Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Top 15 Giants Prospects - Baseball Intellect

Baseball Intellect's Alex Eisenberg has filled the void of analyzing prospect mechanics since Carlos Gomez hung up his Bullpen Mechanics and took a scouting job with a major league team and he has done it well. Recently, he published his Giants Top 15 prospects, 1-5 here and 6-15 here.

Giants Top 15 Prospects
  1. Madison Bumgarner. Body type is strong, durable, athletic and projectable. His player grade is A- and his fastball was rated 65 now and 70 in future (on scout's 20-80 scale), curveball 45/55, change-up 35/45, Control 50/55, Command 50/60, and Pitchability 45/55. His fastball is electric and he can spot it where he wants. He shows plus-plus velocity at times and he's able to hide the ball well, making it hard for hitters to see it coming out of his hand. "Bottom line... Bumgarner has a chance to be special, especially if he can continue to hone his secondary offerings. Best case outcome - No. 1 starter; More likely outcome - No. 2 starter"
  2. Buster Posey. Body type is athletic, especially for a catcher, but also a heavier lower half; he has room to fill out his frame. His player grade is B+ with his Contact rated 45/55 (now/future), Power 40/50, Discipline 45/55, Speed 40/40, Defense 55/60, Arm 55/55, Instincts 50/60. He "possesses good footwork around the plate and projects to be an at least average defensive catcher with the potential to become plus." "While the power ouput is still in question, Posey should be able to hit 35+ doubles along with around 15-20 homeruns on a regular basis. When you combine this with a solid batting average and the willingness/ability to take a walk, Posey looks like a pretty good offensive player... Posey could move quickly." "Best Case Outcome - Top 5 catcher, potential all-star; More Likely Outcome - Top 12 catcher... he's a very good offensive catcher, but there are still questions for exactly how much power he'll hit for."
  3. Tim Alderson. Body type is tall, but coordinated and athletic. His player grade is B+ with his Fastball rated 50/55 (now/future), Curveball 50/60, Change-Up 40/45, Control 50/60, Command 45/55, Pitchability 50/60. "Overall, he's deceptive, hard to pick up, stays closed. This deceptiveness makes his fastball seem much more explosive. ... his stuff isn't overpowering but it plays up because of his command, intellect, and mechanics. Best Case Outcome - No. 2 starter; More Likely Outcome - Strong No. 3 starter."
  4. Pablo Sandoval. Not qualified to call a prospect, but include because he's interesting player. Body type is short, but heavy, with little projection. His player grade is B/B+ with his Contact rated 55/55 (now/future), Power 50/50, Discipline 40/45, Speed 40/40, Defense 50/50, Arm 60/60, Instincts 45/50. He really likes Sandoval's swing, leading to a "very nice combination of contact/batting average and power Sandoval's drawbacks is his plate discipline. He's a high contact hitter, but also doesn't walk much and needs to be a little more selective... he does show an ability, however, to adjust to off-speed pitches. ... Best Case Outcome - The potential is there to be a top-5 catcher, but he becomes an average player at first base and a top-12 player at third base. If he were slated to play catcher, I would move his grade to B+; More Likely Outcome - Top-10 catcher, slightly below average first baseman, or average thirdbaseman.
  5. Angel Villalona. Body type is big kid, needs to watch his weight, but he's only 17; however, is he that projectable? His player grade is B and his Contact is rated 40/50 (now/future), Power 50/60-65, Discipline 35/45, Speed 40/35, Defense 50/50, Arm 55/55, Instincts 35/45. He was extremely young for his level, so his ordinary numbers aren't too big a deal. Show strong power already but he's still very raw in the aspects of baseball where experience really helps, like his plate discipline, low walks, high strikeouts. His raw power rates as plus to plus-plus, and he shows terrific bat speed, a mechanically sound swing, and the ability to make hard contact. Already physically mature, he is not your typical ultra-talented, projectable athlete displaying his natural ability at a young age; he's already limited to first base. "Best Case Outcome - Middle of the line-up bat; Most Likely Outcome - Average to slightly above average everyday first baseman."
  6. Henry Sosa. Body type is lanky, smallish build. Player grade is B/B- with his Fastball rated 55/60 (now/future), Curveball 45/55, Change-Up 35-40/45, Control 40/45, Command 45/55, Pitchability 45/50. Boasts perhaps the second best arm in the entire system, but the biggest question was his control, which he made strides to improve, though another issue is his ability to get deep into games. "Best Case Outcome - No. 3 starter; Most Likely Outcome - Set-up man."
  7. Conor Gillaspie. Player grade is B- with his Contact rated 45/55 (now/future), Power 40/45-50, Discipline 50/55, Speed 45/45, Defense 40/50, Arm 50/50, Instincts 55/60. Has the potential to hit for a high batting average and already possesses strong plate discipline, but his power is still a question mark and he's below average defensively at third, though that should improve as he gets more experience there given his athleticism and work ethic, as his arm is solid enough. His value would increase if he were moved to second base, and he thinks he can handle the change; however, the Giants have Noonan slotted for 2B. "Best Case Outcome - Average everyday third baseman or above average second baseman; More Likely Outcome - Really good utility player... think about the way Mark DeRosa has been utilized over the course of his career.
