Stock Up, Stock Down for San Francisco Giants' Top 10 Prospects for Week 8

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Stock Up, Stock Down for San Francisco Giants' Top 10 Prospects for Week 8
Gregory Bull/Associated Press

The San Francisco Giants hot start to the 2014 season has made it difficult to pay attention to the teams top minor league prospects, but no matter how well the big league club is doing this year, the organizations young talent still matters.

A few of the teams top young pitchers, including left-handers Edwin Escobar and Adalberto Mejia and right-hander Chris Stratton, are off to slow starts, and injuries to Christian Arroyo and Mac Williamson have hindered the organizations development among the top hitters.

Nevertheless, strong performances here and there have given the Giants farm system some semblance of respectability, even in the face of injuries and growing pains. Though its still early in the season, lets check in on the teams top prospects.

 

10. Clayton Blackburn

Gregory Bull/Associated Press

2014 Stats

8 GS, 2-5, 3.40 ERA, 9 BB, 32 K, 42.1 IP

 

Overview

It’s unfair to say Blackburn’s stock took a hit in such a limited sample size, but his poor performance on May 19 was a continuation of a downward trend that’s been happening over his last three starts.

Since Blackburn's seven-inning win on May 1, the right-hander has allowed 10 runs over his last 15.1 innings, along with 23 hits. That’s after he posted a 2.00 ERA over his first five starts, which means Blackburn will be looking to revert to form during his upcoming start.

 

Last Week’s Stats

1 GS, 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 2 BB, 3 K, 4 IP

 

Stock

Down

 

9. Joe Panik

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

2014 Stats

49 G, .311/.376/.416, 7 2B, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 33 R

 

Overview

After a disappointing showing at Double-A in 2013, the Giants former first-round pick has quieted concerns this season with a strong start at Triple-A. Panik started the week off slowly but picked up the pace in the latter half, scoring and driving in a run in each of his last four games. He’s certainly doing a lot to justify his early selection in the 2011 draft, and he could see time in the majors later in the year.

 

Last Week’s Stats

7-for-26, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R

 

Stock

Even

 

8. Ty Blach

Gregory Bull/Associated Press

2014 Stats

9 GS, 3-3, 2.44 ERA, 7 BB, 22 K, 48 IP

 

Overview

A lone home run allowed was all that separated Blach from a perfect week, but he nevertheless took the loss in the Flying Squirrels’ clash with the Trenton Thunder on Friday.

Even so, Blach trimmed his ERA to a paltry 2.44 on the season, which is a good sign that he’s progressing well with his move up to Double-A. His success has come with a lack of strikeouts, but the sustained solid control (seven walks in 48 innings) is an excellent sign for a pitcher who makes his living with his command. Expect more of the same from Blach for the remainder of the year.

 

Last Week’s Stats

1 GS, 0-1, 1.50 ERA, 1 BB, 5 K, 6 IP

 

Stock

Even

 

7. Heath Hembree

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

2014 Stats

19 G, 0-1, 10 SV, 2.65 ERA, 6 BB, 21 K, 17 IP

 

Overview

Hembree had a few rocky appearances following a 9.1-inning scoreless streak to start the season, but he quieted those concerns a bit this past week. After a tough opening appearance to begin the week, Hembree posted two shutdown innings in his last two games, striking out five of the six batters he faced.

It’s clear the Grizzlies closer is the real deal, and he could be a valuable component of the Giants bullpen in the latter half of the season.

 

Last Week’s Stats

3 G, 1 SV, 3.38 ERA, 0 BB, 5 K, 2.2 IP

 

Stock

Up

 

6. Christian Arroyo

2014 Stats

31 G, .203/.226/.271, 3 2B, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 10 R

 

Overview

After a strong showing at rookie ball last year, Arroyo is experiencing some growing pains at Single-A. His .203/.226/.271 line in 125 plate appearances reflects as much, and he’s been sidelined with a sprained thumb since May 10. He should be back with the team relatively soon, so he’ll have a chance to start off on the right foot, especially given his promising hitting (3-for-10, 1 HR) in his last few pre-injury games.

