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2013 Fantasy Baseball Prospects Recap: San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants center fielder Gary Brown
San Francisco Giants center fielder Gary Brown

Mar 4, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Gary Brown (10) at bat during the fifth inning at Camelback Ranch. Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

We take it back south from Seattle and return to the Bay Area to focus on the San Francisco Giants in our fantasy baseball prospects recaps. I find it very comical to hear Giants’ fans complain about their team, seeing how they just won two World Series titles in the last three seasons. I find many of them complain about the lack of pitching and how the Giants made the error in signing the current pitchers to long-term deals. Homegrown starting pitchers Tim LincecumMatt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner went from being the toast of the town to being the team’s weakest links–as a collective.

However, when it comes to the Giants, I see things from an optimist’s point-of-view. The team has won recent championships and they still have a pretty good starting rotation. If they’re struggling now, they’re still young enough to turn their careers around and that’s when the Giants should flip these guys and trade them immediately for good, young prospects; assuming they’re not contending for a playoff berth. But knowing how much Giants’ fans complain, public outcry will probably prevent the Giants’ from doing the smart thing. Luckily for them, they have a raw-but-talented pitching rotation for the future in their own farm system ready to carry the torch once Lincecum and Cain–and maybe even Bumgarner–are finally gone. And yes, when talking to Giants’ fans, they complain about the fact that they have to wait for said prospects to develop and make their way to the big league team. Talk about insatiability.

Before moving on, here’s a quick look at the previous teams that have received a Prospects Recap:

[Disclaimer: The players listed are based on the research I undertook entering the 2013 season. Players that were worth monitoring all season long are based on the paradigm that I used to rank my 2012 prospects’ list with an emphasis on being called up sooner rather than later and the impact each player might make in terms of fantasy baseball. However, unlike in years past, I actually selected a few, dark horse, low-level prospects with high potential that were still years away from coming close to making an impact to their big league clubs. Players that are currently with their Major League Baseball team will not be reviewed in this series].

Gary Brown–OF–2013

2013 Outlook: Speed is ticket to big leagues; needs work on base stealing skills; line-drive swing; some gap power.

Player

Class

PA

HR

RBI

SB

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

Gary Brown

AAA

571

13

48

15

31

124

.235

.290

.388

Brown’s 2013 season has been discouraging at best as this will be two seasons of disappointing play in Minor League Baseball. The BB/K is absolutely atrocious, especially for a talent like Brown. Even the one thing that makes Brown appealing, the ability to steal bases, has dwindled this season. There is one saving grace, however, as his gap power has been on full display as he will more than likely set a new career high in doubles. Also, coaches and managers of the Pacific Coast League named him the Fastest Base Runner and Best Defensive Outfielder in the league. So all was not completely lost, but Brown’s time as a prospect is running out. He will turn 25 in September.

Joe Panik–MI–2014

2013 Outlook: Good hitter with great contact skills; rarely strikes out; can be a future, number two hitter.

Player

Class

PA

HR

RBI

2B

BB

SO

AVG

OBP

SLG

Joe Panik

AA

556

4

52

25

51

60

.263

.336

.352

The potential for puns alone is worth the effort to root for this kid to make it to the big league team. Everything that was mentioned in his preseason scouting report–the contact skills (.290 BABIP), the plate discipline, etc.–has been on full display this season for Panik. He’s a solid, but unspectacular guy, but at middle infield, he’ll fit right in. If you value a guy like Marco Scutaro at second or short, Panik would fit that profile.

Heath Hembree–RP–2013

2013 Outlook: Armed with a 97 mph fastball and a hard slider; could become a closer in the big leagues.

Player

Class

IP

W

L

ERA

WHIP

K/9

BB/9

H/9

HR/9

Heath Hembree

AAA

53.3

1

4

4.22

1.29

10.3

2.7

8.9

1.2

I really don’t like recommending pitchers who come out of the bullpen in the minors, but it’s hard to ignore a guy with Hembree’s repertoire. Although ERA, WHIP, and HR/9 are not up to elite levels for closers, he does have a K/BB of 3.8, which would probably place him in the top half portion of Major League Baseball closers. Along with the good strikeout totals, he has also racked up 30 saves this season–a career high. It goes without saying (but I’m going to say it anyway) that Hembree’s value in fantasy baseball highly depends if he is actually utilized as a closer.

