Giants Midseason Report
Gary Brown's first full professional season is shaping up to be a smashing success. He earned a trip to the Futures Game while leading high Class A San Jose to the first-half title in the California League, hitting .328/.398/.457 and stealing 32 bases in 46 attempts.
Brown, who profiles as a leadoff man and plus defensive center fielder, has crushed lefthanded pitching and had a whopper of a series May 6-8 at Bakersfield, going 9-for-14 with four doubles and eight RBIs. The Big West Conference player of the year at Cal State Fullerton in 2010, Brown went to the Giants with the 24th overall pick last June.
Biggest leap forward:
Although shortstop Brandon Crawford jumped from San Jose to the big leagues, no Giants farmhand zoomed up the prospect charts faster than righthander Heath Hembree. The hard-throwing 21-year-old earned a promotion to Double-A Richmond after posting a 0.73 ERA and 21 saves while striking out 44 in 25 innings at San Jose. Hembree, a fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft out of College of Charleston, hits 98 mph and pairs his fastball with a power slider and an emerging changeup.
It wasn't Ehire Adrianza's fault that he tore a thumb ligament while sliding into a base in spring training. But the injury caused the smooth-fielding shortstop to miss valuable development time, and his switch-hitting bat still seems a long way away.
Adrianza, 21, was sent to low Class A Augusta in the hopes he could regain timing and confidence in a league where he last played in 2009. Instead, he needed a surge in late June just to bring his average up to .231. Adrianza was nearly traded last year at the July deadline and his name could surface again. There's no doubting his big league potential with the glove.
• Brett Pill, who was taken off the 40-man roster over the winter, was playing second base at Triple-A Fresno in a bid to find a path to the big leagues. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Pill was hitting .307/.345/.531.
• Joe Panik, the Giants' first-round pick in this year's draft, got his pro career off to an incredible start in his first series for short-season Salem-Keizer, going 10-for-17 in a four-game visit to Spokane. He was hitting .349/.438/.524 through his first 63 at-bats while playing shortstop.