Cove Chatter 100: Top 50 Links

ICYMI – This is the final time I’ll repost the Top 50 prospect links. Now, this should be the first post to show when someone clicks on the “Cove Chatter 100” category in the side bar. Instead of just fading away, I’d like for these profiles to be used as a reference (for myself, as well as others) as we go through the season. So know that these links, as well as the rest of the CC 100 series posts, will be only a click away, whether it’s two weeks from now or 3 months into the season. Thanks for following along, and remember that I’m always open for feedback on any of these profiles!

Honorable Mentions

50. Gustavo Cabrera
49. Rando Moreno
48. Chris Dominguez
47. Ian Gardeck
46. Chris Marlowe
45. Ricky Oropesa
44. Jarrett Parker
43. Dylan Brooks
42. Jonah Arenado
41. EJ Encinosa
40. Steven Okert
39. Tyler Mizenko
38. Tyler Hollick
37. Chuckie Jones
36. Johneshwy Fargas
35. John Riley
34. Shilo McCall
33. Jesus Galindo
32. Tyler Horan
31. Mason McVay
30. Hunter Strickland
29. DJ Snelten
28. Nick Vander Tuig
27. Dan Slania
26. Stephen Johnson
25. Bryce Bandilla
24. Matt Duffy
23. Chase Johnson
22. Brian Ragira
21. Angel Villalona
20. Adam Duvall
19. Cody Hall
18. Josh Osich
17. Ryder Jones
16. Gary Brown
15. Derek Law
14. Joan Gregorio
13. Martin Agosta
12. Kendry Flores
11. Joe Panik
10. Keury Mella
9. Chris Stratton
8. Ty Blach
7. Christian Arroyo
6. Mac Williamson
5. Clayton Blackburn
4. Adalberto Mejia
3. Andrew Susac
2. Edwin Escobar
1. Kyle Crick

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Cove Chatter 100: Fun with Numbers

With the prospect profiles finally complete, I thought we’d wrap up with a look at where the top 50 came from. Turns out 40 of these guys were drafted by the Giants, which is very nice to see if you’re a believer in the Giants’ ability to draft and develop, but not so great if you’re a downer like Keith Law who thinks the system is bottom 5 in baseball. I’ll take the optimistic route.

I think the 2013 draft class is a perfect example of this discrepancy. While the pundits knocked the Giants for their “reach” on Christian Arroyo – the #2 prospect in the AZL according to Baseball America – the organization went out and snagged some serious college sleeper talent, then hit it big on the back end with prep picks like John Riley, Johnshwy Fargas, Jonah Arenado and Dylan Brooks. Not too shabby if you ask me.

Actually, I look at the 3 most recent classes and see a ton of value. While Chris Stratton’s first full season might have drug the 2012 class down a bit, Mac Williamson, Ty Blach and Matt Duffy are looking like potential steals. Shilo McCall is hanging in there as the top prep pick, while there looks to be some nice bullpen talent among the Johnson, Okert, Encinosa, Gardeck group.

Speaking of talent, I hope you noticed that 3 of my top 5 are 2011 draftees. Joe Panik was the first pick among that group, and he comes in 4th on the top 50 (maybe even 5th depending on how you value Derek Law). Shankbone has made this point many a time, but this 2011 class could be the group that bolsters the Giants for years to come. That’s a good-looking group. 2010 on the other hand, seems to be fading big time. What will the Parker/Brown/Duvall trio do this year to counter?

On top of the 40 draft picks, you’ve got 8 players the Giants signed on the international market. International free agency has been a serious issue for this organization in recent years. Aside from Pablo, I don’t know that I can name another foreign signee that’s made any significant contribution for the MLB club in recent years… Hector Sanchez? It’s a promising group at the moment, but most of these guys are a ways off. Mejia leads the pack, but the trio of Flores/Gregorio/Mella has some serious upside. On the other side, Angel V. and Gustavo Cabrera are the last hope. If Cabrera can rebound from his accident, he could shoot to the top of this list. At this point though, we just don’t know what to expect from him going forward.

So 48 of the top 50 are guys signed or drafted by the organization. That’s pretty good, but it also shows the front office’s lack of willingness to split these guys up in recent years, for better or worse. One of the imports is Escobar, who is turning out to be one of Sabean’s most underrated prospect trades (which he generally doesn’t take part in). Strickland is the other, but he’s a guy the Giants really like as well.

Here’s the group broken down, with some positional rankings below.

