Who is the #2 prospect behind Matt Cain?
    Merkin Valdez
    Marcus Sanders
    Eddy Martinez-Esteve
    Nate Scheirholtz
    Travis Ishikawa
    Kevin Frandsen
    other
      
    Free polls from Pollhost.com

AVG......Brian Horowitz (.349)
2B.......Eddy Martinez-Esteve (44)
3B.......Clay Timpner (12)
HR.......Todd Linden (30)
RBI......Mike Cervenak (103) SB.......Marcus Sanders (57)
OBP......Todd Linden (.437)
SLG......Todd linden (.682)
ERA......Dave McKae (2.42)
W........Broshuis/Floyd/Salankey (12)
K........Matt Cain (176)
SV.......Bateman/Wilson (21)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Big Year for Valdez in '06

Chris Haft of the San Jose Mercury News chimes in from Scottsdale about Merkin Valdez and his big year coming in 2006. It's amazing Valdez is still only 24 years old. With his stuff, you have to be excited to see him put it all together. He'll be a starter in AAA this year, unless he makes the big club, which is a long shot. His long term outlook is still probably as a late-inning releiver.

"Merkin Valdez has reached the stage where his production must begin to match his potential.

Greatness has been predicted for Valdez since the Giants obtained him and left-hander Damian Moss for right-hander Russ Ortiz in December 2002. Although Ortiz won 77 games in five seasons for the Giants, Valdez, with his breathtaking fastball, seemed capable of more.

Valdez remains the organization's most tantalizing pitching prospect. Yet it's worth remembering that Baseball America, the industry's arbiter of minor league talent, ranked Valdez ahead of Matt Cain as the Giants' top prospect as recently as 2004...

...A long shot to make the Giants' opening-day roster, Valdez likely will begin the season in Triple-A Fresno's rotation. At 24, he still has time to fulfill his promise.

``It's going to be a good year to push him and evaluate him,'' Giants Manager Felipe Alou said.

Moreover, the success of contemporaries such as Cain and Noah Lowry, 25, motivates Valdez to follow their path. ``It's something exciting,'' Valdez said. ``I'm young, too.''

Valdez is also far from polished. After six seasons in the minors, he still lacks ideal control of his fastball, which travels in the mid-90 mph range. Nor has he refined his off-speed pitches, such as his change-up. ``Sometimes it's up, you know?'' Valdez said.

With his gangly 6-foot-3, 220-pound stature, Valdez has struggled to maintain a consistent pitching delivery, the source of many of his flaws. ``There's always a tweak for him to get him right,'' Tidrow said."

Full article from the Merc...

John Manuel Q&A

In the most recent "Ask BA" article, John Manuel hits on Giants propsects like Matt Cain, Marcus Sanders and Kevin Frandsen. He is especially high on Sanders--Baseball America's #2 prospect in the organization.



"Q: Chris from San Carlos, CA asks:
OK, clearly you don't rate Billingsley that far ahead of Cain, but Cain put up his number in the tough PCL and the majors where Billingsley was in AA. Verlander was in AA, had to be shut down before the end of the season, and wasn't as dominant as he should have been in college. Cain hasn't had arm problems since 2003, and has gained a lot of muscle since that time. Sure you guys don't want to rethink that? As always, these chats are the best part of Baseball America. Well, aside from the prospect book.
A:

John Manuel: Thanks for the kind words on the chats and the Handbook. It's splitting hairs Chris. I've ranked Giants prospects for three straight years so I know Cain actually better than the other guys. It depends on the day of the week, really, between Billingsley and Verlander for me. Cain is third, just a slight step behind, because I'm just not as confident in his fastball command and overall control. He was only five walks away from leading the PCL in that department; he'd rank first if he had half that many walks, but that's a concern for me.


Q: Alex from San Francisco, CA asks:
Who's the Giants 2B of the future? Sanders or Frandsen? It seems to me that Frandsen hits too well to be a utility man. Would Frandsen's presence increase the chances of Sanders getting moved to the OF?
A:

John Manuel: I almost hate to say it, but Frandsen has to do it again to completely prove to me he's more than a utility guy. If he does and establishes himself, then yes, Sanders could very well move to CF. That might have to happen anywhere; of course, the Giants hold out hope that this second arm surgery for Sanders helps him stay at SS, making this discussion moot.


