As it stands, the Giants No. 4 prospect is Thomas Neal, a California native who showed considerable promise in the minors last season.
With a strong performance down in San Jose, the San Francisco Giants have invited Thomas Neal to Spring Training to see what the fuss is all about.
So what did he do last season down in Advanced Single A last season that warrants an invite?
*stats provided by http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/N/Thomas-Neal.shtml
The stats speak for themselves and anyone one who sees this line knows that Thomas Neal can indeed hit for power and average.
Yes he played in a hitters league, but Thomas Neal is a very attractive candidate for the Giants outfield of the future.
He is still just 22 and has time to develop his power, which will bode very well for the Giants because we can finally expect consistent power numbers from the outfield spot.
Still, there are many factors that go into Thomas Neal fulfilling his potential.
Moving up to AA will test Neal's hitting skills because there are better pitching prospects found at this level. He will finally see a slew of pitchers that have command and plus stuff. Seeing how he deals with this will be very telling in what kind of prospect the Giants truly have.
Another thing to note is that the Giants have a very crowded outfield as of today. With the likes of Eugenio Velez and Fred Lewis taking up spots, Thomas Neal's rise to the majors, granted he is producing in the minors, probably won't happen until 2011 or 2012.
A very strong performance in the minors this year may warrant a September call up however, if he is put on the 40 man roster towards the end of the season, which I think will happen.
After Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey cement themselves in the Giants clubhouse, Neal has a pretty good chance to become either the No. 1 or No. 2 prospect in the Giants farm system.
The question is though, will Neal be for real or is he just another Todd Linden mirage? Time will tell, but my instincts are telling me that the Giants have a special player in the works.