Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Top Prospects of the San Francisco Giants in 2015: Tier 2

Welcome to the Tier 2 of the top prospects of the San Francisco Giants. Ranking tier 1 is kind of a no-brainer for me as I already have a clear view on who to include because they are just really impressive in my eyes like Beede, Arroyo and Bickford and their ceilings and their learning curves. After tier 1 though, it will going to be much, much harder to decide on who to place on the right tiers because of the seemingly even playing field on a lot of guys. I did my best to place them in the right tier and do justice on why I placed a prospect in the specific tier.

Clayton Blackburn  RHP  AAA
6'4" 225 lbs.
Videos: Credits to Roger Munter and minorleagueball

I clearly forgot to add Blackburn on this list. He sneaked on me this year just like to most people. He lead the PCL in ERA this season at 2.85 which speaks volume on how great his pitching has done this season especially in a hitters league. The way he pitches is unlike a guy that was drafted out of high school in 2011. 

Unlike his 2014 season in the minor leagues, this season, his ERA this year came close to his FIP last year of around 2.75 but his walk rates and his K rate was actually down from last year (7.24 K/9 and 2.34 BB/9 this year) which makes me think that he pitched into contact a lot more this year. It helps also to his credit that he is not allowing a lot of baserunners (4th in PCL in WHIP) and has lowered his BABIP this year to .323 this year. His sinker and groundball nature of pitching produced a 1.59 GO/AO ratio which is really hard to do especially in the PCL. 

It was all done with his sinkerballing repertoire with a four-pitch mix with his sinker in the high-80s, topping 92 MPH as the main weapon and a curveball that got a great shape in it to be an out pitch in the Major Leagues. Even though he don't have tantalizing stuff, he got the feel for pitching of a Major League-caliber player and as well as good command of his pitches. His pitching mechanics is also sound and traditional as well as a good frame that is built for innings.

He's Major League-ready now so he should be competing for the 5th starter spot in Spring Training and he got all of the traits that I like in a pitcher and he already warrants a value as a bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher but he just got the potential to be something more. We all have known the Chris Heston story and he is in line for that kind of success next year.

Grades: SNK 55 | CB 55 | CH 50 | SL 45+ | CMD 55

Ceiling: #3-4 Starter   Floor: #5 Starter   ETA: 2016   Comp: Chris Heston

Sam Coonrod  RHP  A+
6'2" 225 lbs.
Videos: Credits to Baseball America and Roger Munter 1 & 2

At my first look and thorough look on him, I am pretty bullish him that's backed up by explanations. But, when he got promoted to the San Jose Giants and added to the postseason roster, I was taken away and I am starting to love the guy. In his 2 appearances for the team as a starter and reliever, he pitched 9.2 innings with just 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 walks and 9 strikeouts he helped the lil' Giants to play for the championship but got swept by the Dodgers affiliate. 

He broke out this year by starting 22 out of 23 times this season, compiling 111.2 innings pitched after being drafted in the 5th round when he's still a relief pitcher. He really put on weight (from 190 to 225 lbs by that helped him handle more than 100 innings and has kept his premiere velocity from April to deep September as he is still pumping 96-97 MPH sinking cheeses while pitching in the postseason and even in the instructional league. He has carried his reliever qualities in a starting role this season, as he prevented runs traditionally (3.14 ERA) and sabermetrically (2.97 FIP, improving his K/9 from 8.13 to 9.19 this year and improving his LOB% from 64.1% last year to 68.6%). He got some crazy splits in terms of pitching with sunshine or in moonshine (5.09 ERA at day games vs 2.78 ERA at night games) and actually pitched better against lefties over righties (3.04 ERA vs LHH while 3.24 ERA vs RHH).

There are two variations of his windup, the first is the BA video that has his glove arm set up to his chin that's backed up by Chris Kusiolek's video of him in the postseason and the other has his glove low in his waist and he breaks his glove hand from his throwing hand way early that's maybe a sign that he's quick pitching. But there has been a major tweak in the tempo of his mechanics from his postseason start and his earlier starts, from the "slow-slow-fast" tempo earlier this season to a faster overall tempo (I clocked his mechanics from after bringing his left foot to the side to his follow through at 3.18 seconds in the Munter video and 2.33 seconds in Kusiolek video) that resulted to easier repeatability. He still got his trademark delay in his drive but his arm is in a safe and powerful spot that reminds me of Roger Clemens and his arm speed is still lightning quick. 

