10 Giants Prospects Not Named Brandon Belt Who Could Reach The Bigs In 2011
Without a doubt, Brandon Belt is the most highly touted prospect in the Giants organization, at least in terms of being Major League-ready. He clearly has the skill set and talent to make an immediate impact when he is eventually promoted.
Still, the Giants have a myriad of other young talents waiting for a chance to prove themselves in the Show.
As fans of the Giants know all too well, the organization usually takes its time when bringing up potential stars and these prospects will be no different. With a little luck, however, some of them could find themselves in the dugout at AT&T sooner rather than later.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the top 10 up-and-coming, future Giants who just might break into the Bigs in 2011.
10. Tommy Joseph
The catcher is a long way from reaching just about everything. He's young, he has power potential and he's extremely raw.
In his first year in the minors, Joseph hit just .236 with 16 homers and 68 RBI to go along with 116 Ks. He was not very good behind the dish either, with 19 passed balls and only a 33 percent caught stealing rate.
Still, in spite of all the negatives, Joseph has a lot of potential. As much as I love Eli Whiteside, and I do, the Giants will at least need a backup catcher for the future grandeur of Buster Posey. It wouldn't hurt to have one who can hit a little bit or may even become a good trade option down the line.
9. Brandon Crawford
The homegrown shortstop may not be great with the bat, but he has a solid approach and is as good a fielder as any in the Giants farm system.
Terrific range and a strong arm can take you a long way in some organizations, especially if the team is consistently focused on pitching and defense rather than great hitting.
He was hurt for a while last year, but in 2009 Crawford posted a .282/10/48. That's nothing to get excited about, but he prove useful in giving Miguel Tejada some time off later in the season.
8. Kendry Flores
Flores is still a very young player, but he has shown some great potential in his short time in the Giants system. His high strikeout totals, control and WHIP make him an exciting process for the near future.
He followed his stellar 2009 season mini-season with a solid 2010, compiling a 5-4 record with a 3.60 ERA.
Flores may still be far from the big leagues, but he'll get his chance this year in his first full season in professional baseball. With the way this guy pitches, I would not be surprised if promotions come early and often for the right-hander.
He also hasn't been around long enough for a good picture...
7. Jorge Bucardo
This young pitcher started in the Giants farm system at the tender young age of 17 and, though he's still only 20, has progressed immensely.
Between Augusta and San Jose last season, Bucardo went 11-6 with a 2.77 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP, and a SO/BB ration over two.
He still hasn't seen the challenges of AAA or even AA for that matter, so I don't think Bucardo will be ready very soon. However, he does have a plus-sinker and gets a lot of ground ball outs so he could be put into a relief roll once he does move up.
6. Jose Casilla
This righty has explosive stuff and with a 1.05 WHIP last year, 41 Ks to 17 BBs, and no home runs allowed in 2010, Casilla is on the fast track to the bigs.
He's been in the Giants system since 2006 and has yet to prove himself above Single-A, but I have no doubt Casilla will rise to the occasion.
Though he has been used as a closer, and has the power to fill the role, Brian Wilson isn't leaving any time soon. That being said, Casilla could potentially be used in a set-up role and would fit well in the Giants bullpen.
5. Charlie Culberson
With a .290/16/71 season, second baseman Charlie Culberson put himself on the map. Any pure hitter in the Giants system gets special attention for obvious reasons, and Culberson is no different.
While his defense is a bit spotty at times, Culberson's offensive prowess could outweigh any defensive struggles; he also had 25 stolen bases last year for San Jose.
He needs to improve his on-base percentage, but other than that, Culberson looks like a very solid prospect going forward.
4. Ehire Adrianza
The Giants have a history of trying to bring up players with speed and glove wizardry, but lack of just about everything else. Adrianza fits into that category.
Though he is only 21, at this point it does not seem like the bat is going to improve from the .256 clip he posted last year. He could, however, still prove a useful late-innings asset in the majors.
The real reason Adrianza is even on this list is due to his probability of joining the Giants at some point in 2011, which is likely considering his skill set and the team's need for speed on the basepaths. His future is still a bit cloudy though.
3. Thomas Neal
Though his numbers were slightly down in 2010, Neal still put up a solid year at AA Richmond and his 2009 numbers cannot be ignored.
At 6'1", 225 pounds he has the size and strength to be a formidable power hitter.
.337/22/90/1.010 OPS is good at any level. .291/12/69/.799 isn't horrible either and even though he had a relatively down season, Neal still hit 40 doubles.
Neal has the tools to put together a great year in AAA and, if he does, the club will utilize his services as soon as possible. He may not have star power, but Neal will develop into a very solid everyday player.
2. Francisco Peguero
The outfielder hit .329 in the California League to go along with 40 steals and 77 RBI and has consistently hit for great average in the minors.
The year before, Peguero posted a .353 average between two teams so he definitely has what it takes to hit and hit often.
For a contact hitter, Peguero does strikeout a bit too much, does not draw enough walks and does not have a great on-base percentage. If he can improve these areas even slightly, he should be on the fast track to San Francisco.
1. Zach Wheeler
Even though Wheeler only went 3-3 with a 3.99 ERA at Augusta, he has all the tools to be a dominant pitcher in the majors as his 70 strikeouts in 58.2 innings show.
Wheeler uses his 6'3", 180-pound frame to his full advantage and he can get ground balls with the best of them. He is undoubtedly the best young pitcher, talent-wise, in the Giants system.
At 20-years-old, Wheeler is young and developing, but this season should show how ready he is to go to the next level. With a little luck, he could find himself in the bullpen come September 1.
Brandon Belt is the obvious best prospect option in the Giants farm system. However, he may have some company when he makes it to The Show.