Surkamp, Pill on the Outs?

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that professional baseball is a business. However, that’s what it is, first and foremost, and there are a handful of players who are finding out they aren’t a part of the Giants’ business plan going forward. And most of these announcements haven’t exactly been well-timed. I have no idea how much earlier players find out about their fate before the public does. It was the night before Thanksgiving when we found out Johnny Monell and Francisco Peguero were being DFA. Now, just days before Christmas, we’ve been told that Eric Surkamp is off the 40-man, while Brett Pill is likely headed to play in Korea.

While the Surkamp DFA did take me by surprise this morning, none of these moves are earth-shattering. All of these guys have grinded through, and all are deserving of a shot, but none really fit into the Giants’ future. I have to think someone will give Surkamp a look. Really, Surkamp isn’t all that much different from Pill. Both guys have had exceptional minor league careers, but their MLB potential is very questionable. The big difference for Surkamp was the arm injury, which certainly looks like it cost him his chance of ever having a job in San Francisco. He’s 26, and it’s not unreasonable to think he could find his way into the bigs as a 5th starter or long-man in the next couple years. But with Petit, Kickham and Escobar all on the 40-man, and the addition of lefty Jose De Paula, it became pretty obvious that Surkamp had been passed on the Giants’ depth chart. Really, a move to another organization could turn out to be a blessing for the guy.

In the case of Pill, I don’t know how great a feeling it is to find out you’re being sold to a Korean club the week before Christmas. At least he’ll be an everyday player over there, and may be able to build some value and come back to the majors in a year or two. There was a time when I felt Pill deserved a chance to start at first for the Giants. But that was when Aubrey Huff was still around, and Brandon Belt was a struggling rookie. Those days have long passed for me… but there are still a ton of fans out there who think the guy is a .280, 25-HR hitter who hasn’t gotten a fair shot. Maybe those people are getting hung up on the AAA stats, because the Pill I’ve watched take 240 AB over the past 3 years seems to be the exact player his MLB stats indicate. .233/.279/.376 with 9 HR and semi-adequate defense. He’s a class act, but that doesn’t mean he’s a starting 1B. Still, I wouldn’t think he’s thrilled about the news of his departure from the organization. I don’t know that I’d be able to handle playing baseball in Korea full-time, but maybe he’s excited about a new opportunity?

Ok, one last thought here. If you’re scoring at home, you knew Giants needed to open up a 40-man spot to make room for Mike Morse. Apparently there was a deal in the works (Pill?). But then we heard that Ryan Vogelsong hadn’t been officially placed on the 40-man, so there was some wiggle room. Well, now we see that all 3 of Vogelsong, Morse and Pill are on the 40, with Surkamp removed. When the Pill to Korea situation is finalized, there should be one spot open on the 40-man. Although I feel like it would be beneficial to enter spring with a couple of spots open, the Giants generally don’t do that. I only mention this because there was a pretty overlooked tweet this week from former Oakland reliever Andrew Carignan, who indicated that he’s moving out west to join the Giants. I retweeted it on my Twitter page, but haven’t seen any response from the Giants or the beats. Carignan spent small parts of 2011 and 2012 in the A’s bullpen, but missed all of 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery. When he’s healthy, he averages 95 mph with his fastball. If in fact the Giants did sign Carignan to a small deal, I’d be willing to bet we’ll see his name on the 40-man, with a chance to win a bullpen job in spring training.

This was supposed to be a quick take, but I got a little long-winded again. What do you know? The moral of the story is that two previous “prospect-non-prospect” guys in Surkamp and Pill are on their way out. Of course, we’ll be rooting for them to succeed wherever they end up. Will there be a corresponding roster move? Maybe we’ll find out in the next couple weeks. It’s getting a little quiet on the hot stove front, so we’ll continue to churn out Cove Chatter 100 pieces during the slow period. Happy holidays everyone.

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Eric  Surkamp throws to the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) Photo: Tony Avelar, AP

Advertisements

40-Man Shakeup

Quite a bit to get caught up on here, starting with the Giants’ recent roster moves. Teams had until midnight last night to protect players eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft. It’s kind of a complicated deal, and one I don’t entirely feel like researching or explaining. From what I understand, though, any player drafted out of college in 2010 or earlier, or an international player signed before 2009, are eligible for the Rule 5… I’m still not sure where players drafted out of high school fit in the mix, but oh well. So, how do you protect a player from being drafted by another team? You place him on your 40-man roster, that’s how. So that’s what was going on last night.

