Giants Top 50 Prospects: #45-41

One of the Giants minor league home run hitters and a pitcher who moved from the bullpen to the rotation and threw the majority of a no-hitter combine for this look at Giants prospects!

Date of Birth: 02/17/1983 Position: C Height: 6'1" Weight: 175 Bats: L Throws: R
Acquired: Signed as a 5th Year Senior prior to the 2006 Draft
2006 Stats
Team-Level AVG OBP SLG OPS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Salem-Keizer - Short-A .285 .366 .585 .950 207 40 59 12 1 16 52 25 41 2 3

Not much attention gets paid to pre-draft signings, other than the draft and follows.  But sometimes, a good player slips through.

The Giants found one in 2006, signing catcher Adam Witter from East Carolina University as a 5th year senior before the draft.

Witter was one of ECU's leaders, even being awarded the honorary #23 jersey, an award given to the player who best shows the hustle, determination and desire that made late head coach Keith LeClair such a popular player and manager.  Witter was an all-state high school player in Pennsylavania, and played as a wide receiver on his high school's football team.  Witter emerged in his junior year at ECU, moving to catcher for the first time and batting .328 with 7 home runs.  Witter hit .286 with 14 home runs his senior year, with 44 strikeouts and 41 walks.

Still, Witter was mostly overlooked when he finally made his major league debut, but that didn't last long.  Witter hit two two-run home runs in his professional debut at Salem-Keizer, and was a key hitter in S-K's run to a league record season and a championship.  Witter set franchise records for home runs (16) and slugging percentage (.585), while batting .285.

Witter is no stealth prospect anymore, but he still has some low expectations to break through.  The biggest will be proving that he can be an everyday catcher.  Witter was primarily a first baseman and designated hitter in college, and has only recently converted to catcher.  As a catcher, his left-handed bat is a huge plus, but moving elsewhere, his hitting will be less valuable.  ‘Wit', as he is known, is committed to improving at the position.  After the end of the season, he went to the instructional league to work on his skills behind the plate.  Witter started a little under half the games behind the plate for Salem-Keizer, so he will have to prove he can do it for a full year, and do more than 75% of the games.  If he can, he'll move quickly up the rankings as one of the Giants best catching prospects in years.

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
2006 Stats
Team-Level AVG OBP SLG OPS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Salem-Keizer - Short-A .386 .494 .571 1.066 70 16 27 4 0 3 17 15 8 0 0
San Jose - High-A .277 .353 .353 .706 119 15 33 9 0 0 10 14 23 0 1

Thompson's career has been delayed by injuries, but in 2006, his career finally moved up the system.

Thompson suffered a horrific dislocated ankle injury in 2005 at Salem-Keizer, an injury that ended what had been an all-star season and in which he won the batting title with a .384 average.  He spent the fall rehabilitating, and then had a partial ligament tear in his knee that was found just as Spring Training was to begin in 2006.  He missed another month, and wasn't right when he came back.

Thompson finally got back to playing baseball when Salem-Keizer started its 2006 season (his third in Oregon), and he immediately got back to his form.  He hit .386 and had 4 doubles and 3 home runs in 19 games, showing some power that had been lacking his first two years, an important trait for a hopeful first baseman.

At last, Thompson got a chance to move up the system, and went to San Jose.  Thompson started slow, batting just .208 with only 3 walks in his first month at High-A.  But in August, he batted .346 with 7 doubles in 18 hits and 9 walks in 65 plate appearances.  He remained healthy for the rest of the season.

Thompson, however, remains behind the curve on development and still has some catching up to do, but he remains an intriguing sleeper in the system.  His bat handling is advanced, and he is an accomplished hitter.  He also has maintained a high on-base percentage his entire career. 

His weakness, however, remains a major one: power.  He slugged his on-base percentage in San Jose, and while that speaks volumes about his on-base percentage, it also indicates how little he hits for extra base hits.  With his major leg injuries, he won't be stretching many singles into doubles or doubles into triples to supplement his power, either.

Thompson, who will be 24 next year, still has time to improve.  If he returns to San Jose, where he only played 33 games in 2006, Municipal Stadium can really hurt home run numbers.  But he could very possibly be in power-draining Connecticut next year, and will have to work twice as hard to show such improvement.  But it's hard to not like a man who can hit for as much consistency and be a regular on base threat like Thompson is.

Date of Birth: 11/06/1985 Position: P Height: 6'3 Weight: 200 Bats: R Throws: R
2006 Stats
Team-Level W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG G/F
Salem-Keizer - Short-A 2 1 1.52 24 0 16 23.2 18 4 4 2 4 14 .209 2.69

Trinidad came to the Volcanoes from the Dominican Republic, after putting up spectacular numbers in the Dominican Summer League.

Trinidad had a 2.00 ERA but just 2 saves while appearing in 34 games for the DSL Giants.  His most intriguing stats were the 53 strikeouts and 5 walks that he had in 45 innings of work while in the Caribbean.  At 20, he was young enough to make an impact, but old enough that the Giants skipped him past the Arizona Rookie League and straight into the Northwest League.

The result was the league's All-Star closer.

