San Francisco Giants: Where the Top Draft Picks from 2010 Are Now
Although none of these draft picks project to be stars, there’s a good chance that a few will at least play a small role for the Giants this season and in the years beyond. Others, however, will struggle to reach Triple-A Fresno.
Who are they, and where are they now?
Gary Brown (1st Round, 24th Overall from CSU Fullerton)
The Giants made Gary Brown their first overall pick in the 2010 draft because of his speed and all-out style of play.
Despite Brown's awkward batting mechanics, the Giants obviously believed that he would eventually be able to hit enough to play every day in the major leagues.
Before the draft, Brown’s MLB.com scouting report read:
Speed is his best tool, and he can wreak havoc on the basepaths. He has more strength and power than it would seem, and while his approach is unorthodox, he has good overall hitting skills. Relatively new to the outfield, he's come a long way in terms of his defensive skills in center. Pure speed guys who can hit don't grow on trees, and if Brown keeps hitting the way he started out the year, he's going to hear his name called sooner rather than later on Draft Day.
In 2011—his first full season—Brown hit .336 with 14 home runs while stealing 53 bases for High-A San Jose. In turn, the fleet-footed center fielder was quickly dubbed the Giants’ top prospect by Baseball America.
His 2012 season at Double-A Richmond was respectable, but not exactly what the Giants were hoping to see after his breakout campaign. Brown hit .279 with only seven home runs, and he stole only 33 bases while being caught 18 times.
Still, the showing was enough to punch his ticket to Triple-A Fresno, where he is currently playing.
Brown has been a huge disappointment thus far in 2013. Although the Pacific Coast League is known for being hitter-friendly, the 24-year-old has yet to find his stroke.
Through 49 games, Brown is hitting only .216 with a .283 on-base percentage. He has swiped just five bases while being caught stealing five times. Perhaps the most telling statistic is his 51 strikeouts, which have come in only 227 at-bats.
Clearly, the first-round pick is not living up to his potential. If he does not pick up the pace in Fresno, he could soon see himself back in Double-A.
Jarrett Parker, CF (2nd Round, 74th Overall from University of Virginia)
If Gary Brown fizzles out, Jarrett Parker would likely be his replacement in Fresno.
Parker’s numbers in his first two seasons were not as impressive as Brown’s, but the talented outfielder has been able to improve steadily each season.
Through 45 games at Double-A Richmond this season, Parker is hitting .264 with 10 home runs. Much of that power has come recently, as Parker has smacked five home runs over the past four games.
Before draft day, MLB.com had this to say about the speedy center fielder:
Parker had a rough go of it in the Cape Cod League last summer, but there was hope that he'd bounce back and fulfill expectations of being one of the more interesting college hitters in this year's class. It hasn't really worked out that way as he's struggled to find offensive consistency, though he was coming on a little bit late. What he does have is plenty of speed, which gives him the ability to steal bases and play a superb center field. Those are marketable skills, and the team that thinks he'll hit will still nab the Virginia outfielder fairly early on.
Parker is displaying the type of skill set that could eventually make him a nice fourth outfielder for the Giants.
His next task will be tackling the PCL, and—with Gary Brown struggling—the opportunity could present itself sooner than later.
Carter Jurica, SS (3rd Round, 105th Overall from Kansas St. University)
After Jurica’s impressive 2012 campaign in High-A San Jose (.300, 6 HR, .365 OBP), the Giants felt that the shortstop was advanced enough to make the jump to Triple-A Fresno.
The 24-year-old has held his own so far, hitting .280 with two home runs through 45 games.
His biggest issue has been on the defensive end. Through four minor league seasons, Jurica’s fielding percentage as a shortstop is an uninspiring .946. As a second baseman, the number is only slightly better (.967).
With Brandon Crawford firmly entrenched as the Giants shortstop and Joe Panik likely the heir apparent to second baseman Marco Scutaro, Jurica will struggle to ever see the major leagues.
His best hope will be as a utility infielder, but that opportunity won’t present itself unless Jurica can improve his defense.
Seth Rosin, RHP (4th Round, 138th Overall from University of Minnesota)
After spending much of his minor league career as a reliever, the Phillies are in the process of converting the big right-hander into a starting pitcher.
Through 10 starts with Double-A Reading, Rosin is 3-3 with a 3.30 earned run average. He has struck out 42 batters in 57.1 innings.
MLB.com does not include him among the Phillies’ top 20 prospects.
Heath Hembree, RHP (5th Round, 168th Overall from College of Charleston)
The Giants might have found a gem in Heath Hembree.
Since being drafted, Hembree has done nothing but strike out hitters at an impressive rate. Over 129.1 minor league innings, the big righty has tallied 168 strikeouts while posting a nifty 2.85 ERA.
