Pablo Sandoval is one of the best 3B in the game, right here, right now. With all the publicity about his weight and playing shape, the Panda has become a little surly and defiant, tweeting that he is going to show up his detractors something fierce. Well all right, Pablo wants to get angry and come out swinging that will be just fine. Giants fans have big expectations and the team will need some big time contributions from Sandoval to succeed this year.
Here’s a list of the Giants 3B since Matt Williams was traded that fateful day in 1997.
Bill Mueller 97-00
David Bell 02
Edgardo Alfonso 03-05
Pedro Feliz 06-07
Pablo Sandoval 09-11, with a little help from Juan Uribe towards the end of 2010.
Question I’d love somebody to have the answer to: When Sabean took over scouting in 1993, what was the date he started, did he run the draft and if so, did he have time to make his own calls or did he piggyback on his predecessor? The reason I want to know is 93 is the Billy Mueller draft, aka the last successful position player for a loooong time. I’m curious if Sabean drafted him or not.
Having Mueller to step in for Williams, while obviously a step down, was a big asset to the 97-00 Giants. If you have a deep farm system (The Giants did not) you can sustain injuries, make big trades and generally have room to maneuver. With the recent drafts there appears to be some success towards achieving better talent and more depth. Talent is best, but depth is also helpful to the organization.
The depth problem with losing Pablo to the hammate bone injury last year was that Miggy Tejada got to slip back in the starting lineup, after there were hints he might finally get benched. The eventual trade for Jeff Keppinger burned off a couple of b-list arms, no great harm except that we had to suffer the indignity of losing to Henry Sosa on August 25th, a particularly crucial must win should win game. (Matt Downs RBI in the 11th 3 days later was similarly ironic – the DeRosa pinch hit thrown out at 2nd game). Keppinger, Tejada and Orlando Cabrera only hooked up once in the same starting lineup, on the 26th of August, the G’s won 2-1, fielding one of their worst defensive infields of all time. Cabrera led off, was hitless of course, yet scored the winning run, reaching on a walk and driven in on a 2-run double by Keppinger.
It is a balancing act that is difficult because you can’t stash players who can actually play in the major leagues. But the sideways trades for a Garko, Keppinger or Cabrera – big compromises all – might be avoided if there is an alternative that can be plugged in from the minors. While it is true the Giants haven’t been badly burned from trading their surplus pitchers, it is worth pointing out teams won’t give up anything good for the Sabean b-team as well. That should be a benefit of having a good minor league system. Always be developing. In the current trend of teams locking up all their best talent early, the teams that can draft and develop will have the biggest advantage. The free agent market is hugely expensive and usually a bust at the end of the contract if not sooner. With the new CBA the competitive environment to draft and develop talent will be even stronger. The Giants have had a nice run in the past six years. They need to continue that trend.
Current 3B depth:
Big Giants: Pablo Sandoval. Mike Fontenot in a pinch. Manny Burriss in a pretend world where pitchers throw BP.
AAA: Conor Gillespie. They may have him playing 2B. Better option than Burriss.
AA: Chris Dominguez. Big guy with a rocket of an arm and big time contact issues.
A: Alex Burg and Adam Duvall. Two of the most intriguing prospects in our system. Burg catches as well, but is going to get lost in the sea of blue chip catching prospects. Duvall is old for the league but had a great year in Augusta.
Low A: Garrett Buechele. Drafted out of Oklahoma, he had a bad pro start. He is old for the league, strike 2. I think he is a sleeper to watch.
There are some guys from rookie ball as well. Jose Cuevas is old but tore up Arizona. Christian Paulino is another name.
So the close to the majors depth is Conor G and Chris D, two of the more controversial prospects, both getting long in the tooth at this point. While they aren’t very exciting as prospects, they might be preferable to some of the mid-season trades of the past few years. Accardo-Hillenbrand, Barnes-Garko, Sosa/Stoeffel-Keppinger and Neal-Cabrera are all examples of little risked, little rewarded fill in trades. The Giants burn off arms they have lost confidence in or deem secondary value for mediocre bats.
3B is a weird position. The bigger guys go there, moving over from SS in high school for example. Usually they’ll stick if they have a good arm. If they can’t hack the range issues and they’re fast enough, they’ll move to Right Field. If the arm isn’t quite good enough then it’s a move to LF. 1B is the last stop on the movement train of the ex-3B who can’t cover the OF. So this is sort of a position of flux. Nate Schierholtz was a 3B. Pat Burrell was drafted as a 3B. There is a good chance the guys in this profile could end up at one of the other three corner positions.
