2012 San Francisco Giants Top 10 Prospects With Scouting Reports





Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2011.

Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
Giants Chat
Andy Baggarly
Pre-Order the 2012 Prospect Handbook
30 scouting reports on every team

GIANTS
LINKS
Giants Team Page
Giants Top 10 Prospects
Last Year's Giants Top 10 Prospects
2011 Draft: Giants (Basic Database)
2011 Draft: Giants (Advanced Database)
2011 Draft Report Cards: San Francisco Giants
Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
Pre-Order the 2012 Prospect Handbook
San Francisco Giants

The Giants officially remained in contention until the final week of the 2011 season, but for all practical purposes, their World Series rings were knocked off their fingers on May 25. That's when Buster Posey, their cleanup-hitting catcher and reigning National League rookie of the year, tore three ligaments in his ankle and broke his leg in a vicious home-plate collision with the Marlins' Scott Cousins.

Injuries would hit nearly all of San Francisco's starting position players, and those who remained healthy had major crashes in performance. The result was the lowest-scoring offense in the major leagues and a club malnourished for clutch hits. The Giants hit .173 with two outs and runners in scoring position, the lowest figure by a big league team in the three decades for which data is available.

Even Carlos Beltran, viewed as the biggest bat on the trade market, missed three weeks with a hand injury after arriving in a July 27 deal. San Francisco was in first place on the day of the trade, but Beltran's impact wasn't felt until September,and by then the damage was done. The Giants went 11-18 in August, their most losses in a month in four years, and the Diamondbacks zoomed past them to claim the NL West.

The Giants still managed to finish 86-76, almost solely because of a top-flight pitching staff that included a resurgent season from Tim Lincecum, another stalwart year from Matt Cain and a very solid first full campaign for Madison Bumgarner. The staff also witnessed the surprising emergence of first-time all-star Ryan Vogelsong, who returned from Japan to blossom 10 years after San Francisco traded him to the Pirates for Jason Schmidt.

But the rotation is getting more expensive to keep together, and the Giants' pitching factory under vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow is beginning to stall. They sacrificed their only elite pitching prospect, Zack Wheeler, to the Mets for Beltran—who became a free agent after the season and can't bring draft-pick compensation because his contract forbid offering him arbitration.

The current strength of San Francisco's system is in position players, led by speedster Gary Brown and longball threat Tommy Joseph. Brandon Belt, who graduated to the majors in 2011, could make an impact for years to come. Scouting director John Barr added two polished college hitters in the 2011 draft, with St. John's shortstop Joe Panik in the first round and Oregon State catcher Andrew Susac in the second.

However, the Giants don't have another can't-miss position player like Posey in the system. He's determined to catch again and club officials will relent to his wishes, but they've talked about moving their best hitter out of harm's way in the not too distant future. Catcher may be the richest position in the system, with Joseph, Susac and Hector Sanchez.

The farm system was a priority for managing partner Bill Neukom, who was forced out by other partners in a palace coup in September. In the new management structure, club president Larry Baer was elevated to CEO and will report directly to the investors. The reorganization wasn't expected to impact Brian Sabean, baseball's longest-tenured GM with his current club.

1. Gary Brown, OF Born: Sep 28, 1988 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 190
Drafted: Cal State Fullerton, 2010 (1st round).  Signed by: Brad Cameron.
Gary BrownBackground: How much does Giants GM Brian Sabean value Brown? When the Mets asked for the speedy center fielder in exchange for Carlos Beltran in July, Sabean parted with top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler instead. The 24th overall pick in the 2010 draft (he had been drafted by the Athletics in the 12th round out of high school) and recipient of a $1.45 million bonus, Brown certainly enhanced his worth with a smashing first full pro season. He played in the Futures Game, batted .336 at San Jose and set a franchise record with a California League-leading 188 hits. He established himself as a force atop the lineup, stealing 53 bases while knocking in 80 runs from the leadoff spot. He also crushed lefthanders (.459/.531/.685). Brown starred despite entering 2011 with just a dozen games of pro experience after signing at the Aug. 16 deadline the year before. "A lot of guys have talent, but you wonder if they're going to show up to play every day," San Jose manager Andy Skeels said. "Gary certainly did. He competes and he finds ways to beat you. That, to me, weighs very favorably and heavily on whether he'll have what it takes to succeed at the major league level."

