How Giants' top five prospects following 2011 season turned out
No. 1: Gary Brown
A speedy outfielder taken 24th overall out of Cal State Fullerton, Brown did end up getting a ring with the Giants. He had seven at-bats in 2014 but was DFA'd the next spring and bounced around the minors and independent ball before retiring in 2017.
But when this list came out, Brown looked like a future star. He had hit .336 for San Jose in 2011, with 14 homers, 34 doubles, 13 triples and 53 stolen bases. Entering 2012, Brown was a consensus top 50 prospect, but he stalled in the upper minors.
Brown and his wife are now raising twins and he stayed involved with the game. After interning with the Mariners in 2018, he took a job as an area supervisor for the Mets.
No. 2: Francisco Peguero
My main memory of Peguero is that on the morning Hunter Pence's five-year deal was announced, with all of Giants Twitter going absolutely crazy and discussing the deal, he tweeted "Thank God, I recovered my password to my Twitter Account." That has always cracked me up.
Anyway, he played just 35 games for the Giants in 2012-13 before moving on to the Orioles. One of many young prospects who was supposed to bring power to the outfield at Oracle Park, Peguero hit just one homer in the big leagues.
Peguero is still just 31, and he's still playing! He bounced around Mexico, the Dominican and Japan, and he played winter ball a few months ago, hitting .336 with seven homers in 33 games for Hermosillo of the Mexican Pacific League.
No. 3 Charlie Culberson
Good prospects can be used in multiple ways, and three of the Giants' top 10 in 2011 brought back veterans that helped win titles. Tommy Joseph (No. 6) was the centerpiece of the Pence trade and Heath Hembree (No. 7) was dealt for Jake Peavy. Culberson, the 51st pick of the 2007 draft, played just six games for the Giants before getting sent to the Rockies for Marco Scutaro in one of the most impactful deals in franchise history.
Culberson actually might have had the best career of anyone on this list. He's still playing, having turned into a nice utility man for the Braves. In 2016 he clinched the NL West with a walk-off for the Dodgers.
No. 4 Ehire Adrianza
The 2011 MLB Pipeline profile of Adrianza lists him as a "very-good-glove, not-so-good-bat shortstop" and notes that if "he can swing the bat even halfway decently, he should have a long career, thanks to his glove." Spot. On.
Adrianza hit just .220 for the Giants but played parts of four seasons as a backup because he was so reliable defensively. His bat has been a bit better in Minnesota, but he's still glove-first. He has become a utility man, playing the outfield and even first base in addition to providing steady defense up the middle. He's coming up on his eighth year in the majors.
No. 5 Eric Surkamp
The subject of one of the great "what-ifs" in franchise history. Surkamp looked ready to take Barry Zito's rotation spot in the spring of 2012, but his elbow acted up and Zito got one last chance, ultimately becoming a postseason hero.
Surkamp ended up having Tommy John surgery, but there was a silver lining. Because he got hurt in big league camp, he spent much of the next two years on the 60-day DL, earning significantly more than he would have had he ended up back in the minors.
Surkamp made just seven appearances for the Giants but got into 45 big league games after that for the White Sox, Dodgers and A's. He finished his career in South Korea in 2016 and is now a real estate agent in Cincinnati.
The Biggest Moment
This is an easy one. The biggest moment from the Class of 2011 came from the guy ranked 10th, Conor Gillaspie.
The scouting profile back then said, "Whether he's an everyday third baseman in the big leagues remains to be seen, but he's looking more and more like a Major League contributor." Gillaspie briefly became an everyday third baseman for the White Sox, but his biggest moment in the big leagues was as a Giant.
In 2016 he hit the game-winning homer against the Mets in the Wild Card Game.
MVP (Most Valuable Prospect)
Overall, this group has been worth about three Wins Above Replacement in the big leagues since 2011 -- which is, uhh, not great. Ultimately all 10 made the big leagues and nine of them ended up playing for the Giants at some point.
In addition to the players you've seen already, the top 10 list included No. 8 Chris Dominguez and No. 9 Hector Sanchez, who spent three years as Buster Posey's backup. Sanchez actually ended up playing the most games for the Giants out of this class, but it's Hembree, still a Red Sox reliever, who leads the way in value. His 2.3 WAR gives him a slight edge over Gillaspie (2.2).
Around the League
The wildest part of pulling up 2011 prospect lists is that -- while the Giants had a bad system -- overall this was one of the best groups in history.
The No. 1 prospect in the game that year was a young outfielder named Mike Trout. Bryce Harper was second, Manny Machado was 10th and Anthony Rizzo was 18th. Three spots behind Brown on the top 10 outfielders list was a skinny kid named Christian Yelich.
The 2011 list does, however, provide a reminder of just how hard it is to project. After Trout and Harper, two future Hall of Famers, the next five prospects in MLB's top 10 were Matt Moore, Julio Teheran, Shelby Miller, Jesus Montero and Jacob Turner.