The plan for the offseason is to ration each Giants-related topic like water from a canteen. It's October. There are still four more months of offseason left. Good gravy. There might be two days of discussion on Mike LaCoss-related eBay items.
Instead of the all-in-one-shot top ten prospects list of years out, I'm planning to spend a day on each prospect. I'm pretty convinced of the order of my first nine, but number ten is up in the air. Usually I'd throw a list out there, play coy, giggle, and write, "If you don't like my rankings, remember I'm just an amateur. Tee hee!" This year, I'm going to try this new fad known as "research", the side effects of which might include "convincing supporting arguments". I'm working on the list, but it's going to take some time.
While whittling down the list, I noticed very few of the stable of minor league relievers were even considered. This isn't exactly a surprise. A list of common reasons a young pitcher is converted to relief could include stamina issues, injury concerns, ineffectiveness as a starter, lackluster stuff, or severe platoon splits. The counterargument, though, is the typical minor league reliever has a better chance than prospects at other positions to make an immediate impact in the majors. Jeremy Accardo, Jack Taschner, and Scott Munter did more to help the Giants win ballgames this year than all of the non-Cain prospects combined, despite not being considered elite prospects.
So here is a list of what could be considered the top-ten list of Giants relief prospects, organized in a couple of different fashions. The first list is just looking at cold numbers. Taking K/BB, K/9, HR allowed, BA/OBP/SLG against, ERA, and age relative to league, here is a results oriented ranking of my top ten relief prospects:
- Brian Wilson
- Joe Bateman
- Brian Anderson
- William "Billy" Sadler
- Justin Hedrick
- Jon Coutlangus
- Dave McKae
- Any number of random relievers in the system could go here.
- Craig Whitaker
- Alfredo Simon
1. Brian Wilson
2. Craig Whitaker
3. Billy Sadler
4. Jon Coutlangus
5. Justin Hedrick
6. Joe Bateman
7. Brian Anderson
8. Alfredo Simon
9. Dave McKae
10. Adam Gardner
- Wilson has the right combination of results and respect from scouts to put him over Whitaker.
- Whitaker took to his role change well, and is still young, but has serious trouble throwing strikes.
- I'm not wild about ranking Sadler so high, but he did put up good numbers at a higher level than most of the people on the list.
- Coutlangus and Hedrick both had the strikeout numbers to go with BB/9 concerns, but I gave Coutlangus the nod because his results came as a converted position player.
- Bateman was old for his league, and it doesn't seem like the Giants have much interest in aggressively promoting him. I don't know what that means, but it hurt him in this list.
- Anderson drops in this ranking only because of sample size concerns. You have to love a pitcher, even in short season-A, who gives up three walks in 27 innings while striking out 42. It is pretty irresponsible to put him above Simon with such a lack of evidence, but remember I'm just an amateur. Tee hee!
- Simon had his best stretch of the year as a reliever, but his past results/rankings aren't impressive enough to make much of a difference in the revised list.
- Dave McKae drops for a similar reason as Anderson, and also because his ERA doesn't reflect nine unearned runs.
- Gardner was included because I needed to reach ten, and only up there because of his strikeout level in low-A. It could have been Eugene Espineli, Jason Waddell, or Sean "Spider" Martin in this spot. Erick Threets was seriously considered, and might have even been the best choice. Heck, some of the prospect mavens still might have him in the top five. I don't know a thing about Gardner, or most of the other relievers in the system, other than what I just printed up.
Comments, as always, are welcome. I'm lukewarm on berating, but this list isn't exactly the product of months of investigation, so do it if I deserve it.