Top 5 Prospects: San Francisco Giants

Buster Posey and Tim Alderson are the future in San Francisco (Dave Nelson/Flickr).

Buster Posey and Tim Alderson are the future in San Francisco (Dave Nelson/Flickr).

The San Francisco Giants have seen some incredibly rough times over the past few seasons. Between the circus that Barry Bonds brought with him to an offense that disappeared when he left. From a depleted farm system to a horrible contract for a pitcher (Barry Zito whom I complained about way back when the contact was born) on a fast decline in his stuff. But that was then and this is now. With a fantastic, young one-two combo in their rotation now and a slew of great young players that have been stock piled in their system, the Giants are starting to turn things around. Here’s how the revamped organization looks:

1.) Madison Bumgarner
Position: Pitcher | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: NR
Bats: Right | Throws: Left | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 215
Scouting Report: Unbelievably the left-handed Bumgarner started his pro career with only one pitch. As hard as that is to believe, it was (and is) a plus-plus fastball that sits in the mid-90’s (very good for a lefty) which is at least a good place to build from. He since has began to add a few more pitches including an average curve and change as well as a slider which has made the most progress and has become a solid out pitch. Bumgarner throws from a bit below a 3/4 arm slot with a short arm action. He has fantastic control on both sides of the plate and commands attention with a fantastic presence on the mound. Bumgarner has made huge strides with the addition of his new pitches and now projects to be the coveted left-handed ace for the Giants.

2.) Buster Posey
Position: Catcher | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: NR
Bats: Right | Throws: Right | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 195
Scouting Report: Posey is an incredible plus defensive catcher who possess all the tools to be a star behind the plate. Part of what makes him so athletic behind the dish is that he is a converted shortstop which also helps explain his plus arm (well that and he used to be a pitcher). Moves around effortlessly and is able to block balls in the dirt with ease. But while Posey is showing signs of being a great defensive catcher, what makes him standout is his bat. At a position that doesn’t see it too often, he has an advanced hitting approach with a compact swing, solid bat control and a great knowledge of the strike zone (could be an OBP star). While not a huge power threat, he does have some pop which will translate into a lot of doubles both in the gaps and down both lines. Posey’s combo of offense and defense makes him truly special.

3.) Tim Alderson
Position: Pitcher | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: NR
Bats: Right | Throws: Right | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 210
Scouting Report: As good as Alderson is, he keeps getting forced into comparisons with Bumgarner which isn’t fair because he doesn’t have the stuff he does. But what Alderson does have is plus-plus command which translates to an almost non-existent walk total. His pitch repertoire includes an average fastball which sits in the low-90’s, an average change and a curve that continues to get better and better and has become a plus pitch. Alderson has quite the mound presence especially considering he’s 6 foot 7 with a very unorthodox delivery. His delivery is very deceiving and fortunately does not cause any issues with his control. Alderson looks to project to be a solid number two starter with incredible control.

4.) Angel Villalona
Position: First Baseman | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: NR
Bats: Right | Throws: Right | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 200
Scouting Report: The former third basemen turned first baseman has projections that are all over the map. Some see him as a hitter that could turn into a premier slugger in the game while some see him as someone who’s conditioning will limit him to a short career. I personally find him somewhere in the middle with the potential to be a big slugger with his plus-plus raw power. I also see him falling into being an average hitter at best as he needs to work on plate discipline. Villalona struck out 118 times in 123 games in 2008 and posted a measly .312 OBP. He needs to improve in this area for him not to be a liability for the Giants down the road. Luckily he’s still very young and has time to work out these kinks and live up to his potential.

5.) Conor Gillaspie
Position: Third Baseman | Statistics | Video | 2008 Rank: NR
Bats: Left | Throws: Right | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 200
Scouting Report: Gillaspie isn’t like most third basemen as he doesn’t have a whole lot of power in his bat. But what he does have is pure hitting ability. He is a hit machine that makes up for the lack of power with an incredible knowledge of how to handle himself at the plate. On the defensive side, he plays an average third base with an average arm. He won’t help his team much defensively but he won’t hurt them either. I couldn’t agree more with the Bill Mueller comparisons he has drawn considering he has a solid bat, lacks power and has average defense. His bat and base running skills (despite average speed) give him a good fit to be a number two hitter down the road for the Giants.

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist

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5 Responses to Top 5 Prospects: San Francisco Giants

  1. Mark says:

    Bill Mueller was a batting champ at his absolute peak so that isn’t too bad. I guess you can never have enough pitching, but don’t you think it would be a wise move to look into getting more hitters stock piled in this system?

  2. Mike says:

    What level in the minors do you see Bumgarner starting at?

  3. Mark –

    Yeah having a Bill Mueller comp is not too shabby at all. And you are 100% right about the adding more hitters to their system because if you keep looking down past the top five, it continues with more and more pitching and not very much in terms of offense. They are going to need to try to bring in more young bats via trade and drafting.

  4. Mike –

    I am pretty sure he will start at A+ ball to start with. He dominated the South Atlantic League last season going 15-3 with a 1.46 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 164 K in 141.2 IP. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was put in AA at the beginning but that’s only if they are putting him on the fast track which I hope they aren’t. I’d like to see him start in A+ and pitch for at least a month there and make it a gradual move. I still want him to keep working on his off speed stuff at add it as a third reliable pitch.

  5. […] Giants Top Prospects has him listed at #4, and says he has the best curveball in the system. -> The Diamond Cutter As good as Alderson is, he keeps getting forced into comparisons with Bumgarner which isn’t fair […]

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