Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, catcher Buster Posey, shortstop Brandon Crawford, right-fielder Nate Schierholtz, second baseman Emmanuel Burriss, first baseman/outfielders Brandon Belt and Brett Pill, plus pitchers Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson all came up through the system and have either secured spots on the Major League team this spring or were strong possibilities to be on the roster.
Belt, Pill, Burriss and Crawford are all part of the latest wave. Conor Gillaspie is a third baseman in waiting who is returning to Triple-A Fresno, where he hit .297 with 11 homers and 61 RBIs in 124 games in 2011. Otherwise, the lower Minor League system right now is where the top talent is in the Giants' system.
"This is a system that keeps producing," said Dick Tidrow, the former pitcher who is the Giants' vice president of player personnel. "We have good players to trade and good players for us to keep. You can't win a World Series without a good system, because you can't go out and get what you need. We did that when won in 2010."
With the Minor League season getting under way, fans can keep track of the Giants' top prospects throughout the year on Prospect Watch. And get scores, stats, news, schedules, tickets and more for all of the Giants' Minor League teams on the Giants' affiliates page.
where to watch
|3||Joe Panik||San Jose||A+|
|15||Andrew Susac||San Jose||A+|
|17||Ricky Oropesa||San Jose||A+|
|18||Adam Duvall||San Jose||A+|
|19||Josh Osich||San Jose||A+|
Double-A Richmond is stocked with talent again this season. These are the trio of kids to watch: Catcher Tommy Joseph, who hit .270 with 22 homers and 95 RBIs for Class A San Jose last year, was ranked No. 5 on MLB.com's Top 20 Giants prospects list. Shortstop Ehire Adrianza (No. 8) hit a combined .273 for two of the Giants' Class A clubs last year. Their top prospect is outfielder Gary Brown, who hit .336 with 14 homers and 80 RBIs at San Jose last season.
Debuts and Draftees
The Giants' No. 1 draft pick and the 29th overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player draft was Joe Panik, an infielder who played three years of college ball for St. John's University in New York. After signing, he played 69 games for short-season Salem-Keizer, batting .341 with a .401 on-base percentage. Second-round selection Andrew Susac, a 2011 second-round pick out of Oregon St., makes his debut this season at Class A Advanced San Jose.
Teams on TV
The Fresno Grizzlies are among a growing number of teams whose games are available on MiLB.TV. The 2012 MiLB.TV package will include more than 2,500 Minor League games streamed live, as well as games archived for on-demand streaming soon after completion.
Aside from Gillaspie, Fresno fans can watch the development of such hopefuls as pitcher Heath Hembree and outfielder Francisco Peguero. Hembree, a hard-throwing right-handed reliever, pitched in 54 games between San Jose and Richmond last season and logged a 1.86 ERA. He made a quick ascent midseason to Richmond after allowing just two earned runs in 24 2/3 innings at San Jose and could be the Giants' closer of the future. Peguero hit .309 with five homers and 37 RBIs in 71 games with Richmond last year.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.