San Francisco Giants Top 10 Prospects Chat With Andy Baggarly





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.

Andy Baggarly: Hi everyone! Welcome and thanks for stopping by. Lots of great questions already. I'll try to get through as many as possible in the next hour or so.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Had he remained, would Wheeler have topped Brown for the top spot on your list?

Andy Baggarly: A good question. My gut reaction is no, simply because Brown had such a forceful season for San Jose. Yes, it was in the hitter-oriented Cal League, but from what I understand, the Mets preferred Brown to Wheeler for Carlos Beltran. Also, Wheeler hasn't really developed the kind of command that Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner were able to achieve early in their careers. He has No.1 stuff but there's no guarantee he'll be able to pitch with it like an ace.

    Brian (NYC): While we realize you don't have a hand in compiling BA's annual top 100 prospects list, how many of the Giants' top 10 would you say have a legit shot at making it this time?

Andy Baggarly: Gary Brown, for sure. He might be the only one. There was quite a big dropoff for me between No.1 and No.2 in the Giants system. We could have gone with six or seven guys as the No.2 prospect. Tommy Joseph is a great talent who did huge things for his overall value by polishing up his defense behind the plate, but I'm not sure he'll be a top-100 guy.

    Morrie (NJ): What's the latest in the Villalona saga?

Andy Baggarly: Villalona is off MLB's restricted list and the Giants surprisingly added him to their 40-man roster because they had actual fears another club would snatch him up in the Rule 5 draft. He's working out at the Giants' camp in the Dominican and he's in the process of applying to get his U.S. work visa reinstated. The Giants say that won't be a problem and he'll be in big league camp this spring. We'll se about that. He hasn't played organized ball for two years. I'm told the bat speed is still there, but he's every bit as big a project as he was when he was signed for $2.1 million as a 16-year-old. As far as his legal issues, the murder charges against him (stemming from a fatal shooting in a bar in September, 2009) were dropped and he paid the victim's family to drop civil complaints.

    Kyle (San Fran): If Crick has the ceiling of a #2 SP and Surkamp a back-of-the-rotation starter, how does the latter rank above the former on your list?

Andy Baggarly: At some point, no matter what your methodology might be, you have to make some subjective judgments. Overall value, as we determine it, is a combination of ceiling and probability. Surkamp was on his way to a league ERA title at Double-A and we know his stuff plays. He'll be a big league contributor. Crick was just drafted and his road could take a lot of turns. Let's see how he does after a full professional season.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): How much of Joseph's numbers were the product of the hitter-friendly CAL, and how confident are you he can replicate them at higher levels?

Andy Baggarly: That is a very good question and it applies to anyone in the system, I think. We saw Charlie Culberson tear up the Cal League and really struggle to make the Double-A turn last season. I can't say I'm confident Joseph will win a batting title in the Eastern League, but the good thing is he's got tons of youth on his side. If he does struggle and needs to repeat the league, that won't be a problem.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Between lefties Osich and Bandilla, who came closer to your top 10 and why?

Andy Baggarly: Osich is in the top 30. If healthy, he could be a mid-rotation starter or a potentially lethal reliever. He would've gone much higher in the draft if not for questions about his elbow. Bandilla didn't register for me, but I'll be eager to see how he does in his first pro season.

    Harry (Baltimore, MD): Is Jesus Galindo in the midst of your top 30, and how does his speed compare to Brown's?

Andy Baggarly: Yes, Galindo is in the 20-25 range, I think. Brown has more pure speed but Galindo might be a better baserunner, overall. He's absolutely fearless. You don't find many short-season managers who can make a Rickey Henderson comp. But Tom Treblehorn had Rickey in the big leagues and said Galindo is the most fearless baserunner he's had since then.

    Tyler (Los Angeles): How does someone who leads three categories (CB, CU, Control) in your Best Tools section wind up only 7th overall in SF's system?

Andy Baggarly: Another Surkamp question. More than anything, I think it speaks to the lack of starting pitching inventory in the Giants system. Surkamp really can't rank higher than where he is because he doesn't profile as a top-of-the-rotation starter.

