The idea of positive thinking on a Monday, of all days, seems a little out of place. After all, Monday is the most hated and annoying day of the week. Monday’s are on par with Frankenberry breakfast cereal, clearly the worst of the monster themed cereals of General Mills (Count Chocula will always be #1, don’t even debate it.)
What’s more, is that asking Giants fans to think positively during this flaming wreckage of a season is akin to asking Ted Haggard to believe in dinosaurs, it’s probably not going to happen. But fear not Giants fan, not everything has gone wrong this year. Todays post is dedicated to noticing some positive performances of various Giants this year. Here’s a quick list of why hope is still alive for me and hopefully you as well.
These are ranked in no particular order. I also didn’t plan to include any guys who’ve played any time in the majors this year. I wanted to focus on guys in the minor leagues who could someday help the big club. So Tim Lincecum, Fred Lewis, and Nate Schierholtz, move along!
Quote The Crystal Method, Keep Hope Alive.
1. LHP Benjamin Snyder – Drafted in the 4th round of the 2006 draft, Snyder has been having a great season for the Augusta Green Jackets in 2007. As of today, Snyder has posted a ERA of 1.89 with a record of 12-2. Not only is the ERA nice looking but so are his peripherals, which include a 1.04 WHIP. The Giants could and should promote Snyder to A+ ball or maybe even AA this year.
2. LHP Clayton Tanner – Tanner was drafted out of highschool in the 3rd round right before Snyder in ’06 and has found success with the Green Jackets as well. With a record of 10-4 and a ERA of 2.91 Tanner has been very good. What I love about Tanner is his age (19) and the fact that he’s been getting a lot of outs on the ground, with a GO/AO rate of (2.03).
3. RHP Henry Sosa – Could Henry Sosa be the best pitching prospect in the Giants system right now? You could make a good case that he is. After completely owning A- ball with a ERA of 0.73 and 61 K’s in 62 IP the Giants promoted Sosa to A+. This tall, lanky pitcher throws in the mid-90′s with a smooth motion that also produces a solid curveball and a developing changeup.
BP’s Kevin Goldstein praised Sosa in his Future Shock article titled ‘Risers and Fallers, National League‘
Dominican righty Henry Sosa came out firing bullets this year at Low Class-A Augusta, touching 99 mph with his fastball and moving up to High-A San Jose after putting up an 0.73 ERA in 62 innings with just 30 hits allowed.
I saw Sosa at the Futures Game this year and physically he really reminded me of Felix Rodriguez. Very tall and lanky. I wrote a brief reaction on his scoreless inning of work here. Sosa has struggled a little in A+ ball which some theorize is a result of him overthrowing, Sosa has the stuff to excel and we should all keep our eyes on him.
4. 3B Angel Villalona – Help me Angel Villalona, you’re my only hope. Looking at Angels line of (.233/.330/.419) doesn’t look too special until you consider that he’s only 16 years old! For a 16 year old to hold his own in rookie-ball against higher competition is a testament to how many view Angel’s bat. Villalona could be the first true impact hitter that the Giants have produced since Matt Williams. No pressure.
With Villalona’s age the Giants have time to wait but the possibilities are very enticing. What’s encouraging to me is that he’s walking almost as much as he’s striking out right now (10 to 17) and out of his 20 BH’s half of them have gone for extra bases (the breakdown looks like this: 6 2B’s, 2 3B’s, and 2 HR’s) He’ll probably end up at 1B because of his defense at 3rd but his bat will play wherever he lands defensively.
5. SS/2B Nick Noonan – The 2007 draftee is off to a hot start in the AZL. Noonan has shown why scouts have loved his bat (.327/.365/.500). Noonan’s D is considered a little fringey for SS but his bat will play at 2nd. He’s drawn comparisons to Chase Utley and even though I’m not sure if he’ll hit that ceiling, he’s been hitting the ball very well in rookie ball. Noonan is quickly rising to the top ranks of the Giants middle infield talent, which is a hard thing to do since the system has a good bit of MI talent.
6. OF John Bowker – A 3rd round pick in 2004 Bowker has blossomed as a hitter in a harsh environment not conducive to hitting, the Eastern League and more specifically Dodd Stadium. A quick glance at Bowkers splits show a tale of just how hard it can be to hit in Dodd. Bowker’s home stats (.263/.321/.421) which is good for a OPS of (.742) Meanwhile, Bowker’s road stats are (.319/.370/.582) which is good for a OPS of (.952) Bowker is only 24 and can give Giants fans hope for a potential homegrown bat from the minors.
- RHP Adam Cowart – Cowart is having his usual excellent season in A- this year with an ERA of 2.32 and a strong groundball rate of 2.25. While it’s doubtful that Cowart will stick as a starter I like his chances of becoming a Chad Bradfordl-lite for the Giants. I hope the Giants promote him a level this year.
- RHP Kevin Pucetas – There has to be something in the water down in Augusta. Another Green Jacket makes the list. Pucetas has posted a microscopic ERA of 1.59 while racking up 11 wins. The Green Jackets starting rotation must ruin a lot of hitters nights.
- RHP Kelvin Pichardo – Acquired from the Phillies in the Micheal Tucker deal, Pichardo has been dealing this year. Flashing a fastball in the mid-90′s that helped him strike out 71 batters in 46 2/3 innings for A+ San Jose before getting promoted to AA Connecticut. He’s still only 21 and could eventually find himself in the Giants bullpen doing late innings work.
The Giants as an organization have been pegged as pitching happy and I think that’s still true. Six of the nine minor leaguers that I’ve listed here are pitchers, with the exceptions being Villalona, Noonan, and Bowker. Most of the Giants minor league talent is currently either around A-ball or working it’s way into AA. AAA is mostly bare expect for Schierholtz and a couple of other players who profile more as bullpen help.
On the pitching side of things, the Green Jackets starting rotation has been very impressive. Snyder, Tanner, Pucetas, and Cowart all have double digit wins. If the Giants can manage to sign newcomers Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson, the pitching strength is only going to get better.
Things aren’t perfect, I’d like to see more hitting prospects, as would everyone else but the Giants farm system does have some faint glimmers of hope.
Comment Starter: Who gives you hope for the future in the farm system?