The Mid-Season Top 30 Explained
The Crème de la Crème
The San Francisco Giants farm system has very exciting players that you can confidently place 3 or more players in any top 100 prospects lists in all of baseball. If you are really a Giants homer, you can consider 4 to 5 players as worthy of being included in any consensus top 100 prospects list. But I am going to be conservative here to say that there are 3, and you probably know who they are, they are Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos and Marco Luciano.
Bart is already a top 25 prospect, where he is meeting the lofty "future face of the franchise" expectations that was entrusted to him when Bobby Evans made him his final first-round selection very well. Not exactly with flying colors, because he missed time due to injury, but he's showing off consistently what the Giants brass and fans expect to see from him: all fields power and great defense behind the plate as the heir to Buster Posey.
After Bart, it's a toss-up between Heliot Ramos and Marco Luciano, and to be honest, you can't go wrong choosing between the two. Ramos got bitten by the injury bug but did the remarkable thing of continuing his torrid start to his 2019 campaign, where the mouthwatering tools of Heliot in 2017 is back after lying dormant in the Sally last year. As a result, he will join Bart as the Giants representatives to the annual Futures Game, his second consecutive selection.
Ah, it's very good to pick your poison if someone as high a ceiling as Heliot's is compared to the superstar ceiling of Luciano. To be honest, Luciano has the highest ceiling of all Giants prospects, even higher than Bart's. At just 17, he's shown the elements of a potential offensive superstar with the ability to hit for average and plus-plus power and an ever improving ability to play shortstop in a while.
The Next Best Three
That trio of Bart-Heliot-Luciano are clear-cut potential trio of guys who will be the faces of the Giants franchise for the next decade. After the trio, comes another trio of players who I consider as likely average big leaguers but definitely has potential to become even more. Canario's been rising up the ranks ever since stepping in pro ball, and his bat has been nothing but fireworks, with a solid job in the outfield as well. Bishop has not played pro ball yet (at the time I wrote this) but based on what we saw from his college campaign this year, he's an exciting power-speed combo in the field, and we might have not seen the best version of him yet.
With the buzz Farhan stated that he intended to stock up on hitters in this year's draft, I honestly thought that the Giants farm system are already leaning towards being hitter-heavy. And now that both Shaun Anderson and Tyler Beede graduated prospecthood, and the draft went as Farhan stated, the Giants farm system is now loaded on hitters, with Sean Hjelle the best pitching prospect that the organization has to offer. Hjelle's quite the case honestly, as he's got ordinary stuff, but is coming from an extraordinary platform and is performing at such a high level this year it kind of feels he is on the cusp of making the Majors next year.
The Fringy Guys
After the first 6 prospects mentioned, the long-term Major League talent falls off the cliff quite a bit, with six fringy guys (but has room to grow) and the rest of the organization having below-average to fringy guys in the organization. I still all love them anyway.
The next six guys on the list are listed to my liking but I have no arguments if anyone arranges them in any other way. Gregory Santos' return from his injury is not as sharp as I wanted, but his combination of stuff and control are the best in the organization, giving him the title of the pitching prospect with the highest ceiling, even though he is not currently dominating Sally hitters. Higher than Hjelle, but Santos comes with a bigger risk and Santos' body needs more maintenance.
After Santos is Toribio, a countrymate of Luciano and is one of the best sources of power in the hot corner although he still needs plenty of refining in his fielding and his body should be monitored like Santos as well.
Next up is Logan Wyatt, the second round selection this year. He is what the new regime is looking for, guys that can work the counts, great on-base skills, and has burgeoning power. He's probably gassed since his team went deep in the CWS tournament (alongside his fellow Giants draftee Tyler Fitzgerald) so he is not blowing us away.
However, I have seen a guy with almost the exact same profile before. A prospect with a big frame that has potential raw power to tap on but his swing is not geared for power. Instead, he's a maestro of getting on base via walk and has good gap to gap approach. A good athlete with very good footwork and accurate arm, he can play in the corner outfield but is a good fit at first. Yes, I am talking about Pavin Smith, a top 10 pick a couple of years back. You can probably say the same things towards Matt Thiass, another first rounder. I know that Smith and Thiass came from Virginia (an unfavored college in terms of drafting hitters) and Wyatt played in Louisville, but the similarities are just eerily similar. I hope Wyatt's not like them.
Next up is Logan Webb, who got busted for using PEDs at the start of the season. Before his trip to the suspension list, his fastball velocity is down to low-90s, a couple of ticks lower than last year. If he could've pitched the whole season and be as good as he was last year, he's probably on the excitement list. But yes, it is fair to have doubts on Webb. Let's hope he prove us wrong.
Moving past the top 10 is fine, as the fringy guys goes until number 12, but the 11th placer is Seth Corry. After the trio of Santos, Hjelle and Webb, the pitcher with the best stuff remaining on the board is Seth Corry. And Corry's been the most impressive pitcher in the GreenJackets roster this year, controlling his pitches better. You can still scream reliever on him if his control left him but he's a good starter right now.