The Giants are pretty conservative with their 40-man spots. Once the roster is set, it usually doesn’t change much during the season. Other teams, (the Seattle Mariners are one I know of) are constantly adding and removing players from their 40-man.

On to last night’s roster changes…

Additions: Gary Brown, Adam Duvall, Kendry Flores, Hunter Strickland

Subtractions: Guillermo Moscoso

40-Man Roster Total: 40

Thoughts: Brown and Flores were pretty obvious candidates to be added. Despite Brown’s struggles this season, teams generally don’t just let a first round pick go unprotected unless he’s done absolutely nothing as a professional. Brown was still considered a top-5 prospect in the system by most people heading into last season. Now, he finds himself in the middle of a logjam of outfielders in Fresno, likely including Jarret Parker (who the Giants did not protect). Make no mistake though, Brown’s stock is way down, and this will easily be his most important season since he entered the organization. He really hasn’t been the same player since he was in San Jose two years ago, so he’s got a lot to prove in 2014.

Flores was a given because of his eligibility to be taken in the Rule 5, much like Edwin Escobar last season. Flores is about 5 months older than Escobar, but had a breakout season in Augusta. Now, we’re seeing scouting reports of his fastball touching 95 and his changeup looking like an above-average pitch. Watch out for Flores going forward, and don’t be surprised if he starts moving quickly now that he’s on the 40-man.

Duvall was likely battling Parker for one of the last spots on the roster. According to Baggs, the Giants had a scout at the AFL who wasn’t real impressed with Parker, the former second round pick. That scout does see a MLB future for Duvall, though, and that’s probably why Duvall was protected. Personally, I think the Giants made the right choice. Both players showed good power in Richmond this year, but Duvall totes some of the greatest raw power in the organization. His defense needs some shaping up. Parker, on the other hand, is a CF with good defense and an iffy bat. The Giants have a group of those players in their organization already. And honestly, I don’t think Parker will be taken in the Rule 5 anyway… definitely not in the major league portion of the draft, and maybe not even in the minor league portion.

The last pitching spot went to Strickland, who was signed as a minor league free agent last season and had Tommy John surgery about midway through 2013. This was probably the biggest surprise move, as Strickland’s in his 3rd organization since being drafted in 2007. He’s 25, and we don’t even know when he’ll pitch next season… but he’s also built in the mold of Heath Hembree and Cody Hall, with a mid to upper-90’s heater in his arsenal. The Giants love their relievers at 6-foot-4, 220, and they love that big fastball. Listening to Joe Ritzo’s podcast at SJGiants.com the other day, I was taken by surprise when Joe said Strickland could have been on his way to the Show before the elbow injury this season. Baggs repeated that sentiment in his roster recap last night. So, apparently the Giants see big things for Strickland, and the roster protection would definitely support that notion. We’ll see how much he pitches next year though…

One more thought here: The addition of Strickland was likely in front of Brett Bochy, who’s now eligible for the Rule 5. I’m sure the skipper’s kid is a little bummed out about that, and I don’t blame him. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see someone snag him in the MLB portion of the draft. He would have to spend the season on that team’s 25-man roster, but I could definitely see him helping a team’s bullpen… look at the contributions Dan Otero made in Oakland this year. Bochy has worked his butt off and had some pretty successful seasons. He deserves a chance to prove himself somewhere.

For now, the Giants’ 40-man is full… that will change very soon if a Javier Lopez deal is in place. In that case, Baggs thinks Jose Mijares will get the boot. We know that Mr. Sabean would still like to get his hands on another starting pitcher, a left fielder, and probably even a middle infielder, so there are certainly a few guys on the squad whose spots still aren’t safe. Tony Abreu? Brett Pill? Ehire Adrianza? The organization will have to sort out some of those infielders… and those outfield spots are starting to get a little crowded as well, so a trade or two wouldn’t surprise me a bit. Would a package of Adrianza and Francisco Peguero net Justin Ruggiano or Drew Stubbs? It should be interesting to see how things play out this winter.