2013 Draft: 12 (Arroyo, Ryder Jones, Ragira, Chase Johnson, Slania, Vander Tuig, Snelten, Horan, Riley, Fargas, Arenado, Brooks)

2012 Draft:  12 (Williamson, Blach Stratton, Agosta, Duffy, Stephen Johnson, McVay, McCall, Hollick, Okert, Encinosa, Gardeck)

2011 Draft: 11 (Crick, Susac, Blackburn, Panik, Law, Osich, Hall, Bandilla, Mizenko, Oropesa, Marlowe)

2010 Draft: 4 (Brown, Duvall, Chuckie Jones, Parker,

2009 Draft: 1 (Dominguez)

International FA: 8 (Mejia, Mella, Flores, Gregorio, Villalona, Galindo, Moreno, Cabrera)

Other Orgs: 2 (Escobar, Strickland)

Positional Breakdown:

RHP:  19 | LHP:  8 | C/IF: 13 | OF: 10

RHP:

  1. Crick
  2. Blackburn
  3. Stratton
  4. Mella
  5. Flores
  6. Agosta
  7. Gregorio
  8. Law
  9. Hall
  10. Chase Johnson
  11. Stephen Johnson
  12. Slania
  13. Vander Tuig
  14. Strickland
  15. Mizenko

LHP:

  1. Escobar
  2. Mejia
  3. Blach
  4. Osich
  5. Bandilla
  6. Snelten
  7. McVay
  8. Okert
  9. *Ysla
  10. *Christian Jones

C/IF:

  1. Susac
  2. Arroyo
  3. Panik
  4. Ryder Jones
  5. Villalona
  6. Duvall
  7. Ragira
  8. Duffy
  9. Riley
  10. Arenado
  11. Moreno
  12. Oropesa
  13. Dominguez
  14. *Sy
  15. *Escalante

OF:

  1. Williamson
  2. Brown
  3. Horan
  4. Galindo
  5. McCall
  6. Fargas
  7. Chuckie Jones
  8. Hollick
  9. Parker
  10. Cabrera

*Honorable Mention

Just for fun, here’s the “All-21 and Under” team.

  1. Crick
  2. Escobar
  3. Mejia
  4. Blackburn
  5. Arroyo
  6. Mella
  7. Ryder Jones
  8. Slania
  9. Snelten
  10. McCall
  11. Riley
  12. Fargas
  13. Chuckie Jones
  14. Hollick
  15. Arenado

Image

(CSNBayarea.com)

Cove Chatter 100: #1

Kyle Crick | RHP, 21 yo, 6-4, 220 | 2011 Draft – 1 (43) | (A+) 14 GS, 68.2 IP, 1.57 ERA, 6.3 H/9, 5.1 BB/9, 12.5 K/9 | (AFL) 7 G, 5 GS, 15.2 IP, 2.87 ERA, 9 H, 11 BB, 24 K

The clear-cut #1 prospect in the system, and a potential top of the rotation arm. Fastball runs 94-98 consistently and is nearly unhittable when it’s on. Still very inexperienced for a professional pitcher, and needs a healthy full season next year in order to keep progressing. His fastball can play at any level right now, but the change/slider/curve combination is a work in progress. He seems to be a calm kid with a good head on his shoulders, and I could see him taking off very soon if he works out his command issues. I think most people forget that he didn’t start pitching full time until the end of his high school career.

I think I’ve made it pretty clear around here just how excited I am about Crick, so I’ll let the rest of the Giants baseball world do the talking.

They said it:

“Explosive stuff…Pitches to an area of the plate rather than a finite location…He’s probably got a better fastball than Matt (Cain) had when he made it to the big leagues.” ~ Giants minor league pitching coordinator Bert Bradley

“…has a chance to have two plus pitches in his fastball and slider, along with a curve and changeup. If the command continues to improve, he can be a top-of-the-rotation starter.” ~ Johnathan Mayo, MLB.com

“He’s got big league stuff right now…He’s a big, strong kid and he has stuff that would play anywhere right now. It’s just a matter of harnessing it a little bit and getting him a little more efficient in the strike zone. If he does that, he can move very, very fast.” ~ San Jose pitching Coach Mike Couchee

“On the mound, he looks so much like Matt Cain if you did not know which one was pitching, you probably could not tell just by looking from the stands, all the way from his physical appearance down to his stance, windup and delivery.” ~ DrB, When the Giants Come to Town

“I don’t even know if I really had (a changeup) at the very beginning of the year…To actually throw it for strikes and dominate with it is a pretty good feeling.” ~ Kyle Crick

Crick 10 K’s Video:

Crick Cove Chatter Article:

Crick SJ Merc Article:

Crick SFGate Article:

A big thank you to everyone for following along throughout this series. It was well worth the time and effort, and I can’t wait to get back to the drawing board this summer for my mid-season list (which won’t be nearly this big). After months of focusing on the minors, it’s time to turn our attention somewhat back to the big leagues, with pitchers and catchers reporting in only a couple weeks. Don’t worry though, there will always be time for prospect talk here at Cove Chatter.

After pitching at Class A San Jose this summer, Kyle  Crick is now in the Arizona Fall League. Photo: Nick Oza, Special To The Chronicle

(Nick Oza)

Cove Chatter 100: #2

Edwin Escobar | LHP, 21 yo, 6-2, 200 | IFA 2008 VZ (Tex)

(A+) 16 G, 14 GS, 74.2 IP, 2.89 ERA, 8.2 H/9, 2.0 BB/9, 11.1 K/9

(AA) 10 GS, 54 IP, 2.67 ERA, 7.3 H/9, 2.2 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

(VWL) 18 G, 3 GS, 26 IP, 3.46 ERA, 29 H, 13 BB, 19 K

One of the biggest risers in the Giants system last year. Came to the organization in 2010 Ben Snyder trade. That swap could work out as one of Sabean’s all-time underrated moves if Escobar keeps progressing. Fastball tops out a tick below 95 from a three-quarter release, and secondary pitches seem to be farther along than the rest of his 2013 San Jose rotation mates. Slurvy breaking ball could use some work, but he’s got great control of all his pitches. Earned a midseason promotion to AA and didn’t miss a beat. A veteran in terms of professional experience, he should start the season in Fresno and could be ready for a shot in the big leagues very soon.