Rounding up the list of fringy guys is Melvin Adon, the fireballer who is in some ways a younger, healthier version of Ray Black where he can blow you by with his 100 octane gasoline and a wicked slider. Like Black, Adon suffers on control and he is a true reliever.
The Hodgepodge of What Remained
After the first 12, I just saw all of the guys who remained belong to the same tier, and it is a diverse group, with long-time prospects who already got their cup of coffee in the Majors (Aramis, Shaw, Avelino), this year's draft class (McCray, Fitzgerald, McDonald), last year's draft class (Wong, Rivera, Hilson), guys who are just absolutely killing it in their current level (Menez, Labour, Genoves), the remaining top IFAs of last year (Pomares, Matos), and some who are on this list for more than a couple of years now (Howard, Quinn, Vizcaino, Doval).
Most of them has plenty of potential but I see all of them as potential contributors if given the opportunity, however there are roadblocks that are in their way that's keeping them from separating themselves. Most of them suffer from prospect fatigue (Howard, Quinn, Shaw, Aramis), struggles in performance (Doval, Quinn), just the beginning of their development curve (most of the young kids), and other reasons you can think of. I do hope they can take this one as motivation to get better and be the best players that they can and not just settle down on their current spots.
Throwing Outfielders and Guys With Power on The Wall and See Who Sticks
It is not a surprise even to the most casual of Giants fans that the mother club needs power and outfielders. And in the past decade or so, the Giants really tried to draft either power hitters, outfielders or power-hitting outfielders. From guys like Jarrett Parker, Ryder Jones, Brian Ragira, Dylan Davis, Mac Williamson, and so on. Even the recent draftee Chris Shaw is not sticking on the wall.
This year, the farm system is loaded with power-hitting prospects, with all of the top 5 prosects having at least plus raw power. I said at least, because there are guys who got in my opinion are plus-plus power.
The things that separates this year's class from the power hitters of the past are they do not strike out or swing and miss a lot, and they are willing to take walks if they get pitched around. Another great thing is that three of the top 5 are outfielders, four if Luciano's glove doesn't improve and forces him to move to the outfield. That gives them three good chances at worst on possibly giving the Giants a homegrown power hitting prospect who can patrol the outfield.
Outside the top 5, the organization still has a good amount of guys with at least plus power in my top 30 (Toribio, Shaw is still here!, Quinn, Matos, Hilson, Labour, and Genoves) and outside the top 30 (Jacob Gonzalez, Frankie Tostado, Armani Smith to name a few). Oh man, that's a lot of guys with tremendous raw power!
I mean Farhan's already upping up the ante on throwing every outfielder he can find in the garbage bin and finding success in doing so. Still, the Giants need not to have to do that dumpster diving mentality anymore and find long-term solutions in the outfield, or find long-term sources of power. So far, the leftovers of Bobby Evans are promising.
This Is A Hitter-Heavy Farm System...?
In case you don't know, no matter what Zaidi said about the Giants being a pitcher-rich organization before the draft, the top 30 screams at him otherwise, even more today. The entire top 5, 7 in the top 10, and 21 of the top 30 are hitters.
There's true formula for success in baseball, but when I think of the Astros, Indians, Dodgers and Red Sox recently, they have built their powerhouses not just by smacking their opponents with their wallets (definitely not talking about the Indians here), but by stacking up on cost-controlled hitting, usually homegrown talent on their rookie deals (Correa-Springer-Bregman trio for the Astros, Lindor-Ramirez for the Indians, Devers-Benintendi for the Red Sox, Bellinger-Seager for the Dodgers), and using their insane farm system depth to get great pitchers (Sale to Red Sox, JV and Cole to Astros, Miller to Indians, the Dodgers left this conversation).
I think the Giants are halfway there, stacking up on top-shelf hitting prospects is not a bad idea, especially if they decide to bring the fences in. The Giants do have an advantage of seemingly finding pieces to create an impressive bullpen, mostly by cheap parts (except Melancon), so finding the next Andrew Miller might not be necessary, but if they want to pull the trigger on a top starter, the Giants does not have the ammo yet to do so without taking significant damage in their future endeavors (please don't trade my precious babies, Farhan!).
The pitchers are not probably going to blow people away, with Sean Hjelle leading the pack as a likely Kyle Gibson-type of pitcher at best, and is the only pitcher that I am confident can stick as a starter in the big leagues now that Anderson and Beede graduated from the farm. However, the system is still littered with pitchers who can light up a radar gun like Adon, Vizcaino, Ray Black and Doval, with Jesus Tona, Garrett Cave, Sam Selman, Tyler Cyr, etc. able to bring out some nasty stuff from time to time.
Aside from that, it really is a hitter-heavy farm system, and is trending up.
Those Who Did Not Made The Cut
There are guys who belonged to the list in the preseason that were gone during the mid-season update, with the biggest name being Jacob Gonzalez, as his progress through the system has been slow compared to his fellow compadres Heliot and Corry. His offense has been moving along nicely, with incremental improvements but his defensive profile is still a big, big question mark, with the brass probably looking at moving him to first base if the amount of errors that he's piling up won't improve.
