SAN FRANCISCO -- Several of the Giants' brightest and most intriguing prospects headed the list of 22 non-roster invitees to Major League Spring Training. The group of 12 pitchers, four catchers, three infielders and three outfielders named Thursday includes left-handers Craig Clark and Clayton Tanner, right-hander Steven Edlefsen, infielders Ehire Adrianza, Brandon Crawford and Nick Noonan and outfielders Wendell Fairley, Roger Kieschnick and Thomas Neal. "They deserve the opportunity to get looked at," Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans said. "That's a tribute to the season they had last year, as much as anything."
Neal's coming off an impressive season with high-Class A California League champion San Jose. He hit .337 with 22 home runs, 90 RBIs, a .431 on-base percentage and a .579 slugging percentage. Kieschnick did his best to match Neal by batting .296 with 23 homers, 110 RBIs and a .532 slugging percentage. Fairley's skills were much-heralded when the Giants selected him in the first round (29th overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Though he has displayed a lack of polish, having compiled a .249 average in 158 Minor League games, he's only 21. Crawford, 23, hit .371 for San Jose before being promoted to Double-A Connecticut, where he finished with a .258 average. Noonan, who as an amateur drew comparisons to Philadelphia's Chase Utley, owns a .277 average with 64 doubles, 19 homers and 172 RBIs in three professional seasons and has played on championship teams the last two years. Renowned for his breathtaking defense at shortstop, Adrianza was signed by the Giants as a 16-year-old in 2006. Offense is not his forte, though he hit a career-best .258 with low-Class A Augusta last season. The Giants will scrutinize the pitchers closely, hoping for the emergence of another Brandon Medders or Justin Miller -- to name two non-roster relievers who contributed handsomely last year. "Each one in his own right deserves a chance to show what he has," Evans said. Edlefsen, a setup reliever, enjoyed a strong Arizona Fall League campaign with Scottsdale (3-0, 2.08 ERA in 13 appearances). He pitched at San Jose, Connecticut and Triple-A Fresno last year, compiling an 8-1 record with a 1.95 ERA at his stops. Clark became the third San Jose player in the last four years to win California League Pitcher of the Year honors as he finished 16-2 with a 2.86 ERA. He set a club record by winning his last 15 decisions. Tanner is 36-24 with a 3.47 ERA in 90 Minor League appearances (70 starts) and has recorded ERAs of less than 3.70 in each of his four seasons. Tony Pena Jr., formerly a Major League shortstop, will continue his conversion to pitching. This offseason, he went 2-0 with a 4.00 ERA in 21 appearances for Aguilas Cibaenes in the Dominican Winter League. The son of New York Yankees bench coach Tony Pena hit .228 in four big league seasons with Atlanta and Kansas City. Four right-handers have Major League experience strictly as pitchers: Denny Bautista, Santiago Casilla, Eric Hacker and Osiris Matos. Once a prized prospect in Oakland's organization, Casilla is 6-4 with a 5.11 ERA and four saves in 152 games for the A's. He finished 1-2, 5.96 in 46 games last year. Matos relieved for the Giants in parts of the previous two seasons, posting a 1-2 record with a 5.74 ERA in 25 games. Bautista is 9-15 with a 6.26 ERA in 100 games (21 starts) for Baltimore (2004), Kansas City (2004-06), Colorado (2006-07), Detroit (2008) and Pittsburgh (2008-09). Hacker reached the Majors last year after enduring eight Minor League seasons, appearing in three games for Pittsburgh. Other right-handers invited to camp are Rafael Cova, Felix Romero, Dan Turpen and Craig Whitaker. Steve Holm, who spent time with the Giants in each of the last two seasons, leads the quartet of non-roster catchers that includes Johnny Monell, Hector Sanchez and Jackson Williams.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.