Q: Rowdy Hardy from Clarksville, TN asks:
Who would consider the best base stealer in the minors? Anyone to challenge Ricky Henderson's records in near or distant future?
A:

John Manuel: Marcus Sanders is my pick, speed with savvy and the boldness to steal a lot of bases. But no one's touching Rickey's 130 or career mark in the near future, not that I can see, people just don't play that way anymore and Rickey was a very unique player.


Q: Ian from Illadelph asks:
Please justify Marcus Sanders over Dustin Pedroia. My BA subscription renewal rests upon your answer. The clock is ticking...
A:

John Manuel: That's a ceiling deal, and I like Pedroia a lot. I consider Sanders the best leadoff hitter in the minors--a line-drive bat, ability to take a walk and game-changing speed combined with baserunning savvy. Just harder to find than Pedroia's tools, and that's even with Pedroia's tools playing up because of his outstanding makeup, drive and desire."


Full article can be found here...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Jon Sickels Top 20

This list from is promising. If Sickels' projections are accurate, the Giants should have some solid depth coming from within in the coming years.

"SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS TOP 20 PROSPECTS

  1. Matt Cain, RHP, Grade A-
  2. Marcus Sanders, 2B, Grade B+
  3. Merkin Valdez, RHP, B+
  4. Eddy Martinez-Esteve, "OF," B+
  5. Travis Ishikawa, 1B, B
  6. Nate Schierholtz, OF, B
  7. Jonathan Sanchez, LHP, B
  8. Kevin Frandsen, 3B, B
  9. Dan Griffin, RHP, B-
  10. Pablo Sandoval, 3B, B-
  11. Shairon Martis, RHP, B-
  12. Freddy Lewis, OF, C+
  13. Waldis Joaquin, RHP, C+
  14. Ben Copeland, OF, C+
  15. Jeremy Accardo, RHP, C+
  16. Jon Coutlangus, LHP, C+
  17. Dan Ortmeier, OF, C+
  18. Brian Horwitz, OF, C+
  19. Brian Wilson, RHP, C+
  20. Ben Nieto, LHP, C+

I have to say that this list surprises me. . .it's a lot better than I thought. Either the Giants have a better farm system than they are given credit for, or I gave out too many Grade C+ ratings and some of those guys should be just plain C..."

Read More from minorleagueball.com

Saturday, February 11, 2006

ODB All-Prospect Team



On Deck Baseaball has released their All-Prospect teams. They seem to be pretty high on a lot of the younger players. Guys like Shairon Martis and Craig Whitaker make the first-team ahead of AAA prospects Jeremy Accardo and Brian Wilson. ODB also gives the nod to lesser-named players who performed and put up numbers to those who have the tools.

Click here to find more ratings on the Giants organization, including the 4th and 5th teamers, from On Deck Baseball.

1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team
-----------------------------------------------------------
1B Travis Ishikawa Will Thompson Chad Santos
2B Kevin Frandsen Mark Minicozzi Aaron Hornostaj
3B Pablo Sandoval Brian Buscher Simon Klink
SS Marcus Sanders Angel Chavez Sharlon Schoop
OF E. Martinez-Esteve Fred Lewis Ariel Nunez
OF Dan Ortmeier Ben Copeland Clay Timpner
OF Nate Schierholtz Brian Horwitz John Bowker
C Justin Knoedler Eliezer Alfonzo Brian Munhall
SP Matt Cain Pat Misch Sergio Romo
SP Merkin Valdez Ryan Sadowski Garrett Broshuis
SP Daniel Griffin Ben Nieto Joe Martinez
SP Jonathan Sanchez Kelvin Pichardo Mike Musgrave
SP Jesus Reina Nick Pereira Juan Serrato
RP Shairon Martis Jeremy Accardo Brian Wilson
RP Craig Whitaker Waldis Joaquin Brian Anderson


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Draper Answers Q's on Prospects



In his latest mailbag article, Rich Draper talks Matt Cain, the wave of position players to come and Spring Training. He also briefly touches on Kevin Frandsen and the possibilty he makes the Giants in a reserve role.

I think its premature to start talking about Frandsen making an impact in 2006. He had a heckuva run last season, but lets cool it just a little. Let him get his proper seasoning in Fresno before tossing him in the show just because he's the best option. If he's tearing up the PCL at mid-season then maybe we can talk. Do you think Brian Sabian will really go into the season with only Jose Vizcaino and a rookie to backup 2B/SS/3B?

