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Here's a Thought: Underrated Prospect—San Francisco's Eric Surkamp

Nathaniel StoltzSenior Analyst IJanuary 2, 2010

When one thinks of the Giants' top prospects, he or she typically thinks of the promise of Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, and Thomas Neal, or perhaps the horrific downfall of Angel Villalona.

But the team's sixth-round pick in 2008, left-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp, deserves to be discussed as well.

Surkamp is a tall lefty out of NC State, standing 6'5". He was 21 years old during the 2009 season.

Surkamp isn't the hardest thrower out there, but he isn't Jamie Moyer either. His fastball ranges from 86-91 mph, and he has excellent command of the pitch.

He also tosses a curve and changeup that both grade out as above-average pitches. All three of his pitches play up due to his superb command.

Surkamp was one of the most dominant pitchers in the Low-A South Atlantic League last year, going 11-5 with a 3.30 ERA. 

However, the ERA actually understates Surkamp's excellence; his FIP was a whopping 2.20.

Surkamp had an incredible 169/39 K/BB ratio in 131 innings, showing impressive strikeout ability and control. He also only allowed six home runs all season long. 

A BABIP of .380 was the only thing separating Surkamp from being recognized as one of the most dominant pitchers in the minors last year.

Scouts may not like him too much because of his pedestrian fastball, but we've seen plenty of pitchers succeed at the major league level throwing high-80s heat. Surkamp's frame is also considered fairly projectable, so he may add velocity. His strong secondary pitches should make up for any issues with his fastball if they do arise.

Surkamp should at least be as good as the Angels' Joe Saunders, and with more potential strikeout ability, he may be even better than that. He could develop into a No. 2 quality starter, although it's more likely he'll be a strong mid-rotation presence.

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