His fastball is a plus pitch for him in the mid-90s with some sink in it and just jumps in his hand thanks to his plus arm speed. His slider is an above-average one in the mid-80s with good sharp break and can throw it frontdoor on righties. His changeup got some fade in it in the mid-80s but still lags behind. He has shown good control and command of his pitches (evident in his 2.74 BB/9 this season) and he has shown the work ethic to learn and fix mechanical flaws to make me think that he'll have a close to above-average command in the future. The dreams on making him a full-time starter really rests on the improvement of his changeup but there's still a great fallback option in the pen in the future. I expect him to pitch in San Jose but don't be too shocked if he's pitching for Richmond at the start of next season. Great arm to have in the organization.

Grades: FB 60+ | SL 55 | CH 45 | CMD 50+ 

Ceiling: #3 Starter   Floor: Closer/Set-up reliever   ETA: Late-2016/2017   
Comp: Poor man's Tommy Hanson

Kyle Crick  RHP  AA
6'4" 220 lbs.
Videos: Credits to Minorleagueball and Roger Munter 1 and 2

Oh, how the king has fallen on his throne, from removing the "future ace" label on his head to being converted to a reliever this year and falling off on the radar of some people. I'm going to say it this early. He hasn't fallen that hard on my opinion. The main reason that Kyle fell off the cliff is that he still hasn't defeated his biggest enemies for 4 years now, balls and walks.

I'll talk about his overall numbers first before being specific on other statistics. First, his BB/9 actually went up, from a crazy high 6.08 last year to an even crazier level of 9.43 this year resulting to a 1.79 WHIP this year but he actually punch out a bit less guys this year, from 11.06 K/9 clip last year to 10.43 this year. But it's not all bad news. His ERA is actually lower this year at 3.28 even though he actually got a higher ERA in his first time as a full-time reliever than as a starter (3.86 vs 3.00). While he has higher walk rates this year, he has allowed less hits this year, from 7.77 to 6.71 this year and hitters has only hit .187 against him as a reliever. His left on base percentage is up to a really respectable 80.2%, proving his shutdown potential as a fireman in the bullpen. 

I analyzed Crick's problems before where I pointed out mechanical issues (east-west arm path that causes inconsistent release points, front foot landing straight forward as the probable cause of spinning in follow through) and I saw in the latest videos of him that he has his delivery to more of a "tall and fall" delivery from a "drop and drive" one.

Here's the "drop and drive" that he has before with the encircled foot that I deemed as pretty problematic as it adds to the over-rotation that he makes in his delivery because the foot starts the rotation of a mechanics of a pitcher as it lands and his toes can go from pointing perpendicular to in front of the plate really fast and can affect his delivery at release point.

Now look at the drive that he has on the new "tall and fall" delivery on the Munter 2nd video and he has done also a better job on allowing his front leg and foot to rotate while he's driving instead of moving his momentum from driving horizontal to a sudden vertical motion.

What is does is that it lowers the amount of effort that Kyle's throwing the ball in an attempt to make his delivery more repeatable and consistent. Kyle also has done better in throwing on a north-south plane even though his arm is still recoiling a lot in his follow through. His mechanics might still be a bit inconsistent as he still needs to throw in a more closed position and push his momentum in a forward motion and not in a rotating motion. He's clearly making strides to throw his plus-plus fastball in the mid to high-90s with tailing action and his plus slider in the mid to high-80s with late break in it more consistently and he still got a changeup in the back pocket. 

I am liking what I'm seeing on Crick even though the numbers tell otherwise. He's still 22 (turning 23 next month) and still got plenty left in the tank, he's taking in the lessons from his coaches, and he has simplified his delivery in the stretch position. If his walk numbers will go down next season and throws more strikes in general (in which I sincerely hope) because in all honesty, nobody can touch his stuff if it's thrown for strikes, I expect Crick to be in the Majors soon and maybe Dave Righetti will inherit and maybe finalize the fixing of an enigma. Maybe there's still a chance that he'll start some time in the future while pitching out of the stretch and special things might happen but I can see him closing the games for San Francisco or be the multi-inning fireman that the Giants dreamed of. 

Grades: FB 70 | SL 60 | CH 45 | CMD 40+

Ceiling: #3-4 Starter/All-Star closer  Floor: Closer/Set-up fireman   ETA: Mid-2016/2017
Comp: Dellin Betances

Aramis Garcia  C  A+
6'2" 220 lbs.
Videos: Credits to FanGraphs, Roger Munter and minorleagueball 

In the start of the season, I thought Aramis is going to be in a lower tier due to a early season slump where he's batting in the neighborhood of .220. But thanks to a monster hot streak after the SAL All-Star Game that has raised his batting average to .273 as a result of better pitch recognition and approach improvements. before being promoted to San Jose where he has struggled to carry his hot streak to a higher level but in the postseason, he delivered a walk off single to win it against Visalia and has bat better with a .333 average with 2 dingers and 5 RBIs. 

