San Francisco Giants: Top 10 Prospects

San Francisco Giants

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, 2008.

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Andy Baggarly
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1. Angel Villalona, 3b

2. Tim Alderson, rhp

3. Madison Bumgarner, lhp

4. Nate Schierholtz, of

5. Henry Sosa, rhp

6. Nick Noonan, 2b/ss

7. Eugenio Velez, of/2b

8. Wendell Fairley, of

9. John Bowker, of

10. Emmanuel Burriss, ss

Best Hitter for Average Nick Noonan
Best Power Hitter Angel Villalona
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Nick Noonan
Fastest Baserunner Emmanuel Burriss
Best Athlete Wendell Fairley
Best Fastball Henry Sosa
Best Curveball Tim Alderson
Best Slider Steve Edlefsen
Best Changeup Erick Threets
Best Control Tim Alderson
Best Defensive Catcher Jackson Williams
Best Defensive Infielder Brian Bocock
Best Infield Arm Brian Bocock
Best Defensive Outfielder Antoan Richardsonk
Best Outfield Arm Mike McBryde
Catcher Jackson Williams
First Base Dan Ortmeier
Second Base Nick Noonan
Third Base Angel Villalona
Shortstop Emmanuel Burriss
Left Field Fred Lewis
Center Field Wendell Fairley
Right Field Nate Schierholtz
No. 1 Starter Matt Cain
No. 2 Starter Tim Lincecum
No. 3 Starter Barry Zito
No. 4 Starter Tim Alderson
No. 5 Starter Madison Bumgarner
Closer Brian Wilson
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Jason Grilli, rhp Tigers
1999 Jason Grilli, rhp Tigers
2000 Kurt Ainsworth, rhp Out of baseball
2001 Jerome Williams, rhp Nationals
2002 Jerome Williams, rhp Nationals
2003 Jesse Foppert, rhp Giants
2004 Merkin Valdez, rhp Giants
2005 Matt Cain, rhp Giants
2006 Matt Cain, rhp Giants
2007 Tim Lincecum, rhp Giants
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Tony Torcato, of Out of baseball
1999 Kurt Ainsworth, rhp Out of baseball
2000 Boof Bonser, rhp Twins
2001 Brad Hennessey, rhp Giants
2002 Matt Cain, rhp Giants
2003 David Aardsma, rhp White Sox
2004 Eddy Martinez-Esteve, of
(2nd round)
2005 Ben Copeland, of
(4th round)
2006 Tim Lincecum, rhp Giants
2007 Madison Bumgarner, lhp Giants
Angel Villalona, 2006 $2,100,000
Tim Lincecum, 2006 $2,025,000
Madison Bumgarner, 2007 $2,000,000
Jason Grilli, 1997 $1,875,000
David Aardsma, 2003 $1,425,000
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San Francisco Giants

For the first time since 1996, the Giants must build a baseball team without Barry Bonds as their cornerstone. The front office finally signaled this new direction in late September, announcing it would not deign to the 43rd-year-old slugger's wishes and bring him back for one more season.

So Bonds leaves San Francisco as the all-time home run king and general manager Brian Sabean, who signed a two-year extension in July, is charged with rebuilding a club while knowing that ticket holders and his own bosses aren't blessed with infinite patience.

A former eagle-eyed scout who helped build the Yankees' late-1990s dynasty, Sabean says he's committed to rebuilding San Francisco's farm system and churning out homegrown position players to match the constant stream of pitching talent the organization has produced. The Giants haven't signed a player who has developed into a homegrown all-star since drafting Will Clark with the No. 2 overall pick in 1985.

Since the season ended, San Francisco has made several front-office changes that will affect scouting and player development. Longtime minor league instructor Fred Stanley was promoted to farm director, replacing the retiring Jack Hiatt. The Giants also hired John Barr away from the Dodgers and appointed him scouting director. As a crosschecker, he helped bring players such as Jonathan Broxton and Russell Martin to Los Angeles. Barr's arrival freed up resident pitching guru Dick Tidrow to assist Sabean more actively on the major league level.

San Francisco begins the rebuilding process fully aware that National League West rivals Arizona and Colorado already have graduated impressive young talent to the major leagues, having ridden it to the NL Championship Series. The Dodgers also have a young nucleus in addition to being the only team in the division that can match the Giants' financial resources, while the Padres have an improving farm system.

If San Francisco has a saving grace, it's the best crop of young pitchers in the division and perhaps in all of baseball. Matt Cain's 7-16 record belied an outstanding season. Rookie Tim Lincecum brought his Cirque du Soleil delivery to the major leagues in May and led all major league rookies with 150 strikeouts. Though Barry Zito didn't live up to his $126 million contract in his first season as a Giant, he had a 3.33 ERA over his final two months, brought reliability to the rotation and is still just 29. Kevin Correia emerged in a late-season audition as a starter, and while Noah Lowry couldn't finish the season because of a bone spur in his elbow, he led the staff with 14 victories.

San Francisco planned to dangle one or more arms as trade bait as it attempts to form a competitive lineup. The Giants don't have any near-ready position prospects who project as surefire regulars, and neither Sabean nor manager Bruce Bochy has a track record for handing everyday jobs to unproven players.

They were able to restock the system with six of the first 51 picks the 2007 draft, but spent five of them on high school players who won't help anytime soon. If it hope to contends in the near term, San Francisco must place some faith in its homegrown players, be creative in acquiring more talent—and get a bit lucky, too.

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