Giants Mid-Season Top Prospects

Again, my apologies for not being timely or thorough with this project. Sometimes life just gets in the way! As promised though, here is the list I put together about a month ago, with a little blip on the players I wasn’t able to profile.

One note here: I didn’t want to change my original rankings from last month, but if I had to do it over, Mikey Edie (#23) and Steven Okert (#21) are two players who are making some serious cases for a higher ranking.

1. Kyle Crick, RHP, AA: Crick’s stock has plummeted in the eyes of some – not me. He’s young, healthy, and needs to continue logging innings. Best raw stuff in the system, but control is the big issue.  He has the slight edge over Beede for top prospect in the organization right now, but next year should help sort things out.

2. Tyler Beede, RHP, AZL: Beede’s signing was delayed because Vandy took down the College World Series. He’s a big, strong, power pitcher who got top 10 and even some top 5 draft consideration before conference play. He should start his pro career sometime this week, and like Crick will need to focus on his command.

3. Andrew Susac, C, AAA: Susac has again missed time due to multiple injuries, but he’s been red-hot offensively this month (.302, 4 HR in 43 AB) after struggling in June. He may never be the best defensive catcher in baseball, but recent reports say he is improving behind the dish. The Giants greatest offensive prospect will surely have his name come up in trade talks. Will the Giants bite?

4. Keury Mella, RHP, Low A: He was in my preseason top 10, with the potential to shoot up depending on how he performed in full-season ball. Well, shoot up he did. Through 12 starts, he logged a 3.93 ERA and 63K/13BB in 66 IP for Augusta. He struck out 10 on June 20, and hasn’t made an appearance since. According to beat writer David Lee (who has proclaimed himself the bus driver of the Mella bandwagon), Keury was sent to Arizona with an undisclosed injury. You hope that it isn’t an arm issue, but I’m worried that he won’t pitch again this year. Either way, he’s solidified himself as a top prospect in this organization in my book.

Video c/o Conner Penfold

5. Joe Panik, 2B, MLB: Posted a .321 average in 74 games with Fresno before getting the call all prospects dream of. He’s currently 13-61 (.213) in the big leagues, and has shown a solid glove and range at 2B. If the Giants can’t swing a deal for a major upgrade at the deadline, I believe Panik is capable of helping this club down the stretch. I still see a future as an everyday starter for a guy that took his knocks last year in AA.

6. Edwin Escobar, LHP, AAA: I struggled with this ranking, but Escobar just hasn’t produced the consistent results in Fresno this year I was hoping for. He’s been durable, throwing 105 innings in 19 starts. He hasn’t, however, been consistent. We’ve seen flashes of the pitcher he can be, but his .338 BAA and 15 HR allowed against righties really makes me question whether he’ll be a starter at the MLB level. He’s very young for AAA, but I’m sure the Giants would like to see some 2nd half adjustments.

Escobar Futures Game Article

7. Adalberto Mejia, LHP, AA: One of the youngest pitchers in the Eastern League has shown his age and inexperience this year. Like Escobar, the consistency just hasn’t been there for Mejia. His peripheral stats really aren’t far off his career averages, but a 5.52 ERA just isn’t going to cut it. The kid is big, durable, and left-handed though, so I’m sure he’ll get plenty of opportunities to succeed.

8. Clayton Blackburn, RHP, AA: Blackburn has struggled with injuries for the first time in his career this season, and finds himself back on the DL after making only two starts since his last bout with injury. Scouts knock his body and lack of a premium fastball, but my gut says he’s still got a future as an MLB starter ahead of him. Let’s hope he can get back on the mound again very soon.

9. Ty Blach, LHP, AA: While his younger rotation mates in Richmond have battled some demons this year, Blach has been a model of consistency (again). He’s currently got a 2.95 ERA through 18 starts, and his walk rates are impressive, albeit more than he posted in all of 2013. His low strikeout totals (63 in 97.2 IP) make you question whether his stuff will hold up at the highest levels, but I have a crazy feeling he’ll end up having the best career of anyone on that highly-touted Richmond staff.

10. Mac Williamson, RF, DL: Mac’s injury was the heartbreak of the year for me, as I was very excited to see how he hit in Richmond. He won’t play again this year after having Tommy John surgery, but he should be ready to roll by next spring, where he’ll be 24 in AA. He will likely always have high strikeout rates, but if the power and athleticism can play in the Eastern League, I think the Giants have a serious offensive prospect on their hands.

