San Francisco Giants: A Look at the Giants' Farm System
2009: Buster Posey as a San Jose Giant
San Francisco Giants fans know AT&T Park. They know Pablo Sandoval, Brian Wilson, and Tim Lincecum. They follow the team on TV and keep up with the standings.
What many don’t follow is the farm system. Every player started in the minors somewhere, and those teams are currently building and developing new talent.
This is a list of each of the teams in the San Francisco Giants farm system, as well as an update on how each is doing.
Rookie: Arizona League and Dominican Summer Giants
Garrett Buechele from Oklahoma is now part of the Arizona League Giants (Photo Courtesy of OU Insider)
The San Francisco Giants have two rookie teams in different divisions. These are the lowest affiliates of the Giants.
The Arizona League Giants play in Scottsdale, Arizona, at Scottsdale Stadium.
The Dominican Summer Giants play in the Boca Chica South Division.
The DSL Giants are currently three games back of first place, and the AZL Giants are first in their division.
Short-Season: Salem-Keizer Volcanoes
Photo Courtesy of KeizerTimes
The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a short-season Class A team based in Keizer, Oregon. They’re ranked last in their division, but that doesn’t represent the talent on their team.
2011 first-round draft pick Joe Panik is hitting .378 and will probably move up soon. In the Volcanoes’ 2011 opening series, he went 10 for 17, and hit the Volcanoes’ first grand slam of the season on June 27.
Expect him to move through the system quickly.
Low-A: Augusta GreenJackets
Adam Duvall (Courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)
The Augusta GreenJackets have been a Low-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants since 2005. Since then they’ve won one division and league title, both in 2008.
The GreenJackets play in Augusta, Georgia, and have been home to alumni including Emmanuel Burriss and Pablo Sandoval. The GreenJackets finished in fifth after the first half of the season.
Current players include Adam Duvall, who won MVP honors after his two-run homer and RBI single in the 2011 All-Star game. Stephen Harrold has been great this season as well with a 1.83 ERA through 34.1 innings.
High-A: San Jose Giants
The San Jose Giants are the longest-running affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, with them since 1988.
The Hi-A San Jose Giants are one of the most successful teams in the California League, as well as the most successful affiliate. Many of the San Francisco Giants of today played for San Jose at one point, and current standouts for this season’s team include Gary Brown and Zach Wheeler. Wheeler has constantly been involved in trade scenarios for the Mets’ Jose Reyes.
Five of the San Jose Giants were selected to the California League All-Star team. Currently the San Jose Giants are in first place in their northern division, 6.5 games ahead of second.
They have a long-standing reputation for being a success, and have 6 league titles. The back to back champions in 2009 and 2010, are playing a promising 2011 season as well.
Double-A: Richmond Flying Squirrels
Eric Surkamp (Photo Courtesy of Real Life Studios)
The Richmond Flying Squirrels are SF Giants affiliate in Richmond, Virginia. They are part of the Eastern League, in the Western division. The San Francisco Giants signed them as their new parent club in 2003.
The Squirrels have several league and division titles under different names and affiliations, but its only title as a Giants affiliate was in 2009, when the team won its division.
Notable players include Eric Surkamp, Justin Fitzgerald, Roger Kieschnick, and Charlie Culberson. All four players were selected to play in the Eastern League All-Star game. Surkamp ranks fourth in strikeouts in the EL with 87, and leads the league with a 1.74 ERA. Kieschnick has eight home runs and 41 RBIs on the season, and is currently batting .263.
The Squirrels are currently in second place in their division, four games back from first.
Triple-A: Fresno Grizzlies
Travis Ishikawa (Courtesy of Dave Nelson)
The Fresno Grizzlies are part of that last level before players are brought up to the majors. It’s also used for rehab assignments when players come off the DL.
The Triple-A ball club is part of the Pacific Coast League, in the Pacific South division. It’s been a San Francisco Giants affiliate since 1998, when the team won its first and only division title.
Players currently on the roster include Dan Runzler, Mike Fontenot, and Travis Ishikawa. Runzler was injured yesterday, and Fontenot and Ishikawa have both been on and off the DL.
Keep an eye on catching prospect Hector Sanchez. Officials say he still needs work, but he’s flown up the system, and could be a choice for the Giants backstop later on.
The Grizzlies are currently in last place in their division, but starting pitcher Andrew Kown has been named to the 2011 PCL All-Star Team. He shares the league lead with eight wins in the season and was named the PCL Pitcher of the Week from May 2nd-8th