SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants promoted former major leaguer
Fred Stanley on Friday to replace Jack Hiatt as the team's director
of player development.
Hiatt, a former Giants catcher, stepped down after 16 years in
the role. During his tenure, the farm system has produced eight
All-Stars, two Rolaids Relief Award winners, a batting title winner
and a 20-game winner.
"You're talking about a guy who didn't have very many thrills
as a player," said Hiatt, who batted .251 in nine seasons in the
majors. "But I've had a lot of them from all the hard work put in
to get these kids to the big leagues."
The development of young pitchers Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum was
one of the few highlights last season as the Giants finished in
last place. But the organization has struggled in recent years
developing position players.
"Hopefully we'll begin providing the big league club with
position players like we've done pitching," Stanley said. "How
long that could take. I don't know. It could take one year, or it
could take two years."
One of the organization's most prized prospects is 17-year-old
corner infielder Angel Villalona, who received a club-record $2.1
million signing bonus in August 2006. He was named the top prospect
in the Arizona Rookie League this season, batting .285 with 12
doubles, three triples and five homers in 200 at-bats.
Stanley estimated that Villalona is probably three years away
from contributing on the major league level.
"It's going to be a time-consuming thing," Stanley said.
"It's a fine line between pushing kids too fast and holding them
back. I don't think it's going to be a quick fix with young
players. The system will eventually have a bevy of players ready
for the big leagues. We have players who are going to make it. It's
just a matter of when."
Stanley, who played 14 seasons in the majors, will be chiefly
responsible for the assignment, development and evaluation of
players throughout the farm system. He has been with the
organization for eight years, spending the last three as
coordinator of minor league instruction.
He previously served as assistant general manager in Milwaukee
and has also worked as a major league coach and minor league
Hiatt spent 25 years with the Giants as a player, coach and
front office executive.
"He's certainly been a father figure to this organization
forever," general manager Brian Sabean said. "I know every kid
who has come through this organization has certainly enjoyed his
time with him. We'll miss him on a day-to-day basis."