"Cain definitely could reach the 15-win mark ... but no pressure, Matt. Manager Felipe Alou calls the 21-year-old pitcher "the real deal -- a special phenom. He's a fearless guy with tremendous stuff, with tremendous [poise] at such a tender age." The kid is solidly built, has strong legs, good mechanics and is a smart guy who is able to adjust. Imagine last season, when he baffled batters with his fastball, a pitch most veterans can kill. Cain will be fun to watch."
"There are few openings on the roster, but expect Angel Chavez and Kevin Frandsen to be among candidates for a bench role. Chavez, by the way, has decided not to play for his native Panama in the World Baseball Classic and will report early to Spring Training to improve his chances of making the team."


Read full article...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ben Nieto

BA's current Organizational Report profiles Ben Nieto, LHP. Nieto is a burly lefthander, 5'10", 225 lbs drafted in round 38 by the Giants out of Riverside, CC. He reportedly had some scholarship offers to 4 year colleges, but was eager to start his pro career. In John Manuel's BA Chat Wrap after BA posted their Giants Top 10 Prospects, he said Nieto could get his fastball into the low 90's which is good for a lefthander. Nieto put up excellent numbers in the AZL and with Salem-Keizer in the NWL:

AZL- 2-2, 1.26, 28 IP, 38 K, 6 BB.

S-K- 3-0, 1.05, 25.2 IP, 23 K, 7 BB.

Combined stats for both leagues, 53.2 IP, 63 K, 13 BB.

Here's some quotes from the article by Giants Scouting and Player Development Director Dick Tidrow:
"He's not afraid to throw his fastball up in the zone, and he has a good hook. He's willing to go after guys and throw the ball over the plate, and he's got some deception."

"They had trouble hitting his fastball. They had trouble hitting his curveball. They had trouble hitting everything."

"He was a nice surprise. If a guy is willing to throw the ball over the plate and he's hard to hit, he's worth a look."
Nieto certainly doesn't have a classic pitcher's body habitus. His weight could become an issue as he gets older. His stats, especially in the NWL, are impressive. The challenge will be whether he can get away with challenging hitters at higher levels. The article did not mention his velocity, nor did it project where he will pitch in 2006. Coming out of JC, he's still on the young side, so Augusta might be a good bet.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Tidrow Names Coaching Staffs


It looks like Trevor Wilson, along with all managers in the organization, will be sticking around for at least 2006. Wilson has become one of the more highly respected coaches in the organization, and will be heading to Fresno as a pitching coach. Merkin Valdez and Brian Wilson will be among the prospects Wilson will be mentoring in Fresno.

"The Giants' Minor League affiliates enjoyed one of their most successful campaigns in 2005, finishing the regular season with the second-best winning percentage in baseball.

As a reward, Dick Tidrow, vice president of player personnel, announced on Tuesday that all Minor League managers will again guide their clubs for 2006.

Retained are Shane Turner, Triple-A Fresno; Dave Machemer, Double-A Connecticut; Lenn Sakata, whose Class A San Jose team won the California League title, while he captured Manager of the Year honors; Roberto Kelley, Class A Augusta skipper and manager of the Panamanian team in the World Baseball Classic; Steve Decker, short-season Salem-Keizer; and Bert Hunter, the 2005 Arizona Rookie League Manager of the Year, who has led the San Francisco affiliate to two consecutive titles.

Former Giants pitcher Trevor Wilson has also been named pitching coach at Fresno, while Jim Bowie is hitting coach and Patrick Serbus the trainer."

Read more...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dr. B's Preseason Top 50

Here's a look at the top 50 prospects for the San Francisco Giants going into 2006.

1. Matt Cain
(RHP) DOB: 10-10-1984. 6'3", 230 lbs.
Can there be any doubt? It wasn't just that he led the PCL in K's. After all, he did give up a lot of HR's and BB's there. It wasn't just 2.33 ERA in 7 big league starts. He didn't have great peripheral numbers. It was more the way he went about his business, the bulldog personality, the commanding physical presence on the mound. It was finally seeing a kid who was supposed to have a mid 90's fastball finally actually have one! It was the improvement and growth that he appeared to show with each game he pitched.
Welcome to the big leagues, kid. You have a bright, bright future. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that the injury bug doesn't bite. That's the only thing standing between young Mr. Cain and perennial All-Stardom. BTW. I have his autograph on a game ball from when he was with San Jose in 2004.

