Breaking Down the Minors

So I finally finished my own top50 list. It's the first time I've attempted a more complete ranking of prospects, and I found it really really helped me to break down the prospects into three groups: starters, relievers, and hitters. Once I had the prospects ordered within each group, and enough notes to know where there were pretty big gaps in quality, then I attempted to merge them together. My comments in the individual lists reflect comments about the prospect, and comments in the combined list reflect how I merged the lists. I often just use short-hand #%/#% or #%,#% to represent K% and BB%.

So my listings have the following biases which you may or may not agree with:

1) A strong preference for youth, especially for rankings after the top20, where it’s all just question marks anyways.
2) A strong preference for respecting the Giants’ drafting order and scouting outside of any other info
3) A strong preference for respecting bonus money, especially for IFA signings.

4) A strong preference for starters over relievers and position players. This is a nod towards the Giants acumen at developing starters as well as a nod towards the overall value of starters over relievers.

Starting pitcher rankings

Starting Pitchers
1 Crick 98 mph fastball with crazy movement. Has had periods where he can control it well with intermittent collapses in his mechanics and release point. That will be his next big hurdle. Slider is average, potential plus offering. Recent reports from the AFL indicate that his change has gone from a show-me pitch to a potential average offering, too.
2 Escobar I 'splained this in another post. It was close, though.
3 Mejia (AFL reports on stuff and velo put him over blackburn for me, finally) so very close. He has the higher ceiling, and is well on his way to reaching it.
4 Blackburn (youth over polish) I'm one of the few remaining who have Blackburn over Blach. Clayton has a longer track record, an identical K%-BB%, and a track record of even better control than he exhibited. Most importantly, Clayton has a huge age advantage.
5 Blach Despite his advanced age, he had a drool-worth season and scouts out with a fb @ 95, plus change, curve and slider (both avg?). He has plenty of polish and could give Escobar a run for his money as the first hydra pitcher to make the big club.
6 Stratton (pedigree first) I'd give more weight to his draft pedigree if I had read one glowing report about his stuff this year. David Lee's report, I think, came the closest, and iirc, it still read more like making excuses than actual positive excitement. Still, he's the last of the really solid starter prospects. After this, more question marks start popping up.
7 Gregorio (projectability next) I love this guy. I love that he's freakishly tall and yet seemingly has incredible control. His biggest negative is his injury concern. That's what drops him below Stratton, IMO. If he can put on some weight and become well-proportioned, he could be a monster, and add a few mph to his fb. I've got to go with a ceiling like that over all the rest of the SP prospects.
8 Flores This is a nod to Free F.P. I originally had him near #20 overall, but he's definitely on the rise and has lots of momentum. Lee says he made the biggest strides out of any Augusta pitcher in 2013.
9 Kickham LHP who hit 95 mph don't grow on trees, eventhough the Giants have lots of them. I wouldn't be surprised by an extended bullpen role from him this season.
10 Mella (stuff next) His stuff and scouting profile is too good to drop him any lower.
11 Agosta 29%, 11%(!) 22 in the SAL, 2nd rd 2011. These stats and pedigree should have him much higher, but I keep wanting to drop him b/c of frame and relief profile.
12 Surkamp 2 years removed from a successful season, I want to drop him lower, but the Vogelsong signing means he'll probably get a real long look this season, and that kind of opportunity along with his past success keeps him floating.
13 Johnson I had him below Snelton initially, but he has a slightly better draft pedigree, slightly better scouting reports, and succeeded at a higher level. His frame @ 6'3" isn't bad either. 22% K-rate, 7% BB-rate at age 21 at S-K. 93 mph sinking fb, with 2 secondary pitches that can develop into ML average. 3rd rd 2013.
14 NVT low-90's fb, potential plus changeup. commands 4 pitches well. Didn't pitch enough innings to be meaningful, but was hit hard in 4 games he started in SJ and S-K at age 21. 6th rd 2013
15 Snelten He's an athletic 6'7", 230 lb. pitcher who hits 94 mph. He has two secondary pitches which both could be major league quality (I think that means average). He also posted a 27% K-rate in 34 IP in the AZL at age 21. There's lots of potential there. Can't wait to see him in the SAL. 9th rd 2013.
16 Chris Johnson A 17th round pick out of 2012, I couldn't find a scouting report on his stuff. He had a statistically dominating season in the S-K though: age 21, 83 IP, 24% K-rate, 2.5% BB-rate. Sneaks in ahead of Young b/c of those stats.
17 Luis Ysla 6'1", 25%, 6% as a 21 y.o. in AZL. First year out of Venezuela.
18 Pat Young Another monster pitcher, he's either 6'5" or 6'7", and 200 lbs. Scouting report said reliever, but the Giants had him starting for ~40 IP in S-K. 0.92 ERA but only 17% K-rate. In the end, I ranked the starters Johnson, NVT, Snelton, and Young by draft order, trusting the Giants' evaluation of talent. 13th rd 2013.

