The Giants weren’t shy about sending their top collegiate draft picks from 2011 to start their first full seasons with high Class A San Jose. First-rounder Joe Panik will anchor San Jose’s infield at shortstop, and he’ll have help in the form of second-rounder Andrew Susac at catcher and third-rounder Ricky Oropesa at first base. Other bats worth noting are third baseman Adam Duvall and outfielder Jarret Parker. Lefty Josh Osich, the Giants’ sixth-rounder last year and a college teammate of Susac’s at Oregon State, highlights San Jose’s pitching staff. In the cases of Susac, Oropesa and Osich, they’ll be making their pro debuts in San Jose.
Leap Of Faith
Along with sending a number of 2011 draftees to San Jose, the Giants were even more aggressive with 18-year-old lefthander Adalberto Mejia, sending him to open the year at low Class A Augusta just a year after signing him out of the Dominican Republic. Mejia went 5-2, 1.42 in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League in his pro debut last year. His fastball has bumped 92 mph and he owns a three-pitch mix, and he impressed Giants officials enough with his maturity to earn a full-season assignment. Augusta will also boast righthander Kyle Crick in its rotation. The 19-year-old Crick was San Francisco's supplemental first-round pick last year and the only high school player they took in the first seven rounds.
Where Is That Guy?
Not all the Giants’ top 2011 collegiate picks made it to San Jose. Ray Black, a righthander out of Pittsburgh taken in the seventh-round last year, didn’t make a full-season roster. Black, who’s dealt with knee problems in the past, is expected to be developed as a reliever. Another notable absence is outfielder Rafael Rodriguez. The 19-year-old signed for $2.55 million in 2009 but has mostly been a disappointment since, including hitting just .236/.284/.297 in low Class A last year.
Time Is Running Out
While it might be too soon to say Chris Dominguez is truly running out of time, the third baseman is 25 and headed back for a second stint with Double-A Richmond. Dominguez, San Francisco’s third-round pick in 2009 from Louisville, struggled with being overly aggressive down the stretch against Double-A pitching last year, hitting just .213/.239/.353 in the second half, and he’ll try to get back on track in his second look at the Eastern League.