An alternative to getting a big “straw that stirs the drink” bat, another type of player the Giants might consider is trying to find a Ben Zobrist profile. Zobrist is a very underrated part of the Rays success. Because Bochy and Sabean seem to value position flexibility so much, I am surprised the Giants haven’t made more effort to develop a Zobrist type of player. Obviously he is a pretty unique case, and the Rays are lucky to have traded for him and have him turn out. Zobrist was quite old when he was drafted, so he has an unusual prospect profile. The Giants seem convinced Burriss might be able to fill this type of roll. While a very nice guy, the hitting hasn’t turned the corner.
Four Biggest Names, 2 prep, 2 college: Trey Williams, Joey Gallo, Stephen Piscotty, Richie Shaffer
Nine more: Matt Reynolds, Patrick Wisdom, Mark Ginther, Rio Ruiz, Corey Oswalt, Corey Seager, Carson Kelly, Ron Miller, Austin Dean
There are quite a few shortstops that scouts predict will move to third. They include: Carlos Correa, Addison Russell and possibly Tanner Rahier. Some of the 1B guys could possibly hack 3B still. I tried to pick only 3B here, but there is a lot of movement at this position. The profiles labeled 1B/3B are already on the movement train.
4 Highly Rated, 2 Prep, 2 College
1. Trey Williams, HS from Valencia HS (CA), Pepperdine commit
6’1 210 R/R 3/09/1994
The Goods: The son of former MLB Eddie Williams, 10 year vet. He is physically developed with very good bat speed and an advanced plate approach. He has good baseball instincts and coaching. His pops was the fourth overall pick in the 1983 draft by the Mets. The Giants didn’t pick in the first round that year, they gave away their pick signing Joel Youngblood.
The Bad: Not very fast and struggles with breaking balls.
The Stats: 2011 HS: 345/446/1208 with 9 HRs, 12 BBs, 14 Ks
The Ranks: BA #27, Mayo #7
The Giants: Williams is pretty hyped right now. He missed some of the showcases getting his school finished up. Good power and good athlete, fairly young. With him wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps could possibly be a player who will sign if he drops to the 20 spot.
2. Joey Gallo. HS from Gorman HS (NV), LSU commit (1B/3B/P)
6’4 200 L/R 11/19/1993
The Goods: Top potential power from the HS ranks with 25 HRs in high school. Light tower power, roped a legend at PetCo at PerfectGame. He also pitches, right-handed and sits in the low 90s. Easy swing with plus bat speed.
The Bad: Big time contact issues to go with the swing. Most likely profiles at 1B due to speed and glove.
The Stats: HS: 471/558/1198
The Ranks: BA#21, Mayo #23
The Giants: By the 20th pick, will Gallo’s advisors be done with the draft if he falls? Is he a better project than Tommy Joseph? He is four months older than Williams.
3. Stephen Piscotty, Junior from Stanford
6’3 195 R/R 1/14/1991
The Goods: Polished college bat who had a breakout sophomore year and then captured the batting title on the cape. This will definitely get the eye of the Giants. He has a smooth swing with good bat speed. His power hasn’t materialized yet, but he’s off to a great start for 2012. He has good BB/K rates and can be called a contact hitter with gap power currently.
The Bad: He moved to third from the OF. He has average speed, and the power may not develop enough for the corners.
The Stats: 2011 NCAA: 370/430/907 with 3 HRs. Cape: 349/429/938 with 3 HRs
The Ranks: BA# 18, Mayo #37
The Giants: This is one of the “safe college bats” the Giants might line up like they did with Joe Panik. If a pitcher they like gets taken in front of them, they might look to fill in with a guy like Piscotty who gives them flexibility and a high floor.
4. Richie Shaffer, Junior from Clemson (1B/3B)
6’4 195 R/R 03/15/1991
The Goods: This guy might be 1-C to Roache/AB Walker. At the moment he has the most usable power of the three. He has plus power, and he slugged six HRs in the Cape this summer. He has a strong arm that could profile at the outfield corners in addition to 3B. Off to a good start in 2012 as well, he has the arm for third base or right field.
The Bad: Slow runner, his range may move him to first. His bat has some holes in his swing, particularly inside stuff.