Control has been an issue for Hembree, however, and it is likely the reason he has not yet seen the major leagues. In 2012, Hembree walked 20 batters in only 38 innings.
But the 2013 season has seen Hembree make great strides, as he’s walked only five batters in 22 innings for Triple-A Fresno.
His newfound command—coupled with his 97 MPH fastball and nasty slider—has caused Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News to speculate that Hembree may soon be gracing the mound at AT&T Park.
Mike Kickham, LHP (6th Round, 198th Overall from Missouri State University)
Surely nobody would have predicted that Mike Kickham would be the first member of the Giants’ 2010 draft class to make his big league debut.
But when Ryan Vogelsong fractured his hand, the Giants were in need of a replacement and Kickham earned the nod.
After an underwhelming first full season in 2011, Kickham put himself on the map in 2012 with an impressive showing in Double-A Richmond. In 150.2 innings, Kickham registered 137 strikeouts while compiling a 3.05 ERA for the Flying Squirrels.
While Kickham’s 2013 numbers with the Grizzlies don’t look particularly impressive (3-4, 4.33 ERA), Kickham earned a promotion to the big league club by piecing together a five-game streak that saw him go 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA.
Kickham's major league debut on Monday night did not go well, but the tall lefty showed that he has the stuff to pitch at a high level.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy agreed, saying (via Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News), "I thought he had impressive stuff. The first outing, that’s always tough. You try to put that behind you."
Charles Jones, CF (7th Round, 228th Overall from Booneville High School, MO)
Still just 20 years old, Jones has yet to make his mark with the Giants.
The Booneville, Missouri native has posted some ugly numbers through his first 46 games this season with Single-A Augusta. Over 147 at-bats, Jones is hitting only .197 with two home runs. He has struck out 53 times while registering a miserable .578 on-base plus slugging percentage.
Jones is a solid defender, but he must improve his approach at the plate before the Giants will even consider sending him to High-A San Jose.
Joseph Staley, C (8th Round, 258th Overall from Lubbock Christian University)
Staley had a nice 2011 season with Low-A Salem-Keizer, hitting .280 with eight home runs and an .873 OPS.
But Staley couldn’t match those numbers with Single-A Augusta in 2012. In 71 games, the catcher hit just .230 with two home runs.
Staley currently plays for the Grand Prairie AirHogs in the American Association (Independent League).
Chris Lofton, CF (9th Round, 288th Overall from Jones County JC, MS)
Since being drafted, Chris Lofton (no relation to former Giant Kenny Lofton) has struggled to find offensive success between all three Single-A levels.
But through 39 games with High-A San Jose this season, Lofton looks to have finally found his groove. In 134 at-bats, the speedy center fielder is batting .284 with a .364 OBP. He has stolen 10 bases in 14 tries, and his .410 slugging percentage is the highest of his career.
Despite the recent success, the 23-year-old is going to have to show the Giants a lot more if he wants to force his way into their future plans.
Dan Burkhart, C (10th Round, 318th Overall from Ohio State University)
As a 23-year-old making his High-A debut with San Jose, Burkhart has posted some decent numbers in 2013.
Through 34 games, the undersized catcher is batting .298 with two home runs and 19 runs batted in. His .800 OPS is more than respectable, and he has been able to get on base consistently (.362 OBP).
His defense has improved as he’s progressed through the minor leagues, and this season he has made only one error in 239 chances.
But in an organization rich with catchers, Burkhart will struggle to even reach Triple-A.
Other Notable Picks
Adam Duvall, 3B (11th Round, 348th Overall from University of Louisville)
Drafted as a second baseman out of the University of Louisville, Duvall has posted some gaudy numbers thus far in his minor league career.
In 2011, he hit 22 home runs for Single-A Augusta. He followed up that impressive campaign by launching 30 long balls for High-A San Jose in 2012.
This season, as a 24-year-old in Double-A Richmond, Duvall is proving that his previous success was no fluke. Through 19 games, Duvall is batting .324 with an OPS of 1.013.
Those are the type of numbers that get players to the big leagues.
Brett Bochy, RHP (20th Round, 618th Overall from University of Kansas)
Brett Bochy, son of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, proved over his first two seasons that he was not just drafted because of who his father is.
Bochy dominated in 2011 as a 23-year-old facing Single-A competition, posting a 1.38 ERA while striking out 53 batters in 39 innings.
He moved to Double-A in 2012, and his success continued. In 53.1 innings, the right-hander struck out 69 batters. He posted a 2.53 ERA in the process.
This season, Bochy is struggling to find success with Triple-A Fresno. Over 19 innings, Bochy holds a 6.16 ERA and is walking 4.3 batters per nine innings.
But if the younger Bochy can harness his stuff and start posting some quality numbers in Fresno, he will likely be summoned to San Francisco by his father before the season is over.