Kyle Crick remains the top prospect for the Giants.
The Giants are in last place with a 49-61 record. They're 12 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West. Given where the Giants have been in the standings, they clearly weren't going to be buyers at the deadline.
General manager Brian Sabean set a high price for impending free agents Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum and Javier Lopez. No team was willing to meet Sabean's asking price for those players. After the deadline, Sabean said (h/t Alex Pavlovic, San Jose Mercury News):
We were in a position to have some leverage and we used the leverage. We set the bar high and had specific returns in mind. People missed the mark – people didn’t even approach or get close to the mark. That was frustrating if not almost embarrassing that they would say they had interest, but in fact it would come back with marginal or less than marginal interest.
Thus, the Giants will close out this season with the same roster and set of top prospects that they entered the year with. Let's take a look at how the top Giants' prospects did last week to determine if any of them can help the struggling big league team in the near future.
Kyle Crick has been dominant this year.
2013 Stats at High-A San Jose: 10 GS, 1-1 W-L, 1.58 ERA, 27 BB, 64 K, 45.2 IP
Kyle Crick continued to dominate with another strong performance last week. He struck out 11 more hitters over five innings of work while allowing four hits, two walks and two runs.
Crick has struck out 52 over 36 innings, spanning sevens starts since returning for an oblique injury. The injury robbed him of two months of action, which is probably why he hasn't earned a promotion yet.
Crick has the most potential of any prospect in the system. His ability to consistently throw strikes with a fastball that sits between 94-97 mph will be what determines his ceiling. If he can develop better control, he'll have a chance to become an ace.
Last Week: 1 GS, 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 K
2013 Stats at High-A San Jose: 19 GS, 7-4, 3.81 ERA, 27 BB, 115 K, 111 IP
Clayton Blackburn continued to pitch extremely well at High-A San Jose. He threw eight solid innings while allowing only one earned run.
He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in five straight starts, and he's gone at least six innings in each of those games. He's gone eight innings in back-to-back starts.
Blackburn has had a terrific season. He's struck out 115 against only 27 walks, while allowing 93 hits and eight home runs over 111 innings.
Blackburn is a polished pitcher with excellent control. He'll likely end up as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter in the San Francisco rotation.
Last Week: 1 GS, 8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Chris Stratton has had a solid first year with the Giants after pitching at Mississippi State last season.
2013 Stats at Low-A Augusta: 18 GS, 8-3, 3.22 ERA, 40 BB, 109 K, 106.1 IP
Chris Stratton threw eight shutout innings in his most recent start. He struck out seven and walked three.
Stratton has allowed just one run over his last three starts, spanning 19.1 innings. He's struck out 19 during that stretch.
Stratton, the Giants' first-round pick last year, has had a solid first year at Low-A Augusta. He doesn't throw quite as hard as Crick, and he isn't as polished as Blackburn, but he has a chance to become a No. 2 starter in the big leagues.
Last Week: 1 GS, 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
Edwin Escobar could be a rotation option in 2014.
2013 Stats at High-A San Jose: 16 GP, 3-4, 2.89 ERA, 17 BB, 92 K, 74.2 IP
2013 Stats with Double-A Richmond: 5 GS, 3-2, 2.32 ERA, 5 BB, 32 K, 31 IP
The 21-year-old lefty, Edwin Escobar, has thrown 14.1 straight scoreless innings at Double-A Richmond during his past two starts. He's allowed four hits and two walks, while striking out 15 over that stretch.
Escobar earned a promotion after posting a 2.89 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 74.2 innings at High-A San Jose. He's pitched even better since the promotion. In five starts, he's put up a 2.32 ERA while striking out 32 in 31 innings of work.
On the year, he's struck out 124 against only 22 walks in 105.2 innings.
Escobar could be the first of the Giants' top 10 prospects to reach the show. If Escobar continues to dominate at Double-A, he could be in line for a shot at a spot in the San Francisco rotation next spring.
Last Week: 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Injuries have derailed Andrew Susac's season.
2013 Stats at Double-A Richmond: .256/.362/.458, .820 OPS, 17 2B, 12 HR
Andrew Susac hit the disabled list for the second time this season after going 0-for-7 with three strikeouts last week. He hit just .212/.297/.303 over his last 10 games before the injury.
According to Jon Laaser, the radio broadcaster for Richmond, Susac is out with a shoulder impingement. He also recently spent time on the disabled list with a hand injury.
Prior to the injuries, Susac had established himself as the top hitting prospect in the system with his outstanding combination of patience and power.