2. Kevin Frandsen (2B) B-R, T-R. 6'0", 175.
Had a meteoric rise through the system in 2005. Drafted in 2004, he hit pretty well in an injury shortened first season at S-K but gave no hint of the amazing year he would have in 2005. .341 BA in San Jose. .287 in Norwich. .351 in Fresno. He struggled early on in the AFL, but finished strong ending up with a .263 BA. I know folks are going to have a problem with putting him this high, but here's my reasoning: Middle infield is less competetive offensively than other positions. Given that, him probably starting at Fresno this
year, and the end of Ray Durham's contract after this year, I think Frandsen has the best chance of any position prospect of landing a starting gig in the majors within the next two years. Are there players with more upside in the system? Probably, but they all have warts and play at more competetive positions, so I'll go with Frandsen at #2.

3. Dan Ortmeier (OF) B- S, T- L. DOB: 5-11-81. 6'4", 220.
.274/.360/.463 with 20 HR's, 35 SB's and 12 CS for AA Norwich. Not dominant numbers, but the Eastern League is the toughest league for hitters in all the minors. .385/.414/.654 with 4 SB's and 0 CS in 26 AB's for Mesa in the AFL. Is this a taste of what he'll do in the hitter friendly PCL West? His AFL campaign was cut short by wrist soreness and personal business. Neither should be a problem this season.

4. Craig Whitaker (RHP) DOB- 11-19-1984. 6'4", 180.
It's hard to believe that he's the same age as Matt Cain. That tells you something
about Matt Cain right there. 3-4, 4.66, 58 IP, 72 K's!, 38 BB, 5 saves. Struggled as a starter early in the season. Settled down and pitched pretty well as a reliever in the second half. I rank him this hight based on upside. Started out much more raw than Cain, but otherwise has similar stuff, maybe a little better. I was influenced quite a bit by a recent write up in BA in which Tidrow says he's still a starter and should come quickly once he puts it all together. Look for a breakout year, but still has time even if he doesn't. Roger Craig Whitaker! Hummmbaaby!!

5. Fred Lewis (OF) 25 yo. B-L, T-R. DOB: 12-9-80. 6'2", 190.
.273/.361/.396 with 30 SB's and 13 CS. for AA Norwich. Again, not dominant numbers, but was well over
.300/.400 after a slow first 2 months of the season. Has always had good OBP's even when his BA suffers. Poised for a big AAA season. League factors are a big consideration here too. That's what puts him ahead of the SJ crowd IMO.

6. Nate Schierholtz (OF) B-L, T-R. DOB: 02-15-1984. 6'2", 215.
.319/.363/.514. with 15 HR's, 8 triples and 37 doubles. Led the Cal League in OF assists with 15 after switch from 3B. Had a very good playoff run. Had he stayed at 3B, I would probably have ranked him #2, but looks like he can make it as an OF too. He puts up anything close to these #'s in CT next year and he will be #1.

7. Marcus Sanders (SS) B-R, T-R. DOB: 08-25-1985. 6'0", 160.
.300/.407/.400 with 57 SB's and 9 CS for Augusta in the Sally League. Great OBP! Great SB #'s! Great a
ge! What's not to like? Well, he has a bum shoulder which calls into question whether he can stay at SS. A move to the OF would lessen my enthusiasm considerably. Otherwise he's a clear #2.

8. Sharon Martis (RHP). DOB 03-30-1987 6'1", 175 lbs.
2-1, 1.85, 34 IP, 50 K, 9 BB!! for AZL Giants. Mid 90's fastball with advanced secondary stuff and command. Barring injury, this kid is going to move up fast. Since we have a paucity of "sure thing" prospects, I see no reason not to get out in front of a kid with this upside.

9. Pablo Sandoval (3B) B-S, T-S!! DOB 08-11-1986. 5'11", 180 lbs???
.330/.383/.405 for S-K, in a league for older, college draftees. I was going to rank him #2 by a fair margin until I saw is picture in BA. There is no way he's anywhere close to 180 lbs. 220-230 might be a conservative estimate.
I kind of wish he had stayed at catcher, but the Giants apparently love his bat and think it will develop better at 3B. Needs to stay away from the Cheeseburgers big time! Another oddity: He's fully ambidextrous. Throws right on the field, but his left arm is equally strong and reportedly a cannon.

