I'll do this Top 30 some sort of a Twitter style. Short, compact but solid thoughts about the prospects that I'll rank. There's a lot of prospects to choose from and I kind of hate ranking prospects because honestly, I would prefer a big board where I'll throw in the prospects that I like in here and you'll be the judge, just like the thought process in terms of the Draft. But I'll do this ranking to help you guys where I project the prospect's value for us. It is separated by tiers so that if you ever have problems with ranking prospects like I do, tiers can really help to differentiate the quality of the prospects and you can ignore the numberings altogether and just rely on the tiers.
I am writing this article actually just before the Trade Deadline and I am ranking Mella as the number 5 prospect and Duvall as the number 21 prospect before being traded. Now that it's now past the Deadline and they are just the prospects who got traded, it made me easier to just move up guys up the list.
I know there will be agreements and disagreements on my rankings but I made this Top 30 with all of the factors (age, floor versus ceiling, development curve, the feel to perform, performance this year) that I consider for ranking prospects. And just like what I always do, FanGraphs profiles will open for most of the prospects and MiLB.com for the select few prospects that I find their FG profiles really shady.
If you want to see who are the prospect risers and fallers this season, come check this really good post from Shankbone's blog and I will move some of the prospects that I listed in the top 10+10 before for the latest update. If you want to see a better introduction or overview of the Top 30, check out Mr. CoveChatter's introduction on his Top 30 before he takes his blog down and return to his original site. If you want day-to-day updates and the daily status of Giants prospects, DrB's everyday blog post is hands down the best in the business.
Finally, here's my ever expanding Scouting Reports series if you want to see my full thoughts on most of the prospects mentioned below and you could see my other previous posts of Something Extra for additional thoughts.
Part 1 for Arroyo, Beede and Mejia
Part 2 for Mella (now traded), Okert and Santos
Part 3 for Blackburn, Garcia and Tomlinson
Part 4 for Blach, Marshall and Miller
Part 5 for Cole, Fargas and Williamson
Part 6 for Fox
Part 8 for Coonrod, Duvall (now traded), and Webb
Special Part for Crick
1. Tyler Beede RHP (AA)
The undisputed king of the mountain in the land of Giants prospects, his stock rose after eating hitters alive in the Cal League and has since gone steady for the Flying Squirrels. The low-90s sinkerball pounds the earth and his cutter flashes plus, while his best offspeed offering right now is the changeup that flashes plus too. He needs refinement on his power curveball as well as handling the running game. He's ahead of some of his 2014 mates Sean Newcomb and Touki Toussaint and his stuff is pretty comparable to Aaron Nola when all of the gears are in full function. The Young Beedah will be a fixture for the Giants rotation for years to come.
2. Christian Arroyo SS (A+)
He might not have the flashy athleticism or the speed that you would expect from a shortstop or an infielder but boy, he can hit. He's advanced in terms of his age as performing well in Cal League at age 20 takes some kind of prospect and he went on a blistering month of July as well as the end of June that really kicked off when he had 5 hits and that's enough for me to consider his ranking to rise up. His final fielding position is still a question mark right now but his bat will do the talking at this point. Michael Young comparison is still there and is roaring.
3. Phil Bickford RHP (ROK)
The first of the draftees this year, he's slowly but surely getting soaked in the professional baseball scene and his numbers might not look really pretty in the early season, keep in mind that he has pitched since January this year. When he's right, his low-90s sinker has tons of movement and sink that will generate vast amounts of groundballs along with his plus command of it and his slider flashes plus. He needs a changeup in the future to make him stay as a starter and his delivery doesn't concern me too much at all as he cleaned it up while in JUCO. He'll be developed slowly as he's still so damn young.
4. Lucius Fox SS/CF (TBD)
Our prized possession in the international free agency this year (so far), the kid's got exciting tools that's highlighted by his plus to plus-plus speed and his good infield actions and possible move to CF. Why do I rank a guy who never played a single pro game this high? Because I rave on his tools (his batting stance is pretty awkward but it works for him so far) and his top-shelf athleticism and makeup makes me conclude that he'll reach his ceiling fully and pretty fast, too.
