2005 Giant Minor League Preview

The minor league season starts April 7th, and while the major league Giants are playing for the World Series now, there's quite a bit of Future Giants playing for their share now. Take a look at who is playing where, and who to watch.

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The Fresno Grizzlies have perhaps the strongest team they’ve had since the team started playing in Fresno. There are several players worth watching at Fresno, including more than one that could impact the Giants this year.

Matt Cain RHP – Now who didn’t know this. Matt Cain isn’t just the top Giants prospect, he’s one of the tops in baseball. He aced High-A San Jose (pun fully intended), and was a top pitcher at Norwich, despite tiring a little from just his first full professional season at the end. In Fresno, he’ll be expected to stay sharp, and build further stamina. He could be an option to join San Francisco this year, but only if someone up there falters, and other options don’t work.

Jesse Foppert RHP – The former top prospect was sent to Fresno mostly because there just wasn’t any room right now in the San Francisco rotation, and the team wants him on a regular starting schedule. Still recovering from Tommy John surgery, a lot of eyes will be on how his stamina, strength and velocity hold up.

Brian Dallimore 2B – He’s the 2003 PCL batting champ. He was a top Fresno player in 2004, and hit a grand slam for his first major league hit. He had a higher batting average than anyone else in 2005 Spring Training, Arizona or Florida. He can play nearly any position. So why isn’t he with San Francisco? Roster squeeze, simply put. He could be a top option if something goes wrong in San Francisco, but one has to wonder how long he can keep dealing with not getting promoted despite being a top performer.

Patrick Misch LHP – Another pitcher, imagine that. The southpaw Misch spent all of 2004 in AA Norwich and dominated the entire year. Some might say he’s reminiscent of Noah Lowry, but the truth is that before Lowry got the callup last year, Lowry reminded people of Misch. An excellent pitcher with good command and 4 solid pitches, he should be a future major leaguer, and not in the distant future.

Justin Knoedler C – He made his major league debut last year in a September callup, but he still has a lot to prove. If the Giants don’t keep Torrealba, who could start for half the teams in the majors, around after 2005, Knoedler is the top option to be the backup in the majors. He needs to prove he’s ready.

David Aardsma RHP – The top pick in 2003 didn’t have a great debut for the major leagues last year, but he’s still got the stuff to develop into a top closer. He missed much of the spring with minor ailments, so he may start off rough, but he could find his way to the big league bullpen if troubles continue in San Francisco.

Brad Hennessey RHP – Strong major league debut, but needs to prove himself amongst other top pitching prospects.
Kevin Correia RHP – The starter has major league experience, but was converted to a reliever because of competition in the Giants system. Could be called up if he does well.
Michael Cervenak 3B – Longtime Norwich third baseman gets his first prolonged shot at AAA.
Todd Linden OF – Will the former top prospect ever push his way out of AAA?
Jack Taschner LHP- Lost in the Giants’ pitching pool, could surprise a lot of people.
Scott Mnter RHP – Reliever impressed during the spring.


Merkin Valdez RHP – The other top pitcher everyone’s heard of. He was slowed down last year by shoulder problems and an ambivalence by the Giants as to whether to use him as a starter long term, or a reliever right now. He’s back to starting, and a season of consistency should help him return to top prospect status

Alfredo Simon RHP – The other guy that was gotten for Felix Rodriguez in 2004. Was sometimes compared to a younger Valdez, but isn’t quite as good a prospect. The Phillies were thinking about moving him to the bullpen before he rattled off several complete game gems, leading High-A ball in the stat. A move to the ‘pen is still possible, after he struggled after the trade.

Fred Lewis CF – One of the most talked about prospects in the system after an incredible season at High-A San Jose and a successful late season call-up to Fresno, he’s being sent to AA to continue working on his patience and skills. A move to Fresno isn’t out of the question, but he needs to earn it.

Daniel Ortmeier OF – He’s what Lewis is now back in 2004, but an injury filled season derailed him. The switch hitter has a ton of potential, and is looking to get back on track.

Brian Buscher 3B – The former Long Beach star is moving up the system well after surgery in 2004. He’s a slick fielder, but he’s going to have to prove he’s got the stick to hit as a third baseman.

Erick Threets LHP – This is the real life form of ‘Nuke’ Laloosh from the movie Bull Durham. A ton of velocity, a lack of control, and a lot of injuries. Still, he’s a valuable prospect, and it’ll be interesting to see what he can do, and if he can stay healthy

Chris Begg RHP – He pitched for Canada in last year’s Olympics; is he ready for pro ball?
Brian Burres RHP – The top pitcher in San Jose not named Cain, needs to prove last year wasn’t a fluke.
Trey Lunsford C – Former top catching prospect needs to start performing.
Carlos Valderrama OF – Former Fresno player is being squeezed by prospects above and below him. This is his last chance with the Giants.

HIGH-A SAN JOSE GIANTS – Watch This Outfield

Nate Schierholtz OF/3B – The Chabot College alum dominated Low-A ball last year, but leveled off mostly after reaching San Jose. He picked it up at the end of the season, though, after being moved from third to the outfield. He’ll spend this year learning the position and trying to continue his rise through the system.

Eddy Martinez-Esteve OF/DH – The top (2nd round) pick of 2004 suffered rotator cuff surgery after his incredible rise in just 3 months of pro ball. He’ll be DHing until at least July, but he remains a top hitting prospect.

John Bowker OF – The second of the three outfielders taken at the top of the 2004 draft reaches San Jose after a strong debut. He needs to develop his power a little more, but has a ton of potential along with his outfield mates.

