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

Jason MartinezContributor IOctober 28, 2016

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

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    Panik is trying to force himself into the 2B mix in San Francisco after hitting .345 in May.
    Panik is trying to force himself into the 2B mix in San Francisco after hitting .345 in May.Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    As the San Francisco Giants continue to establish themselves as the best team in the game with a 37-20 record7.5 games better than the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West and two games better than the Oakland Athletics for best record in the majorsthe focus is moving further away from their farm system and what kind of package they can put together to land an impact player prior to the July 31 trade deadline. 

    The answer is "not very good," as the team's lone top-50 prospect, per Baseball Prospectus, has struggled to find the strike zone in Double-A. Furthermore, none of several good pitching prospects who project as middle-to-back-of-the-rotation starters have improved their value over the first two months of the season. 

    On a positive note, there is solid depth in Triple-A, which should help if the team is hit with the injury bug later in the season. At least five of those players are in the current top-10 rankings featured in this piece. 

    Here is the updated list along with a look at how each player has fared through the first nine weeks of the 2014 MLB season.

10. Adam Duvall, 3B (Triple-A Fresno)

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    Last Week's Stats

    1-for-4, 2 BB, K

    Overview

    Duvall's month of May ended early, as he missed the last week because of a hamstring injury. However, he had already done plenty of damage at the plate with a .355 batting average, 17 extra-base hits (9 HR) and 25 runs batted in only 20 games. 

    Back in the lineup on Sunday, he reached base three times and just missed a home run on a sixth-inning fly ball.

    He's certainly making a case for a big league call-up, but there's just not a lot of at-bats for him right now.

    Pablo Sandoval is crushing the ball after a slow start, and Michael Morse, filling in for the injured Brandon Belt at first base, has been tearing the cover off the ball all season long.

    The 25-year-old Duvall's chances of receiving regular playing time in the big leagues this season, barring an injury, are zero. It's hard, though, to not see him getting a shot as the top right-handed bat off the Giants bench at some point; that job currently belongs to Joaquin Arias, who has a .393 OPS on the season. 

     

    2014 Stats

    .293 BA, 15 HR, 44 RBI, 6 2B, 3 3B, 19 BB, 42 K (47 GP)

     

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9. Ty Blach, SP (Double-A Richmond)

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    Last Week's Stats

    4.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K in one start

    Overview

    Blach has had a terrific Double-A debut in 2014, and he's made his living by throwing strikes and having his defense work behind him. So it makes sense that he had a season-high six strikeouts during his worst statistical outing (4.0 IP, 3 ER) of the season on Thursday.

    The 23-year-old lefty also allowed a homer for the fifth consecutive game, a three-run shot by Altoona (Pirates) third baseman Jarek Cunningham in the fourth inning, which accounted for all of the damage. Before the blast, Blach had been tossing a one-hit shutout through three innings. 

    If anything, Blach has established himself as probably the most polished of any of the organization's top prospects, though he still might not be more than a spot starter/lefty relief specialist in the majors.

     

    2014 Stats

    2.77 ERA, 52.0 IP, 45 H, 9 BB, 28 K (10 GS)

     

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8. Andrew Susac, C (Triple-A Fresno)

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    Last Week's Stats

    3-for-4, RBI

    Overview

    With Buster Posey having caught just two games this past week due to nerve irritation in his back—he also started at first base twice—the temptation to add a third catcher to the major league roster along with Hector Sanchez has to be increasing. 

    Susac has been dealing with a hamstring injury, however, which has kept him in and out of the Fresno lineup. Once he's healthy, though, he's more than deserving of a shot. Expect to see him in San Francisco by mid-season to help ensure a healthy Posey for the stretch run.

     

    2014 Stats

    .296 BA, 6 HR, 5 2B, 20 RBI, 13 BB, 24 K (29 GP)

     

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7. Joe Panik, 2B (Triple-A Fresno)

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    Last Week's Stats

    10-for-25, 2B, 3B, 4 BB, 3 K

    Overview

    Brandon Hicks has been one of the top minor league free-agent signings of the offseason. Filling in for an injured Marco Scutaro at second base, the 28-year-old had a .737 OPS with eight homers through his first 130 at-bats.

    But as you'd expect from a journeyman who came into the season with a career .493 OPS in 90 big league at-bats, Hicks has fallen into a deep slump, with only one hit and 12 strikeouts over his last 22 at-bats.

    In the meantime, the Giants have at least had to have had conversations regarding Panik as a left-handed hitting complement at second base. After hitting .345 in May, the former first-round pick has continued to light up Triple-A pitching, as he posted two more hits on Sunday to go along with two walks, bosting his on-base percentage to .391. 