Position Player Rankings

Position Players
1 Arroyo I just love his youth and the raving scouting reports about his hit tool. Until I see convincing scouting reports that he can't hack 2B, then I'm going with the Giants' belief that he can remain a MI'er.
----gap---- A lot of ppl don't have this gap, I have enough questions about Mac, that I do.
2 Mac After a 178 wRC+ in the SAL, he posted a 129 wRC+ in the CAL. His ISO remained over .210 while his BABIP hovers around .350. His K% jumped from 15 to 22, which is a concern, but his BB rate also moved from 4.5% to 8%. He'll be 23 in the EL next year. He'll have to reign in those K-rates as he climbs the ladder if he wants to make the majors. If he can do that, I'm hoping for a cup of coffee at the end of 2014 and a solid debut in 2015.
3 Susac I remember FLA always liked his defense. Although the scouting buzz around him isn't great, I have seen one or two reports that say he can be an adequate defensive catcher. If so, he's got a backup C as floor, already. His ceiling is first division starter, IMO, and most likely will end up a second division starting C, if the Giants end up trading him. IMO, his biggest question mark is "What happened to his bat last year, and will the malaise return?"
4 Panik His 2013 season turned out much better than I thought it would. He's still on track to become a league average starter @ 2b, IMO.
5 Adrianza After giving him a fair review, his 2013 was better than I thought. That, and SS scarcity pushes him over Brown and Duvall here.
---surprisingly, everyone above this line has a decent chance at a career as at least a 2nd division starter---
6 Duvall I'm choosing to ignore his VZL stats, and hope like hell he can stick at 3B. He's got a lot more question marks about whether he can even make the majors than those above the line, but he also has a higher ceiling.
7 Brown Man his 2013 was disappointing. I really hope he can bounce back to put up a league average line in the PCL. That would restore some luster and at least make him viable in a 4th OF/platoon role, rather than a cusp-5th OF'er.
8 Ryder Jones A power hitting 3B-man with a great arm who could pitch from the mound if he flames out. This profile ring any bells for anyone?
9 Cabrera Showed massive improvement as the DSL season wore on. I hope Bobby Evans is right, and he's ready for the AZL season.
10 Duffy SS. 142 in SAL, 120 in CAL @ age 22. 18th rd in 2012. D. Lee says he has the chops to stick @ SS. If so, that's great offense for a SS. He had 13%/10% K/BB-rates(!!)
11 Johneshwy Fargas young! 18! and 750 OPS/119 wRC+ in AZL! 11th rd 2013. 12%/10%
12 Javier Herrera He was a plus plus defender as a 22 y.o. Probably still a +5 corner OF. 130 wRC+ in AA last year, means he can probably be at least league average. Will get an opportunity this year, I predict.
13 McCall 115 wRC+ @ age 19 in S-K. 9th in 2012
-----gap---- Feels like a gap between high ceiling and youth guys and guys with even greater question marks or long shots.
14 Sy 900 OPS, 163 wRC+ in S-k @ age 23(!OLD!). Can he stick @ SS? Nod to Roger to put him this high. 12th rd in 2012. 22%/13%.
15 Edie toolz and good performance in 16U intl ball.
16 Beltre 650k bonus. That's pretty much all I know about him.
17 Javier 79 wRC+ @ age 17 in DSL, PED suspension and one unsuccessful year knock him to last in this trio
18 Galindo 96 wRC+ in SAL @ age 22 (repeat). 48/6 SB/CS. Floor as 5th OF.
19 AnVil lolPOWER
20 Ragira 1B: only 123 wRC+ with no power in S-K @ age 21. 4th rd pick. 21% K-rate, 3% BB-rate
21 Bednar profiles as avg. ML SS. 117 wRC+ in S-K @ age 21. 7th rd pick. 12%, 6%
22 Horan corner OF, 144 wRC+ in S-K @ age 22. 8th rd. 17%, 10%
23 Arenado bloodlines. athletic. needs to learn2hit. 16th rd.
24 John Riley 31st rd, $450k bonus 2013. Catcher, "can hit." oldest prep in the class. 82 wRC+ at age 19 in the AZL

