Duvall had one of the biggest years in 2011 among Giants minor leaguers. An 11th round pick out Louisville, Duvall was the everyday 3B at Augusta and hit .285/.385/.527 finishing 5th in the league in home runs. The main reason I can’t rank him higher is because of concerns that he may have been beating up on younger/weaker competition and there are concerns with his defense. Still, one has to take note of that type of season.
Marlowe is probably one of the least fun pitchers to face, if you’re a batter. He has also posted incredibly strikeout rates, but the problem is that he doesn’t really have good control. His college numbers make him look kind of like Carlos Marmol with worse control. But he throws hard-touching the upper 90′s and has a good breaking ball to go along with it. If he can improve his control he could move quickly.
Oropesa is in some ways like 3B Chris Dominguez. Both are guys with big power and strong throwing arms that were 3rd round draft picks. While Oropesa has a better idea of the strike zone, he doesn’t have Dominguez’s athleticism that allow him to stay at 3B. Oropesa’s main issue is his contact rate and his ability to translate his raw power into game power. He’ll likely start the year in the California League, where he could post big numbers but also runs the risk of getting into some bad habits.
Parker was a guy who I was very high on last year given his power/speed potential. He spent the year in RF, due to Gary Brown‘s excellent defense and had a bit of a disappointing year. Everyone expected him to struggle with his contact rate and he did, but he didn’t really hit for power either. He could spend another year at San Jose, this time as the CF.
Dunnington and Jake Dunning have actually been seen at the same place, at the same time as they spent part of the year at San Jose together last year. Dunnington is a rare Non Drafted Free Agent signed out of high school, and has had a good start to his career posting double digit K rates out of the bullpen. He’s another guy who needs to hone his control as the lowest walk rate he’s posted is 4.0 per 9 innings, but the encouraging part is that came when he was moved to San Jose toward the end of the year. Dunnington will only be 21 next year and there has been some talk that he could move to the rotation to start next season.
I touched on Dominguez when I did Oropesa’s write up. Dominguez essentially has two very loud tools-his power and his arm. His arm has done a good job of making up for his below average range at the hot corner, however his lack of an approach has hurt his transition from raw power to game power as he has only a career .446 slugging percentage. He has also been old for every level and will likely start next year back at AA. He has upside, but I think if he makes the majors, it will likely be more in a reserve corner infielder role.
2011 was a banner year for Oklahoma High School draftees. Dylan Bundy, Archie Bradley, Adrian Houser, and Mason Hope were all fairly high picks. Blackburn flew a bit under the radar thanks to those guys but signed quickly and had a very strong pro debut. The Giants bought out his commitment to Oklahoma for $150K and he went to the AZL where he posted a 30:3 K:BB and a 1.08 ERA. Given his polish he’ll likely spend next year as a 19 year old in Augusta which could feature a very young rotation including him, Kendry Flores, Lorenzo Mendoza, and Kyle Crick.
I discussed Gillaspie a while back, comparing him to Dominguez and basically I thought he was an interesting player with a weird profile. He’s a solid hitter for average and has some on-base skills, and while his power is improving it still is below what teams usually like from a 3B. I think he could probably settle in as a 2nd division starter and maybe could end up being a Greg Dobbs type.
Culberson has had a bit of a weird career. He was drafted in the last draft before John Barr took over and struggled badly in the SAL for 2 years before having a big year in the Cal League. His K:BB numbers indicated that 2011 could be rough for Culberson and he did struggle, posting an OBP under .300. However, he was still fairly young for AA and he didn’t completely fall on his face while also improving defensively. I could see him starting out next year back at AA and then getting prom0ted to AAA in the middle of the year.
Osich is a total wild card. He was looking like a first round pick this year, with a very good fastball-change up combination including beating Trevor Bauer by no-hitting UCLA. However, on his last start before the draft, he hurt his elbow and left the game after just 12 pitches. This was especially concerning as he was just returning from Tommy John surgery. Still, if Osich can stay healthy he has arguably the highest upside of any Giants minor league pitcher.