Finally, here’s a look at the 40-man as it stands now:

Catchers (3) – Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez, Johnny Monell

Infielders (11) – Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford, Marco Scutaro, Brandon Belt, Ehire Adrianza, Brett Pill, Tony Abreu, Joaquin Arias, Nick Noonan, Angel Villalona, Adam Duvall

Outfielders (7) – Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, Gregor Blanco, Juan Perez, Francisco Peguero, Roger Kieschnick, Gary Brown

Starting Pitchers (9) – Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Tim Hudson, Yusmeiro Petit, Mike Kickham, Eric Surkamp, Edwin Escobar, Kendry Flores

Relief Pitchers (10) – Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, Heath Hembree, Jean Machi, Jose Mijares, Sandy Rosario, George Kontos, Jake Dunning, Hunter Strickland

Fighting

The Giants did something last night that I hadn’t seen them do in almost two months: they fought. When the Phillies threatened to add more runs in the 7th and 8th innings, the Giants fought to prevent those runs. When Bruce Bochy chose to leave Cain in after Jimmy Rollins’ triple in the 8th, Cain fought to finish the inning. In the top of the 9th, facing Jonathan Papelbon with a 1-0 deficit, the offense fought to build a rally, tie the game, and then pull ahead. In the bottom of the 9th, when Murphy’s Law took over Sergio Romo’s save effort, Romo fought back with the bases loaded and nobody out. Most importantly, the Giants, as a team fought to steal a game – and a series – from the Phillies on the road. If you’re following along at home, you know that road series wins have been a rarity for the defending champs this season.

Wow, it’s good to string a couple of positive posts together here in August. I was looking back at some of my content from last month (my first full month with Cove Chatter), and there was so much negativity. That’s not how this blog was intended to be, but I can’t say the Giants have really provided many positive moments in the past couple months.

Last night’s win felt good. You know those times when one win feels like more than just a win? This was one of those games. You had 8 innings of a pitcher’s duel between two of the National League’s finest pitchers, Cain and Cole Hamels. You had defensive heroics in the 7th, when Michael Martinez attempted to score from 2nd on a single to left field. As Martinez was rounding 3rd, I actually found myself hoping he would try to score. The second he turned toward home, you knew it was over. Jeff Francoeur scooped, loaded and unleashed a seed to Posey, who applied the tag on a diving Martinez. Francoeur just isn’t can’t seem to get the bat going these days, but man, what an arm.

In the 9th, you had all kinds of drama. I don’t know why, but I just had the feeling in this one that Cain wasn’t going to take the loss after 8 brilliant innings of work. And the Giants made sure that didn’t happen. Pence reaches on a slow roller to short. Pill singles the other way on an 0-2 mistake from Papelbon (side note: Pill absolutely crushes pitches up in the zone, doesn’t he?). Roger Kieschnick pinch hits for Frenchy, drives in the tying run with another single (how about those kids?!). Arias singles in the go-ahead run. Four singles, two runs in the 9th, and a fuming Papelbon. That’s the resiliency this team has been missing since May, and it was refreshing to see.

Romo loads the bases with nobody out after three zany plays to start the bottom of the 9th, and all of the hard work on offense looks like it’ll turn out to be a waste. But Romo comes back by inducing two shallow fly balls, and a grounder to third ends it. Game, Giants. Series, Giants. From here on out, win or lose, I don’t think I’ll look at the standings. There’s really no need to. But this was still a win that felt good, for a team who needs a few of those.

Time to see just how much fight those Giants have this weekend in Tampa Bay, where the Rays have been awfully tough this summer. No matter how it turns out, this is a series I’m looking forward to. Keep the good vibes flowing, boys.

Pill, Kieschnick and August Roster Thoughts

It’s amazing what a couple of hot hitters from AAA can do for a floundering offense. Brett Pill and Roger Kieschnick were called up from Fresno during Monday’s off-day, and both have made immediate contributions since being infused into the Giants’ struggling lineup. Pill has started the last two nights, collecting three hits in each game. Last night, his 3-5 performance included a home run and 4 RBI (a career high). Kieschnick made his debut against Kyle Kendrick last night, hitting 7th (behind Pill) and promptly dropped an RBI single into right-center in his first big league at-bat. In his next plate appearance, Kieschnick singled again, driving in another run with an opposite-field hit. He finished his first career game with a 2-5, 2 RBI, 2 K effort. Hitting back to back in the lineup, as they did in Fresno, Pill and Kieschnick carried the Giants offense in their much-needed 9-2 rout last night.

