Kyle Crick heads to the AFL as one of baseball’s best pitching prospects. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Coming off a disappointing defense of their 2012 World Series Championship, the San Francisco Giants must be anxious to turn the page to 2014. That offseason will begin on October 8th when six of their prospects will begin play in the Arizona Fall League. Current Giants that have used the AFL as a springboard to San Francisco include Buster Posey and Brandon Belt. The Giants are hoping that one or all of the six players they will be sending to the desert can pay dividends like the two of them. Here is a quick look at the Giants’ AFL entrants with all rankings courtesy of mlb.com.
Kyle Crick-He is considered the Giants #1 overall prospect in their system and #42 in all of baseball. Crick was taken in the first round (49th) of the 2011 draft out of Sherman High School in Sherman, TX. He has been a starter in A ball the last two seasons and the results must have the Giants are giddy about his potential. In San Jose this season, he was 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 14 starts spanning 68 2/3 innings. He allowed only 48 hits but with 39 walks while striking out 95 strikeouts holding opposing batters to a .201 clip. He has an excellent fastball along with two different types of breaking pitches. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Crick has the potential to be a number one starter at the Major League level. The organization has a nice track record of developing pitchers drafted out of high school; Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner were similarly drafted.
Andrew Susac-Will this be the guy that pushes Posey to first base? Susac, San Fran’s #15 prospect, has moved quickly up the ranks of the system since being drafted in the second round in 2011. He played at Double A Richmond last season and performed very well with 12 HR’s and 46 RBI’s with a slash line of .256/.362/.458. In his two minor league seasons, he has hit 21 HR’s and driven in 98 runs over 623 at-bats. Behind the dish, he threw out 31 out of 77 potential base-stealers in 2013, an impressive 40% rate. He probably will be heading to Triple A Fresno to start the 2014 season although a place on the roster as Posey’s backup is not out of the question. It will only be a matter of time before the issue of actually replacing Posey as the starter becomes the question.
Adalberto Mejia-San Francisco’s 19th-ranked prospect just turned 20 in June. Mejia is a left-handed starting pitcher who was signed by the Giants out of the Dominican Republic where he spent his first year in pro ball in 2011 at the age of 18. He enjoyed two nice seasons in A ball first with Augusta in 2012 and then San Jose in 2013. Mejia owns a career record of 22-13 with a 3.05 ERA in 60 games, 44 of them being starts and managed to skip Double A and make one start for Fresno on July 24th (5 innings, 2 runs allowed). His fastball and slider are above average pitches and he is working on a changeup. The Giants like his feel for pitching, his ability to throw strikes and an easy delivery to the plate. Mejia is expected to reach the Majors by 2015.
Angel Villalona-Signed by the Giants at age 16, Villalona is one big guy. He stands 6-3 and is listed at 255 pounds. You would expect a player who is that big to have some power and Villalona does indeed have some. He spent 2013 in San Jose and Richmond where his total output was 22 home runs and 70 RBI’s in 480 at-bats. However, the rest of the first baseman’s line needs some work: .235/.273/.413. He had better slash lines in the lower levels so there is reason to believe Villalona will make adjustments. His size makes him the perfect first baseman. However, will it also land him in a trade to an American League team?
Jarrett Parker-This 2010 second round draft pick has played all over the outfield during his minor league career. This season at Richmond, Parker spent the majority of his time in right field. He has some good power and has some speed, something you wouldn’t expect out a player 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds. He has hit 46 home runs and stolen 60 bases during his three seasons between San Jose and Richmond. However, Parker desperately needs to cut down on his strikeouts; he fanned 161 times in 444 at-bats in 2013 after whiffing 175 times in 404 at-bats the prior season. Although his batting average is low, he does draw a fair amount of walks. In three seaons, Parker’s on-base average is .360. He will probably open 2014 at Fresno.
Cody Hall-The 25-year old Hall definitely has a future in the Giants’ bullpen. Originally a 19th round draft pick out of Southern University and A & M College (yes, that is one school), Hall has put up spectacular numbers over the course of his career. Between San Jose and Richmond in 2013, he went 4-2 with a 1.80 ERA and 10 saves. In 60 innings pitched, he allowed only 32 hits and 15 walks while striking out 75 hitters. In three seasons, Hall is 11-4 with a 2.00 ERA with 35 saves in 114 games covering 135 innings pitched. Not once has Hall started a game in the minors and his workload indicates that will be a late inning guy or even a closer in the near future.
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