11. Kendry Flores, RHP, High A: Flores is one of my favorite arms in the organization. He had a rough time in his first couples months as a Cal-Leaguer, allowing 9 HR through 10 starts. For the last month and a half, however, he’s been flat-out dominant. Take out his ERA and here’s what you get for the season: 17 GS, 91.1 IP, 28 BB, 100 K. Couple that with the fact that he’s allowed only 4 ER in 3 July starts, and I think this guy is on track for a huge second half. Nobody’s talking about him, but they will be soon.

12. Aramis Garcia, C, AZL: Garcia was the Giants 2nd round pick in June, and he signed on the dotted line early last week. Admittedly, I’m not in love with this draft class (yet), but I did really like the Garcia pick. Coming from a smaller school like FIU, it’s certainly not a done deal that he’ll hit, but he has the potential to be a solid all-around catcher if he does. I’m envisioning less power but more batting average than Susac if things come together. Garcia should debut soon.

13. Derek Law, RHP, AA: In the year of Tommy John, Law was the big pitcher to go down in the Giants system. He was having a solid season as the closer in Richmond before coming off the mound with forearm tightness on June 8. We know this kid has the stuff to be a late-inning reliever in the majors, but we’ll have to be patient over the next year while he works his way back from surgery.

14. Matt Duffy, SS, AA: Duffy is a gamer, and I had an incredibly hard time not ranking him higher than this. The guy is hitting .344/.411/.453 as a 23 year old in his first season at AA. How is nobody talking about him?! Well, I can tell you we’re talking about him around here. This guy hits everywhere he goes, and he’s 20/23 stealing bases this year on top of it. I’m not sure if it’ll happen, but I’d love to see Duffy in Fresno by season’s end.

15. Adam Duvall, 3B, AAA: He’s on his way back to the Show with Belt hitting the DL, and is hitting .302 with 26 HR for the season in Fresno. Duvall has already shown he can take an MLB pitcher deep. Can he do it consistently? This might be a great time to find out. As much as I love what he’s doing offensively, I’m not sure his defensive skills will ever allow him to be an NL regular. For that reason, I can see him being included in a trade this summer, as his value may never be higher than it is now.

16. Luis Ysla, LHP, Low A: Ysla is a name you likely won’t see on other lists, but he’s one of the most underrated prospects in the system in my book. The Giants signed him for dirt cheap out of Venezuela at the age of 19, and he’s been nothing but impressive since debuting last summer in Arizona. This year, he’s survived some bouts of wildness while anchoring a pretty good Augusta rotation. The now 21 year old southpaw can run his fastball up to 96, and he truly does have the stuff to pitch in the big leagues. Whether he can refine his secondary offerings and hone in his control will likely determine whether he’ll be a starter at the higher levels.

17. Christian Arroyo, 2B/SS, Short Season A: Arroyo has had a tough first season as a pro, and this ranking reflects those struggles. He was moved off of shortstop in Augusta in favor of Ryder Jones from day 1, and I truly think that had a greater effect on him offensively than most realize. Arroyo just wasn’t really able to find a rhythm offensively, although David Lee reported that he was squaring up the ball quite frequently. He suffered a thumb injury and was eventually re-assigned to Salem-Keizer, where he’s been playing SS and hitting well. He’ll get another shot in the SALLY next year, but for now I’m being cautious with the kid.

18. Ryder Jones, SS/3B, Low A: Jones has done what Arroyo wasn’t able to this year, staying healthy and in the Augusta lineup. He is, however, struggling mightily at the dish right now, hitting only .103 in his last 10 games and .095 for the month. David Lee had a nice writeup on Jones recently, reminding all of us just how much of a grind it can be for a high school draftee in his first full year of pro ball. He’s got 7 HR on the year (he hit 5 in May alone), but the errors have been piling up lately as well. Obviously, it’s much too early to determine what the Giants have in either Jones or Arroyo.

19. Chris Stratton, RHP, High A

20. Joan Gregorio, RHP, Low A

No’s 21-25No’s 26-30

HM HittersHM Pitchers



12 thoughts on “Giants Mid-Season Top Prospects”

  1. Great list CC. I don’t see anybody missing. Its really hard to rank bullpen arms, but I do think Law has distinguished himself enough to be up there, even with the TJ. Luis Ysla not only runs the ball up there, he seems to have a lot of sand. The mental part of the game is where teams get the advantage on knowing their own prospectos.

    The Giants continue to invest a significant amount of their money and draft opportunity in catchers. Like clockwork almost – Joseph, Susac, Garcia. Same with the big arms. They really need Beede to be the real deal, but in the meantime, Joe Panik has done what a lot of the guys drafted around him have not: made the show! Giants continue to be a a sleeper system with a lot of interesting guys grinding away.

