San Francisco Giants: 2013 All-Prospect Team
The San Francisco Giants are a team in transition. After winning the World Series last season and in 2010, they've gone just 64-79 thus far in 2013.
The Giants will have to reload this winter in order to contend again in 2014. The farm system won't be able to offer much support in the immediate future, as most of the Giants' best prospects are in the lower levels of the minor leagues.
The Giants have the third-worst rotation ERA in the National League this season. On the bright side, the strength of the farm system is its plethora of starting pitching prospects.
Top prospect Kyle Crick has the potential to pitch at the top of the rotation in the near future. Clayton Blackburn, Edwin Escobar, Chris Stratton, Martin Agosta and others have a chance to eventually settle in behind Crick.
Let's take a look at the Giants' all-prospect team for 2013.
1. SP Kyle Crick
2013 Stats at High-A San Jose: 14 GS, 3-1 W-L, 1.57 ERA, 39 BB, 95 K, 68.2 IP
Kyle Crick is the only truly elite prospect in the San Francisco system. He was ranked as the 20th-best prospect in baseball by FanGraphs at the midway point of the season.
He posted a 1.47 ERA over 14 starts at San Jose this season. He struck out 95 hitters in 68.2 innings of dominant work.
Only two things set Crick back this year: health and control. He missed a couple of months with an oblique injury, and he walked 39 hitters. The good news on the health front is that the injury wasn't to his arm.
As for the control, Crick walked 67 in 111.1 innings last year, so this is an ongoing issue. He'll have to start walking fewer hitters in order to reach his ceiling as a future ace.
Crick has a chance to follow in the footsteps of Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner as the next ace drafted and developed by San Francisco if he can harness his control.
2. SP Clayton Blackburn
2013 Stats at High-A San Jose: 23 GS, 7-5, 3.65 ERA, 35 BB, 138 K, 133 IP
Clayton Blackburn has had an exceptional beginning to his minor league career for the Giants. The 20-year-old right-hander went 7-5 with a 3.65 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 133 innings of work at San Jose.
Last year, he went 8-4 with a 2.54 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 131.1 innings at Low-A Augusta. The Giants selected Blackburn out of an Oklahoma high school with their 16th round pick in 2011. Given where he was drafted, the Giants have a steal on their hands in Blackburn.
He doesn't have the same ace potential as Crick, but he currently possess better command and control. His fastball sits in the 88-92 mph range, so he doesn't blow the ball by hitters.
He profiles as a solid mid-rotation starter in the big leagues.
3. SP Edwin Escobar
2013 Cumulative Stats: 26 GP, 8-8, 2.80 ERA, 30 BB, 146 K, 128.2 IP
Edwin Escobar took a giant leap forward this season. The 21-year-old lefty earned a midseason promotion from High-A San Jose to Double-A.
He posted a 2.89 ERA with 92 strikeouts against only 17 walks at San Jose to earn the promotion. He more than held his own against the tougher competition at Double-A Richmond. He put up a 2.67 ERA over 10 starts with a 54/13 strikeout-to-walk ratio after the promotion.
With his terrific combination of above-average stuff and control, Escobar could help the Giants in the rotation as soon as next season.
Like Blackburn, he's something of a steal, as the Giants acquired him in a minor trade with the Texas Rangers after the 2009 season. He's emerged as a legitimate prospect over the past two seasons with San Francisco.
4. SP Chris Stratton
2013 Stats at Low-A Augusta: 22 GS, 9-3, 3.27 ERA, 47 BB, 123 K, 132 IP
The Giants used their first-round pick on Chris Stratton out of Mississippi State University last year. Despite being a 23-year-old with collegiate experience, he spent the entire year at the Low-A level.
Stratton went 9-3 with a 3.27 ERA, but he wasn't as dominant as a college first-round pick should have been at that level. He struck out fewer than a batter per inning (8.4 K/9), and walked 3.2 per nine innings pitched (BB/9). He also allowed 128 hits in 132 innings of work.
Stratton is still a very good prospect with an excellent chance to pitch in the middle of San Francisco's rotation eventually. However, at the age of 23, he's behind the top three, younger starting pitching prospects in the system.
5. C Andrew Susac
2013 Stats at Double-A Richmond: .256/.362/.458, .820 OPS, 17 2B, 12 HR
Andrew Susac emerged as the top hitter this season in a farm system that lacks offense. Susac posted a .256/.362/.458 triple slash line before going down with a shoulder injury that wiped away the final month of his season. He blasted 17 doubles and 12 home runs in 262 at-bats prior to the injury.
After playing in only 84 games this season, Susac will head to the Arizona Fall League to get in some extra work. A good showing down there will further cement his status as the top bat in the Giants system.
The 2011 second-round pick has a chance to eventually move Buster Posey off the catcher position if he can stay healthy and continue to produce.
6. 2B/SS Joe Panik
2013 Stats at Double-A Richmond: .257/.333/.347, .680 OPS, 27 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR
After hitting .297/.368/.402 at San Jose last season, Joe Panik slumped to .257/.333/.347 against the tougher competition at Double-A in 2013.
Panik walked 58 times against only 68 strikeouts in 599 plate appearances this season. However, he had only 35 of his 134 hits go for extra bases. The drop in his batting average and slugging percentage this year were troubling signs.