This seems like a pretty good time to take a closer look at these guys. We all know about Pill by now. Minor league veteran who crushes PCL pitching but can’t duplicate his success at the Major League level. If you’ve seen Pill hit, it’s pretty obvious that he suffers from what I like to call the Pedro Cerrano Syndrome: He can hit the best fastball a mile, but can’t make contact with most average breaking balls. Pill is an interesting case. He’s spent his entire career with the Giants, working his way up level by level after being drafted in 2006. He’s now in his 4th year at Fresno, where he’s posted solid numbers every season. Actually, Pill’s most impressive season to me was his year in AA (2009), when he hit .298 with 19 HR as a 24 year-old. He also drove in 109 RBI that year. You just don’t see many players, regardless of age, put up those kinds of numbers in Richmond. The Giants must have believed very early on with Pill that he wasn’t going to be an everyday player at the big league level, or he surely would have made his debut before September 2011 as a 26 year-old. If you don’t remember, he hit a home run in San Diego in his first game (maybe even his first at-bat? That part I don’t remember).

What makes Pill even more interesting is the bevy of heated argument that seems to transpire just by mentioning his name. You almost can’t have a conversation about him without involving Brandon Belt… and Belt himself sparks some of the greatest Giants’-related arguments on the World Wide Web. That is a bag of worms that I don’t want to open at this moment, but here’s my outlook on the situation: In my opinion, Pill is not likely to stick in the starting role for long, but the Giants are struggling mightily, and Belt hasn’t exactly been contributing at the plate lately. Pill should be a big leaguer, even if it’s only in a bench role. He’s got tons of power and can hold his own at first. If the kid is hot, keep him in the lineup!

Kieschnick had a great debut last night, and he’s a guy a lot of prospect watchers have been excited to see for a while. He’s another one who’s got a ton of power, he just needs to refine his approach at the plate if he wants to tap into that power at the Major League level. I’ve got pretty tempered expectations for him at this point, and I would love it if he exceeds them. I’ll tell you what though, he made a very nice adjustment on the 2-2 changeup from Kendrick in his first AB. After getting ahead 2-0, Kieschnick whiffed big time on 2 straight off-speeds. Kendrick threw him one too many, and Roger had his first big league knock. That’s what you like to see. He did strike out a couple times later in the game, but if you know anything about his game, that shouldn’t be surprising. He’s always struck out a lot!

You’d have to think Kieschnick and Francoeur will share LF for a while, Roger getting the righties and Frenchy the lefties. Both players are experiments at this point, and if either ends up getting dropped from the squad (Kieschnick back to Fresno or Francoeur DFA), Francisco Peguero should be the next one up for a shot. If Sabean has it in him, I’d also think the time has come to DFA Torres. With so many OF’s on the squad right now, losing one wouldn’t be all that significant. It might actually allow for some flexibility with the roster. Maybe Juan Perez gets another look, maybe Noonan. Either way, the time has definitely come to see what we’ve got with some of these guys. That’s why Pill and Kieschnick are up, and there are others who should get the same opportunity.

Hope

Yesterday was a pretty emotional day for the Giants, from the front office to the players down to the fans. The trade deadline came and went without a move from Brian Sabean, and I decided I would take a little time to process my thoughts before posting. That turned out to be a good idea, because this post will likely have quite a different tone than the one I was going to write yesterday afternoon would have.

I’ll admit it, when the deadline passed and the Giants were quiet, I was pretty disappointed. Why? I guess I’d just become fed up with this season – like many other fans I’m sure – to the point where I felt it was time to make some changes for the better. While I was in favor of holding onto Hunter Pence, I didn’t understand why Javier Lopez wasn’t moved, why they weren’t listening on Scutaro, Pablo, or even Belt. Maybe they were, who knows. But when a bottom-feeder (which is what the Giants are this year) remains silent at the deadline, to me that doesn’t send the right message to the fan base. “We’re a last-place club, but don’t expect any changes.” That’s how I felt, at least.

