As we prepare for the upcoming 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, we've decided to check out the San Francisco Giants top prospects at this point. The Giants are in a position where the cupboard is thinning out a bit thanks to the Giants being able to promote a lot of young talent to the big leagues. They've promoted primarily pitchers, but Buster Posey has obviously worked out ok for them as well.
There are a variety of prospect rankings out there. Baseball America is the grand-daddy of them all, but SB Nation has its own MInor League Ball to satisfy your needs. Additionally, the folks at mlb.com have put together a database ranking the A's top ten prospects. Here is a rundown of the top ten listed in all three. For BA, please note the rankings were as of January 26, 2011. For Minor League Ball, the rankings are from November 14, 2010.
|1||Brandon Belt||Brandon Belt||Brandon Belt|
|2||Gary Brown||Zack Wheeler||Zack Wheeler|
|3||Zack Wheeler||Gary Brown||Gary Brown|
|4||Francisco Peguero||Francisco Peguero||Francisco Peguero|
|5||Thomas Neal||Charlie Culberson||Ehire Adrianza|
|6||Jose Casilla||Ehire Adrianza||Brandon Crawford|
|7||Jarrett Parker||Thomas Neal||Thomas Neal|
|8||Ehire Adrianza||Eric Surkamp||Charlie Culberson|
|9||Jorge Bucardo||Tommy Joseph||Eric Surkamp|
|10||Charlie Culberson||Brandon Crawford||Tommy Joseph|
There is clear consensus at the top of the Giants rankings. Brandon Belt is a clear-cut number one and will likely be back in the major leagues very soon. Zack Wheeler, Gary Brown and Francisco Peguero are the next three prospects in some order with Wheeler and Brown playing together at Advanced Single A San Jose, while Peguero recovers from knee surgery before getting going at AA. After those four prospects, the remaining consensus players are Ehire Adrianza, Thomas Neal and Charlie Culberson.
The Giants have promoted a sizable chunk of top talent in recent years. This past season saw Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner stake their claim at the major league level and make huge contributions towards the Giants 2010 World Series victory. Even though the team lacks a ton of minor league talent at this point, any franchise will trade places with the Giants in that sense.
Belt earned a spot on the team's 25-man roster out of spring training but struggled in 17 games with a line of .192/.300/.269 and was sent back to Fresno. In 25 games at Fresno he's found his stroke as he has crushed the ball to the tune of .380/.519/.620 (he added a grand slam Friday night). It's safe to say Belt will be back in the majors at some point in 2011.
After Belt, Wheeler and Brown are the two big prospects for the Giants. Wheeler was a first round pick in 2009 and Brown was a first round pick in 2010. The two youngsters are playing together in San Jose where Brown is finding serious success thus far. In 40 games, Brown has put together a line of .378/.449/.529 and could very well find himself in AA before too long.