Chris Stratton–SP–2015

2013 Outlook: Potential to be a 4-pitch hurler; low-90s fastball; good understanding of pitching

Player

Class

IP

W

L

ERA

WHIP

K/9

BB/9

H/9

HR/9

Chris Stratton

A

125.3

8

3

3.16

1.32

8.5

3.2

8.7

0.4

Stratton is one of those pitchers who might take over the rotation in a few years for the Giants but he could do himself a favor by improving on some slight command and control issues. Otherwise, Stratton is off to a decent start to his pro career, as not only are his strikeout totals more than adequate, but he has a knack for inducing plenty of ground balls. He even made the South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Not a lights-out prospect, but a steady pitcher nevertheless.

Kyle Crick–SP–2015

2013 Outlook: Only 20, but has size and athleticism; raw pitcher with great fastball, but lacks command; future ace, but needs a lot more polish

Player

Class

IP

W

L

ERA

WHIP

K/9

BB/9

H/9

HR/9

Kyle Crick

A+

61.7

2

1

1.75

1.38

12.3

5.7

6.7

0.1

This might be the first time that a 12.3 K/9 is overshadowed by a pitcher’s BB/9. Crick’s control issues are too big to ignore, but the one thing that Crick has that the other prospects mentioned do not have is time. All the other numbers show a starter that has pretty much dominated this season. That dominance helped him make it to this year’s Futures Game. Managers and coaches in the California League seem to not be too concerned with Crick’s control problems as they awarded him Best Fastball and Best Pitching Prospect. So Crick has a long way to go and may not see action in 2014 to contribute in fantasy leagues, but the high walk totals definitely will have owners shy away from Crick, making him a widely available starting pitcher for those owners looking for prospects.

Clayton Blackburn–SP–2015

2013 Outlook: Only 20, but has a 94 mph fastball; Aggressive; curve is inconsistent; good changeup.

Player

Class

IP

W

L

ERA

WHIP

K/9

BB/9

H/9

HR/9

Clayton Blackburn

A+

127.0

7

5

3.83

1.12

9.3

2.4

7.7

0.9

It is simply amazing how both Blackburn and Crick are both 20 years of age, yet Blackburn is already the more polished pitcher. His 2013 campaign has helped Blackburn garner more attention as he went from being ranked as the 13th best prospect in the organization according to MLB.com to currently sitting as the second best prospect for the Giants. Blackburn was also given credit for having the Best Breaking Pitch in the California League this season. Just like Crick, Blackburn may not be expected to pitch for the big league club in 2014, but fantasy leaguers in Dynasty/Keeper Leagues should not hesitate to pick up Blackburn if there’s room on your team.

FRESH OFF THE DRAFT

  • Christian Arroyo–SS–2017: Selected in the 2013 Draft with the 25th pick overall, when reading the scouting reports on Arroyo, it’s as if he’s the Buster Posey of shortstops, especially when it comes to the intangibles, i.e. leadership qualities. Unlike Posey, Arroyo won’t wow anyone with his offensive output, but he has a great approach at the plate and has great contact and on-base skills. Not a player to build your club around, but a player to keep in mind when your long-term baseball team is in need of a shortstop in the future.

NO ROOM AT THE INN

  • Martin Agosta–SP–2016: When making a short list of team prospects, there are going to be guys that get left out. Agosta, drafted in the same class as Stratton, is profiled as a pitcher who has a good feel for pitching. He might get overshadowed by the other pitchers mentioned, but Agosta can hold his own and he can definitely rack up the strikeouts (currently owns a 10.7 K/9). So while he gets kudos for his pitching sense, there’s still a chance that Agosta might get moved to the bullpen. As long as he’s a starter, Agosta will continue to be worth monitoring.

So the Giants’ farm system is sort of on the dip, but when a team has won two championships in the last three seasons, that team is not going to have the best opportunities to reload with the best players in the draft. But the Giants are full of these players who simply know how to play the game and they fit right in with what the Giants are trying to do with their ball club. But the organization will continue to live and die with the progression of Crick, Blackburn, and Stratton.

Up next, we make our way back to Southern California and check out the other team from Los Angeles.

Scouting Reports courtesy of mlb.combaseballprospectus.com, and baseballamerica.com

Stats courtesy of Baseball Prospectus and are good through August 24, 2013.

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