Top 50 Prospects: #40-#36

As the Top 50 Giants Prospects continues, we discuss a first baseman whose name is evocative of the past, another undrafted free agent who led his school into Division I baseball, and another who comes from a school where the Giants like to draft from, and hit .500 there (and we're not talking slugging percentage!)

Date of Birth: 12/18/1981 Position: P Height: 6'2" Weight: 185 Bats: R Throws: R
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th Round (#160 overall) of the 2004 Draft
2005 Stats
San Jose - High A 12 9 4.40 26 26 0 151.1 173 80 74 16 35 124 .285 1.19
Fresno - AAA 0 1 5.25 2 2 0 12.0 17 9 7 1 2 2 .347 0.83

Broshuis’s numbers in San Jose certainly don’t blow anyone away, but the California league was a bit of a launching pad in 2005, and Broshuis’ 4.40 ERA was ranked 7th in a league where only 3 starting pitchers managed to keep their ERA under 4. 2005 was a solid year all around for Broshuis, who improved his slider and looked better with his changeup, and was one of the rocks in a rotation that had a bit of turnover. Although Broshuis was promoted late in the season to Fresno, he returned for the playoffs and picked up 2 wins, including a crucial Game 3 against Lake Elsinore with San Jose down 2-0 and facing elimination.

Broshuis’ strength is in his smarts. He’s got an advanced feel for pitching, which is one reason why he’s picked up the slider so quickly since he started throwing it in 2003. He also has extraordinary control, so he doesn’t hurt himself often on the mound. That’s a good thing, because he needs every advantage he can get. His fastball velocity is a very slow 85-87, and he can get hit when he leaves it in the zone too much.

The future for Broshuis is hard to figure. One can usually find a good place for someone with a knowledge of how to pitch and excellent control, but he is going to have to figure out another way to fool hitters at higher levels or else a move to the bullpen is unavoidable. Whether or not his intelligence and ability to deceive hitters will be more or less effective in shorter stints is something we won’t know until it happens. Broshuis is likely to be in Connecticut next season to figure it out.

Date of Birth: 11/20/1982 Position: 1B Height: 6'1" Weight: 180 Bats: L Throws: L
Acquired: Drafted in the 7th Round (#220 overall) of the 2004 Draft
2005 Stats
Salem-Keizer - Short A .384 .452 .492 .944 185 25 71 12 1 2 35 23 22 0 1

Colorfully nicknamed ‘ClarkRobby’ by some Giants fan for his Humm-Baby era invoking name, Thompson was part of Salem-Keizer’s monster lineup along with Pablo Sandoval and Mike Mooney before suffering an ankle injury that cut short his season. Sandoval and Mooney supplied the power, while Thompson’s spectacular hitting (.384) and on base percentage (.452) set them up. Despite missing several games, Thompson became the 2nd straight Volcano to win the Northwest League Batting Title, following Brian Horwitz of the previous season.

Thompson’s batting eye has emerged as a strength. This year he improved his batting average significantly, up from .293 in the Northwest League last season, but still managed to draw more walks than strikeouts for the 2nd straight season (He had 37 walks and 34 strikeouts in the 2004 season). He also plays above average defense.

The weakness for the former Santa Clara University star is that he hasn’t put up the power numbers one would hope out of a corner infielder, with only 3 pro home runs in 410 at bats. Before his 2005 season was cut short, he had significantly improved his power from 2004, but it still has a long way to go. At 22, he was also a little old for the NWL, and it was a bit of a surprise that he hadn’t advanced. For 2006, the move to fullseason ball is very likely, as there’s little left to prove in short season leagues. He should anchor the Greenjackets next spring.

Date of Birth: 10/27/1982 Position: OF Height: 6'1" Weight: 185 Bats: R Throws: R
Acquired: Drafted in the 7th Round (#222 overall) of the 2005 Draft
2005 Stats
Salem-Keizer - Short A .289 .359 .356 .714 284 43 82 6 2 3 26 25 44 17 10

What is it about the Giants and Lewis & Clark State College in Idaho? Before Dyche, the school had produced Steve Decker (1988), Marvin Benard (1992), Keith Foulke (1994) and Jason Ellison (2000). However, before being drafted, Dyche did something that had never been done at the NAIA powerhouse school: He hit .500. For the entire season. 202 AB, 101 hits. So you’ll have to forgive the Giants if they felt they could go to that well once again.