Trinidad cruised to a 1.52 ERA while picking up a league high 16 saves.  He held opposing batters to just a .532 OPS and actually had his worst month of the season in July, the month he was one of four Giants organizational players of the month from Salem-Keizer.

Where Trinidad was a bit of a surprise was in his strikeout rate.  He managed just 14 strikeouts in 23.2 innings, a 5.32 K/9IP, compared to a 10.60 K/9IP rate that he had managed in the Domincan Summer League.  The explanation for the dropoff isn't easy to find out.  Trinidad didn't suffer a major rise in walks, which often is a companion to a sharp drop in strikeouts, so it's unlikely it was his control.  And Trinidad's health seems to have been fine.

Trinidad has a clear path in front of him.  The 2005 closer in Salem-Keizer, Brian Anderson, became the closer in San Jose in 2006 and it would not be surprising to see that happen to Trinidad as well.  Along with AZL Giants closer David Newton, the Giants have a talented pair of young relievers that should make their debuts in full-season baseball in 2007.

Date of Birth: 03/04/1983 Position: P Height: 5'11" Weight: 185 Bats: R Throws: R
Acquired: Drafted in the 28th Round (#852 overall) of the 2005 Draft
2006 Stats
Team-Level W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG G/F
Augusta - Low-A 10 2 2.53 31 10 4 103.1 78 33 29 9 19 95 .208 0.57

Romo was one of the highest rated pitchers in Division II-A before being drafted in 2005 by the Giants, but as usual, non-Division I-A pitchers don't have many expectations laid on them. 

But Romo continues to perform highly, no matter the expectations.  Romo followed up a 2.75 ERA and 65 strikeouts against 9 walks in Salem-Keizer with a 2.53 ERA and 95 strikeouts against 19 walks in Augusta, posting up even better numbers.  But his season came to a sudden end.

Romo started off the season spectacularly out of the bullpen with a 1.50 ERA in April, but struggled a little as he started moving between the bullpen and occasional starts.  However, once Romo found himself in the starting rotation for good starting in August, things got rolling.

Romo's season peaked on August 10th, as he gave up no hits in 7 innings, becoming part of the season's first no-hitter in the South Atlantic League as he combined with relievers David Quinowski and Osiris Matos.  The now-regular starter got the kind of attention that former teammate Shairon Martis had gotten after throwing a no-hitter in the World Baseball Classic.

However, things came to a crashing end quickly, soon after.  The no-hitter would be Romo's final start of the season.  In what was described as an ‘anger management situation' by the Augusta Chronicle, Romo broke his pitching hand and missed the rest of the season.

That situation cast a pall on what had been becoming a breakout year for Romo  Two seasons of producing bigtime numbers are now in question.  The two most pressing issues Romo will have to overcome will be his health and his attitude.  The health, obviously, has to do with his hand.  A broken hand can be one of the worst injuries for a pitcher, and could affect his pitching motion severely if he doesn't heal properly.  The attitude question could linger for a while, too.  He is young, and perhaps whatever caused this problem is just a youthful indiscretion he'll grow out of.  But he will have to earn his way out of it.

He'll also have to find a role, whether it's the bullpen or the rotation.  Despite his gaudy numbers, he was only a part-time starter in Augusta, and if he's going to be a top starter prospect, he'll have to do it for most of the season.  He may get that chance in San Jose next season, although a mid-season call-up to Connecticut would not be out of the question if he can regain the form he had in 2006.

Date of Birth: 03/22/1985 Position: CF Height: 6'1" Weight: 170 Bats: R Throws: R
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th Round (#146 Overall) of the 2006 Draft
2006 Stats
Team-Level AVG OBP SLG OPS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Salem-Keizer - Short-A .276 .344 .400 .744 225 38 62 9 5 3 34 22 59 16 4

Before the draft, the biggest questions around McBryde were centered on two things: would he be healthy, and would he be an outfielder or a pitcher?

McBryde had served as Florida Atlantic University's closer for 2005 and when he was healthy in 2006, and FAU had indicated they were considering using him as a starter in 2007 if he were to return.  But a torn hamstring after 3 games in the 2006 college season had seemingly limited his chances at exploring his ability.

Still, the Giants tabbed him in the 5th round of the 2006 draft, and despite his impressive arm (with a 3.11 ERA and 49 strikeouts against 12 walks in 37.2 innings in 2005), the Giants had him tabbed to be an outfielder.  His impressive speed had Baseball America name him as one of the fastest players in the draft, even faster than Emmanuel Burriss, who the Giants picked in the first round of the draft.

McBryde's hamstring injury kept him from truly showing his speed, and he stole only 16 bases in 20 attempts, but that should improve with an offseason of rest.  And while McBryde started his career out with good overall stats, there were some weaknesses.  McBryde struggled particularly against left handed pitchers, managing only a .189 batting average against southpaws.  But he also was particularly effective with runners on base, which was useful with him batting at the back of the lineup.  He was also a premier defensive center fielder, and showed his range and ability to make spectacular catches regularly.

McBryde still has to prove he can return to being a true speedster on the basepaths, and while he had good showings with his secondary stats, both his on-base percentage and slugging could use some improvement.  McBryde should anchor the Augusta outfield in 2007.



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Check out the other prospects at the Top 50 Prospects Index!



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