Clay Timpner CF – Yes, the third of the three top 2004 picks also made San Jose. Manager Len Sakata seems to want to keep them together. Timpner profiles as a leadoff hitter, but is a clubhouse leader and a defensive gem as well, and could put pressure on CF Fred Lewis ahead of him.

Kevin Frandsen 2B – The former SJSU star returns after a broken collarbone suffered in 2004, and a good spring moonlighting with the big league team.
Travis Ishikawa 1B – The longtime prospect showed flashes of power, but hit under .200 for much of ’04 and needs to play well with consistency.
Garrett Broshuis RHP – The fast rising star will have to anchor an inexperienced rotation, but could be a gem.
Joe Bateman RHP – Reliever was Low-A Hagerstown’s All-Star representative last year; should anchor the bullpen as much as possible in San Jose.

LOW-A AUGUSTA GREENJACKETS – Welcome To The Giants Organization

Darren Sack RHP
– The former Sonoma State star had an up and down time at Salem-Keizer in 2004. He’ll be counted on to lead the young Greenjackets.

Jonathan Sanchez RHP – Will pair with Sack at the top of the Augusta rotation. The 27th round pick had good numbers in rookie ball and solid number at S-K in ’04.

Jonathan Armitage OF – Armitage, a former Georgia Bulldog, should be a local favorite. He had 12 home runs in 447 at bats for Hagerstown in 2004, but will need to hit more consistently this year.

Alex Requena OF – Picked up as a minor league free agent out of the Dodger system, he had 50 stolen bases in 2004, 72 in 2002, and 87 in 2000. Will be expected to set the table for the Greenjackets.


AAA Fresno's Roster

9 Adam Shaballa OF 27 6'11'' 190
 48 Armando Almanza LHP 32 6'3'' 230
 41 Brad Hennessey RHP 25 6'2'' 185
 40 Brandon Puffer RHP 29 6'3'' 190
 31 Brandon Villafuerte RHP 29 5'11'' 195
 32 Brian Cooper RHP 30 6'1'' 180
 7 Brian Dallimore 2B 31 6'1'' 200
 10 Brian Munhall Catcher 5 6'0'' 190
 14 David Aardsma RHP 23 6'5'' 205
 17 Donaldo Mendez SS 26 6'0'' 215
 29 Doug Clark OF 29 6'2'' 207
 37 Jack Taschner LHP 26 6'3'' 190
 12 Jamie Athas UT 25 6'2'' 190
 23 Jeremy Fikac RHP 29 6'2'' 200
 21 Jesse Foppert RHP 24 6'6'' 216
 15 Julio Ramirez OF 27 5'11'' 150
 25 Justin Knoedler Catcher 24 6'2'' 215
 19 Kevin Correia RHP 24 6'3'' 202
 36 Lance Niekro 1B 26 6'3'' 216
 22 Michael Cervenak 3b 28 5'11'' 180
 5 Mickey Lopez UT 31 5'9'' 170
 16 Patrick Misch LHP 23 6'2'' 195
 46 Scott Munter RHP 25 6'6'' 250
 34 Stephan Randolph LHP 30 6'3'' 185
 28 Todd Linden OF 24 6'3'' 225
 45 Yamid Haad Catcher 27 6'3'' 210

AA Norwich's Roster
9 Jeremy Accardo 6'2 190    Mesa, AZ
41 Chris Begg 6'4 195    Sunderland, ON, Canada
6 Brian Burres 6'1 182    Clackamas, OR
12 James Garcia 6'2 210    Torrance, CA
29 Brian Mazone 6'4 200    Cardiff, CA
7 Al Montes 6'2 210    El Paso, TX
39 Anthony Pannone 6'3 220    Olympia, WA
40 Billy Sadler 6'0 190    Pensacola, FL
37 Alfredo Simon 6'4 230    Santiago, D.R.
35 Erick Threets 6'5 240    Livermore, CA
45 Merkin Valdez 6'3 220    San Cristobal, D.R.
15 Chris Curry 6'1 190    Conway, AR
22 Trey Lunsford 6'1 210    South Haven, MS
32 Julian Benavidez 6'2 215    Oakland, CA
38 Brian Buscher 6'0 201    Jacksonville, FL
23 Julio Cordido 6'1 220    Caracas, VZ
5 Tim Hutting 6'0 190    Newhall, CA
10 A.J. LaBarbera 5'10 190    Whittier, CA
26 Tyler Von Schell 6'3 215    Goleta, CA
16 Fred Lewis 6'2 190    Wiggins, MS
8 Dan Ortmeier 6'4 220    Highland Village, TX
46 Dan Trumble 6'2 205    Nampa, ID
25 Carlos Valderrama 5'11 193    Bachaquero, VZ
34 Randy Walter 6'2 210    Ballantine, MT

High-A's San Jose Roster (incomplete)
Nate Schierholtz OF
John Bowker OF
Clay Timpner CF
Eddy Martinez-Esteve OF/DH (Will DH until at least July as he recovers from surgery)
Travis Ishikawa 1B
Kevin Frandsen 2B
Angel Chavez SS
Todd Jennings 3B (Surprising convert from Catcher)
Eliezer Alfonzo C
Guillermo Rodriguez C

Garrett Broshuis SP
Jesse Floyd SP
Jesus Reina SP
Ryan Sadowski SP
Ben Thurmond SP

Joe Bateman RP
Justin Hedrick Closer

Low-A Augusta's Roster (Incomplete)
Darren Sack SP
Jonathan Sanchez SP
Matt Minor SP

Simon Klink IF

Jonathan Armitage OF

Alex Requena UT

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