Last Week: 0-for-7, BB
Will Joe Panik take over for Marco Scutaro down the road?
2013 Stats at Double-A Richmond: .261/.337/.353, .690 OPS, 24 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR
Joe Panik is hitting .316/.381/.342 over his last 10 games. Those numbers encapsulate the good and the bad for Panik.
He puts the bat on the ball and avoids strikeouts, and he also gets on base the via walk. However, he doesn't hit for power. He's hit only three home runs in 422 at-bats this year after hitting seven over 535 at-bats last season.
Panik may eventually take over for Marco Scutaro at second base in San Francisco. Scutaro has proven during his career that you can be a valuable big league player without hitting for power. However, Panik is going to have to hit better than .261 to become the second baseman of the future.
Last Week: 5-for-19, BB, 2B
2013 Stats at Low-A Augusta: 15 GS, 8-3, 2.03 ERA, 34 BB, 97 K, 79.2 IP
Martin Agosta hit the disabled list for the third time this season. He's pitched only three times since June 22.
Agosta has had an outstanding season around the three trips to the disabled list. He's missed time with a dead arm and a recurring blister issue that recently forced him back to the disabled list.
He's struck out 97 in 79.2 innings of work for a ratio of 11.0 per innings pitched (K/9). He's posted a 2.03 ERA, and opponents are hitting only .178 against him.
Last Week: did not pitch
Heath Hembree has saved 25 games this year.
2013 Stats at Triple-A Fresno: 46 GP, 1-3, 4.24 ERA, 15 BB, 58 K, 46.2 IP
Heath Hembree saved four more games last week to give him 26 on the year. He's saved eight games over his last 10 appearances. He's struck out 12 over nine innings of work during that stretch to give him 58 on the year in 46.2 innings.
Hembree has a chance to help the Giants as soon as this September. According to Baseball America, Hembree features a 93-96 mph fastball and an 82-85 mph slider. The Giants could certainly use an arsenal like that in the late innings right now.
Last Week: 3 GP, 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 4 saves
2013 Stats at High-A San Jose: .277/.359/.473, .832 OPS, 22 2B, 2 3B, 19 HR
Mac Williamson finally cooled off last week. He went just 4-for-22 with nine strikeouts. Prior to that rough week, Williamson had been on fire.
According to Joe Ritzo, the play-by-play broadcaster for the San Jose Giants, Williamson was batting .335 with 13 home runs and a .593 slugging percentage since June 1 (as of July 27).
Strikeouts have been an issue for Williamson. After striking out nine times last week, he's now fanned 111 times in 423 at-bats this season. He'll have to get back on track by making more contact.
Last Week: 4-for-22, 2B, BB
Gary Brown has had a rocky year at Triple-A.
2013 Stats at Triple-A Fresno: .237/.295/.400, .696 OPS, 26 2B, 6 3B, 12 HR
Gary Brown's roller-coaster season continued with another tough week at Triple-A Fresno. He went just 4-for-26 with a double and six strikeouts. His slash line over his last 10 games is just .190/.227/.262.
Brown is only 12-for-22 on stolen-base attempts this season. He stole 53 bases two years ago and 33 more last season.
His batting average has dropped from .336 two years ago to .279 last season and just .237 this season. He's struck out in 107 of his 452 at-bats this season. His inability to make contact has caused his batting average to drop drastically as he's advanced to the upper levels of the minors.
Unless Brown gets hot in August, it's hard to envision the Giants selecting him as a September call-up. He hasn't earned a promotion with his performance to this point in the season.
Last Week: 4-for-26, 2B
Michael Kickham allowed only one hit in his start last week.
Here are some other notable prospects to keep an eye on:
- Joan Gregorio is 6-3 with a 4.19 ERA at Low-A Augusta. He's struck out 80 in 66.2 innings pitched.
- Ty Blach leads the California League with a 2.64 ERA.
- Adalberto Mejia (3.32 ERA) has thrown well behind Blach, Crick, Escobar and Blackburn in the San Jose rotation this season.
- Kendry Flores has thrown 13.1 shutout innings over his last two starts at Low-A Augusta.
- The Giants' 2013 first-round pick, Christian Arroyo, is hitting .275/.349/.431 through his first 27 games.
- Arroyo's teammate in rookie ball and 2013 second-round pick Ryder Jones is batting .352 over 23 games.
- After getting roughed up in his return to the big leagues, Eric Surkamp returned to Fresno and threw seven solid innings last week.
- Michael Kickham allowed just one hit over 6.2 innings last week. However, he also walked five and allowed two runs.