His swing is textbook. It's smooth, not a lot of moving parts, quick to the zone, some lift in it, uses his lower body pretty well and collapses his front knee in his follow through. The problem that I see in him is that he only got average bat speed and average upper body torque that can result to him being beaten by premium velocity especially up in the zone. But the swing itself doesn't need improvements because the bat path is quick and direct to the ball that will allow him to have a good average as he goes higher and higher the system. His bat also allows to apply his good raw power to good game power. His power is above-average on the pull side that should allow him to reach 15 HRs every year with double digit doubles along with it. Being a catcher, his speed is not a threat on the bases but I saw that he runs hard after making contact with the ball which is pretty impressive.

As a bat-first catcher when he was drafted in 2014, he has made significant improvements in his defensive game, evident by his .993 fielding percentage and a range factor of 9.67. He got a cannon of an arm, with a pop time of 1.89 the last time I clocked him (which is above-average) and he caught 39.7% of the basestealers, as he caught 16 out of 30 basestealers in his time in San Jose that was really Yadier Molina-esque. The number of passed balls that he allowed this year (21 this season) calls for improving his defense on balls in the dirt (my guess is that his glove arm stiffs when the balls are thrown in the dirt where the arm and hands should be soft) and his overall handling of a staff still needs seasoning but there's a lot of positive improvements to think that his defensive value in the future might be better than average. He's impressing me more on the work ethic that he put on with regards to improving his defense that I'm more impressed on his defense than his offense right now.

There's a good chance he'll bat better than what his numbers say and be a leader for the pitching staff in the Major Leagues and he got all the tools to be an everyday catcher and should stay at catcher for years to come. 

Grades: Hit 50+ | Power 50 | Speed 30 | Arm 55 | Glove 50+

Ceiling: Above-average catcher   Floor: Everyday catcher/backup   ETA: 2017   
Comp: Francisco Cervelli

Adalberto Mejia  LHP  AA
6'3" 195 lbs.
Videos: Credits to Eric Longenhagen 1 and 2 and Roger Munter 1 and 2

After battling a lot of issues last year, Mejia has come back with a vengeance, successfully going to a full season of being healthy and putting up nice numbers for the Richmond Flying Squirrels. 

He has truly pitched well this season, finishing his season with a 2.45 ERA. But that number gets even better when you exclude the only outlier in his starts of which he allowed 6 earned runs and 5 walks in 2.2 innings. In 48 2/3 innings, he only allowed 8 earned runs. 8! And that accounts for 1.48 ERA with 33 hits allowed, 13 walks, and 37 strikeouts. That's nothing short of amazing. Even though his K/9 & BB/9 have gone the wrong way, his BABIP this season was just .238 and his FIP is a respectable 3.41 in Richmond, meaning he uses his pitches to induce contact and rely on his defense to get outs.

He is body is still pretty generous than the 195 lbs. listed on him but he still has that same mechanics. He hides the ball extremely well in his delivery with his short arm action causing his pitches to have some jump on it and creating deception. He still releases his pitches in a low to true 3/4 release point. His mechanics are similar to Hyun-Jin Ryu. 

His fastball is still in the low-90s and can still reach 93-94 MPH but he has learned to conserve energy and throw his best stuff late in his starts with good sink in it. Looks like he also has the makings of a cutter now to further add velocity differential on hitters. His changeup is the best secondary pitch for him now, with great arm-side movement and great fade in it and he uses it on both lefty and righty hitters. His slider is still a good pitch with sharp movement in it while his curveball is just for show with just tumbling movement in it. He can locate all of his pitches well and he got the good feel for pitching that I really want from a pitcher. 

I am a high guy on Mejia. I still am but there are some . He got all the tools to be a starter in the Major Leagues and be a good pitcher for a while. He's poised for a good 2016 after conquering all of the problems and issues that he faced in 2014.

