Andrew Susac is one of several top prospects the Giants believe may only be a year or two away.
The San Francisco Giants have the luxury of a solid lineup and strong pitching staff. This means that there will be very few open roster spots heading into the 2014 season.
General manager Brian Sabean hopes that he has done enough to bolster the team and have the Giants back in the playoffs in 2014. As the Giants have proved, once in the playoffs, anything can happen.
Time will tell if Sabean and the Giants have done enough to get them back in the hunt to win their third World Series title in five seasons.
Many of the Giants' best prospects played in A-ball or in the rookie leagues in 2013. This means they are, at best, likely a couple of years away from a Major League opportunity.
Let's take a closer look at five non-roster invitees that will begin the spring with the Giants' big league training camp. These players may have the best shot at catching on with the Giants as when they break spring training in late March.
Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.
Chris Dominguez could be the Giants' third baseman of the future if they do not sign Pablo Sandoval.
Chris Dominguez had a very solid 2013 season with Fresno, the Giants' Triple-A affiliate. He is primarily a third baseman but does have experience at first base and in the outfield. That versatility could help Dominguez land a big league job.
Dominguez had 466 at-bats last year, hitting .294, with 15 home runs and 65 RBI. His OBP was .334, with an OPS of .798. On the surface, these numbers appear to be very good, however, they are tempered by the fact that the Pacific Coast League is a hitters league.
Dominguez is unlikely to make the Opening Day roster unless he has a big spring, and if the Giants suffer any injuries to their infielders—that could open the door for Dominguez.
Dominguez is now 27 years of age and he has made steady progress up the Giants minor league system. At times the progress was slow, and at his age, now is the time for him to shine.
Although Derek Law pitched at the Single-A level in 2013, his numbers were so impressive that he deserves a mention, even though his chances of landing on the Giants' Opening Day roster are very remote.
At the age of 23, the Giants would like to see Law get more seasoning. Most likely, Law will open the season at the Giants' Double-A affiliate, the Richmond Flying Squirrels. If he continues to dominate, then he could be in line for a call-up at some point during the 2014 season.
In 66.1 innings, Law allowed 51 hits and 12 walks, while striking out 102. His ERA of 2.31 and WHIP of 0.950 were also quite strong.
As seen in the video clip, Law turns his back to the plate, then explodes, delivering the ball from a high, over-the-top release point. The ball jumps from his hand and is hard for opposing hitters to pick up.
Law was extremely impressive in the Arizona Fall League, as he appeared in 11 games, throwing a total of 12.1 innings. He allowed only eight hits and six walks, while striking out 16. Law had a WHIP of 1.14 and did not allow an earner run.
The Arizona Fall League is where teams often send their top prospects to compete against other top prospects. The fact that Law was dominant bodes very well for him and the Giants.
Law's chances of breaking spring training with the Giants are less than five percent, simply because it's such a huge jump from where he was in 2013. in addition, there are several relievers ahead of him who are much more experienced.
In order for Law to make it, he would need to see either Heath Hembree, Yusmeiro Petit or Jean Machi falter. Additionally, Law would need to beat out the likes of Kameron Loe, Dan Runzler, Sandy Rosario, George Kontos, David Huff and Jake Dunning, all of whom have major league experience.
However, if Law continues to impress, he may get an opportunity with the Giants later this season if the team faces any injuries or if any of their relievers are ineffective.
Mac Williamson is one of the most intriguing offensive prospects in the Giants' farm system at this point. He is a physical specimen at 6'5" and 240 pounds.
Williamson played the entire 2013 season at the Giants' Single-A affiliate in San Jose. In 520 at-bats, he hit .292 with 25 home runs and 89 RBI. His OBP was a very impressive .375, as was his OPS of .879.
Williamson does need to make better contact more consistently, as he struck out 132 times in those 520 at-bats.
Ideally, the Giants would like Williamson to continue to get more seasoning, as he is only 23 years of age. Look for him to start the year off with Richmond, at the Double-A level.
Williamson's only real hope of making the roster is if he has a monster spring and Juan Perez, Gary Brown and Roger Kieschnick all fall flat.
It would greatly benefit Williamson to be playing every day, so it's unlikely the Giants would keep him as their fifth outfielder, languishing on the bench.
Although he is one of the few Giants prospects with the potential for big-time power, Williamson still needs time to develop.
Kyle Crick is the Giants' most coveted prospect. He has the potential to be a top of the rotation starting pitcher.
Crick features a fastball consistently in the mid-90s, along with a good curve ball. He does need to gain more command of his changeup, however.
In 2013, Crick suffered an oblique injury that forced him to start the season late. He did get in 14 starts with San Jose, the Giants' Single-A affiliate.
In 68.2 innings, Crick allowed 48 hits and 39 walks, while striking out 95. His ERA was a stellar 1.57, to go along with a WHIP of 1.267. Opposing batters hit only .201 off of him.
The one area that Crick needs to improve on is the number of walks he allows. He has excellent stuff and needs to be able to throw his pitches for strikes.
Crick also pitched well in the Arizona Fall League. He threw 15.2 innings, allowing nine hits, but 11 walks. He struck out 24, which was very impressive. Crick's ERA was 2.87 and his WHIP 1.277. Again, the walks are too high, but the strikeout totals show how dominant Crick can be.
At the age of 21, Crick still needs time to improve his mechanics and fine tune his overall command. The likelihood of Crick opening the season with the Giants is nil.
Crick will likely begin the season at the Giants' Double-A affiliate in Richmond. Although he is the Giants' top starting pitching prospect, he is still likely a couple of years away.
Kameron Loe would benefit from pitching at AT&T Park.
Kameron Loe has a legitimate chance to make the Giants Opening Day roster. He has major league experience and could surprise this spring.
Loe, at 6'8" and 245 pounds, would be the biggest pitcher on the Giants staff. However, he is more of a ground ball pitcher, so he would benefit from the Giants' spacious ballpark and relatively slow, thick infield grass.
Not an overpowering pitcher, Loe relies on his ability to get ground-ball outs with his sinker. When he leaves his pitches up he can get hit hard. Pitching at AT&T Park would give Loe a little more margin of error and allow him to get away with a mistake every now and then.
There are three relief pitching jobs open in the Giants bullpen. Although Yusmeiro Petit, Heath Hembree and Jean Machi have the inside track, if any of them struggle or have injury problems, it will open the door for others.
In addition to Loe, Dan Runzler, Sandy Rosario, George Kontos, Jake Dunning, Derek Law, David Huff and Brett Bochy will battle for those potential jobs.