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San Francisco Giants: Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 10 Prospects for Week 11

Mark ReynoldsCorrespondent IIJune 16, 2013

San Francisco Giants: Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 10 Prospects for Week 11

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    The San Francisco Giants enter play on Sunday with a record of 35-32. Despite the team's rather mediocre performance, they sit only 1.5 games out of first place in the National League West.

    The Giants have been receiving important contributions from players recently recalled from the minor leagues. Utility infielder Tony Abreu has stepped in for the injured Marco Scutaro at second base and performed well. Abreu has gone 7-for-19 (.368) with four doubles.

    Outfielder Juan Perez has been getting playing time in center field with Angel Pagan also out with injury. Perez has gone 5-for-11 (.455) while playing exceptional defense. The Giants may need to get him in the lineup more just for his outstanding work with the glove.

    Reliever Jean Machi has become manager Bruce Bochy's top right-handed setup man in the absence of Santiago Casilla. In 20 appearances, Machi has put up a 2.01 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.

    With the trade deadline approaching, the Giants may need to turn to the farm system again to use their prospects in a deal to improve the big league squad.

    Let's take a look at how the Giants' top 10 prospects are doing in advance of the deadline.

     

    All statistics in this article are courtesy of MiLB.com and Baseball-Reference.com.

1. Clayton Blackburn

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    2013 Stats at High-A San Jose

    12 GS, 3-3, 4.25 ERA, 18 BB, 76 K, 65.2 IP

     

    Overview

    Clayton Blackburn had another solid start last week. He allowed seven hits and three runs while striking out seven.

    While Blackburn's 4.25 ERA is a little high, his strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.22 and his WHIP of 1.14 are outstanding numbers. After a hot start to the season, Blackburn struggled in his final April start and throughout May—which is why his ERA is still inflated.

    He's gotten back on track over his first two starts in June. He's allowed 10 hits, four runs and only one walk while striking out 14 during his last 13 innings of work. The Giants' top prospect has gotten himself back on track.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K

     

    Stock

    Up

2. Kyle Crick

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    2013 Stats at High-A San Jose 

    3 GS, 0-1 W-L, 0.93 ERA, 9 BB, 12 K, 9.2 IP

     

    Overview

    Kyle Crick has missed most of the season with an oblique injury suffered during his third start. Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay recently reported that Crick will be back in action soon. Baggarly wrote:

    "One other minor league note: Announcer Joe Ritzo reports that top prospect Kyle Crick is almost ready to return to the Single-A San Jose rotation. He's been out since mid-April with a strained oblique."

    When Crick returns, he'll have a chance to overtake Blackburn as the top prospect in the system. 

     

    Stock

    Even

3. Chris Stratton

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    2013 Stats at Low-A Augusta

    11 GS, 7-3, 3.56 ERA, 23 BB, 72 K, 65.2 IP

     

    Overview

    Chris Stratton boosted his stock with a solid start last week. He allowed six hits, two walks and one run while striking out nine over six innings of work.

    Stratton is now tied for second in the South Atlantic League in wins, and he's fifth in strikeouts.

    He's missing bats and winnings games, which is to be expected from a first-round pick at the Low-A level. The real test for Stratton will come when the Giants advance him up the chain to face stiffer competition.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K

     

    Stock

    Up

4. Martin Agosta

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    2013 Stats at Low-A Augusta

    12 GS, 7-2, 1.97 ERA, 27 BB, 88 K, 68.2 IP

     

    Overview

    Martin Agosta is absolutely dominating the South Atlantic League. He's gone seven innings in four straight starts. Over those 28 innings of work, he's struck out 31, walked seven and allowed 11 hits and two runs.

    He's fifth in the league in ERA and second in strikeouts and wins. Agosta was taken by the Giants in the second round of last year's draft. He's outpitched his teammate and fellow 2012 draftee Chris Stratton to this point in the season.

    Agosta is deserving of a promotion. However, the San Jose rotation is loaded, so Agosta may have to continue to bide his time.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K

     

    Stock

    Up

5. Andrew Susac

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    2013 Stats at Double-A Richmond

    .267/.378/.460, .838 OPS 15 2B, 7 HR

     

    Overview

    Andrew Susac is having a very solid season. He's getting on base and hitting for power, which is an excellent combination for a catcher. His .378 on-base percentage is good for 12th in the Eastern League, and his slugging percentage is also in the top 20.

    While Susac's overall numbers are excellent, he's been slumping of late. Over his past 10 games, he's hitting just .258/.303/.387.

    Despite his recent struggles, Susac currently ranks as the top bat in the system.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    4-for-17, BB

     

    Stock

    Even

6. Joe Panik

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    2013 Stats at Double-A Richmond

    .254/.342/.348, .690 OPS, 12 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR

     

    Overview

    Joe Panik has had a streaky season. He started off cold, then went on a tear, and now, he's slumping again. Over his last 10 games, he's hitting a brutal .086/.158/.171.