Some of the goners are Sandro Fabian, although he's making a charge to make me reconsider his omission in next year's primer, Diego Rincones who has not shown enough power to stay in the top 30, Ray Black, Sam Wolff, Pat Ruotolo, and Aaron Phillips who are all relievers.
Some who performed this year but still missed are Jalen Miller, Jacob Heyward and Jonah Arenado who all had hot starts but has cooled down considerably since, Mike Gerber, Williams Jerez, Tyler Rogers and Sam Selman who are all in the cusp of joining the big league club if ever the Giants pull off a reliever sell-off, David Villar, Keaton Winn, Frankie Tostado, Trent Toplikar, Matt Frisbee who are all doing pretty decent in their levels with Tostado showing the most promise as a power-hitting first baseman and Villar as a power-hitting third baseman, recent draftees Dilan Rosario, Garrett Frechette, and Armani Smith.
All of which have a shot in making the top 30 of next year's primer but in the end, I am pretty confident with the 30 prospects that I ranked.
Short Info Before The Actual Top 30
I already did a concise scouting reports on a lot of guys present in my midseason top 30 in my 2019 prospect primer. You are still going to get scouting reports, but it will be not as concise unless I have never written up a report on him.
Tier 1 (50+ to 55 overall)
1. Joey Bart C A+
Hit 50 | Power 65 | Speed 35 | Arm 60 | Glove 60
As the 2nd overall pick in the 2018 draft, Bart comes with sky-high expectations, and to not be a bust. So far, he's not disappointed fans with his production in San Jose.
2. Marco Luciano SS ROK
Hit 55 | Power 65 | Speed 50 | Arm 55+ | Glove 50
The crown jewel of the 2018 J2 cycle, Luciano's surrounded with a lot of hype and promise to become the first homegrown All-Star from the J2 cycle since the Panda. Through the first month or so of action, Marco's proven that the hype surrounding him is real.
Luciano's bat is years ahead of his peers, possessing both polish and extraordinary ceiling. As a 17 year old, he's already shown the ability to barrel balls consistently and his present strength in his frame can already deliver balls with exit velocities north of 105 MPH. His swing is pretty picture-perfect, with great timing for the ball, plus-plus bat speed, wrist strength, raw strength, eye, and patience. Marco's swing does not cheat to get balls out of the yard, with consistent swings on his singles and homers. There are plenty more of power to come as his still developing body with a wide torso can still pack on the muscle to give him potential 70 game power. He's also shown poise at the plate beyond his years, willing to take his walks but tends to be overeager to do damage, which leads to strikeouts.
Given how much advanced Marco's bat is, his youth is evident in his defense. Even though he's had raw tools, the arm strength, range and quick twitch, to be able to stick in shortstop, he shows his relative inexperience at the position. He struggles throwing sidearm throws and can air-mail some. His actions still look raw and will likely be just an average defender at best for the position. He's likely to lose a step once he adds on more muscle, and could likely push him out of the position.
With that said, Luciano's ceiling is the highest among all prospects in the organization due to how good the bat can be, even better than Bart and Heliot. I see potential plus hit and plus-plus power in the bat. His long-term position, whether shortstop or moved to an outfield spot, will likely determine his future overall ceiling. If he will show improvements defensively at short to make him play there long-term, boy that's a superstar in the making. Tatis Jr. with less speed. Right now, he's showing incremental improvements. If not though, we'll see what happens.
3. Heliot Ramos OF A+
Hit 50 | Power 60 | Speed 55 | Arm 60 | Glove 55
After a pretty dreadful 2018 season where Heliot's star power has faded quite a bit, the star is shining brightly once again after a great first-half of the 2019 season.
The tools are back, or did they ever left Heliot. His improvement in terms of his approach is what made his star power come back, finally taking advantage of hittable pitches, barreling them with authority, and laying off the unhittable ones. Still, like Bart, Heliot is at his best when he gets his arms extended, using his lightning bat speed and amazing bat path to punish balls, particularly on the middle to outer half of the plate. His swing still leaves him with holes, particularly inside and you can jam him inside, but he's made adjustments to not chase a ton of bad balls anymore. As a result, all of the tools that makes him a great prospect, the plus raw power and majestic swing, come back to life. There's a pretty drastic home/away splits difference to watch out and the strikeouts are going to stay long-term but Heliot's bat is going to be a likely average tool when all is said and done.
Heliot's speed is still above average but he does not project to be a prolific base stealer but he can utilize it as a base runner and defender. I think Heliot's glove is above average, with the ability to make spectacular catches. Heliot can slot at right field where his arm strength is a plus, but I would give him all the chances to play center. I can see good reasons why Heliot is a contender for the top prospect conversation because of his overall skillset in a great position and I won't argue with that.
Tier 2 (45+ to 50 overall)
4. Hunter Bishop OF ROK
Hit 45 | Power 60 | Speed 60 | Arm 40+ | Glove 55
Due to Bishop signing late, he's yet to put up a pro ball plate appearance so doing a report is impossible at this point. I now refer you to to my review of him in my 2019 MLB Draft Day 1 Review.
*edit He's been playing now as of this date and is going bonkers in the AZL.
