The San Francisco Giants are reigning world champions, and with their outstanding pitching staff, they have a great chance to make another run at it in 2011.
Giants' general manager Brian Sabean will need to weigh the pros and cons of making midseason deals to bolster the team. During the 2010 season, several players came to the Giants and made a big difference in their championship run.
These players included minor-league phenom Buster Posey, who arrived in late May and went on to become the NL Rookie of the Year.
As Posey proved he could play in the majors, Bengie Molina was traded to Texas for reliever Chris Ray, who gave the Giants a shot in the arm when others were hurt.
The Giants also acquired Cody Ross off waivers and Pat Burrell off the scrap heap, after he was unloaded by Tampa Bay. Both Ross and Burrell played key roles for the Giants. Ross was the MVP of the NLCS and Burrell hit 18 home runs in only 289 at-bats.
Utility infielder Mike Fontenot was acquired from the Cubs. He was valuable coming off the bench to spell Freddy Sanchez and also provided some key pinch hits.
Two additional trades made very positive impacts. Reliever Ramon Ramirez was acquired from Boston and pitched 27 innings over the remainder of the regular season with an ERA of 0.67.
Left-handed reliever Javier Lopez, acquired from Pittsburgh, became the top lefty out of the pen for the Giants. He threw 19 innings over the rest of the regular season with an ERA of 1.42. Lopez continued his mastery in the postseason. He threw 5.2 innings over nine appearances and gave up just one earned run.
As we near the trade deadline, Brian Sabean will be closely evaluating the Giants' minor-league system. He will need to determine who he really wants to keep and who he might be willing to use as trade bait.
Let's look at 10 top minor-league prospects in the Giants farm system, and take a realistic view of who will likely stay and who are the most likely candidates to be traded.