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Giantus Prospectus

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The off-season prospect report for the Giants has landed at Fangraphs, and it confirms what's been evident for some time now: The cream of the crop is the young pitching. And by "young," I mean still at least two or three years away from making a major-league impact.

Fangraphs' Marc Hulet rates three right-handed starters, all ticketed for High-A San Jose in 2013, as the top three. Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn, Chris Stratton: That's going to be a fun rotation.

Gary Brown drops to #4, and Joe Panik, the next position player on the list, is now #8. Sometimes you'll hear fans refer to those guys as the center fielder and second baseman of the future, but there's no real sign that either will make a great leap forward to wrestle away Angel Pagan or Marco Scutaro's job in the next couple years.

The traditional criticism of the Giants' development system bemoans their inability to nurture position players. That criticism has tapered off with the emergence within a five-year window of Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval. You could also argue that Marco Scutaro (traded for fringe prospect Charlie Culberson) and Hunter Pence (traded for promising Double-A catcher Tommy Joseph and homegrown Nate Schierholtz) are also indirect position-player products of the farm system.

Heath Hembree could provide bullpen help in 2013, but otherwise there's going to be a quiet year or so without high-impact graduates coming to the big club. Good news is Brian Sabean and his henchmen have rediscovered their touch, sending off minor-league talent, questionable or otherwise, for very useful major-league parts. The latest prospect list isn't top-loaded with near-term stars. But it seems stocked enough to let the Giants do what they've done the past three years, and, if the planets align correctly, have a couple young pitchers crack the rotation by 2015.

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