Ranking the San Francisco Giants' Top 10 Prospects After Post-MLB Draft Day 1

Dan MoriCorrespondent IJune 6, 2014

Ranking the San Francisco Giants' Top 10 Prospects After Post-MLB Draft Day 1

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    Starting pitcher Tyler Beede is the Giants' first pick in the 2014 draft.
    Starting pitcher Tyler Beede is the Giants' first pick in the 2014 draft.Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The MLB draft is underway—and although it does not receive the fanfare of the NFL, it is nonetheless extremely important to the teams and players involved.

    The San Francisco Giants selected Vanderbilt pitcher Tyler Beede with the 14th overall selection in this year's draft. General manager Brian Sabean and John Barr, who heads up the Giants' amateur scouting department, hope that they have found a future star.

    As reported by Nick Cole of The Tennessean, this is actually the second time Beede has been a Round 1 draft pick. He was chosen with the 21st overall selection in 2011 by the Toronto Blue Jays. However, Beede turned down their offer of over $2 million and opted to attend Vanderbilt. 

    In addition to Beede's skill set and upside, the Giants also considered their ability to sign him. It does them no good to select a stud player that they cannot ink to a contract.

    The Giants have some prospects working their way up the minor league system, and this draft will infuse the team with some exciting new talent.

    It is too early to rank Beede as a top-10 prospect for the Giants, as he hasn't even signed a contract yet. However, if he does sign and performs well in his first few outings, he will definitely be added to this list. 

     

     

No. 10: Chris Stratton, Starting Pitcher

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    Chris Stratton is in his third year of professional baseball.
    Chris Stratton is in his third year of professional baseball.Butch Dill/Associated Press

    The San Francisco Giants selected Chris Stratton with the 20th overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft.

    Stratton has had an up-and-down season with the Giants' High-A affiliate in San Jose. He has thrown 60 innings, allowing 58 hits and 24 walks while striking out 57. Stratton has been hurt by the home run ball, as he has allowed 10 in those 60 innings.

    Stratton's ERA is 4.80, which is too high, but his WHIP is a bit better at 1.367. In his three years with the Giants organization, Stratton has registered nearly one strikeout per inning, which is a very positive sign.

    Stratton will be 24 years of age in August, and at this stage of his career the Giants would have expected him to be playing in Double-A Richmond, not Single-A San Jose. He is, in essence, one year behind the ideal target.

    Stratton has a lot of potential, but he just needs to put it together on a consistent basis.

    Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

No. 9: Brett Bochy, Relief Pitcher

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    Brett Bochy is the son of Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
    Brett Bochy is the son of Giants manager Bruce Bochy.USA TODAY Sports

    This is not a joke, Brett Bochy, the son of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, is a legitimate major league prospect. In fact, he has the best WHIP, at 1.116, of anyone currently pitching in Triple-A Fresno.

    Bochy has a live fastball in the mid-90s to go along with a good, hard slider. His off-speed pitches could be better, and that's one area for Bochy to work on.

    Scoutingbook.com likes Bochy and stresses that there need not be any nepotism because he is the real deal.

    In 28.2 innings of work this season, Bochy has allowed just 20 hits and 12 walks while striking out 28. His ERA of 2.83 is also one of the best in Fresno.

    Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

    If he's not brought to the majors before, look for Bochy to be a September call-up, as he has earned his opportunity.

    After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010, Bochy now has his career back on track. He will be 27 years of age in late August, so the time is now for the manager's kid.

No. 8: Adam Duvall, Corner Infielder

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    Adam Duvall is one of the only power bats doing well in the Giants'  farm system.
    Adam Duvall is one of the only power bats doing well in the Giants' farm system.USA TODAY Sports

    The San Francisco Giants lack power in their minor league system. Adam Duvall is one of the few hitters capable of delivering the long-ball on a consistent basis. In 2012, Duvall belted 30 home runs and drove in 100 runs.

    After a so-so season in Richmond last year, Duvall is thriving at Fresno, the Giants' Triple-A affiliate. In 193 at-bats, Duvall has 17 home runs and 47 RBI. He is batting .295 with an OBP of .364 and OPS of .986.

    Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

    Duvall is making better contact and showing better plate discipline. 

    Defensively, Duvall needs to improve, especially if he hopes to play third base. With Brandon Belt entrenched at first base, Duvall's best chance to make it would be at third.

    With Pablo Sandoval's contract up at the end of the 2014 season, Duvall could be in the mix to earn the job if Sandoval leaves. However, he must improve defensively, as his fielding percentage at third base is a very poor .923 at Fresno this year.

     

     

     

No. 7: Heath Hembree, Relief Pitcher

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    Heath Hembree has been on the cusp of making it to San Francisco  for a few seasons.
    Heath Hembree has been on the cusp of making it to San Francisco for a few seasons.USA TODAY Sports

    At one time, just a few years ago, Heath Hembree was projected to be the next Giants closer, following Brian Wilson. His fastball was in the mid- to upper 90s and was his dominant pitch.

    Unfortunately, injuries, a drop in velocity and inconsistent command have kept Hembree from making it.

    Now, at the age of 25, Hembree is starting to see his luster fade from his once very bright star. He is striving to recapture it and force himself back into the Giants' future plans.

    Currently pitching in Fresno, Hembree has had flashes of brilliance, but also some shaky outings. In 23 appearances, Hembree has thrown 22 innings, allowing 26 hits and nine walks while striking out 26. He has 10 saves on the year for the Grizzlies.

    Hembree has an ERA of 4.09 and a WHIP of 1.591. It is these mediocre numbers that Hembree must improve on if he is going to get another shot at the Majors.

    In 2013, Hembree had a short stint in San Francisco, appearing in nine games and working 7.2 innings. He did very well, allowing only four hits and two walks while striking out 12. 

    Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

    Heading into spring training, the assumption was that Hembree would secure one of the Giants' relief spots. However, Hembree was not that sharp and pitched his way off the roster. Time will tell if he can turn things around and force the Giants to give him another opportunity.

No. 6: Ty Blach, Starting Pitcher

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    Ty Blach is another exciting young arm in the Giants' farm system.
    Ty Blach is another exciting young arm in the Giants' farm system.Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Ty Blach was a fifth-round pick by the Giants, in 2012, out of Creighton University. Blach has advanced quickly through the Giants' system and is currently pitching at Richmond, the Giants' Double-A affiliate.

    Blach has worked 57.2 innings thus far, allowing 50 hits and 11 walks while striking out 34. His ERA is a solid 2.97 to go along with a WHIP of 1.058.

    Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

    The Giants are very excited about Blach. At the age of 23, Blach displays a maturity that belies his youth and displays good command of his pitches. Quality left-handed starters are like gold, and Blach has a chance to make an impact in the majors in a year or two.

    Blach essentially has five pitches, featuring a two-seam and four-seam fastball. He tops out in the low 90s, but also has a good slider and is improving his curve and changeup.

    Blach is not a dominating pitcher, but executes his pitches well and projects to be a back-end-of-the-rotation starter.

     

     

No. 5: Derek Law, Relief Pitcher

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    Derek Law has been successful in the closer role at Richmond.
    Derek Law has been successful in the closer role at Richmond.USA TODAY Sports

    Derek Law was a ninth-round selection in the 2011 draft. He does not have a blazing fastball or devastating slider, but he just gets people out.

    Law has a quirky motion where he turns his back to the plate, then wheels around to deliver the ball, much like Gene Garber and Luis Tiant did in years past. Law hides the ball well, and opposing hitters have trouble picking up his pitches. 

    Currently pitching in Double-A Richmond, Law has thrown 26.1 innings, allowing 17 hits and 14 walks while striking out 28. He has an ERA of 2.73 and WHIP of 1.177. Law also has 13 saves while acting as the primary closer for the Flying Squirrels.

    Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

    Law impressed manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti in spring training and nearly won a job on the big league roster. Ultimately, it was decided to give Law more seasoning, but he is not that far away.

    If the Giants were to suffer more injuries to their relief corps, where two or three are out at the same time, look for Law to be called up.

No. 4: Andrew Susac, Catcher

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    Andrew Susac has made a lot of progress in the past year.
    Andrew Susac has made a lot of progress in the past year.USA TODAY Sports

    Andrew Susac was selected in the second round of the 2011 amateur draft. He played his college baseball and starred at Oregon State.

