Seedlings to Stars is going to give you a look at the prospects your favorite team is sending to the prestigious Arizona Fall League. We encourage you to follow along and enjoy the commentary and analysis that we come up with regarding these prospects and their potential impact on your favorite team down the road. If you’re not familiar with the eligibility rules or how the rosters are constructed click here for a quick refresher.
The San Francisco Giants are going to send seven players to the Arizona Fall League in 2012. We know for sure that number one prospect Gary Brown will be there along side shortstop Joe Panik and power hitting first baseman Ricky Oropesa. What we don’t know is who their other four players will be. It looks like those four will all be pitchers but the Giants have not decided exactly (if they have they haven’t let out any clues) which four in particular they will send. If Brian Sabean thinks this will stop the writers at Seedlings to Stars to wait to publish our reviews he has another thing coming!
Gary Brown – Giants 2010 1st Round Pick (24th Overall) out of California State University, Fullerton
2012: .279/.347/.385 with 7 HR, 73 R, 42 RBI, 33 SB
The 23 year old Brown is the Giants top prospect and was rated #38 overall by Baseball America prior to the 2012 season. Brown broke out in a big way in 2011 with a spectacular .336/.407/.519 and 14 HR, 115 R 80 RBI and 53 SB. He was selected to the 2011 Futures Game along with multiple All-Star selections and Player of The Year awards. Brown’s stock was soaring post-2011 as he looked the part of a versatile and dangerous lead-off hitter with great center field defense in the mold of Kenny Lofton. If 2011 was the ceiling for Brown then everybody in the Giants organization is hoping 2012 is the floor. Brown was promoted to Double-A Richmond of the Eastern League and he got out of the gates at a snail’s pace. He hit .227/.333/.284 in the month of April followed by .258/.318/.317 in the month of May. He began to turn things around in June as he hit .294/.364/.413 and then really heated up in July as he hit .355/.389/.573 but he faded over the last month of the season. Ultimately 2012 was a bit of a disappointment for the highly touted Brown as many were hoping for him to carry his success in the Cal League to the Eastern League. Look for him to try and heat back up in Arizona and start the 2013 season in Triple-A Fresno of the Pacific Coast League with a chance of making it to San Francisco by mid-2013.
Joe Panik – Giants 2011 1st Round Pick (29th Overall) out of St. John’s University
2012: .297/.368/.402 with 7 HR, 93 R, 76 RBI, 10 SB
The 21 year old Panik was the top draft pick of the Giants in 2011 and he has lived up to expectations thus far. Despite starting off slow in 2012 he maintained a high level of play and was a top five finisher in the California League in both runs and hits. He coupled his strong offensive performance with solid defense at shortstop and looks like he may be able to stick at the position with a chance of shifting to second base a fall back option. When Panik was drafted he was viewed as a polished collegiate bat with solid plate discipline and a good plate approach and much of that is still true. He’s never going to be a power hitter or burner on the base paths but he makes solid contact and isn’t afraid to draw a walk as evidenced by his K/BB ratio of 25:28 in 2011 and 54:58 in 2012. Look for him to move up to Double-A in 2013 and try and avoid a Gary Brown-ish season. If he stays on course a 2014 MLB debut with the Giants is realistic. Once he gets to San Francisco, he should provide much needed offensive production to what has been – in recent seasons – a lackluster middle infield. The Giants would be thrilled if Panik could be a similar player to the oft-injured Freddy Sanchez, and that is a reasonable comparison for everything breaks right. Panik has shown the plate discipline and contact abilities to sustain a solid average and his speed will play better than Freddy’s at the next level.
Ricky Oropesa – Giants 2011 3rd Round Pick out of the University of Southern California
2012: .263/.338/.425 with 16 HR, 70 R, 83 RBI, 1 SB
The 22 year old Oropesa was assigned to Class-A Advanced San Jose of the California League this season. He made the Giants look good in his first pro season showing the excellent power that some talent evaluators had dubbed “plus-plus.” He has, however, struggled to shake the “inconsistent” label. While he has excellent power he is also prone to strikeouts. His 2012 season is a perfect example of this as he hit 16 home runs and was a top ten Cal League finisher in both doubles and RBI but also finished third in the league with 150 strikeouts. It will be interesting to see how he does in the Arizona Fall League and against Double-A pitching where his plate discipline and approach will be significantly challenged. Suffice it to say Oropesa will need to make adjustments if he wants to reach his potential. While an easy comparison on the power/batting average scale may be Adam Dunn, Oropesa has yet to show the plate discipline necessary for him to reach that ceiling. More realistically Oropesa will fall somewhere in the realm of a Russell Branyan type.
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