Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sickel Reviews His Giants Top 20 Prospect List From Start of Season

John Sickel's, a prospect maven on the web (I think he used to work for Bill James and then worked for ESPN, so he has some cred), regularly publishes his thoughts on a team's top prospects early in the year and he just recently reviewed that list and gave his thoughts on how the players did this season.

There are a lot of good information on a lot of players there, so have a read, I'll note the ones that caught my eye; a lot, however, many Giants fans know already so the below I think are more value added (my comment in parens):
  • Angel Villalona: .248/.298/.400 with 13 homers, 18 walks, 111 strikeouts in 407 at-bats for Augusta in the Sally League. Horrible strike zone judgment, but just 17 years old most of this season.
  • Henry Sosa: pitching time limited by knee injury.
  • Madison Bumgarner: Not nearly as raw as most expected, breaking ball still needs some work but tremendous fastball command has made him unbeatable at this level.
  • Nate Schierholtz: Has nothing left to prove here. Needs a clean chance in the majors or a new organization. (No position for him, plus he still needed development after 2008 and thus regular playing time, something he wouldn't have gotten if he got promoted. It was all good, I believe, but 2009 will be different, and he really needs to be in the majors and starting, Winn must go!)
  • Nick Noonan: Poor plate discipline is biggest concern right now.
  • Clayton Tanner: Efficient strike thrower who gets grounders. Double-A transition in 2009 will tell the tale.
  • Eugenio Velez: Speed and versatility will get him more chances (Sickels noted his poor stats this season).
  • Wendell Fairley: Unimpressive, tools are not turning into skills yet. (Biggest disappointment of the season, all talk so far no action... I was a little worried about that, given his off-field problems, that he might not be that into his work and play, he would be more into his off-field stuff. Next season will show if he's capable of manning up and making up for his poor 2008 or if he sinks lower; seems to have a world of talent though, so we need to be patient)
  • John Bowker: He's capable of better but I don't see why he gets to play and Schierholtz doesn't. (Because Bowker really socked ball out in AA last season, it was masked by Dodd Stadium, and Nate struggled a bit with AAA last season and still needed development time, really)
  • Charlie Culberson: Not producing much of anything, just six steals, no power, weak on-base skills. Young enough to improve. (He might end up repeating at Augusta while everyone else moves up...)
  • Osiris Matos: Should be a useful reliever. (Despite his poor first time up in majors, along with other relievers, people forget that it is not just a competition adjustment coming up, but there are a lot of other things to deal with as a major leaguer; this is why Earl Weaver liked to bring starters up slowly, as a reliever where he can control his opportunities for success as he adjusts to major league life, then he gets to start next season)
  • Wilber Bucardo: Gets grounders and throws strikes, other marks not impressive at all.
  • Sergio Romo: Gotta love the K/BB and K/IP. Main concern is strong fly ball tendency leading to excessive homers. (Despite being a finesse strikeout pitcher, I think he's capable of doing well in majors based on the time he has spent so far in the majors, he just need to be more of a pitcher than a thrower, odd to say about a finesse guy, but his problems in the majors shows he's doing something wrong.)
  • Emmanuel Burriss: Good speed, but total lack of power will preclude big success. (Giants realize this, that's why Carney Lansford will be working with him during off-season and spring training to get him to hit more line drives, as recent Merc article noted. "As big and strong as he is, he should be able to drive the ball better.'' Apparently he's OK right-handed, but is totally weak as a lefty. "...he wants Burriss to develop gap power as opposed to hitting the ball out of the park. "He's done a very good job putting the ball in play. But he chases too much and there are other things we'll work on to help him. He's got the potential to be a much better left-handed hitter."" Sounds good to me, that's why I think he'll be the starter at 2B in 2009 with Frandsen at 3B; hopefully Burriss can develop and man SS after 2009. While I think Frandsen's better position is 2B, I think Noonan will grab that sooner or later, and I think Frandsen can hit at the major league level).
  • Ben Copeland: Still looks like a reserve outfielder to me.
  • Ben Snyder: Having problems making transition to Double-A, a common issue for finesse pitches.
Here is his final summary:

Villalona could develop into a superstar. He could also fail to gain
command of the strike zone and end up as a big bust. It is just too early to
know. Alderson has been really good, and Bumgarner has been unstoppable. The
middle infield options don't look too great right now, with failures to hit
sufficiently among the guys on this list. But overall the Giants system is in
better condition than it has been in recent years.