    Grant (New York): Thoughts on Chuckie Jones?

Andy Baggarly: He had a tough year. Underwent an appendectomy. Jones is a long way off, but he's got a tremendous combination of strength, speed and athleticism that you don't see very often. He seems to have an idea about pitch selection at the plate, too. We don't have much data to go on, but absolutely, he's a talent worth watching.

    Laura (Cali): No Ricky Oropesa on your list? Is power his only calling card?

Andy Baggarly: Oropesa is in the top 20. He's kind of like Chris Dominguez, but with less defensive value. The Giants have drafted no shortage of college power hitters in recent years, and that's no accident. They've learned they can't get those guys to sign as free agents to play in AT&T Park, so they'd better develop them. In general, power is getting harder and harder to find these days. You're more willing to take a player with other, less desirable attributes in the hopes that the power arrives and more than makes up for the rest.

    Harry (Santa Cruz): Do you think Belt's career path was handled properly by Sabean this season?

Andy Baggarly: No, it wasn't handled properly. Belt shouldn't have been on the opening day roster if they weren't willing to commit to him for longer than three weeks. But I do understand that the Giants were in crisis management mode all season, and they simply had to plug leaks with anyone who was available. I mean, the only player with enough PAs to qualify for the batting title was Aubrey Huff, and he hit .246. That's unbelievable. Belt benefited from playing in the Dominican this winter, although two scouts told me his at-bats didn't look so great. He'll need a big spring to win an everyday job with Huff and Nate Schierholtz the incumbents at first base and right field, and now Melky Cabrera in the outfield. I wouldn't be surprised if he starts at Triple-A.

    Dee (SF): Thoughts on Jarrett Parker's stock at present?

Andy Baggarly: Nice mix of tools. Scouts not sold on his approach or ability to hit at higher levels. He's in the top 20 for now.

    Frank (Chicago): Nick Noonan - prospect or suspect?

Andy Baggarly: Noonan isn't in the top 30. The bat just hasn't developed and he's dealt with a ton of injuries.

    Frank (Chicago): How far off the top 10 was Rafael Rodriguez this year?

Andy Baggarly: Way, way far away. I think Rodriguez might have settled as No.30, or 29. He's still a teenager, but jeez, where did the power go? Right now, it looks like $2.55 million the Giants could've spent more effectively elsewhere.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Did/Do you believe Joe Panik was an overdraft by the Giants? I'm sure many mouths uttered the word "Who?" simultaneously when his name was announced by Bud Selig, especially considering there were many more recognizable names still on the board, such as Mikie Mahtook, Jackie Bradley, Brian Goodwin, Josh Bell, Matt Purke, etc.

Andy Baggarly: Yes, I considered Panik an overdraft at the time. But the Giants gave above-slot money to other guys like Susac, Marlowe, etc. to sign them. So I think they wanted to spread the money around rather than go after a Purke or Bell and have to blow half their draft budget on one guy. Given his terrific debut season, I think you have to be happy the Giants have Panik in their system. He held his own in the AFL, too. Panik looks like he could be a second baseman and No.2 hitter with terrific contact/bat control skills for years to come. Not bad, really.

    Carlos (San Francisco): Could you give us a rundown of RHPs Clay Blackburn and Kendry Flores, and how close they came to the top 10?

Andy Baggarly: Blackburn made the top-30, but to make the top-10 would risk overvaluing a couple months in the Arizona Rookie League. Let's see how he does stamina-wise over a full season. The Giants really like the fact he's so poised and around the plate with four pitches. You don't see that too often from a kid out of high school. Flores is one of many intriguing relief arms in the system, but there were other guys we liked better. Hector Correa chief among them.

    Roger (Washington, DC): How would you compare Susac and Joseph? Where do they start the season?

Andy Baggarly: Really interesting question. Scouts tell me that Susac moves better behind the plate and has more overall hitting ability than Joseph. But Joseph really improved in all phases while catching some premium-velocity guys at San Jose. Joseph's age and power potential puts him in the lead, but don't be surprised if their rankings are reversed next season. That's how close 2-8 are in the Giants system.

