Sunday, August 10, 2008

S.F. Giants Mid-Summer 2008 Top 5 Pitching Prospects

In a way, the Giants have all the young pitching talent you could ever ask for. With Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain both in the majors and under 25, and Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson in the minors and both under 20, the future looks very bright. However, once you get past those 4 pitchers, there isn’t much else to look forward to for Giants fans. That’s not to say that the Giants don’t have any other above average pitching prospects, they just don’t have anyone else that compares to the likes of Lincecum or Bumgarner. But enough talk, let’s get down to business.

1. Madison Bumgarner – I know that a lot of people feel that Tim Alderson is the top pick, but Bumgarner has just been too dominant at an early age to not give him the #1 ranking. His control has been absolutely amazing, and power lefties can be priceless in the majors. Don’t worry so much about the breaking ball. It’ll come.

Projection: #1 starter
Comparable player: C.C. Sabathia with better control.

2. Tim Alderson – I considered giving Alderson the #1.5 ranking on this list. The age difference between him and Bumgarner comes down to a matter of only 9 months, but those 9 months are enough to just barely set them apart. I realize that Alderson has been pitching at a higher level than Bumgarner this season and the 2 of them have posted similar stats, but he doesn’t have quite the ceiling that Bumgarner has. Regardless, he’ll be an amazing third or fourth starter behind Lincecum and Cain, with the potential to be a great #2 or even average #1 starter.

Projection: Great #2, possible #1
Comparable player: Adam Wainwright

3. Clayton Tanner— Here’s where the list begins to drop off. Unless I completely overlooked someone in the Giants’ farm system, Tanner is pretty much all there is after Alderson and Bumgarner. He’s a decent prospect, and would be a fantastic back-of-the-rotation guy in the future, but his upside is limited. Good stuff.

Projection: #3-4 starter, possible #2
Comparable player: Mike Pelfrey

4. Benjamin Snyder – I think Snyder has above average talent and some decent comparables, but I can’t find anything really great about him. Like Tanner, Snyder could make a great #4 or #5 starter in the future.

Projection: #3-5
Comparable player: Jon Garland

5. Henry Sosa – I realize this won’t be a popular spot for Sosa, but I gotta’ go with the facts. At his age, Sosa really hasn’t done much, and his progress seems to be stalling. Most 23 year olds with average numbers at A+ don’t get much attention, so why should Sosa? Some may argue that injuries have set him back, and his high-90’s fastball will get him to the top, but don’t expect it to happen in the next 5 years. He may eventually put it all together, but the odds are very much against him by now.

Projection: #4-5 starter, good closer
Comparable player: Boof Bonser

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Anonymous said...

Nice write-up Adam. I agree with everything except, of course, Sosa (who I am quite high on). I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I think he can move quickly through the system once he overcomes the knee injury (which may end up taking some mileage off his arm as a consolation prize). I don't think he's a can't miss prospect by any means, but I just have a hard time ranking him behind Tanner and Snyder, two pitchers who work in the mid 80s.

Mike said...

First off, don't sleep on Jonathan Sanchez. Once he get's a little better control I feel like his ERA will be in the mid 3's consistently.

I haven't been as high on Tanner as you are, it seems. I think I would prefer Ben Snyder, Henry Sosa and maybe Jesse English who is doing well while starting consistently for the first time. Also, I notice you didn't include relievers. Is that a separate section or do you not like Osiris Matos or Sergio Romo?

Anonymous said...

Unless a reliever is of the mid 90s closer variety, I wouldn't put him on a list like this either. The Giants do, however, have a pitcher like that in Kelvin Pichardo who I quite like.

Mike said...

Why do you like Pichardo over Romo and Matos? Is it because hes 22 compared to 25 and 23, because both Romo and Matos had better numbers this year on the same team as Pichardo.

Anonymous said...

In a word, upside. Age is one reason. More importantly is the fact that Pichardo throws a lively mid 90s fastball with good offspeed stuff. In other words he's got closer material. Most closers need one plus plus pitch, and that 94 mph fastball with movement could be his. Matos and Romo both throw in the 88-91 mph range. That puts them in the cadre of middle relief pitchers. Much less valuable.

Mike said...

Gotcha. Thanks for your input. How do you feel about the newly brought up Giants Ishikawa, Sandoval and Rohlinger? I've been a fan of Ishikawa since he was brought up 2 years ago, and Sandoval just hit my radar this year with his crazy A ball stats. I have no idea what to expect from Rohlinger. I've heard he was a defensive specialist, but in the first game he had 2 errors and every throw seems to be up the line.

Mark said...

With another unbelievable outing: 6 IP 12 K's, 2 BB, 2 H, is it reasonable to believe Mad Bum could be a top 10 overall prospect next year? Or is it still early? As a Giant fan, I was a little upset we didn't take a hitter with our first pick in 2007, but as of right now I wouldn't have wanted anybody but him.

Mike said...

Mad Bum Triple Crown in his league! Pitcher of the Year maybe?