The 2007 edition added a new scale, which gives his estimation of the player's potential - hall of famer, elite, solid regular, average regular, platoon, and lower - plus a scale that estimates how close he is to attaining his potential, that is, the probability he will reach his potential. That is in addition to his prognosis of what he thinks is the prospect's potential position. And a whole bunch of other statistics plus some commentary on the player.
Last year I talked generically about what the Giants had in their system and I think I listed names but not who were considered starters and who were not, I left it to the reader to try to piece things together. But I was told by another blogger that it should be OK to put some names in there as well and discuss that without getting lawyers coming at me. I don't think he was a lawyer but here goes.
First, go out and buy the book if you like to learn more about prospects. It is cheap via Amazon.com, about $12, gives a lot of good specific info about each hitter and pitcher, like his repertoire of pitches, how good they are, or his abilities to hit for BA, power, speed, and defensively ability. There are Top lists galore, by team, for all, for fantasy purposes. It is great for fantasy league play and good for just following your favorite team's top prospects. I whole-heartedly recommend the book.
2007 Giants Prospects
The Giants actually have more position prospects than pitching prospects in the book: 20 vs. 13. However, it is in pitching that the Giants have more potential elite (9) players, though only 2 (Tim Lincecum of course, and Waldis Joaquin) vs. 1 (Angel Villalona natch). There, however, are no solid (rated 8) pitchers, however, but a number of position players rated that (Emmanuel Burriss; Eddy Martinez-Esteve; Sharlon Schoop).
There are 7 projected starters among position players:
- Emmanuel Burriss: 2B (he is currently playing SS)
- Kevin Frandsen: 2B
- Freddie Lewis: CF
- Eddy Martinez-Esteve: LF
- Marcus Sanders: 2B
- Sharlon Schoop: SS
- Angel Villalona: 3B
There were a number of players named as platoon players. Travis Ishikawa, unsurprisingly, is considered a platoon player. However, very surprisingly, Nate Schierholtz is considered a platoon player in LF/RF. There are a few other platoon position players: Brian Horwitz (corner OF); David Maroul (3B/SS); Dan Ortmeier (corner OF); Pablo Sandoval (corner IF). Sandoval's and Ortmeier's stock fell a lot last season, both were viewed as potential starters in last year's first edition of the book.
Burriss is listed as the 14th best SS prospect and as one of the top in the minors in speed. Frandsen is rated the 11th best 2B prospect. EME is the 37th best OF prospect and one of the top in batting average. Marcus Sanders made the list for best in speed. And Villalona was the 9th best 3B prospect.
There were 6 pitchers he thought could become starters:
- Dan Griffin: he sees him as a middle to back of the rotation starter
- Waldis Joaquin: he sees him as a potential #2 starter or perhaps setup reliever, given that he was out last season for, I believe, Tommy John surgery
- Tim Lincecum: only sees him as a #2 starter or closer, but still sees him as one of the top prospects in all of the minors, plus near the very top for pitchers, only a handful above him
- Pat Misch: sees him as a back of the rotation starter
- Nick Pereira: sees him as a middle to back of the rotation starter
- Clayton Tanner: sees him as a middle to back of the rotation starter
Despite Adam Cowart's great first pro season in 2006, he is only viewed, as best, as a setup reliever. Brian Anderson too, though he led the league in saves last season. Pat Misch he sees as a starter, but he was moved into the bullpen last year, and did well there in the AFL and thus far in AAA this season.
Roster-wise and looking forward, if we use only our farm system, it looks like we have Eliezer Alfonzo at C, Niekro and Ishikawa platooning at 1B, Frandsen, Burriss, and Sanders battling for 2B, Villalona at 3B, Schoop at SS, EME in LF, Lewis in CF, and Linden and Schierholtz platooning in RF. I don't think Alfonzo can be more than a backup and obviously Villalona and Schoop are so far away right now. In the near future, I can see Niekro/Ishikawa at 1B, Frandsen at 2B, EME in LF, and Linden/Schierholtz sharing RF - I'm still skeptical about Lewis ever panning out.
For our starting pitching , we would have Cain, Lincecum, Lowry, and Sanchez in the first four spots. Griffin, Joaquin, Pereira, and Tanner will be battling for the 5th spot - of course, there is no 5th spot with Zito's contract. Thus the 5th spot starters will probably battle for relieving spots with Hennessey, Correia, and Taschner. In addition, Anderson, Cowart, Misch, Sadler, Valdez, and Wilson will be battling for a spot in the bullpen. Closer contenders include the leading contender, Brian Wilson, plus Valdez, Sadler, and Anderson, and I would consider Misch to be a contender too, based on how he is manhandling hitters since becoming a reliever. I like Jack Taschner as a dark horse for closer, I like his attitude and he learned from his mistake in off-season preparation last season and worked hard to make up for it.
Lefty Malo noted in a post at his blog last season about one prospect analyst's rule of thumb about farm systems: there are, at any time, about 4 future starters in your farm system. That wasn't true for a long time for the Giants farm system until Lowry and Cain advanced upward, but if I were to guess which four of the 33 covered in the book (technically, this rule of thumb would include players who are not longer rookie eligible but still playing in the minors, like Munter, for lack of a good example, I think he's done, it was just a magical year he had that season, and Linden), these are the four: Lincecum, Frandsen, Villalona, EME.
However, I think these following players will make the majors and contribute in some way (i.e. more than a cup of coffee but probably less than a starter): Burriss (could be starter), Horwitz (reserve), Ishikawa (platoon), Lewis (could be starter), Ortmeier (good 4th OF, speed and power on bench), Sanders (reserve MI), Schierholtz (could be starter), Schoop (should be starter, word is his defense is already high quality major league quality, the only question is whether he can hit enough), Anderson (setup), Cowart (setup, maybe starter), Joaquin (could be starter/setup), Misch (setup, dark horse closer), Pereira (could be starter), Sadler (setup, could be closer), Taschner (setup, dark horse closer), Valdez (setup, could be closer). I don't remember how regular relievers are classified under this rule of thumb, but I'm assuming they don't count, though arguably a setup reliever can be very valuable.
The Giants are continually rated as a below average farm system, but when they have re-loaded their pitching staff with good pitchers like Cain, Lowry, Sanchez, Correia, Hennessey, and soon Lincecum, Sadler, Misch, and Wilson, that leaves a lot of money that the Giants can spend on their position players. And if at least Villalona and another position prospect can pan out, then I would say that is better than most teams can say about how their farm system has filled out their roster.