A couple of things happened yesterday afternoon in the aftermath of the trade deadline that softened my stance somewhat. First, the reports about guys like Pence pumping his arms and Lopez shaking hands with everyone upon finding out they were staying in San Francisco. Professional sports are hard for most people to wrap their heads around – even the most serious fans. Yes, we watch the games, we read the reports and we crunch the numbers, but I think sometimes we forget about the human element. Sure, these guys are paid like kings to play a game that most of us stop playing when we’re 12 or 13 years-old, but for them it’s still a way of living. Can you imagine having to wonder at July 31 every year if you’d be staying with your company and co-workers? While there are many players who could care less where they play, and don’t give a damn about their managers, teammates or the fans, there are so many others who do care about those things. You have to give Sabean credit; he’s assembled one hell of a group of quality guys on this team. To hear about Pence, Lopez and some of the others whose names were swirling around the rumor mill all week expressing their gratitude for getting to remain a San Francisco Giant this year, now that says something to me. Most players are dying to get moved from a team 13 games below .500, and I think that just goes to show the bond that this group of guys have.

Sabean also revealed yesterday that he was a bit embarrassed at some of the offers he received in the hours leading up to the deadline. He said he wasn’t going to move his guys unless he was blown away, and apparently he wasn’t. Honestly, I think that’s fair at this point. If you don’t get what you’re looking for, there’s no reason to deal a player who doesn’t want to be dealt in the first place. Make no mistake about it, Sabean has some decisions to make in the offseason for how he can put a contender on the field again. Right now, I’m definitely concerned for next season, but I will say that I have changed my opinion about his lack of moves yesterday. Like I said, it was an emotional day for all of us!

****

Gosh, the games have been tough to watch lately. I’ll be honest, I barely tuned in for Tuesday night’s loss. For some reason, I just couldn’t get myself too excited for a game with Zito and Quiroz as the battery. However, with Roger Kieschnick making his debut yesterday, that’s a game I’m not going to miss. Even in a season as dismal as this one, I still get pretty amped up to see guys get promoted from Fresno. Especially when it’s a player I’ve been following since he was drafted. So Kieschnick (and Brett Pill) gave me a reason to watch, and it turned out they gave me many reasons to be excited as well.

I don’t care whether your team is 15 games up or 15 games down, you still have to remember why you love the sport. If you can’t laugh with your best friend when Chad Gaudin pulls the bat back and slaps a seeing-eye grounder through the left side (as I did yesterday), maybe you need to rethink your fanhood. By the way, that first hit is the toughest Chad. For me, seeing guys like Pill and Kieschnick who’ve grinded their way up through the system make the most of their opportunity in the big leagues, I get pretty fired up. When those two drove in 3 runs in the first, I was a fist-pumping machine. A 2-5 with 2 RBI in your debut? Not too shabby, Roger.

Ultimately, Kieschnick and (our new power hitter) Pill led the offense to a blowout win, and Chad Gaudin was steady on the mound again. The Giants played like a team that was relieved to be together. Sabean showed a lot of faith in this group by keeping them intact yesterday, and I’m really hoping everyone will breathe a little easier, and maybe start winning some ball games again. Right now, we’ve got some fresh faces providing energy out there, and we might be saying goodbye to few older ones soon. This team is basically dead to rights in the standings, but there’s hope for a better finish… and that’s all I can really ask for.

Roger Kieschnick’s Debut (and some other stuff, too)

**Edit** I should know better than to post during the trade deadline. Forget what I wrote about Wilson. He took a minor league deal with the Dodgers. Can’t blame the guy for wanting to join a contender, but come on man, the Dodgers?!

Yesterday was a pretty eventful off-day for the Giants, including a visit to the White House (if you haven’t seen the picture of the team with President Obama, it’s pretty awesome, and I might have to tag a link to it) and a bus ride from D.C. to Philadelphia. Also included in the day was a major stir created by the greatest BS’er among the Giants’ beat writers, Baggarly, in which the Giants were making some roster moves and a trade was possible. Of course, people are already on edge this time of year with the trade deadline so close, so you can imagine the fiasco that ensued. It’s amazing to see the bevy of emotions people have regarding Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum.

Ultimately, the scandalous roster moves resulted in Brett Pill and Roger Kieschnick getting called up from Fresno, with Kensuke Tanaka optioned and Tony Abreu placed on the DL to make room. For Pill, the return to the bigs came just a day late, as he was on a plane while guys like Moscoso, Francoeur and Tanaka were on the White House lawn. I know this game is a business, and I’m sure Pill would never put up a stink, but it’s pretty embarrassing to me that they couldn’t have gotten him to D.C. with the club. He’s put in his dues for the organization, that’s for sure. Oh well.