10. Waldis Joaquin (RHP) DOB- 12-25-1986. 6'2", 190 lbs.
1-1, 3.64, 29.3 IP, 37 K, 10 BB for AZL Giants. The other teenage phenom pitcher. He may have more upside than Martis, but is less developed. Got everyone's attention late in the short season with 8 K's in 3 IP, an outing where he reportedly hit 98 MPH on the radar gun at least 8 times. He may be raw, but 10 BB's in 30 IP ain't at all bad for an 18 yo kid with a 98 MPH heater!

11. Travis Ishikawa (1B) B-L, T-L. DOB: 09-24-1983. 6'3", 190.
.282/.387/.532 with 22 HR's for San Jose. Finally started to show why scouting
reports have always been good on him. Showed good power in a difficult park for LH power hitters. Good OBP-BA differential. His relatively low BA in a hitter's league gives me pause. I want to see what he does in the Eastern leaugue before I put him in my top 10.

12.Merkin Valdez (RHP) DOB: 11-10-1981. 6'5", 210.
5-6, 3.53, 107 IP, 96 K's, 45 BB's. This is another one folks may have an issue with.
Falls this far on my list due to two weak finishes in a row. Not only that, but IMO his numbers before the elbow started hurting were disappointing for a strong pitcher's league. Notice also that he isn't exactly young anymore. Still seems to have great tools. Lets hope his work in
Instructional League will pay dividends and hope for good health. A strong AAA campaign will shoot him back up the list and could conceivably put him in the majors by the end of the season.

13. Eddy Martinez-Esteve (OF?) B-R, T-R(if you can call what he does with his right arm throwing). DOB 07-14-1983. 6'2", 215.
.313/.427/.524. Another controversial placement. Eddy may be the best pure hitter in the organization, possibly in all of the minor leagues. So, what's the rap? He's a terrible, terrible fielder. Zero arm strength could improve a year removed from shoulder surgery, but he has way more issues than that. Weight, conditioning and motivation
are also concerns. Still, it's great to have prospect this good this far down the list.

14. Brian Wilson (RHP) DOB: 03-16-1982. 6'1", 205.
5-1, 0.82, 33 IP, 30 K, 7 BB for low A Augusta. 0-0, 0.57, 15.2 IP, 22 K, 5 BB for AA Norwich. 1-1, 3.97, 13 K, 8 BB for AAA Fresno. 1-3, 6.11, 17.2 IP, 15 K, 12 BB. for Mesa, AFL. Apparently fully recovered from pre-draft TJ, Wilson is showing why he probably would have been a first rounder without the injury. Reportedly was hitting 98 MPH on the gun during the season. I'll chalk up his poor AFL to fatigue and working on secondary pitches. If he pitches well for Fresno, he should be the #1 option if help is needed in the bullpen. Given how Felipe manages, that is a fairly good bet.

15. Jonathan Sanchez (LHP) DOB: 11-19-1982. 6'2", 165.
5-7, 4.08, 125.2 IP, 166 K's!!, 39 BB. Eye popping secondary numbers, but I'm concerned by that ERA in a pitcher's league. His age gives me pause too. IMO, BA ranked him too high. Still, nice to have a kid this good all the way down at #15.

16. Kelyn Acosta (RHP) DOB: 04-24-1985. 6'1", 170.
0-1, 1.42, 12.2 IP, 6 K, 3 BB, 5 saves for Augusta after returning from TJ late in the year. A burly young RHP,
Acosta reportedly had a high 90's fastball before the injury. I am absolutely euphoric that he pitched this well from the get go coming off rehab. I hope they let him start again, but he could be a good prospect as a reliever too. I'm looking for a breakout year.

17. Ben Copeland (OF) B-L, T-L, DOB: 12-17-1983. 6'1", 195.
.333/.388./.517 in 60 AB's for AZL Giants. .306/.364/.512 in 120 AB's for S-K. Ranks ahead of Clay Timpner because he's showing more power early on. He'll have to move fast at his age, though.