It's unclear if Panik will be promoted to Triple-A next year, or if he'll repeat the same level. The Giants used their first-round pick on him in 2011, so they're expecting bigger things than he provided in 2013.
If he's going to supplant the aging Marco Scutaro at second base in the near future, he's going to have to swing the bat better than he did for Richmond.
7. RF Mac Williamson
2013 Stats at High-A San Jose: .292/.375/.504, .879 OPS, 31 2B, 2 3B, 25 HR
2012 third-round pick Mac Williamson had a big year at San Jose. He hit .292/.375/.504 with 25 home runs and 58 extra-base hits.
The 6'5", 240-pound Williamson has an excellent combination of power and speed. He was 10-for-11 on stolen base attempts this season.
He has the most power of any hitter in the system. However, with that power comes a lot of strikeouts. He whiffed in 132 of his 597 plate appearances for San Jose.
He'll have to cut down on the strikeouts as he advances to the higher levels of the minor leagues. If Williamson can do that, he'll emerge as the right fielder of the future for the Giants.
8. SS Christian Arroyo
2013 Stats in Arizona Rookie League: .326/.388/.511, .898 OPS, 18 2B, 5 3B, 2 HR
In a lost year for the Giants, one thing they did manage to get right was their 2013 first-round pick. The Giants nabbed shortstop Christian Arroyo from a Florida high school with the 25th pick of the draft.
Arroyo hit .326/.388/.511 with 25 extra-base hits in rookie ball over 45 games to open his professional career. Arroyo has the most upside of any hitting prospect that the Giants have.
The 18-year-old Arroyo has a long way to go before he reaches the big leagues, however. He'll have to keep hitting as the club begins to move him up the minor league ladder.
If his debut is any indication for the future, Arroyo could follow Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford as the next excellent homegrown talent to emerge from the San Francisco farm system.
9. RHP Heath Hembree
2013 Stats at Triple-A Fresno: 54 GP, 1-4, 4.07 ERA, 16 BB, 63 K, 55.1 IP, 31 Saves
Heath Hembree was the only top-10 prospect to see the big leagues for the Giants this year. He's looked very good since being promoted to San Francisco. He's delivered three scoreless appearances to begin his career.
Hembree saved 31 games as the closer for Fresno this year. He struck out 63 while walking only 16 over 55.1 innings of work.
He has the tools to eventually supplant Sergio Romo as the closer for the Giants. Hembree will have to find the missing juice on his fastball to reach his ceiling, however. His heater, which was said to sit in the mid-90s, has averaged just 91.7 mph thus far with the Giants.
10. SP Martin Agosta
2013 Stats at Low-A Augusta: 18 GS, 9-3, 2.06 ERA, 43 BB, 109 K, 91.2 IP
Last year, the Giants used their second-round pick on Martin Agosta, a starter from St. Mary's College. He went 9-3 with a 2.06 ERA in his first full minor league season. He struck out 109 hitters over 91.2 innings for an impressive strikeout rate of 10.7 per nine innings pitched.
Like top prospect Kyle Crick, injuries and control problems set him back some in 2013. Agosta missed time with a dead arm and recurring blister issues during the second half. He also walked 43 hitters in 91.2 innings pitched.
Agosta had a better year than 2012 first-rounder Chris Stratton. If he can stay healthy and throw more strikes in 2014, he'll take a big leap forward on the all-prospect team in 2014.
The Rest of the All-Prospect Team
11. Starting pitcher Kendry Flores went 10-6 with a 2.73 ERA over 22 starts at Augusta. He struck out 137 against just 17 walks over 141.2 innings of work.
12. Starting pitcher Adalberto Mejia went 7-4 with a 3.31 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 87 innings at San Jose. Marc Hulet of FanGraphs recently wrote of Mejia, "The left-handed Mejia has some giddy-up on his heater and can work in the low 90s. His slider is impressive at times and his changeup is definitely more than a show-me pitch. He has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter, if he can build up his stamina."
13. Starting pitcher Ty Blach went 12-4 with a 2.90 ERA at San Jose. He struck out 117 against only 18 walks in 130.1 innings.
14. Starting pitcher Eric Surkamp went 7-1 with a 2.78 ERA over 11 starts for Triple-A Fresno in his return from Tommy John surgery. He could compete for a rotation spot next spring.
15. Third baseman Adam Duvall trails only Mac Williamson in the power department. Duvall hit .252/.320/.465 with 17 home runs and 23 doubles in 385 at-bats for Double-A Richmond in 2013.
16. Starting pitcher Joan Gregorio went 6-3 with a 4.00 ERA over 14 games at Augusta. The 21-year-old righty struck out 84 against only 17 walks in 69.2 innings.
17. Starting pitcher Michael Kickham went 7-7 with a 4.31 ERA over 20 starts at Fresno this year. The 24-year-old lefty has posted a 9.85 ERA over his first 24.2 big league innings, however.
18. Center fielder Gary Brown continued to struggle in 2013. He hit just .231/.286/.375 in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. The Giants elected against promoting the former first-round pick for a September audition.
19. Third baseman Ryder Jones hit .317/.394/.400 over 37 games in his professional debut after the Giants selected him the second round this year.
20. Center fielder Gustavo Cabrera hit .247/.379/.360 over 54 games in the Dominican Summer League. The Giants gave Cabrera a $1.3 million signing bonus last summer when he was ranked as the No. 5 international prospect.