This young righty was drafted with the 22nd pick straight from his Arizona high school with the control of a veteran. Scouts were afraid of his quirky mechanics, and this caused him to drop much further than he should have in the 2007 draft. Picked 12 picks after Madison Bumgarner, the Giants seem to have a load of pitching crops rising through the minors. What’s more, the Giants have shown with Tim Lincecum that they aren’t worried about “weird” deliveries.
Coming out of high school Alderson’s fastball was clocked from 89-94 mph, and since joining AA, its been consistently hitting anywhere between 92-94 mph. Along with an impeccably controlled fastball, he throws a plus curve that the majority of scouts say is one of the top in the minors. Unlike his teammate Bumgarner, Alderson relies more on the curve than his fastball. Nothing to fear, he has yet to encounter any major injuries. Nevertheless, a pitcher needs at least a third pitch to be successful and typically a change-up. Tim’s change-up is still a work in progress, and he will need to master this pitch to sustain success at the remaining levels of baseball.
After a lengthy contract “dispute” he played a few games in rookie ball in 2007. In 2008, the club decided to place one of their top arms in high-A and he rose to the occasion. With a line of 13 W 4 L, 145 1/3 IP, 34 BB, 124 K, 1.08 WHIP and 2.79 ERA (7.68 K/9, 2.11 BB/9, .25 HR/9, 2.65 FIP). After essentially skipping rookie ball, that is highly impressive. Not quite the strikeout machine that Mad-Bum is, it is his control that separates him from the pack, and the lack of the long ball. Interestingly, the Giants sent him back to high A ball to start the 2009 year (with Mad-Bum). With nothing left to prove, I found out that the Giants did this to avoid the inclement weather of the northeast (their high A ball plays in the southwest). With April long gone, Alderson was promoted to AA ball and has succeed well there. His first game he k’d 10 in 6+ innings. The numbers continue to dazzle as he has k’d 24 batters in 27 innings and only has walked 1 batter!
Though Mad-Bum gets all the hype, press, and drool, look for Alderson to reach the majors after Mad-Bum in 2010. There would be a small chance that we could see him in September, but the Giants have no reason to rush either of their top pitching prospects as they aren’t going anywhere for quite some time.
Mr. Blanks has probably heard all the jokes that one can think of from his last name, but his future in a Padres uniform definitely looks rather bleak. Due to Adrian Gonzalez playing first base, Kyle Blanks has started to shag some fly balls in the outfield before games. Kyle will need to learn to play LF, otherwise, barring a trade of either Gonzales or Blanks, he will have trouble seeing time in the majors. He has the athleticism to change positions, but he will never be an above average outfielder. In Petco, this might become a problem, but the way the Padres hit the ball they might be willing to substitute a bit of defense for any kind of offense. (Interesting factoid, if Blanks plays in the outfield, he will become the heaviest outfielder in the history of the game. Just thought you would like to know)
He is an above average hitter who is still developing some pop to his bat. I saw one blog compare him to Adam Dunn, but upon further review he would be a poor man’s Dunn. He hits for decent power and average. Look at these lines since rookie ball:
2005 Rookie .299/.420/.500 (164 AB)
2006 Low A .292/.382/.455 (308 AB)
2007 High A .301/.380/.540 (465 AB)
2008 AA .325/.404/.514 (492 AB)
2009 AAA .256/.377/.468 (203 AB)
Pretty impressive. If not for a early May slump this year’s numbers would be relatively similar to last year’s. He walks at an impressive rate, especially this year’s 14.7 BB/9, but this year his k-rate has jumped to 29.6 after last year’s all time low of 18.3. Needless to say, his power is his top attribute, but he is still hitting far more doubles than homers. Keep on eye on the injury to Scott Hairston, or the continuing dismal Padres hitting situation because he could be called up sooner rather than latter. I expect him to be up by mid-July hitting some doubles and walking, but with an average near .275.