Sorry for the long(ish) delay in posts recently. I’ve been feeling a little under the weather, and my mind really just hasn’t been that focused on writing lately. I’ve still been watching and listening, however, as we’ve had a few opportunities to see the Gigantes on TV over the past week. As we speak, the skipper and his green St. Patty’s Day cap are out to present the lineup… teaser, Marco Scutaro is in there. Two weeks until Opening Day, will Scooter be ready to go?
**Scutaro doubled down the line in his first AB. Looks a little stiff, but nothing wrong with the ol’ man’s bat.
We seem to have hit the lull of Spring Training. Problem is, there seems to be a new hitter dinged up every day. Scutaro, Pence, Morse, now Pagan. At some point, you’d like to see the club run out its “projected” everyday lineup before the season begins. I’m not saying I’m alarmed or anything at this point, but it’s definitely a situation worth keeping an eye on.
Ok, let’s talk about the kids. MLB.com released its Giants Top 20 list today, and I have to say it looks much better than it has in recent years. Of all the major prospect rankings, I usually take MLB’s with a grain of salt, as it always seems like something is off. Now, though, with the combination of Mayo, Cahill, Callis and Pleskoff, they seem to be right on cue.
First 5: Crick, Escobar, Mejia, Susac, Arroyo – Hard to argue with the “big 3” at the top, but Susac’s progression is evident. I’m not sure any player’s status was boosted this winter as much as Cool Andy’s.
Next 5: Blach, Stratton, Blackburn, Williamson, Law – Look at the love for Blach! I’d love to see Mac sitting top 5 on the mid-season list, but he’ll have to do a lot. And how about Law? I’m telling you, I deliberated for so long this fall in giving Law a top 10 spot… thought I’d be laughed off the block. Look at him now!
Final 10: Hembree, Gregorio, Agosta, Panik, Ryder Jones, Brown, Kickham, Osich, Mella, Flores – Gregorio’s stock seems to be on the rise. I’m not sure if Brown or Kickham will make the mid-season update, as I’m looking for Matt Duffy and Luis Ysla to find their way in. Still, this is a nice group, and even MLB said it: this might be the deepest crop of pitchers in the majors.
Callis added a “bonus prospects” section on his blog, to round out at top 25. So the bottom 5 looks like this: Kieschnick, Perez, Adrianza, Bandilla, Cody Hall. Steven Okert also made it as a “deep sleeper” in the system, or a first-man-out kind of deal. Personally, there are a handful of guys I like more than these bonus players (Duffy, Ragira, Villalona, Stephen Johnson), but I think this should be further proof to some of us that the Giants have some very interesting players farther down in their system than what meets the eye.
Finally, let’s talk about Susac, who I haven’t had a chance to comment on after his standout performance last week. One day left in big league camp, the kid gets his first start and puts on an absolute show. The home run was something to behold, and I had literally just said to myself, “ok, 2-0 count, let’s see what he does here…” Michael Kirkman serves one up, KA-BOOM.
There have been a few folks comparing Susac’s bat to Posey’s lately, and I don’t think they’re too far off. That was my impression when I first caught Andrew in the AFL a few months back. The stances are almost identical, but it goes beyond that. Just a quiet approach at the plate, similar leg kick, level inside-out swing, and the ability to take the ball to the deepest part of the park. Buster is obviously a rare talent, but I think Susac is giving us an idea about what he can do at the bat when he’s healthy. I don’t think he’ll ever hit .300, but I do see a 20-HR or two in his future.
Another catcher who Susac reminds me of: Mike Zunino. That home run off Kirkman on Thursday? Very similar to some of the moonshots I watched Zunino hit in AAA last season. Gets ahead in the count, looks for something up, and just destroys it. Easy to say, hard to do, but you see what’s happening here. I’m comparing Susac, a 2nd round pick, to a couple of guys taken among the top 5 picks in the draft. Susac and Zunino have a long way to catch Posey, but I do think both of those guys could have solid MLB careers. For Susac, it’s all going to be about staying healthy.