Kieschnick will be making his big league debut, which is pretty exciting for those of us who have followed his play since the Giants drafted him in 2008. Four years ago, Kieschnick was the Mac Williamson of the organization, putting up impressive power numbers in the California League. Like many prospects, he stalled out a bit in AA thanks in large part to nagging injuries. After spending a second season in Richmond, he worked his way up to Fresno for Opening Day 2012. He started the season on fire, flashing his signature power with 15 HR by the end of May. But another injury likely cost him a shot at a promotion last summer. He returned to Fresno this year, healthy, and has had an up and down season to date. He’s a .273 hitter with 13 HR and an impressive 49 extra base hits, but he still averages a strikeout per game… Contact has always been an issue with him.

Now, Roger K. is on his way to The Show, and I for one am excited. He’s a big, athletic guy with a powerful left-handed bat and a very strong outfield arm. Let’s hope the Giants give him a real chance to show what he’s capable of. I mean, he can’t do any worse than the rest of the lineup has lately.

Some other thoughts:

The latest report on MLBTraderumors has the Giants now saying they will definitely move Javier Lopez by tomorrow. I think most of us were expecting this. He’s one of the best situational lefties in the game, and Bochy’s bullpen will significantly take a hit when he leaves. But the story goes that he wants to be closer to his home on the East Coast. Yesterday I read Sabean was asking for a ML ready starting pitcher for Javy, which is probably not going to happen now that they’ve made it known he’s going to be dealt. That kind of lowers your leverage a bit, if it doesn’t kill it altogether.

Not much change on Pence and Lincecum. The Giants want to bring them both back next year, or at least make them a qualifying offer. However, they still won’t say they aren’t going to trade them. It’s a bit of a strange situation, but I don’t think you’ll see Tim going anywhere. There’s no way he’ll get much of a return, in my opinion. Pence is another story, but I get the feeling the Giants think they will regret trading him. Honestly, who knows what happens here. I don’t think the Rangers have enough to offer, but Pittsburgh and Cincinnati certainly do. If one of those two really wants the Rev, Sabean can get pretty particular with names. Both clubs have some serious talent on the farm, so that could be fun.

Lastly, it sounds like we’re down to three teams in on Brian Wilson: Pirates, Dodgers, and Los Gigantes. Personally, I think we are the best fit for Wilson (if the money is right). The Giants are looking for someone to give them a shot of life, and Wilson is looking to audition for an offseason contract. Both may be able to happen if he spends the final couple of months in San Francisco. Many probably see him as a waste of time for the Giants, but I really think the team needs him as much as he needs them at this point. Just my take, maybe you disagree.

Coming Soon to a Park Near You?

**Edit** Sounds like Pill and Kieschnick have been called up from Fresno this afternoon. Per Baggs, they’ll be in Philly tomorrow. Tanaka optioned, Abreu to DL… and Giants’ beat writers are full of __it, as usual.

With the trade deadline soon approaching and the Giants on one of their worst slides in recent memory, there’s so much uncertainty surrounding the team right now. While I have a hard time believing that nobody from the current 25-man roster will be traded in the next couple days, I truly don’t think we’ll see any big deals involving guys like Lincecum, Sandoval, Romo and most notably, Pence.

There are a number of factors that go into this train of thought, ranging from contract status, market value, trade return, comments from Brian Sabean himself, and, not to be forgotten, the player’s popularity with the fans. At this point, though, the season seems lost. Barring a miracle, the Giants will likely finish the year in the bottom-third of the standings. That being said, this team is in dire need of some changes. The current group, despite its huge achievements in the past, is putting a pretty awful product on the field these days. That is something the front office will need to change, as soon as possible preferably.

The Giants haven’t had a season like this since 2008, and it got me thinking: there sure are a lot of interesting guys on the squad in Fresno this year. Even if Sabean doesn’t make any big splashes on the trade front, we’re certain to see a few familiar faces get called up from AAA at some point. I’d bet we’ll see a couple new faces as well. Just my opinion here, but if you’re out of the race, it’s time to see what you’ve got going into next season. Some of these guys have earned the chance to get an extended look. Others would just be fun to see for some of us prospect-watchers.

I put together a list of the guys who are potential August/September call-ups, in order of most likely to get the call (my opinion). There are quite a few names, and for now we’ll keep it at AAA guys. It’s not likely anyone below Fresno would get a look, but I guess you never know. Maybe Mark Minicozzi or Javier Herrera from AA? My guess is no, but as Kruk says, stranger things have happened.

