SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner visited AT&T Park for the first time Tuesday. They could return a lot more quickly than anybody realizes. Posey, the Giants' top selection in June's First-Year Player Draft, stopped by on his way to begin playing for the Waikiki BeachBoys in Hawaii Winter Baseball. Bumgarmer took a break from participating in the Giants' instructional league to receive the organization's inaugural Minor League Pitcher of the Year award in a pregame ceremony Tuesday. Not surprisingly, the Giants named catcher-infielder Pablo Sandoval as their first Minor League Player of the Year.
Sandoval already has shown promise on the Major League level by hitting .346 in 35 games entering Tuesday. Many observers believe that Posey, winner of this year's Golden Spikes Award as the nation's top college player at Florida State University, could be ready for the Majors by late next year. Bumgarner, 19, might need a little more seasoning. But the left-hander's performance this year at low Class A Augusta (15-3, 1.46 ERA, 164 strikeouts) has made him a candidate for rapid promotion. That would mean skipping a Minor League classification or two. "I think both of them have a chance to push the envelope next year," said Bobby Evans, the Giants' director of player personnel. Posey insisted that he's not dwelling on any timetables, real or perceived, for reaching the Majors. "I think there's a lot of truth in the statement, 'You control the things you can control,'" he said. "For me, that's going out and playing the game hard each day. I'll let everything else take care of itself." Bumgarner, named Minor League Baseball's Most Spectacular Pitcher, also played it safe, envisioning that he'll be in the Majors "whenever they [baseball operations executives] think I'm ready. I still have a lot of work to do." That explains why Bumgarner is playing instructional ball, despite his remarkable season. Evans pointed out that Bumgarner pitched in a six-man rotation with Augusta and didn't always have the opportunity to work on facets of his game that needed refining. Simply watching the Giants take pregame batting and infield practice left an impression on Bumgarner. "It's crazy," he said. "I was in Spring Training with a lot of these guys earlier this year. It's just great to see them having all this success at this level. It makes you want to work harder to get here as fast as you can."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.