This is year marks the second time we’ve put together a Top 15 prospect list for the site; and, something that I think is really cool, this is the first year we’ve had four different writers add their input to the list. Last year the list was created by Otis and I, but this year, we’ve got Rory Paap and Chris Martinez also adding their two cents.
The process for this year’s list is the same as last year’s: each writer, individually, comes up with their top 15 list, and then we exchange the lists to hash out the final rankings. Pretty easy stuff, actually.
Today’s post is for prospects #15 to #11. When the last of the prospect list is posted, I’ll also include each staff member’s individual top 15 ranking.
Now, onward to the rankings …
15. Mike Kickham, SP 23 years old in 2012
Chris Quick: Kickham starts off our list (in reverse order) as the 15th best prospect in the Giants system. By my estimation, Kickham has two things going for him that get him on the list: 1) he’s a left-hander and 2) he throws in the low 90s. He didn’t have an ultra-impressive year in Augusta (111.2 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 8.3 K/9, 4.11 ERA, 3.48 FIP) but as a LHP that can crack 90 miles per hour, he’ll get his chances.
Otis Anderson: Kickham had kind of blah year, a poor ERA with okay but not great peripheral stats.Unless he stops being left handed, he’ll still be a prospect, albeit an unexciting one.
Rory Paap: Kickham didn’t make the top-15 on half of the staff’s list. He had a pretty boring 2011–it was neither bad nor particularly good–but to reiterate what the others have pretty much said: Left-handed starting pitcher prospects that can sit somewhere around 90 mph can make themselves at least moderately useful with a little bit of development.
Chris Martinez: Mike Kickham. I feel like a square for leaving him off my list, but in truth I just kinda forgot about him. His stats looked bad in Augusta but he has good stuff: four pitches including a slider and a curveball. He was supposed to pitch in San Jose in 2011 and should get another chance there this season.
14. Adam Duvall, “3B” 23 years old in 2012
CQ: Adam Duvall doesn’t have draft pedigree (11th round pick in 2010 out of Louisville) or scout love (he didn’t even have an entry filled out by Baseball America in the 2010 Advanced Draft Database), but what he does have is an impressive season at A-level baseball for the Augusta Green Jackets. This past season, while playing mostly third base, Duvall hit .285/.385/.527. In 510 PAs he drew 59 walks, struck out 98 times, and hit 22 home runs. Scouts seem to be down on his defense, and whether or not he fattened up his numbers against poor pitching, but his combination of power and patience is intriguing.
OA: Just about everything that’s not his raw batting stats works against Duvall. That said, his raw batting stats were really good. He needs to succeed pretty dramatically in order to be taken seriously.
RP: I honestly don’t know much about Duvall apart from the slick line he dropped on the Sally league in 2011. If he was, say, a 19-year-old out of high school–not coming out of the NCAA as a 22-year-old senior–it would jump off the page a lot more. He’ll need to continue to post really good numbers in San Jose in 2012 to stay near the top of the Giants’ fairly thin system.
CM: Adam Duvall surprised me last year. He had a great power year in Augusta. He’s also a third baseman, so he made my list. The Giants system is thin at the infield positions other than first base. Third base looks better than second and shortstop with Dominguez and Duvall behind Sandoval, but neither is truly a standout. Duvall is likely going to be in San Jose, where I’ll be eager to get a look at him.
13. Conor Gillaspie, “3B” 24 years old in 2012
CQ: I’ve long considered Gillaspie your classic “high floor, low ceiling” type of player. There’s a pretty good chance he might be a useful piece on a major league roster (if he can tighten up his defense), but his ultimate ceiling is still pretty low. To borrow a phrase that I hate: Gillaspie is, what he is; he’ll make contact, walk around the league average rate, but he’s hampered by poor defense and the lack of power.
OA: Gillaspie seems to have been around forever. I was quite surprised to find that he was only 24 last season. While Chris M is completely right that there is not a lot to get excited about, he does have enough on base chops that should be an okay bench option. There’s a pretty high probability that he’ll get a look in such a role, even higher if he can fake second base for a few innings here and there.
