San Francisco Giants: The Mysterious Case of Brett Pill
You won’t find him on any Major League Baseball prospect list.
He’s not even considered a top-10 prospect on his own organization’s list.
However, this season with Triple-A Fresno, first baseman Brett Pill leads the entire Pacific Coast League with 101 RBI, and ranks among the top 10 in home runs.
Oh, and one more notable statistic: he also leads the entire Giants organization in round-trippers with 24.
Oops. Sorry Panda.
Add in his .310 batting average, .882 OPS and a solid 6’4” atypical first-baseman frame, and you’ve got a star in the making, right?
Most fans have never heard of him.
Quietly, the inconspicuous Pill (.310/.341/.541) has proved his worth at every minor league level, yet there is little-to-no talk about the sweet-swinging So Cal native.
So why is the team decimated by injuries, and ranked second to last offensively in all of baseball not drooling on their minor league scouting reports dying to punch his ticket for the big show?
Amazingly, the Giants do not have a spot for him on the big-league roster.
Wait, come again?
The same team, who just tied or broke some humiliating record I am ashamed to fact-check, pertaining to consecutive solo homers in a row, can’t use a guy leading his entire organization in home runs and RBI?
So, what are the reasons for the nerd-propositioning-the-hot-cheerleader snub?
A 2010 godsend, Huff has been given a free pass for 2011, and is the current incumbent at first base. Despite his dismal statistics in 2011 (.247/.300/.378), manager Bruce Bochy feels it necessary to favor veterans and continues to trot Huff out there.
Belt is the team’s top prospect and has come highly advertised by baseball experts. His minor league statistics also back it up. He is the team’s first baseman of the future and might end up permanently taking over the starting role from Huff at some point this season. That puts Pill at third on the depth chart, at best.
Pacific Coast League
The Pacific Coast League has notoriously been considered a hitter’s league, littered with weak pitching so it’s easy to dismiss numbers. So I guess that means the case is closed. We’ve got another John Bowker on our hands, correct?
In 2009 in the Eastern League, Pill had 19 homers, 109 RBI and batted .298, for Double-A Richmond. The league is known for strong pitching.
Is it possible that the wrong first baseman is being hyped? It appears Brandon Belt is all that and a bag of AT&T Park garlic fries, however, what if scouts have made the wrong call and chosen the wrong Pill?
Belt is the real deal, however not all minor leaguers can be the 11th ranked prospect in baseball. At least if Pill is given a chance to play, he may turn out to be just as good. We just won’t know unless that happens.
With the idea of trying to fit in anywhere he can, Pill has logged almost 60 games at second base this year with Fresno. With the acquisition of Jeff Keppinger, another door closes for the eager Pill. He even played a couple games in the outfield.
Andres Torres and his .228 average need not worry; he’s recorded only one put-out, plus he can’t do squat jumps up the side of a dirt mound while wearing rolled up jeans, like Torres.
Southern California Dodger Ties?
The San Dimas native is probably more accustomed to warm weather and, with all due respect to San Francisco ladies, better looking women. Maybe it’s possible he still bleeds Dodger Blue since he grew up in the area, and management has yet to get him to drink the orange and black Kool-Aid?
OK, so this one is completely outlandish, but it appears one’s readership triples when adding a picture of a hot chick to write-ups, so I figured I’d throw it out there.
Despite all these obstacles standing in his way, I just can’t fathom how Pill would not get the call for September call-ups in a few weeks. Then again, the team is amidst a pennant race, which usually means expanding the roster is not a priority unless a player has a specialized skill to add.
The good news for Pill and his relationship with the Giants is that he wasn’t dealt at the trading deadline, which could mean the team has plans for him at some point. That could explain why he has remained at each level for the maximum amount of time, despite performing so well. Often it is better for a player to get as many at-bats as possible and to play every day.
In might not be this season, but we can only hope that sooner, rather than later, fans all over the Bay Area will happily be Pill Poppin’ at some point real soon.