Giants Final Report
High Class A San Jose came up short in its bid to become the first team to three-peat as California League champions, but outfielder Gary Brown
certainly did his part. The 2010 first-rounder from Cal State Fullerton was a midseason and postseason all-star, posting a .336/.407/.519 line while setting a franchise record with 188 hits. He also had 115 runs, 34 doubles, 13 triples, 14 home runs and 53 stolen bases while knocking in 80 runs from the leadoff spot.
The Giants traded hard-throwing righthander Zack Wheeler to the Mets for a few months of Carlos Beltran's services, leaving them in the rare position of lacking a blue-chip starting pitching prospect in the system. But they look to have a serviceable big leaguer in 6-foot-4 lefthander Eric Surkamp
, who set aside his pursuit of the pitching triple crown in the Eastern League when the Giants called him up on Aug. 26.
Surkamp pitched well in his first three starts, improving his chances of opening the 2012 season as the No. 5 starter. Surkamp, a sixth-rounder in 2008 out of North Carolina State, showed masterful control of his curve, changeup and 90 mph fastball to lead the EL in ERA (2.02), strikeouts (165) and WHIP (1.08). His five home runs allowed were the fewest in the league of any pitcher with a minimum of 100 innings.
Keep An Eye On:
Although some scouts viewed Joe Panik
as a reach with the Giants' first-round pick in June, they might have changed their minds after watching the scrappy St. John's infielder destroy the short-season Northwest League.
Panik won league MVP honors after taking the batting title with a .341 average and leading the league with 92 hits and 54 RBIs. He finished second in runs (49), total bases (126) and on-base percentage (.401) while posting the best fielding percentage among league shortstops. Panik had more walks (28) than strikeouts (25) and showed polish with every aspect of his game, even stealing 13 bases in 18 attempts.
• A week after designating lefthander Clayton Tanner for assignment, the Giants released him and attempted to re-sign him. Tanner, a third-round pick in 2006, inked a contract with the Reds instead.
• High Class A San Jose pitching coach Brian Cooper was named Cal League coach of the year after four of his five starting pitchers ranked among the top five in the league in ERA.