  8. Nick Noonan. Body type is athletic and projectable. Player grade is B- and his Contact is rated 40/55 (now/future), Power 40/50, Discipline 35/45, Speed 50/50, Defense 55/55, Arm 45/45, Instincts 50/55. Similar to Gillaspie but more upside in power, younger, and better defense; however, he has very little plate discipline, getting him the lower ranking. Feels he could end up with 15-20 homer power eventually with adjustments. Should be above average defensive player eventually, and could step in at shortstop if necessary. Excellent base runner, with 47 stolen bases in 54 attempts during his career. "Best Case Outcome - Above average everyday second baseman. More Likely Outcome - Average everyday second baseman... his worse case outcome is utility player role"
  9. Kevin Pucetas. Body type is big and lacking projection. Player grade is B- and his Fastball is rated 50/50 (now/future), Curveball 45/50, Slider 40/45, Change-Up 55/55, Control 50/55, Command 45/50, Pitchability 55/55. "Pucetas is a four-pitch pitcher and doesn't have spectacular stuff, but it's good enough to eventually get out major leaguers. ... His best pitch is his change-up, which shows good tumbling action and an excellent differentiation between the speed of his fastball... Best Case Outcome - No. 4 starter; More Likely Outcome - Quality middle reliever"
  10. Roger Kieschnick. Body type is big, strong, and athletic. Potential 5-tool player, but he's a low contact hitter. "Best Case Outcome - Average right fielder... he's got the tools, but he's a major long shot to hone them all; More Likely Outcome - Fourth outfielder... he's good enough at other things to provide some value to a major league team"
  11. Scott Barnes. Most impressive was how dominant he was in his first professional season, despite inconsistent and somewhat stiff mechanics from his draft video. We'll get an idea of whether his performance was for real or just small samples in 2009. Player grade C+
  12. Ehire Adrianza. "Here is a sleeper candidate for you...Adrianza is a shortstop with a very strong glove and an athletic, projectable build. The power isn't there yet, but he's shown excellent plate discipline in his young career, displaying both the ability to take a walk and make contact. He has a very short swing, but it's going to make hitting for power, as well as hitting the ball with true authority very difficult. ... He's a long way off, but good defense at shorstop combined with good plate discipline is a solid building block for a player to start from. Grade C
  13. Aaron King. "King's mechanics are somewhat unorthodox and there are issues to iron out. ... Problems aside, there is a lot to like: King is young, projectable, athletic, left handed, seems to have an understanding of getting the body going and throwing with intent, and sports a low 90's, sinking fastball with the potential to add more velocity. He's risky, but he's worth taking a shot on. Grade - C
  14. Wendell Fairley. "Fairley was mostly a disappointment last season. He showed little pop--just an .076 ISO-power and a .314 BABIP--and he hit the ball on the ground far too often. Fairley does have good tools...he's fast, athletic, has good bat speed,but his tools never really showed up in the actual games. He has to adjust his swing plane/path to have more lift after contact. One positive was he walked quite a bit, so it was somewhat of a mystery as to why he didn't use his speed more. Something to take away from last season: the final month of the season, Fairley walked in 16% of his plate appearances, while striking out in just 12% of his PAs. We'll see if he can carry that success over to next year. Grade - C"
  15. Brandown Crawford. This he offered only to subscribers, so I'll include the whole thing. "Crawford looks like an intriguing player. He's a shortstop with some pop and patience. But there are some major red flags. I'm not sure of the exact number, but I don't think the success rate of players with significantly more strikeouts than walks is good, especially when that player has no other plus skill. Crawford struggles to make contact mainly because he struggled to center the ball last year as well as failing to recognize off-speed stuff. He would often get too far out in front. His swing is also a little armsy as he doesn't use his lower as efficiently as he could. Defensively, he lost a little bit of range a year ago, but he has good hands and fields what he gets to. He's not a bad guy to take a chance on because it could be he just had a off year in 2008, but I would say his chance at success is small unless he shows an improved ability to make contact. Grade - C"

I also asked him about Ishikawa, who missed the cut for this because he had too many AB by Alex's standards (100 AB): "I think he's a useful player. Good power, good patience, will strike out, won't hit for a high average...apparently he's good defensively though I haven't seen his defense...I think he's ultimately a platoon guy because he does have a pretty big lefty/righty split (and that is exactly how the Giants used him last year)...his bat isn't good enough to play first base everyday. If I were to rate him, he would be the team's No. 9 prospect and a B- prospect."

Not too bad, gives some hope for the future, though that future looks like a platoon, as most analysis has tagged him as that. But there is some value in that, and perhaps he can be a key trading chip later, or even figure out how to hit LHP.

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