5. Adalberto Mejia LHP (AA)
Ever since he returned from a 50 game suspension, his stock soared once again into respectability in terms of being a prospect, where he made only just 1 start with 2 or more runs (6) throughout the season. Mejia's been placed on the minors DL with a left shoulder injury (if I'm not mistaken) according to Josh Matthews. He got the tools of being a starter, with his ability to throw strikes and with his 4-pitch mix highlighted by a fastball that reaches 94 MPH.
6. Jalen Miller SS (ROK)
After steamrolling the early parts of the season, Miller's bat has been near absolute zero, batting .079 in his last 10 games and lowering his average from .322 to .217. It will be interesting to see Miller adjust to the first road block in his early pro career. The good news is he's still taking walks and not striking out a ton. Defensively, he's been better recently as what the numbers are showing. His stock thought will not be really hit hard because of the awful hitting as of late. He just needs time to adjust to the pitchers.
7. Chris Shaw 1B (A-)
The hulking lefty slugger for the Giants hasn't slugged more HRs than what I project from him this season but I expect it since a hammate injury can really sap some raw power and will take time to adjust. His stock has been steady thanks to his steady numbers. He hasn't played for the past few games so I could speculate that he's been injured. I am optimistic that his raw power will be back towards the last month of play.
8. Aramis Garcia C (A)
After scuffling really bad in the first half of the season, a change in his approach at the plate made the Young AG's stock to soar up towards what I really expect from him in this year's season. Thanks to the improved approach, he is translating his good raw power to good game power, launching 14 dingers this season, which IIRC is 2nd among all Minor League catchers. His defense improved too, pop times between 1.9-2.1 seconds. He could very well be a Major League starting catcher after all.
9. Kyle Crick RHP (AA)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I already saw this since sometime in the middle of last year with him. Matt Moore offered similar K/9 stats as Crick while having a less walk rate with him and when Crick's BB/9 never dipped below 5, that's about time that I'm giving up on him as a SP. He's in the pen and the overall results are mixed though his last outings are reallt good. He got true power closer potential with his stuff and his wildness. Dellin Betances ceiling, I believe it.
10. Michael Santos RHP (A)
Readers of my blog may have already noticed that I have a lot more consideration to Santos than anyone because of his really interesting potential as a 20 year old having better feel for pitching than most of pitchers his age. He enjoyed quite a lengthy DL stint until returning recently. His two starts for the GreenJackets since returning have been encouraging. I have an optimistic look on him and I can't wait until I saw him to that I project him to be, a future mid-rotation starter.
11. Mac Williamson OF (AAA)
The next 3 that you'll see are this high because they are really just millimeters away from a Major League promotion. Mac has the biggest potential of the three, as he can become an everyday OF for the future for us. His standout tool is his power tool that's really good and he can hit. He was sent to the Pan-Am Games and after returning, he continues to hit like a Major Leaguer. Whenever we need the OF depth, he's waiting.
12. Kelby Tomlinson IF (AAA)
Hitting machine Call Me Kelby just continues to hit thanks to his adjustments in his swing that made his bat Major League-ready. His baserunning instincts will allow him to leg out a lot of base hits. Defensively, he's being groomed as the replacement to Joaquin Arias as he's played on 2B, SS, and 3B where his glove and arm are not liabilities. Arias is gone now, and the IF depth for the Giants is thin, so Kelby's just a call away, literally. He's quite old to be a prospect so his time has come for him to shine.