Not too surprising on Villalona, chill out if you are worrying, as this is normal stuff for such a young player playing at such a low level. The key point is that he is holding his own while playing against much older competition. That is a key to him making the majors at a young age, but it is a gaunlet he will go through as he rises up the minors, he will have to re-prove himself each and every season.

The rest basically captures our 2008 minor leagues except for our big breakout success of Pablo Sandoval. And the farm system obviously looks a whole lot better with the addition of Posey, Gillaspie, Kieschnick, and Crawford.

5 comments:

  1. This was from the start of the season. At that point, Ishikawa had, in the minds of those who didn't dig deeper, had two straight years of failure.

    In Sandoval's case, he didn't really do much in the minors until last season, and as evidenced by the need to keep him back in San Jose solely to work on his catching, his defense was in great need of work, meaning that his only real sure future position he could play was 1B, which requires a much greater level of hitting production to be considered a good prospect. He had a pretty good 2007, but not that great if you expect him to start at 1B.

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  2. Sandoval started at 3B on Friday night (Aug. 22). Wow I had no idea he could possibly play 3B, but apparently he has started at 3B before in the minors in 2005 and 2006. I know it's very early, but Sandoval and Ishikiawa have been looking really good offensively so far. It would be great to be able to have them both, along with Molina, in the lineup on a consistent basis.

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  3. Yeah, he had played that position, I thought, just one season, but that apparently took all his mental faculties and he was horrible offensively, so they then returned him to catching, at least from my recollection (I've seen someone else say it was two years too).

    Too early to say that they are sure things, but yeah, it would be great to have both of them playing, particularly since Rohlinger is Bococking it, heck, even Bocock hit better initially (or rather batted, he got a lot of walks initially, giving him a decent OBP, though horrible BA and SLG).

    Ish is Ish, HR with a fair amount of walks and a ton of strikeouts.

    The great thing about Sandoval so far is that he only has 2 strikeouts in 24 AB, a great ratio thus far, and indicative of good batting prowess up at this level thus far. Of course, small samples, but if he can keep it up, that's the ratio most batters need to maintain (roughly, 10% K-rate or less) if they want to be .300 hitters regularly.

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  4. Wow, Sandoval has a 6 game hitting streak so far, with 4 games of multiple hit games! I knew he was hitting, but man, that's great production! Now he needs to figure out how to slip in some more power into his swing.

    Ishikawa hasn't been as consistent, but still 5 games with hits out of 7 starts, 2 multi-hit games, 2 doubles, 2 homers, 4 extra-base hits, 6 RBI, that's like the production for 1B for the month or two prior to him joining!

    The Giants are 6-3 since the two of them joined the lineup on August 14th, and helping the team towards a winning August, the first winning month since last August when they went 16-15.

    That was one of two winning months, they were 13-11 in April, plus nearly .500 in July going 12-13; June and Sept really killed them.

    This season, May and July killed them, even with Roberts and Zito's horrible start in April, they were 13-15 in April, plus were 13-14 in June. Appears that trading deadline bothered the players in July (from what I recall from reports by journalists), else, excepting Roberts horrible start, the Giants were basically playing .500 until July hit, as I had reported previously, showing that even with the horrible offense coming from SS, then 1B when Bowker stalled out, plus CF/RF as Rowand and Winn slumped for a couple of months in the summer, only snapping out in August, and C as Molina quick start faded greatly again, and of course 3B with Castillo's horrible hitting, really, only Lewis and Durham were our consistent hitters throughout the period up to the end of June.

    This supports my assertion in my business plan that if the players we had for the bulk of April-June could just do as good (poorly really) as they did then, with Lewis, hitting slightly above .800 OPS LEADING the team, the team with the pitchers we had (and remember, that included our horrible #5 starting from Correia and Misch, plus the horrible Zito pitching) would be capable of producing a contending season if we can just add one more potent bat.

    See how our offense has perked up (and winning) once we added two hot hitters to the lineup. It helps that Correia is now finally appearing to out of his spring training phase of his recovery and Zito is pitching decently, plus Winn and Rowand has started hitting again, but that probably only gets us to .500, with Ish and Sandoval, that pushes us to 6-3 thus far with their hot hitting.

    ReplyDelete

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