5. Alexander Canario OF A-
Hit 45+ | Power 60 | Speed 50 | Arm 55 | Glove 55
The fifth straight prospect with a plus power in his arsenal, Canario put on an offensive barrage in his second stint in the Arizona League before hitting a wall with Salem-Keizer.
Canario is some of the best source of power in the organization, with the combination of his bat speed, added strength in his frame especially in his thighs, wrist strength and all-out swings allow him to launch majestic shots. Most of the power is still on the pull side, but has done an excellent job finally utilizing an all-field approach. Canario's made so much contact that his walk rate got skewed but given that he's repeating the AZL, the kind of talent the league has made him unable to draw out the walk numbers that we got accustomed. He will draw strikeouts due to his aggressiveness, occasional off-balance swings, and some issue to hit. Nonetheless, his profile is of a modern power hitter: tons of power but suffers from strikeouts.
Canario will likely slate in right field as his power profile fits the position so well and he's lost a bit of a step. He still projects though as an above-average fielder there because his instincts does carry well to right from when he played center. Nonetheless, the bat will determine Canario's likely outcome. So far, so good.
6. Sean Hjelle RHP A+
FB 55 | CB 50 | CH 50 | SL 45 | CMD 55+
Hjelle's polish coming out of college and entering his first full season should make him a fast mover through the minors and after an abbreviated stint in Augusta, Hjelle put the pedal to the metal even more in San Jose, cementing his spot as the best pitching prospect in the organization.
We probably have talked too much about Hjelle's frame and mechanics. The guy's very tall and his high 3/4 arm slot gives him one of the weirdest angles any hitter can face. The only issue I have for him is whether his currently thin frame will be able to hold his stuff until the end of his first full year. Hjelle's stuff though is pretty average that plays better due to his angle. His fastball sits in the low-90s as a starter. His spin rate on it is above Major League average but the movement that he has on his fastball only looks decent.
Hjelle's low-80s knuckle-curve is above-average at best with sharp, downer break but the sharpness varies greatly, from solid out pitch to floaters. I am most impressed with the development of Hjelle's change, as it looked from a below average one last year to a solid average pitch now. The slider's still a work-in-progress. Everything that he throws though plays up because his mechanics is so glorious and picturesque you would not expect that from a guy his size. His control is already a plus on my book and his pitchability is impressive as well, able to throw any pitch at any count with location.
That polish in his stuff gives Hjelle a high floor. However, his lack of a true out second out pitch will likely keep
Tier 3 (40+ to 45 overall)
7. Gregory Santos RHP A
FB 55 | SL 60 | CH 50 | CMD 50+
Santos came in the 2019 season having the highest ceiling among all Giants pitching prospects, and sustaining an injury in early-April that kept him out of action for 2 months, he's back and while he's not putting up monster strikeout rates like we hoped, he's still an effective pitcher for Augusta.
Santos' stuff is impressive, possessing two current plus pitches in his mid-90s sinking fastball and wicked, two-plane mid-80s slider. Santos has little problem locating those pitches in and out of the zone, utilizing those two pitches very well. Sometimes though, he can get too control happy and fill up the zone too much with the two, resulting to fringy strikeout rates throughout his minors career so far. Santos' mechanics is fairly easy to repeat but has some elements that can hamper his future role, sometimes getting too deep in his arm action. His changeup is still a work in progress but has implications of being a fringy to average offering.
There's such a disconnect on the eyeball test and the stats on Santos' likely outcome. You got a guy with wipeout fastball and slider with potential for command and an improving changeup that you would like to see him more than a batter an inning or at an above average strikeout rate. On the other, the guy never posted at least an average strikeout rate (around 22%) throughout his 3+ years in the minors. You want to optimistic that his stuff will later result to an uptick in strikeout rate while keeping his walk rate to where it is right now but his consistent data makes you pessimistic. Let's just see and find out.
8. Luis Toribio 3B ROK
Hit 50 | Power 50+ | Speed 40 | Arm 60 | Glove 45
The top prospect from the 2017 J2 cycle, Toribio is showing why he's received the highest bonus from that period, with a dazzling performance in the DSL and has continued to swing the bat well when he arrived to the States this year.
Even though Toribio has plus raw power, what stands out to me more is his ability to hit. Even though he's a very pull hitter, and I mean he pulls everything, Toribio stands out for his good feel for contact, with very good barrel control in his swing and is able to put the ball in spots. The swing itself is a rather flamboyant but rhythmic one, with good timing and loft to it. I would love to see him hit homers but it's more of an on-base approach for Toribio at the moment. His walk rates are very good and is willing to work the counts, an evidence of his mature approach. There's still an internal debate on whether his hit or his power will be better in the future, I am optimistic that both will be at least solid tools. The issue that I see is that he pulls the ball so much it will get beaten by overshifts as he progresses the minor league ladder.
The thing that I worry with Toribio is his glove. The amount of errors last year and this year are very worrisome for me. It can still be fixed but Toribio's actions does not look a fit there, as he can get heavy footed at the hot corner at times even though he's got a plus arm. His agility will also be affected if he still adds weight in his frame, which might prompt him to move to first base in the future, and that will put a lot of pressure on his bat to perform especially the power. With that said, I think Toribio's bat will carry him upwards the farm.
