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The 2015 San Francisco Giants Top 10 Prospects

Announcement: For my analysis – including Ranking the Top 250 Prospects, Ranking the Farm systems, and in-depth commentary for over 900 minor leaguers – check out my book, The 2015 Prospect Digest Handbook, now available on Amazon!

For an explanation on the CAL, the Comparison And Likeness prospect classification system I derived, click here.

 

 

1.  Kyle Crick, RHP

Born: 11/30/92  Age: 22   Height: 6-2   Weight: 220   B/T: L/R                                                        
Top CALs: Chris Archer, Luke Jackson, Henry Owens, Aaron Sanchez, Zack Wheeler
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2012 19 A 111.3 2.51 3.53 10.4 27.1% 5.4 14.2% 0.08 75.4%
2013 20 A+ 68.7 1.57 2.94 12.5 33.8% 5.1 13.9% 0.13 78.5%
2014 21 AA 90.3 3.79 3.96 11.1 27.9% 6.1 15.3% 0.70 75.3%

Background: For Kyle Crickthe 2014 minor league season ended just as it began – stricken with questions about his potential big league future. The former supplemental first round pick has been one of the minors’ elite strikeout artists since entering professional ball back in 2011: he’s faced 1189 hitters in parts of four seasons and 342 have come up empty – roughly 29%. Unfortunately for Crick – and the Giants as well – he’s walked 175 in the same time period – or roughly 15%. That means nearly 44% of the hitters he faced in his career have either ended in a walk or strikeout. And last season’s 23-game, 90.1-inning stint with Richmond was no different; Crick averaged 11.1 strikeouts and a career worst 6.1 free passes every nine innings.

Projection: I could go on and on and on about Crick’s ceiling as a legitimate front-of-the-rotation arm until I’m blue in the face. But none of that’s going to happen if his well below-average command/control doesn’t take a modest (read: gigantic leap) forward. And if it doesn’t happen within the next two or three seasons he’s going to be pushed into a late-inning role out of the bullpen.

Ceiling:  4.0- to 4.5-win player

Risk:  Moderate to High

MLB ETA:  2016

 

 

2.  Clayton Blackburn, RHP

Born: 01/06/93  Age: 22   Height: 6-2   Weight: 260   B/T: L/R                                                        
Top CALs: Matt Wisler, Edwin Escobar, Jonathan Niese, Noah Syndergaard, Jhoulys Chacin
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2011 18 R 33.3 1.08 3.88 8.1 25.0% 0.8 2.5% 0.54 83.3%
2012 19 A 131.3 2.54 2.29 9.8 26.9% 1.2 3.4% 0.21 68.9%
2013 20 A+ 133.0 3.65 3.86 9.3 25.2% 2.4 6.4% 0.81 63.7%
2014 21 AA 93.0 3.29 2.54 8.2 22.0% 1.9 5.2% 0.10 67.7%

Background: Back in late 2012 I wrote, “As a prospect, Blackburn is really underappreciated. He dominated older competition, showed poise beyond his years, and generated a lot of weak contact. He won’t be a star, but he could be a solid #2/#3-type guy.” Fast forward two years, the former 16th round pick out of Edmond Santa Fe HS has done nothing to dissuade me of that thinking. In 18 starts with Richmond last season Blackburn, who wedged in a rib injury to shorten his campaign, tossed 93.0 innings, fanned 85, and walked just 20 – the same amount of free passes org-mate Kyle Crick tallied in his first seven games. Blackburn finished with an Eastern League-leading 2.54 FIP, a full half run better than the runner up (Taylor Rogers).

Projection: Sort of the anti-Kyle Crick. Blackburn’s control is simply on a different planet. The 6-foot-2 right-hander has averaged just 1.7 free passes every nine innings for his entire career. Again, he’s a solid mid-rotation-type arm. Blackburn should be among the first wave of call ups during the year.

