It wasn’t long ago that calling the Giants’ farm system barren and devoid of Major League talent was as accepted as… well something that is widely accepted. Everybody in the system was seemingly old for their respective levels and the Giants tendency to punt draft picks for old past-their-prime players was only adding to the ineptitude of the organization. That, seemingly, has changed.
Enter the off season of 2008-2009 and we will see a Giants farm system with a new influx of talent at a number of positions and some once forgotten prospects that have crept their way back into prospect hounds’ collective consciousness. I give you a smattering of the best the Giants have to offer.
C- Buster Posey (Unsigned)- If he signs he has the chance to be the Giants’ top prospect without even playing an inning of professional ball. He is polished behind the plate and should pick up game calling rather quickly. His bat, which some people are not sure will provide much power, is maybe the best I have seen in college baseball. His swing is short and compact, he doesn’t strike out all that much and it is terribly difficult to argue with his career line at FSU. 398/.493/.626, 33 hr, 127w/101k.
C/ 1b- Pablo Sandoval (AA)- Once he looked like another Giants prospect who couldn’t walk and struck out too much but no things have changed a bit. After tearing up the Cal League, a hitter’s paradise, he moved to the Eastern League and to Dodd stadium, the place where hitting prospects go to die. Well, in his short time there the portly switch hitter has killed AA pitching and resurrected his prospect status. He now figures to have a shot at backing up Molina in 2009 if not this September.
1b- Angel Villalona (A)- I won’t bore you rehashing all the talk of his enormous potential but I will say that a kid who is nearly 3 years below the average age for his league and who is holding his own while flashing crazy power is nothing to sneeze at.
1b- Travis Ishikawa (AAA)- The Giants once had high hopes for the smooth fielding left masher but after a number of injuries and a million strikeouts his chance seemed all but gone. This year, however, he has been healthy and cut down on his strikeout while hitting the cover off of the ball in Connecticut and Fresno. Is he for real? I am not sure but if he is it is like finding a $20 in the pocket of some old jeans.
OF- Nate Shierholtz (AAA)- Much has been made of his inability to lay off bad pitches but he has hit well in Fresno and has been doing well against international competition for Team USA. The Giants don’ exactly have a dearth of outfielders but if Nate can hit for similar average and power in the bigs he may make Winn expendable.
SP- Madison Bumgarner (A)- Young for his league. Mowing down SAL hitters. May be promoted to San Jose before the season is out. One of the best pitching prospects in the game.
SP- Tm Alderson (A+)- See Bumgarner.
Others of mention: Connor Gillespie (unsigned), Brandon Crawford (unsigned), Eddie Martinez Esteve(AA), Henry Sosa (A), Raphael Rodriguez(instructional league soon), Wendell Fairley (AZL).
I know many of you non-Giants fans probably feel differently about these players. I would love to hear why I am wrong. So where do these players put the Giants in the grand scheme of farm systems?