Hit 55 | Power 45 | Speed 35 | Arm 50 | Glove 50+
Logan Wyatt does not have a lot of games yet to make an accurate assessment in pro ball, so here's my report on him in the 2019 Draft Day 1 Review.
10. Logan Webb RHP AA
FB 55 | CB 60 | CH 45 | CMD 50
Webb is still under the restriction list after getting hit by the 80-game suspension due to being positive for PEDs. When he was pitching in April, Webb's fastball velocity ranges from 91-93 MPH, a tick down from last year where he's more 93-95 MPH but he's still locating it very well and his breaker is still the same, plus offering. So he's staying on the top 10 list even after he get busted.
11. Seth Corry LHP A
FB 55 | CB 60 | CH 55 | CMD 40+
Heading to the 2019 season, Corry packs serious breakout potential due to the fact that he's made tremendous improvements in his mechanics to get a hold of his stuff. Half a season in, he's looking like he's really onto something, having the best three-pitch mix in the organization with a better idea where it will go.
Corry's made a lot of adjustments in his mechanics, and I mean a lot. Pull up his HS mechanics and compare it to the 2019 version, you will see how much he's improved in terms of keeping his overall motion in check. Much less effort, much less wasted motion, less rotational and the head whack is pretty much gone. That resulted to him having average control of the strike zone, and there are times where he's flashing command of all his pitches when he's really in the zone. That has resulted to a massive spike in his strikeout rate while keeping his walk rate to a more palatable rate. The issue will still be whether this type of improvements that we see from Corry are a long-term thing. I'm leaning towards yes.
The improved control and command made Corry's stuff even better. His fastball velocity and spin rate is just average right now, around 89-93 MPH with 2,200 spin rate, but the pitch has good life and the feel for the pitch improved mightily over the winter. The breaking ball and change are still a dandy of a pitch, with his breaker having serious downer break with a good spin rate of 2,600 and his change having tremendous fade. Both are now heading towards plus potential due to Corry making the hitters uncomfortable because he can now spot his fastball and not just sit on his offspeed where he has more feel than his heater.
Whether Corry's a starter or a reliever in the Majors is going to be heavily dependent on how much his control will improve. I see Corry as a lethal multi-inning fireman from the left side, able to get both hitters with his three at least above-average offerings. That's already a pretty valuable asset in today's game. If he can further improve his command and be a true mid-rotation starter, then I will be even happier. He has the athleticism and the work ethic to make such improvements.
12. Melvin Adon RHP AA
FB 80 | SL 55 | CMD 40
The best true reliever in the farm system, Adon headed to the 2019 season with high hopes of being the next great reliever from the organization that has produced good homegrown relievers over the years. He's not blowing away the competition because he's struggling to throw strikes consistently, he's still dazzling on the mound with his high octane stuff.
Adon draws whiffs consistently by mixing up his fastball-slider combination well. Adon's fastball is right up there with the best of them. We are talking about Nate Pearson levels of stuff. He can easily reach 100+ with movement, or sit in the 96-99 MPH range with better control. The fastball alone can compete for whiffs because his arm slot is pretty tough to pick up the ball, with a wide arm action and a sidewinder slot, but also makes it hard for Adon to even reach average command. He can expertly command a pitch from time to time so there's room for improvement. The slider's a potential plus pitch as well, with plenty of hard, slurve-like break that's almost impossible to hit when both are on.
Adon's living the life now out of the pen, something that I advocated for years and has really become the best reliever option now, with potential for closing games or being a Reyes Moronta-like fireman. The questions now are he's already 25 and he's not going to have a lot of improvements in his control.
Tier 4 (35+ to 40 overall)
13. Conner Menez LHP AAA
FB 55 | SL 50 | CH 45+ | CB 40 | CMD 50
After living under the depths of the minor league system with the Giants, Menez has been that kind of prospect where he's been producing well but not good enough to be a top prospect. This year however, everything changed and he began posting ridiculous amounts of strikeouts and has really risen to the ranks, at least in my books.
Even though Menez's fastball is only a fringe average offering velocity-wise, where he will sit on the 89-92 MPH range, it plays much better because of the drop and drive nature of his mechanics generating tremendous extension and an elite spin rate on his heater, where he can draw strikeouts even heading to the Majors due to deception and extension. All of his other pitches are fringe average offerings to below average ones, with a slider being the only pitch worthy of being an average offering but his secondaries plays up because he possesses great feel for his pitches and is never afraid to throw any pitch at any count.
Menez will be a Major Leaguer sooner or later, the role that he will be in is the tricky part. He does not have tremendous stuff of a true starter but his feel for pitching is like one. Nonetheless, his fastball and slider will fare well in the Majors as a reliever. But a 14th round investment for a future Major Leaguer, not too shabby I should say.
14. Jairo Pomares OF ROK
Hit 50+ | Power 40 | Speed 55 | Arm 45 | Glove 50
The prospect who signed the second most expensive deal in last year's J2 cycle, Pomares came in as a prospect who is considered by some as having the best hit tool in the system even before putting on a uniform, let alone do his thing in the batter's box. A bit more than a month's worth of information in, and there is some validity to what the people are saying.
