The State Of The Minors
Before the beginning of the 2018 season, plenty of changes have been brought to improve the quality of the farm system: namely additions of more coaches per level, more medical staff, more sports science people, with David Bell being hired as their head (Vice President of Player Development), an addition of another Arizona League team so that the surplus of players in the team can get playing time and not just having them work hard but has no shot at playing a single game in the regular season.
The changes that have been brought are great on paper because it improves not just the players but also the environment that they are in with a better infrastructure that's been put into place. However, the on-field results have not been great in terms of the win-loss records, especially in the higher levels with the San Jose Giants, Richmond Flying Squirrels and the Sacramento River Cats finishing last in their respective divisions and one of the worst records in their leagues. It's not the new infrastructure's fault for not performing well. If you better took a look at the rosters in each squad, the league does not have much talent to begin with Major League promotions also playing a little part. So most of the blame will fall into the Giants' failure of acquiring impact players through the draft, settling for drafting guys who are more fitting to help the core of Posey, Bum, Crawford, Belt etc. right away and not trying to supplant the core with high impact prospects which at that time is a good idea because it will make them competitive for the short-term and take advantage of the youth of the core. Drafting in the lower half of the first round in the early 2010s and drafting out of the box did not help to their advantage, either.
In addition to the draft approach, the signings to Melancon, Samardzija and Cueto, and the trades for Will Smith, Longoria, and McCutchen put the Giants in the win-now mode to try to win World Series while the homegrown core is still at their prime. Again, those ideas and mentality made sense 3-5 years ago and we know that in a win-now situation, the farm system is always going to take a hit. However, when the championship core starts breaking down due to injuries and poor performance as they age, the supposed to be supporting cast via draft did not develop as planned (again, drafted supporting casts not future stars) and the amount of guaranteed money attached to the FA signings became albatrosses, that is when all hell broke loose. Baer fired Evans and basically demoted everyone who's a part of this madness, including Sabean. Baer looked for a guy who can get the Giants out of this mess and lucky for us, we stole Zaidi out of the Dodgers and made him our main man.
That's enough of the storytelling and let's focus on the farm system itself. The farm system is still below average to be honest but it is clearly better when compared to two years ago. First, the acquisitions via the draft, IFA and trades really made the biggest impact as 5 of my top 6 prospects in my top 30 only came to the org within the last 2 years. The Giants actually made several good trades to improve the farm where they brough two of top 10 prospects in the Eduardo Nuñez trade (both Anderson and Santos developed into top 10 prospects in the Giants hands and not with the Red Sox) and two in the top 20 in the Cutch trade (still TBD on Avelino and de Paula). The two trades seemed subtle at first but the Giants ended up with 4 top 20 prospects there. However, you will notice that the subpar depth of the farm when the three prospect grabbed by the Zaidi administration all made the lower half of the top 30 list.
Back to the win-loss records, you might notice that the lower minors all had winning records and in my opinion, most of the meat of the top prospects for the Giants is in that area, and it makes sense since only Shaun Anderson is the only guy above A Ball out of the top 6 prospects and the win-loss records of A Ball and below are all positives. It did not help their cause that three of the top 10 in my 2018 primer regressed heavily (Beede, Fabian, G. Williams) and the 2017 draftees had mixed results (Heliot and Jacob struggled offensively, Corry hit a brick wall in Salem-Keizer, Cave struggled, Bahr was traded, Phillips is a welcoming surprise).
Yes, the farm system is still below average in terms of quality and impact prospects but there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. First, they are drafting 10th overall in next year's draft (could have been 9th if not for the Braves) and Zaidi has brought in a familiar friend in Michael Holmes to lead the draft. I mean the Athletics are being primarily run by Beane and Forst, and Holmes is not the one calling the shots in the draft room but recent history tells us that the Athletics value highly volatile HS prospects and college performers and highly analytics-powered so we can expect probably the same from the Holmes-Zaidi tandem come June 3. To make you feel better, recent history tells they draft well at exactly 10th (Timmy and Bum) so let's hope that same narrative continues next year.
Second is what the new Zaidi administration has in store for us. We now know that it is more of a Friedman-Zaidi collaboration than a Friedman then Zaidi pecking order. I will only talk about their moves to improve their farm system (2015 Draft onwards and I am sure I will miss out on some of their other moves). In terms of the draft, only Walker Buehler is the standout of their 2015 draft haul because I do not see any other impact prospects in that class aside from Edwin Rios (but boy, Buehler is sooooo good), their 2016 draft haul is sublime where the top of their MLB.com Top 30 is littered with Dustin May (loved this guy since pre-Draft), Will Smith, Gavin Lux (I still really love this guy since pre-Draft), Mitchell White, DJ Peters and others. Their 2017 and 2018 draft hauls are still TBD but the early implications is that they did not do well (J.T. Ginn did not sign with them this year).
In terms of their July 2 hauls, they really shelled out in 2015, signing Yadier Alvarez, Starling Heredia, Ronny Brito, Omar Estevez and others but those high-marquee names failed to develop to their ceilings as Alvarez struggled with his command and Heredia's body caught up to him along with poor performance. Together with the Giants, they got hit hard with the penalty hammer and I did not see any $300k gems in their recent prospect lists aside from Edwin Uceta and Gerardo Carrill. Again together with the Giants signed one of the best prospects in the 2018 J2 class in Diego Cartaya. Overall, the future success of their farm rides heavily on that special 2016 haul along with leftovers from the Colletti era. Looking ahead for the Giants, it is fair to assume that the Giants are going to be aggressive on the July 2 market if we are looking at the Dodgers transactions and in other ways to build the farm.
The only problem that I see is that Zaidi had little time on the clock to select a guy to replace David Bell as the head of the farm system as he goes back to the NL Central to manage the Reds. Currently, Zaidi will leave the position open until next offseason as Kyle Haines and Eric Flemming will be co-interims. I do not know much about Flemming but I do know Haines since 2015 as he is the manager of the Volcanoes when the squad was littered with talent with the likes of Chris Shaw, Ronnie Jebavy and Steven Duggar. He managed the Flying Squirrels after then took on a larger role as head of field instruction. He is young and a promising coach and can certainly hold the position if Zaidi thinks he is the best qualified for the job.
Overall, the farm system is still in the 20s in terms of overall rankings and the 2019 draft will help improve its status and possibly will creep us to the teens. But I am shooting from the hip really, if you ask me what will really be in store for the Giants and its farm for the future because the organization is under new management although there sure is plenty of promise, nonetheless. I do hope that they take more steps in improving their player development program in order to produce more diamonds in the rough because the Giants do need to have some impact talent flowing through the farm.
Description of Tiers
Tier 1 - Potential All-Star player; #2-3 Starter; 50+ - 55 (20-80 scale)
Tier 2 - Potential everyday to solid player/ #3-4 Starter; True closer; 45+ - 50 (20-80 scale)
Tier 3 - Potential bench/AAAA to everyday player; #4-5 Starter; 7-8th inning RP with closer potential; 40+ - 45 (20-80 scale)
Tier 4 - Organization filler with ceiling to bench/AAAA player; Middle reliever with ceiling; 35+ - 40 (20-80 scale)
The Top 30 Breakdown
Tier 1 - 2
Tier 2 - 4
Tier 3 - 10
Tier 4 - 14
By Position (primary current position)
C - 2
INF - 5
1B - 0
2B - 2
SS - 2
3B - 1
OF - 6
RHP - 14
RH SP - 8
RH RP - 6
LHP - 3
LH SP - 2
LH RP - 1
*Stats provided are from FanGraphs and MLB StatCast, and some numbers I provided might not match when compared between the two sites.
6'3" 220 lbs. R/R Age: 23 ETA: 2020
Videos: Credits to Baseball., Baseball Census and minorleaguebaseball
Hit 50 | Power 55 | Speed 50 | Arm 55 | Glove 50+
tl;dr: Quinn is back to his old self after an injury-plagued 2017, showing off his power potential in a simplified right hand-heavy and pull-centric swing mechanics where he is more upright in his stance and less aggressive front leg drive while also playing good outfield defense although has played primarily at left field throughout 2018.
After being injured for most of the 2017 season and is just not 100% throughout 2017, Quinn rebounded in a big way in 2018 that has him back to his old self that has earned him a Fall League stint where it is a combination of more reps and reward for his performance.
Quinn is back to being the pre-Draft version of himself but with a cleaner looking hitting mechanics. The one thing that has been back has been his walk rate, which has been back to double digits, showing not just his ability to draw walks and showing a good eye and feel for the zone but also his ability to work the counts even though he got swing and miss in his game as a result especially to pitches out of the zone.
Yes, there is swing and miss in his game due to his compact swing and his right hand-centric swing which makes it pretty tough for him to chase and foul off pitches even though he got good eye-hand coordination but I like what he did to reduce that swing and miss tendencies. He is more upright in his stance which made him more loose on the box and put more momentum to the ball. He integrated a leg kick but not enough to cause him to be off balanced. As usual, he is putting the barrel on the ball as he swings hard and uses his plus raw power to pump out homers to all fields and produce loud contact and plenty of screaming line drives.
He has played primarily at left field in San Jose as right field was manned by Sandro Fabian for most of 2018 but Quinn might prove to be a better defender at left but don't count out the possibility of him playing back to right in 2019 as he looks geared to play in Richmond. In left, his strong arm and good range and solid speed might give him an edge on holding a starting outfield role for the big league club among all power-hitting left fielders that the farm system has in store.
6'2" 190 lbs. R/R Age: 19 ETA: 2021/2022
Videos: Credits to 2080 Baseball and Roger Munter
FB 60 | SL 55 | CH 45 | CMD 50+
tl;dr: Santos has the highest ceiling of any of the pitching prospects in the farm with his advanced pitchability of three pitches where his fastball and slider has the plus potentials and his changeup not that much behind and has a solid pitching mechanics to boot.
The Giants has two of their best pitching prospects from the Nuñez trade as Anderson and Santos are blossoming into promising prospects. Assigned pretty aggressively in his Stateside debut in Salem-Keizer, Santos has proven he is among the best when he was selected as a NWL All-Star although he got hit in the head by a liner that brought major scare but had been fine and kept pitching to the end of the season.