13. Josh Osich LHP (AAA)
How much can an unheard prospect raise up to top 12 of my rankings? If you put up dominant numbers against both lefty AND righty hitters in AA, and then making his Major League debut this year. He already overtook Okert as the best lefty reliever that the Giants have in my opinion, as he got better velocity, better control of it, almost as good a slider and a cutter as well as a changeup to boot, not to mention the way better numbers this season compared to Okert. Once Affeldt and Javy are starting to realize that Father Time has caught up to them, replacements are coming and it was being lead by Osich, the 26 year old who battled arm-related injuries and a lot of adversities.
14. Andrew Suarez LHP (A-)
The lefty pitcher drafted in the 2nd round has been pitching well so far for the AZL and for the Volcanoes, making his overall stock improve a bit. His shoulder issues are still there but it's nice to see Suarez pitch and get good, quick outs this year. He might be the reincarnation of Mejia as he's the same 4-pitch mix, pitchability and command type of pitcher with a good slider and good changeup.
15. Johneshwy Fargas OF (A)
The best name on the Giants farm system has been a pleasant surprise this season, as he's getting the first taste of the full season. He got respectable averages, purely relying on his feet to leg out a lot of hits and steal bases, his cannon arm which is unheard of for a guy as skinny as him will make him a pretty good guy to watch for next year as well. Just think of this. If Fargas is batting more on the neighborhood of .320 this year than his .284, he'll be as good as Roman Quinn with better arm. Stock's holding steady overall and he should be developed slow and steady but his recent stock has improved.
16. Sam Coonrod RHP (A)
Okay, okay now people. MLB.com placed him at number 6 while I placed him 10 spots lower. You might say that I'm really crazy to do it. But I have some concerns about his mechanics that is really scaring me to rank him inside the top 10. While he's putting good numbers this season, what concerns me is that he'll lose the feel for his release point that's a result of the rushing in his delivery. If you want to see my full thoughts on him, go check my scouting report for him. Even though he's losing the feel sometimes, he's not really walking guys at a really high rate and is really doing a good job limiting damage. He still needs to refine the command and improve the changeup heavily to make me consider to push him higher up my list next year.
17. Hunter Cole IF/OF (AA)
Me, you, almost everybody when a 26th rounder is having a really good season so far and that's what Hunter Cole is showing to us. After being promoted to the Cal League, he just keeps on hitting, earning another promotion to Richmond where his numbers fell back to Earth. Still, he's batting .303 in AA this year. Changes in his swing were mentioned in my scouting reports that could be the source of his better numbers to consider him as a top prospect. Defensively, he can fit everywhere but he's pretty average defense-wise. What will carry him is his bat and I feel he can be walking on the same lines of Kelby and Duffy.
18. Steven Okert LHP (AAA)
His stock has really taken a pretty big hit in my opinion as he got really bad stats this year. The potential that he offers as a LOOGY and maybe more is still there but he just can't get righties out on a really consistent basis to consider him as more than a LOOGY (righty hitters with a batting average of .312) and if you want a LOOGY, he should be really dominant against lefties and he's doing that pretty good, with a .217 batting against him. He has just been more hittable than what I have liked.
19. Mikey Edie CF (ROK)
The white whale of DrB's season at America for the first time has been pretty successful this year, as his pretty high preseason stock has took a big hit but is slowly going back up. He's showing a good eye with 2:1 K/BB ratio so far and I think that his struggles are from adjusting to the States. If he finishes the season strong, he'll be higher in this list in the offseason.
20. Chase Johnson RHP (A+)
Chase's stock has soared and you could say that he deserves Tier 3 because of his stats this year and it can be right as well. He enjoys an improved velocity, and his performance this year really wows me because a guy with that kind of performance in a "hitter-friendly" environment (I know you're going to get me again Mr. ogc with this), almost as good as Tyler Beede, is someone I can build on. His offspeed pitches possibly improved this year because of his satisfying strikeout numbers. I love his mechanics as well. Really high release point, great finish, smooth.
21. Mac Marshall LHP (A-)
I'm on the high side on Marshall and his stock is just holding steady even though he had a couple of rough and short outings recently. He's pretty polished even though he only spent just a year in JUCO and he got one of the best changeups in this year's draft class and he should be developed to a starting pitcher because he got the looks and feel of a starter.