Relief Pitcher Rankings

Relief Pitchers
1 Hembree His BB% rate dropped incredibly in 2013. But is it a real drop, or just single year fluctuation. If it's real, look for him to compete for the setup job and closer job.
2 Law One year removed from a 10% BB-rate in the SAL. Is his insane 2013 control real or illusory?
3 Osich LOOGY + AA. 6th rd 2011.
4 Bandilla LOOGY + mph. 4th rd 2011
5 Hall AA + great periphs
6 Johnson 31% K-rate offsets his 13% BB-rate, also he has a history of throwing hard. 6th rd 2012
----gap: above this line lie relievers who were healthy and had stellar periphs----
7 Okert 23%, 9%, 60 IP, LHP, initially reported that he threw 97 mph as a LHP! 4th rounder in 2012
8 Strickland One good year with the Giants. Not much of a track record, but 40-man spot gives him a boost.
9 Slania 24%, 5% in 14 IP, boosted by his 5th round status.
----gap: below this line lie relievers with lots of question marks----
10 Dunnington Great periphs, can't stay healthy. UDFA
11 Encinosa Even worse track record of staying healthy than Dunnington, also more control issues than Dunnington. 7th rd 2012
12 Gardeck Awful control: 16% BB-rate, but 26% K-rate. 16th rd 2012.
13 Marlowe very meh stats, but consistently gets great scouting reports (best curve in the system, and great fastball). 5th rd 2011
14 Eury Sanchez 5'10", but dominating periphs: 27%/10% in the DSL @ age 19, 41%/6% in the AZL @ age 20 (only 16 IP)

