Giants fans are waiting patiently — and some, like this writer, impatiently — for the arrival of top prospect and 2010 first-round pick Gary Brown.
The 2011 California League Rookie of the Year received more praise recently as he was listed among MLB.com’s 2012 Prospect Watch, ranking the top 100 players in the minor leagues entering the upcoming season.
The 23-year-old Brown is the top prospect in the Giants system, according to Baseball America, while the speedy center fielder comes in at No. 48 on the MLB.com list. The only other Giant to make the top 100 is outfielder Francisco Peguero, who ranked No. 98.
Brown announced his presence to the baseball community in 2011, peppering 188 hits, scoring 115 runs and stealing 53 bases in 131 games for the San Jose Giants.
Despite his impressive 2011 campaign, Brown is likely still one full season away from getting regular playing time with the big boys in AT&T Park. Double-A Richmond (VA) is the likely starting destination for Brown this season. Unless he really struggles, a September call-up can be expected.
Andrew Baggarly wrote on BaseballAmerica.com’s Top 10 Prospects list:
“If the Giants contend again, he’s a candidate for a callup in September—if not earlier—to provide some energy with his speed. By 2013, Brown should push [Melky] Cabrera to an outfield corner and become a fixture in center field and the leadoff spot for San Francisco for years to come.”
So while 2012 may be a Gary Brown-less summer in San Francisco, the future center field position at AT&T Park is Brown’s to lose.
If Brown turns out to be everything the Giants expect, he will form a formidable force with Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval at the top of the Giants lineup for the rest of the decade.