3.21.2006

Hiatt interview on MILB.com: talk about top prospects

There is an interesting interview on milb.com with Jack Hiatt, who is the Giants Director of Player Development. Here is the bits of news I got from it for those who don't want to sit and listen through the 10+ minute interview:
  • Cain is ready to step up and be a full-time starter. Giants lucky to have a 20 year old with the mentality of older pitcher. He has great stuff and excellent command of himself, don't get rattled or flustered, which is half the battle for a rookie, being able to adjust to the pressure and the media.
  • Valdez came in 100% healthy this spring, unlike past with minor injuries, opening eyes with his good performance and acceptance of relief this spring (I guess he wasn't so accepting of it previously; don't know if that resulted in his poor pitching in relief or if his poor pitching in relief caused his lack of acceptance). He has a 100 MPH fast ball and hard breaking ball and been effective this spring. He's still a young arm, so he will be used as needed. He has the experience to be a starter but has now accepted a short role so that's additional flexibility. Organization always thought he could start, setup, close, so he seems to be fulfilling the team's expectations. Luxury to use as we need.
  • About EME, he noted that it wouldn't hurt any of the OF to learn how to play 1B, as that increases their flexibility (that's been a Sabean popular phrase in recent years) - he's been seeing some practice there now. He also pointed out John Bowker and Brian Horwitz (won batting title in two leagues). Also said he is the "finest right-handed hitter since Matt Williams," and got that type of power and impact. He is healthy, strong, a special hitter plus now is healthy. Will have a lot of luck at the major league level. Call him LF/1B for now.
  • Apparently it was Nate Schierholtz who pushed for the move to RF, or so Haitt said. He wanted to try it out and ended up loving it, as did the Giants. I recall BA noting that they hoped the Giants would give Schierholtz more of a chance to prove whether or not he'll cut it at 3B and they were disappointed when he moved to RF so fast afterward. He has a plus arm and, because of his great swing, beautiful swing, he will hit. He rounds out a great crop of outfielders coming up: EME, Bowker, Timpner, and himself.
  • Marcus Sanders will be headed to the Cal League. Will see if he is able to handle better pitchers and catchers moving up but he has great instincts and unbelievable speed, he can change the game with his speed, the first in the system in a long time. He had a minor operation on his arm during the off-season but he looks great, he's healthy and happy (which means Giants fans are happy, assuming that means he is still a SS prospect).
  • Said outside of the usual prospects, we should keep an eye on Jon Sanchez. He's the talk of the camp because he has an excellent arm, above average stuff, which is rare for a LHP, live fast ball, good hard breaking ball, and a nice feel for pitching. He ended by saying Sanchez got all the ingredients and that we might see him in the majors by the end of summer.

Exciting news overall, hope he's right on most of it.

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