Santos kept on adding more velocity as he matures in his frame, now able to reach 97 MPH and could be sitting at mid to high-90s when all is said and done because there is still room for muscle in his 6'2", 190 lbs. frame. The pitch got very good sink and run with great downhill plane as a result of his release point and has been able to induce high groundball rates in the lower ranks of the minor leagues (60.6 GB% in 2018) and not surrendering much long ball (below 1 HR/9). His slider is wipeout-type of stuff with big two-plane break, almost resembling a curveball and resembling a fastball at his high 3/4 release. Changeup's firm at the moment but has flashes of being a third pitch for him and there's hope due to his easy mechanics. Due to him having just two workable pitches at the moment, there's not much surprise when Santos has less than 9 K/9 throughout his short pro career.
The mechanics is similar to Yadier Alvarez with some stiffness in it but has the body control and athleticism to repeat it. Let's just keep in mind that Alvarez's control and command has since regressed heavily since being a top prospect a couple of years ago and Santos could be a victim of the same control regression but ever since he has been a member of the Giants organization, Santos has kept his BB/9 below 2.75, a far cry from his 4.45 and 5.71 BB/9 when he was with the Red Sox. He might be more control than command at this point of his young career as he gets hit around quite a lot which might be a reason of being around the plate too much (thrown 67.74% strikes) but I think the command should come as he hits the catcher's mitt on the corners at times.
I ranked Santos higher than most of the people out there because his tools are better than all pitching prospects in the organization aside from Anderson and Hjelle because of his exciting combination of stuff and command potential. Yes, he gets hit around a lot and does not generate more than a strikeout an inning but videos shows the stuff should play better with more maturity and improvements in his command and the development of a third pitch.
One of the pleasant surprise of the season has been the emergence of Logan Webb in 2018, two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery even though he is pretty much on a hard leash all season as the Giants are taking it easy on him as he never exceeded 90 pitches and never sniffed the 7th inning all season.
He pretty much aced his San Jose assignment as he is one of the best pitchers there all season and has been named as an All-Star in the Cal League and he has three pitches that makes it work. The fastball's back to its pre-TJ state (as most TJ victims nowadays), capable of reaching 97 MPH but sits more on the 92-95 MPH range. The pitch (grips it like a wide horseshoe two-seamer, almost like a splitter) got hard arm-side run when thrown on his arm side but loses plenty of run on his glove side but has downhill plane thanks to his hig 3/4 release.
6'3" 235 lbs. R/R Age: 24 ETA: 2019/2020
Videos: Credits to Giant Potential, Baseball., 2080 Baseball, and Baseball Census
FB 80 | SL 55 | CMD 45
tl;dr: The best true relief prospect in the system, Adon has legitimate closer potential after getting work in as a starter with pretty terrible results due to his Fall League performance as he's shown the ability to blow by hitters with his triple-digit fastball and a two-plane slider with sharp break from a slinging arm action.
Adon's 2018 regular season has been pretty terrible from the stats standpoint as a starting pitcher as the stats will make your eyes sore but once he was converted to the bullpen full-time in the Arizona Fall League, he has been a pleasant surprise as he showed his overpowering stuff against some of the best hitters in the Minors.
Taking a look at Adon's stuff has shown that his stuff didn't really changed a lot when he got thrown to the pen as it flashes plus when the grip and feel is correct with late, two-plane massive break that he can throw for strikes on his glove side. But there are times where he loses grip on it and loses consistency to throw it for strikes, generating plenty of balls in the dirt. The fastball is a true 80 pitch velocity-wise especially in the pen, throwing it consistently from 98-102 MPH with some movement on it more on because he is throwing it in a low 3/4, slingshot-style delivery. There have been no changes in his overall delivery since being relegated to the pen aside from throwing from the stretch and he has shown inconsistencies in his control and command throughout his starting career. He has also placed his changeup to the scraps and became a primarily fastball-slider pitcher.
Adon's Fall League numbers tell the whole story of his potential as a closer in the big leagues. 5.1 H/9, 15.3 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, and struck out a shade lower than 44% of total batters faced. Adon has actually an above-average line drive percentage as a starter this year but he's had trouble in pitching with RISP this year (13.15 ERA) and looked to be much better with being handed a clean inning to work on (0.54 ERA in 2018, 0.69 ERA in 2017, 0.30 ERA in 2016). His ability to cool his nerves during high stress situations will probably be tested in 2019 as the "getting him the innings" phase is now over and looks to be a full-time reliever. He is also entering his athletic prime so they might possibly rush him to the big leagues as soon as next year.
6'3" 226 lbs. L/L Age: 25 ETA:2019
Videos: Credits to MLB 1 and 2, 2080 Baseball, and minorleaguebaseball 1 and 2
Hit 40 | Power 60 | Speed 20 | Arm 55 | Glove 40+
tl;dr: Shaw kind of like lost his luster as a prospect as fresher prospects with better upside keeps on coming to the scene but kept on mashing all 2018 but the issues against him kept on being prevalent (his feast or famine approach and outfield defense) have kept him from dreaming on him as a legitimate three-true-outcomes hitter.
Leading the Giants on homers this year (the whole organization for that matter), Shaw hit a total of 25 homers across the Minors and Majors which is a tell-tale sign of the overall inability of the organization to develop power bats (which might not be a bad thing considering they are playing on one of the worst parks to hit a home run).
Shaw has improved defensively in left field where you can at least stomach him playing in left field in a full season but in a park where speed and defensive metrics are of higher importance than other ballparks (except maybe Kansas City) and the new organization valuing advanced defensive metrics, Shaw might not be in the prime list of prospects that they might be looking at. And honestly, I see Shaw more as a trade chip but he offers the most present power among all of the prospects as it is power from foul pole to foul pole.
Shaw mashed for the past two years in the PCL, as evidenced with his .241 and .246 ISO for the past two years, and don't take Shaw's power for granted as he get hit balls far when he barrels a poor ball. Yes, you can utilize defensive shifts (72.2% of hits to right and center in AAA, 82.2% in MLB) but he has shown that he is not afraid to poke baseballs to the opposite side when a ball is thrown to his outer side of the plate as seen on some videos. Shaw's shown a solid walk rate in college and in the early stages of his pro career but his walk rate dipped to just 5% this year while his K% is at an alarming 34.1%, which might be an indication that he's trying to gear up for homers like a Joey Gallo (has hit a homer in 24.7% of his total flyballs hit in 2018) but has failed to tack on the walks to become a three-true-outcomes hitter. He also struggles against left handed pitching (.204/.275/.366 triple slash versus lefties in AAA) The silver lining that I see is that he has a 11.3% walk rate in the Majors albeit in a short sample size.
There might a good chance that the writing's on the wall with Shaw as the Zaidi's crew are getting outfielders with good defensive value and Shaw is just serviceable at best at left but I think the Giants will give him a chance to play in the Majors this year, playing him to see if he can improve his market value for AL teams to maybe take a shot on a lower-level prospect but ultimately, Shaw can rake and that power should find a home somewhere (maybe even at AT&T).
12. Ryan Howard SS/2B AAA (projected)
6'2" 195 lbs. R/R Age: 24 ETA: 2019/2020
Videos: Credits to 2080 Baseball and minorleaguebaseball 1, 2 and 3
Hit 55 | Power 40 | Speed 50+ | Arm 55 | Glove 50
tl;dr: Howard is probably the most underrated prospect in the farm system with above average bat control that's capable of producing contact to all fields and has improved his walk rate while showing more in game pop although he will likely move out of shortstop because of too many errors but has a strong arm and decent range to play elsewhere in the infield.
The Giants really loved Howard as a college prospect as they drafted him not once but twice in succession as a draft-eligible sophomore in 2015 and as a junior in 2016. Howard has then proven that he can put the barrel on the ball almost too easily as he progressed in his pro career and in 2018, he became more mature that makes me say that he got the best hit tool in the farm system right now.
The Eastern League has long proven to be a pitcher-friendly league where the all hitters are meant to be tested, Howard not just held his own, but has shown improvements in his offensive game. The one thing that people often clamor on Howard is that he does not take walks too much and puts balls in play a little too much. So what did Howard did in a tougher league? He doubled his walk rate to a rate that is more respectable (4.1% in 2017 to 8.2% in 2018). Not only that, he cut down his strikeout rate as if you asked for that but yes, he did (from 14.3% in 2017 to 11.6% in 2018).
He had a little rough patch in July where he just batted .210 but the silver lining in that is that he drew more walks than strikeouts (12 BBs vs. 10 Ks). Howard's ability to put the barrel-to-ball skills is legit with good, strong wrists and the bat travels through the zone very well. His ability to lay off pitches out of the zone might have hurt his batting average and his BABIP but overall, it is an improvement. The swing mechanics is still very upper-half oriented but has tapped more more in game power (32 doubles and .123 ISO) as he became more selective on the pitches that he will hit. I think he has put on some weight as well as he looks a bit bigger than previous years. I don't think he needs anymore tinkering in his swing as the ability to hit fits well in the confines of AT&T. His approach is also very admirable as he hit pitches to where it was thrown (38.6% pull, 23.7% center, 37.8% oppo) but he still pounds the ground with his swing so probably the only thing to do is to hit more line drives.
His defense at shortstop is only very average as he committed 17 errors in the premium position in 2018 and has actually played second base and has only committed 1 error there. I think that second base is his ultimate true home but I don't really mind seeing him play at shortstop from time to time as his decent range and good arm strength can still play there but his ultimate home should be the other side.
It will be interesting if Howard will going to have a shot at playing in the Majors as soon as next year if he continues to perform well, bat a high average and continue his improvement on his walk rate while keeping his strikeout rate ridiculously low. I am not sure that Howard's walk rate will continue in AAA next year but I'm on the optimistic side here. If ever the walk rate's going to be back to its ridiculously low rates, the bat should still play in the PCL and could probably make some noise as a possible September call-up.
13. Jacob Gonzalez 3B/1B/LF A+ (projected)
6'3" 190 lbs. R/R Age: 20 ETA:2021
Videos: Credits to 2080 Baseball, David Lee and minorleaguebaseball
Hit 45 | Power 55 | Speed 45 | Arm 55 | Glove 45
tl;dr: Jacob struggled the whole 2018 to find consistency and power with the bat as he looked overmatched often by the quality of the level but has become less of a pull hitter although there's still too much errors to see him as a long-term solution at the hot corner.
Along with Heliot, Jacob Gonzalez absolutely smoked the Arizona League and people has placed very high expectations on him coming into the 2018 season. However, the whole season has been a struggle overall for Gonzalez as a string of good games is followed by a longer streak of cold games but it has been a weird season for him in general.