 

Last Week’s Stats

N/A

 

Stock

N/A

 

5. Mac Williamson

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

2014 Stats

23 G, .318/.420/.506, 7 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 16 R

 

Overview

Williamson underwent Tommy John surgery almost a month ago, and he hasn’t played since April 26. The long-term injury will certainly set the Giants outfielder back, but his strong performance at High-A this season and overall solid showing throughout his time in the minor leagues point to a bright future for Williamson. It will be interesting to see how he rebounds next season.

 

Last Week’s Stats

N/A

 

Stock

N/A

 

4. Adalberto Mejia

2014 Stats

8 GS, 1-4, 5.95 ERA, 8 BB, 34 K, 39.1 IP

 

Overview

Mejia came into the season as one of the organization’s top overall prospects, and an early season skid won’t necessarily knock him from that position as long as he can put it together during the remainder of his time at Double-A, though his last several starts have certainly been concerning.

That trend didn’t change this week, with Mejia’s lone start resulting in six runs allowed (five earned) over four tough innings. Luckily, the left-hander had a strong season at the pitcher-inhibiting High-A last season, so it’s likely that his struggles at Double-A will get straightened out in due time. Even so, it’ll be worth keeping a close eye on Mejia as the season goes on.

 

Last Week’s Stats

1 GS, 0-1, 11.25 ERA, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 IP

 

Stock

Down

 

3. Chris Stratton

2014 Stats

9 GS, 2-5, 4.44 ERA, 18 BB, 46 K, 48.2 IP

 

Overview

Like Mejia, Stratton has gotten off to a rough start after putting up impressive numbers in 2013. The 6’3” right-hander has certainly struggled with his command at times, and he’s paid the price with his 18 walks and seven home runs allowed.

Nevertheless, Stratton showed he might be getting back on the right track with a seven-inning masterpiece on Thursday, his first start allowing fewer than three runs since April 14. As long as the walk numbers continue to stay down, Stratton should be just fine.

 

Last Week’s Stats

1 GS, 1.29 ERA, 2 BB, 6 K, 7 IP

 

Stock

Up

 

2. Edwin Escobar

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

2014 Stats

10 GS, 2-5, 5.05 ERA, 18 BB, 49 K, 51.2 IP

 

Overview

A poor start and a solid start did little to mitigate the concern regarding Escobar’s slow start to the season, though the left-hander’s problems appear to be easily solvable.

For one, Escobar is walking 3.1 batters per nine innings, his worst rate (and first time over 2.2) since rookie ball, which might be more of an indication of mechanical issues than an inability to perform at the higher levels. Escobar’s 5.05 ERA is also his highest total since rookie ball, and it’s the only time he’s struggled during the past couple of seasons.

It’s also his first time at Triple-A, which makes the poor numbers all the more understandable. Like so many other minor league pitchers, Escobar is simply experiencing a few growing pains. Give him some time before you start to really panic.

 

Last Week’s Stats

2 GS, 1-1, 4.63 ERA, 5 BB, 14 K, 11.2 IP

 

Stock

Even

 

1. Kyle Crick

Gregory Bull/Associated Press

2014 Stats

7 GS, 2-1, 3.28 ERA, 20 BB, 29 K, 24.2

 

Overview

Crick’s Achilles’ heel—and his only real limiting factor as it stands—is his lack of control. That issue has reared its ugly head so far this season at Double-A with Crick’s concerning 7.3 walk rate.

And yet, his 3.28 ERA in spite of his control issues is a testament to his incredible raw talent. It goes without saying that the hard-throwing right-hander has an incredibly bright future ahead of him, but he’ll have to harness his control issues to truly grow into the elite pitcher he’s capable of becoming.

His impressive performance the week before last (six shutout innings, one walk) is a preview of how dominant he can be when he’s on, and it could be a sign of things to come.

 

Last Week’s Stats

1 G, 0.00 ERA, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 IP

 

Stock

Even

 

There is a seemingly endless supply of organization prospect lists all over the Internet, but for the sake of consistency, this list follows the rankings from Baseball America’s 2014 Top 10 Prospects Index.

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