Scouting Report: Choking up on the bat and with his hands pinned against his side, Brown sets up like a slap hitter. But he loads quickly, has explosive wrists and bat speed, loves to shoot the gaps and flashes surprising pull power. His value, though, is in his ability to make consistent contact and to wreak havoc when he gets on base. He's a true 80 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale, who has been timed at 3.7 seconds from home to first on a bunt. Brown expressed disappointment that he was caught stealing 19 times in 2011, saying he improved later in the season after working on his slide mechanics. San Francisco would like to see him work on his bunting skills, as well as recognize when a pitcher is wild and work deeper counts more consistently, which should lead to more walks. For a leadoff man, Brown has a knack for producing with runners on base, though sometimes his aggressiveness works against him when he neglects to use the opposite field. Coaches believe he has the talent and smarts to make adjustments as he faces higher-level pitching. Brown's speed also is a huge asset in center field, where he can play shallow because of his ability to go back on balls over his head. His arm strength is a tick above average and his throws are accurate. He gunned down four runners at the plate for San Jose.

The Future: Brown remained in high Class A all season, even though it was apparent by late April that he could have handled a quick promotion like Buster Posey and Brandon Belt had in previous years. Following the Giants' November trade for Melky Cabrera, they figure to continue to avoid rushing Brown. He'll likely start 2012 at Double-A Richmond, though if he gets off to a hot start again, San Francisco won't hesitate to promote him to Triple-A Fresno. If the Giants contend again, he's a candidate for a callup in September—if not earlier—to provide some energy with his speed. By 2013, Brown should push Cabrera to an outfield corner and become a fixture in center field and the leadoff spot for San Francisco for years to come.

 
Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'10 Giants (R) 22 6 4 1 0 0 0 4 5 2 0 .182 .333 .227
'10 Salem-Keizer (SS) 22 2 3 0 1 0 2 2 7 0 1 .136 .259 .227
'11 San Jose (HiA) 559 115 188 34 13 14 80 46 77 53 19 .336 .407 .519
Minor League Totals 603 123 195 35 14 14 82 52 89 55 20 .323 .398 .498

2. Tommy Joseph, 1B/C Born: Jul 16, 1991 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 220
Drafted: Horizon HS, Scottsdale, Ariz., 2009 (2nd round).  Signed by: Chuck Hensley.
Tommy JosephBackground: Joseph was one of the best power-hitting prospects in the 2009 draft and signed for an over-slot $712,500 in the second round. After a lackluster 2010 pro debut, Joseph did better offensively after jumping to high Class A in 2011. More impressively, he made major defensive improvements, leading the California League by throwing out 37 percent of basestealers.

Scouting Report: Joseph's short, direct swing generates plenty of backspin and gives him plus power to all fields. He still needs to improve his approach and plate discipline in order to cut down on his strikeouts and hit for a higher average. His power will play at first base, where he has seen time, but Joseph now looks like he'll be able to stay at catcher after making huge strides blocking balls and cleaning up his footwork. He has plus arm strength and accuracy but just an average release. Giants coaches say his acumen and game-calling skills might be second only to Buster Posey in the organization. Joseph is a below-average runner but his lack of speed is easier to overlook if he remains behind the plate.

The Future: If San Francisco decides to move Posey to a less grueling position, Joseph has the tools to take over behind the plate. If not, he can fit in the lineup at first base. He'll begin 2012 in Double-A.

 
Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'10 Augusta (LoA) 436 46 103 22 1 16 68 26 116 0 0 .236 .290 .401
'11 San Jose (HiA) 514 80 139 33 2 22 95 29 102 1 0 .270 .317 .471
Minor League Totals 950 126 242 55 3 38 163 55 218 1 0 .255 .304 .439

3. Heath Hembree, RHP Born: Jan 13, 1989 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 210
Drafted: College of Charleston, 2010 (5th round).  Signed by: Jeremy Cleveland.
Heath HembreeBackground: Hembree lasted until the fifth round of the 2010 draft because he didn't have much of a track record. He missed his senior year of high school after tearing up his knee playing football and pitched just 29 innings in two seasons of NCAA Division I baseball (South Carolina in 2008, College of Charleston in 2010) sandwiched around one at Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) JC. In his first full pro season, he led the minors with 38 saves.

Scouting Report: Hembree consistently works at 93-96 mph without having to muscle the ball. His fastball has explosive movement and he likes to work up the ladder, overpowering hitters at the letters. His slider has the makings of a plus pitch, while his changeup is a work in progress. Hembree won't get away with as many mistakes up in the zone against big leaguers, and he'll have to throw more strikes. He maintains his composure on the mound, a good attribute for a future closer.

