The San Francisco Giants need to bolster the quality of their minor league talent through the 2012 MLB draft. After a great run that saw the Giants add impact players from within their system, such as Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval and Tim Lincecum, the cupboard has largely gone dry.
Over the past year or two, the young players and call-ups have had far less success at the big league level. The one player the Giants believed was ready to make an impact was Brandon Belt, but he has struggled offensively.
At this point in the season, Belt has nearly 100 at-bats and is hitting a very soft .240. He has no home runs and generally has not hit the ball with authority. If he is going to be the Giants' first baseman of the future, he must provide more pop offensively.
Other players getting a lot of playing time, such as Brandon Crawford, Emmanuel Burriss and Brett Pill, also have not seized their opportunity like the Giants' brass had hoped. Still others, like Conor Gillaspie and Charlie Culberson, proved that they are not ready for the majors.
Only reserve catcher Hector Sanchez has met the expectations of the Giants and manager Bruce Boichy. Sanchez is hitting .284 with two home runs and 17 RBI, which is three more than Belt in 22 fewer at-bats.
On the pitching side, the Giants also have not brought anyone up who looks to be an impact arm. Reliever Steve Edlefsen has been decent, but others like Eric Surkamp and Eric Hacker are not ready. Surkamp's arm injury has pushed him down the list, as he is yet to pitch this season.
Flame-thrower Heath Hembree is working on developing his secondary pitches and could be a factor at some point this year. However, that is purely speculation.
The bottom line is the Giants have not developed enough major-league talent out of the minors in the past couple of seasons. It is critical for GM Brian Sabean to hit it big in this year's draft.
Developing quality big-league players through your minor-league system is essential for salary control. Free agents are extremely expensive, so a team like the Giants needs to have quality young players coming up, in order to maintain their budget.
In addition, recent No. 1 picks Gary Brown, Joe Panik and Kyle Crick are not having great success in the minors. It was hoped that Brown, who was the Giants' top pick in 2010, would be ready to step into a starting role in 2013. That looks a long way off, as he is hitting just .250 at the Double-A level.
The Giants have only one selection in the first round and no selections in the supplemental first round, so this pick needs to produce an impact quality player.
Let's take a look at five potential players the Giants might be targeting with their pick, which is the 20th overall.
First, let me say that I do not think the Giants will select a high school player this early, so I will focus on the college level. The ability of the Giants to be able to sign the draftee is another key factor when evaluating whether to select any given player.