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Four Giants Among Cal League Top Prospects
Brown, Wheeler, Joseph and Dominguez Receive Mention On Baseball America's Top 20 Prospects List
10/04/2011 5:00 PM ET
Four San Jose Giants were recognized among the top 20 prospects in the California League by Baseball America last week. Gary Brown was rated the third-best prospect in the league by the publication while Zack Wheeler (#4), Tommy Joseph (#11) and Chris Dominguez (#17) also received mention on the list.

Baseball America notes that Brown "uses a short, compact swing to get on base" and "began driving the ball with more consistency as the season progressed." Brown led the California League in hits (188) and triples (13) while also ranking second in stolen bases (53) and third in batting average (.336). The 2010 first round draft pick hit .328 during the first half before batting at a .346 clip after the All-Star break in addition to posting a spectacular .459 average versus left-handed pitching.

Brown was also praised for his defense with BA mentioning that "his routes improved" and he "has a strong arm that plays up because of his accuracy."

Brown was the second-highest position player on the list trailing only Lake Elsinore Storm third baseman Jedd Gyorko, who garnered the #2 ranking. Visalia Rawhide starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who finished the season at the Double-A level, was rated the top overall prospect in the California League.

Joseph was the second-highest catcher ranked by Baseball America after a stellar campaign both offensively and defensively. The 20-year old backstop led the Giants and was tied for sixth in the league with 22 home runs. Joseph also contributed 95 RBI's, 33 doubles and a .270 batting average. Baseball America writes that Joseph has a "short, compact swing and strong hands" and he "generates plus power."

Joseph also impressed defensively this season leading all Cal League catchers in throwing out basestealers (37 percent) and fielding percentage (.992). BA notes that "he has a strong arm and has worked diligently to improve his footwork and blocking skills."

While Brown and Joseph spent the entire 2011 season in San Jose with both players earning postseason All-Star honors, Dominguez earned a mid-June promotion to Double-A Richmond. While with the Giants, Dominguez batted .291 with 10 doubles, 11 home runs and 40 RBI's in 63 games. He led the club in homers at the time of his promotion. BA describes Dominguez as a player who "generates tremendous bat speed" and he can "hit for power to all parts of the ballpark."

Dominguez produced 22 doubles, seven home runs and a .244 batting average with the Flying Squirrels after his promotion. He often struggled to make consistent contact throughout the year amassing 151 strikeouts (and just 27 walks) in 141 games. Defensively, Dominguez is noted for his "cannon arm" at third base.

Wheeler, who began the year as arguably the top pitching prospect in the San Francisco organization, posted a 7-5 record with a 3.99 ERA in 16 starts with San Jose. He struck out 98 compared to 47 walks over 88 innings while holding the opposition to a .224 batting average. The second-highest pitcher on the top 20 list, Wheeler was traded to the New York Mets for Carlos Beltran in late-July.

With their four selections, the San Jose Giants had the most players chosen of any team in the league for the top 20 prospect list. The Modesto Nuts and Visalia Rawhide were next-closest with three players while the Inland Empire 66ers, Lake Elsinore Storm and Lancaster JetHawks had two selections each.

Potential future San Jose Giants Joe Panik and Jesus Galindo were rated among the top 20 prospects in the Short-Season Northwest League by Baseball America. Panik was ranked at #4 after batting .341 with six home runs and 54 RBI's in 69 games with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. The shortstop won the Northwest League Most Valuable Player award. BA describes Panik as "not flashy but he can do a little bit of everything" while he "grinds out quality at-bats, sprays line drives with a smooth left-handed stroke and has some gap power." Galindo at #9 was the highest-ranked outfielder on the top 20 list. As the Volcanoes' primary center fielder, he hit .276 with two homers, 20 RBI's and a league-best 47 stolen bases in 62 games this season.

Pitchers Clayton Blackburn (#4; 3-1, 1.08 ERA) and Joan Gregorio (#18; 3-0, 2.32 ERA) were also both included among the top 20 prospects in the Arizona Rookie League.

Baseball America's top 20 prospect lists are generated from consultations with scouts and league managers.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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