Pomares is at his best when he sprays the whole field with gap to gap ability. His frame only delivers average raw power but his feel for the barrel is good and maximizes his above average speed to leg out doubles. I love how he keeps his swing compact but does have a tendency to get on top of the ball and roll over balls he should've barreled. There is a penchant for getting on base but the strikeout rate is something to follow.
While Pomares maximizes his speed on the basepaths and on the field, giving him good outfield range, his arm is only fringy at best and he will likely slot as a LF-only profile. His value will heavily depend on his bat as a result. He's mature at the batter's box but the value's as volatile as the rest.
15. Jake Wong RHP A+
FB 55 | CB 45+ | CH 45 | SL 40 | CMD 50
After a sublime Augusta stint, Wong hit a wall in San Jose, where is lack of a potent secondary pitch hurt his value as a prospect.
Wong is able to throw four pitches for strikes, the best among which is the fastball that can reach the mid-90s and has a good spin rate. The best among the secondaries is his curveball that can be solid to above average at best but struggles with consistency, as does his slider and changeup, with the latter two lacking enough nastiness to draw swing and misses. Wong's mechanics is still pretty much the same during his college days, where he has a good feel for his body and sequencing.
Wong will likely stay as a starter as he progress in his development due to his wide repertoire but the lack of sharpness in his stuff and deception in his mechanics limits his ceiling. He probably needs grip adjustments like what Beede did prior to 2019 in order for Wong to reach the Majors.
16. Garrett Williams LHP AA
FB 55 | CB 65 | CH 45 | CMD 40+
Once a promising pitching prospect, Williams faced his old archnemesis, control and command, in 2018. This year, he's made friends again with control and he enjoyed one of the best stretches of starts in his career, having a crazy good June and is a likely promotion candidate.
Williams signature pitch is his curveball, a plus-plus offering that he has great feel for to throw for control and command, and , as I stated for quite a while now, will carry him to the Majors. His fastball control really ebbs and flows and is the only difference on what his role will be. Williams has simple mechanics but struggles on repeating his low 3/4 arm slot.
Now that Williams is locating better, I feel it is time to move him to the bullpen, where he can be a difference-maker due to how good his stuff is. The low-90s fastball should raise a couple more ticks and his curveball will be a problem for hitters. I think Williams' ceiling is kind of similar to what the Giants are getting out of Will Smith right now, one with a crazy good breaking ball and good fastball. It's the control and command that Williams has to master.
17. Franklin Labour OF A-
Hit 45 | Power 60 | Speed 40 | Arm 50 | Glove 50
Labour entered 2019 with not a whole lot of hype nor expectations, but had a good extended Spring Training stint. Now, he's pacing the Northwest League in homers by a pretty good margin and has positioned himself as one of the best sources of power in the system.
Labour has put on the pounds and matured in his frame, giving him at least plus raw power. The swing is a kind of swing that you typically expect from a power hitter, with loft, rhythm, momentum, looseness and finish. There are times where the power is more on strength than bat speed but there are swings where he generates good bat speed. Labour has a developing feel for the barrel, able to make good contact with the ball quite well and picks his pitches to drive and draw walks. His spray charts also looks good. The only issue with the hit tool is that he has a small sample size of success at the moment but I believe that the power is real.
Most of Labour's value is tied with the bat, as he has a typical power corner outfielder profile, with his size and below average speed. The arm plays more at left field than at right but there's enough range for him to be a decent fielder. If he's not going to cut it, he will be a R/R first baseman.
18. Tyler Fitzgerald SS ROK
Hit 50 | Power 45 | Speed 50 | Arm 55 | Glove 50
There's still not a lot of sample size for me to work with, but he's been doing well in his cup of coffee so far, showing his good feel to hit and ability to put up good at bats.
19. Blake Rivera RHP A
FB 55 | CB 60 | CH 45 | CMD 45
While Rivera is not as advanced in terms of control and command than his fellow draftees Sean Hjelle and Jake Wong, he's got the best stuff among the three.
Rivera has a prototypical reliever profile that's pitching in a rotation, with a high spin rate fastball that sits low-90s but should have no problem reach the mid-90s in relief, that plays up because of his over the top release point giving the pitch rising life. Aside from his true four-seamer, he's also got a cutter with decent to above-average cutting action. Rivera's standout pitch is still his curveball, with also a very high spin rate and sharp, downer action. That two pitch combo made Rivera punch out guys at a high rate in the Sally. The changeup had some gains but very much looked like a fringe offering and would likely be scrapped when he's hit the bullpen. He's still not able to repeat his over the top release point at times, and there are times where he's going to have it for a few innings before losing it suddenly after around 3 innings.
Well, given that the Giants do due diligence giving their pitching prospects a shot in the rotation and learning his craft, this is one of the few instances that I would put Rivera in the pen and make his value rise due to how good his stuff can be in the bullpen, with a ceiling of pre-Giants Mark Melancon. Don't get me wrong, Melancon is very good before taking that fat wad of cash from the Giants, and I see Rivera doing that similar thing.