I say that Jacob's season is weird because there's not much of a difference in his groundball and flyball rate (45.9% GB rate in 2018, 33.3% FB rate) and has been more of an all fields hitter (41.6% pull, 22.5% center, 35.8% oppo). His .277 BABIP was terrible and yes, he could be in some real bad luck in 2018 with his bat but he did not helped himself out either when he posted a lower walk rate (6.1%) and a much higher but still palatable strikeout rate (21.1%). However, his struggles sapped out plenty of should have been great power numbers (.105 ISO, 8 homers) although he has pointed out that he is just trying to make contact and not sell out for power so we might not have seen what he could do if he really tries for more power.
It could probably mean that he's not squaring up the ball throughout the year and it could probably mean an issue on his swing path. The swing path is so inconsistent it definitely needs an extreme makeover, Steven Duggar-style. Because he is very right hand-centric, he struggles to adjust his bat to square up breaking balls or moving fastballs. He's not Mike Trout in terms of athleticism to make it work by leaving it alone as it is either. And he is tall so he has more areas to cover so he needs to tinker his swing this offseason in order for him to square up the ball better.
There are still concerns on him in terms of his long-term defensive home. Some say he is too heavy-footed to field third base, his throwing motion looks weird, and he should move to left field. I do see that he is really working hard before the 2018 season as well as this offseason to clean up his fundamentals in order to stay at third base but I do not think that he will be a good defender there. It would be average at best I should say as he tacks on more muscle into his frame. I am surprised that he got more speed that I first thought (7 SB vs. 5 CS) or it is just a mirage because he might be very aggressive in base stealing. I am not sure on that. Nonetheless, his 30 errors at third base either at throwing or fielding has not done him favors for the doubters and make them believe that he should move out of there and play either at first or in left.
There are plenty of things for Jacob to clean up in order to become a prospect worthy of our attention and excitement, not just being Luis Gonzalez's son. I hope that he follows the footsteps of Bo Bichette, Vladdy Jr., Wander Franco (the Tampa Bay prospect), etc. as the sons of their dads who are doing very well. I do hope that Jacob will fix up his swing in order to square up balls better in order for him to tap on his plus raw power and he cleans up his defense enough to play at the hot corner. It might take a couple of years or so. Another interesting thing to think about Jacob is whether he will be aggressively promoted to San Jose or repeat Augusta. If he has shown the improvements needed, sure why not but there is already a guy before that really plays well in Spring Training but does terrible in full season ball.
14. Seth Corry LHP A (projected)
6'2" 195 lbs. L/L Age: 20 ETA: 2022
Videos: Credits to FanGraphs, and Kevin Johnson 1 and 2
FB 55 | CB 60 | CH 55 | CMD 40
tl;dr: Corry made strides in improving his command by toning down his mechanics but will still need to locate his pitches better that consists of a fastball with just average velocity but plays up because of its sink and cut, a hammer curveball that he has better feel for than his fastball, and an impressive changeup with plenty of fade.
Drafted in the third round in the 2017 draft, Corry is as raw of a pitching prospect as they come with great athleticism (Harrison Smith-type of frame and an all-state safety prospect), strong frame, and mechanics that needs plenty of tinkering because of its wildness. He has made strides in terms of improvement in the Arizona League but has failed to carry it when he got promoted to the Northwest League.
Looking at Corry's stats and it is not pretty at all. His BB/9 in his promotion to Salem-Keizer has been very ugly (6.86 vs. 4.03 in the AZL in 2018) and that affected his K/9 (7.78 vs. 9.95 in the AZL in 2018) but it indicates on how nasty Corry can be if he can just hone in on his command. He has ridiculous increase in flyball rate (40%) but has an even more ridiculous decrease in line drive rate (8%). Due to his total struggles in the NWL, Corry has only thrown 57% strikes. Looking at the videos, he does have instances where he does not miss his spots a lot but he does throw his pitches on the middle to upper half of the zone quite a lot and that reduces his fastball effectiveness.
Corry's mechanics was toned down this year, where he drives towards the plate a lot better when compared to last year where he over rotates all the time, his head stays still much better that gives him a much better chance to improve his control and command of his repertoire. His fastball is just high-80s to low-90s, depending on the day, but has plenty of potential because of its late sink and cut but I do not see much improvement on the velocity because his mechanics is not very conducive for an increase in velocity, he does not throw his fastball as hard in terms of effort as compared to last year and his frame is already bulked up. If he grasps the knowhow of where his fastball will end up due to its unpredictable movement, it will be a plus pitch for him. His hard curveball is a better present pitch than his fastball because he actually knows where it will end up (he does not let it hang quite often and able to spot it down in the zone) with hard, deep break. The changeup has shown big potential with similar hard fade like his fastball but is a below average pitch at present due to a present lack of feel for the pitch.
In some ways, Corry reminds me a lot of our good old enigma Kyle Crick: plus stuff, athletic frame, but stiffness and over rotation in his mechanics and lack of feel for pitching limiting the impact of his stuff. I am not saying that Corry will have the same career arc as Crick. I am saying that I have seen this kind of thing before and there's a chance that Corry can end up with the same fate as Crick but the two are different human beings and Corry can always learn and reach his ceiling as a potential impact starting pitcher down the road.
15. Abiatal Avelino SS/2B/OF MLB (projected)
5'11" 195 lbs. R/R Age: 23 ETA: 2019
Videos: Credits to MLB.com, and minorleaguebaseball 1 and 2
Hit 50 | Power 35 | Speed 60 | Arm 60 | Glove 50
tl;dr: Avelino looks poised to be ready to fill for the backup infield job for the Giants in 2019 as he got the strong arm, quick speed and range to play all over the infield but commits more errors than to one's liking and there's some gap power in his contact-oriented, upper half-heavy swing.
Acquired from the Cutch deal in the waiver wire trade deadline, Avelino had his cup of coffee in the Majors in September and certainly has been notable for his batter's box routine and his performance in the Majors and in the Yankees system has been very interesting enough.
Avelino has a sort of a Japanese-like swing and approach. The approach is contact-oriented (43% GB rate in AA, 53.6% in AAA, 75% in MLB, 8.5 BB% in AA, 4.8% in AAA, 0% in MLB) where his swing features an early leg kick and holds his front leg high until ball release and generates most of his power on upper body rotation and good wrist speed and not much on back leg loading. He hinted some raw power potential in AA ball (.216 ISO) but has not carried it after his promotion to AAA (.120 ISO in AAA, .000 in MLB) and looks like he will not have much homers in the Majors.
However, I expect him to have doubles power in the spacious AT&T for him to utilize his tick over plus raw speed and has been pretty prolific in base stealing in the Minors (27 SB vs. 6 CS) and the Giants badly need someone who knows how to steal bases. There is going to be some swing and miss as he is more of a timing hitter with his long leg kick (17.5% K rate in AA, 21% in AAA, 27.3% in MLB) but has shown the ability to incorporate an all fields approach in his game (41.7% pull, 29.5% center, 28.9% oppo in AA, 42.5% pull, 21% center, 36.5% oppo in AAA).
Possibly the biggest thing for him is his ability to play multiple positions in the infield in which Zaidi just really loves although the versatility should come with an asterisk. Even though he got the potential to play third base, shortstop and second base due to his plus range and arm strength, he has committed 12 errors in the infield (primarily at short) and 4 in the outfield (primarily at right field) in 2018 and he should improve on his fundamentals for him to be a plug-and-play player that Zaidi covets for a baseball player. He should compete for a spot in the Majors in Spring Training and if Bochy and the front office has seen that Avelino has improved his fielding, he should be in the Major League roster in 2019.
16. Drew Ferguson OF MLB (projected)
5'11" 180 lbs. R/R Age: 26 ETA: 2019
Videos: Credits to Baseball Census, 2080 Baseball, and minorleaguebaseball
Hit 50 | Power 40 | Speed 55 | Arm 50 | Glove 50+
tl;dr: Ferguson should compete for the everyday OF job in 2019 as a do-it-all-type of guy in the outfield where you can slot him anywhere in the outfield and provide good defense, gives you good, mature at-bats with a good eye at the plate, some base stealing, but not much homer power which will limit his ceiling but not a lot since he will play at AT&T.
I know plenty of Giants fans does not know who Drew Ferguson was and what the hell does he got to be picked by the Giants in the 2018 Rule 5 draft when he was unprotected by the Astros but not because he sucks but the Astros already got a ridiculously good outfield depth.
In a co-Blogger What The Heck, Bobby's interview of Ferguson in 2017, let's allow Ferguson to describe his game and his style (check it out for other great tidbits on Ferguson):
"If I had to typify myself, I'd say that I do everything well, but nothing extraordinarily well. I kind of pride myself in being a well-rounded player … base running, defense, at the plate. I try to help the team win in a bunch of different areas. So to improve, of course I don't have crazy tools necessarily in any category, but I guess just maximizing my upside with what I'm given. I'm a very cerebral player. I think about the game a lot. I think about development a lot. I think that puts me a leg up on a lot of players. I know what it takes to be good. It's more just a matter of being able to do it consistently. My focus is to continue to learn about the game, continue to learn about my own development and how I'm going to improve in every category, every facet of the game."
Ferguson has a quick bat that travels well through the zone and strong wrists (pretty similar to Heliot in that aspect) and has shown to be able to handle premium velocity in the Fall League. I think the most impressive thing about Ferguson is that he did not fell below 10% walk rate with a career high of 15.8% this year, a proof that Ferguson has a mature approach at the plate. He does have some swing and miss in the game but is not much of a concern to me. He does not have much raw power but has potential gap to gap power (probably up to 20 doubles) due to his solid speed on the bases.
Ferguson described himself as a clubhouse clown so that's an added bonus as well. It reminds me of the descriptions that Out of the Park Baseball has for every player (Yes, I play the Giants in OOTP and I am more of a Dealin' Dipoto than a draft-and-develop guy). In some ways, he reminds me of Ryan Howard, the Giants prospect of having five solid tools but those tools plays up because of his intangibles.
The only issue that I have on him is that he is going to enter his age-27 season so he is at the peak of his career and he does not have much ceiling but given the priority of the Zaidi front on getting on base and grinding out at-bats and having defensive versatility, Ferguson enters on equal footing as other wannabe everyday outfielders Chris Shaw and Mac Williamson and if he could prove that he can hold his own, he should win a job in the outfield at the end of Spring Training next year.