RP: I like Conor Gillaspie’s plate discipline and little else. I recall still holding out hope after his first season in San Jose, when his then-coach mentioned that poor umpiring probably cost him 30 walks that were instead strikeouts. He doesn’t hit for enough power, average, or play any position well enough to provide much value to justify a spot on the 25-man, and his time to prove that he does belong–by distinguishing himself otherwise–is probably now. On the other hand, I’d rather see what he can do at the major league level than Emmanuel Burris at this point.
CM: Conor Gillaspie isn’t a prospect for me. He had a really blah year in Fresno after a season of doing nothing of note in San Jose. I also recall seeing him play for the little Giants and display mediocre range at third. He really did not move well to his left. He isn’t quite the same level of letdown I feel about Adrianza, but I was once really high on Gillaspie. Probably because I have a prospect boner for good third basemen. He’ll repeat Fresno and probably show me nothing of note.
12. Chris Dominguez, 3B 25 years old in 2012
CQ: I have Chris Dominguez much lower on my personal list (he doesn’t make my top 15) but I can partially see his allure. He’s got power (21 HR in 2010, 18 HR in 2011) and a plus-throwing arm. That, however, is probably the nicest things I can say about Dominguez. Despite a strong arm, his defense at third is shaky. And his career BB/K ratio (74/350) screams “won’t work” in the majors, but I can’t deny he has a couple of interesting tools to work with.
OA: I guess the argument for ranking Dominguez above Duvall is “tools”. Neither of them are great fielders. While Duvall was old for Augusta, Dominguez was even older when he was there and hit much worse. Right now Dominguez seems like just a one dimensional hitter, and unlikely to do anything in the majors.
RP: Dominquez would be a lot more intriguing if he could somehow play catcher. His two best tools (Howitzer arm and massive power) are fantastic, while his shortcomings (absolute-zero plate discipline and clunky glove) are glaring enough that they might sink his prospect ship. Put him behind the plate. Just an idea.
CM: Chris Dominguez has some issues that keeps him from being a top prospect. He had some ugly at-bats in San Jose last year, swinging at terrible pitches and lacking command of the strike zone. He also had god awful glove work on defense. I don’t know if he improved in Richmond, but I hope he did, because his good qualities are off the charts. He has tremendous power and an elite throwing arm. He also has good footwork around the bag at third and good range. I really want him to stick there, but in the event of a corner outfield shortage (yeah right, they’ll just stick Brandon Belt there and say they’re doing the right thing) having Dominguez out there would not be the end of the world. If he starts out again in Richmond I wouldn’t mind, but I’d like to see him in Fresno sooner than later.
11. Josh Osich, RP 23 years old in 2012
CQ: It’s hard to know what Josh Osich’s role will ultimately be. He’s a Tommy John survivor (missed 2009-2010 with the surgery) that features a mid-90s fastball with a quality changeup. The Giants could fast-track him as a reliever, or if the team believes in his health, they could put him into a starting role. He’s a prospect that could really move up lists with a solid debut in 2012.
OA: It’s hard to know what to do with these recent draftees, but Osich, with his scary injury history, is even harder to project. He has a high probability of providing zero value, but the stuff Chris describes could be an impact arm.
RP: Every quality system needs to have a nice mix of both high-ceiling and high-probability prospects. Osich fits in very nicely as one of the former for the Giants. Many lists had him as a late first-round or sandwich pick going into June, and were it not for the Tommy John surgery he had, he may well have been a top-10 pick. You have to hope some of his elite velocity will return with more time, as he once touched 98 and still features a decent changeup. There seems a n okay chance Osich will jump up on the list or fall off of it completely after 2012, depending on health and how well he pitches in his pro debut.
CM: Josh Osich stands out among the good crop of pitchers drafted this summer. I had a hard time choosing between Osich and Bryce Bandilla: left-handers with clean, repeatable motions are always good to have. I know little of Osich aside from his no-hitter against UCLA, when he matched up against Trevor Bauer, and I get a little itchy when ranking guys who have yet to play professionally because I hate ranking guys purely on ceiling. However, looking at Osich’s video, I like what I see. I’d like to see him in Augusta next year, but putting him in extended spring training with a Salem-Keizer debut in mid-summer is fine by me as well.
Prospect rankings are good chatter, so don’t be afraid to discuss this first ‘chunk’ in the comments section. We’ll be posting the #10-6 ranking sometime later this week. Stay tuned.