Game Review: San Jose Giants At Modesto Nuts: 4/5/12

Yesterday I went down to Modesto to see the San Jose Giants season opener. The baby Giants roster features their 2011 1st and 2nd round draft picks (Joe Panik and Andrew Susac), 2010 2nd round pick Jarrett Parker as well as 2011 SAL all-stars Shawn Sanford and Adam Duvall. On the other side, Modesto started 2009 1st round pick Tyler Matzek who was one of the biggest enigmas in the minors last year, as well as 2010 1st round draft pick Kyle Parker and 2011 SAL All-star Corey Dickerson.

The most impressive prospect was probably Matzek, who struck out 7 in 4.2 innings and was pulled after 85 pitches. He pitched well, striking out the side twice and had his pitch count elevated by a Cristhian Adames throwing error in the first.

On the Giants side, Joe Panik looked good. He made two very nice defensive plays — one leaping to catch a ball, and one ranging to his right, spinning, and making an off balance throw. Offensively, he did a good job of grinding out at bats, which led to him drawing two walks including one that saw him battle back from a 1-2 hole by fouling off tough pitches. He also hit the ball that Adames made the error on, which was likely affected by his speed up the line.

On the other hand, Susac and Duvall had rough introductions to the Cal League. They both had the hat trick at the plate, and had issues defensively. Susac got charged with an error after dropping a pop-up. Duvall, meanwhile, had his range tested in the 9th and did not look great. It is still early and both can and likely will improve, especially Susac as he has a good defensive reputation.

Jarrett Parker had an interesting game. He threw out Kyle Parker trying to stretch a single into a double, and hit the first Giants HR, but also struck out, which was his major problem last season. One thing I did find interesting is that he played RF with Ryan Lollis playing CF. Parker was regarded as a good defensive CF coming out college, but played RF last year in deference to Gary Brown. I thought with Brown moving up they might try Parker back up the middle, but apparently he’s mainly a corner OF now.

Speaking of players who have a problem with strikeouts, Ricky Oropesa had a solid game. He singled to CF off Matzek in the first, and showed a solid ability to work the count, but also ended up with 2 K’s. He has upside as a three-true-outcomes type player, but his biggest key will be translating his strong raw power into game power, as well as not learning bad habits in the hitter-friendly Cal league.

Lastly, Shawn Sanford had a very solid start. He had some jitters initially walking the first batter of the game, but he calmed down and did not walk anyone else. While he wasn’t overpowering, he did a good job of keeping the ball on the ground (9/4 GO/AO) and he really seemed to settle into a groove into the middle innings.

All in all it was an interesting game, but you could definitely tell it was the first game of the year. The San Jose Giants may not have the star power that AA Richmond has, but they should be an interesting team to follow throughout the year.

Giants’ Top Twenty Prospects: Part II…10-1

In case you missed it, here’s part one. Tomorrow, I’ll post honorable mentions — prospects that just missed the list. Moving on…

10. Ehire Adrianza, age 22, SS

Plus defensive shortstop, and as such, the bar for his offense is set pretty low. Showed glimpses of potential for reaching that bar (.300/.375/.470 at San Jose).

9. Heath Hembree, age 22, RHP

Hesitant to rank him higher because of the walks and the fact that he’s a reliever, but his stuff is legit.

8. Francisco Peguero, age 23, OF

High ceiling, but the lack of plate discipline is a major issue (five walks in 296 PAs at Richmond)

7. Tommy Joseph, age 20, C

Age and positional value work to his favor, and he saw tremendous improvement (defensively and offensively) as the year went on. Plate discipline, however, is not his strong suit.

6. Hector Sanchez, age 21, C

Fairly advanced for his age, and he has quality defensive tools (as well as good power potential at the plate). That said, his conditioning could be a major roadblock in his development.

5. Eric Surkamp, age 24, LHP

He dominated Double-A, but was quite underwhelming in six starts in the majors. A low-ceiling arm, but I think he could still develop into a useful back-end starter.

4. Kyle Crick, age 18, RHP

Ace potential, but very raw at this point.

3. Andrew Susac, age 21, C

Above-average defensive catcher with on-base skills; a pretty polished product.

2. Joe Panik, age 21, SS/2B

Either he stays at shortstop, where he could be as good as average defensively, or he moves to second-base where he projects as an above-average defender. In any event, his bat plays well for a middle-infielder — good contact/on-base skills.

1. Gary Brown, age 23, CF

Legitimate all-star potential: plus defensive outfielder with speed on the basepaths, and a quality bat (especially from an up-the-middle position). Hopefully he’ll do well in his transition to Double-A Richmond (a notoriously pitcher-friendly environment).

Adam Foster on Joe Panik’s approach

In case you missed it, today was the AFL Rising Stars game, and Joe Panik — playing second base — got a couple ABs (0 for 2, 1 K).

Adam Foster of Project Prospect posted some scouting notes afterwards, wherein he raved about Panik:

I really liked Joe Panik’s approach. He looks like he’s ready to do damage to pitches and he doesn’t expand the zone. If the Giants start him in High-A next year, he could make a push for a Double-A promotion come midseason and maybe even a September call-up. He has a chance to quickly reach the bigs as an up-the-middle defender who makes a lot of contact and has some power.

A while back, Prospect Insider wrote about Panik and his approach, and wasn’t too impressed: in particular, they said that he doesn’t get enough leverage/loft on his swing, and that they had expected to see better plate discipline/mechanics. That was pretty much the extent I’d read about Panik’s plate approach as a member of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, so it’s nice to finally hear such positive things about Panik. I’m still working on ranking the Giants’ prospects (I’ve done a lot of shifting around with specific prospects), but I’m pretty sold on Panik — I think he’s definitely one of the Giants’ top three (or perhaps even two) prospects.

Splash Hits: Giants hold end-of-season press conference

I’m a little pressed for time, so I can’t get out a full post; which is a shame, because today was quite a busy day — the Giants held a press conference in which Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean discussed many important news items relating to the organization. In any event, there’s no need for me to really write much about it…BASG and McC have it covered.

Links…

Giants/NL West

Matt Cain, Destroyer of DIPS | FanGraphs Baseball
Owner of a career .265 BABIP in over 1300 career innings, Matt Cain breaks this rule.

San Francisco Giants 2011-12 Offseason | MLB Depth Charts
A useful preview of the Giants’ offseason — including organizational depth chart.

15 takeaways from the Brian Sabean (and Bruce Bochy) press conference » Bay Area Sports Guy
BASG with a recap of today’s press conference.

On the season-end press conference … – McCovey Chronicles
Grant looks at what Sabean and Bochy said about the Giants today.

Rod Barajas Is Here to Help | NotGraphs Baseball
Must-see GIF: Rod Barajas…cradling Dee Gordon.

Jarrod Parker’s MLB Debut – Baseball Analytics Blog – MLB Baseball Analytics
Jarrod Parker might not pitch in October for the D-Backs, but he showed why he’s a strong Rookie of the Year candidate in 2012 against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

MLB

Joe Blogs: Baseball Night in America
Joe Posnanski on the most amazing night of regular-season baseball in…the history of the game?

THT’s top 100 prospects, part 1
The Hardball Times’ top 100 prospects. Giants prospects on the list include Joe Panik, Tommy Joseph, and Gary Brown. Here’s part two, three, and four.

Who Should You Root for in the Playoffs? – Beyond the Box Score
Did your favorite MLB team miss the playoffs? Use this formula to figure out who you should root for this October.