Saturday, June 27, 2015
Thoughts on the Giants Pursuit in July 2 Prospects in 2015 and Beyond
We are now more than 2 weeks past the 2015 Rule 4 Draft. All of the players that the Giants drafted in the first 10 rounds have signed. Every single player of them got a chance to succeed in the Major League level but ultimately, their talents, their hardwork and some luck are needed for them to reach their full potential. But something is coming closer and closer with every second. It is the international signing period which is coming on July 2.
The guys in Orange and Black have been conservative in terms of signing 16 year old amateur players in the past 3 years or so, not giving a lot of money to the top international prospects as far as I can remember. Their last guy that I remember that they gave more than a million bucks is Gustavo Cabrera which is the number 1 guy in the 2012 July 2 according to MLB.com. Gustavo then experienced a devastating injury on his hand that delayed his professional debut. In my opinion, the reasons for shying away from the top prospects on the international market are their immense risk that they possess since they didn't play in America (a lot more risk than the draft prospects) and the Giants have swung on and missed on their past international players like Angel Villalona. But on the past couple of years, the market improved due to the immense successes of experienced Cuban stars like Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig. This year's international class is great as well but I will take the top 2 international prospects last year, Adrian Rondon of the Rays and Gilbert Lara of the Brewers, more than all of the prospects this year. I glad that this year with Bobby Evans as the GM, they are serious players especially for the prospects at the very top of the board.
Mr. carmot commented something great on my previous blog post about the factors that will make the Giants serious contenders this year. The factors of him are listed below.
-IFA Draft might be coming. Might even erase the (2) year penalty.
- LAD, CHC, and SD and others. Landing guys keeps them from going to our rivals.
- Sabean went back to scouting from the GM position- specifically THIS offseason. I think it is no coincidence.
- Can't become a laughing stock of "kicking tires" and "we didn't get a rose" and always "the ask was too high." Eventually we need to land talent. We expanded international scouting department before 2013 Winter Meetings and so far? Nada. Except maybe Carbonell.
- Our farm isn't ready to fulfill all our needs. Up to 15 players could be replaced off our 25-man roster within the next two years. To begin the 2017 MLB season. We need more talent. FAST!
I love all that he said. That Giants should be proactive this year.
I asked Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs in his prospect chat if there are any July 2 prospects linked to the Giants and he replied that "(the Giants) don’t have a deal with a big money guy, but (he) know they’re trying hard on one of the uncommitted prospects." Then Kiley tweeted and included his new July 2 board that the Giants are in on Eddy Julio Martinez, number 1 on MLB.com's top 30 list and number 2 in Kiley's list.
He is a five-tool player with his plus plus speed as his main calling card, allowing him to have 30+ steals in any level. I only saw one video of him which is from Baseball America and from what I see, he got a very athletic body with a lot of muscle in it, capable of hitting 20 bombs in the future if he ever adds on more weight, I am projecting him to have a more than average, maybe just a tick below above-average power tool. He also got a solid hit tool, a contact-oriented approach which is what the Giants really love and on BP videos, he hit the ball with very good bat speed and hitting the ball hard though I need to see him more in-game. His speed should allow him to have tremendous range and he got a good arm capable of playing in CF. I project him to have a very good defense in the OF. His five tools might not be the loudest of the recent young Cuban prospects, but he got a chance to be something really good. 55 hit, 50+ power, 65+ speed, 55 arm, 55+ glove player.
The Giants are one of the two serious contenders left for him along with the Dodgers since the other players for him (Yankees and others) are now tapping out due to Martinez's camp holding him out until July 2 according to Kiley. I can see the reason for the Giants wanting Martinez with the lack of superstar material position player, a large, gaping hole in the outfield in the next 3 years with Nori Aoki and Angel Pagan most probably be gone by then and he got the big chance to start there while the Dodgers lineup got no openings in the OF soon and his agent really should consider that. Second is that he got the track record because he played in the national team of Cuba. I love his tools and I really hope that he's gonna sign for us.
Kiley also said on his sortable July 2 board that the Giants are on shortstop Lucius Fox, number 3 in both MLB.com and FG July 2 list, as well. The guy got possibly one of the coolest names in the entire world and he got some really good tools as well. What I love is that in HS, he played in America where scouts already got some feel for his game.
