Last year it was Kevin Frandsen. This year it's Daniel Ortmeier.
Frandsen, who has a strong chance of becoming the Giants' everyday second baseman next season, led the Arizona Fall League in hitting for much of 2006 before finishing second with a .388 average. Ortmeier, a former full-time outfielder who's trying to establish himself as San Francisco's first baseman, is following Frandsen's example by thriving for the AFL's Scottsdale Scorpions.
Through Tuesday, Ortmeier ranked fourth in the league with a .409 average. The switch-hitter complemented that figure with a .545 slugging percentage.
"There's still a lot of stuff to work on," Ortmeier said late in the regular season as he anticipated his tour of duty in Arizona.
Outfielder Nate Schierholtz, another 2007 rookie who's also trying to entrench himself with the Giants, was hitting .300 in his first five games with Scottsdale. Eugenio Velez, who has made his first seven AFL appearances at second base after having been converted to the outfield during the regular season, owned a tepid .241 average, but he had stolen six bases in as many attempts.
Backup catcher Guillermo Rodriguez was batting .231 in four games with Zulia of the Venezuelan Winter League. One of the Giants' more intriguing prospects, speedy outfielder Antoan Richardson owned a .167 average in 13 games for the Waikiki BeachBoys in the Hawaii Winter Baseball loop. However, Richardson was 6-for-6 in stolen bases attempts. He compiled a .279 average and a .399 on-base percentage with 43 thefts in 54 tries at Class A San Jose this year. Infielder David Maroul was hitting .212 for Waikiki in 10 games, but he had a two-homer game to his credit.
Several of the organization's pitchers have started fast in their respective leagues. Relievers Brian Anderson and Sergio Romo each went unscored upon in their first three appearances, while left-hander Erick Threets recorded a four-appearance shutout streak.
Anderson, who amassed 29 saves at Double-A Connecticut this year after leading the California League with 37 saves for San Jose in 2006, had allowed just one hit in three innings for Scottsdale. Romo, recently named MiLB.com's Class A Relief Pitcher of the Year, had surrendered four hits in five innings for the Scorpions. Threets, performing for Hermosillo in the Mexican Pacific League, had yielded only one hit in 5 1/3 innings. Prone to control issues, Threets had walked three batters while striking out four.
Right-hander Scott Munter, who has spent parts of the previous three seasons with the Giants, had a 2.70 ERA in three games for Scottsdale. Matt Palmer, 11-8 this season for Triple-A Fresno, had a decent opening start with Caribes de Oriente in the Venezuelan Winter League, allowing two runs and three hits in five innings.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.