    1. Thanks for the feedback my friend, it’s always appreciated. I really like the top 5. A lot is dependent on how Beede does, but there’s some real potential there. Panik’s resurgence has been welcome. I like the guy, and I think he’s the Opening Day starter next year. It was a tough first half for the system, but things seem to be evening out now.

  2. A small sample but…Richard Amion, a 14th Rd. pick in 2014, is leading the AZL team in OPS somewhat do to a near 20% walk rate. If Bochy ever gets ahold of him he will correct that the way he fixed Belt.

  3. The Giants have two 21-year-olds who are tearing up the DSL. Trouble is, average age in that league is around 18.5. So I wonder what’s the point of keeping these guys playing with children? Richard Rodriquez, 2B, is in his 4th year in that league. He’s hitting .370 with no power but a .456 OBP.

    Miguel Gomez is a switch-hitting catcher batting .335. He leads the team in OPS, slugging, and RBI’s to name a few.

    Why the Giants keep them there, I don’t know. What more do they have to prove?

    1. I honestly don’t know how they determine who leaves and stays on the island Walter. But I would say that those 21 year-old out there are about as low as it gets on the organizational totem pole, with very little chance of ever doing anything significant.

  4. 90% of Giant minor leaguers have “very little chance of ever doing anything significant.” But the whole idea of the minor league system is if a player does well on one level, he gets moved to the next level. The next level for these guys is the AZL. The average age in the AZL is 21. These guys are 21. Well duh!
    You’ve got to realize the Giant Org. makes lots of mistakes. Most of the fun in commenting is in pointing out those mistakes.

    1. Really, any organization makes lots of mistakes if you want to focus on that. It’s kind of like hitting, most hitters make an out over 70% of the time. Only worse in prospecting. If you want mistakes, it’s like fishing in a barrel, easy pickings.

      That’s why I focus on things that are more indicative of the value of a GM. To me, success is a better measure, looking at the batting average, per se.

      Is it a coincidence that the only prospects worth keeping during the Bonds years were Cain and Lowry and Sabean kept them, even while trading away a lot of “top prospects”? He was just as desperate as Beane was to boost up those teams to make the playoffs, but whereas Beane traded away Ethier and CarGo (and Street for that matter), there has not been any consequential unproven player traded away by Sabean, there’s Liriano, but if I were a Twins fan, I would see him as wasting away the golden years of Mauer and Morneau, leaving Foulke, Howry, Villanueva, Correia, Wheeler, Gillaspie.

      Is it a coincidence that he also kept Lincecum, Bumgarner, Posey? All those fans wanted to trade Lincecum, including one well known local columnist who has never really lived that one down, though he’s still around and working for the same paper. All those fans wanting a hitter instead of Bumgarner and putting down that decision? He spoke up right after the pick and said that he’s expected to make the majors in two years. And he did. All those fans wanting Smoak or Gordon Beckham over Posey.

      Fans cry over homebuilt championships and yet ignore the fact that the 2010 and 2012 Giants were mostly homegrown prospects leading the way, with certain key vets complementing them. I’ll bet that they had one of the higher percentage of homegrown players of any team winning it all in the past two decades.

      Complaining is easy to do in baseball. Figuring out how teams are doing better than others is the more enriching thing to do.

      1. Very well said, OGC. Things can always be picked apart, and that’s what the masses do. But it’s much more enjoyable to identify and point out successes. Especially when the organization you follow is as successful as the Giants have been in recent years!

    2. For example, yes, there are players much older than the competition in the DSL.

      But if you go to any other league, there will always be players much older than the competition.

      A baseball team requires 8 starting position players, 5-6 starting pitchers, 6-7 relievers, plus a bench of 5-6 position players, roughly 25 or so on the roster. A team has only so many actual prospects, never enough to fill a roster, so there are always filler players who enable a team to field a team, and many of them are older than the league, organizational players who fulfill the team need to field a full and competitive team.

      You could fill those positions with young guys with less talent, but you also want your teams to be competitive, because you don’t want your guys to learn to put up with losing or develop an acceptance of losing. So you put a few older guys who make up for their lack of youth by having more experience and help keep the team competitive to a certain extent.

      The Giants have done that often, causing some teams to complain about these older guys being sent to lower levels and helping to win championships (like SJ). But they also serve as teachers to the younger players as well, passing on knowledge that they have.

      So yeah, they are older, much older, could go to AZL and fit in age-wise, but if the Giants have determined that they aren’t much of a prospect, why push them up where they will fail? And maybe they are serving the purpose of teaching the younger players, as well as provide better performance than other available younger players.

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