Otero is a bit of a sleeper. He was an 18th round draft pick this past year and the third of four players drafted by the Giants from Puerto Rico. He signed on deadline day and has yet to take an at bat in a game. So why did I rank him this high? Mainly because he projects to stay at SS and I felt he has more offensive upside than fellow draftee Kelby Tomlinson. I imagine Otero will start next year at Extended Spring Training and then either go to the AZL or form an intriguing all Puerto Rican middle infield at Salem Keizer with 8th round pick Jean Delgado.
Rodriguez has struggled since being signed to the largest contract the club has ever spent on an international amateur player, hitting just .256/.311/.323 for his career. The reason he still makes my top 30 though is because he still has the ability that allowed the Giants to give him $2.55 million and the fact that he will spend next season as a 19 year old in Low A Augusta, so he still has some time to figure it out.
Dunning looks like he may be the latest successful positional player to pitcher convert. Drafted as a shortstop out of Indiana in the 33rd round, he hit just .227/.244/.307 in the AZL before converting to the mound. As a pitcher he showed a diverse enough arsenal to merit the Giants trying him in the rotation and sending him to the hitter friendly California League. While he struggled in the rotation he did a nice job in the bullpen, and the fact that he held his own in the Cal league is pretty impressive given how new he is to pitching. He’ll likely move to AA this year.
Rafeal Rodriguez not only has the largest international bonus in team history, but also the last 7 figure contract for an IFA. Instead the Giants have signed guys more in the low to mid 6 figure range, which is where Mejia falls into, as he signed for $350K on March 18. He spent the year in the DSL and dominate, posting a 71:8 K:BB, a 1.42 ERA, and a WHIP under 1. He was brought over to the US for instructional league and will likely start the year in EST before being assigned to a short season club.
Harrold was a 12th round draft pick a year ago out of UNC Wilmington. He has a solid fastball-slider combination that suits him well in the bullpen. This year he posted solid K rates across two levels, but there are some concerns about the spike in his walk rate that occurred when he was promoted to the Cal league. Though that could partially be a product of trying to be to fine, and not making a mistake in the more hitter friendly ballparks.
Jones was the first high school player taken in the 2010 draft and then went on to have a very good debut in the AZL. He struggled to repeat his successes in the NWL this year as he dealt with nagging injuries. Jones has good power, patience, and athleticism but has trouble making consistent contact and tapping into his power. Jones could make his full season debut in Augusta this year, but a repeat of the NWL would not be surprising either.
Flores has quietly flown a bit under the radar despite being 19 years old and putting up solid peripherals in the NWL last year. His hit and home run rate imply that he still has some adjustments to make, but he has done a solid job of limiting walks and getting strikeouts. He’ll likely move to the Augusta rotation next year where the home park should help him out a bit.
Correa came over for Ronny Paulino the same day that Paulino was acquired for Taschner. Correa missed the 2009 season with a shoulder injury, but has played at 3 levels over the last two years. Last year he threw 81.3 innings so I do wonder if the Giants plan to do with him what they did with Ryan Verdugo which is give him another chance to start. If they decide to leave him in the bullpen, he could be a solid swingman or MR that can go multiple innings.
Kickham went into the year with high expectations as a potential sleeper. He has a good fastball-curveball combination from the left side. But he had some fingernail issues early in the year and went to Augusta instead of San Jose. He spent the whole year at Augusta, and while he didn’t have a bad year, it was just kind of non descript. Still he has good stuff and will likely spend the year at San Jose.
Galindo is one of the more exciting players in the system as he made his stateside debut in the advanced NWL and held his own offensively. What had a lot of people buzzing was his baserunning ability as people mentioned Rickey Henderson’s name when they described Galindo running the bases. While that is certainly high praise, Galindo did have good numbers, particularly a 47/8 SB/CS ratio. He’ll likely move to Augusta next year and show off his speed.
As they do every year, Baseball America has released its San Francisco Giants’ top 10. Andrew Baggarly does an excellent job with these lists, and it’s also worth checking out highlights from his chat (if you don’t have a BA subscription). For reference, here’s my top ten, which is quite similar.