San Francisco Giants: Three Under-the-Radar Prospects Having Monster Springs

Jordan PlautCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2011

San Francisco Giants: Three Under-the-Radar Prospects Having Monster Springs

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    Every year, new players come into spring training with the hopes of making a team, whether they are from the farm system or have bounced around the majors for their entire careers.

    Some of those players stand out in camp, snatching up roster spots by showing that they belong at the highest level. This year is no exception.

    For the world champion San Francisco Giants, not much is needed to change for the team to have a chance at a repeat, so expectations of non-roster invitees and minor leaguers coming into camp was low to say the least.

    Still, some of the guys performed extremely well in Arizona and, at the very least, have made the organization think about finding a place for them.

    Here are the three guys who have made the Cactus League a little more exciting this spring.

Felix Romero

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    The 30-year-old relief pitcher made some noise this spring, posting a 1-0 record while allowing just three hits and no runs in six appearances.

    The righty also recorded a save in all three of his chances to go along with just two walks and six strikeouts.

    Romero really had an impressive spring for someone who has bounced around the minors for his entire professional career. But with the pitching staff already stacked, he will likely be forced to wait in the minors for an injury call-up to prove himself in the regular season.

    Romero's history in the minors is inconsistent at best and will be hard to overcome if he wants to make the majors with the Giants.

Clayton Tanner

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    Though it is difficult to call Tanner's spring performance overpowering or monster-like, the young Australian showed that he has what it takes to face big-league competition.

    Tanner has given up just one run on four hits in 5.2 innings this spring, with a measly average against of .200.

    Although his walk average is too high and his stuff is not electric, Tanner is still very young and he has a bright future with the Giants organization, should Brian Sabean choose to hang on to the lefty. One look at Sabean's track record with lefty pitching prospects should tell you the answer.

    A full season in the minors will show just how prepared this Aussie is for the Show, but for now at least the Cactus League is abuzz over Tanner's potential.

Steve Edlefsen

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    Of all the young prospects the Giants have put out on the mound this spring, none has impressed more than right-hander Steve Edlefsen.

    Born in Minnesota, Edlefsen is a Nebraska graduate who had a solid college career as a position player. However, after switching to pitcher, he had trouble last year in the Cactus League, posting an 8.53 ERA through six games with seven walks and a WHIP of 2.21.

    This year, Edlefsen has been nothing short of brilliant, going 1-0 with a save, six strikeouts and a minuscule .45 WHIP through eight games.

    A Pacific Coast League All-Star last year, this kid is going to be with the big club sooner rather than later. With a great slider, he could easily be the Giants' next Sergio Romo out of the pen.

    Though it's nothing like a beard, it doesn't hurt to have an intimidating stare like Edlefsen's on the mound.

Who Else?

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    Unlike many teams in recent memory, the World Series-champion Giants chose not to overhaul after their title and instead look to return a comparable lineup to San Francisco.

    With Brandon Belt very much on the radar of clubs around the league, and for good reason, further field talent for the Giants has been extremely limited over the course of spring training.

    The only players who have really done substantial work to improve their chances of making the roster are either returning players who have major league experience and are no longer prospects or old pitchers looking at a shot at redemption (see Marc Kroon and Ryan Vogelsong).

    While that is not to say that the Giants do not have talent in their farm system, it does suggest that the team is more than adequately prepared with the team they have already established (with a few noted exceptions).

    With players like Belt, Dan Runzler, Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz all vying for spots and coming in with big-league experience (other than Belt), it will be nearly impossible for Romero, Tanner or Edlefsen to break in unless aided by staff injuries.

    As Brian Sabean has noted, if a Triple-A player is good enough, he would be in the majors. It doesn't look like he or anyone else in Giants management is going to take a chance when they actually know for a fact they have what it takes to win.