    Roger (Washington, DC): What do you make of Adam Duvall's season? He seemed to have a strong ability to get count leverage and turn that leverage into power, but it sounds like scouts turned a blind eye to him. How do his offensive tools grade out? And where's his best fit defensively?

Andy Baggarly: His approach isn't textbook and he fattened up his numbers against the worst pitching in the league. Because of his age and lack of draft pedigree, he'll be a "prove it" guy every season. Kind of like Brett Pill. Duvall has the attention of the organization, though. He went to instrux and played a lot of third base. Looks like they'll keep him there for now. He's on the top-30 list.

    Roger (Washington, DC): Can somebody in the organization please mention to Francisco Peguero that swinging at every single pitch maybe isn't the best approach to hitting?

Andy Baggarly: Well, I guess that's Steve Decker's job. He switched spots with hitting coordinator Bob Mariano, who will manage Triple-A Fresno. Decker believes in being aggressive at the plate and isn't known to preach taking walks. But nobody believes in swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. You're right, Peguero's on-base percentage is almost totally dependent on his ability to get hits. He'll need to address that soon.

    StP (Sarasota): I know he is old for a rookie, but Brett Pill had a fine AAA season and a nice Major League debut. Is it his age that kept him off the list, and can he play adequately at second base?

Andy Baggarly: Pill is in the 10-15 range, I think. He is a "break glass in case of emergency" option at second base.

    Alex (Mass): No Conor Gillaspie? I find that hard to believe. He looks like a gamer to me with a decent bat

Andy Baggarly: Gillaspie profiles as a utility/bench guy. Hard to crack the top-10 when you aren't seen as an everyday player.

    Jasen (FLL): Thomas Neal has gone from being a top 100 prospect to outside of the Giants top 10. What are your thoughts on him now? Do you expect him to be an everyday player?

Andy Baggarly: A great question for the Indians chat! Hope you enjoyed those two months of Orlando Cabrera, Giants fans!

    Jason (Mill Valley, California): Eric Surkamp seems to profile as the classic great-command-as-opposed-to-dominating-stuff lefthander. The Giants have had recent success with such pitchers in recent years with Kirk Rueter and Noah Lowry. Does he profile similarly to these pitchers and/or to other lefties in the majors?

Andy Baggarly: The Giants see Surkamp as better than a lot of left-handed starters around the league, including some guys who have had respectable careers. One comp thrown at me was Zach Duke, who had a few decent years for the Pirates.

    Chuck (Ohio): How far has Charlie Culberson fallen? Is he still in the Giant's plans for the future?

Andy Baggarly: Culberson is No.11 on the list, I believe. He had a better season than his numbers would indicate. Scouts and club officials like his hard-nosed style and his defensive value. There's a faction that still believes he will figure it out at the plate. He'll have to force his way into the Giants' plans, especially with Joe Panik in the system and likely to move up the line as a second baseman.

    Norm (Portland, OR): Long term- is Joe Panik a 2B or a SS?

Andy Baggarly: Second baseman. But he's playable at short.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Of the hurlers at Salem-Kizer advancing to Augusta, who is your favorite?

Andy Baggarly: He's not a top-30 guy, but I really like everything I hear about Cody Hall. Check out my next org report for his backstory.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Sharlon Schoop - organizational guy or might he have some of the magic of his brother Jonathan?

Andy Baggarly: He signed with the Royals as a minor league free agent a few weeks ago.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Is infielder Ryan Caven on your radar? Did he get a slot in the top 30 prospect list of the handbook?

Andy Baggarly: Cavan is the "bonus" guy on the list. One of the best competitors in the system. An overachiever. Hey, I covered David Eckstein's first season with the Angels. So I never count those guys out.

    Ian (Portland, OR): What are the chances Heath Hembree is in SF by the end of the season? Do you think the Craig Kimbrel comps being thrown around are fair?

Andy Baggarly: Great chance we see Hembree in 2012. The Giants aren't afraid to push power relievers who miss bats and throw strikes. Hard to compare him to Kimbrel at this stage, but the fastball is certainly electric.

