Buster Posey, c, San Jose (Giants)
2. Christian Friedrich, lhp, Modesto (Rockies)
3. Jason Castro, c, Lancaster (Astros)
Chris Withrow, rhp, Inland Empire (Dodgers)
5. Phillipe Aumont, rhp, High Desert (Mariners)
6. Alex Liddi, 3b, High Desert (Mariners)
7. Pedro Figueroa, lhp, Stockton (Athletics)
Wynn Pelzer, rhp, Lake Elsinore (Padres)
Thomas Neal, of, San Jose (Giants)
10. James Darnell, 3b, Lake Elsinore (Padres)
11. Roger Kieschnick, of, San Jose (Giants)
12. Cory Luebke, lhp, Lake Elsinore (Padres)
13. Tyson Gillies, of, High Desert (Mariners)
14. Alexander Torres, lhp, Rancho Cucamonga (Angels)
15. Trayvon Robinson, of, Inland Empire (Dodgers)
16. Grant Desme, of, Stockton (Athletics)
Logan Forysthe, 3b, Lake Elsinore (Padres)
18. Jemile Weeks, 2b, Stockton (Athletics)
19. Craig Italiano, rhp, Stockton/Lake Elsinore (Padres/Athletics)
20. Darren Ford, of, San Jose (Giants)
To be eligible for a league’s list, a pitcher must have thrown 1/3 inning for each team game or have made 20 appearances (10 in short-season and rookie-level leagues). Hitters need one plate appearance for each team game.
When high Class A California League teams released their roster this spring, one veteran pro scout got his copy and said, “San Jose is the club you want to see. They’ve loaded that club with all their best guys.”
Pro scouts certainly know the way to San Jose. Not only did the Giants finish with 93 wins (one off the minor league lead) and sweep High Desert in the playoff finals, but they also landed four players on our Cal League Top 20 list. San Francisco has assembled one of the most talented systems in the game and it showed with catcher Buster Posey (the league’s No. 1 prospect), lefthander Madison Bumgarner (who would have ranked ahead of Posey if he had enough innings to qualify) and a prospect-studded outfield of Thomas Neal, Roger Kieschnick and Darren Ford. Lefthander Craig Clark went 16-2, 2.86 and won the league’s pitcher of the year award, but he didn’t make the Top 20 because he’s 25 and more of a finesse pitcher.
San Jose didn’t have a monopoly on Cal League talent. Though the league features many ballparks that favor hitters, several pitchers stood out. Bumgarner and Visalia’s Jarrod Parker only made brief cameos before departing for higher levels, but Modesto’s Christian Friedrich, Inland Empire’s Chris Withrow, High Desert’s Phillippe Aumont and Stockton’s Pedro Figueroa all showed plus fastballs and nasty breaking pitches.