18. Dan Griffin (RHP) DOB: 09-29-1984, 6'7"! 225 lbs.
0-0, 0.75, 12 IP, 20 K, 6 BB for AZL Giants. 3-2, 2.39, 37.2, 49 K, 12 BB. I don't know how hard he throws. At his size, does it matter? Gotta love the command from a kid this big, this early.

19. Bill Sadler (RHP) DOB: 09-21-1981.
6-5, 3.31, 84.1 IP, 81 K, 33 BB. I love the way he's being developed. Generally pitches more than 1 inning at a time in setup roles. Command got much better as the season progressed. The Giants gave me a scare when they didn't protect him for the Rule 5 draft. Why anyone would take Mitch Wylie over Sadler is beyond me, but we're
the lucky ones on that score. Sadler has a mid 90's fastball and could be a closer some day. This is the way I think the Giants should have handled Dave Aardsma. Can't wait to see what Sadler does with Fresno.

20. Mark Minicozzi (2B) B-R, T-R. DOB- 02-11-1983.
.321/ .411/.428 for S-K. Again, position plays a role here. Put up significantly better numbers at S-K than Frandsen did in 2004. Gotta love the OBP.

21. Justin Hedrick (RHP) DOB: 06-08-1982. 6'3", 225 lbs.
3-4, 3.55, 58.1 IP, 75 K's! 23 BB. A shade on the old side, but just his first full pro season. Had some ups and downs, but appeared to be dominant at times. It was probably a mistake to try to put him in a closer role at the start of the season. I personally favor the Bill Sadler track for young relief pitchers. Finished with one of the best K/IP ratios in the organization and a pretty darn good K/BB. Should move up to Norwich.

22. Clay Timpner (OF) B-L, T-L. DOB: 05-13-1983.
.291/.334/.397 with 4 HR's, 12 triples, 34 SB's and 13 CS. May be the best defensive OF in the organization. Offensively, he may be a tweener. Not enough OBP to lead off, not enough power to hit farther down the order.

23. Justin Knoedler (C) B-R, T-R. DOB: 07-17-1980.
I had to put him somewhere. Why not here? I'm a lot less excited about Knoedler now than I was last year. Has a cannon for an arm, but wasn't that great in other aspects of defense. Looked lost in a handful of major league AB's. hit just .226 in a very hitter friendly AFL. Somehow, I feel this ranking is way too high, but with the state of our catching, he's as good a bet as anyone to be our backup to Matheny, if not this year, then maybe 2007.

24. Jon Coutlangus (LHP) DOB: 10-21-1980.
4-0, 3.04, 77 IP, 79 K, 29 BB for San Jose. A converted OF. After a slow start, he was virtually untouchable in the second half. Age is less of a factor due to lack of wear and tear on his arm. Could move up fast.

25. John Bowker (OF) B-L, T-L. DOB: 07-05-1983.
.267/.319/.414 with 13 HR's for San Jose. He wouldn't be on the list at all save for a strong second half after floundering below the Mendoza Line for most of the first half. Could break out in 2006.

26. Michael Mooney (OF) B-R, T-R. DOB: 06-08-1983.
.342/.389/.516 for S-K. Had a great short season at S-K. The problem is he's been around for what seems like forever and he's still in short season? Reportedly has been held back by emotional issues which he seems to have put behind him. We'll see. Reportedly has a cannon for an arm.

27. Chris Begg (RHP) DOB: 09-12-1979. 6'4", 195 lbs.
8-7, 3.07, 138 IP, 86 K, 23 BB! Signed as an undrafted FA, Begg has worked on is game as hard as anyone in the organization. He's pitched wherever and whenever he's had the opporunity. International competition for Team Canada, AFL, Winter Ball. Uses a sinker and great control to full advantage. Lights out in Winter ball this year. Let's see what he can do in the PCL which is not kind to sinkerballers.

28. Garrett Broshuis (RHP) DOB: 12-18-1981.
12-9, 4.40, 151.1 IP, 124 K, 35 BB for San Jose. 0-1, 5.35, in 12 IP with Fresno. A slightly younger version of Chris Begg. He's reputed to be a highly intelligent pitchers who will get the most out of limited tools.

