All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don’t get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get out of the top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you are looking for.
1) Madison Bumgarner, LHP, Grade A: Health is a risk as with any young pitcher, but incredible performance at a young age and improved secondary stuff stands out.
2) Buster Posey, C, Grade A-: Excellent defense, should hit for average with high OBP and at least moderate power.
3) Tim Alderson, RHP, Grade B+: Borderline A-. Doesn’t have Bumgarner’s stuff but pitched well at a higher level with great command.
4) Angel Villalona, 1B, Grade B: Grade A power potential, Grade C refinement. Horrid plate discipline balances out extreme youth at this point.
5) Conor Gillaspie, 3B, Grade B-: I like the
6) Henry Sosa, RHP, Grade B-: Good arm, but a bit erratic, can he stay healthy?
7) Nick Noonan, 2B, Grade B-: Strike zone judgment needs work but I like the other skills.
8) Travis Ishikawa, 1B, Grade C+: In under the 130 at-bat rule. Should be a solid player but I don’t see stardom in him.
9) Waldis Joaquin, RHP, Grade C+: Fits the tradition of power arms in this organization.
10) Rafael Rodriguez, OF, Grade C+: I have no idea where to rank guys like this. Could be anything from a superstar to a superdud.
11) Jose Casilla, RHP, Grade C+: Another power arm of interest, though a long way away.
12) Clayton Tanner, LHP, Grade C+: I like him as a sleeper for ’09.
13) Jesse English, LHP, Grade C+: Added to 40-man roster, rebuilt his career following injuries with a strong year in the Cal League.
14) Scott Barnes, LHP, Grade C+: Intriguing lefty out of
15) Luis Perdomo, RHP, Grade C+: Nice pickup in the Rule 5. Could help in bullpen quickly.
16) Ehire Adrianza, SS, Grade C+: Good scouting reports, good glove, sample size very small. Could rise rapidly in grade in ’09. Other sources will rank him higher.
17) Kelvin Pichardo, RHP, Grade C+: Another power arm who can help if he throws strikes.
18) Sergio Romo, RHP, Grade C+: In under the 50-inning rule Great story, I like him a lot, but beware fly balls and unsustainable BABIP leading to regression to mean.
19) Jesus Guzman, 3B, Grade C+: Signed away from
20) Joseph Martinez, RHP, Grade C: Wins with marginal stuff. Can he do this in the majors?
Others: Brandon Crawford, SS; Matt Downs, UT; Wendell Fairley, OF; Jason Jarvis, RHP; Roger Kieschnick, OF; Aaron King, LHP; Mike Loree, RHP; Daryl Maday, RHP; Osiris Matos, RHP; Thomas Neal, 1B; Kyle Nicholson, RHP; Juan Carlos Perez, OF; Kevin Pucetas, RHP; Edwin Quirate, RHP; Ryan Rohlinger, 3B; Adam Witter, C-1B.
As usual, don’t sweat so much about where the Grade C+/C types rank exactly on this list. After I get past the top 10 I don’t worry so much about exact placement, since I’m trying to concentrate on the book right now. Some of the Grade C guys could be C+ in the book, and vice versa.
SYSTEM IN BRIEF:
The system has three outstanding prospects in Bumgarner, Alderson, and Posey. After that the question marks start, with guys like Villalona and Gillaspie having notable strengths but also weaknesses that prevent a higher grade at this time.
The Giants seem to have a knack for finding spare pitching between the couch cushions, and are adept at picking up both power arms and more polished guys. You never know which young pitcher is going to go Foppert on you, so it is wise to gather as many as possible.
They have considerably less depth in position players, and at lower levels are relying on raw tools guys like Rodriguez and Fairley to carry the load. Even college pick Kieschnick is relatively raw. Don’t worry about Posey, though. I think the only thing that could derail him is injury, a risk for all young catchers.
Reports on these guys and over 1,000 others can be found in the 2009 Baseball Prospect Book. Pre-order for January 31st shipping now!