David Aardsma, P – the hype for Aardsma is already there: Baseball America ranks him third among Giants prospects, he pitched for Rice's NCAA Championship team, he followed that up with a nice stint with San Jose last season, and he has that name thing going (for those in the dark, if he makes it to the pros Aardsma would be alphabetically first in the history of MLB baseball players, dethroning the great Hank Aaron). But success in college as a closer and a mere 18 innings of single-A ball doesn't necessarily translate into major league success. Still, he might be your guy if you're looking for the next Giants closer, Jesse Foppert, or William VanLandingham. Time will tell which one.
|2003 - David Aardsma P - San Jose Giants|
Luke Anderson - pitched 23 innings for three different teams. Anderson, selected in the 18th rd of the draft in 2000, pitched as a reliever in his short 2003 campaign. He was slowed down by an injury to his right shoulder. The 24-year-old will try to make a splash in the crowded group of Giants prospects.
|2003 - Luke Anderson P|
|Arizona League Scottsdale Giants 7/04-7/15|
|Northwest League - Salem Keizer Volcanoes 7/18 -7/25|
|Norwich Navigators 8/02-9/01|
Brian Buscher, 3B – billed as possibly a "lefthanded-hitting Joe Randa" (is that a good or a bad thing?!), Buscher will be in Arizona to do little more than fight to increase the number of "As" behind his minor league affiliate. Scouts say he has trouble pulling the ball, which translates into a lack of power.
|2003 - Brian Buscher 3B, South Atlantic League Hagerstown Suns|
Matt Cain, P – the second highest Giants prospect (behind Merkin Valdez), Cain is still a young'en at 19 years of age. He's got the goods and the stats (2.55 ERA, 90Ks/24BBs in 74 innings at Hagerstown), but the Giants would be wise not to rush him. Should be interesting to see how he handles major league hitters in Arizona.
|2003 - Matt Cain P, South Atlantic League Hagerstown Suns|
Brad Hennessey - the Giants top pick in 2001, missed the entire 2002 season with a tumor in his back. He came back in 2003 to pitch 79 innings for Hagerstown. His stats were not so great (4.2 era, 3-9 record), but its unfair to evaluate him after what happened the year before. His 2004 campaign will give us a true indication if his skills, stay tuned.
|2003 -Brad Hennessey P, SAL Hagerstown Suns|
Daniel Ortmeier and Fredrick Lewis, OFs – ranked fourth and ninth, respectively, I wish these gentlemen good luck in cracking an already deep San Francisco outfield. Ortmeier is a switch-hitting, nimble outfielder who hit .304 at San Jose last season, but don't expect him to replace Jose Cruz, Jr. anytime soon, as he is probably ticketed to AA-Norwich in '04 to work on pulling the ball and restrengthening his throwing shoulder after surgery. Lewis is considered the fastest Giant in the farm system, but hasn't had a whole lot of organizational baseball experience, so is still very much a work in progress.
|2003 - Daniel Ortmeier OF, San Jose Giants|
|2003 - Fred Lewis OF, South Atlantic League Hagerstown Suns|
Eric Threets - a native of Livermore, was picked in the 7th rd of the 2000 draft. This left-hander pitched for both Hagerstown and Norwich. Ending up with a combined 5.24 era (61 innings pitched) his chances to make the big leagues are slim to none. 2004 will be his 4th year in pro ball so this will not be his last chance.
|2003 - Erick Threets P|
|Norwich Navigators 4/06 - 5/15|
|SAL - Hagerstown Suns 5/24-8/31|
Jeff Urban - spent the last two seasons on the Giants 40 man roster. Urban, 27-years-old had a disappointing 2003 season. He logged in 127 innings ending up with a 5.24 era and giving up 166 hits at Triple-A Fresno. This invitation to Spring Training could be his last, so he needs to make the most out of it.
|2003 -Jeff Urban - PCL Fresno Grizzlies|
*Merkin Valdez, P – the asterisk is to indicate that Valdez isn't a non-roster invitee; he's actually on the 40-man roster. But from all accounts, he's certainly worth mentioning: the number one prospect of the Giants organization according to Baseball America, the 22-year old Valdez has a chance of cracking the major league roster at some point during the upcoming season (perhaps even the opening day roster). Minor league numbers being what they are, Valdez's stats (2.25 ERA, 166Ks/49BBs in 156 innings for Hagerstown) are comparable to those of Cain; however, the buzz – and hope – is that Valdez will be the first to make fans forget all about Russ Ortiz, for whom he was traded (along with Damian Moss).
|2003 - Merkin Valdez P, South Atlantic League Hagerstown Suns|
The non-roster invitees:
David Aardsma, P
Luke Anderson, P
Brian Buscher, 3B
Matt Cain, P
Doug Clark, OF
David Doster, IF
Brad Hennessey, P
Timothy Hutting, IF
Lee Gardner, P
Todd Jennings, C
Craig Kuzmic, C
Fredrick Lewis, OF
Daniel Ortmeier, OF
Adam Shabala, OF
Erick Threets, P
Jeff Urban, P
Jacob Wald, IF
While I'm at it, here are the top ten '04 Giants prospects according to Baseball America:
10. Brian Buscher
9. Fredrick Lewis
8. Craig Whitaker
7. Travis Ishikawa
6. Kevin Correia
5. Todd Linden
4. Daniel Ortmeier
3. David Aardsma
2. Matt Cain
1. Merkin Valdez
Don Shin eats, breathes, thinks, and bleeds in Orange and Black. Pac Bell Park officially opened on his 25th birthday (the one year he decided to move out of the Bay Area!!!). For the 2000 playoff drive, he dyed his hair orange while studying in Korea. He watched Game 6 of the '02 World Series at a restaurant in LA, and couldn't finish his meal afterwards. Feel free to write him at firstname.lastname@example.org to commiserate, cheer, and complain.
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