Grades: FB 55 | CH 55 | SL 50+ | CB 45 | CMD 55

Ceiling: #3 Starter   Floor: #5 Starter/Long reliever   ETA: Late-2016

Jalen Miller  SS  ROK
5'10" 173 lbs.
Videos: Credits to Eric Longenhagen 1 and 2

Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 MLB Draft, I highly liked Jalen's athleticism and the solid tools that he has. I made pretty bold grades on him because I am so high on him at draft day and him getting to Day 2 is like a bargain. The Giants placed him in the Arizona League as the leadoff hitter and the starting shortstop where he performed well but his averages gradually decline until the end of the season, showing his overall rawness.

His triple slash line is just .218/.292/.259 which is pretty disappointing on a numbers standpoint but is understandable given that he's a HS player. Although what I'm surprised to see is that he didn't hit a single home run and hit just 5 doubles and a single triple, for an isolated power of almost unnoticeable .040. His BABIP of .284 tells me that he's not that unlucky and he's just finding a hard time hitting the ball and making solid hits. Even though he's not hitting a lot of base hits and power numbers, he employes a good approach at the plate, evident by the 8.6 BB% and 21.3 K%.

His physical tools are undeniable though. His body is very projectable that I have no doubts that he'll add on weight on his frame in the offseason and not lose speed and quickness. His swing is simple and quiet. He's quick to the ball and got an above-average bat speed. He does not employ a big load in his really little leg kick as he only move his body forward but he loads his strong wrists well and he applies his lower body in his swing pretty good. He will add weight in his frame and boost his raw power to make me think that he got a chance to hit 8-10 HRs in the future seasons. He also got good speed on the bases to project him to have 20 stolen bases in the future. 

His defense and arm at short is worse than than I first expected, with his with a fielding percentage of .931 and a range factor of 3.41 which is pretty disappointing given the previous good reports at draft day. His previous fielding videos though show that he's pretty nonchalant with his fielding and that there's a possibility that he'll be moved to second base in the long run.

Miller's got a lot of years in his pocket to improve his all-around skillset to become an everyday player in the future in the Majors and I expect him to be back on Arizona to get more reps and start and finish next season on a good note. He got all the physical talents, he and the Giants coaches need to develop that talents nicely to achieve his ceiling.

Grades: Hit 50+ | Power 45+ | Speed 55 | Arm 50 | Glove 50

Ceiling: Possible All-Star player   Floor: Everyday player   ETA: Mid-2018/2019
Comp: Starlin Castro

Andrew Suarez  LHP  A+
6'2" 200 lbs.
Videos: Credits to, Roger Munter, and Ms. Julie  

Maturity and polish. That's the two words to describe Andrew Suarez. After being drafted in the second round, he just tore down the competition that he faced this year across three levels, reaching the Cal League in no time. I was taken by surprise a bit to see him way up to San Jose, but he proved that he belonged in that league and played a big part on the postseason push of the lil' Giants.

He demonstrated superb command and feel of his pitches this year, with the miniscule 5 walks in 39.1 innings pitched or just 1.14 BB/9. His advanced feel for the art of pitching was clearly demonstrated by allowing just a .222 batting average against him and getting guys to strike out at a rate of 8.47 K/9 IP. Overall, it's just video game numbers that clearly shows his advanced polish over his competition. 

His college career has been plagued by injuries (labrum surgery, oblique injury, etc.) and I have been trying to look at places to point out the red flag. That's the time when I read again in the first website on baseball that I fond on reading, What I find in this article is really interesting. Compare this picture of Andrew on the pictures on the article.

Like the other pictures on the article, he is late to bring his throwing hand to the proper and safe position at right foot landing, causing a timing problem. He also got a resemblance of a flat arm syndrome. It is not an inverted W like what Strasburg or Mike Prior had, but it's still pretty concerning. I am not a doctor to predict more injuries might come but I am slightly worried about in him in the future. Nonetheless, his mechanics is smooth-looking and got good tempo.

Stuff-wise, the velocity on his fastball is just average, from 89-92 MPH but it got good tailing action in it. His slider is the best offspeed pitch that he has, showing good, sharp two-plane depth in it. His changeup is also a good pitch with a good sinking action and his curveball is a solid pitch as well. He may not have a plus pitch in his pocket but he makes it work by advanced intelligence on pitch sequencing and just his impressive command on all of his pitches thanks to his simple mechanics and just an impressive feel on it, making his average pitches and turning it to above-average ones. He'll move really quickly and I will not be shocked to see him in Richmond next year and possibly be in the Majors and contribute right away. If he can stay consistently healthy, he got all the tools to stay in the Majors as a starter. He may not have a high ceiling, but I believe he got the smarts, the stuff and the command to reach that ceiling quickly and possibly exceed it.

