#SFGiants Prospect Evaluations: What’s Been Said, What’s Coming Up

(Prospect) lists are the hit generators of hit generators for websites. While the list articles telling me why there are 29 reasons being 29 is awesome and what not are really starting to get annoying, prospect lists done by competent individuals will never get annoying. The future is an exciting thing, whether you are a fan of a winning organization or an organization that’s re-building. The idea to organize lists in the fashion screen-shotted came from a tweet I saw Anna use sometime last year. The writers/outlets with links to those articles that will have lists of the Giants prospects that I’m using are:

Baseball America (no subscription required for page linked)

Fangraphs

Baseball Prospectus (article to be out within the next week or so, I imagine)

John Sickels, MinorLeagueBall.com

Keith Law, ESPN (2013’s Top 100 prospects was out in early February)

MLB.com (probably February also)

What we have so far is captured below, with the players sorted by average ranking thus far. Position, prospect, some notes I took away, where they may start in 2014 (my guess based on reading), and what their estimated time of arrival (ETA) may be, also based on my guess from reading:

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 8.15.01 PM

Kyle Crick is the consensus #1 and LHP Edwin Escobar #2 thus far on the lists. Some other general feelings I’m seeing are:

  • Lots of pitching in the farm, but the only frontliner is Crick. The other prospects that could be starters, guys like Adalberto Mejia, Chris Stratton, Clayton Blackburn, Martin Agosta, Ty Blach, Joan Gregorio, are ones that project to be more mid-rotation or back-end rotation guys.
  • Gary Brown has indeed become the name of disappointment for Giants fans and scouts are seeing him right now as an extra outfielder, if that
  • I feel like I’ve seen Clayton Blackburn comp’d with Joe Blanton a bunch now
  • Jury’s not set on what to expect from Christian Arroyo, even after a stellar Arizona League showing. All we know is that the Giants really liked him while the rest of us were wondering why him so early.
  • I am very curious to see how 2014 treats Andrew Susac and what happens with Hector Sanchez as a result, especially if Susac continues to improve — I do believe Hector is a good back-up catcher to have
  • As for prospects that swing the bat and are remotely close: Help us, Mac Williamson. Can he get to the .250 average-20 HR line at the MLB level? Just got out of hitter-happy High-A San Jose, so we’ll see how 2014 goes.
  • Heath Hembree‘s ready
  • Joe Panik: Utility player at the MLB level? Signs pointing to that at the moment.
  • Derek Law, one of the boys called out by VP Bobby Evans at the Town Hall, what will 2014 bring for the baby Giant reliever and how fast will he climb the ladder?

When the organizational prospect rankings come out, from what I’ve read, expect the Giants to be in the middle of the pack, maybe back-middle. Read from the lists and their analysis what you will, but I remember listening to a podcast with now-Houston Astros Director of Pro Scouting Kevin Goldstein, Keith Law, and now-MLB.com’s Jim Callis that everybody has their opinion, analysis, and sources they trust, and while you may think there is some sort of “gotcha” moment to be had because you may like one list over the other, they’re all going to stand by their work.

2 Comments

Nice overview of the prospect lists. I have to admit, SIckels’ list is really the only of those 3 that I’m crazy about… and I believe that is because he devotes more time to the practice than the others. Baggs puts together the list for BA, and I think most dedicated Giants prospect “hounds” would question his placement of Chris Stratton at #3. A guy with his talent and pedigree should be up in AA with Crick and the boys, not pitching to mediocre results in low A. Marc Hulet of Fangraphs gave Martin Agosta a #5 ranking… again, these are all opinions, but I think most would say that Agosta is not the 5th best prospect in the system. I’ve been working on a top 50 list of my own this winter, I’d love some feedback if you have time. I’ll also recommend DrB’s list at When the Giants Come to Town, and the community prospect lists over at McCovey Chronicles… those lists are a pretty nice representation of the organization, as opposed to Keith Law (a notorious pessimist regarding most things Giants).

I love Kyle Crick’s game. I think the sky is the limit for him. Cross your fingers for a healthy 2014 for him. If that happens, he could be in Fresno by mid-season, easy. The Giants certainly are lacking impact talent outside of Crick at the moment (and hopefully the #14 pick this summer can help change that), but the system is so deep with pitching talent right now. In my eyes, there will almost certainly be an arm or two throughout the organization worth following nearly every night. Not nearly as much depth on the hitting side. The hope lies within Susac, Williamson, Panik and Arroyo at the moment. Panik’s season in Richmond wasn’t near as bad as some are making it out to be, and I think the utility label is a bit rushed. Gary Brown, on the other hand, needs to make some adjustments ASAP… his star is certainly dimming. Arroyo’s scouting reports with the hit tool are eerily similar to another high school shortstop’s… Buster Posey. While he’s not the overall athlete Posey is, I think Arroyo’s bat has a chance to be special. He just needs time.

Thanks for putting this together.

Thanks, Kyle, definitely appreciate your thoughts! I would love to check out your Top 50 when you’ve put it together, although my disclaimer is a pretty big one in that: I am not a scout, and so my knowledge of prospects stems from what I read. If you know some scouts out there, I’d encourage you to reach out to them for their thoughts on your rankings, as I’d think the quality of discussion you’d have would be much higher than with me.

Looking forward to seeing the list.

-Stuart

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