The minor league season if off and running for the affiliates of the San Francisco Giants.
Three Giants prospects in the minors have more stolen bases this season than the entire Giants roster.
Leading the way is infielder Emmanuel Burriss, who has stolen 13 bases in his first nine games with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies. He’s only be caught once. It’s a good sign for a player who has spent chunks of the past two seasons sidelined by a broken foot.
Burriss went 2 for 3 with two walks in Friday’s 11-7 win for Fresno at Las Vegas, improving the Grizzlies to 6-3 on the short season.
Burriss is hitting .323 with a .447 on-base percentage for Fresno. He’s scored a team-high 11 runs. Burriss is playing second base for Fresno, but can also manage shortstop.
Outfielder Darren Ford, who got called up to the big club Friday to replace the injured Andres Torres, had seven stolen bases in seven attempt in seven games before getting his call. He was hitting .323, a very good sign for a player who struggled with his average at Double-A last season.
And outfielder Gary Brown, a 2010 first-round pick by the Giants, has 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts in nine games with the Class A San Jose Giants. Brown is hitting .308 with a .413 OBP.
The San Francisco Giants have six stolen bases through 13 games this season, and that include two cheapy stolen bags Friday night. With one out in the fifth inning, Aubrey Huff was on second and Buster Posey was on first. Both runners were running on a 3-2 pitch to Pablo Sandoval, who struck out swinging. Huff would have been easily thrown out at third, but Arizona catcher Miguel Montero’s throw sailed into left field. Huff and Posey were both credited with a stolen base, with both advancing an extra bass on the throwing error.
So the speed in the farm system is clearly a good sign of things to come.
Other players of note
TRIPLE-A FRESNO: Not that the Giants need another hot-hitting first baseman, but Brett Pill is leading the Grizzlies in hitting. He has 2 home runs, 9 RBI and a .486 average through nine games. 3B Conor Gillaspie has 1 HR, 11 RBI and is batting .316. P Ryan Vogelsong is 2-0 with 1.59 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 11.1 innings. P Marc Kroon has allowed no earned runs in 4 innings of relief.
DOUBLE-A RICHMOND: 2B Charlie Culberson, who is projected as the heir-apparent to Freddy Sanchez, leads Richmond in hitting through nine games. He is hitting .270, but has 10 strikeouts in 37 at-bats. That’s something that will need to improve. P Justin Fitzgerald is 2-0 with an 0.90 ERA in two starts.
CLASS A SAN JOSE: P Zach Wheeler, a 2009 first-round selection, threw five hitless innings in his first start for the San Jose Giants. Wheeler walked three and struck out three in the outing.
SS Brandon Crawford is expected to miss most or all of April after suffering a broken finger. Crawford was expected to start the season at Triple-A Fresno.
OF Thomas Neal has missed the past week after suffering a bruised foot after being hit by a pitch in Fresno’s second game of the season.
SS Ehire Adrianza is expected to miss a couple of months after suffering torn ligament in his hand during Spring Training.
OF Francisco Peguero had knee surgery and is expected out until late May or early June.