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2014 San Francisco Giants Top 10 Prospects


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In one respect, the Giants had a tremendous year on the farm. Their domestic affiliates combined for a 391-302 record, when only the Astros posted a better winning percentage among major league organizations.

TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Kyle Crick, rhp
2. Edwin Escobar, lhp
3. Chris Stratton, rhp
4. Adalberto Mejia, lhp
5. Mac Williamson, of
6. Christian Arroyo, ss
7. Heath Hembree, rhp
8. Ty Blach, lhp
9. Joe Panik, 2b
10. Clayton Blackburn, rhp
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Christian Arroyo
Best Power Hitter Angel Villalona
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Joe Panik
Fastest Baserunner Gary Brown
Best Athlete Gary Brown
Best Fastball Kyle Crick
Best Curveball Kyle Crick
Best Slider Derek Law
Best Changeup Clayton Blackburn
Best Control Ty Blach
Best Defensive Catcher Jeff Arnold
Best Defensive Infielder Ehire Adrianza
Best Infield Arm Chris Dominguez
Best Defensive Outfielder Juan Perez
Best Outfield Arm Juan Perez
TOP 15 PLAYERS 25 AND UNDER
No Player, Pos (Age) Peak Level
1. Madison Bumgarner, lhp (24) Majors
2. Brandon Belt, 1b (25) Majors
3. Kyle Crick, rhp (21) High Class A
4. Edwin Escobar, lhp (21) Double-A
5. Chris Stratton, rhp (23) Low Class A
6. Adalberto Mejia, lhp (20) Triple-A
7. Mac Williamson, of (23) High Class A
8. Christian Arroyo, ss (18) Rookie
9. Heath Hembree, rhp (25) Majors
10. Ty Blach, lhp (23) High Class A
11. Joe Panik, 2b (23) Double-A
12. Andrew Susac, c (24) Double-A
13. Hector Sanchez, c (24) Majors
14. Clayton Blackburn, rhp (21) High Class A
15. Kendry Flores, rhp (22) Low Class A
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Merkin Valdez, rhp Out of baseball
2005 Matt Cain, rhp Giants
2006 Matt Cain, rhp Giants
2007 Tim Lincecum, rhp Giants
2008 Angel Villalona, 1b Giants
2009 Madison Bumgarner, lhp Giants
2010 Buster Posey, c Giants
2011 Brandon Belt, 1b Giants
2012 Gary Brown, of Giants
2013 Kyle Crick, rhp Giants
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Eddy Martinez-Esteve, of (2nd) Somerset (Atl.)
2005 Ben Copeland, of (4th round) Out of baseball
2006 Tim Lincecum, rhp Giants
2007 Madison Bumgarner, lhp Giants
2008 Buster Posey, c Giants
2009 Zack Wheeler, rhp Mets
2010 Gary Brown, of Giants
2011 Joe Panik, ss Giants
2012 Chris Stratton, rhp Giants
2013 Christian Arroyo, ss Giants
LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY
Buster Posey, 2008 $6,200,000
Zack Wheeler, 2009 $3,300,000
Rafael Rodriguez, 2008 $2,550,000
Angel Villalona, 2006 $2,100,000
Tim Lincecum, 2006 $2,025,000
Giants Team Page
Last Year’s Giants Top 10 Prospects
2013 Draft: Giants
2013 Draft Report Cards: San Francisco GiantPremium
Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects

But in a more significant respect, the season was a colossal disappointment. For the second time in three years, the Giants went from World Series champions to entirely shut out of postseason play. This time, they needed a strong finish in September just to avoid joining the 1998 Marlins as the only defending champions to finish in last place.3ds_giants82

And when the Giants needed it most, their farm system was a major letdown.When center fielder and leadoff man Angel Pagan was lost to hamstring surgery, 2010 first-round pick Gary Brown wasn’t ready to handle major league pitchers.

When righthanded set-up man Santiago Casilla had leg surgery, power-armed righty Heath Hembree was still working on a dependable offspeed pitch at Triple-A Fresno.

Most critically, when the Giants’ stalwart rotation showed some deep cracks, the pitchers they hoped to provide upper-level depth—lefthanders Mike Kickham and Eric Surkamp and righty Chris Heston—weren’t made of major league timber.”I think it’s pretty simple,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. “We didn’t have enough depth. (In 2012), we seemingly were able to overcome injury and lack of performance. We didn’t do that this year. We didn’t get any kind of life from the minor leagues, whether that was the fifth starter or what we went through in center and left field.”

The Giants won those two World Series championships with astute draft picks such as Buster Posey (2008), Madison Bumgarner (2007), Matt Cain (2002) and Tim Lincecum (2006). They have a few intriguing arms in the system now, a list headed by 2011 supplemental first-round righthander Kyle Crick. But too many of their recent high draft picks either don’t wow scouts with their tools or have moved through the minor leagues slowly as they struggle to make adjustments.

Sabean is the longest-tenured GM in baseball and his job just got tougher now that the archrival Dodgers have the game’s most expensive payroll. The Giants might have learned a lesson from Los Angeles’ success with international stars like Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Similarly, the Athletics, the Giants’ counterparts across the San Francisco Bay, scored big with Yoenis Cespedes.

Now recognizing they let a burgeoning international market pass them by, they got heavily involved in the bidding for Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu before losing out to the White Sox and their offer of six years and $68 million.

If the Giants are to reclaim their place atop the National League West, they’ll have to do it with improved pitching and defense. In the immediate future, they’ll have to do so with a roster that won’t have too much turnover.

Knowing they wouldn’t be blown away by the choices on the free agent market, the Giants made preemptive strikes by committing $90 million to Hunter Pence (for five years) and $35 million to a declining Tim Lincecum (for two years).

They also made a low-risk pact with former Braves righthander Tim Hudson for two years and $23 million on the free agent market. And until the next wave of pitchers arrives, the Giants will have to keep their frontline players on the field. They don’t have the depth to compete otherwise.