|2010 San Francisco Giants Prospects To Watch
Buster Posey – C
I’ve seen Buster play in person twice. Once in 2008 and again in early 2009. I’ve come away impressed both times, and feel like Posey will have a long career in the MLB. How great his career is, that is left up for debate. Some question his catching skills. Others wonder if his bat will ever provide enough power to hit 25 HR’s a season.
During the 2008 San Jose Giants playoff game I attended, I sat in front of Giants Minor League Pitcher Kevin Pucetas. He thought Posey’s swing needed “a lot of work”. Between that game, and when I saw Posey again in early 2009, it looked like he had his swing dialed in. He hit some balls very hard. He also ran the bases well. Unless he adds a lot of upper body strength, I don’t see Posey being a 30 HR type of player. His line drive approach should play well in the San Francisco Giants ballpark. If Posey can remain a catcher, he will have huge value because he will be one of the top hitting C’s in the MLB. Moving positions would drop Posey’s value as a player, and thus hurt his card values.
RC Card Spin: If Posey is the starting Catcher for the SF Giants, he could get enough production for Rookie of the Year.
Madison Bumgarner – SP
27-5 Career Minor League Record
Madison Bumgarner is widely considered a top prospect in all of baseball (along with Posey). I’ve seen Madison pitch once in person. The thing that worries me about this kid is the fact that his fastball speed has dropped since he started pro ball. When I saw him in April of 2008, for Single A San Jose, he was at about 92-93 MPH. When he was called up to the SF Giants in late 2009, he was at about 88-90. Tired arm? Or is this what his fastball is going to top out at?
It will be interesting to see where Madison plays to start the 2010 season. Will he be the 5th starter in San Francisco? Or be send to AAA Fresno to continue building his skills? If Bumgarner can get his fastball to 92-93 again, he should be a very good pitcher. I don’t see Tim Lincecum type success, but very solid numbers nonetheless.
2010 Outlook: At some point during the 2010 season Bumgarner should be in the SF Giants rotation.
RC Card Spin: Could be the Giants 5th Starter on Opening Day. If his fastball is popping the mits, his cards will pop on ebay.
Zack Wheeler – SP
#6 Pick of the SF Giants in ’09
2010 is a “see what you got” year for Wheeler. The Giants top draft choice in 2009 will make his debut in Low-A. The Giants have had good luck with pitching prospects over the last several years, there is no reason to think Wheeler won’t progress nicely during his first season.
2010 Outlook: Would be shocked to see him move past Low-A Augusta.
RC Card Spin: Look to see what products will have Wheeler in them. The card below is a 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter ‘spoof’ card done with some good photoshop. Wheeler will be in the minors for a few years. Look for value over the next few years.
Thomas Neal – OF
Breakout 09 Minor League Season
Thomas Neal had a huge 2009 season. He continued that success by playing well in Arizona Fall League. I had a chance to participate in an online chat with SF Giants General Manager Brian Sabean, and here is what Sabean thinks of Neal’s chances for 2010:
Ryan Tedards: Your best guess as to what level Thomas Neal will start next season?
Sabean: Probably Double-A at the beginning of the year. Who knows at the end of the year where he’ll end up. He played very well in the Arizona Fall League against older and more experienced players.
2010 Outlook: Looks like Double-A is the start, who know, a possible September call up?
RC Card Spin: Neal doesn’t have many cards on the market. Look for more to pop up in 2010. This is a guy to watch. If he keeps hitting, he could end up on the MLB team sooner rather then later.
UPDATE: Thomas Neal’s 2010 Bowman Rookie Card is on fire! 5/15/2010
Brandon Crawford – SS
4th Round Pick from ’08
Brandon Crawford started out with a bang in 2009. He hit the cover off the ball while playing for Single-A San Jose. He was promoted to Double-A shortly after the season started and Crawford struggled early before rebounding late to post modest numbers.
If I had my choice, I would have left Crawford in San Jose the entire season. He was really in a groove, and sometimes building a guys confidence early in his career can do wonders later on. It was nice to see Brandon play well during the Arizona Fall League. Here is a nice interview with Brandon courtesy of AZGiants.
2010 Outlook: I would start him back at Double-A, then move him up to AAA Fresno if he keeps hitting.
RC Card Spin: I get the feeling from the Giants that they are really high on Crawford. Even if he puts up modest numbers, he will get a look with the MLB at some point. Edgar Renteria is in the last year of his contract, which could open the door for Brandon Crawford in 2011. I would feel out the market for his cards and then pick one up when the price is good.
Rafael Rodriguez – RF
Just 17 Years old
Rafael Rodriguez signed a multi-million dollar bonus with the Giants in 2008. He is a 6-foot-5, 200-pound kid who swung the bat well in his Minor League debut. Rodriguez is years away from being on the MLB team. He is a guy to watch to see if he can become something special.
2010 Outlook: Big season for Raffy. My guess is that he starts and/or ends up with Low-A Augusta.
RC Card Spin: Some of his stuff is sure to hit the market in 2010. He is a guy who you should be able to wait on. Rodriguez hit 0 HR’s last year in his short stint in the Minors. So it will take some time for him to develop power. Look to pick up some of his cards when people are looking at other prospects.
His 2008 Donruss Elite Extra Edition is his best card. If the price is right, I would pick one up.
Roger Kieschnick – OF
23 HR and 110 RBI in ’09 for Single A San Jose
I am not as impressed with Kieschnick as I am Thomas Neal. Maybe I am wrong with that assumption. Kieschnick put up great numbers playing with Neal in Single-A San Jose. He is another guy who if he keeps hitting, he could end up in San Francisco soon.
RC Card Spin: Kieschnick is a guy who is under looked. Might be worth picking up a RC, because he could be a September call up.
Ehire Adrianza – SS
Great defense at a young age
2010 Outlook: Double-A maybe?
RC Card Spin: Adrianza is a guy who doesn’t hit for a lot of power. Don’t spend big bucks on the kid.
|Dan Runzler – RP
Big, hard throwing LHP.
2010 Oulook: Should be in the opening day bullpen for the SF Giants.
RC Card Spin: Runzler is a relief pitcher who might have a chance to be a closer. Relief pitchers are not highly valued by collectors.
Dan Runzler Cards on Ebay
|Francisco Peguero – OF
Batted .340 for Low-A Augusta
2010 Outlook: Single-A San Jose looks like where he will start.
The San Jose Giants team website had an interview with Director of Player Development Fred Stanley and here is his take on Peguero:
I had the pleasure of watching guys like Robin Yount and George Brett play. And the reason I’m bringing those guys up is that here are Hall of Fame guys who when they hit a groundball, either right back to the pitcher, to the shortstop or a bullet right at somebody, they ran down the base line hard every single time. They gave you an honest effort every time. Francisco Peguero plays with the same kind of intensity. No matter where he hits it, no matter what happens, he is 100 percent out there going. I think fans appreciate that effort. And he does the same thing in the outfield. He’s running, he’s diving. He’s got an excellent arm and is a very accurate thrower. Hopefully that rubs off on some of our other players. He’s got a love for the game and that’s what it comes down to. He loves to get out there and compete.