The San Francisco Giants are rolling. They are 35-19 and have a 6 and a half game lead in the National League West. Granted the season is still very young, but with the way the other teams in their division look right now, it looks like they could run away with the division. With everything going so well, it doesn’t seem like they need to call any prospects up. However, injuries happen; and once September comes around there will be a few prospects who will make an impact on this team.
The first guy is Derek Law, a prospect I’ve written about before. He was one of the most impressive relievers during Spring Training, but the Giants chose to keep him in the Minors as they already had a solid relieving core going into the season. However, with Yusmeiro Petit and David Huff not living up to expectations and the fact that the Giants won’t need two long relievers late in the season or postseason, there’s a very good chance that Law will get his shot at making an impact with the team late in the season.
Law is the closer for the double A Richmond squad and is pitching really well. He has 11 saves and an ERA just above 3. He has 23 strikeouts in 23.1 innings. The one thing that stands out as a bit of a negative is the 13 walks that he’s issued. During spring training one thing he didn’t do was walk guys. However, that won’t hinder the Giants from calling him up and giving him a shot. He’s by far the Giants’ best relieving prospect.
The next prospect who’s similar to Law is Heath Hembree. He, along with Law, is another top reliever in the Giants system that will more than likely get an opportunity as a September call up. Unlike Law, he’s already pitched in the big leagues. He made 9 impressive appearances last year. He didn’t give up an earned run in 7.2 innings, struck out 12 and only walked two. With those numbers a lot of people thought he’d be on the roster, but it didn’t happen. However, he should get a shot even with his unimpressive Fresno numbers of 4.58 ERA and 1.75 WHIP. The Giants are probably a little wary about those numbers, but once the rosters expand in September Hembree and Law should get a chance to pitch and audition for a spot on the postseason roster if they impress.
The final prospect is somebody who has been the most impressive hitter in the Giants farm system so far this season. His name is Adam Duvall and he’s playing both first base and third base in triple A Fresno.
Granted the Giants have Brandon Belt at first base, who’s not going anywhere, and Pablo Sandoval heating up at third base. However, Sandoval’s contract situation remains very much a question mark. Giants GM Brian Sabean stated recently that the Giants will most likely not negotiate a contract with Sandoval this season as his party came out with a really aggressive offer which the Giants refused. The contract was reportedly similar to what Hunter Pence got this past offseason. Unless the Giants are willing to meet Sandoval’s demands, they could potentially look to move Sandoval at the trade deadline. Another option would be to try to sign him at the end of the season so they still get value out of him if they can’t work out a contract.
If that happens, Duvall could get an opportunity to play third base at some time during this season because he has 15 home runs and 44 RBI’S and 294 batting average. Both of these stats are the best in the Giants organization among hitters. Duvall has massive power and a fairly good approach at the plate with a 356 OBP. He could be the one hitter who might not get an opportunity to come up this year. However, he’s obviously a guy to keep an eye on as Sandoval’s status with the Giants is not as certain as one would think.
The one thing that stands out for those who follow the Giants and their farm system would be that Kyle Crick, Edwin Escobar and Gary Brown aren’t listed here. Those guys still remain top prospects but Crick and Escobar aren’t big league ready as illustrated by their struggles in double A and Fresno respectively. Brown has kind of been a flame out, he’s batting only 260 and if he does make it to the big leagues, it will be as a fifth outfielder, speed and defensive player, sort of what Gregor Blanco is right now.
The Giants have a lot of talented young pitchers, but most of these pitchers need work in order to be impact pitchers at the big league level. The Giants aren’t rushing any of their pitchers or prospects up because they have a team that’s the best in baseball and can actually get better than they are now, once the starting staff gets more consistent.