The Future: Hembree's stuff and confidence have prompted the Giants to compare him to Brian Wilson. He has an easygoing personality and probably wears socks that actually match, so he's no Wilson clone, but he's likely to be pitching in meaningful, late-inning situations in the near future. Hemree could be setting up Wilson by the all-star break.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'10 Giants (R) 0 0 0.82 12 0 3 11 9 1 1 0 0 22 .214
'11 San Jose (HiA) 0 0 0.73 26 0 21 25 16 2 2 1 12 44 .178
'11 Richmond (AA) 1 1 2.83 28 0 17 29 20 11 9 1 13 34 .189
Minor League Totals 1 1 1.66 66 0 41 65 45 45 12 2 25 100 .188

4. Joe Panik, SS Born: Oct 30, 1990 B-T: L-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 193
Drafted: St. John's, 2011 (1st round).  Signed by: John DiCarlo.
Joe PanikBackground: Panik signed for $1,116,000 just days after the Giants drafted him 29th overall last June. He took the field seemingly trying to prove a point to scouts who felt he was an overdraft, winning short-season Northwest League MVP honors and earning a spot in the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Game. He led the NWL in hitting (.341), runs (49), hits (82), RBIs (54) and total bases (126).

Scouting Report: Panik's bat is his only standout tool and his intelligence and competitiveness make up for the rest. He's aggressive early in the count but very disciplined with two strikes. He has terrific bat control and reads pitchers well. He crowds the plate and jumps on pitchers who try to pound him inside, showing solid gap power. Some scouts think Panik profiles better as a second baseman, but he has good hands and positions himself well. His arm isn't a cannon, but his throws have good carry along with tremendous accuracy. He's an average runner but is sharp-witted on the bases too—no surprise for a player who had a 3.81 GPA as a finance major.

The Future: San Francisco would love for Panik to take over second base in 2013 after Freddy Sanchez's contract expires. Panik will stay at shortstop in his first full pro season, likely jumping to high Class A to begin the year.

 
Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'11 Salem-Keizer (SS) 270 49 92 10 3 6 54 28 25 13 5 .341 .401 .467
Minor League Totals 270 49 92 10 3 6 54 28 25 13 5 .341 .401 .467

5. Francisco Peguero, OF Born: Jun 01, 1988 B-T: R-R Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 195
Signed: Dominican Republic, 2006. Signed by: Pablo Peguero.
Francisco PegueroBackground: The most tooled-up player in the system, Peguero missed nearly two months in 2011 after requiring arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He batted .312/.332/.445 when he returned and was running much better by season's end.

Scouting Report: Peguero goes to the plate in attack mode. He covers the zone well and doesn't get overpowered by premium velocity. His hyper-aggressiveness figures to be exploited as he advances, so it's important that he learns to work counts and hunt pitches. Peguero hasn't hit many homers in the minors, but the ball jumps off his bat and his power is still emerging. The Giants moved him from center to right field, where his well above-average arm is a terrific fit, in 2011. He's a plus defender and started to play with more confidence on his knee later in the year, taking more aggressive angles on balls.

The Future: Dave Machemer, who managed him two years apart in low Class A and Double-A, says Peguero is a dramatically improved player with much greater on-field awareness. If he continues to file away the rough edges, he could be an asset at AT&T Park, where right field is extra tricky. He made up some at-bats in the Dominican Winter League and will head to Triple-A in April.

 
Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'06 Giants (R) 182 24 50 10 3 4 16 6 37 3 2 .275 .307 .429
'07 Giants (R) 235 51 69 12 2 1 17 15 39 25 5 .294 .341 .374
'08 Augusta (LoA) 180 23 47 2 4 2 15 12 43 15 1 .261 .309 .350
'08 Salem-Keizer (SS) 202 33 62 11 4 2 28 9 43 10 3 .307 .349 .431
'09 Salem-Keizer (SS) 71 14 28 3 1 0 12 3 9 7 0 .394 .421 .465
'09 Augusta (LoA) 238 28 81 12 4 1 34 5 39 15 5 .340 .359 .437
'10 San Jose (HiA) 510 78 168 19 16 10 77 18 88 40 22 .329 .358 .488
'11 San Jose (HiA) 68 12 22 2 0 2 9 7 8 4 0 .324 .387 .441
'11 Richmond (AA) 285 34 88 12 6 5 37 5 45 8 1 .309 .318 .446
Minor League Totals 1971 297 615 83 40 27 245 80 351 127 39 .312 .344 .436

6. Andrew Susac, C Born: Mar 22, 1990 B-T: R-R Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 200
Drafted: Oregon State, 2011 (2nd round).  Signed by: Matt Woodward.
Andrew SusacBackground: Susac wrote a paper in grade school about how his dream job would be to play for the Giants. By the time he was a standout at Sacramento's Jesuit High, the feeling was mutual. He spurned the Phillies as a 16th-round pick out of high school because he was set on attending Oregon State. Considered the top college catcher available and a potential first-rounder, he lasted 86 picks after he fractured the hamate bone in his left wrist and floated a big price tag. He signed for $1.1 million—just $16,000 less than first-rounder Joe Panik.

