No. 1 Kyle Crick, Starting Pitcher
23 G (22 starts), 7-6, 111.1 IP, 75 H, 39 R (31 ER), 1 HR, 67 BB, 128 K (Low-A)
Crick is another one of those high-upside electric arms whom the Giants always seem to be churning out. His future stuff could end up being better than Matt Cain's and Madison Bumgarner's, though he is obviously a long way from reaching that territory.
Everything right now starts with Crick's fastball, which is an easy plus pitch and could turn into more when he learns to become more of a pitcher and less of a thrower.
Andy Baggarly of Baseball America (subscribers only) wrote that Crick's curveball was voted the best breaking ball by South Atlantic League managers last season.
The command and changeup are both below average right now, but Crick played all of last season at age 19 and struck out more than a hitter per inning because his stuff was so good. Improvement is coming, and when it does, he could be one of the five best pitching prospects in baseball next year.
No. 2 Clayton Blackburn, Starting Pitcher
22 G (22 starts), 8-4, 131.1 IP, 116 H, 47 R (37 ER), 3 HR, 18 BB, 143 K (High-A)
After Crick, there are a lot of players in the system without much potential or risk. One of the few players who does still possess good upside is Clayton Blackburn, whose stuff and command could make him a solid No. 3 starter.
Blackburn doesn't overpower hitters with raw stuff like Crick does. He has an above-average fastball, but because he locates it so well, it plays better than it looks. His changeup has great shape, and he is confident when he throws it, which is not something a lot of 20-year-old pitchers can say.
The Giants tend to move their pitchers along quickly, so don't be shocked to see Blackburn take a jump this season if he gets off to a hot start.
No. 3 Gary Brown, Outfielder
134 G, .279/.347/.385, 150 H, 32 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 42 RBI, 40 BB, 87 K, 33 SB (Double-A)
Brown has been on the radar for Giants fans for two years. He had a breakout 2011 season, when he hit .336/.407/.519 and looked like one of the best center field prospects in baseball, even though he was a polished college hitter in High-A.
Last season was probably more indicative of what Brown's skills will be at the big league level. His best and only tool remains his speed, which allows him to play center field and look the part of a leadoff hitter.
However, he doesn't walk enough and has little power to speak of. The margin of error for him to succeed is so small that it is hard to see him as an average everyday player at the big league level right now.
Even the speed aspect doesn't help Brown on the bases, as he was 33-for-51 in stolen base attempts last season. Don't sell him completely down the river yet, but the ceiling looks a lot lower now than it did one year ago.
No. 4 Chris Stratton, Starting Pitcher
8 G (5 starts), 0-1, 16.1 IP, 14 H, 6 R (5 ER), 1 HR, 10 BB, 16 K (Short Season)
The Giants' first-round pick in 2012, Stratton made himself one of the better college pitchers in the country last year by showing a much better feel for all of his pitches and presence on the mound at Mississippi State.
Since Stratton doesn't have dynamic stuff--his fastball is an above-average offering that will sit around 91-93--his vast assortment of pitches and ability to sequence them to keep opposing hitters off-balance is what will carry him to the big leagues.
Already polished when he was drafted, Stratton could be a fast mover in the minors and make his debut sometime in 2014.
No. 5 Heath Hembree, Relief Pitcher
5 G, 5 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 7 K (High-A)
39 G, 1-1, 15 Saves, 38 IP, 29 H, 24 R (20 ER), 2 HR, 20 BB, 36 K (Triple-A)
An inconsistent start, as well as an elbow strain in the middle of the season, prevented Hembree from putting up eye-popping numbers in 2012.
But by the end of the year—especially in the Arizona Fall League, where he struck out 12, walked just three and gave up eight hits in nine innings—Hembree looked like his old self, and he isn't far away from being in the big league bullpen.
Hembree has the power arsenal to pitch in the back of the bullpen. He has a fastball that sits in the high 90s, and he complements it with a knockout slider that will miss a ton of bats at the next level.
Command and consistency will determine what Hembree's ultimate role is, but it would not be a shock to see him closing games in San Francisco by the end of this season.