     

    2014 Stats

    .326 BA, 3 HR, 8 2B, 3 3B, 32 RBI, 22 BB, 25 K (57 GP)

     

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6. Chris Stratton, SP (High-A San Jose)

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    Last Week's Stats

    4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 4 BB, 3 K 

    Overview

    After posting his best start of the season on May 22 (7.0 IP, ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K), Stratton came back with his worst outing last Wednesday. 

    Facing the same Stockton team (A's) that he shut down a week earlier, the 23-year-old Stratton may have sensed that he didn't have his best stuff, as indicated by his four walks. When he did throw the ball over the plate, though, the result wasn't good, as he allowed three homers, pushing his total to 10 on the season (tied for second most in the California League). 

    Three days later, the pitcher taken one pick before Stratton in the 2012 draftSt. Louis Cardinals right-hander Michael Wachatossed six shutout innings against the big league Giants in a 4-3 victory.  

     

    2014 Stats

    5.09 ERA, 53.0 IP, 53 H, 22 BB, 49 K (10 GS)

     

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5. Christian Jones, SP (Low-A Augusta)

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    Last Week's Stats

    4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 K

    Overview

    Pitching scoreless ball in four of nine starts—including five no-hit innings on April 14 and seven innings of no-hit ball before allowing a hit on May 11Jones is doing everything he can to make a positive impression. 

    A former 18th-round draft choice, the 23-year-old lefty has burst onto the scene with an impressive full-season debut. While his latest start wasn't one of his best, Jones is on track for a second-half promotion, where he could really put himself on the radar if he can hold his own in the High-A California League.

     

    2014 Stats

    2.98 ERA, 42.1 IP, 30 H, 11 BB, 40 K (9 GS) 

     

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4. Adalberto Mejia, SP (Double-A Richmond)

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    Last Week's Stats

    6.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K

    Overview

    The 20-year-old lefty continues to show an ability to throw strikes, walking two or less batters in his ninth consecutive Double-A start, but the ERA has continued to rise. It's now over 6.00 after his latest outing, though it was a promising start that he can build upon. 

    Heading into the fifth inning against Altoona (Pirates) with a one-hit shutout and a 4-0 lead, Mejia gave up five runs on a homer, two doubles and a bases-loaded triple. After his team regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning, Mejia bounced back with a 1-2-3 sixth inning to end his day. He also earned the win, his second on the season. 

    It wasn't pretty, but there was plenty for the Giants to like about Mejia's start.

     

    2014 Stats

    6.15 ERA, 45.1 IP, 52 H, 10 BB, 38 K (9 GS)

     

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3. Clayton Blackburn, SP (Double-A Richmond)

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    Last Week's Stats

    Did not pitch  

    Overview

    Blackburn is currently on the disabled list, and no recent information has been disseminated regarding the injury. The 23-year-old last started on May 19, allowing three earned runs and seven hits in four innings. 

     

    2014 Stats

    3.40 ERA, 42.1 IP, 52 H, 9 BB, 32 K (8 GS)

     

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2. Edwin Escobar, SP (Triple-A Fresno)

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    Last Week's Stats

    6.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 K 

    Overview

    Escobar pitched into the seventh inning in back-to-back starts on May 23 and May 28, which is quite an accomplishment in a very unfriendly environment for pitchers. 

    After allowing just one run on three hits with two walks and a season-high eight strikeouts at Salt Lake City (Angels), the 22-year-old lefty struggled early on at Reno (Diamondbacks). 

    To his credit, he battled and departed with his team hanging onto an 8-5 lead, though his bullpen would give up the lead later on.

    Yusmeiro Petit continues to be a solid option to make the occasional spot start, so Escobar's chances of contributing at the big league level in 2014 are slim. 

     

    2014 Stats

    5.25 ERA, 58.1 IP, 67 H, 22 BB, 53 K (11 GS)

     

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1. Kyle Crick, SP (Double-A Richmond)

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    Last Week's Stats

    9.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 6 BB, 8 K

    Overview

    You never know which Kyle Crick is going to show up—he allowed four earned runs on five hits and four walks on May 26 and then bounced back by allowing just one run on two hits with two walks and six strikeouts on Sunday. 

    One thing you can count on, though, is that the 21-year-old doesn't allow the long ball. After allowing one home run in each of his last two seasons—one in 111.1 Low-A innings in 2012; one in 68.2 High-A innings in 2013—Crick has yet to allow a homer in 2014. 

    The right-hander has the potential to be a top-of-the-rotation stud in the majors if he can learn to command his heavy mid-90s fastball on a more consistent basis.  

     

    2014 Stats

    3.71 ERA, 34 IP, 27 H, 26 BB, 37 K (9 GS)

     

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