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San Francisco Giants Top 20 2013 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

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Edwin Escobar
Edwin Escobar
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Today we finish the Top 20 review project with the San Francisco Giants. Remember, this is the PRE-SEASON list. This is not a new list. These are pre-season rankings and grades.

This list was originally published November 16, 2012 and revised on January 15, 2013.

1) Kyle Crick, RHP, Grade B+: The good: 1.78 ERA in 51 innings at High-A San Jose, 69 strikeouts, just 38 hits. The bad: 32 walks. Excellent stuff but command is an obvious issue.

2) Chris Stratton, RHP, Grade B+: 3.22 ERA with 109/40 K/BB in 106 innings, 99 hits for Low-A Augusta. Solid season, although this should be expected from an advanced college pitcher in the South Atlantic League.

3) Clayton Blackburn, RHP, Grade B+: 3.62 ERA with 119/28 K/BB in 117 innings for San Jose, 97 hits, 3.09 FIP. Maintaining excellent component ratios, ERA is steadily dropping after a rough patch in May, 31/5 K/BB in his last right starts. Some scouts are "meh" on him, others love his pitchability. I am among the optimists. He gets people out.

4) Gary Brown, OF, Grade B: Borderline B-. Hitting .234/.292/.396 with 12 homers, 12 steals, 28 walks, 110 strikeouts in 457 at-bats for Triple-A Fresno. Has developed his power at the expense of his contact skills and OBP, which is not what you want from a leadoff hitter.

5) Joe Panik, SS, Grade B-: Hitting .258/.334/.349 for Double-A Richmond, 49/49 BB/K in 430 at-bats. Not much power. Utility projection at this point.

6) Heath Hembree, RHP, Grade B-: 4.24 ERA, 26 saves, 58/15 K/BB in 47 innings for Fresno. Waiting for a middle relief job to open up.

7) Mike Kickham, LHP, Grade B-: 4.78 ERA at Fresno, 79/47 K/BB in 96 innings; in 18.2 major league innings, has given up 30 hits and 23 runs. Needless to say he has to do better than that and he hasn't lived up to the live-armed lefty potential I saw in him.

8) Martin Agosta, RHP, Grade B-: 2.03 ERA at Augusta, 97/34 K/BB in 80 innings; on-and-off the disabled list. Nothing wrong with his performance.

9) Andrew Susac, C, Grade B-: Borderline C+. Hitting .256 with 12 homers, .362 OBP/.458 SLG at Richmond, 42/68 BB/K hitting over .300 with power on the road. I like him, stock is up.

10) Francisco Peguero, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .311/.351/.425 in 228 at-bats between Triple-A and brief injury rehab in rookie ball. No change in status really; good tools, has made some improvements, plate discipline still doubtful, now 25.

11) Mac Williamson, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .276 with 19 homers, .358/.470 at San Jose, 41/114 BB/K in 434 at-bats. Like the power, strikeout rate is high enough to be of concern.

12) Chris Heston, RHP, Grade C+:
Released after posting 5.80 ERA with 97/46 K/BB in 109 innings in Triple-A to make room for Jeff Francoeur on the 40-man; the Giants then re-signed him.

13) Steven Okert, LHP, Grade C+: 3.16 ERA at Augusta, 49/22 K/BB in 51 innings; better stuff than most A-ball LOOGY types.

14) Stephen Johnson, RHP, Grade C+:
4.50 ERA with 57/27 K/BB in 42 innings for Augusta. Love the strikeout rate, throws very hard, needs sharper control.

15) E.J. Encinosa, RHP, Grade C+: 3.12 ERA in 17 innings for Salem-Keizer in the Northwest League, 21/10 K/BB, just eight hits and a 2.50 GO/AO. Needs a larger sample and better control, but other ratios are quite impressive.

16) Josh Osich, LHP, Grade C+: 2.45 ERA with 12 saves, 48/10 K/BB in 40 innings at San Jose, but a 7.07 ERA in 14 innings in Double-A, 17/9 K/BB. Command has been troublesome at the higher level, although his ERA was inflated by two bad games. Good bullpen future I think.

17) Adalberto Mejia, LHP, Grade C+: 3.67 ERA in 67 innings between San Jose and a spot start at Fresno, 63/20 K/BB, 58 hits. He's had a decent year although overshadowed by the next guy.

18) Edwin Escobar, LHP, Grade C+: 2.73 ERA in 106 innings between San Jose and Richmond, 124/22 K/BB, 89 hits, has remained very effective after his promotion. Stock up, now among the more promising left-handed pitching prospects in baseball.

19) Adam Duvall, 3B, Grade C+: Hitting .251/.316/.463 with 13 homers, 27 walks, 55 strikeouts in 311 at-bats for Richmond. Mediocre glove and scouts downplay his tools, but his power has persisted at each level.

20) Ricky Oropesa, 1B, Grade C+: Overmatched at Richmond (.207/.255/.307 in 66 games), which dropped him down to San Jose (.328/.403/.545). Hanging by a thread at this point; first base prospects have to rake.

OTHERS: Ehire Adrianza, SS; Bryce Bandilla, LHP; Brett Bochy, RHP; Gustavo Cabrera, OF; Jesus Galindo, OF; Ian Gardeck, RHP; Joan Gregario, RHP; Cody Hall, RHP; Tyler Hollick, OF; Chuckie Jones, OF; Roger Kieschnick, OF; Chris Marlowe, RHP; Shilo McCall, OF; Mason McVay, LHP; Keury Mella, RHP; Nick Noonan, INF; Shawn Payne, OF; Eric Surkamp, LHP

The Giants sit in last place and really need more hitting, although the development of Brandon Crawford into a good hitter as well as defender is a big positive. Jake Dunning has provided some good innings; Mike Kickham did not.

It is telling that 26-year-old Roger Kieschnick got the call when the Giants needed a bat, not the more-heralded but disappointing Gary Brown. Andrew Susac is positioned for a breakout in 2014 in my view. Angel Villalona has knocked 20 homers between High-A and Double-A, though his plate discipline is really awful. There are some plausible future role players scattered through the system, but it is pretty thin positionally after Susac. A pair of high school bats in Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones headline the 2013 draft class, but neither look to make a short-term impact at the upper levels.

But what the Giants do have is pitching, lots and lots of pitching. Most of the top names have either held then own or actually improved. They have some guys who throw hard and some guys who throw strikes and some guys who do both. Kendry Flores, Joan Gregario and lefty Ty Blach have moved into the picture, and Keury Mella looks good so far in rookie ball.

Overall, the theme of the Giants farm system has stayed pretty consistent: they have a bundle of arms, but hitting isn't nearly as deep.

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