17. Jake Wong RHP A+ (projected)
6'2" 215 lbs. R/R Age: 22 ETA: 2020
Videos: Credits to Adam McIntruff 1 and 2, Scout Trio, and GCU Lopes on Twitter
FB 60 | CB 55 | CH 50 | SL 45 | CMD 50
tl;dr: Wong has potential to be a back-end starter due to his four-pitch mix but needs to clean up his mechanics so that his fastball that can reach 96 MPH can be located better in the zone along with his above-average mid-70s curveball, mid-80s changeup that has a wide variety of speed and quality of fading break, and a decent, fringy slider.
One of the highly touted pitching prospects during the early part of the 2018 college baseball season after an impressive performance against TCU, Wong's stock has steadied all season and ended up on the laps of the Giants with their third round pick.
Wong's short stint in the Northwest League has been nice in three-inning bursts even though there's plenty of work to be done. Wong's got a solid pitching frame that's built for innings with no physical projection. The fastball's a true plus pitch in terms of sheer velocity (up to 96 MPH) but gets hit more than it should be because there's little life out of the pitch when thrown down in the zone and is a better looking pitch when looking to overpower hitters in the upper half of the zone. His feel for the pitch is erratic has he miss his spots often in the zone (e.g. pitch ends up high in the zone when the call is down the zone). I think it's more because of a mechanics standpoint than the lack of feel as he dislodges his back foot off the rubber inconsistently, often too early in his drive to the plate, causing him to be off-balance just a bit but enough to affect the command.
The mechanics however looks smooth and easy enough to project better command with some tinkering with a smooth and clean arm action although the balance seems to be off and that could be affecting his command. If not, then there's an issue on his body control or overall feel. He also has a 89-91 MPH cutter that he throws to just give hitters a different look but the pitch has below-average cutting action. Thankfully for him, he does throw his fastball with good downhill plane due to a high 3/4 release point.
His secondary pitches has shown some promise to be good, particularly his mid-70s curveball that I think he got better feel for the zone than his fastball at the moment. The curveball has late, hard, 11-5 swing and miss break at best when thrown down in the zone although the pitch has inconsistencies in terms of quality break because it breaks early at times and looks tasty when thrown in the middle or upper portion of the zone. The changeup also has shown some promise of an above average pitch where at best, it can be swing and miss with hard tumble out of the zone but there is a wide range in terms of velocity and quality (some changeups has flukish tumble while some does not fade at all). The slider has been average at best with uninspiring break and is better off as a fourth pitch for him.
There are plenty of elements to like with Wong that should help him achieve a starting pitching role in the Majors with his plus fastball velocity, promising secondaries and clean arm action and strong looking mechanics but I have already seen someone with a promising three pitch mix and a clean and good looking mechanics fall off the face of the Earth because he can not figure out his control and command issues (you will see him later) and Wong definitely has a chance to become like that. I really hope not. But if ever he will stumble hard in terms of command in a starting pitching role, he should be considered as a late-inning option and scrap his highly volatile changeup and fringy slider and focus on his fastball and curve, as he has done in the Cape in 2017.
18. Ray Black RHP MLB (projected)
6'5" 225 lbs. R/R Age: 28 ETA: 2019
Videos: Credits to Roger Munter, and MLB.com 1 and 2
FB 80 | SL 55 | CMD 40
tl;dr: Black has actually battled all injuries known to man and still have a fastball that will touch triple digits and an impressive spin rate, and has a mid-80s slider to keep hitters honest but he will still battle control issues probably until the end of his career.
After battling so much injuries (Tommy John, torn meniscus, broken hand, labrum surgery, lat injuries, back spasms, bone spur in elbow) and being released altogether by the Giants in April 2017 then being re-signed, Black has been a freaking warrior throughout his career. Does this ranking justify what he has battled to finally play in the Majors in July 2018? Probably not. After all, I actually forgot that he is still technically a prospect even though he has played for more than two months. He has finally reached the pinnacle of baseball. The only issue for him is whether he can stay with the Giants for years to come.
Black still got the premium octane fastball that he has been long known for ever since he was born probably, still capable of reaching 102 MPH or even harder even though he already had endured a litany of injuries. But from what I saw, he has been more on the 96-99 MPH, pacing the at-bat with 96 and then throwing harder as the counts go deeper. Since Black's pitched for a good bit, Statcast data is therefore reliable. Black's averaging "just" 97.9 MPH and he has found much, much better control when he is easing on the gas just a bit (3.60 BB/9 in AA in 2018, 2.81 in AAA, 3.86 in MLB) and there's less effort when he throws his fastball (he is still throwing his breaking ball with max effort).
The fastball's got a crazy average spin rate (2640 RPM) and that has caused plenty of trouble against big league hitters and his slider got an even crazier average spin rate of 3083 RPM with sharp, two-plane break but serves more as a chase pitch as he has struggled to locate it in the zone although hitters tend to chase the pitch quite often. His fastball-slider combo helped him generate more weak contact than usual (71.4% zone contact rate vs. 83.2% average, 44.1% chase contact rate vs. 60.2% average, 37.2% whiff rate vs. 24% average, 34.7% strikeout rate vs. 21.4% average, never below 12.5 K/9 in his pro career, 9.8% weak contact rate vs. 4.8% average, 82.7 MPH exit velocity vs. 87.3 MPH average). The only issue that Black's got is that the batters are .286 against his fastball as even though his fastball's in the strike zone more, his spray charts shows that he is throwing his fastball more on the middle-middle-part of the zone and in the upper half. His strikeouts are also in the same spots, however.
Black has re-emerged into the prospect ranks as possibly the best present relief option for the Giants in the short-term. To be honest, I like pitchers who pitch in the zone better than overpowering hitters but has little idea of it going but Black has proven that he can be an exemption to my principles as he can really induce weak contact if he is on and he was definitely on in 2018 as he did the Sandy Koufax "ease up for more control" approach. There have been ideas that the Giants will utilize openers in ball games next year. If they want to start the game with a reliever, I think that Black has the best chance to do it. If not, he could be placed in a middle relief role or in even tighter spots although his command is still as volatile as anyone's.
19. Juan de Paula RHP A (projected)
6'3" 165 lbs. R/R Age: 21 ETA: 2021
Videos: Credits to 2080 Baseball, Matt Linder Baseball, and Pinstripe Prospects
FB 60 | CB 50+ | CH 50 | CMD 50
tl;dr: De Paula has plenty of ceiling to tap on as a still relatively raw prospect with a very skinny frame to fill out and mechanics to tone down but is already pumping out mid-90s fastball with life down the zone, a curveball and changeup that flashes above average.
De Paula has travelled to places ever since signing with the Mariners as a 16 year old in 2014, being part of the trade that brought Ben Gamel to the Mariners from the Yankees, and this latest trade bringing him and Abiatal Avelino to the Giants in the waiver trade deadline in exchange of Andrew McCutchen. Having pitched well in the NY-P League, he made one finale start as a member of the GreenJackets, pitching 5 innings of 1 run ball with 2 hits, 1 walk, and 9 strikeouts.
Since the Yankees got a large amateur prospect coverage, I did due diligence to check them out and there are some good scouting reports about him and has improved his velocity as he gets older. The fastball's got better and better as he gets older although he does not seem to add on weight to his frame yet. Topping the scale at just 165 lbs., he is already pumping out fastballs that reaches 97 MPH already while sitting at 93-95 MPH.
The pitch got good life when thrown down in the zone and retains its life even when thrown inside to lefties but there's effort in his mechanics as he is very armsy when throwing the ball, dislodging his front foot early in his drive to the plate and relies more on tempo and arm speed rather than weight loading to impart more velocity. I do want to see him more implanted on his back leg when driving so that he can incorporate more of his lower half to ease up his arm to avoid injury. The fact that he has been improving on his velocity even though he did not add on weight is a testament of how special that arm can be when he gets mature. The pitch does jump on hitters as he hides the ball well in his thin torso and has a lightning quick arm speed and throws it with good downhill plane. There is also some feel to spot his fastball on both sides of the plate but there's still obvious wildness in his command that can be fixed with tinkering on his mechanics. There is a video of him throwing warmups where he stays planted on his back leg and that might what ultimately be de Paula's mechanics when he matures.
The mid-70s breaking ball has flashed above average where it flashed good late 11-5 break but has been more of a solid one where it loops more than breaks late that lacks inconsistency in terms of feel and command of the pitch as he tends to miss on the mitt quite often or he does hit the mitt but sacrifices some of its quality. His mid-80s changeup has also flashed good potential with hard fade but it has been firm and the command of it has been spotty as well like his curveball. The lack of a consistent secondary pitch has been de Paula's issue since his debut that resulted to less than 9 K/9 in the low minors and while the fastball velocity keeps creeping up, so does his walk rate and he reached 4.94 BB/9 in Staten Island.
de Paula clearly has plenty of polish to be done on him before making a significant impact on the future but the Giants do well on polishing up high velocity arms and could reach his ceiling here with the Giants. The problem for him now is where he will be assigned as he could be very aggressively assigned to San Jose while his stuff is not up to par yet or whether they keep it steady with a full season in Augusta. That's a story to be tuned in to.
20. Mike Gerber OF AAA (projected)
6'0" 190 lbs. L/R Age: 26 ETA: 2019
Videos: Credits to minorleaguebaseball 1, 2 and 3
Hit 45 | Power 50 | Speed 50+ | Arm 50 | Glove 50+
tl;dr: Gerber has a chance to compete for the open outfield spots in Spring Training as a guy with average tools across the board with chance for better corner outfield defense although he strikes out more as he tries to sell out for power in the last 1 1/2 years, affecting his ability to hit for average.
The first time I heard about Mike Gerber is in 2015, as I keep on seeing his name every single time on the front page of MiLB.com while I do my daily checking of the box scores of the Giants farm system. To be honest, I got quite irritated because I see him for like 5x a week while I do not see Giants prospects at all (well, except for Tyler Beede) but at the same time, I get curious about him and started checking out on from time to time, watching some of his highlights and reading up scouting reports on him. He is a college senior who has overcame the odds as he steadily climbs up the minor league ladder until he reached the Majors this year and what's interesting to see is that he reports on him did not change much at all over the past 3 years. He is still more than the sum of the parts.