Ceiling:  3.0- to 3.5-win player

Risk:  Low to Moderate

MLB ETA:  Early 2015

 

 

3.  Tyler Beede, RHP

Born: 05/23/93  Age: 22   Height: 6-4   Weight: 200   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: N/A

 

YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2014 21 R 8.7 3.12 2.88 11.4 29.0% 4.2 10.5% 0.00 66.7%
2014 21 A- 6.7 2.70 3.07 9.5 23.3% 4.1 10.0% 0.00 81.8%

Background: One of the bigger gambles in recent memory – though it was slightly bested by Phil Bickford’s refusal to sign as the tenth overall pick in 2013 – Beede spurned the Blue Jays’ best offer as the 21st overall pick in 2011 and headed to Vanderbilt University, a very under-the-radar college known for churning out pitching prospects. Well, after a solid three-year career that bordered on pure dominance at times, the Giants happily snagged the 6-foot-4 right-hander with the 14th overall pick. After throwing 113.1 innings during his junior season (116 K and 53 BB), the club limited Beede to just over 15 innings of work between the Arizona Summer League and Salem-Keizer.

Projection: Prior to the draft I wrote,

“One of the best collegiate arms available in this year’s class, particularly coming from the rotation, Beede has the makings of a #2-type pitcher, though that depends upon how he controls the strike zone at the next level. His control has wavered in the earlier parts of his career, and he’ll need to continue to show that this season’s strong showing is more than just an aberration. Outside of N.C. State’s Carlos Rodon, Beede has a high of a ceiling as any collegiate hurler. That, of course, comes with a little more risk.”

Ceiling:  3.0- to 3.5-win player

Risk:  Moderate to High

MLB ETA:  2018

 

 

4.  Andrew Susac, C

Born: 03/22/90  Age: 25   Height: 6-1   Weight: 215   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: Lou Palmisano, Jose Lobaton, Ryan Lavarnway, Michael McKenry, George Kottaras
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2012 22 A+ 426 .244 .351 .380 .731 .136 12.9% 23.5% 96
2013 23 AA 310 .256 .362 .458 .820 .202 13.5% 21.9% 129
2014 24 AAA 253 .268 .379 .451 .830 .183 13.4% 19.8% 119

Background: The former second round pick out of Oregon State played his way into a semi-regular role for the eventual World Champs. Susac started the year by batting a solid .268/.379/.451 with Fresno and capped it off by slugging .273/.326/.426 in the big leagues. For his minor league career, Susac owns a .254/.362/.422 triple-slash line while throwing out one-third of the would-be base stealers.

Projection: Not flashy, but the type that will grind it out over the course of the entire year and finish with something close to three wins above replacement. Susac could step in and start for probably close to 20 big league teams; unfortunately, San Francisco isn’t one of them. The 6-foot-1 backstop will sport a below-average tool, but compensates for it with 15-HR potential, strong walk rates, and some defensive prowess. San Francisco could deal him for some help at another position, or stash him away in case of injury.

Ceiling:  2.5-win player

Risk:  Low to Moderate

MLB ETA:  Debuted in 2014

 

 

5.  Christian Arroyo, 2B/SS

Born: 05/30/95  Age: 20   Height: 6-1   Weight: 180   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: Jorge Polanco, Marco Hernandez, Zhi Fang Pan, Starlin Castro, Michael Antonio
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2013 18 R 209 .326 .388 .511 .898 .185 9.1% 15.3% 145
2014 19 A- 267 .333 .378 .469 .847 .136 6.7% 11.6% 135
2014 19 A 125 .203 .226 .271 .497 .068 3.2% 17.6% 35

Background: Widely panned as an overreach in the draft two years ago, Arroyo – and to a lesser extent, the Giants – have continued to prove the detractors wrong. Coming off of an impressive debut in the Arizona Summer League (.326/.388/.511), Arroyo followed that up by slugging .333/.378/.469 en route to topping the Northwest League offensive average by 35%. The club pushed him up to full season ball for another 31 games and, well, he was pretty overmatched: .203/.226/.271.

Projection: Before the implosion in the Sally at the end of the year, Arroyo was a bit of an offensive force, showing a well-rounded approach with the bat. He’s still quite young – despite entering his third pro season, he’ll be just 20-years-old – so the late season flop should prove to be just a speed bump. Arroyo has the potential to develop into a league average MLB bat with some added value on defense.