The Stats: Clemson Career: 318/426/981 with 20 HRs
The Ranks: BA #26, Mayo #25
The Giants: It depends on how athletic he is and if they can fix his swing or live with the Ks. Personally I love the three true outcome guys. Shaffer seems like a very similar player to Piscotty with much more power at the moment but a much lesser hit tool.
Three more college guys:
5. Matt Reynolds, Junior from Arkansas (3B/SS)
6’1 200 R/R
The Goods: A guy who struggled in NCAA but had a very good cape, hitting 322. He has the versatility and range to handle Short some as well as 2B. Has some speed, stealing 16 bases last year in college, 5 at the Cape. Not as hyped as the first 2 college guys, he may be a value pick if he drops.
The Bad: The low batting average in college. He has battled injuries and they are looking for him to stay healthy all season again. Hasn’t really broken out yet. Not much power yet.
The Stats: 2011 NCAA: Hit 233 BA with 3 HR 22 RBI. Drew team high 32 walks.
The Ranks: BA #83, Mayo N/R
The Giants: Reynolds has some nice things going for him – the batting eye, the speed, the versatility and the breakout on the cape. He played for Team USA and they adjusted his swing. Most likely not a first rounder, but somebody to watch this season.
6. Patrick Wisdom, Junior from St. Mary’s (CA)
6’2 210 R/R
The Goods: Gotta have a bay area guy when you can. This guy has light tower power, and led the Alaska Summer League in long balls for the 2nd straight year. He has the reps as a hard worker who has really worked on his hitting, he has excellent bat speed. Has a good ratio of BB/Ks. Has a very good arm and the athletic chops to stick at 3B.
The Bad: Doesn’t hit for a very high average right now, not much speed. Despite the athleticism, had 15 errors and a 914 Fielding %.
The Stats: 2011 NCAA: 351/416/969 with 8 HRs 46 RBIs 23 BBs 41 Ks in 208 ABs.
The Ranks: BA #71, Mayo N/R
The Giants: Need to get on out to St. Mary’s. Anybody see this guy play? He is a first team all-WCC. He impressed in the repeat of the Alaska league, he hit 229 in 2010, 296 with 503 slugging in 2011. Who knows about that fielding percentage but that raised my eyebrows a bit.
7. Mark Ginther, Senior from Oklahoma State
6’2 200 R/R 12/4/1989
The Goods: Picked one of the oldest guys in college to round out the group. He was drafted in the 14th round by the White Sox, who aren’t known for their stellar player evaluation skills. He was also drafted in 08 by the Phils in the 48th round. He pitched in HS, 88 Ks in 56.2 innings of work with a 0.99 ERA. He has been the starting 3B for 2 years at OSU, playing in every game.
The Bad: He has the defense, the athleticism and great arm strength. The hit tool has not come around yet.
The Stats: Ok st hides em. He hit 315 in Big 12 play. 2nd on the team with 10 HRs and 17 doubles. I think he had a pretty dismal BA though.
The Ranks: Unranked
The Giants: Have been active in the Oklahoma prep and college scene. With the success of adjusting Brandon Belt’s swing I get curious about players like Ginther. Big sleeper.
6 more Prepsters
8. Rio Ruiz, HS from Bishop Amat HS (CA), USC Commit
6’1 180 L/R 5/22/1994
The Goods: Very nice lefty bat who draws tons of Eric Chavez comps, coming out of southern California. Short stroke with good bat speed. Should have power at the next level. Should stick at 3B with a good arm and good lateral movement.
The Bad: Doesn’t run well. He is a star QB in HS, he may definitely want to pursue a two-sport college career.
The Stats: 2011 HS: 455/541/1264 with 3 HRs 9 Ks 19 BBs and 14 SBs
The Ranks: BA #34, Mayo #28
The Giants: I can’t see them reaching for this type of guy in the 1st round, and I think his college commit is pretty solid. He does have some contradictions if you compare what different people say. He has 14 SBs which might mean he has sneaky speed. BA thinks he’ll move off of 3B to RF. He also pitches. The one thing everybody agrees on is the Eric Chavez comp, but that might be coming from his HS coach.
9. Corey Oswalt, HS from James Madison HS (CA), UCSB Commit (3B/SS)
6’4 205 R/R 9/3/1993
The Goods: This guy is a giant! Will most likely be heading to UCSB but might get a look as a top California prepster. Looks like he has a great frame with projectible power and pretty good athleticism for a big fella. Impressed in the Area Codes.
The Bad: Looks pretty raw. Definitely not going to play Shortstop. Doubtful he’ll be a high draft pick.