Gerber has shifted from a contact over power guy to a power over contact guy over the years and as a result, the walk rates over the past 3 years dropped to just 7% in AAA in 2018 while his strikeout rates spiked to 32.6% in AAA. The good raw power that he had however did not helped him increase his power numbers but it steadied while he climbs the minor leagues when usually, those same numbers tend to decrease for contact hitters (.175 ISO in 2015, .199 ISO in 2018). His swing mechanics is pretty similar to Chris Shaw with the quietness and the quick flick of the wrists to generate power although his line drive rate has gone down a good bit (23.4% in AA in 2017 vs. 19.7% in AAA in 2018) and his flyball rate went up (37% in AA in 2017 vs. 45.4% in AAA in 2018, 16.5% infield flyball rate in AA in 2017 vs. 19.3% in AAA in 2018).
He did terrible in his cup of coffee in the Majors where he was overmatched (42.5% whiff rate vs. 24% average, 72.2% whiff rate vs. offspeed, 42.9% whiff rate vs. breaking balls;27.3% hard hit rate vs. 34.2% average) although he had a silver lining in terms of plate discipline (22.2% chase rate vs. 28.2% average). What's shocking is that his sprint speed is in the 97.6th percentile (29.7 feet per second) so there's some promise in his potential in the outfield (only committed 5 errors in his 3680 1/3 innings in the outfield in the minors, 0 in MLB).
Gerber certainly has a shot to make the starting lineup of the Giants on Opening Day if he produces a good performance. If not, he should be in consideration for the bench outfield spot where he can be in for defensive purposes as his surprising sprint speed and good outfield instincts can make it work anywhere especially that the Giants need quality defensive outfielders with some ability to make good contact.
21. Aramis Garcia C/1B MLB (projected)
6'2" 220 lbs. R/R Age: 25 ETA: 2019
Videos: Credits to 2080 Baseball, Baseball Swingpedia, and MLB.com
Hit 45 | Power 50 | Speed 30 | Arm 55 | Glove 50
tl;dr: Aramis is as solid of a backup catcher as you can get with a good looking swing with pop in him, an aggressive approach at the plate, and has cleaned up his receiving enough and posts solid pop times for him to play catcher long-term but he comes with plenty of swing and miss, his cup of tea in the Majors looks flukish, and he looks like he will not be on the Giants long-term plans with Joey Bart on the horizon.
Drafted in the second round of the 2014 Rule 4 Draft, Aramis Garcia has progressed rather slowly when injuries and underwhelming performances with his bat has him only to be called for a September call-up this year, and even though he has played more first base than catcher in his cup of coffee in the Majors, he exceeded whatever expectations people had for him.
After posting just 88 wRC+ and an atrocious 38 in AA and AAA, respectively, Garcia has posted a 117 wRC+ in 19 games for the Giants, although most of the production has come when he is starting at catcher than at first base. He has shown better power in the Majors (4 in 19 games in MLB vs. 11 in 90 games in minors in 2018). However, the production in the Majors does come with some big red flags (very unsustainable .500 BABIP in MLB, spike in K% (47.7% in MLB vs. 23.2% in AA and 29.3% in AAA, 3.1 BB% in MLB vs. 6.1% in AA and 4.9% in AAA, 35.5% chase rate vs. 28.2% average, 51.3% swing rate vs. 46.5% average, 32.1% whiff rate vs. 24% average, 38.5% whiff rate on breaking balls, and 43.8% pull vs. 36.3% average). Quite a lot of stats thrown at you, right? He has hit made better contact (12.5% barrel rate vs. 6.1% average, 40.6% hard hit rate vs. 34.2 average) but I think there's more risk than there's reward to think that Aramis' offensive value will be sustainable in the future.
Aramis' swing has undergone plenty of changes, employing a longer, more pronounced leg kick when he stepped foot in the Majors as compared to a conventional leg kick in the Minors and a top tap in two-strike counts in the Arizona Fall League. He looks very reliant on his solid bat speed and the swing itself is very right handsy so there will really be swing and miss in his game.
The thing that he has improved on is his receiving. His batterymates likes him behind the plate with his game calling, poise, and even though his pitch framing looks good on TV broadcasts, advanced catching metrics of Baseball Prospectus seems down on it. He actually got a solid pop time (1.94 seconds) and good, quick catch and throw movement. It gets tricky in the future as the Giants seems to have drafted their catcher of the future in Joey Bart as Buster Posey will likely shift to first base in order to preserve his body so Aramis will probably be an eternal backup if he will play for the Giants in the future. I do think that he looks better than a handful of starting catchers in the Majors so if ever he gets traded, he got a shot at another club but he stays a Giant in the short-term.
22. Blake Rivera RHP A (projected)
6'4" 225 lbs. R/R Age: 20 ETA: 2021
Videos: Credits to Blake Rivera on Twitter 1 and 2, and JockLive Sports 1 and 2
FB 60 | CB 60 | CH 45 | CMD 45
tl;dr: Rivera has true closer stuff with his low to mid-90s fastball bumping up in velocity paired with his hammer, low-80s curveball but will have all the chance in the world to be a starter if his changeup develops and the command progresses as well.
Another one of those "I love you so much I'll draft you twice" prospects, Rivera improved his draft stock significantly in 2018 for the Giants to draft him again in 2018. There is not much things I can say about Rivera at this moment but the things that I saw from the draft certainly excites me.
I did not wrote any full scouting report on him so I will take this time to write him one. Rivera's frame is certainly fit for starting pitching with a big, filled body with thick thighs and core. The mechanics is similar to Mark Melancon in many ways. He loads on his back leg hard after his leg kick and he reaches back, making his back side very closed as he drives with good triple extension. The arm action is pretty short which can help his fastball play better. The arm is a little late upon front foot landing so there is a possibility he exerts more effort but he rotates his body quickly so that's a positive thing. He releases his pitches on an over the top release.
The fastball has good life when thrown in the low-90s but it becomes more of a true four-seamer when thrown in the mid-90s. He does tend to throw the pitch on the middle portion of the zone and he does miss his spots quite a bit so he needs to hone down the command of it. His best pitch is his low-80s curveball that has hammer break but not deep as it resembles more of a knuckle curveball that should generate plenty of swings and misses (11.74 K/9 in college). The changeup is a work in progress but has the potential to be an average offering. There's better feel for the curveball and fastball at the moment but he clearly needs to work on control and command (3.26 BB/9 in college).
Rivera has some starter upside once he improves on his control and command and should get plenty of opportunity to work it out as a starter in the first couple of years in his pro career but I can really see him as a Mark Melancon-type of a pitcher where the fastball can get constant mid-90s and pair it with his hard curveball and he could probably learn to throw a cutter, turn into full Melancon and be a solid closer in the Majors (definitely not the Melancon with the Giants, though).
23. Sam Wolff RHP AAA (projected)
6'1" 204 lbs. R/R Age: 27 ETA: 2019
Videos: Credits to 2080 Baseball 1 and 2
FB 60 | CB 60 | SL 55 | CMD 50
tl;dr: Wolff has battled seemingly all injuries known to man but still having high-leverage relief potential with the ability to locate his low to mid-90s fastball, plus mid to high-70s curveball and a solid to above average mid-80s slider in the strike zone.
Traded to the Giants from the Rangers via the Matt Moore salary dump deal, Wolff has battled torn Achilles and a flexor tendon injury that cost him more than two years of development and possibly be playing in the Majors before 2018. In spite of two major injuries to Wolff, he has been resilient and after a so-so stint in the Eastern League as he trying to get back on his feet, he has pitched exceptionally in the Arizona Fall League against plenty of the best hitters in the Minors and in front of several scouts.
It might be just a short sample size but Wolff's stint in the Fall League is very notable indeed. 0.00 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, 12.6 K/9, 7 K:BB ratio, struck out 41.17% of batters against some of the best hitters of the planet like Vladdy Jr.. The ERA in the Eastern League is awful but had a good FIP of 2.89 and xFIP of 3.68 and the awful stats is a result of a crazy .455 BABIP and 31.6% line drive rate and a 40.8% flyball rate and has a 12.51 K/9 while throwing 65.8% strikes.
Wolff's stuff remained largely intact even though he sustained an Achilles injury and a flexon tendon injury. I am not sure how flexor tendon injuries affect the pitcher's grips after injury but looks like he recovered fully. His fastball is still crisp, hovering from 93-96 MPH and could reach 98 MPH. The fastball does not have a lot of late life but he does throw it on a steep downhill plane. What separates Wolff apart is his mid to high-70s curveball where it can flash better than plus and is consistently plus with late, hammer break that he got good feel for break and location in and out of the zone. The low-80s slider is behind the curveball with more of a vertical break than horizontal but the break is late and should draw swings and misses as well. The mechanics is athletics has nice tempo on it, the arm action is compact and quick, and is able to repeat his release point well although his release point with his curve is a bit higher compared to his fastball as most pitchers.
The only issue that Wolff has is that he is already entering his age-28 season in 2019 and he is really the definition of a late bloomer as he looks to be making impact in the big league club and should compete for a bullpen job in Spring Training and even though he could be starting at AAA, he should be on the short list of call-ups when the time comes especially that the Giants begin to offload their elite relievers for prospects.
24. Camilo Doval RHP A+ (projected)
6'2" 185 lbs. R/R Age: 21 ETA: 2022/2023
Videos: Credits to Roger Munter, 2080 Baseball, and Camilo Doval 1 and 2
FB 75 | SL 50 | CMD 45
tl;dr: Doval could be Ray Black's long lost brother as he is a massive project in the making as a primarily fastball pitcher with 80 potential in terms of velocity, spin rate, release point and movement with potential for solid command but he needs to develop a second pitch in order to keep hitters honest.
Ever since popping out of the prospect scene via FanGraphs in 2017, Doval has been mowing down lower-level hitters in his first two seasons in the States. In his first full season, he has be considered as one of the best young relievers in the organization with the stats to back up his stuff.
As a full-time reliever for the GreenJackets, Doval has made quick work on hitters where he struck out 34.2% of all the batters he faced and that resulted to a 13.25 K/9. Let's talk about his fastball. Doval's fastball is very special in a sense that he throws it from 95-99 MPH with a chance that he will reach triple digits with it due to his skinny frame with plenty of room in his upper half to gain weight. The fastball does not just have pure velocity on it as the pitch got upwards of 2700 RPM which is very absurd on a fastball. The fastball does not have any known movement as the movement is different in every throw. Sometimes it cuts, sometimes it runs, sometimes it runs straight. Mostly, it cuts. The cutting movement is not that ground breaking but it has solid natural cutting action and any cutting movement on that velocity is absurd.
