Wednesday, February 27, 2008

GiDar: Henry Sosa

The prospect on today's Giants Radar (GiDar) is 22 year old starting pitcher Henry Sosa. Henry Sosa is one of the Giants top prospects for 2008: he was ranked second in the Giants farm system by both Deric McKamey of Minor League Baseball Analyst and Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus recently, plus was ranked 5th by Baseball America.

He broke into the limelight by "accident" last season: he was scheduled for a lower level when an injury led the Giants to place him at Augusta instead, where he was lights out pitching well, which earned him a promotion to San Jose. However, he cooled off there and should start the 2008 season in San Jose. However, he still represented the Giants in 2007's All-Star Future Game, so that showed how highly the organization thinks of him.

He was in the San Jose Mercury news recently - reported by the able Andrew Baggarly - because a surgery to repair a torn patella tendon in his left knee (could this have caused his problems in San Jose?) after last season slowed his preparations for this season. Thus, while he is at least throwing right now, he won't be in the minor league mini-camp during spring training. If he continues to improve, he could be ready to pitch by mid-April.

McKamey thinks that Sosa can potentially become a #2 starter and is an elite prospect. He notes that Sosa has a "terrifying" plus fast ball and "hard" average curveball that he uses to ring up strikeouts against right-handed hitters. Sosa's major problem is a propensity to walk a lot of batters, but that is compensated against all the strikeouts he gets, he has averaged more than 10 K/9 during his short career.

Baseball America makes similar observations and adds that "he's among the more durable high-profile arms in the system." They think that he is still more thrower than pitcher, and as a result is very inconsistent in finding the strike-zone, particularly in keeping his fastball down. Also, he still needs to develop a third pitch - he is trying to learn a changeup - if he want to remain a starter. But if he can figure all this out, BA thinks "his upside is huge..."

Good Problem to Have

Our rotation could get very crowded with top of the rotation throwers in a couple of years. We have Zito, Cain, Lincecum, Lowry, and Correia currently plus Sanchez and Misch in the wings, but Sosa, Bumgarner, and Alderson could be ready in the 2010-2011 timeframe to come up and start in the majors, though I would say that there is an outside chance that both Sosa and Alderson could make the majors in 2009 - as Sabean said Alderson could on draft day - if the Giants advance them aggressively, much like they did with Sanchez, bringing them up to relieve initially.

Just Pick a Hitter With the #5

Hopefully all these riches in pitching will convince the Giants that they just have to select a position prospect with the #5 overall pick that they have in the 2008 amateur draft. A recent Minor League Ball post went over the top amateurs available currently, and, like most draft scenarios that I have seen thus far, someone there had the Giants selecting Justin Smoak, 1B, of South Carolina.

Given that Villalona appears headed for 1B, I am hoping that 3B Pedro Alvarez's injury drops his stock and he falls to us at #5. But he has been the concensus #1 prospect in all the lists I have seen so right now it's a pipe dream unless he plays poorly - or the others really play well, much like how Evan Longoria rose from #10 before the season began to being in mix for the top after the season.

Ah, who am I kidding, I'd be happy with either of them or the other top hitter, currently, Yonder Alonso. Apparently there is also a high school shortstop, Tim Beckham, who is highly regarded right now and could fall to us at #5. And another top hitter is high school 1B Eric Hosmer, who some consider the best high school bat in the draft, though others could draft ahead of him because of the position being a premium one.

2 comments:

  1. Hey Martin,

    I totally agree on his future ability to start in the majors is based on his changeup.

    I'm a big Sosa fan, and I hope he can get healthy and have another good year this season. From what I've read, he's got a very poor changeup right now and he rarely throws it, instead he tries to blow heat by hitters most of the time. Most be nice to have a mid-90s FB huh?

    I think every Giant fan agrees with you too on the draft, we could really use a good hitter and there seems to be a decent selection in this years draft.

    Beckam is super interesting. His bat -- while still really good and promising -- might not be as high as some of the others, but I'd be really tempted if he fell to the Giants. He's a 5-tool talent at a premium position. The Giants already have a couple of SS prospects (Noonan if he can stick, remains to be seen, Culberson, Schoop, etc.) but none of Beckham's stuff.

    FYI, Callis from BA had Beckham going #1 in a recent draft projection that he did for the first 5 picks. In his mock, the Giants drafted HS 1B Justin Smoak.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, most mock drafts I have seen has the Giants selecting Justin Smoak, he's the pre-season favorite for the Giants to pick.

    Nothing against him, as I love what I hear about his bat, but the more I read, the more it looks like Villalona is going to play 1B. If we had the DH, that's a spot we can put one of them while the other plays 1B, but we don't. So I'm hoping another positional prospect either fall to us or rise to us.

    I know no prospect is a sure thing, so if Smoak is the best player available, I want the Giants to pick for value, but I view SS and 3B to be positions of future need - we have all the OF, particularly Bowker and Schierholtz, with Fairly possibly in CF, Villalona covers 1B plus looks like Bowker will see some time there, Frandsen, Burriss, and Noonan at 2B, Williams at C, though that's not a give though, unlike the others above. Culberson is interesting at SS, but not a sure thing, but the Giants like Bocock, though he has to show a bat first. And no 3B.

    ReplyDelete

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