    Susac has made some very positive strides this year. He opened the season in Fresno; in 98 at-bats, Susac is hitting .296 with an OBP of .395 and OPS of .925. He has also displayed some power, with six home runs and 20 RBI.

    Susac has a career minor league OBP of .361, which is more than 100 points higher than his career batting average. This shows that Susac knows the strike zone and is not a free swinger. 

    Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

    The key for Susac to make the jump to the majors is defensively. He has a strong arm but needs to work on his mechanics. In addition, Susac is still learning how to call a game, receive the ball with ideal glove position and manage his pitcher effectively.

    Although Susac is still a year away, the Giants' dearth of top position-player prospects places him fourth on our list.

No. 3: Joe Panik, Second Base/Shortstop

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    Joe Panik can play both shortstop and second base.
    Joe Panik can play both shortstop and second base.Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Pitching is definitely the strength of the Giants' minor league system. However, the position player who appears closest to breaking through to the majors appears to be Joe Panik.

    Panik was a late first-round pick, the 29th overall, in the 2011 amateur draft. He has quickly moved through the Giants' minor league system and is now playing at Triple-A Fresno.

    Panik is hitting very well, which has been an issue with many of the Giants' young position-player prospects. In 234 at-bats, Panik is batting .321 with an OBP of .385 and OPS of .817.

    Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

    Panik is not a power hitter, nor is he exceptionally fast. However, he is a good, solid baseball player who does the little things to help a team win.

    A big asset for Giants manager Bruce Bochy is that Panik can play both second base and shortstop. With second base a question mark for the Giants, Panik may get his chance this season.

    At a minimum, Panik will likely be a September call-up, as he has earned the opportunity to get his feet wet in the majors. If he plays well next spring, Panik will have a legitimate shot to earn a job in San Francisco.

     

No. 2: Edwin Escobar, Starting Pitcher

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    Edwin Escobar pitched well in spring training and impressed the Giants' brass.
    Edwin Escobar pitched well in spring training and impressed the Giants' brass.Darron Cummings/Associated Press/Associated Press

    Edwin Escobar almost made the big league roster out of spring training, but ultimately landed in Fresno.

    Currently, Yusmeiro Petit is the Giants' spot starter and long reliever. However, if the Giants need an extra starter beyond Petit, it would likely be Escobar. He seems to be the starting pitcher closest to making the jump to San Francisco.

    Although still only 22 years of age, Escobar is in his sixth professional season and has 484.2 career innings under his belt. This is in comparison to Crick, who has thrown a total of 221 minor league innings.

    Escobar has been a bit inconsistent this season, having thrown 65.1 innings but allowing 73 hits and 23 walks while striking out 59.

    The Pacific Coast League is a notorious hitter's league, so Escobar has taken his lumps on occasion. His ERA is 4.82 and he carries a WHIP of 1.469.

    Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

    A young left-hander, Escobar features a fastball in the low 90s with a lot of movement. He also has an improving changeup and good curveball. With his experience and relatively young age, Escobar has a big upside, which has Giants management very excited.

No. 1: Kyle Crick, Starting Pitcher

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    Kyle Crick is the Giants' most coveted prospect.
    Kyle Crick is the Giants' most coveted prospect.Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Kyle Crick was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2011 amateur draft. He is a right-handed power pitcher with a solid frame. Crick is 6'2" and 220 lbs. He reminds you a lot of Matt Cain, with his size and easy delivery.

    Crick has a fastball in the mid-90s and a good, hard slider. His off-speed pitches still need improvement, as does his overall commend. Crick allows too many walks and often lets his pitch count get too high, too early in games.

    Currently pitching in Richmond, the Giants' Double-A affiliate, Crick has thrown 34 innings, allowing 27 hits and 26 walks while striking out 37. His ERA is 3.71 and he has a WHIP of 1.559.  

    Crick is likely still a year or two away from the majors, but if he can continue to develop his curveball and changeup, he could get to San Francisco sooner rather than later. Crick has a live arm; it's all a matter of him consistently commanding his pitches.

    Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.