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San Francisco Giants Top 20 Prospects for 2010

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San Francisco Giants Top 20 Prospects for 2010

All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don't get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get beyond the Top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you want to emphasize. Complete reports on these and over 1,000 other players are available in the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book. Pre-order now for February 2nd shipping!

1) Buster Posey, C, Grade A: No-brainer. All he needs is playing time.

2) Madison Bumgarner, LHP, Grade A-: Almost went with B+, but strikeout rates aren't everything. More concerned about dropping velocity. May still go with B+ eventually.

3) Thomas Neal, OF, Grade B: Solid all-around hitter, saw him in Arizona Fall League and he convinced me bat is for real.

4) Zack Wheeler, RHP, Grade B: I'm hesitant to give a grade this high to any high school pitcher without a pro track record, but I really like Wheeler.

5) Roger Kieschnick, OF, Grade B-: Love the power and he's not just a one-dimensional slugger, but the high strikeout rate and low walk rate is concerning. How will he transition to Double-A?

6) Tommy Joseph, C, Grade B-: Have to see where he fits defensively but scouting reports about the bat are very positive.

7) Dan Runzler, LHP, Grade B-: Very impressive relief arm, if he throws enough strikes.

8) Waldis Joaquin, RHP, Grade B-: Another impressive relief arm, if he throws enough strikes.

9) Jason Stoffel, RHP, Grade B-: Another impressive relief arm, could be a bargain as a fourth rounder.

10) Francisco Peguero, OF, Grade B-: Difficult to grade, speed and high batting average are positives, but walk rate is way too low. Borderline C+.

11) Rafael Rodriguez, OF, Grade C+: Held his own in rookie ball though power isn't there yet. Very very young, loads of potential but have to see how it pans out. Difficult to grade, you can make a case for B- as well as a straight C.

12) Jose Casilla, RHP, Grade C+: Another lively relief arm.

12) Nick Noonan, 2B, Grade C+: Numbers haven't lived up to scouting reports but still young. Giants hype him but I'm not sure at all that he will live up to it.

13) Aaron King, LHP, Grade C+: Live-armed lefty needs better command.

14) Henry Sosa, RHP, Grade C+: Can he stay healthy? Maybe a switch to relief would help.

15) Darren Ford, OF, Grade C+: Not convinced he'll hit at higher levels. Borderline Grade C.

16) Clayton Tanner, LHP, Grade C+: For some reason I like him a lot. Another borderline Grade C guy, need to see if game will work against better hitters.

17) Ehire Adrianza, SS, Grade C: Scouts love him. Great glove. I'm not convinced he'll hit, but I could be convinced to give him a Grade C+ and move him up the list. Anyone want to convince me?

18) Conor Gillaspie, 3B, Grade C: He showed outstanding plate discipline but nothing else. I think he still has a chance to be a good hitter.

19) Brandon Crawford, SS, Grade C: Excellent glove. I do not believe in his bat. Baseball America ranks Adrianza and Crawford much higher than I do.

20) Edwin Concepcion, RHP, Grade C: Interesting power arm at the lower levels with strikeouts/grounders combination.

OTHERS (all Grade C): Brandon Belt, 1B; Brock Bond, 2B; Jorge Buchardo, RHP, Craig Clark, LHP; Chris Dominguez, 3B; Matt Downs, INF-OF: Steve Edlefsen, RHP: Matt Graham, RHP; Julio Izturis, 2B; Mike McBryde, OF; Kyle Nicholson, RHP; Dan Otero, RHP; Joe Paterson, LHP: Brett Pill, 1B; Ryan Rohlinger, 3B: Ari Ronick, LHP; Hector Sanchez, C; Ben Snyder, LHP; Eric Surkamp, LHP; Ydwin Villegas, SS; Craig Westcott, RHP.

The Giants have one can't-miss prospect in Buster Posey, but after that things thin out. Bumgarner is something of an enigma for well-known reasons, and I keep going back and forth between A- and B+ for him. Neal looks very solid to me, while Wheeler is very promising but unproven professionally. The B- guys all have some impressive positives but enough uncertainty to preclude a higher grade at this point: Kieschnick's strikeouts, command for the pitchers, position and lack of experience for Joseph, Peguero's low walk rate. Same thing for the C+ guys only more so.

Baseball America's list which came out today ranks Adrianza 8th and Crawford 9th. This reflects the fact that the organization loves them, something that BA weights more heavily in their rankings than I do in mine. I like their gloves but have serious doubts about their bats, especially Crawford's. I've seen him play and I think he looks like a weak hitter. I could be persuaded to boost Adrianza's grade but I just don't believe in Crawford's bat and he's staying a C.

Overall this system has pitching depth, with a mixture of power and finesse arms. They could use more hitting depth beyond Posey and Neal. Joseph provides hope in that department if he is as polished a high school hitter as reports indicate.