2012 San Francisco Giants: Top 10 Prospects (End of the Season Edition)

Lyell MarksCorrespondent IOctober 5, 2012

Outfielder Gary Brown, the Giants #1 overall prospect
Outfielder Gary Brown, the Giants #1 overall prospectEzra Shaw/Getty Images

1. Gary Brown (CF) Richmond-AA

2012 Stats: .279 AVG/7 HR/42 RBI/33 SB
Profile: He didn't match organizational expectations in 2012 after a breakout season last year for San Jose (A), but still managed a solid second-half and finished with 30-plus steals for the second year in a row.

He projects as a leadoff hitter with plus speed and plus skills defensively. He covers ground with ease in the outfield, and is a constant threat on the basepaths. Power will never be exceptional but he shows flashes—Brown could consistently hit .270-.300 because of a high contact rate and pressure he puts on defenses with his speed. He seems to be a likely successor to Angel Pagan in center for San Francisco. Spring training 2013 will serve as his audition.

2. Kyle Crick (RHP) Augusta-A

2012 Stats: (7-6) 2.51 ERA/111.1 IP/128 K/75 H/1.28 WHIP
Profile: He was selected in the second-round of the 2011 draft by the Giants as a Texas high school product. Crick is a multi-sport athlete who also starred as a football player in high school, but his arm still remains fresh because of light use.

He features a consistent low-to-mid 90s fastball with life, and could be dominant if his secondary pitches develop; Crick only allowed 75 hits in more than 111 innings pitched and struck out more than a batter per frame. He has time to develop with plenty of upside, and could get a bump to high-A San Jose in 2013. He shares similarities with a young Matt Cain.

3. Adam Duvall (3B) San Jose-A

2012 Stats: .258 AVG/30 HR/100 RBI/.487 SLG
Profile: Duvall was a late-round draft steal by the Giants out of Louisville, who has done nothing but hit since being signed. He launched 30 home runs in 2012 to lead Single-A, which was 11 more than any other Giants minor leaguer. He also hit 22 home runs last season for Augusta and has amassed 187 RBIs in two seasons for the Giants (A) affiliates. While the California League is notorious for inflated offensive numbers, a promotion to Richmond (AA) next year will allow the organization to see if Duvall can replicate his success.

With Pablo Sandoval entrenched at third base, Duvall may have to find another spot on the diamond for his bat in order to play in San Francisco, or hope that Sandoval plays himself out of the starting position.

4. Joe Panik (SS) San Jose-A

2012 Stats: .297 AVG/7 HR/76 RBI/.368 OBP
Profile: You're looking at an offensive-minded shortstop with a line-drive approach and a former first-round draft pick of the Giants in 2011 out of St. Johns University. His defensive skills remain in question, but if he can stick at shortstop, Panik could press Brandon Crawford for the major league job as soon as 2013. If moved to second, Panik could still be the future replacement of Marco Scutaro and/or Ryan Theriot. His bat will be his ticket to the show.

5. Chris Stratton (RHP) Salem-Keiser-R

2012 Stats: (0-1) 2.76 ERA/16.1 IP/16 K/14 H/1.47 WHIP
Profile: Stratton is the Giants 2012 first-round pick out of Mississippi State, and joins Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain as pitchers the Giants have selected with their first-round choice. He projects as an innings-eater with strikeout stuff who is likely closer to the big leagues than Crick or Blackburn because of collegiate polish. With San Francisco’s history of fast-tracking pitchers, Stratton could glide through the minor league system in a matter of one or two years.

6. Clayton Blackburn (RHP) San Jose-A

2012 Stats: (8-4) 2.54 ERA/131.1 IP/143 K/116 H/1.04 WHIP
Profile: A 16th round draft pick in 2011, Blackburn has turned heads in his first season in San Jose, as he posted impressive strikeout numbers to go along with one of the best WHIPs in the minors.

He's only 19, so there's no rush for Blackburn to get to the big leagues. This gives the Giants another arm they can properly develop in their minor league system. Both Crick and Blackburn will be interesting projects for the Giants to observe as they await contract resolutions with Tim Lincecum in 2013.

If they both continue their success, San Francisco may be more willing to let Lincecum go to the highest bidder in free agency if they are hesitant about a long-term contract.

7. Chris Heston (RHP) Richmond-AA

2012 Stats: (9-8) 2.54 ERA/148.2 IP/135 K/124 H/1.10 WHIP
Profile: He does not have an overpowering arm, but consistently gets outs with a good sinker. Heston projects as a middle-of-the-rotation starter who gets ground balls and forces contact. He has great command and doesn't beat himself with the walk and is among the minor league leaders in ERA for (AA) in 2012.

He will likely start 2013 in Fresno (AAA) and could compete with Eric Hacker for spot starts. Another solid season in the minor leagues in 2013 would force the Giants to give Heston serious rotation consideration.

8. Francisco Peguero (OF) Fresno-AAA

2012 Stats: .272 AVG/5 HR/68 RBI/10 3B
Profile: This toolsy outfielder has shown flashes of being special but has battled injuries and inconsistency. He made major league debut for San Francisco on August 25, 2012 but was unable to record a hit in his first seven at-bats. His first hit finally came, but Peguero ended up being used by Bruce Bochy predominantly as a pinch-runner and defensive substitution.

Peguero shows a plus arm in the outfield and above average defensive skills overall. He needs to impress soon, though, as he turned 24 in 2012 and has to battle Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, Gregor Blanco, Gary Brown and others.

9. Heath Hembree (RHP) Fresno-AAA

2012 Stats: (1-1) 4.19 ERA/15 SV/1.16 WHIP
Profile: This is a flamethrowing closer who could be the future replacement of Brian Wilson. He was bumped from San Jose (A) to Fresno (AAA), where his numbers were very pedestrian. However, he did manage 15 saves and held opponents to a .207 batting average.

Hembree will get a look in spring training from the Giants to serve a bullpen role, possibly as late-inning insurance if Wilson's injury doesn't heal on time. He is being groomed as the future closer as Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla audition this season in Wilson’s absence.

10. Roger Kieschnick (OF) Fresno-AAA

2012 Stats: .306 AVG/16 HR/40 RBI/.980 OPS
Profile: Kieschnick was having a breakout season in Fresno (AAA) before an injury robbed most of his second-half. He is a former USA National Team star who also played college ball at Texas Tech. He is Related to former major leaguer Brooks Kieschnick.

He may have been in the Giants' plans before his injury, but will have to compete with Peguero and Brown for spots on the roster in spring training. He could be a sleeper to replace Melky Cabrera in left field if he isn't re-signed.

Stock Rising:

*Ricky Oropesa (1B) San Jose-A—Key Stat: 98 RBIs

*Brock Bond (2B) Fresno-AAA—Key Stat: .332 AVG

*Ryan Lollis (OF) Fresno-AAA—Key Stat: .300 AVG

*Jesus Galindo (OF) Augusta-A—Key Stat: 40 SB

Key Departures:

*Tommy Joseph (C-1B)—Traded to Philadelphia Phillies with Nate Shierholtz for Hunter Pence
*Charlie Culberson (2B)—Traded to Colorado Rockies for Marco Scutaro
*Ryan Verdugo (P)—Traded to Kansas City Royals with Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera


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