Top 50 Prospects: #15 - Chris Begg

The Giants don't go to the independent leagues to find prospects very often, but they found one of the hardest working guys around. He's so hard working that when he's not in the Giants system, he can often be found leading Canada's national team.

#15 - Chris Begg
Date of Birth: 09/12/1979 Position: P Height: 6'4" Weight: 195 Bats: R Throws: R
Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2003
2005 Stats
Norwich - AA 8 7 3.07 23 21 0 138.0 142 57 47 9 23 86 .265 2.05

One of the hardest workers in the Giants system could be the guy you haven’t heard anything about that’ll be on Fresno’s 2006 rotation. But if you haven’t heard about him, you probably don’t watch any international baseball competitions.

Chris Begg might be best known for being a mainstay on Canada’s international teams. He’s a veteran of the 2004 Olympics. This past year, he played for Canada’s team in the World Cup played in the Netherlands in September, went in November to the Americas Olympic Qualifier, and then dominated the Venezuelan Winter League with a 2.43 ERA and a 5-1 record. In March, he’ll be pitching in Arizona, but for the Canadian WBC team.

That’s a full offseason, but Begg has worked hard to get where he is. Despite being the 2001 MAAC Pitcher of the Year and ABCA Northeast Region Pitcher of the Year in his senior year at Niagara (where the Giants would draft Dan Griffin from in 2005), Begg went undrafted. Instead of giving up on baseball, he went to the Northern League, where he was the NL Rookie Pitcher of the year in 2003 before the Giants picked him up in a rare foray into independent baseball.

Begg is a four pitch pitcher, and relies on finesse to be successful. He throws a high 80’s fastball, and from there works primarily with above average sinkers and sliders, and has a solid changeup. When he’s on, he rarely walks anyone, usually living under 2 walks every 9 innings pitched, and he keeps the ball on the ground, with a 2.05 Groundball/Flyball ratio in 2005. He’s never given up a lot of home runs.

So far, Begg’s pro career has been relatively predictable. After he dominated San Jose in ’03 after being signed, he went to Norwich and had a few problems. He returned to Norwich in ’04 and went back to dominating, but a short exposure to Fresno didn’t go too well. By that token, one might’ve expected him to go to Fresno and do very well, but he stayed in Norwich in 2005, hampered by a finger injury that cost him an appearance he earned in the Eastern League All-Star game. The injury didn’t seem to hamper him much the rest of the year, though.

Begg’s ceiling is a back of the rotation starter right now. He’ll never dominate, but he’s been mostly effective at every level he’s been at, and is the type of pitcher who will not usually hurt himself on the mound by putting runners on. A move to middle relief also wouldn’t be a big surprise in the majors, where Begg might take on a role similar to Jim Brower in Brower’s first couple of years with the Giants, working longer stints out of the bullpen and cleaning up spot starts when the team needs him.

But that’s the kind of guy Begg’s proven himself to be. He’ll do whatever it takes, and usually he’ll do it really well.

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