I wrote about the Red Sox this morning, and I snuck in Ryan Vogelsong and John Bowker mentions because I don't really care about the Red Sox. But I also made a graph! It took hours. And I figured I could rejigger it to fit with a Giants-related theme:
Fans are just the best when it comes to overrating prospects. Prospects can do anything! Can Brandon Belt have a .400 OBP over a full season? He's never not done it before! Give him the chance. I've already put him down for a John Olerud-meets-Will Clark career in my mind, so I just can't understand why the Giants don't see it that way! COME ON, STUPID FRONT OFFICE!
And I'm perpetually guilty of that. Not just with Belt, but with the guys who were supposed to be useful parts, like John Bowker, Todd Linden, and Kevin Frandsen. I never fully bought into that Fred Lewis character, though. You can't take that away from me.
Which is all to introduce what I was hoping from the farm system this year. I'm a simple man. I don't expect All-Star pitchers every year. Just every other year or so. Not this year, for example. This year, I had two hopes:
- Gary Brown having a great season
- Joe Panik having a great season
There were all sorts of ancillary hopes, too, featuring Tommy Joseph, Andrew Susac, Kyle Crick … I guess my daring position is that I'm hoping for every Giants prospect to be awesome and the best and good at baseball. But if I had to whittle it down to just two hopes, it'd be for Gary Brown and Joe Panik to develop. In a barren farm system, the two best prospects happen to play positions of need. That's an important part of my interest in them -- they're the obvious stars of the system, and they have a clear path to the majors if they hit.
How are they doing?
There are extenuating circumstances. Panik is still young for the league, and his BB/SO looks great, especially considering that Municipal Stadium is a park that usually features high strikeout rates. Brown plays in the cold Eastern League, and he's actually been a little better over the past week or so, too. Maybe he's shaking off some early-season rust.
Somewhere along the way, the Giants got young. Posey and Sandoval are the stars of the offense, and they're just 25. Brandon Belt is 24. The Giants have the second-youngest lineup in the National League already. If Brown and Panik develop into starters -- by the middle of 2013, ideally -- the Giants would have an under-30 foundation like few others. Clark/Williams/Thompson redux.
C - Buster Posey
1B - Brandon Belt
2B - Joe Panik
SS - Orlando Cabrera*
3B - Pablo Sandoval
LF - Gary Matthews, Jr.*
CF - Gary Brown
RF - Raul Ibanez*
That's what I was hoping the 2013 lineup would look like by July, if not the start of the season. Well, the part about the young players, at least. I wanted Brown and Panik to hit so well that the Giants didn't have a choice but to play them. And I don't know what I'm doing writing in the past tense -- it's still early in the season. They still can hit that well. It's just not looking good right now.
I'd put up with a somewhat-middling season by the Giants this year if it came with great years from Panik and Brown because then I'd feel confident about a Giants lineup several years down the road for the first time since the days of Alfonzo/Aurilia/Durham/Cruz, Jr. Which was a pretty stupid time to feel confident about a Giants lineup several years down the road. But that's not the point.
I'm not worried about Panik or Brown yet. They're just screwing up my fanboy best-case scenarios right now. That's a shame. Fanboy best-case scenarios are the best. Help me out, prospects.