Ceiling:  2.5- to 3.0-win player

Risk:  Moderate

MLB ETA:  Late 2018/Early 2019

 

 

6.  Adalberto Mejia, LHP

Born: 06/20/95  Age: 22   Height: 6-3   Weight: 195   B/T: R/L                                                        
Top CALs: Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Harrison, Steve Garrison, Jameson Taillon, Wesley Parsons
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2011 18 R 76.0 1.42 1.75 8.4 23.8% 1.0 2.7% 0.00 75.0%
2012 19 A 106.7 3.97 3.29 6.7 17.1% 1.8 4.5% 0.34 63.7%
2013 20 A+ 87.0 3.31 4.20 9.2 25.1% 2.4 6.5% 1.14 77.8%
2014 21 AA 108.0 4.67 3.78 6.8 17.9% 2.6 6.8% 0.75 64.1%

Background: The Dominican-born southpaw’s offseason had a rather rocky start: he was popped – and subsequently suspended – for testing positive for sibutramine, a stimulant which was marketed as a weight loss aid before the FDA warned of an increased risk for stroke and heart attacks. The drug was pulled off the shelves in several countries in 2010. On the field, though, Mejia’s production took a bit of downturn in 2014 after his breakout year in High Class A. After setting a career high in strikeout rate, 9.21 K/9, Mejia averaged just 6.83 K/9 with Richmond.

Projection: Assuming the young left-hander could move beyond the drug suspension, he could settle in as a nice mid- to back-of–the-rotation arm for the Giants. The control’s always been an above-average skill set; the strikeout ability has – at times – been impressive. He could be something – if he puts it all together.

Ceiling:  2.5- to 3.0-win player

Risk:  Moderate

MLB ETA:  2016

 

 

7.  Mac Williamson, RF

Born: 07/15/90  Age: 24   Height: 6-5   Weight: 240   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: Marc Krauss, Chad Tracy, John Wooten, Chris Rahl, Scott Cousins
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2012 21 A- 125 .342 .392 .596 .988 .254 4.8% 15.2% 178
2013 22 A+ 597 .292 .375 .504 .879 .212 8.5% 22.1% 129
2014 23 A+ 100 .318 .420 .506 .926 .188 13.0% 14.0% 146

Background: Williamson, a former third round pick out of Wake Forest, got off to a blistering start with Richmond last season, hitting a robust .318/.420/.506 while posting a 146 wRC+ through his first 100 plate appearances. And then he went down for the year. Tommy John surgery. For his career, Williamson has done nothing but hit – and hit for power: .300/.380/.519.

Projection: Prior to the injury, Williamson looked like he could potentially see some time down the stretch as an energy-infusion guy coming off the bench. Hell, maybe even more. But the time lost definitely puts a damper on his development curve. He’s now entering his age-24 season with just 23 games above High Class A. He has a chance to be a solid everyday guy.

Ceiling:  2.5-win player

Risk:  Moderate

MLB ETA:  Late 2015/Early 2016

 

 

8.  Hunter Strickland, RHP

Born: 09/24/88  Age: 26   Height: 6-4   Weight: 220   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: Jeff Stevens, Josh Ellis, Rob Delaney, Jerry Blevins, Guillermo Moscoso
YEAR Age Level IP ERA FIP K/9 K% BB/9 BB% HR/9 LOB%
2012 23 A+ 45.3 2.98 4.65 5.0 13.3% 1.6 4.3% 0.99 83.3%
2012 23 AA 42.3 4.46 4.45 7.0 17.9% 3.2 8.2% 1.06 73.8%
2013 24 A+ 21.0 0.86 3.06 9.9 30.3% 2.1 6.6% 0.43 95.9%
2014 25 AA 35.7 2.02 2.09 12.1 35.6% 1.0 3.0% 0.76 76.6%

Background: It took a long, long time for Strickland to sniff some big league action. Originally an 18th round pick by the Red Sox in 2007, Strickland put together some semi-decent production while working out of the rotation in the lowest full season levels – he tallied a 3.49 ERA while averaging just 5.3 punch outs and 1.4 free passes per nine innings – but shoulder surgery forced the 6-foot-4 right-hander to miss the entire 2011 season. Fully recovered in 2012, the Pirates, who had acquired him in the Adam LaRoche deal, converted him into a fulltime reliever when he got bumped up to the Eastern League. And then injury struck again. Strickland underwent the knife for Tommy John surgery, came back 10.5 months later, and has been ridiculously good. In 59.2 minor league innings, he’s fanned 78 and walked nine – NINE! San Francisco called him up last September and Strickland’s fastball averaged a tick over 98 mph.