Grades: FB 55 | SL 50+ | CH 50+ | CB 50 | CMD 55

Ceiling: #4 Starter   Floor: #4 Starter   ETA: 2016/Early-2017   Comp: Travis Wood

Mac Williamson  OF  MLB
6'5" 240 lbs.
Videos: Credits to Eric Longenhagen, Sacramento River Cats and

I originally plan to put Big Mac on this tier but I kind of hesitated because I have a feeling that he might not gonna pan out as expected so I'm not as high as expected. But after looking at my guys that I plan to have on the Tier 3 list, I'm thinking that Mac's better than anyone of these curve-wise, potential impact-wise.

His recovery from TJ was successful, having the hot impact bat that he has brought all season that has helped him earn a promotion to The Show this year, plus a great showing on the Arizona Fall League certainly helped his case. What I'm impressed about him is that even though he played on a lot of games this season, including the Pan-Am Games, he can still swing the bat against some of the best in the AFL, with a triple slash line of .370/.442/.493. His eye also impressed me, with a 11.5 BB% in the PCL and 12.8 BB% in the AFL. He can still be done via strikeouts, with a 23.5 K% in the Majors (albeit small sample size) and close to 22% in his 2 stops in the Minors. With his .190 ISO in Sacramento, he still has that power potential that he got when he was drafted. 

He was touted as the toolsiest player in the Giants farm system before, with 5 average or more tools across the board. From what I saw on videos, he still got the same hitting mechanics as his previous years. From the wide stance to his lofty follow through, He can be an average hitter on the Majors as long as he can take care of his strikeout tendencies as he can still be beaten by good breaking balls. His plus raw power is still in play, with his good bat speed and his long swing, he have the potential to drive the ball anywhere and he got a good potential to be at least 20-HR type of player in a full season. The way he will hit consistently is the key on having a 55 or 60 grade on his power in the future. His arm is a plus as well but I'm not really sure if the TJ had affected the velocity on his arm. If his arm has recovered fully, he has a cannon that can throw out runners. His speed is not an asset for him with his hulking body that can play in either corner OF spots but he got enough to cover ground and play good defense.

With him getting to the Majors, things will be interesting on how they will give Big Mac playing time. If there are no more marquee signing of an OF, Big Mac can play full-time in LF and show his talents and I'm not mad at that as this guy got the potential to be a fixture in the Giants outfield in the future. And the future is now for him.

Grades: Hit 50 | Power 55+ | Speed 45 | Arm 60 | Glove 50

Ceiling: Above-average OF   Floor: Bench bat/glove   ETA: 2016   Comp: Justin Maxwell

That's the end of the Tier 2 list. I have made really tough cuts like Mac Williamson that many are high on him as well as Clayton Blackburn and possibly Hunter Cole and Chase Johnson but I have felt that these guys that I have listed above deserves to be in here and I believe that they belong in Tier 3 although Blackburn deserves to be in the Tier 2.5 because I can see the Chris Heston-type performance that he'll deliver once he reaches to the Majors because they are so, so similar. I am happy with the guys on my Tier 2 list. I hope you enjoyed reading it!

edit: I have added Big Mac and Blackburn after giving it more thoughts. They deserve it.


  1. Sam Coonrod-Live stuff.Good size.All he needs is a curveball.

    Kyle Crick-I'm glad you mentioned mechanics and tempo in Coonrod's run down.Crick looks a little better with his new mechanics.In Spring training Posey said Crick wasn't letting the ball fly.I think more than anything.The mental side of the game is his biggest challenge.Hopefully instructors or maybe his friend Shelby Miller can help him get his confidence back.

    Garcia-Looking more and more like a really good pick.Works well with pitching staff.Good teammate.Continues to improve.Good arm.Good power.

    Miller-Every time I watch Miller's scouting video.I see an OF.Especially when he runs.The speed and athleticism play better in the OF.He could be a Josh Harrison type player.Should be in Augusta to start season.

    Suarez-Wasn't to happy with this pick on draft day.Suarez is showing why he was a 2nd rd pick.Good pitchability and willingness to throw strikes.Kid knows how to pitch.Solid stuff.One thing I think is gonna make Suarez a better pitcher.And,possibly fast mover.He needs to be in better shape.College life is fun.If he adds some muscle.His stuff will be better.Already throws strikes.Arsenal similar to Zito's when he was younger.Without plus curveball.

    Nice rundown Wrenzie.Peace.

  2. I read When the Giants Come to Town. I've seen you post over there. Didn't know you had a blog. Really good stuff.