BGF: Hey, if we just got the Future Forty for July
, so of course we got our questions. Thanks Steve for agreeing to answer some questions.
SS: I do realize now that I inadvertently omitted Mike Mooney and Pablo Sandoval from the list. I wish I had included them instead of the final two names on the list (RHP Nick Pereira and RHP Jesse Floyd).
BGF: OK, I will edit the list to reflect that change. So, starting off, what was it about the new comers to the list, Ben Copeland and Daniel Griffin, that gained your attention and a place on the Future Forty?
SS: I don't know that we have much to go on other than the scouting reports we had when they were drafted. I basically slotted them in about where I think 4th and 5th round picks would conservatively rate (i.e., Copeland just a bit below last year's 4th round pick Clay Timpner but Griffin a bit ahead of Broshuis after Broshuis's struggles this year).
BGF: Brian Wilson is one guy I've been wanting to ask about since I'm a Beach Boy fan. :^) What are your thoughts on him?
SS: I have yet to see what I would consider an updated and reliable scouting report for Wilson. I heard anecdotally that he was throwing a mid-90s fastball this year. He must be doing something right the way he continues to dominate double-A hitters. He may very well deserve to rate several spots higher than I have him.
BGF: "Wouldn't it be nice..." :^) What happened to Justin Hedrick? What has gone wrong with him?
SS: I do think Hedrick has generally been less impressive as the season has worn on, but I don't know anything "has gone wrong." Realistically speaking, a lot of 6th round draft choices never make a major league impact. I still think Hedrick is approximately on pace to become a middle reliever at the major league level.
BGF: Yes, but he dropped a number of spots so I was just wondering if there was anything specific he did that caused it. Sounds like he has not progressed as expected. What happened to Fred Lewis? He seems to have sputtered this year.
SS: I wish I knew. I imagine that the Giants wish they knew exactly. Whatever it was, though, Lewis has been playing much better the past month.
BGF: Well hopefully Lewis can end the season with a bang and carry it over into next year. Ortmeier seems to be doing good now, after a slow start, with 19 homers, 30 SB, .839 OPS, what are your thoughts on him right now, does he go to AAA next season if Linden becomes the 4th OF?
SS: I would think that Ortmeier has shown that he should be in Triple-A next year no matter where Linden is next year. Ortmeier has had a nice season, but I don't think he has hit enough to project as an everyday player in the majors. Adam Shabala spent two years at Double-A and still made it to the majors. I think that we can expect at least as much from Ortmeier.
BGF: Good point, and Shabala never even showed much at AA whereas Ortmeier has. I guess I was just wondering if the OF logjam would keep Ortmeier out of AAA. Just noticed that Whitaker is our #3 pitching prospect, so what do you think he needs to make the majors and what are you hoping he becomes at the major league level?
SS: The one thing Whitaker has to do is consistently command his pitches, both his fastball and his off-speed pitches. If he can consistently command all of them, I think he still projects as a starter, unless some concerns about his durability have developed this year. If he can command at least his fastball, then he projects as a power reliever.
BGF: Well that's good either way, the Giants could use either. What's up with Misch, he was tracking better than Lowry career-wise but hit the wall this year in AAA, unlike Lowry, who burst into the majors at this stage of his career. He's doing well now that he's back in AA, but what now?
SS: This seems like a lost year for Misch. I would anticipate that he gets another shot at Triple-A next year. Maybe his confidence will be restored then. I would note that a year ago fellow lefty Jack Taschner was shelled with Fresno for an ERA around 9.00, and then he put things together this year.
BGF: That's true, and Taschner even got a call-up too and did OK in an extended stay. Lastly, given our current need for, and our probable need in 2006 for, starters, how close is Merkin Valdez to making the majors?
SS: I don't see Valdez as being any closer to the majors in terms of being a starter. But a year ago, I might have said the same thing about Hennessey. If the Giants decide that Valdez's future is as a reliever, he may make it to the majors rather quickly, possibly before mid-season next year.
BGF: That's too bad but he's still young so there's still time. Thanks again for the discussion and take care, you are always very informative about the Giants farm system.
SS: You're welcome. I am actually not sure how well-informed I am at the moment as I am well-behind in my reading of Baseball America, and I fear that something above has been addressed within the last couple issues there.
BGF: Good enough for me! Good enough for a lot of other Giants fans as well.