Projection: Ridiculously dominant despite two severe arm injuries. Strickland’s fastball is one of baseball’s premium offerings. If he can continue to pound the zone like he has over the past season-and-a-half, Strickland could easily become one of baseball’s best relievers. As for his work in the big leagues last season, he posted a 9-to-0 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Ceiling:  1.5- to 2.0-win player

Risk:  Low to Moderate

MLB ETA:  2015

 

 

9.  Aramis Garcia, C

Born: 01/12/93  Age: 22   Height: 6-2   Weight: 195   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: Jae-Hyung, Travis Simas, Alex Real, Hunter Redman, Andy Paz
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2014 21 R 38 .219 .324 .313 .637 .094 13.2% 15.8% 92
2014 21 A- 76 .229 .289 .357 .647 .129 6.6% 25.0% 82

Background: Signed for $1.1 million as a second round pick out of Florida International last June, the 6-foot-2 backstop put together a solid three-year collegiate career, showing marked improvement in each of his seasons. His OPSs (beginning with his freshman campaign): .761, .900, 1.068. Garcia hit .368/.442/.626 during his final amateur season, slugging 14 doubles (a career high), two triples (another career best) and eight homeruns. San Francisco sent him to the Arizona Summer League in late July and then onto Salem-Keizer, but the overall results – .225/.301/.343 – left a lot to be desired.

Projection: Prior to the draft I wrote,

“Solid skills across the board with two above-average tools – bat and power – Garcia’s one of the top collegiate backstops, a hybrid of the offensive-minded Indiana’s Kyle Schwarber and the more well-rounded Max Pentecost. The lone knock, though, has been his level of competition and a rather sparse showing in the Cape following his sophomore season.”

Fringy everyday guy, though that could tick up with some defensive value.

Ceiling:  1.5- to 2.0-win player

Risk:  Moderate

MLB ETA:  2018

 

 

10.  Matt Duffy, SS

Born: 01/15/91  Age: 24   Height: 6-2   Weight: 170   B/T: R/R                                                        
Top CALs: Pat Blair, Eric Garcia, Robi Estrada, Kevin Medrano, Travious Relaford
YEAR Age LVL PA AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BB% K% wRC+
2012 21 A- 216 .247 .361 .286 .647 .038 12.0% 10.2% 97
2013 22 A 339 .307 .405 .418 .823 .111 13.3% 12.1% 142
2013 22 A+ 115 .292 .342 .509 .852 .217 6.1% 13.9% 120
2014 23 AA 417 .332 .398 .444 .842 .112 10.1% 15.8% 136

Background: Out of one of the better college baseball programs in the country, Long Beach State, Duffy has continued to defy the odds through his brief three-year career. Entering the professional ranks as an 18th round pick in 2012, Duffy hasn’t stopped hitting since his lackluster debut showing in short-season ball, posting back-to-back triple-slash lines of .303/.389/.443 and .332/.398/.444. In last year’s book I noted Duffy’s “smooth glove” and his potential to develop into a 1.5-win player and he only helped to re-affirm that analysis last season.

Projection: Again, a tremendous find late in the draft – especially considering how Duffy flailed away at collegiate pitching during his time at Long Beach State. In his junior campaign, he batted an unimpressive .244/.336/.289. Fast forward to the end of last year and Duffy now sports a career .304/.387/.413 line and actually made his MLB debut in 2014. Doubles pop, speed, and defensive value all add up to an underrated prospect.

Ceiling:  1.5-win player

Risk:  Low to Moderate

MLB ETA:  Debuted in 2014

 

 

 

**All Statistics Courtesy of FanGraphs**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



About

After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.


'The 2015 San Francisco Giants Top 10 Prospects' have 2 comments

  1. March 6, 2015 @ 6:45 PM James

    You got something wrong about Christian Arroyo. You put that he had an implosion at the end of the year when they pushed him up to low A ball….he STARTED the year in low A ball, was clearly overmatched, got hurt, and then reappeared healthy in short season league where he dominated. Do you not actually pay attention to the prospects? Man, completely butchered that you did.

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