The Stats: 2011 HS: 541/640/1591 OPS! 19 BBs/6 Ks – 61 ABS.
The Ranks: Unranked
The Giants: Likely will not be looking at this guy but I wanted to look for a Mike Stanton type of hitter just for the hell of it. This is the guy I came up with. I think part of the reason the Giants grabbed Tommy Boy was in reaction to missing out on Mike Stanton in the MadBum draft.
10. Corey Seager, HS from Northwest Cabarrus HS (NC), USC (Gamecocks) Commit (SS/3B)
6’3 210 L/R 4/27/1994
The Goods: I should have put this guy in the SS preview, but he will most likely move to 3B just like his brother, Kyle, who is with the Mariners. He has great approach at the plate, plus bat speed and good instincts. He is wiry strong and much more physical than his brother. They’re improving the breed!
The Bad: Lack of speed will move him to third. While he’s a good natural hitter who can go the other way, his power hasn’t matched up to his frame.
The Stats: Team USA vet. Hit .518 with seven homers and 32 RBI with 14 steals for his high school team last season (31 games)
The Ranks: BA #60, Mayo #49
The Giants: Don’t know if they’d look at him. His brother was drafted out of the same HS by the Mariners in the third round of the 2009 draft. The Giants took Chris Dominguez 4 picks later.
11. Carson Kelly, HS from Westview HS (OR), Oregon Commit (3B/RHP)
6’2 200 R/R 7/14/1994
The Goods: The #1 rated player out of Oregon. He might be more of a pitcher than a 3B. Member of Team USA for the past 2 years. Line drive swing with power potential. Natural leader. Has a pretty developed frame and can hit low 90s pitching, with a curve and a 2-seamer.
The Bad: Slow runner. Should be able to stick at third if that’s the way he goes. Lived in Canada for 2 years.
The Stats: Named All-League in each of the last two years...Named 2nd Team All-State in 2010 ... Hit .458 with seven doubles, two triples, three homers, 31 RBI last season for Westview ..
The Ranks: BA #54, Mayo #44
The Giants: He is young for the class and won't turn 18 until the day after the signing deadline. Youngest guy profiled. The pitching should intrigue them. Mayo thinks he’s going to be a pitcher, BA did not commit one way or the other.
12. Ron Miller, HS from Serra HS (CA), UNLV Commit (1B/3B)
5’11 215 R/R 1/7/1994
The Goods: Excellent raw power and bat speed. Very simple swing, coming from a compact muscular body. Should be able to handle third, and has the arm for it or the OF.
The Bad: Swing can get long. He isn’t fast, his times were 7.22/60.
The Stats: 459/544/1125 with 34 hits, only 1 HR. Doubles machine.
The Ranks: Unranked
The Giants: This guy was recently raved about by Klima, you can check the report there. He has a really nice swing. He is falling through the cracks, not listed in BA, Mayo or ESPNHS but the latter has a great write up and video on him.
13. Austin Dean, HS from Klein Collins (TX), Texas Commit
6’1 185 R/R 10/14/1993
The Goods: This guy is overshadowed by CJ Hinojosa at Klein Collins, the school that Tyler Naquin is from as well. Hard contact hitter with a very good bat, and a hustler to boot! Patient hitter, with very good defensive tools. Runs a 6.74/60
The Bad: Not a lot. Not sure why he’s not hyped more actually.
The Stats: 2011 HS: 436 BA 540 OBP with 12 HRs
The Ranks: BA #80, Mayo N/R
The Giants: Here’s a quote from his HS coach: “Austin Dean has some of the quickest hands I’ve ever seen in a high school baseball player. He consistently hits balls in the gap with tremendous power. He has the potential of hitting to all areas of the field with power also. Not only is he a tremendous offensive threat, he has been a defensive cornerstone over at first base. He has played 3rd, 2nd and is presently at 1st base.”
I’d like to know more about this guy.
There are more good HS prospects this year than college guys and it is not an obvious need in the organization but the Giants might find some hitting potential at the position. Because it’s a position of flux, it might be the best place to address talent and depth at the same time. I like several of these guys a lot actually.
Will Pablo compete for the MVP? Triple Crown? I say yes he will.
Conor G and Chris D as the first line of injury defense: Shankbone on crack?
Somebody please tell me info on that 93 draft I crave info.
Any comments on organizational depth as a need?
Which players stand out?
Any big names I missed?