Remember when the San Francisco Giants didn’t really care much about their minor league system? Essentially mortgaging the future of the club to win in the present?
Years of giving away draft picks, bad drafts as a whole, and poor performances all together have officially ended as the Giants now possess one of the best minor league systems in the game.
Catcher Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner are at the head of the next wave of Giants prospects grabbing all the headlines and have the task, along with Tim Lincecum, of leading San Francisco into a era of winning baseball.
Can you remember the last time a San Francisco Giants prospect was talked about by every national publication as one of the best around? How about the last time two prospects at the same time were atop numerous lists?
You’ll have to go back more than 20 years to the days of Matt Williams and Will Clark when the two were drafted in 1986 and 1987, respectively.
The Giants hope Bumgarner and Posey, drafted in the first round in 2007 and 2008, will have the same kind of effect that both Williams and Clark did. Not only bringing top-flight talent at a young age, but doing it knowing that they are playing for the franchise they developed in.
And if their performances since they were drafted are any indication of what kind of major leaguers they will be, signs point to happy times to come.
Bumgarner is the definition of a power lefty in the mold of a current Giant, Randy Johnson. A power fastball with a devastating slider, Mad Bum has made it look easy in 2009 after recording the lowest ERA in all of the minors last season.
In 16 innings so far this season, Bumgarner has been the model of efficiency, walking only two batters while striking out 14. His record stands at 3-0 and has allowed only one earned run for a 0.56 ERA.
Not bad for avoiding the sophomore slump, huh?
His compatriot behind the plate, Posey, is no slouch himself.
The 2008 Golden Spikes Award winner has done nothing but backup why he won the award as a junior at Florida State. After being drafted No. 5 overall and receiving his club record $6.2 million signing bonus, the 22-year-old Posey flew though the Giants minor league system, appearing at three separate levels.
His 2009 hasn’t been too bad either.
Posey entered Spring Training with high expectations, but also a lot to prove. Could he continue the development behind the plate that could live up to his highly regarded bat? Would he be able to progress as fast as the Giants want him to?
Question one was a resounding yes and all signs point to No. 2 being the same answer.
He was one of the most improved players in Giants camp. He not only refined his defensive skills, but also learned how to call pitches at the same time. By the time Spring Training was over, the Giants pitching staff couldn’t have said enough positive things about the organization’s No. 2 prospect.
But when it comes to Posey, his bat will always get most of the attention. His numbers this season might not come close to his .468 average, 24 home runs, and 86 RBI from a year ago at Florida State, but they are still pretty impressive to say the least.
In his first 50 at-bats of the season, Posey has hit a cool .389 and a 1.140 OPS with three home runs and a team-high 12 RBI.
If they keep producing like they have in the early goings of this season, San Jose certainly won’t be where they finish the season.
Posey and Bumgarner lead one of the most talented minor league teams this season at the Giants’ high Single A affiliate, San Jose, giving fans a preview of what could possibly be a batter every fifth day in the 2010 season.
They are two of the main reasons why the minor league’s Giants are off to such a fine start. If they keep producing like they have, they won’t finish the season there. It’s only a matter of time before they get promoted and to Double-A when the weather heats up in Connecticut.
Dan Rohn, the manager of the Fresno Grizzlies, the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate, would probably take both of them tomorrow. He’s on the record saying it regarding Posey; the question is...will he have the chance to see them don the Grizzlies jersey before they hit the bigs?
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