The San Francisco Giants have done a tremendous job of developing prospects over the last decade and many homegrown players contributed to the team’s 2010 and 2012 World Series victories. General Manager Brian Sabean has been a stabilizing force for the franchise as he continues to find the right mix of veteran acquisitions and prospects to keep the Giants competitive almost every year. Despite Sabean’s best efforts, the Giants farm system is a little thin this year.
1. Kyle Crick, RHP 6’4” 220 lbs.
Crick posted a 1.57 ERA and struck out 95 batters in 68.2 IP in the California League last year. Crick has a great frame and his fastball sits in the mid-90s. His stuff is excellent, but scouts have serious concerns about his command and high-effort delivery. In all three of Crick’s professional seasons, his K/9 has been at least 10.3 and his K/BB has increased every year. This is indicative of improved command. Crick is a high-ceiling player who will become a good starter if he continues to refine his delivery and control.
2. Edwin Escobar, LHP 6’2” 200 lbs.
Escobar split time between the California League and Eastern League in 2013 and posted good stats at both levels. His combined WHIP and ERA were 1.10 and 2.80, respectively. Surprisingly, his WHIP and ERA improved after he was promoted to Double-A. This is especially odd given that his strikeout rate dipped and walk rate increased after the promotion. Regardless, Escobar is a high-ceiling pitcher who has the potential to become a mid-rotation starter in the majors. Escobar’s velocity is average and his fastball usually falls between 88-92 MPH.
3. Clayton Blackburn, RHP 6’3” 220 lbs.
Blackburn is lower than #3 on most Giants prospect lists, but his exceptional command is hard to ignore. His 9.3 K/9 and 3.65 ERA in the California League last year demonstrating that he is a solid, yet unspectacular pitcher. However, his combined WHIP over three professional seasons is 1.00. Blackburn may not have a high ceiling, but his intelligence and command justify his ranking. He should develop into a solid starter who can eat innings.
4. Chris Stratton, RHP 6’3” 186 lbs.
Stratton had a solid season in the South Atlantic League in 2013. He posted a 3.27 ERA with 123 K in 132 IP. His 1.33 WHIP was mildly disappointing, even though it was an improvement from the previous season. Stratton was the Giants’ 1st round pick in the 2012 draft and has yet to live up to expectations. Stratton is athletic and has the tools, but he needs to show marked improvement this year to remain relevant.
5. Mac Williamson, OF 6’5” 240 lbs.
Mac Williamson had a monster season last year. He hit .292 with a .375 OBP. He also had 25 HR and 58 total extra base hits. Williamson is huge and has shown plus power in both of his professional seasons. He was 22 years old last season in the California League, making it hard to determine if he will be able to hit against the older, more experienced pitchers he is likely to face at more advanced minor league levels.
6. Christian Arroyo, SS 6’1” 180 lbs.
Arroyo was the Giant’s 1st round pick in the 2013 draft, so he has very little professional experience. However, he played well in 45 games in the Arizona League, hitting .326 with a .388 OBP. Arroyo amassed 25 extra base hits last year. He doesn’t have a lot of power and most scouts don’t think he’ll play SS in the long run, but he has the tools to be an above-average second baseman in the majors.
7. Adalberto Mejia, LHP 6’3” 195 lbs.
Mejia spent most of 2013 in the California League, but had one start in the Pacific Coast League. Mejia’s 1.14 WHIP was very good and his ERA (3.33) and K/9 (8.9) were solid. He doesn’t have dominant stuff and his fastball works in the low-90s. Mejia’s command is inconsistent and he may become a solid back-end starter, but he has a long way to go.
8. Heath Hembree, RHP 6’4” 210 lbs.
Hembree is a good reliever who pitched well in nine Major League games last year. His command has steadily improved over his career, but still needs some work. Hembree’s fastball can get up to 95 MPH and his delivery is repeatable. Hembree’s stats were solid in the Pacific Coast League in 2013, but he performed much better after reaching the majors. His 1.27 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 are indicative of his potential to be a good Major League reliever.
9. Andrew Susac, C 6’2” 210 lbs.
Susac had 29 extra base hits, hit .256, and posted a .362 OBP in the Eastern League in 2013. His stats aren’t eye-popping, but Susac has good power for his position. He also receives and throws well enough to stay behind the plate in the majors. Susac shows continual improvement, but industry opinions on him vary greatly. Expect him to be much higher on prospect lists next year.
10. Ty Blach, LHP 6’1” 200 lbs.
Blach’s ERA (2.90) and WHIP (1.09) were excellent last year. He has great control and will be an above-average back-end starter if he can stay healthy. Unfortunately, Blach has shoulder problems that may derail his career or force him to transition to the bullpen. Blach’s strikeout rate was fairly average last year and he was a little older than most players in the California League. His velocity is average and his fastball sits around 90 MPH.
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