20. Luis Matos OF ROK
Hit 50 | Power 55 | Speed 50 | Arm 55 | Glove 50
The Bobby Evans' last J2 signees will probably prove to be the greatest positive contribution that he's given the club in his tenure, with Luciano, Pomares and Matos all doing excellent so far. Matos was not generally considered as an elite prospect in the cycle, with him belonging in the bottom half of the top 50 2018 J2 lists of several sources, but his performance this year does speak volumes to how well he's progressed and is killing it in the DSL so far.
The only wildly available video that I see from Matos is from Baseball America and it does give you what kind of guy he is. Matos only has average sprint speed, but he utilizes it so well that it plays up, and even though he will likely lose a step as he fills out his frame, he's got the savvy and smarts to steal double digit bases annually. He's currently playing in center field but will likely to move to a corner once he loses a step, most likely at right where he has the arm to play there.
Previous reports indicated that Matos has average tools across the board where his hit tool is ahead of his power, but someone in speaking terms with Matos told me he's thought of him as a power hitter, and I won't argue with that with the way Matos' season is going. The BP showed how textbook Matos' swing is. He has plus bat speed, loose hands, the bat travels the zone, and has matured. His walk rate and strikeout rate indicate that he's been very aggressive in the DSL but does have feel for the barrel to not strike out. The approach has been very pull-heavy so far, so I would like to see him develop more of an all-fields approach as he matures.
Things are going very well for Matos, and his extremely good work ethic and makeup is sure paying off big time right now. I would love to see him in the States in instructs and put on a show for us. But he is probably living the life in the Felipe Alou Baseball Academy, so it is not that bad. There's a lot of ceiling for Matos as a potential impact corner outfielder, but there's still a lot of boxes to check for him to rise towards the top 10 prospects in the organization.
21. Abiatal Avelino INF AAA
Hit 45 | Power 40 | Speed 55 | Arm 55 | Glove 50
We have probably seen what Avelino could be in a Major League setting, as a AAAA player with contact skills, speed and position versatility, though that versatility does not guarantee he's a good defender on the infield. He's also not a true fit on the current philosophy of getting on base but he can put up decent at bats. He is a decent backup in case one of the infielders gets hurt.
22. Chris Shaw OF/1B AAA
Hit 40+ | Power 65 | Speed 20 | Arm 55 | Glove 35+
I am getting pretty tired of banging the same old drum for years now, as Shaw is a true power hitter that has little speed to cover ground in left and should be a first baseman in the long run. He's put great strides in terms of improving his walk rate but will still struggle in keeping his strikeouts in check.
If he ever gets a full-time job at the highest level, I would not be shocked if he hits north of 25 homers in a season due to how powerful his swing is. There's value in that but he will likely not be doing it in a Giants uniform with how much the Giants value versatility. I hope he gets on a Major League club where he can do damage because there's no doubt in my mind he's got value with his power.
23. Ryan Howard INF AA
Hit 50 | Power 40 | Speed 50 | Arm 55 | Glove 50
I ranked Howard aggressively heading to 2019 because I thought the hit tool is real after how he improved his plate discipline while keeping a competitive line in 2018 and should be in line for a stint in AAA this year. However, he's struggled mightily in both AA and AAA and has seen his value plummet pretty hard, at least in my eyes.
He's definitely struggled to put the barrel to the ball this year, with the highest strikeout rate of his career. He's still doing a decent job of working the walk but he's also been hit hard by the BABIP pain train. It might suggest that Howard's going to soar up eventually but there are times this year that I am let down by regression of his contact skills. I hope he picks it up in the second half.
24. Raffi Vizcaino RHP AA
FB 65 | CB 50+ | CH 50+ | CMD 40
Raffi has been lights out as a reliever in San Jose early this year, reaching near unhittable status as their closer. After a promotion to Richmond in late-May, Vizcaino's hit a bit of a wall as he faced better competition and his control fighting back.
Vizcaino's stuff since moving to the pen has been a revelation, where his usual low to mid-90s is now sitting in the high-90s, peaking at 99 MPH with occasional sinking action. His best secondaries are his curveball, that acts like a knuckle-curve with the velocity and late bite of one, and a changeup with very good sinking fade on it. The three are strikeout pitch material and resulted to him striking out barely under half of all the Cal League hitters that he faced but was cut by more than half in the Eastern League due to him catching the zone pretty far too often. The control of the zone is there but the command is not present pretty often. The mechanics is a pretty simple one with solid arm action and is pretty loose but he struggles to repeat the three quarters arm slot at times.
Vizcaino has the chance to be a solid middle reliever in the big leagues due to him having three pitches that he can control and premium velocity, pretty much the requirements of a modern Major League reliever. The problem now is the conundrum that is the sudden loss for the knack of striking guys out.
25. Aramis Garcia C/1B AAA
Hit 40+ | Power 50+ | Speed 30 | Arm 50+ | Glove 50
Yes, Aramis is still a prospect, but has value as a backup catcher.
26. Heath Quinn OF A+
Hit 45 | Power 55 | Speed 45 | Arm 55 | Glove 50
Quinn's been really banged up this year after being healthy and well in 2018. He's also experienced the same kind of injury then struggle to find his footing in 2017, where his prospect value also went down then went back up again last year.