The command of his fastball at present is not that good (4.58 BB/9 and 60.7% thrown strikes) as he can fill up the zone but miss spots quite widely. Doval's mechanics is for relievers with a really wide arm circle and a slinging motion with a low 3/4 release but the mechanics has tempo and energy, might be too much energy that he might be losing command on it. I think toning down the tempo will do as he does locate his fastball down the zone, hitting the catcher's mitt where it is spotted as a proof of his good athleticism, when he throws it with less effort. The relative lack of sink of the fastball makes Doval more of a flyball pitcher and that could be tested in a hitter-friendly Cal League.
While the fastball is something special, he does not have any true second pitch to best pair his crazy fastball. He has a slider at the moment but it does have solid break on it but location's not to par. Maybe Doval does not need a second pitch to succeed. Maybe he just need to hone down his fastball command and his mechanics to be effective. After all, Mariano Rivera does only have primarily one pitch, right? But to be honest, I would like Doval to add on a second plus pitch so that he will not get hit around often as he moves on the ladder as the best hitters can square up any fastball.
25. Travis Bergen LHP MLB (projected)
6'1" 205 lbs. L/L Age: 25 ETA: 2019
Videos: Credits to MLB Prospect Portal
FB 50+ | CB 55 | CH 55 | CMD 50
tl;dr: Bergen has the potential to be similar to Will Smith with a low-90s fastball, above-average offspeed stuff with impressive advanced metrics.
Selected by the Giants in their first pick in the 2018 Rule 5 draft, Bergen presents an immediate impact in the bullpen. Since he has not played yet with the Giants and is primarily a Blue Jays product, there is not a lot of Giants info on him but there are some Blue Jays fansites where they are already saying that not protecting Bergen is a mistake.
The stuff that has been getting a lot excited about Bergen is his advanced metrics. Impressive K/9 and BB/9 (13.29 in A+ and 10.85 in AA, 2.57 in A+ and 2.27 in AA respectively), FIP and xFIP (1.53 in A+ and 2.66 in AA, 2.28 in A+ and 3.21 in AA respectively), platoon splits (.188 AVG vs. RHB and .241 vs. LHB in A+, .184 vs. RHB and .217 vs. LHB in AA), 0.75 ERA with RISP in AA, low line drive rate (1.74% in A+, 16.3% in AA), and strike-throwing ability (65.65% strikes thrown). Add that to Bergen's stuff and mechanics and it justifies the stats in many ways.
Bergen only has average velocity with his fastball (low-90s) but plays up because he has deception with his mechanics with his short arm action and hides the ball so well against lefties. The curveball flashes plus but is more of an above average offering. The pitch does not have really hard break but the break is big and late and draws plenty of swings and misses. The changeup is also above average with good fade (more of a tumble) that makes the difference against righties. The command has taken a step forward this year (higher than 3 BB/9 in 2017) as well with mechanics that is very toned down as compared to his college mechanics.
Given the considerable depth but murky situation of the Giants bullpen with Smith, Melancon, Watson and Dyson having a good chance to be traded for prospects, Bergen should compete for a big league job in Spring Training and I think he got a very good shot to play for the Giants for the rest of 2019 once the lefties (possibly Smith and Watson) will be traded.
26. Garrett Williams LHP AAA (projected)
6'1" 200 lbs. L/L Age: 24 ETA: 2019/2020
Videos: Credits to 2080 Baseball and minorleaguebaseball
FB 60 | CB 65 | CH 40 | CMD 40
tl;dr: Williams control issues came back hard on him on 2018 but he performed better in a more relaxed environment in the Fall League although his definite path to the Majors is to be a curveball-heavy reliever.
I picked Williams as my breakout guy in 2017 because there's not a lot that he needs to do in order for his nasty stuff to mow down hitters and he did broke out in 2017 as one of the best pitchers in the organization with a shot at being a starting pitcher if he continued his 2017 momentum to 2018. Sadly my friends, that never came as he was more busy trying to throw pitches in the zone than getting hitters out in 2018 that resulted to a terrible year for him but has found some daylight at the end of the year as he performed considerably better in the Fall League.
Let's talk about the obvious here. Williams only threw 58.33% strikes in the 2018 regular season. That's not good. Not good at all. Williams struggled once again to repeat his low three-quarters arm slot all season long and the results have been terrible. The walks definitely went to a career high of 6.72 BB/9, the K/9 fell to just 8.04, more hits than innings pitched, an atrocious 1.92 WHIP and .353 BABIP just to put the cherry on top. Terrible, yes. Almost took him out of my top 30. But I saw his Fall League numbers and video, I had seen some hope. 10.1 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, less than a hit per inning. He's still all over the place (6 wild pitches to back up my claim), but there's hope. There's hope that his curveball will see him through.
Even though he is all over the place with his fastball and I mean all over the place, he never lost his command nor the bite of it. It's still a wipeout, plus-plus pitch that draws plenty of swings and misses even though hitters will probably only think that the only pitch that he can throw strikes at least at an average rate is his curveball. He can pitch with it as he can spot it down the zone with confidence. He is not actually a LOOGY as he got neutral splits (.274 AVG vs. LHBs vs. .303 vs. RHBs. in AA, .185 AVG vs. LHBs vs. .183 vs. RHBs in AFL) so his curveball is definitely for all hitters.
If Williams can just somehow find a way to just locate his low-90s fastball somewhere in the zone better because he lacks feel for it and it has hard sink, it will make him a very lethal weapon out of the bullpen because his curveball will hard carry him to the Majors because that pitch is that good to not belong in the Majors getting hitters out.
27. Tyler Beede RHP AAA (projected)
6'3" 210 lbs. R/R Age: 25 ETA: 2019/2020
Videos: Credits to Roger Munter, MLB.com, and minorleaguebaseball
FB 50+ | CH 55 | CB 45 | CUT 40 | CMD 40
tl;dr: Beede fell off a cliff after having a terrible 2018 where he battled control issues all year that made his stuff play down greatly and that carried through after a bullpen demotion but the stuff is better than all relief prospects in the organization if he ever finds his control and feel, probably going back to the rotation.
You probably know me as one of the biggest defenders of Tyler Beede in possibly the whole planet but I am not going to argue with you when you bring up the topic that Tyler Beede had a bad 2018. Yes, he had a 2018 to forget.
After taking a couple sips of coffee in the Majors in April, Beede started to struggle to not just throw quality strikes, but strikes in general, as he threw just 55.6% strikes between the Minors and the Majors. I did not see much mechanical issues from him but I don't really know. Maybe it's more mental this time than physical, maybe a loss of confidence, battling adversity or such. Between the rotation and the bullpen, the numbers are really NSFW. The only thing that I can probably see that is a welcoming sight is that he posted his best strikeout rate of his career since his cup of coffee in the AZL in 2014 (9.12 K/9 in AAA, 10.57 in MLB) and his fastball velocity was stronger than ever especially in the bullpen where it still tops 97 MPH. There's also a lot of promise with his changeup what generated an impressive 50% whiff rate in the Majors.
Aside from those two pitches however, I don't really see any other with that Beede can throw with confidence. The curveball did not get any better in 2018 as it is still as inconsistent as ever and should just scrap it and try out another pitch to throw. The cutter flattened as well to a pitch that has been very mediocre at times.
In an August 2018 interview, he said that being demoted to the bullpen has brought back the feel, the confidence, and the fun that he had in 2016 and indeed he posted better strikeout and walk rates there. And it's always nice to see him take things positively but yeah, he needs to tighten up his repertoire, improve on his feel and just bring back the 2016 Beede that we knew of. I think he still got plenty of stuff to make it work back to the rotation, possibly battle it out in Spring Training. I'm intrigued to see what 2019 holds for Beede.
28. Jalen Miller 2B AA (projected)
5'11" 190 lbs. R/R Age: 22 ETA: 2020/2021
Videos: Credits to Baseball Census and Roger Munter
Hit 45 | Power 50 | Speed 55 | Arm 45 | Glove 50
tl;dr: Miller benefited heavily when he opened his front leg and stood more upright in stance, translating into more power and batting average although his performance waned from June onwards and still commits too many errors to be hesitant to say that he is going to be a reliable defender at second base.
A top 50 prospect coming out of high school due to his athleticism and comparisons to Brandon Phillips, Miller has taken it slow and steady in terms of development, often posting good backyard ball performances in Spring Training but struggling in the regular season. But not in 2018. They say that life is full of second chances and Miller took advantage of his second shot with San Jose and incorporated a new wrinkle to his batting stance and it brought him the best season that he's had in his pro baseball career including an All-Star selection in the Cal League and an invite to the Home Run Derby.
The new stance makes Miller more upright, with his front leg opened up and closes it a bit with a double toe tap although the front leg remains open to allow the hips to fire quicker and turn on and pull pitches better. The new stance certainly made Miller looser in the box and his swing became more alive although he is a predominantly pull hitter (47.5% pull, 24.6% center, 27.9% oppo). As a result, he took off from a 69 (nice) wRC+ to a respectable 102 wRC+. The new batting stance certainly made him tap into his raw power a lot better than before (35 doubles, 14 homers), has improved his line drive rate (21.8% in 2018 vs. 19% in 2017), lifted the ball more (37.9 GB rate in 2018 vs. 42.2% in 2017, 40.3% FB rate in 2018 vs. 38.8% in 2017), although it all came with a higher BABIP of .335 but still delightful to see.
However, the wheels kind of fell off from June onwards where he saw his offensive impact dropped pretty significantly as the pitchers figured him out and he struggled to adjust (.245 AVG in June, .238 in July and .247 in August vs. .290 in April and .336 in May). I think that if he made his double toe tap into a simpler, conventional leg kick, he will probably hit better than ever because his double toe tap makes him more at risk to swing and miss because it is a pretty hard thing to repeat consistently. The idea is already good, he just need to make it better. Also, he needs to really chill out in his aggressive approach (4.9% BB rate) in order to become a complete hitter.
Jalen's ingredients to become a good defender at second base is there as he got the athleticism and the range (back to his usual 11 SB a year trend) to help alleviate the pressure off his below-average arm strength but he committed 17 errors in his second season there. I think Jalen can get to where he wanted to be defensively and it's looking like he can get to where he wanted offensively but there are still plenty of polish and time to be alloted in order to live up to the hype and expectations that they set to a 3rd rounder. He's gone out of his bust status. He now needs to prove he belongs to the Majors with another round of this power-hitting Jalen in a much tougher league to hit in the Eastern League.
