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With the Giants offense still in a rut, and there's not much new to discuss since the last post, we're going to use today's post to take our overdue look down on the farm.At the beginning of the year, most of the hype in the lower ranks of the organization surrounded the San Jose Giants, the teams single-A affiliate. However, as the second Buster Posey, from A San Jose to AAA Fresno. A leap up of two levels is something that the Giants don't do too often, but apparently they've seen enough in Posey (.326. 13 home runs, 58 RBI) to warrant that jump. Even though Posey is no longer on the roster, there still are a few hitting prospects making plenty of noise in the California League. Roger Kieshnick leads the team with 19 home runs and 76 RBI while carrying a respectable .301 average. 21 year-old Thomas Neal currently leads San Jose in hitting with a .342 mark, to go with 16 bombs and 60 RBI. A promotion for those two could happen as early as August 1. Not all the teams notable prospects in San Jose are swinging a hot bat though. Top-5 organizational prospect Angel Villalona (.267, 9 HR, 42 RBI) and Nick Noonan (.249, 5 HR, 46 RBI) hope to improve on their sub-par first halves.
The two pitchers that were promoted out of San Jose earlier in the year have been doing just fine in AA Connecticut. Top dog Madison Bumgarner is sporting a 1.59 era to go along with his 6-1 record. Tim Alderson hasn't been quite as dominant as Bumgarner, but the 6'6" right-hander is doing pretty darn well in his own right, sporting a 3.29 era to go along with his 6-1 record. The only area that has seen somewhat of a decline for the two aces is their strikeout rate. They both are striking out about 7 batters per 9 innings in AA, which isn't bad at all, but wasn't anywhere near where they were at in A ball. Brandon Crawford, the shortstop from UCLA who was promoted with Alderson and Bumgarner, has really been struggling of late. His average has dipped down to .241, and his power and RBI numbers a declining with the average. I didn't fully support promoting Crawford so soon back when they did, even though he had a spectacular start in San Jose, and I think it would be best for his development to send him down and let him finish the year in San Jose and hopefully finish off they way he started the 2009 season.Up at the AAA level in Fresno, the Giants don't really have much right now as far as young prospects go. They did just call up Buster Posey, and I'm really excited to see how he takes to Jesus Guzman, there aren't really any "prospects" in Fresno at the moment. John Bowker, who was putting up numbers worthy of PCL MVP consideration, got the call-up before the all-star break. The one guy who I'm keeping a close eye on is 2B/SS Emmanuel Burriss. The 23 year-old started the year as the Giants starting second basemen, but a prolonged slump caused his demotion, and he really hasn't gotten right down in Fresno yet either. Burris is hitting just .268 with a measly .312 OBP, which won't cut it for a guy with little extra-base power. The only guy you can really consider a pitching prospect on the Fresno roster is Kevin Pucetas, and he's continued to be a steady anchor atop their rotation. Pucetas is carrying a 3.43 era and a 9-2 record in a team-high 115 innings pitched. He's not a big strikeout guy (67:32/K:BB ratio in those 115 innings), but he really has good command and knows how to get out of innings and limit the damage. He should be the next guy in line for when the Giants need someone to make a spot start or two, a la Ryan Sadowski.
Trevor Cole @ The Giants Baseball Blog