick brings to the ballpark, it's way above average and not a liability, IMO. I think Blach may struggle at higher levels, but I think he has better command than Surkamp ever did, so that may be what allows him to overcome the odds.

  16. Great list Drb! Gives a broader picture of the farm system then a top 10 list. Keep up the good work. Nice to see (I counted) 6 HS draftees from 2013 draft in your top 50. Chase Johnson is interesting at #21. Does he have more talent then I thought he has to be ranked that high? I remember draft followers hating that pick at #3 round because he hardly pitched for Cal Poly in 2013.


    1. I may be dreaming a bit on the HS draftees but I just couldn't resist saving a few slots for them down at the end of the top 50. Hey, it's all in good fun anyway!

      At first I thought Chase Johnson was a throwaway pick in round 3, but the Giants obviously did their scouting and saw something. He reportedly throws in the mid-90's. He performed very well in his pro debut. He faded in the last 3-4 starts but I'm chalking that up to fatigue from the innings jump from not pitching much in college.

      It would be interesting to know what went on with him and his college coach because it sure seemed like he got buried there.