Usually it’s the San Jose Giants that get all the prospects. This year, the Class A Augusta GreenJackets have the highest number of guys to watch for the future of the San Francisco Giants.
I’m really excited about six of the 15 pitchers on the roster. Kelby Tomlinson is the standout prospect in the infield and Chuckie Jones is the guy I really want to see among the outfielders.
Let’s get into the roster.
|LHP||Bryce Bandilla||4th round 2011|
|RHP||Andrew Berger||Free agent 2011|
|LHP||Steven Neff||41st round 2011|
|LHP||Edwin Escobar||Trade w/Texas|
|RHP||Kevin Couture||32nd round 2010|
|RHP||Derek Law||9th round 2011|
|RHP||Clayton Blackburn||16th round 2011|
|LHP||Scotty Walker||Free agent 2011|
|RHP||Cody Hall||19th round 2011|
|RHP||Joe Biagini||26th round 2011|
|RHP||Chris Marlowe||5th round 2011|
|RHP||Keith Bilodeau||24th round 2011|
|LHP||Adalberto Mejia||Free agent 2011|
|RHP||DeMondre Arnold||25th round 2011|
|RHP||Kyle Crick||Supp. Round 2011|
Bryce Bandilla, Derek Law, Clayton Blackburn, Adalberto Mejia, DeMondre Arnold, and Kyle Crick are the marquee attractions of the pitchers. Edwin Escobar was acquired in the trade that sent Ben Snyder to Texas in 2010, in case you were wondering where he came from.
I’ve been told that Blackburn will be the Opening Day starter and the others expected in the rotation are Chris Marlowe, Mejia, Crick, Joseph Biagini and Edwin Escobar. I’ve heard good things about Cody Hall as a sleeper prospect. In my eyes Arnold is also a sleeper, but his status as a reliever won’t attract much attention. He threw extremely well in the AZL last year, allowing five earned runs in 26 2/3 innings and striking out 32 while walking only eight. After I saw his good stats I took a look at some of his YouTube pitching videos and loved what I saw: a tall right-hander with a smooth, repeatable motion. I’d love to see him get a big role out of the bullpen.
No closer has been named as of yet and the club is taking a closer-by-committee approach.
I’m getting all my lineup and rotation information directly from the GreenJackets media people. That’s a name you can trust.
|C||Myles Schroder||27th round 2007|
|C||Eric Sim||27th round 2010|
|C||Joe Staley||8th round 2010|
Not much to see here among catchers. The only guy I can really remember anything about is Eric Sim, who hit realy well last year in the AZL. Joe Staley hit for power last year with Salem-Keizer and Myles Schroder saw more time as a designated hitter than a catcher. Sim and Staley are expected to catch the bulk of the games, with Sim getting the nod as the starter on most days.
|SS/2B||Carlos Willoughby||Free agent 2007|
|SS||Kelby Tomlinson||12th round 2011|
|SS/3B||Jose Cuevas||29th round 2010|
|3B||Garrett Buechele||14th round 2011|
|1B||Ben Thomas||34th round 2011|
|SS/3B||John Eshleman||11th round 2009|
As I did yesterday with the San Jose Giants roster breakdown, I listed each player’s position by the most time he’s seen over his career, although the GreenJackets did give me info on who will be the everyday players there.
Carlos Willoughby, a 2011 South Atlantic League All-Star, returns and he should be the starting second baseman. Garrett Buechele will be the starting third baseman and is in the mix at DH, with Jose Cuevas available at second and third. Ben Thomas will start at first. Tomlinson is the shortstop.
I really like Tomlinson among this group. He made my preseason top prospect list after he killed the ball in the AZL last summer: 50-for-140, 10 doubles, and 26 RBI in 37 games. He also had 14 walks to 22 strikeouts and stole 11 bases. When it comes to shortstop prospects, the system is running thin especially if Panik stays at second. That’s why Tomlinson is so important.
|LF/CF||Shawn Payne||35th round 2011|
|RF||Brett Krill||25th round 2010|
|OF||Elliot Blair||46th round 2011|
|LF/CF||Chuckie Jones||7th round 2010|
|LF||Michael Mergenthaler||32nd round 2011|
This is a group of unknowns for me, aside from Jones and Brett Krill. I was really impressed with Krill’s year in Salem-Keizer, where he hit .304 with six homers and 43 RBIs. I had really high expectations for Jones after the strong 2010 year he had in the AZL, but he didn’t perform well at the higher level in the Northwest League last year. Still, Jones is only 19 (turning 20 at the end of July) and a full year will paint a more clear picture of the kind of ballplayer he can be.
I kind of like Shawn Payne right now, as he hit .306 with 29 walks and 32 strikeouts in 160 at-bats for the Volcanoes. He’s also quite speedy with 21 steals in 27 attempts.
As for the positioning in the outfield, it’s Payne in left, Elliot Blair in center, and Krill in right. Michael Mergenthaler is the backup corner outfielder and Blair can back up at first.
Opening Day for the GreenJackets is Thursday. They are on the road against Savannah and Charleston for their first seven games and then they return for their home opener April 12 against Savannah.
I’ll be covering the GreenJackets this year for Bay City Ball, with interviews and news coming straight from the source.