Combined Rankings

The Combined List
1 Kyle Crick
2 Edwin Escobar
3 Adalberto Mejia
4 Christian Arroyo First hitter on the list. I love him too much to drop him any lower, so he gets slot in the gap between Mejia and Blackburn
5 Clayton Blackburn
6 Ty Blach
7 Chris Stratton Stratton makes 6 of the top 7 as starters. Time to slot in some other players.
8 Heath Hembree He'll get a chance to establish himself as a consistent member of the pen this year after his successful debut last year. He has a good chance to compete for the closer spot after Romo leaves. He gets the nod over Mac because he's pretty much guaranteed a chance at making the big league pen this year, and if he can continue to keep his walks down, could become the second most valuable pen member this year.
9 Mac Williamson
10 Andrew Susac
11 Joe Panik I originally had Panik much lower, closer to #17, where Duvall is, but his season just wasn't the disaster I had thought it was during mid-season.
12 Joan Gregorio lol. I thought this was high on him, until I saw Hulet and FLA's rankings. As much as I love his potential, I can't get him any higher. There's still too many question marks here, and all the position players above him have at least a decent change at becoming a league avg. starting position player ceiling if not higher.
13 Kendry Flores
14 Derek Law 45 to 1. Not only is K/BB broken for him, so is K%-BB%. And that's super rare. Biggest issue? He only pitched 25 IP and 11 IP in the AFL. SSS beware. After hearing Evans say they want him to start in AAA, I've moved him up from #15. I really want to move him up more, but reliever and SSS bias stops me from doing so.
15 Ehire Adrianza This is a lot higher than I thought I would've had him. But positional scarcity and his AAA stats really help his status a lot. He ended up averaging ~100 wRC+ in 2013 at age 23. For a plus defensive SS, that's a great line.
16 Mike Kickham This is A LOT LOWER than I expected to have him. He's dropped a lot from the previous year. I'm just not convinced he has the control or the K's to make it as a successful back-end starter, anymore. I could easily drop him 2 more spots, below Brown, too.
17 Adam Duvall Back to the position players. I really like the way Adam's K% is trending, even if he has questions about his defense and where he'll play.
18 Gary Brown I know he has a floor as a 5th OF. So he prolly should be higher than this, but we have a really deep system now. It's surprising.
19 Keury Mella Originally a toss up between him and Ryder Jones. Both 19 in the AZL. Both dominant. Both scout with strong stuff/toolz. In the end Jones' 23% K-rate dropped him. His stuff and scouting profile are too strong to drop him below Surkamp/Agosta.
20 Gustavo Cabrera He's my son. I will not drop him any lower (actually got bumped over Jones from my individual rankings). He's my honorary 20th man. God help him heal and recover.
21 Martin Agosta This is a lot lower than most have him. Statistically, he had a great season and doesn't deserve this. But Lee's reports on his injury situation, and continued questions about his durability and frame keep him out of the top20 for me.
22 Eric Surkamp Surkamp makes 12 starters in the top22.
23 Ryder Jones I dropped him a couple spots for his loopy swing.
24 Josh Osich His AA stats weren't as shiny as his A+ stats, but he still posted a 23% K-rate to go with his 10% BB-rate. He's a LHP with great stuff, though, and adequately handled AA ball. He's got a future floor as a LOOGY if nothing else. His great periphs and multiple average to plus offerings put him ahead of Johnson.
25 Chase Johnson
---note: after this is where I start having to make questionable calls on where to insert position players--
26 Matt Duffy He could be a huge sleeper here. If he can produce a 110+ wRC+ in the EL next year, he'll shoot up the rankings.
27 Bryce Bandilla LOOGY + high mph. Lots of K's. 4th rd 2011. His incredlbe K%, draft status and velo reports keep him next to Osich.
28 Cody Hall Great peripherals, hits mid-90s on his fb, and succeeded in AA. Could get a call-up this season.
29 Stephen Johnson 31% K-rate gets the nod over the remaining starters who have little to no pro experience.
30 Nick Vander Tuig at this point, I start having real issues on where to insert starters vs. other players, so i just space the remaining few out every 5-7 slots or so, which feels right.
31 Johneshwy Fargas Sleeper!
32 Javier Herrera
33 Shilo McCall 15% offense above average at age 19 in the S-K==> makes me want to boost him, but the 30% K-rate makes me want to drop him like a rock. Really hard to evaluate.
34 Jeremy Sy I'm not sure I believe in his bat. Sure, he ha da 163 wRC+, but he was also 4 yrs older than McCall, above.
35 Steven Okert
36 Hunter Strickland
37 DJ Snelten
38 Edie These 3 get grouped together for no better reason, than I don't know enough to separate them.
39 Beltre
40 Javier
41 Galindo He has dropped a lot from the previous year. A season repeating a level with a 5% hike in K-rate will do taht to you.
42 AnVil I just don't believe in his ability to pick up the game.
43 Slania
44 Chris Johnson
45 Ragira Ragira, Bednar, and Horan all had good debuts in the NWL, but they're still buried way down this list. I guess I just want to see a second season from them.
46 Bednar
47 Dunnington
48 Encinosa
49 Horan
50 Arenado
51 Luis Ysla Last couple starters. I figured I ought to give the 2013 hitters above preference over a Venezuelan IFA.
52 Pat Young
53 John Riley
54 Gardeck
55 Marlowe

Additional resources:

Combined spreadsheet of currently published SFG top prospect lists

MiLB Giants Organizational All-Stars

Inside the Giants podcast with Ben Taylor & Joe Ritzo

Fangraphs Crick Interview

MiLB Blackburn interview

David Lee's Augusta Rankings

Fangraphs top15

Baseball America top 10

This FanPost is reader-generated, and it does not necessarily reflect the views of McCovey Chronicles. If the author uses filler to achieve the minimum word requirement, a moderator may edit the FanPost for his or her own amusement.

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