Brett Pill: 95% – Pill hasn’t gotten much of a shot this year, but I’d think he’s a lock for a call-up, just to add some pop off the bench. He crushes AAA pitching, but he doesn’t look like he can hit the big league breaker. I’d still like to see him get regular AB’s for a month, but that would require Belt on the bench or in the OF. Not likely.

Jake Dunning: 92% – Dunning pitched well in 19 innings with the Giants, but was sent down to make room for Joaquin Arias and newly-acquired Guillermo Moscoso. He’s got a nice fastball and shows a pretty cool head. He’ll probably be back at some point as long as he doesn’t melt in Fresno (a la Mike Kickham).

Hector Sanchez: 90% – Sanchez played a big role in last year’s World Series run, providing offense when Posey needed a break. This season, he pulled a Sandoval and showed up out of shape. He’s back in Fresno after injuries and inconsistency in SF, but I’d be shocked if he’s not called up when rosters expand in September.

Nick Noonan: 85% – Noonan has paid his dues in the minors. He flashed some nice plate discipline back in April after making the Opening Day lineup. He’s been passed over by Arias and Tony Abreu, but I’d like to see him get another shot.

Eric Surkamp: 85% – Surkamp got knocked around in his first ML action post-Tommy John surgery, but I’d say he’s a good bet for some September action if the Giants choose to rest Cain and Bumgarner.

Francisco Peguero: 75% – Peguero got a big league sniff last year, and earned another call-up early this season. The Giants didn’t give him much of a leash, and he hasn’t been back since. If he can stay healthy in Fresno, he’s another guy who needs a chance to prove himself in the outfield.

Heath Hembree: 70% – The Giants say he doesn’t have a secondary pitch, but I really think it’s time to see what Hembree DOES have, and that’s a mid-90’s heater. If you can’t give him a chance now, you might as well trade him.

Roger Kieschnick: 70% – Kieschnick would have gotten called up in 2012, but he suffered a season-ending injury. He’s been hurt a lot in his pro career, but he’s another guy who deserves a chance to show what he can do. He’s got power and a nice outfield arm, and I’m ready to see it.

Mike Kickham: 65% – Kickham has kind of fallen off the table lately in Fresno, and that may cost him a shot at getting back to AT&T Park. But it really would behoove the Giants to see if he can’t work some of his kinks out in September.

Juan Perez: 60% – Perez provided a nice spark during his brief debut in June. He played the best CF on the team, giving up his body for amazing catches and firing runners out at second, third and home. He couldn’t really hit, but I’ll say this: when he was in the lineup, I was watching to see what he’d do next. Might have to wait for Peguero and Kieschnick before he gets another shot now, though.

Dan Runzler: 45% – Runzler had a great spring, but hasn’t pitched all that well in Fresno. His strong, erratic left arm has major league stuff. If the team needs a lefty, I’d say he gets some consideration.

Gary Brown: 40% – Brown hasn’t really earned a call-up at this point, but maybe he gets a cup of coffee in September. The Giants really need their former top prospect to start hitting, and soon.

Brett Bochy: 35% – Bochy probably could have been in San Francisco this year if not for injuries and a shaky start to his season. He’s nothing fancy, but he’s closed games before, and it’d be pretty cool to see father Bruce and son Brett on the AT&T mound together.

Justin Fitzgerald: 30% – Fitzgerald is a 5th starter type and a UC Davis grad. He’s 27 and struggling in Fresno, but I’d have to think his name has at least been mentioned a couple times in talks for a spot starter.

Chris Dominguez: 25% – Dominguez seems to have changed his approach at the plate this year. He’s hitting for higher average but less power, and reportedly has a cannon at third. He’s been a strikeout machine since being drafted out of Louisville, but maybe he forces his hand in September?

Ehire Adrianza: 20% – Adrianza is a classic all-glove, no-hit shortstop. His elite defense has had him ranked in the Giants top 10 prospects in the past. He’s now one step away from the bigs. He’s still pretty young, so there’s no rush, but if he can hit at all, he’s got at least a utility job waiting for him down the road.

Johnny Monell: 15% – Monell is a catcher/1B with tremendous power, but he’s a terrible defender by most accounts. It’d be interesting to see if his left-handed bat could play at AT&T.