I love lists. And so I've undoubtably been waiting for MLB.com to release their new Giants Top-20 prospect list for quite some time. Here is the full, updated list with analysis, videos, and more.
There are three new additions to the list: Derek Law, Keury Mella, and Kendry Flores. Leaving the list is former prospect Roger Kieschnick, as well as Gustavo Cabrera and Brian Ragira. Most of the new additions, removals, and switch-ups were expected and for the most part, are warranted.
Though, I do have a few questions.
I was surprised to see Mike Kickham still present. He jumped back from No. 3 at the end of the 2013 season to rank No. 17, but I would've liked to see another position player make an appearance. There's no question that the list should be comprised of mostly pitchers, and in that regard, I'm pleased. Fourteen of the 20 are pitchers, with 11 of those 14 being starting pitchers. But when it comes to Mike Kickham, I feel he falls into the Roger Kieschnick/Chris Heston category where he can no longer be considered a "prospect."
With that in mind, a player who unfortunately was removed from the list, former Stanford product Brian Ragira, is more deserving. A multi-dimensional player who can play both corners of the outfield, as well as first base, Ragira possesses Mac Williamson-like characteristics in that he can hit for power, average, and supply average to above-average speed in the field and on the bases. With Williamson headed to Richmond in 2014, Ragira will likely replace him in San Jose as the everyday right-fielder, playing first base when needed.
Edwin Escobar was more than deserving of the nine-spot jump into the No. 2 spot on MLB.com's new list. At age 21, Escobar is in a position to become essentially the "sixth starter" for San Francisco, and could see action sooner rather than later considering Ryan Vogelsong's probable short leash.
Not that I don't think Christian Arroyo will be a successful major league player some day, but I find it odd that after just a short two months with San Francisco's AZL rookie team, the MLB minds were willing to place the 18-year-old, high-school shortstop as high as No. 5. Augusta, Ga. will surely see a lot of Arroyo in 2014 so we should get a more accurate look at how he'll mature, and moreover whether he is deserving of a Top-5 rank.
Derek Law forced his way onto prospect lists around the baseball world with his ridiculous 45:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in San Jose. Then he piled on the pitching goodness with 12.1 scoreless innings in the Arizona Fall League. Debuting at No. 10, Law's unique mix of power, movement, and deception has impressed Brian Sabean enough to at least consider him for a 25-man roster spot. At worst, Law will begin the 2014 season in Fresno, but it's worth mentioning that the 23-year-old is still in big league camp.
I'm happy to see Kendry Flores finally crack the Top-20 and grab the final spot. At No. 20, Flores sits one spot back of another newcomer Keury Mella. But like Arroyo, Mella has only played two months of professional ball in the United States and I find it difficult to rank him higher than an arm like Flores who was remarkably efficient with a full-season squad.
Again, I love lists. But lists are lists. And lists can be meaningless argument starters. But I also love arguments. So keep the lists coming.