Been a while due to work issues,but I hope to be back with the minor league season beginning later this week!
The Buster Posey extension is the big news as Posey will be a Giant star up until 2022 with the signing of his new contract.
It is pricey,but with the constant inflating of contracts,it is more than likely that the numbers that look so huge now will not be quite as large then.
It is a gamble but considering the accomplishments of Posey with the age and the premium for the production that comes from the catching position,itis a worthwhile one.
It is likely that at some point that Posey will move to first base,where his numbers will not be quite as dominant,but that will be to ease the wear and teat on the body that catching beats down on you.
One cannot expect the numbers for Posey to be similar to his current stats for the life of his contract,but if the Giants get five or six seasons of prime Posey and then a little drop in totals for the final two or three years,the team should be plenty pleased with the deal.
The other point to make with keeping Posey in the fold is that it shows the Giants commitment to keeping their home grown stars with recent deals with Matt Cain,Madison Bumgarner and now Posey.
Showing that the organization develops talent and then wants to keep them is a signal to their talent and fans that they are willing to spend the dollars to continue to compete.
It has a bit of risk,but keeping Buster Posey and as the face of the franchise having no worries that he will walk away,fans of the Giants can truly buy into the team for quite a while….
Chris Heston does not have the pure stuff of Mike Kickham or Heath Hembree,but he does do something pretty important-get batters out.
Heston has succeeded at every step of his progression in three years as a Giant,but his 2012 in AA Richmond was a breakout season. Despite a pedestrian 9-8 record,Heston’s other numbers were tremendous-an ERA in the low two’s and and strikeout to walk ratio of well over three.Heston was a bit old for the level (he turns 25 in early April) ,but not old enough that you write him off as purely a veteran overwhelming young hitters.Heston does not have a high level heater,but he can get into the low 90’s,so not a pure soft tosser either and Heston has a plus slider that ranks as his best pitch and works with a decent enough changeup.
The former East Carolina Pirate will begin 2013 in AAA Fresno and should make a run at the post-Lincecum rotation in San Francisco with a strong year at Fresno…..
Our ninth rated prospect is a player that has the potential to be the Giants closer as soon as this season.
Heath Hembree also could fall far short of being a contributor to the team-that is the intrigue of the young fireballer.
Hembree works in the mid 90’s and has hit 100 MPH and uses that with a slider that is his only other plus pitch.Hembree’s problem is the occasional control funk that he falls into as in being unable to throw strikes.
The righthander missed some time last season in AAA Fresno while closing for the Grizzlies,but rebounded in the Arizona league.
Hembree is a high risk reward player as he could eventually be the Gianta closer or just another AAA pitcher with big league stuff and double a control.
Heath will return to Fresno as their closer and likely be the first pitcher called up to the Giants bullpen this season….
Photo Credit:AP Photo
The Giants eighth prospect is a player that I have liked from the first moment that I saw him play.Francisco Peguero has hit at every level and looked like a five tool player to me and I still think that he has that potential.although his power has not developed in the manner that the Giants would like.
Peguero has hit over .300 at every port until last season’s .272 at AAA Fresno,which saw him put together a 22 games hitting streak that ended only when he was called up to the parent club where he batted six times in the stretch run.
Peguero has the speed to play center and the arm to play right,but as noted,he has to yet to produce the power needed for a corner outfield spot.It is only the lack of power production that drops Peguero to this point as I remember seeing him with the Augusta Greenjackets and being quite excited about his skills.
Peguero does need to work on his plate discipline as although his strikeouts are not terribly high,his low walk total makes me wonder about his ability to hit leadoff.
Peguero might be ready for a huge breakout season at the age of 24 and a strong month or two at AAA Fresno just might put him on the Giants roster for good….
Our seventh rated player might be a mild surprise to some,but I think the decision is warranted with third baseman Adam Duvall.Duvall followed up a 22 homer 2011 season with low A Augusta with an even better 30 homer campaign in High A San Jose last season and gave observers hope for a breakout prospect from an eleventh round draft pick.
Duvall does have issues as he struck out 214 times over the same two years,so there are holes in his swing,which is far from uncommon for sluggers and I really have concerns on whether he can play third over the long term.56 errors in two years makes me wonder about that and if Duvall can continue to mature as a hitter,he might have to be moved to first base unless some of the defensive problems can be addressed.
The former Louisville Cardinal will go as far as his bat will take him as he enters the proving ground at AA Richmond.Best case scenario is that Duvall projects as a starter or as a power bat off the bench,Worst case sees Duvall struggle at AA and takes himself off the radar…
Photo Credit:Tracy Profitt
Our sixth rated prospect spent time last season at Low A and High A and might have had the best season of any minor leaguer that the Giants had last year.
Clayton Blackburn led the South Atlantic League in strikeouts and finished his season winning a Cal League playoff game for San Jose,where he should return this season.
Blackburn does not throw especially hard,but has a plus slider and curveball and his season at Augusta makes me think he has an advanced feel for pitching.
In 131 innings,Blackburn struck out 143 and walked just 18. Ordinarily,I would look at those numbers and assume a polished college pitcher dominating the low minors.but Blackburn was a high schooler and didn’t turn 20 until earlier this month.
The surprise of the 2011 draft,Blackburn is going have to keep himself in shape as he has more of a burly body type and won’t have the luxury of further growth to help a fastball that maxes out around 92 according to Baseball America.
Blackburn will start at High A San Jose with Augusta teammate Kyle Crick and perhaps Chris Stratton in one of the minors more talented rotations…
The Giants fifth rated prospect in their system is one that is not that far away from perhaps making the parent club.
Mike Kickham has above average velocity for a lefthander and has a strong slider along with an improving changeup.
The former Missouri State standout was challenged last season with a move to AA Richmond after spending 2011 with Low A Augusta.The upward movement worked as Kickham’s numbers actually took a leap upwards at the level as he dropped his ERA more than a full run and struck out 137 in 150 innings for the Flying Squirrels,which was good enough for second in the Eastern League.Kickham did see his walks increase in Richmond,so there are some things to work on,but I would not say that he has major control issues at all.
I was able to see Kickham pitch in both 2011 and 2012 and I thought that Kickham was much improved than in his Hagerstown appearance and seemed to be more comfortable throwing his two seamer than he did against the Suns.Kickham is most likely to be in the rotation at AAA Fresno,but could have a chance to stick in the Giants bullpen,if injuries would pop up in spring training.
Kickham could eventually find a fit in the middle of the Giants rotation in the three,four or five slots for 2014,if all goes well in Fresno…