They said it: “He’s got that good swing-and-miss fastball, which astonishes me… It’s 90 to 94 and pretty straight, but he knows how to pitch with it and mix speeds with it.” ~ Andrew Susac

Escobar Article:

(Real Life Studios)

Cove Chatter 100: #3 (Not a typo)

Sorry for the mix-up on Mejia yesterday…

Andrew Susac | C, 23 yo, 6-2, 210, BR, TR | 2011 Draft – 2 | (AA) 84 G, 310 PA, .256/.362/.458, .820 OPS, 12 HR, 1 SB, 42 BB, 68 K | (AFL) 17 G, 50 AB, .360/.507/.480, .987 OPS, 2 HR, 16 BB, 11 K

Susac might have grown on me more in the past two months than any other prospect in the organization. He cemented his status as a top player in the Giants system with his strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. A 1st round talent who fell in the 2011 draft because of injuries at Oregon State, he’s starting to perform like a guy who has big league dreams in his future. He’s an offensive-oriented catcher who’s no slouch behind the dish either, although even he admits that he needs to concentrate on his defense a little more. Those types of players don’t come around all the time… just ask Buster Posey.

Speaking of Posey, Susac may have to be open to playing different positions if he wants a spot with the Giants down the road, as the front office seems committed to keeping Buster behind the dish for the long term. While Susac’s bat certainly isn’t Posey’s, I think a .260 average with 20-homer power and solid on-base skills is very possible for the athletic catcher. He’ll have to improve his durability if he wants to make it, as he has missed significant time to injuries over the past few seasons, even going back to his collegiate days. At worst, I can a see major league backup role with some pop off the bench in Susac’s future, but a starting gig is still very much in play at this point. If he’s healthy in 2014, he could have a big breakout season at the plate for Fresno.

They said it: “Has shown both offensive and defensive tools. Powerful and accurate arm behind plate and enough pop to hit home runs and hit for average. Solid catching tools.” ~ Bernie Pleskoff, MLB.com

(MiLB.com)

Cove Chatter 100: #4

Adalberto Mejia | LHP, 20 yo, 6-3, 195 | IFA 2010 DR | (A+) 16 GS, 87 IP, 3.31 ERA, 7.8 H/9, 2.4 BB/9, 9.3 K/9 | (AAA) 1 GS, 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K | (AFL) 7 G, 3 GS, 17 IP, 8.47 ERA, 18 H, 8 BB, 14 K

He doesn’t seem to get as much press as some of the other pitchers in the system, but Mejia is loaded with potential in his MLB-ready pitcher’s frame. He was in the Dominican Summer League only two years ago, and should be headed for Richmond next season – flying under the radar most of the way. He features a low-90’s fastball that showed good readings in the AFL, and a back-foot slider that can be devastating when it’s on… His secondary stuff could use some tightening up, but that should come with time. He was one of the youngest players in the Cal League last year, and will likely be another of the babies in the Eastern League this summer. A 20 year old lefty with size and impressive control (career 1.8 BB/9)? Sign me up!

They said it: “Tall lefty with good hard sink in 93-94 mph fastball, with a slider and changeup… I love this kid…It’s just a matter of command with him, and staying mechanically sound coming to the plate.” ~ Giants minor league pitching coordinator Bert Bradley

Mejia Video:

(Conner Penfold/Giant Potential)

Cove Chatter 100: #5

Clayton Blackburn | RHP, 21 yo, 6-3, 220 | 2011 Draft – 16 | (A+) 23 GS, 133 IP, 3.65 ERA, 7.5 H/9, 2.4 BB/9, 9.3 K/9

Blackburn has been quite impressive for the Giants since the day they drafted him. In his first 2+ professional seasons, the big righty has been durable and dominant, striking out over a batter an inning. He doesn’t have the stuff or the upside of fellow babies Kyle Crick or Adalberto Mejia – Blackburn works more in the high-80’s, low-90’s range with his fastball – but he may turn out to be the most dependable MLB pitcher of the bunch. He’s incredibly polished for a 21 year-old, throwing four pitches in any count, usually for strikes. Without the elite velocity, he’ll have to keep the ball down as he advances to the upper minors. His fastball probably won’t fool better hitters, but his curve is a thing of beauty when it’s below the knees. He’s held his own at every step so far, and I expect him to continue that trend into the future.

They said it: “Can throw four pitches for strikes. Organization wants him to work on his body, which is stocky, even if he is athletic for his size. He kind of reminds me of Rick Reuschel, body type and stuff-wise.” ~ Giants minor league pitching coordinator Bert Bradley

Blackburn Video:

Image

(Conner Penfold/Giant Potential)