Scouting Report: Employing a high leg kick, Susac has plus power and generates the kinds of backspun home runs that keep carrying until they clear the fence. But he tends to turn out his hips as he loads and jumps at the ball, which will lead to strikeouts on breaking pitches until he makes adjustments. Susac profiles as a solid defensive catcher with above-average arm strength. He's athletic for a catcher, with quick feet and average speed.

The Future: Though he signed at the Aug. 15 deadline and hasn't made his pro debut, Susac likely firmed up an assignment to high Class A with an impressive stint in instructional league. With plenty of catching in the system ahead of him, there's no need to put Susac on the fast track. His performance may force the issue anyway.

 
Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Did Not Play

7. Eric Surkamp, LHP Born: Jul 16, 1987 B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 190
Drafted: North Carolina State, 2008 (6th round).  Signed by: Pat Portugal.
Eric SurkampBackground: Surkamp was zooming toward the Double-A Eastern League's pitching triple crown in August when the Giants suddenly needed a starter for the pennant race after Jonathan Sanchez sprained his ankle. Surkamp gave up one run in six innings in his first big league start against the Astros, then beat the Padres twice before badly losing his command in his final three outings.

Scouting Report: Surkamp's fastball sits in the upper 80s and touches 91, but he had success with it in Double-A because he attacked hitters inside—something he didn't do enough in the big leagues. His two-seamer tails and sinks and induces groundballs. He uses his plus curveball with two strikes to finish off hitters and his solid changeup plays well against righthanders. Surkamp also continues to experiment with a cutter. The key to his success is his ability to locate. After surgery in 2010 to repair a torn labrum in his hip, he has re-established himself as a durable presence.

The Future: GM Brian Sabean said after the season that Surkamp wasn't ready for the majors. A solid back-of-the-rotation starter for the future, he'll hone his craft in Triple-A to begin 2012.

Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'08 Giants (R) 0 0 2.70 2 0 0 3 3 1 1 0 0 7 .231
'08 Salem-Keizer (SS) 0 2 6.43 5 4 0 14 20 10 10 1 5 16 .323
'09 Augusta (LoA) 11 5 3.30 23 23 0 131 129 57 48 6 39 169 .247
'10 San Jose (HiA) 4 2 3.11 17 17 0 101 79 39 35 5 22 108 .206
'11 Richmond (AA) 10 4 2.02 23 22 0 142 110 37 32 5 44 165 .205
'11 San Jose (HiA) 1 0 0.00 1 1 0 6 4 0 0 0 1 5 .182
'11 San Francisco (MAJ) 2 2 5.74 6 6 0 27 32 18 17 1 17 13 .286
Major League Totals 2 2 5.67 6 6 0 27 32 32 17 1 17 13 .283
Minor League Totals 26 13 2.86 71 67 0 397 345 345 126 17 111 470 .225

8. Kyle Crick, RHP Born: Nov 30, 1992 B-T: L-R Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 220
Drafted: Sherman (Texas) HS, 2011 (1st round supplemental).  Signed by: Todd Thomas.
Kyle CrickBackground: The Giants seldom guess wrong when they spend a high draft pick on a high school pitcher. Crick, a 2011 sandwich pick who signed for $900,000, has every bit as much projection as Matt Cain did nearly a decade ago. Not only does he have size and athleticism, but Crick also has a low-mileage arm. He didn't concentrate on pitching until the summer before his senior season, spending more time as a first baseman and a defensive end in football.

Scouting Report: Crick's fastball already sits easily in the low 90s and reaches as high as 97, and he has the chance to throw even harder once he cleans up his delivery and gets more on line to the plate. He has long, powerful legs and uses them to drive off the mound. His slider is his best secondary pitch, though it features more sweep than bite. At times he throws a curveball with good depth and tilt, but not consistently for strikes. His changeup is in the early stages and he also has tried throwing a forkball. His command is a work in progress as well.

The Future: Though the young Texan is a long ways off, with Zack Wheeler gone in the Carlos Beltran trade, Crick is the best power arm in a system that usually knows what to do with them. He has the ceiling of a No. 2 starter.