29. Ben Nieto (LHP) DOB- 04-04-1984. 5'11", 225 lbs.
2-2, 1.26, 28.2 IP, 38 K, 6 BB for AZL Giants. 3-0, 1.05, 25.2 IP, 23 K, 7 BB for S-K. Don't know much about him. John Manuel said he could get up to 90-91 MPH in the BA chat. An intriguing prospect out of Riverside CC in my neck of the woods. I have a friend who pitches for Chaffey College who says Riverside has a real good program.

30. Brian Anderson (RHP) DOB: 05-25-1983, 6'3", 210 lbs.
3-1, 1.95, 27.2 IP, 42 K!, 3 BB!! 19 saves. BA named him the 2005 Giants draftee closest to the majors. Closers in the low minors usually don't project well, but gotta love those numbers!

31. Nick Pereira (RHP) DOB- 09-22-1982. 6'0" 190 lbs.
5-3, 3.04, 50.1 IP, 41 K, 14 BB for S-K. Yet another young draftee with excellent control numbers.

32. Ariel Nunez (OF) B-R, T-R. DOB: 08-03-1985. 6'3", 190 lbs.
.367/.457/.447 with 28 SB's and 6 CS for AZL Giants. I don't know why but I have a suspicion that I'm selling this kid short. One obvious weakness is lack of power. He has the size to develop it and John Manuel mentioned power potenitial in the BA chat. He could be ranked a whole lot higher on next year's list.

33. Jesus Reina (LHP) DOB: 04-20-1984.
2-4, 5.16, 68 IP, 72 K, 42 BB. Some may rank him higher than this. I am frankly skeptical due to apparent stamina issues and a very high walk rate.

34. Sharlon Shoop (SS) B-R, T-R. DOB: 04-15-1987! 6'0", 160 lbs.
.254/.328/.296 with 10 SB, 4 CS. Grew up with Sharon Martis on Curacao. BA calls hiim the best defensive SS in the organization outside of Omar Vizquel. Brought his BA up from below the Mendoza line in the second half of a short season. The obvious concern is offense but he has time to develop that. Should have good size when he fills out.
It's stupendous to have a prospect of this quality this far down the list!!

35. Erick Threets (LHP) DOB: 11-04-1981. 6'5", 240 lbs.
1-2, 5.06, 42.2 IP, 35 K, 31 BB. Not exactly young, but amazing he's not older considering how long he's been kicking around. I don't know what his velocity was last season. His K totals would suggest it wasn't 100 MPH. The most encouraging thing about his numbers is that he kept his walk rate below 1/IP. He'll be an extra year removed from shoulder surgery in 2006. It should be a make or break year.

36. Phil Lussier (RHP) DOB: 11-07-1985. 6'2", 220 lbs.
1-1, 3.05, 38.1 IP, 32 K, 6 BB! for AZL GIants. A burly young kid with great control numbers.

37. Dave McKae (RHP) 11-24-1981. 6'2", 180 lbs.
3-2, 2.42, 67 IP, 83 K, 17 BB. I don't like his age/level, but those numbers deserve some kind of notice. We'll see.

38. Brian Horwitz (OF) B-R, T-R. DOB- 11-07-1983. 6'1", 180 lbs.
.349/415/.460 for Augusta. I believe he was the MVP of the Championship series after a callup to San Jose. Has won two consecutive batting titles after an identical BA with S-K in 2004. He's got doubles power, but hasn't hit mahy HR"s. That could be a problem for a corner OF. Still, he may be the best pure hitter in the organization.

39. William Thompson (1B) B-L, T-L. DOB: 11-20-1982. 6'1", 180 lbs.
.384/ .452/.492 for S-K. Thompson is a lefthanded twin of Brian Horwitz. Could rival Brian for title of best hitter in the organization. The big problem is obviously the lack of power for a first baseman. HIs season was cut short by a fracture of the foot or ankle which is expected to be fully healed by ST.

40. Patrick Misch (LHP) DOB: 08-18-1981. 6'2", 195 lbs.
3-9, 6.35, 102 IP, 69 K, 40 BB for Fresno. 4-2, 3.52, 61.1 IP, 43 K, 7 BB. Some folks may argue that this is way too low. Misch did get his feet back on the ground in Norwich, the PCL is particularly unfriendly to finesse pitchers, but those Fresno numbers are ugly. I'll be happy to say I was wrong if he has a better year at Fresno in 2006.