Dyche, who played for L&C alumnus Decker at Salem-Keizer in 2005, didn’t come close to batting .500, but he had a solid pro debut. As another center field prospect whose best tools are his speed and defense, he played well over the year and drew a decent number of walks to go with his .289 average. He didn’t have an ideal stolen base rate, though, getting only 17 stolen bags in 27 attempts.

Dyche’s biggest concern is his inside-out swing, which is even more pronounced than Jason Ellison, who used it to hit extremely well for a couple of months in the bigs, but then didn’t hit at all. On the good side, he can spray the ball to all fields and runs well down the line, making the most of each and every contact he makes, including bunt hits. The downside is that his power suffers, and doesn’t regularly hit the ball deep enough to even get a significant amount of doubles.

Dyche will continue to compete in a crowded outfield picture in the Giants system, and will end up competing with the Giants top pick in 2005, Ben Copeland, for quite a bit of playing time in center. Without any power, center field is the best place for Dyche to stick, but it may behoove him to tinker with that swing and see if he can get any more out of it without hurting his on base skills.

Date of Birth: 08/17/1976 Position: 3B Height: 5'11" Weight: 200 Bats: R Throws: R
Acquired: Signed as a free agent in 2003
Originally Signed by the Yankees as an undrafted free agent in 2000
2005 Stats
Fresno - AAA .312 .369 .498 .867 494 68 154 29 3 19 103 38 61 5 0

It’s hard to call Cervenak a prospect, as he’ll turn 30 next August. But, he could end up impacting the major league team, which is more than some of the players on this list can say, so he gets mentioned. Cervenak got nicknamed the ‘Mayor of Norwich’ after playing 4 straight seasons in the AA club, and by a matter of coincidence staying in Norwich after the club changed affiliations from the Yankees to the Giants by virtue of the Giants picking up Cervenak in the 2002 Rule 5 draft minor league portion.

Cervenak is riding a hot couple of seasons. He hit .337/.414/.583 in Norwich in 2004, leading to his first callup to AAA late in the season and his winning the SF Organizational Triple Crown. His 2005 AAA performance was strong, and he was the main bat in the lineup behind Todd Linden, with 19 home runs and 103 RBI. Cerveank also played in the International World Cup on the U.S. team, leading the 7th place squad with a .368 average, 4 home runs and an .816 slugging percentage over 7 games.

Cervenak probably will not get much of a chance ever in the majors. However, he’s probably the first callup to backup third should either of the Giants current third basemen go down or get traded, and a weak free agent market in third basemen next season may lead to him getting a chance to backup whomever the Giants sign to play in 2007. Cervenak’s a hard work who has developed a solid batting approach the past couple of seasons and has a little pop in his bat. If he ever makes the majors, he won’t excite anyone, but he’ll give quality at-bats.

#36 - Dave McKae
Date of Birth: 11/24/1981 Position: P Height: 6'2" Weight: 190 Bats: R Throws: R
Acquired: Signed as an Undrafted Free Agent in 2005
2005 Stats
Salem-Keizer - Short A 3 2 2.42 19 4 3 67.0 55 27 18 5 17 83 .219 2.00

Another undrafted free agent in the Giants system who debuted well? Imagine that.

McKae came from UC Davis, which had it’s first season of Division I-A play in 2005. McKae worked both as a starter and reliever in college, and in 2003 as a sophomore, threw the first 9 inning no-hitter in school history against the FHSU Tigers, who were the top hitting team in Division II that season.

With the Volcanoes, McKae continued to look strong both as a reliever and starter. He had 4 starts out of 19 appearances, but also managed 3 saves and had a spectacular 83 strikeouts versus 17 walks in 67 innings. He did allow 9 unearned runs, which is a small cause for concern on a team that was tops defensively in the Northwest League, but time will tell if he lets a lot of runners who get on that way come around.

For 2006, it may be all about McKae not getting lost in a strong group of pitchers coming out of Salem-Keizer and the rookie-level Arizona Giants. When he came to the Giants, he mentioned that he was excited about getting the chance to win a championship, since UC Davis was ineligible as it changed divisions. With the Giants having won 2 championships in the lower divisions and McKae’s S-K Volcanoes coming in a close 2nd in the Northwest League, there’s a good chance he’ll be a contributor to another champion very soon. Augusta is the likely destination for 2006, but the Walnut Creek native may get pushed to the Bay Area and play in San Jose as well.

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