22. Ray Black RHP (A+)
After a short cameo on the SJ rotation, Black's finally back where he belongs, in the back-end of the bullpen as I talked about it over and over before. He got the best heat in professional baseball (along the lines of Aroldis Chapman) and hitters should only see him just 1 time in the order. Now that he got the reps to get him experience, he should soar in the system pretty quickly as an arm as good as his should not be babied with his age.
23. Austin Slater 2B (AA)
He's one of the steadiest hitters in the Giants farm system, as he's consistently performing in High-A and AA this year, and he even improved on getting on base in the tougher AA (.367 OBP vs .321 OBP in High-A) and I can say that his stock has risen this season but his ceiling that I project from him is not really high enough to make him an everyday position player. If he can improve his overall ceiling in my eyes, I can rank him higher on the list.
24. Clayton Blackburn RHP (AAA)
One of the players who I have high hopes before where I see him as a potential mid-rotation starter has now been just a back-end option for the Giants with his good sinker and good curveball. There's still hope for him to prove that he's higher than what I project him because there's some Chris Heston in him.
25. Ty Blach LHP (AAA)
Ever-reliable Ty Blach has been relatively steady and as with the other prospects on the bottom tier of this list, they are here on the bottom due to the breakout performances of other pitchers. The ceiling of a back-end pitcher is still there.
26. Chris Stratton RHP (AAA)
One of the better stories in the system this year, Stratton looks like what we are expecting him to be, a reliable starter and his stuff has improved as his fastball experienced an uptick in his velocity, his slider still got that sharp movement and the way he handles the PCL is something not to ignore. He might be another Chris Heston candidate too.
27. Kelvin Beltre SS/3B (ROK)
After going MIA on he earlier parts of the season with a hand injury, he's returned to the AZL and his stock has been pretty steady though his averages in his past 10 games have been pretty bad, batting only .194 with just 1 HR and 3 RBIs. His K/BB ratio's good and I'll say that this pretty bad numbers is a result of the recovery in his hand injury. His ceiling's still there and he's still super young and have a lot of time to reach it.
28. Ryder Jones 3B/1B (A+)
Drafted in 2013 with power as his main calling card, Ryder's season so far has been pretty disappointing in the power department, as he left the year just 6 times this year. Last year, he's been hit hard towards the end of the season with fatigue though this year, batting just 1-29 before he hit the DL. The jury's still out on Ryder's overall stamina towards the end of the season after he will finish his DL stint. He's pretty disappointing to my liking overall.
29. Joe Biagini RHP (AA)
Joe's stock has improved this year thanks to the massive decrease in his walk numbers. His stuff has been getting the AA hitters out highlighted by his fastball that can reach the mid-90s and is performing really well. He might not have a true out pitch but he pitches and he could be seen as a long reliever sometime in the future and that future might not be too far away as his age is the only kickback for him.
30. Luis Ysla LHP (A+)
After an awful stint as a starter early this season and I'll say awful is an understatement, he's been pitching well out of the bullpen recently, allowing just 3 ER or less in his last 10 appearances, whether spot starting or long relieving. He's slowly picked up some of the shattered pieces that I hoped that he'll be this year (I love his stuff) and I feel he'll come back better if he becomes a specialist reliever or more in the future. He's 23 though so time's running out slowly.
That ends the Top 30 Prospect List for this year. I'll make the last update in the offseason. I know there will be some agreements and a lot of disagreements and arguments with my list. I did my best and I tried to calm down myself as I'm fighting with myself in terms of ranking guys. I hope the tier system will help you organize the top 30 prospects that I mentioned just the way you like and make your own prospect list. That ends my prospect list. In the offseason, I'll do my big prospect list in tiers and I hope you will enjoy that one like the number system. I hope you enjoy reading this pretty long one. Feel free to share your thoughts on my list or if you want to compare your's and mine's.