#3 – Tyler Beede – RHP, 21 years old.  Last Level – Rookie, Short-A

The Giants drafted higher in the 2014 draft than it’s likely they would at any point in the near future, and their past couple of top draft picks had been underperforming.  It was important that they get this draft pick right.  By all accounts, they did.

Tyler Beede is a power throwing right-hander, with a fastball around 94-96, and a good changeup to match it.  He’s still working on the curveball to go with it, but if he can get that consistent, he’s in a good place for the future as a three-pitch pitcher.  His biggest knock: his control.  He walks way too many batters to stay effective, especially as he will begin to face better hitters.

However, the general consensus among scouts is that Beede landed with the right team and in the right situation to be “fixed” as it were.  That’s pretty interesting considering the guy I’ve got listed at #2.  Beede did throw well in his limited time (6 starts, 15 IP) this season.  Between the two levels, he struck out 18 and walked 7.  About what was to be expected.  He did give up 16 hits in 15 innings though, and that could be a concern.  But there’s little to be drawn from such a small sample size at this point.

Beede could get an active push up to San Jose this year, or he might start in Augusta.  But as a top drafted college pitcher, there’s a lot of expectations.  Matt Cain gets thrown around a lot as a comparison, as he does with my #2, and that’s a good comparison.  But there’s still a lot of time and wiggle room to be had in his career.

#2 – Kyle Crick – RHP, 22 years old.  Last Level – AA

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: big power fastball, good changeup, and an improving offspeed stuff, but a lot of control problems.

Kyle was a consensus top prospect for the Giants last year, but he’s rated all over the place this year.  In AA, his control issues were highlighted and lowlighted, and now one of the biggest prospect lists, Baseball America, states simply that his control and workload issues “make it highly unlikely he’ll be a big league starter.”  Ouch.

Crick worked just 90.1 innings in 23 outings this year.  Only one of his first six starts went more than 3.1 innings (five, to open the season).  He got better in the heart of the season, having only one start less than five innings of work between June 1st and July 30th, but he did mix in some awful games with walks.  He threw too many pitches, which prevented him from getting eep into games.  12 of his 23 performances including three walks or more.

But the upside is that when he’s on, he’s often spectacular.  He topped 10 strikeouts in a game three times, twice in just five innings, once in six.  He has true power that lasts deep into the season.  In the Arizona Fall League in 2013, at the end of it, he was tossing 98-99 still.

Even if Crick ends up in relief, however, this kid has some pretty special stuff.  And some scouts still believe he can figure it out, or the Giants will help them.  He may become a frustrating pitcher to watch someday, but no Giants pitching prospect has better stuff than this.

#1 – Andrew Susac – C, 24 years old.  Last Level – AAA, Majors

Oh, if the Giants didn’t have Buster Posey.

As a catcher, Susac is the kind of guy that just about any team would want right now.  He’d be a guy who could probably start on half of major league teams right now, maybe up to 20.  He’s got some work to do on defense, but he’s got a great arm and plenty of athleticism.  His swing has shown improvement (a testament to his intelligence and ability) and he’s going to be a double-digit home run hitter with plenty of line drives and walks.  He hit .273/.326/.466 in 88 major league at-bats, and was batting .268/.379/.451 in Fresno with 10 home runs in 63 games there.

Susac, simply, was a great pickup for the Giants.  But Buster Posey is not moving from catcher anytime soon.  And Susac is good enough to start.  It will be interesting to see how the team treats breaking from spring training, with Hector Sanchez also available as a backup.  However, the long and short of it is: Andrew Susac’s best value to this team will be as trade bait.  There were rumors the Rays were asking for him in return for Ben Zobrist (along with others).  Offers could get even better at the trade deadline.  Susac gives the Giants a real value to use in a trade, though it might hurt to burn him on a rental for a postseason run.

Susac may end up back in AAA so he can play everyday, and continue to improve his pitch calling and framing.  But he won’t end the year in Sacramento.  Whether it’s with the Giants, or traded somewhere else, Susac is going places.  That’s why he’s #1.