The bomb was dropped and with it, millions of people were vaporized. Ash and dust blew across empty, demolished cities. The atmosphere was dark, clouded with the particulate of millions of people who perished in the hellfire. The sun was blotted out from the sky. Small bands of cannibal survivors roamed the countryside, looking for shelter, water, and meat. This was the end of mankind, and we had no one to blame but ourselves.
Also, the farm system sucks.
If you're a frequent regular to Steve S's awesome Minor Lines, then you'll know - almost instantly - that this hasn't been a good year for the farm. The major league team has had great success, but at lower levels, things aren't so rosy.
Let's take a look at the McCoven's top ten prospects from the annual Community List:
1. Kyle Crick - Has thrown six or more innings in just one start this year and has continued to have problems throwing strikes. Jason Parks recently scouted Crick, and noted that, due to command issues, he's more "late-inning reliever" than starter. Not what you want to see from your #1 prospect.
2. Edwin Escobar - Young for AAA - he's 4.9 years below the league average for pitchers - but he's giving up scads of hits, homeruns, and earned runs. His strikeout and walk rates aren't awful - 8.3 and 3.0, respectively - but he appears to be a guy that's struggling to throw quality strikes.
3. Adalberto Mejia - 5.61 ERA for AA Richmond; young for the level - 3.8 years below average - but numbers are underwhelming. I'm willing to give him a pass because of his stuff - low-90s fastball - and the fact that he's a lefty. He still profiles as a mid-rotation starter.
4. Christian Arroyo - The Giants #1 pick of the 2013 draft. Things didn't go well for Arroyo in A-ball; he hit .203/.226/.271 in 125 plate appearances for the Augusta Greenjackets, though he was the seventh-youngest player in the league. Arroyo missed time with a thumb injury, and it's unlikely that he'll stick at SS long-term. He's currently getting at-bats for Salem-Keizer. Conner Penfold has a very nice interview with Arroyo up on the site already.
5. Andrew Susac - If the season ends today, Susac is most likely the best position player in the system. He still needs to clean up his defense, but most scouts think he can be an average/above-average defender. Even by PCL standards, he's having a decent year with the bat, slashing .273/.376/.471. He's battled some injuries and concussion issues.
6. Clayton Blackburn - If I'm being controversial, I'm calling Blackburn the best starting pitcher in the system. (Just because I'm not sure Crick is going to stay a starter.) He doesn't have the "stuff" of Crick, but he's a pitchability guy that's done well. Also, shockingly, he's been injured some. He hasn't pitched since late May.
7. Ty Blach - 276 batters have hit against Blach this year; he's struck out 39 of them. He's a strike-thrower, but his miniscule strikeout rate is going to be a problem. His shiny 2.76 ERA is nice, though.
8. Mac Williamson - Probably the best hitter in the system entering 2014, Williamson took 100 PAs in San Jose before undergoing Tommy John surgery. As a college player, he's already a little old - he'll be 24 next year - and still needs to go through AA.
9. Chris Stratton - Stratton's peripherals haven't changed much as he has advanced a level to high-A San Jose. He's striking out 8.9 per nine and walking 3.2 per nine -- nearly identical to his 2013 numbers -- but he's going to get dinged for being a college player that's moved slow. Part of that could be the injury -- a scary concussion in 2012 -- but scouting reports indicate that his stuff has backed up some. He's a back-end starting pitcher at the moment.
10. Heath Hembree - At this point in time, Hembree looks like a non-elite relief pitcher. Good to have around, but not something that's hard to find outside of your system if needed. His absolute ceiling is probably a 7th/8th inning reliever.
Outside of these 10 prospects, Joe Panik is having a nice year for AAA Fresno, hitting .316/.378/.441. He's still largely a singles hitter -- 69 of his 91 hits have been singles -- and he's most likely a utility player at the majors. Considering the Giants' issues at second base this year, it's odd the team has never called him up, which might tell us how the team values Panik.
Adam Duvall has gone dinger-mad in Fresno, hitting 23 home runs in 62 games, but his line in the PCL would likely translate to something like .235/.290/.500 in the majors. He also plays third base like someone with vertigo. (Sorry, quincy!)
Preseason, Baseball America ranked the Giants' system at #19 in baseball; Baseball Prospectus had us at #22. Given that most of the top prospects have struggled and/or been injured, it's hard not see the Giants being a #25-30 system in baseball. If the team needs help in the 2nd half of 2014, it's unlikely to come from inside the system. And, that could be significant because the Giants rarely make blockbuster deals.
If only (43-29) there was (43-29) something that (43-29) could cheer us (43-29) up*.
* Just for the record, I hate this attitude. But I'm going to do it anyways because the farm system is a tire fire.