    Henry T (Sausalito, CA): I have remained intrigued by Aaron King since he was drafted back in 2008. I thought he was a great project for Dick Tridow to try and mold. Thus far that hasn't happened, does any hope remain for King? What did you hear about him from sources?

Andy Baggarly: He hasn't found a delivery he can repeat. If it doesn't click for King, maybe it will for Ray Black. He was this draft's version of King for Tidrow and Co.

    Mike (Valpo): Nearly 5 years in to their careers now, how does the '07 1st rd. picks of Nick Noonan, Charlie Culberson, and Wendell Fairley (and Tim Alderson-Pirates) look??? Do any of these guys have a shot to make the Bigs? At least they're still in the org., but are they just depth at this point? And how could the Giants' brass have been so wrong on all of them?!?!?

Andy Baggarly: Culberson still has a shot. But hey! It could be worse. Imagine the Giants having five picks out of the top 41 and taking guys like Tony Torcato, Nate Bump, Arturo McDowell, Chris Jones and Jeff Urban. Oh wait! That was 1998!

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Do you figure 1st rounder Crick will be in full season ball any time in 2012?

Andy Baggarly: It will depend on how he does in the spring. If he's at all ready to compete, then yes, I see him going to Low-A Augusta.

    Greg (Fullerton, CA): Out of the three SS options- Crawford, Panik and Adrianza- who has the potential to be the best? Any of them a long term answer at SS for the Giants?

Andy Baggarly: Crawford.

    Henry T (Sausalito, CA): Going into the year I held out a lot of hope for Mike Kickham's pro debut, which didn't go as planned. What did scouts have to say about him do you still envision him as a 3/4 starter going forward? Thanks again.

Andy Baggarly: You weren't the only one disappointed by Kickham's season. He had blister issues that set him back. He was my breakout guy last year and I'll make him my breakout guy again this season.

    Henry T (Sausalito, CA): Is there a general concern that Surkamp's fastball may fall a bit short? During his stint with the team it seemed his fastball was more 85-88 than the reported 88-91, I'm rooting for him but he seemed very "Mark Redman" to me.

Andy Baggarly: I don't know. I saw him throwing a bullpen next to Barry Zito, and by comparison, Surkamp's fastball was really popping.

    Dan McKay (Albuquerque, N.M.): Any thoughts on the health of Josh Osich? Can he recover the stuff that had him moving up draft boards in the spring? Reliever or starter?

Andy Baggarly: We have Chris Heston in front of Dunnington. Power sinker will play against right-handed hitters.

    CJ (SF): Edlefsen and/or Runzler on the 25-man in April?

Andy Baggarly: Runzler because he can go multiple innings. But if he doesn't throw strikes...

    Charles (Georgia): I don't have question, but I wanted to make a statement. Your responses are excellent. They are well written, show some knowledge and are thorough. You are good at this.

Andy Baggarly: Thanks!

    Chris (Harrisonburg, VA): Brett Pill as a 10-15 prospect ... that's a pretty damning statement about the state of the farm, no?

Andy Baggarly: The Giants have a lot of nice inventory. Interesting players. Let's leave it at that.

    Jon KK (Elkhart, Ind.): Would Brandon Belt's (if eligible) overall hitting ability place him above Gary Brown, or does the latter's defensive prowess give him the edge?

Andy Baggarly: I would put Belt first, even though he struggled against big league pitching.

    Greg (Fullerton, CA): Giants MI combo for the future is....?

Andy Baggarly: I'll go with Crawford and Panik.

    Dave (Atlanta): Gregor Blanco is having a huge winter in the Venezuelan league. Does he have a shot at a 4th OF spot next season?

Andy Baggarly: Yes, in Fresno. He looks to be a nice signing for depth in CF.

    Joc (Bay Area): Will you be attending spring training and if so, filing recaps/reports for us eager fans?

Andy Baggarly: Indeed I will, and I'll be sure to spend time in minor league camp, too. Thanks for joining, everyone. I look forward to doing it again next year.