Next Crop Of Former SJ Giants Look To Debut In 2014

Several former Giants poised to reach major leagues

By Joe Ritzo / San Jose Giants | October 30, 2013 2:00 PM ET

Over the 26-year history of the San Jose Giants, 162 former players have reached the major leagues. In 2013, it was eight players who once called Municipal Stadium home that made it to "The Show" for the first time, seven of which debuted in San Francisco. Now looking ahead to 2014, there's a new crop of former SJ Giants that are looking to achieve their big league dreams.

Here's a list of 10 former San Jose players that could make their debut next season with the San Francisco Giants:

Gary Brown, OF
2013 was a frustrating year in Triple-A for Brown as the former first rounder hit just .231 and led the team with 135 strikeouts. The speedy center fielder recovered from a slow start in Richmond two seasons ago (hit .279 in AA), but never managed to gain much traction in the Pacific Coast League despite overall solid power numbers (29 doubles and 13 home runs). Brown's prospect status has taken a hit, but he still figures to have the opportunity to play center field every day in Fresno next spring. With a bounce back year, Brown is an obvious choice to make his major league debut at some point in 2014.

Kyle Crick, RHP
Crick is the only player on this list yet to have seen any action above the Class-A Advanced level. The former supplemental first round draft pick put together a dominant 2013 campaign in San Jose posting a 1.57 ERA in 14 starts to go with 95 strikeouts in just 68 2/3 innings. Regarded as the #1 prospect in the organization, Crick is probably headed to Richmond next spring. Improving his control and continuing to make strides with his secondary pitches are paramount to Crick climbing on the fast track towards the big leagues next season. A late appearance in San Francisco in 2014 seems unlikely, but when the #1 prospect in the system reaches the upper levels of the minors, he's worth mentioning as a potential call-up.

Chris Dominguez, 3B
After a difficult 2012 split between Richmond and Fresno, Dominguez enjoyed a solid campaign last season in the Pacific Coast League. The slugging third baseman hit .294 in 132 games for the Grizzlies while also contributing 24 doubles, 15 home runs and 65 RBI's. Dominguez isn't currently on the 40-man roster and is not considered one of the top prospects in the organization, but after posting a near .300 batting average in Triple-A with some power, he figures to have at least put himself back on the map. With improved production early next season in Fresno, Dominguez could receive consideration for a call-up in 2014.

Adam Duvall, 3B
Duvall's placement in the farm system at the start of 2014 will be an interesting subject throughout spring training. After hitting a San Jose Giants record 30 home runs in 2012, Duvall moved up to Richmond this year producing solid power numbers of 23 doubles and 17 home runs in 105 games, but managing just a .252 batting average. Looking forward, does Duvall return to the Eastern League next spring or receive a promotion to Fresno, where he and Dominguez would compete for playing time? Duvall has never been a high-average player and continued power production from the third baseman will be necessary if he's to debut in San Francisco in 2014. Duvall has hit an impressive 69 home runs over his first three full professional seasons.

Edwin Escobar, LHP
Escobar enjoyed a breakout 2012 in Augusta to earn the young left-hander a spot on San Francisco's 40-man roster. He followed that up with an even better 2013 compiling a 2.89 ERA in 14 starts with San Jose to garner midseason California League All-Star honors. Escobar then received a July promotion to Richmond where his ERA was even lower (2.67). Between the two stops, Escobar struck out 146 batters compared to just 30 walks in 128 2/3 innings. Now considered one of the elite pitching prospects in the system, much focus and scrutiny will be placed on Escobar next season as he looks to make the jump to Fresno (perhaps to begin the year) and beyond. A spot on the 40-man roster, of course, always increases a player's chance of a big league call-up.

Cody Hall, RHP
An All-Star closer with Augusta in 2012 (1.60 ERA, 20 saves), Hall dominated with San Jose last season (1.34 ERA) before continuing to impress in Richmond after a late-June promotion (2.39 ERA, 8 saves). The right-hander owns a career ERA of 2.00 through three professional seasons and clearly has caught the attention of the front office with his placement in the Arizona Fall League. Hall throws hard with a fastball regularly in the mid 90's and with continued good success, should find himself knocking on the door for a big league call-up late in 2014.

Josh Osich, LHP
The second relief pitcher on this list, Osich, like Hall, received a midseason promotion from San Jose to Richmond this year. The former sixth round draft pick was an All-Star in the California League after logging a 2.45 ERA, a team-best 12 saves while averaging over a strikeout per inning. He started slow in Double-A, but recovered down the stretch to finish with a 4.85 ERA in 22 relief appearances. Osich features a mid 90's fastball, two excellent off-speed pitches and as a left-hander, could move quickly next year if he excels in Richmond and/or Fresno. 

Joe Panik, 2B
San Francisco's top draft pick in 2011, Panik enjoyed a solid 2012 campaign with San Jose when he hit .297, primarily out of the second spot in the lineup. This year saw Panik move from shortstop to second base and while the batting average dropped in the pitching-rich Eastern League (.257), he's still considered one of the top infield prospects in the organization. Panik finished the season with 27 doubles, four home runs, 57 RBI's and walked (58) nearly as often as he struck out (68). Panik still has more to prove offensively if he's to reach the big leagues as soon as 2014, but a promotion to Fresno to start the year seems likely, which puts him just one step from the "The Show."

Andrew Susac, C
Susac remains the top catching prospect in the system after a year in which he hit .256 with 12 home runs and a .362 on-base percentage for the Richmond Flying Squirrels. The former second round draft pick was then assigned to the Arizona Fall League and looks to be in position for a promotion to Fresno at the start of next season. Barring injury, there's still no need to rush Susac to San Francisco and it remains to be seen whether he can project as an everyday player in the big leagues. However, with a big year in Fresno and continued improvement defensively, Susac could debut before the end of 2014.

Angel Villalona, 1B
Villalona returned to playing baseball in the United States after a three-year absence splitting 2013 between San Jose and Richmond. The power-hitting first baseman recovered from a slow start to earn California League All-Star honors and had hit 14 home runs at the time of his promotion to Double-A. Between the two clubs, Villalona finished with impressive figures of 22 homers, 27 doubles and 70 RBI's, but a low batting average (.231) and high strikeout totals certainly give pause as to whether he's close to being ready for a big-league call-up. An opportunity to play in Fresno is likely next for Villalona and as a member of the 40-man roster, he'll be given every chance to prove himself. The power is unquestionably there for Villalona, but it remains to be seen if he can make enough contact to jump to the highest level. Now with a year under his belt post-return, 2014 will be an enormous season for Villalona.

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

View More