He's a skinny guy with buttloads of projection left in his body but he doesn't need to add a lot in his 6'2" 170 lbs frame to be a good hitter. He's a switch hitter with a potential above-average hit tool hit very good bat speed and also a contact-oriented approach. He got tons of gap power potential and I project him to have an average at most power tool. He also got plus speed (6.41 60-yard time). He got an arm to stick at shortstop and good instincts to play in it but Kiley wrote that there's some consideration for him to play in center field as well as in second base. I project him as a Francisco Lindor type of player with less defensive potential.
Fox got more suitors than Martinez like the Cubs, the Padres aaaand the Dodgers as usual. I am hoping for the Giants to swoop in on this guy because I believe in his potential as a good player. I love that he can play in the middle of the field and not just in the infield. I know we got some talent in the infield like Arroyo and we are pretty healthy in the Major League level right now but a talent as good as Fox is too hard to pass up. I love the versatility in his defense that we can find him a spot in our roster for the next 3 years. The players really should consider not just the most money that the team will give to them and just slack off. I want the players to consider where's the best team that they will develop and an open opportunity to be the best player in the Majors. The Giants have that kind of opportunity for him unlike the Dodgers, the Cubs and the Padres.
There are some good names that Mr. carmot commented like Norge Ruiz, the best Cuban pitching prospect since Aroldis Chapman in my opinion (the best ever in my opinion is Jose Fernandez even though he's drafted, he's from Cuba). You got to look at his video in Baseball America (here) and I can see that he got a good frame with chance for more, a plus to plus-plus changeup, a hard but really sharp breaking curveball in 79 MPH, and a good fastball and he got really, really good feel for pitching. Even though Cubans prefer the Dodgers, I hope the Giants can sign Cuban pitching prospects. I hope they can finally bust the bank on these prospects who they got a really good chance to sign this year. He also said about other Cuban defectors that are worth taking a look like Randy Azozarena (defensively versatile OF/IF with speed and good hit tool that can get close to $1M), Cionel Perez (19 year old lefty with a good curveball and changeup but inconsistent, did not saw him throw fastball but highly projectable, full profile is subscribers only but video is free), and others (here is some of the top 25 Cubans courtesy of oncuba magazine and amazingly, it's free!).
Into the future, there's 2 serious talents that I see in the Land of the Rising Sun. Those are Shohei Ohtani and Shintaro Fujinami. Both are considered once-in-a-generation Japanese pitching prospects that were taken 1-2 in the NPB Draft. I'll just tell you a short scouting report of Ohtani and Fujinami. Ohtani got the prototypical pitcher's build, he's pitching from the stretch all the time where he learned that from Yu Darvish, a drop and drive delivery, impressive extension and a high 3/4 release point, hides the ball really really well, got an 80 fastball velocity (touched 101 MPH last year) with some armside movement in mid-90s but mostly four seamers in upper-90s that often jumps on hitters, 60 grade splitter which is his main strikeout pitch, good slider, a super slow curveball and a harder breaking ball, advanced pitchability and good command, true top-of-the-rotation ceiling plus he can rake and hit some home runs too, a big plus for NL clubs especially the Giants with his LH pull power capable of hitting in Triples Alley and the McCovey Cove. Fujinami is taller but skinnier than Ohtani, buttloads of projectability, drop and drive delivery with deception, a FB up to 98 MPH, a sharp, 60+ curveball with great break and good comand, a top-of-the-rotation potential as well. You can check on ace kuroda's stream to find a lot of Ohtani and some Fujinami videos as well (stream here). Next year, Kevin Maitan is the main guy with the Miguel Cabrera, Felix Hernandez-type of caliber in his teenage years but I'll not try to expand my thoughts about him this year because our main guys are Lucius Fox and Eddy Julio Martinez.
I hope the Giants can sign the top-flight international prospects this year. They can prove to other 29 ML teams that they can also be a player in the international market if they can sign Martinez and Fox away from the pesky Dodgers. If we ever got the two for real in July 2, I would jump for joy because the Giants are committed to sign and develop top-shelf talent as well. Do your best Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean. I got faith in the two of you. Don't be the runners-up again. Especially this time against the Dodgers and their unlimited depth of cash.
I will not put some indentation maybe starting in this article because it's so hard to align the texts like you put indentation in it. It's simpler but will not take away any quality of information that I can give to you. I hope you love what you have read in this post as well as in my former blog posts. Cheers!