The prospect crew at MLB.com released its top 100 list last night, with a couple of young Gigantes pitchers getting notice. Kyle Crick was a no-brainer here, but I was curious to see just where he’d fit in. He came in at #32, sandwiched between the O’s Kevin “Gas Man” Gausman and Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. All three of those guys were first round picks (Gausman #4 in 2012, Bradley and Crick were supplemental picks in 2011). That’s some pretty sweet company for Crick, who continues to climb the charts.
Obviously there’s some bias on this end, but I’d put the kid up against any other pitcher on the list, and that includes Archie Bradley and Taijuan Walker – the only arms that made the top 10. There’s no doubt Bradley and Walker have the goods, but Walker doesn’t offer much more than Crick does at this point. He’s got a powerful fastball, but really no breaking ball to speak of. Walker gets the edge over Crick in control, but the same argument can be made for nearly all 15 of the pitchers ranked ahead of the Giants #1 guy. I think Crick will refine that command with time… if he continues to develop those secondary pitches, there’s no doubt he’ll be a top 20 prospect in baseball. I already think he’s better than he’s getting credit for, but it’s good to see him crack the top 40. Personally, I think Robert Stephenson from Cincy is the top pitching prospect in the game right now (he came in at 19), but he, like Crick, will have to prove it in AA this season.
Edwin Escobar snuck in toward the back of the list, making it at #95. It’s probably not a huge surprise that Escobar was the other Giants prospect selected, as it’s been pretty unanimous this winter that he’s the #2 player in the system right now. It is good to see the guy get some love though, and I wasn’t sure if the organization would get a second player in, to be honest. If I’m making the list, Andrew Susac gets a spot as well, but I knew he had very slim odds of making it when MLB put him at the back end of its top 10 catchers last week. I’m telling you, it’s going to be that much sweeter when he busts out in Fresno this year.
Back to Escobar. In case you forgot, this guy is 21 years old… and he’s basically the next guy in line for a rotation spot if Vogelsong and Petit can’t hack it (which could certainly happen). Escobar and his three pitch mix are headed for Scottsdale (along with Crick and some of the other exciting young arms), where I’m sure the staff will be watching him closely. Ideally, he’ll get to spend most of the season in Fresno, but if he happens to break through to the bigs, you won’t hear any complaining on this end.
So, Crick and Escobar are the hyped pitchers in the system at the moment, but Kickham, Blackburn, Flores and Blach have a chance to do something about that in camp. Who’ll step up to the plate? Still no hitters to speak of on the national stage, but like I said, I think Susac will have something to say about that. And if Mac Williamson shows his stuff in Richmond this summer, I’d think he’d be a prime candidate to crack the mid-season lists. We shall see.