 
Year Team W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
'11 Giants (R) 1 0 6.43 7 0 0 7 9 8 5 0 8 8 .300
Minor League Totals 1 0 6.43 7 0 0 7 9 9 5 0 8 8 .300

9. Ehire Adrianza, SS Born: Aug 21, 1989 B-T: B-R Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 170
Signed:Venezuela, 2006. Signed by: Ciro Villalobos.
Ehire AdrianzaBackground: Adrianza turned a tough 2011 season into a positive. He needed surgery after tearing a left thumb ligament while sliding into a base toward the end of spring training. He didn't take the field until mid-May and hit worse at low Class A Augusta than he had in 2009. He fared better once he got to San Jose, hitting .300/.375/.470 after batting .256/.333/.348 there in 2010.

Scouting Report: There never has been any doubt that Adrianza can be a star defender with his plus range, superbly soft hands, ultra-quick transfer and accurate arm. His bat continues to be the question, even after his career-best performance. Adrianza needs to add strength, though he doesn't get the lumber knocked out of his hands. He can turn around a fastball from his natural right side but lengthens his swing from the left, where he tries to rotate and cheat on pitches on the inner half of the plate. He draws his share of walks but needs to make more contact considering his lack of power. He's an average runner with smarts on the basepaths and a quick first step.

The Future: With another plus defender, Brandon Crawford, ahead of him in organization, Adrianza will need to progress quickly at Double-A in 2012 carve out a place as an everyday player in majors. Otherwise, he'll end up as a defense-first utilityman.

 
Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'06 Giants (R) 122 17 19 2 1 0 7 24 31 3 2 .156 .311 .189
'07 Giants (R) 249 44 60 17 2 0 30 41 31 23 6 .241 .351 .325
'08 Fresno (AAA) 6 2 3 1 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 .500 .625 .667
'08 Giants (R) 55 13 14 4 0 1 6 7 4 0 1 .255 .349 .382
'08 Salem-Keizer (SS) 5 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .400 .400 .400
'09 Augusta (LoA) 388 54 100 15 3 2 46 42 66 7 1 .258 .333 .327
'10 San Jose (HiA) 445 70 114 22 5 3 35 47 87 33 15 .256 .333 .348
'11 Augusta (LoA) 143 18 33 10 1 3 17 18 32 3 2 .231 .315 .378
'11 San Jose (HiA) 230 34 69 24 3 3 27 23 46 5 1 .300 .375 .470
Minor League Totals 1643 255 414 95 15 12 168 204 299 74 28 .252 .340 .350

10. Hector Sanchez, C Born: Nov 17, 1989 B-T: B-R Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 235
Signed:Venezuela, 2006. Signed by: Ciro Villalobos.
Hector SanchezBackground: No player moved through the system in 2011 quicker than Sanchez, an intriguing switch-hitter with ever-improving receiving skills. He began the year in high Class A, was aggressively promoted to Triple-A in mid-June and made his big league debut a month later while the Giants were desperate to audition catchers following Buster Posey's season-ending leg injury.

Scouting Report: Sanchez has a strong body and solid defensive ability. He has above-average arm strength, a quick release and good accuracy, enabling him to post 1.9-second pop times and erase 34 percent of basestealers in 2011. He blocks balls well and though his English is limited, pitchers enjoy throwing to him. A better hitter from the left side, Sanchez has an advanced two-strike approach and trusts his hands to let the ball get deep. He doesn't get fooled by quality breaking stuff. Though he makes consistent contact, he possesses just gap power and doesn't run well.

The Future: He may not be another Posey and he may lack the high ceiling of Tommy Joseph or Andrew Susac. But Sanchez profiles well as a big league backup who can contribute offensively and defensively, and he could fill that role in 2012.

Year Team AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
'07 Giants (R) 119 10 34 10 0 4 18 19 15 2 2 .286 .401 .471
'08 Giants (R) 207 40 72 14 3 4 63 36 29 4 1 .348 .458 .502
'09 Giants (R) 117 13 35 8 1 1 22 16 21 0 0 .299 .403 .410
'10 Augusta (LoA) 310 29 85 20 1 5 31 28 50 0 2 .274 .336 .394
'11 Fresno (AAA) 153 15 40 9 0 1 26 13 22 0 1 .261 .315 .340
'11 San Jose (HiA) 212 31 64 14 1 11 58 11 49 0 1 .302 .338 .533
'11 San Francisco (MAJ) 31 0 8 2 0 0 1 3 6 0 0 .258 .324 .323
Major League Totals 31 0 8 2 0 0 1 3 6 0 0 .258 .324 .323
Minor League Totals 1118 138 330 75 6 26 218 123 186 6 7 .295 .373 .443