    Panik has excellent bat control, but he's started to strike out more of late. He's struck out only 26 times all year. However, seven of those whiffs have come over his last 35 at-bats.

    Panik has recovered from a rough stretch already this season. Thus, the bet here is that Panik will bust out of his current slump and start raking again very soon.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1-for-20, 2 BB

     

    Stock

    Down

7. Heath Hembree

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    2013 Stats at Triple-A Fresno (through Saturday)

    27 GP, 1-2, 3.38 ERA, 8 BB, 32 K, 29.1 IP, 14 Saves

     

    Overview

    The Giants have been playing musical chairs in the bullpen. Santiago Casilla was put on the disabled list, Chad Gaudin was moved to the rotation, George Kontos was demoted, and Ramon Ramirez was designated for assignment.

    Given all of that movement, it's somewhat surprising Heath Hembree hasn't been promoted yet. Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area recently speculated on why the Giants promoted Sandy Rosario over Hembree. He wrote:

    The Giants have well regarded prospect Heath Hembree at Fresno, but the club doesn't want to clear a 40-man roster space for him until they know he'll stay in a late-inning relief role.

    Also, it's possible Hembree could be used as trade bait as the Giants look to add a starting pitcher at or before the July 31 deadline. If they call him up and he struggles, it could dent his value.

    If Hembree doesn't get moved before the deadline, the odds seem strong that he'll help the bullpen at some point during the second half of the season.

    He's improved his control significantly this year. After walking 21 in 43 innings last year, he's only walked eight in 29.1 innings, thus far, in 2013.

    Hembree is a power pitcher with improving control who can certainly help the Giants out in the bullpen. It's just a matter of when he'll be given the opportunity at this point.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    2 GP, 3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

     

    Stock

    Up

8. Michael Kickham

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    2013 Stats at Triple-A Fresno

    12 GS, 3-5, 5.20 ERA, 31 BB, 64 K, 71 IP

     

    2013 Stats with San Francisco

    1 GS, 0-1, 15.43 ERA, 4 BB, 3 K, 2.1 IP

     

    Overview

    Michael Kickham has struggled since he was roughed up in his big league debut with the Giants. He's allowed 15 runs in 17 innings since being demoted back to Fresno. Control remains the biggest impediment to Kickham's development.

    After walking four over 2.1 innings in his first major league start, Kickham has walked nine over his last three starts with Fresno. He's walked 31 in 71 innings of work this season for a rate of 3.9 walks per nine innings pitched (BB/9). That's actually slightly better than his walk rate from last season (4.5 BB/9).

    Kickham will have to improve his control to get another chance to return to San Francisco.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    1 GS, 4 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

     

    Stock

    Down

9. Adam Duvall

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    2013 Stats at Double-A Richmond

    .274/.338/.526, .864 OPS 10 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR

     

    Overview

    Like Panik and Susac, Adam Duvall has gone into a tailspin at Double-A Richmond. Duvall went just 2-for-24 with seven strikeouts last week. He's hit just .179/.200/.385 over his last 10 games.

    The Giants' top three hitting prospects are all currently slumping together at the same level. All three are strong candidates to bounce back, given how well they were hitting before going cold.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    2-for-24, BB

     

    Stock

    Down

10. Gary Brown

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    2013 Stats at Triple-A Fresno (through Saturday)

    .229/.292/.376, 18 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 8/13 SB

     

    Overview

    Gary Brown has finally started swinging the bat well after a disastrous start to the season. Brown is hitting .371/.405/.743 with four doubles and three home runs over his last 10 games.

    Brown's hot streak has raised his seasonal line up to .229/.292/.376. That's still nowhere near where he was two years ago when he hit .336 at High-A San Jose. However, it's a step in the right direction for Brown—who entered this season as the top hitting prospect in the system, according to FanGraphs.

     

    Last Week's Stats

    10-for-22, 3 HR, 2 SB

     

    Stock

    Up

Honorable Mention

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    Here are some other notable prospects to keep an eye on:

    Roger Kieschnick is hitting .282/.343/.544 with 10 home runs at Triple-A Fresno. He could be an option in the outfield for the Giants at some point in 2013.

    Francisco Peguero is hitting .310/.355/.406 at Fresno. He's hit for average throughout his minor league career, but he doesn't have the patience or power to profile as an everyday player.

    Hector Sanchez hit .320/.370/.460 at Fresno to earn a promotion back to the big leagues.

    Mac Williamson is hitting .257/.343/.435 with nine home runs for the San Jose Giants.

    Edwin Escobar has a 3.23 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 55.2 innings at San Jose.

    Ty Blach is 7-2 with a 2.64 ERA for San Jose. He's struck out 63 against only eight walks.

    Joan Gregorio is 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA at Augusta. He's struck out 35 while walking only three in 31 innings of work.

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