29. Aaron Phillips RHP A+ (projected)
6'5" 215 lbs. R/R Age: 22 ETA: 2021
Videos: Credits to Roger Munter and GobonniesTV
FB 55 | CB 60 | CH 40 | CMD 50
tl;dr: Phillips is an advanced metrics superstar with a ridiculous K:BB ratio and is able to generate plenty of swings and misses with his primarily fastball-curveball repertoire that plays up due to his feel for pitching and deception in his mechanics although that same mechanics and a present below-average changeup will likely fit him better in a relief role.
If you are looking for a guy who the Zaidi administration will probably drool on for based on his advanced stats, you should be looking at the righthander drafted in the 9th round of the 2017 draft from St. Bonaventure. I mean the advanced stats are just crazy. 10.62 K/9 or 28% K rate, 1.42 BB/9 or 3.7% BB rate for a ridiculously impressive 7.5 K:BB ratio for a starting pitcher routinely pitching 5-7 innings a start, an xFIP of 2.82 and hell, his stats could have been even better if he did not just have a .301 BABIP and a 15.3% HR/FB!
Phillips might be as prototypical of a neo-2018-type of pitcher where he loves throwing his fastballs high and making hitters chase his curveballs low. The Bonnies product only got an average fastball velocity at 90-92 MPH but it certainly looks like he generates a lot of spin on that heater to make hitters miss the pitch when thrown up in the zone. He is not invulnerable however as hitters can square up average velocity and due to his love for the upper half of the zone, he has a flyball rate of 34.6% and a 15.3% HR/FB. The pitch also does not feature tailing movement but the spin rate should be very good on it. Aside from the possible high spin rate, it helps to have downhill plane even when thrown in the upper half of the zone. The curveball is a true thing of beauty, generating plus to plus-plus break with a sharp and deep 12-6 action. The big, sharp break is easy enough to fool hitters to chase for it thinking they can foul it off but he has shown that he can spot it down the zone as well. There are some issues on the command of the pitch but that should be pretty understandable for that sharp of a curveball.
He does not have the prettiest mechanics in the world where he has a drop and drive delivery with a pretty clunky arm action, crossfire action, and some effort on every throw but he has very good athleticism to repeat those mechanics (as proven by his very low BB/9) and has turned those ugliness into deception as it can be hard to pick up his release point. In some ways, Phillips' mechanics has reminded me of Yusmeiro Petit's mechanics that has tons of deception in it. I am slightly skeptical if he will have plus command in the long run but there's plenty of optimism due to the fact that he can pitch with his fastball and curveball with those clunky mechanics makes me believe he should have above average command and good BB rates in the future years.
I am probably very high on Phillips with respect to other prospect writers or even common fans as he might not be a very familiar name on the farm system but with a type of performance that he put up in the Sally, it would be very interesting to see if he can continue showing off his ridiculous advanced metrics as he moves up the chain. However, it would be difficult for Phillips to continue on being a starting pitcher unless he address his very much lack of a third pitch. His changeup is not good and has been very firm and I think he should try out a new pitch at his disposal, possibly a split finger to make hitters honest down in the zone along with that curveball or possibly a cutter if he wants to continue to pitch constantly high in the zone. If just looking at the mechanics, he is best suited in a relief role where his fastball-curveball combo will just terrorize hitters but if he can really figure out on incorporating a third pitch, he should be better than Yusmeiro Petit.
30. Pat Ruotolo RHP AAA (projected)
5'10" 220 lbs. R/R Age: 23 ETA: 2019/2020
Videos: Credits to San Jose Giants, Roger Munter, and Cross Pitching on Twitter
FB 55 | CB 60 | CMD 50
tl;dr: Ruotolo has big-league reliever potential because his fastball and curveball plays up due to his very unique and deceptive mechanics even though the fastball has average velocity and has enough body control and athleticism to repeat it well in short bursts, limiting his walks.
One of the truly unique works of art of all time in baseball is Tim Lincecum's mechanics. The triple extension, the drop back of his right hand to his back, the tempo, the effort in his mechanics to deliver running low to upper-90s fastball with a nasty changeup and a sharp curveball. That's what got me to love baseball. Now, take those mechanics even further, having the back do a complete 180-degree turn as when releases the ball, that's what makes Pat Ruotolo, the most underrated pitching prospect in the farm system, has in store for every hitter he faced.
If you want to see Ruotolo's mechanics in all its glory via slo-mo, check on the Cross Pitching's video and you will see how many moving parts does he got in his mechanics and yet, he's had very good body control and subtlety in his mechanics to produce just 3.45 BB/9 in 2018 and just 2.23 BB/9 in 2017. His fastball does not have a lot of life and velocity, just hovering 89-93 MPH, he throws it so downhill due to his over the top release and should have rising life when thrown up in the zone, but that rising fastball makes him an extreme flyball pitcher, with a ridiculous 51% flyball rate in 2017 and 55.2% in AA in 2018. Even though with mechanics as extreme as Ruotolo's, he does a good job of hitting his spots or close to the catcher's mitt that is a very good sign, with the potential of pitching with his fastball.
His knuckle curveball is a legitimate chase pitch with hard bite although the pitch does not have a big shape on it. He throws it with the same release point as his fastball so it is very hard to pick up out of his hand. The combination of extreme mechanics and his fastball-curveball combo has Ruotolo generating so many strikeouts (12.76 K/9 in A+ and 12.46 K/9 in AA) while also being calm and collected under pressure (a ridiculous 100% LOB rate in AA) and he's brought in with runners in first and second base in a Spring Training game in March 20 and even though he does not have his A-game on that game, he got out of the inning unscathed.
Ruotolo should be talked a lot more as a potential relief prospect in the organization and those people who does not love what he's doing should have shame in themselves. There's a lot to like on Ruotolo and he's proven in the Minors that he's very nasty and he should be one of the prospects that advanced metrics guys in the Zaidi admin will be head over heels on him. He's also proven to match his stats with the eye tests.
The Top 30 Explained
I changed my mindset for this year's prospect primer. Before, I am about the ceiling, the tools. Now, I took into account who would likely have the biggest impact in the Majors. Not really a dramatic of a shift as I still accounted their tools but I guess tools and age vs. development curve is not enough nowadays.
I think there is no question on who is the number 1 prospect in the organization. Those who followed Bart is where the riot begins. Most will agree that Heliot and Anderson are the 2nd and 3rd best prospects. I actually thought of placing in Tier 1.5 but I don't want too many tiers and since Heliot's ceiling is as high as anyone in the system, so I place him alongside Bart. Some might already placed Heliot a clear step below Bart because of an underwhelming 2018 with the bat and that's understandable. I ranked Luciano the least among my top 6 who should become at least average prospects because of his youth and zero track record in the Minors but he clearly has the highest ceiling of anyone in Tier 2, as high as Heliot's and Bart's. The rest is just a hodgepodge and place Anderson, Canario and Hjelle in any order and I will be happy with whatever combination you came up with.
Listing the 40 to 45s is where I found the most difficulty. I liked Quinn's chances of making an impact with his bat more than Santos, Webb and Adon because it seems that he is Chris Shaw but with a much better shot at staying in the outfield, albeit in left. I like Santos more than Webb because Santos got better command projection than Webb and has more likely to stay in the rotation in long-term. Webb and Adon can end up as relief options but Webb has three good pitches while Adon has two although I am not changing the fact that Adon can impact the Giants sooner and have closer potential. I am really high on Howard's hit tool moreso than the others to think that he can play in the Majors due to him having more raw power than Avelino. Howard's hit tool and to stay in the dirt feels safer than Jacob and Corry's present risks. Ferguson is up into top 16 because even though he is 27, he will battle for a big league job in Spring Training and since everyone's pretty much on the same ground except for Steven Duggar, I like Ferguson's chances to play in the Majors than the others because of his ability to get on base via hit or walks.
The next tier is full of relievers but Jake Wong currently has the best shot of making it as a starter in the Majors so I placed him on top. Ray Black is better and nastier than any other relief options but his age can limit his long-term impact. You might say that I should have placed him higher than Ferguson since they are pretty much the same age but I feel that a potential starting outfielder is more important than a potential reliever. I like de Paula's ceiling as a starter although it will take work and even though Gerber will battle for the outfield spots along with Ferguson, his bat is riskier due to the strikeouts. Aramis is next because he has already proven that he can be a viable Major Leaguer in his cup of coffee although I do not know if he can be a trusted backup or more of an AAAA guy. Rivera's the only guy there who got a shot at being a starter long-term so and I like relievers who throw strikes with less stuff than those who got all the stuff but can't locate a lick so Rivera and Wolff are next in my list. Bergen has better command than Beede or Williams and will likely leave a better impact now than the two. Jalen, Phillips and Ruotolo ends my list.
For those who want to know who are in the top 31-40, I can list names like Manuel Geraldo, Malique Ziegler, David Villar, Diego Rincones, John Russell, Jose Marte, PJ Hilson, Luis Toribio and Mac Marshall and you can just mix them up and you can come up with any list and I will be fine by it.
In short, it is a very top heavy farm system with just 6 at least average guys and then a lot of fringy to below average guys.
Jean Pena - Signed for $300k in the 2017 J2 cycle, Pena showed a high ISO but even higher K rate. The swing is very big and flamboyant and needs to be compacted in order to have a chance against better competition but there's power to dream on in his lean frame and swing.
Jairo Pomares and Luis Matos - Both just got signed in the 2018 July 2 cycle so it will be interesting what they can do in 2019.
Richgelon Juliana - Interesting name signed in 2017, the Curacao speedster had a productive season offensive-wise, showed more pop than expected of him and had a great line drive rate although his stats might be ballooned by his very high .366 BABIP and cooled down post All-Star. Could repeat the DSL in 2019.
Jesus Gomez - Gpmez got a projectable frame, raw arm with a 12.37 K/9 and already reaching 91 MPH in his fastball. Should be a pitching prospect to watch.
Rodolfo Bone - An interesting prospect with an interesting name, Bone did well in the DSL and produced good walk rate and a low strikeout rate.
Yorlis Rodriguez - Did well as a mature hitter in the AZL but does not look like he will be a prospect to follow unless he outperforms consensus' expectations.
PJ Hilson - The 2018 6th rounder flashed tools pre-Draft with above average raw tools in his raw power, speed and arm strength. Even though his bat is as raw as blue meat, he is still incredibly young as he just turned 18 this past August.
Logan Harasta - Drafted in the 7th round in 2017, he had Tommy John after he appeared in just 1 appearance last year in S-K he was drafted and was back in 2018, pitching in 1-2 inning bursts and was downright overpowering against young hitters, posting very impressive peripherals. Should fast track the system as a reliever or go back to starting in 2019.
