As the July 18 signing deadline for 2014 draftees has passed, the crew over at MLB Pipeline has updated each team's top-20 prospect list to include not just players with breakout first halves, but newly drafted talent, as well.
The midseason rendition comes just days after San Francisco traded two of their top-12 prospects — Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree — to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for veteran right-hander and former Cy Young winner Jake Peavy. The move opened slots for left-handers Steven Okert and Luis Ysla to deservedly join the list. But this brand new update kicks three former prospects out, giving way for two 2014 draft selections and one infielder having a breakout season.
Here is the full, updated list with analysis, videos, and more.
In regards to the three prospects leaving the list — center fielder Gary Brown, right-hander Martin Agosta, and left-hander Josh Osich:
— Brown was once considered the top prospect in the Giants' system, sitting atop the MLB.com ranks from 2011-2012 after being a first-round selection in 2010. A year later, they had this to say about the former Cal State-Fullerton star:
"He's got plus-plus speed and will be a major basestealing threat. He makes consistent contact and plays a very strong center field. If he can improve his walk rate, he could become a premium leadoff hitter in San Francisco in short order. He went straight to San Jose for his first full season."
They estimated his arrival into the major leagues at 2013. But as of now, Brown hasn't seen a lick of big-league action. Does he have plus-plus speed? It sure seemed that way. Has he used it? Probably not. After stealing 86 bases from 2011-2012, he's stolen only 39 in one and a half years since. His walk rates have gone down every season since he was drafted, and he struck out a team-leading 135 times in Fresno last year.
Hitting .271/.324/.395 in Triple-A in 2014, he has improved greatly since his Pacific Coast League debut, and I believe he will definitely play in the majors one day. In fact, he'll probably get a September call-up. But he has most certainly lost his "top-prospect" status.
— Agosta was selected 84th overall in the 2012 draft and had a spectacular full-season debut in 2013 with the Augusta GreenJackets. He struck out 109 hitters in 91.2 innings and owned a 2.06 ERA and 1.09 WHIP across 18 starts. But 2014 has been a real struggle for the Sacramento native. He joined the San Jose Giants to begin the season, like most starters from the GreenJackets from the 2013 rotation. But Agosta was by far the worst of the bunch, statistically speaking. In seven starts before hitting the disabled list for non-injury purposes, Agosta allowed 25 earned runs, 35 hits, and 17 walks in just 21.1 frames. Since, he's made four rehab starts with the AZL Giants, posting a 4.50 ERA despite a 9.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
I think his removal from the top-20 list was warranted, but I do believe the 23-year-old has time to, and will rebound.
— Osich is pitching his second consecutive season as part of the Richmond Flying Squirrels' bullpen after being one of the more dominant left-handed arms in the San Jose pen in parts of 2012 and 2013. The MLB said this about the Oregon State product on last season's list:
"His injury history, however, makes him a better fit in the bullpen, where his power arsenal makes him a potential high-impact reliever. Osich throws his fastball in the upper-90s and mixes it with a solid slider and changeup."
Thankfully he hasn't dealt with the injury bug this season, but Osich has still found it difficult to find the strike zone, allowing 20 walks in 33.1 innings. It's hard to say whether his "upper-90s fastball and solid slider" are still present, but if they are, then it's likely he can work out of his control slump and become a productive "four-A" player. I could see him becoming a Dan Runzler-type arm that hangs around in Triple-A for awhile trying to find his release point.