41. Antoan Richardson (OF) B-S, T-R. DOB: 10-08-1983. 5'8", 165 lbs.
.321/.465!!/ .378 with 40 SB and just 6 CS for AZL Giants. What an intrigueing prospect. Reportedly the fastest guy in the organization, 3.9 sec to 1B lefthanded and 4.0 righthanded. His mother was a sprinter for Bermuda in the Olympics. Reportedly has a very unorthodox hitting style. Think Neifi Perez without the power. Still, his OBP is very un-Neifi like. Put that with the speed and we could be onto something here.

42. Emmanuel Cividanes (OF) B-L, T-L. DOB: 10-31-1984. 6'1", 175 lbs.
.345/.348/.469 with 6 SB's and 0 CS. I don't know too much about this kid. He's been kicking around AZ for a couple of years. My impression is that he's a toolsy kid with some iupside. He obviously isn't afraid to swing the bat!

43. Jake Wald (SS) B-R, T-R. DOB: 02-08-1982. 6'2", 180 lbs.
.293/.357/.493 with 15 HR's for San Jose. A little old to be coming out of high A ball, but has very nice size and power for a shortstop. I saw him put a charge into a ball late in the season againtst Inland Empire that sure impressed me. If he can keep it going in CT, he could be a Rich Aurilia type middle infielder.

44. Joe Bateman (RHP) DOB: 05-06-1980. 6'1", 182 lbs.
3-4, 1.91, 75.1 IP, 80 K, 22 BB, 21 saves for San Jose. A sidearming righty, I'm not sure why Bateman got hung out to dry in San Jose after pitching successfully in Norwich at the end of 2004. Became the closer after Justin Hedrick struggled in that role and was lights out. Were I an opposing GM, I would have been very tempted to take a flyer on him in Rule 5. Gosh! Bateman's at #44? That's awesome!

45. Tim Hutting (SS) B-R, T-R. DOB: 10-29-1981. 6'0", 190 lbs.
.259/.360/.344. In an organization full of sleepers, Hutting may be the sleepiest. Once again, the Eastern League is so tough on hitters. I'm intrigued by the OBP.

46. Alfredo Simon (RHP) DOB: 09-09-1980. 6'4", 230 lbs.
3-8, 5.03, 91.1 IP, 60 K, 24 BB, 19 saves for Norwich. This may well be too low for a guy with high 90's heat, but my gosh, how long do you wait for the performance to catch up with the tools? Simon seemed to pitch a little better as a closer, but those are ugly numbers, especially the K/IP.

47. Ryan Sadowski (RHP) DOB: 10-04-1982. 6'4", 185 lbs.
9-6, 4.64, 126 IP, 118 K, 42 BB. for San Jose. A vast improvement on his prior performances. He had several eye popping games with 10+ K's. Still a little on the inconsistent side but must have good stuff when he gets it together. Let's see if he can find more consistency at a higher level.

48. Josue Gomez (LHP) DOB: 03-14-1985. 6'3", 200 lbs.
2-0, 2.65, 34 IP, 37 K, 19 BB for AZL Giants. Gomez could be another major sleeper. A big lefty who reportedly get his fastball into the low 90's.

49. Joey Dyche (OF) B-R, T-R. DOB: 10-27-1982. 6'1", 185 lbs.
.289/.359/356 with 17 SB's and 10 CS for S-K. A draftee out of Lewis and Clark College, alma mater of Marvin Benard and Jason Ellison. BA of .500 his senior year in college. I'd say his BA with S-K was a little disappointing. He certainly showed no power and the CS rate is alarming. May have been a little fatigued after the college season. We'll see.

50. Angel Chavez (INF) DOB: 07-22-1981. 6'1", 195 lbs.
Hit .280+ with a total of 16 HR's for SJ and Fresno bouncing back from a disappointing 2004. He's got good size for a middle infielder and has some pop. Hit .263 in a handful of appearances with SF in Sept. Ceiling is realistically as a reserve infielder.

Here's a few names that I didn't have room for in the Top 50 who I think deserve some mention:

Alex Hinshaw (LHP)
David Quinowski (LHP)
Wayne Foltin (RHP)
David Maroul (INF)
Tom King (RHP) 6'5" submariner signed in Sept out of an indy league. Is already generatiing a bit of a buzz. John Manuel says BA's reports says he can bring it.
Robert Grace (RHP) Scott Eyre's half brother.
Carlos De La Rosa (RHP)