Edison Mora - The 2018 7th rounder was clearly overmatched in his first taste of coffee in the AZL but I like what he saw pre-Draft with his swing mechanics so I still got optimism on him coming into 2019.
Jacob Lopez - The 2018 26th rounder dominated the AZL in increasing innings per outing as he posted great numbers and peripherals against a young competition although there's not much ceiling that I can see as he suits more as a LOOGY with his fringy fastball and loopy curveball and deception in his mechanics.
Andy Rohloff - The 2017 37th rounder pitched back to the AZL after struggling with command in the NWL last year and did well on Arizona. However, he is a true reliever profile with pretty max effort mechanics and a low to mid-90s fastball.
Fabian Pena - The 2018 25th rounder hit well in the AZL (162 wRC+) but profiles as an org filler-type catcher with fringy tools.
Conner Nurse - The 2017 34th rounder pitched well in the AZL with good stats and peripherals although the control needs work but has shown some flashes of good stuff with more than a strikeout an inning.
Frankie Tostado - The 2017 19th rounder underwent an unusual Tommy John for a position player and has played well in the AZL but cooled down as the season winds down. Still pretty interesting prospect.
Dylan Dusek - The 2018 27th rounder has a heartwarming story of beating not just Tommy John surgery but also leukemia. He should carve a role as a lefty reliever with a fastball-slider combo and a deceptive arm action and has pitched well in the AZL.
Keaton Winn - The 2018 5th rounder posted poor ERA and FIP which might be powered by a high .341 BABIP but has posted a good walk and strikeout rates. He should get a year or two of being a starter but will end up in the bullpen where his fastball-slider and deceptive mechanics should play well. There's starting option shot because he is very athletic.
David Villar - The 2018 11th rounder produced plenty of power in his short season in the NWL although I am concerned with all of the strikeouts and not much walks. If he tightens up on those two departments while giving us all of the same if not a bit less power, he will be in the consideration as a top 30 prospect due to his raw power and bat speed.
Jesus Tona - I think this is the same Jesus Tona that I saw last year when Baseball Census uploaded a video of him catching on YouTube with a contact-ish swing and some nice movements behind the dish. Tona pitched very well, being a NWL All-Star as a closer with great stats and peripherals. I would love to see more of him pitching in 2019.
Diego Rincones - Rincones might be the 2018 Miguel Gomez as all he does is make contact and he continues to get better for the three years that he played but his body looks a lot better than Gomez and has thrown 11 outfield assists. I really want to see him perform in full-season ball even for just a half of a season to make me really put him not just in the top 30 but in the top 15 but so far, I feel good in placing him in the honorable mentions but he is definitely top 31 in my books just with his ability to hit.
Kyle McPherson - The 2017 21st rounder had a great year in NWL and might be aggressively promoted to San Jose because his peripherals supported his production except for his very low line drive rate which might be an indication of lack of true raw power.
Jose Layer - Layer produced well in the NWL but that stats indicated that he switched from a contact-first guy to more of a power-first guy with an increase in isolated power number but with the expense of a big increase in strikeout rate, lesser line drive and walk rates and a much higher flyball rate. The swing still looks pretty much the same, however. Interesting.
Ricardo Genoves - Genoves might be more just a defense-first minor league quality catcher because of his struggles offensively although the defense is still solid.
Matt Frisbee - Frisbee used his deception and his low-90s fastball to generate greater than a strikeout an inning.
Mikey Edie - Edie did not play a lot but he produced when he plays and looks like he is ready for his first taste of full season ball in 2019.
Aaron Bond - Bond struggled in his NWL stint and might repeat the level in 2019 but recent video of him hitting a homer against Trevor Bauer will sure get you hyped up. He still got interesting tools.
Solomon Bates - While the ERA's not nice, the 2018 8th rounder posted a ridiculous 14.64 K/9 which might be an indication that he could fare very well in a relief role where his stuff and deception could be even better.
Malique Ziegler - Ziegler was poised to take off this season after posting a really good April if not just for a torn oblique and his performance never really looked the same after that. But still, he offered what he could become with five-tool potential. He just needs to be healthy for a full season and repeat his April 2018 performance but in a full season and he will take off. He is in my top 31-35.
Jose Marte - Marte's numbers slipped since the start of July but is an intriguing pitching prospect with a hard, mid-90s fastball that can reach 97 MPH in start and will probably sit in the high-90s in relief (where I think he will end up) and the slider flashes solid or better break but the command is out of whack. The mechanics also got some issues but he got plus arm speed and the fastball alone can beat hitters if he places it well in the zone possibly in relief.
Manuel Geraldo - It might be a bit of a travesty that I placed Geraldo out of my top 30 and I don't mind if you have Geraldo in your top 30. From what I saw all year, Geraldo has become a viable defender at shortstop where he's armed with a strong arm, plus speed, and athleticism and the bat is actually coming around but the issues that I saw is that his numbers are a child of his unsustainable .373 BABIP and an absurd 66.6% GB rate which he should improve in order for me to believe in the bat. If he does in 2019, I will put him in my top 30 right away.
Garrett Cave - There's little question that Cave has swing and miss stuff with his fastball-cutter-curveball combo (9.16 K/9) but it seems that no matter how much you simplify his windup or his mechanics in general, he will still have issues in terms of his feel with the zone. What if he ditch the whole windup thing altogether and pitch straight out of the stretch? Maybe try to fix his glove hand movement during his drive to the plate in order for him to be more relaxed? Maybe that could cure some of his control illness. I mean he can still pitch in the rotation while being predominantly in the stretch but 99% likelihood he will be a reliever.
Raffi Vizcaino - Vizcaino showed improvements in his stuff where the mid-90s fastball has good movement, the changeup flashed above average, and the curveball flashed solid to above average and it reflected as he struck out more than a strikeout an inning while starting but he became wilder than ever in terms of control and command. I think he will fit well in the bullpen where he can become something special if he ever improves on his control either on the rotation or on the bullpen.
John Russell - This is my boy right here. The prospect who could be better because he is such an impressive reliever even though the fastball is fringy velocity-wise. His curveball and deception just does wonders that resulted in a really high K rate but really low BB rate. UConn really got some track record of developing righty relievers with great curveballs. Russell is like Ruotolo, a fellow UConn alumnus. Let's give Russell and Ruotolo more love, please?
Mac Marshall - Marshall battled some ulnar nerve issues in his pro career that has been corrected although issues with the scar was still present until he was fully healthy this year. Marshall's stuff looks better than ever. The fastball is now reaching up to 95 MPH, something he never reached since college, his curveball and changeup has been promising. The command of it has not been truly back yet but his ability to swing and miss sure does. I am excited to see what he will deliver in 2019. Could be top 30 material.
Johneshwy Fargas - The best name in the system is still alive it seems. And he's had his best season in his pro career in his age 24. I am still skeptical if he can repeat this next year. If he can, then, let's put him back to the conversation of being a prospect and not just having an 80-grade name.
Sandro Fabian - My biggest misfire so far, I really thought that Fabian will take off this year in a better hitting environment but has fallen face first into the abyss. Now, I am not even sure what to make of him if he can just work on his plate discipline.
Cory Taylor - Taylor got hurt in 2018 but that does not change any view of him as a true one-pitch pitcher.
Caleb Simpson - Simpson has some relief appeal even though he has battled a littany of injuries (Tommy John, labrum, etc.) because he still got a mid-90s gas in his pocket and his K/9 never went below 10. But ultimately, his health and current age might limit any impact that he can bring.
Conner Menez - Menez is one of my favorites because he has been serviceable and has moved fairly quickly in the minor leagues but could have hit a wall in Richmond. Ultimately, we could be looking at a middle reliever profile or a LOOGY for him where his deception and fastball slider mix can work.
Ronnie Jebavy - I guess no matter how well you can defend, if you can't hit, you will not make the Majors. Well, unless you are a catcher.
C.J. Hinojosa - He can hit but he struggles to find a defensive home if there are a lot of options after him.
Tyler Cyr - Another one of my favorites but unfortunately, he got hurt this year. I hope he can come back strong in 2019.
Kieran Lovegrove - I knew I heard of him because of the Futures Game, I just forgot who he really is. He got a smoking mid-90s fastball that can reach 99 MPH with plenty of movement that he's struggled to harness yet. His changeup looks better as an out pitch than his curveball that he struggles to locate as well. The mechanics looks nice and athletic. Future Sam Dyson clone.
Tyler Rogers - Rogers definitely lacks the stuff but I can feel that he can make the Majors as true submariners are rare anywhere in baseball.
Jordan Johnson - I think he still has some relief appeal as a fastball-changeup guy. His changeup is still good. But his fastball command? Nada.
Chase Johnson - Where did Chase's strikeouts went?
Jacob Heyward - The younger Heyward moved quicker through the Minors than I imagined and he could get a shot at a Spring Training invite but will likely start his 2019 season in the PCL. Maybe he can get called up in September. Interesting.
Tyler Herb - I did not get the appeal on him then by the consensus, I still do not get it right now. A pretty generic AAAA pitcher to be honest.
Breakout Prospect for 2019
It's time for my breakout prospect for 2019. Last year, I struck out with Sandro Fabian but was delighted to see John Russell be a nice reliever. For a breakout prospect, I will stick to what I am usually correct in guessing and that is with the previous draft class. It might not be a shock but I am going to pick David Villar. He just missed out on my top 30 with a superb performance in the NWL. I think he will be pushed aggressively to San Jose to reward him and he has a good chance to continue with the same trend of hitting for power with an easy, quick swing. The defense however is pretty wonky so he will have to practice hard on defense but there's enough range and arm for him to play there long-term. If not, he would have to move to second base.
I have given a thought of putting Jake Wong or PJ Hilson but I feel Hilson is still too raw offensively to be picked as a potential breakout because he does need of tinker in his swing. Wong actually is very close because he got starter traits that he just need to polish and he does not need much polishing, just need to improve his balance on the mound in order for him to repeat his arm slot.
Hit - Ryan Howard
Power - Joey Bart
Speed - Malique Ziegler
Arm - Johneshwy Fargas
Glove - Heliot Ramos
Athleticism - Heliot Ramos
Fastball - Ray Black
Curveball - Garrett Williams
Slider - Ray Black
Changeup - Tyler Beede
Command - Shaun Anderson
Athleticism - Keaton Winn
*In any case you want more categories to be listed that you did not see here, just hit me up in Twitter! I hope you enjoyed reading and Merry Christmas!