That said, Quinn's tools that makes him such an intriguing prospect is still there, with plus raw power and good overall tools that makes him a good fit at right field. It's just that he's often getting banged up and needs time to settle in. I am still intrigued by him, though.
27. Grant McCray OF ROK
Hit 40+ | Power 35 | Speed 60 | Arm 60 | Glove 50+
The 2019 3rd rounder has already put up enough of a sample size to see how he is faring in the rigors of pro ball.
McCray's most impressive stat so far is his ridiculously high walk rate, with the ability to work out at bats, an advanced feel for the zone and the whole field. He definitely needs to hit the weight room in the offseason as all of the issue that I see in offensive profile are strength-related: a ridiculously-high groundball rate, not much carry on the ball when he makes contact and bat control. The swing itself is a good swing to dream for contact as it is loose, smooth, quick and travels the zone pretty well. McCray does not sell out for power, and if he does add weight onto his wiry, projectable frame, he will never have to be.
I love how fearless McCray is on the basepaths even though he's only at 30% in stolen base rate. Give him an offseason or two to work out on basestealing and he can be a menace in the bases. McCray's been pretty good in center field, with 2 errors in 17 games, and the arm strength and range are there for him to stay at the middle of the outfield.
Even though McCray's been lacking in terms of production, I still like the package that he brings to the table, as an advanced HS bat with on-base skills and potential for stealing bases. With that said, his present strength still limits how good his bat can be and we will likely need to be patient on him but if it all clicks together, McCray's potential is an everyday center fielder and a future leadoff hitter.
28. P.J. Hilson OF ROK
Hit 35+ | Power 45 | Speed 70 | Arm 65 | Glove 55
Comparing Hilson to McCray is like apples to oranges but will likely be compared. Hilson is definitely more tooled up than McCray, with Hilson's raw power, speed and arm strength all grading out as pluses or better, McCray beats him out on how advanced his bat over Hilson's.
Hilson is still a very raw hitter, with an alarming strikeout rate, below average walk rate, lack of present feel for the barrel, strike zone feel, and overall instincts. But when Hilson connects, boy he can connect. The bat speed's plus to plus-plus for Hilson as his plus-plus athleticism shows in the field and in the batter's box, with strong wrists and is able to hit balls with great exit velocities when he finds the sweet spot on the ball.
Hilson's surprised me with a perfect base stealing rate so far, as he's using his afterburners to his definite advantage. There's way enough speed for Hilson to cover center and way enough arm for right field and that's where the Giants are playing him, with more games defending the middle, but just a touch more innings than him playing right. Hilson's stock is very volatile as his bat will determine if he's a true top prospect or not but there's plenty of time still for him to find his groove as he's just going to turn 19 late next month. Until then, the tools will make him a shoe-in from now on.
29. Camilo Doval RHP A+
FB 75 | SL 45 | CMD 35
Doval has one of the most potent arms in the business, but he definitely is struggling with his control this year, and his numbers are taking a big hit as a result.
Doval's sidewinding, slinging motion has proven to be a tough one to harness for him as he often struggle to locate the ball, especially to his arm side with his breaking ball. His cutter is very lethal when well located to his gloveside and is his nastiest pitch at the moment. His fastball has so much cut at times it morphs to a mid-90s slider, and when throwing towards inside, it leaks out towards the heart of the plate and that's where things gets bad. His slider looks weak at the moment, and could benefit with an improvement in his control.
Doval can still be the next great Giants reliever if he can improve in his control given how good his fastball can be, which I think is an 80 raw grade. The problem is that his mechanics and overall feel for pitching will be tough mountains to climb.
30. Ricardo Genoves C A-
Hit 40 | Power 55 | Speed 20 | Arm 60 | Glove 55
I can't even remember the last time I made a report on Genoves, but I do remember that whenever I am making a report on him, he is often in the very bottom of the list. This year, it's no different.
The report that I made on Genoves before can still be applied to him this year. He's a very big guy, probably a shade bigger than Joey Bart, and has limited overall athleticism. He's a true leader behind the plate, with the ability to corral the pitching staff and just oozes captain potential. He's got the plus arm behind the plate, with the accuracy and arm strength to throw out hitters. His movements in the squat are surprisingly good given his athleticism, with refined catch and throw skills, soft hands for catching and instincts worthy of him staying behind the plate.
I am always the down guy for him due to how limited he is at the batter's box. However so far this year, he's made significant strides to put his plus-plus raw power to use. His bat speed is still limited and his homers come from his sheer strength. The power is not just limited to pull though, as it is from pole to pole. What I do really like is his improvements in pitch recognition and overall maturity at the batter's box. He looks more poised now and it shows in the stats.
Genoves is kinda like those forgotten good catchers now that Aramis and Bart has come through the system, but it is still pretty that the guy is just 20 years old and has improved at the plate tremendously for him to increase his value. The issue is how will his body hold up as he gets older. Will his body get away from him and move him out of the catching role or will he get leaner and stay there long-term where his defensive instincts will give him a good shot of reaching the Majors.