Before we hit on the 2020 top 30 list that you readers are really licking your chops on, let me treat you first with a really quick recap of the 2019 minor league season that is full of development gains, how the system is stacked with high-ceiling hitters and also pretty deep in relief options but with a lack of high-ceiling starting pitching depth and a short preview of the prospects that might pique your interest come a little more than 5 months time in the 2020 MLB Draft.
Here We Gonna Go Up
The farm system is definitely on the rise and I would definitely not be shocked if the national media place the Giants in the upper half of the farm system rankings. I mean the farm system has four top 100 prospects and the trades that the front office has done to gather depth are all working well so far thanks to the pro scouting department led by Zack Minasian.
What is also amazing is not only the arrival of players that Zaidi and company brought into the farm system are impressing but also the positive development of the prospects that are already here before Zaidi arrives. Guys like Luis Matos, Jacob Heyward, Ricardo Genoves, Franklin Labour, Kervin Castro and others all experienced breakout years and the top dogs that we expect to perform did perform like Alex Canario, Logan Webb, Heliot Ramos and Joey Bart. The restructed minor league system and the coaching staff and trainers led by farm director Kyle Haines should receive the credit for these positive gains. As a result of those positive gains, the plenty of minor league affiliates had successful stints in 2019, highlighted by the AAA Championship by the Sacramento River Cats.
With the Giants would have 5 picks inside the top 85 in the 2020 MLB Draft, the 2019 July 2 class that the new front office should have their footprints on, continuity in terms of leadership in the farm system, a brand spanking new Spring Training and minor league complex that will be ready to use in 2021 and an intense commitment of the current administration towards player development on all levels, the farm system will be even better in 2020 and might peak in the mid-season where Bart will still be there before he embarks on his franchise-saving journey and the 2020 draftees and the July 2 signees will be there.
As you might already know, the farm system is loaded with high-ceiling hitting prospects. On top, you will see 8 prospects inside the top 10 of my list are hitters, and 11 of the top 15 prospects are hitters. Even though it is pretty much a no s*** situation that the Giants are doing their best to try to hold him back, they can't hold back the man named Joey Bart. Heliot Ramos is also looking to keep his promise of reaching the bigs in 3 years time. Marco Luciano is a legitimate stud, Alex Canario is a big man with tons of power, Hunter Bishop is my favorite player from the 2019 draft, Will Wilson could play better than his tools in 2020, Luis Matos also looks like a stud, Mauricio Dubon is already a good looking player in the big leagues, Luis Toribio has big time exit velocities. You name it, they got it.
Not just in the top 10 or top 15 are the Giants loaded with hitters, the Giants are also littered with talented hitters outside of the top 30, especially the recent July 2 prospects Aeverson Arteaga and Anthony Rodriguez looking to enter the mid-season list given that they perform in the DSL. And the good thing is that even though the farm system should expect the departure of both Bart and Ramos in 2020, Giants fans should have nothing to worry about as after the duo, most of the prospects are still in the first taste of full-season ball and is a couple of years away, given that how the Giants fared so well in the 2018 July 2 cycle and in the 2019 MLB draft. The 2020 version could give another chance to load up even more on hitters so if you really damn love hitting, you have come to the right place.
If there is one fetish that the Giants currently have in their hunt for prospects, power is almost on the top of the list. And not just ordinary power we are taking about, we are talking about light tower power. Foul pole to foul pole. Deep beyond Triples Alley-type of raw power. In the short time that Zaidi is in charge of things, that power is also a big priority, if not the biggest. As a result, the farm system is now stacked with power across all levels.
In the upper levels, guys like Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos, Chris Shaw, Jaylin Davis, Jacob Heyward, Heath Quinn and others all have plus power that should play in the Oracle but the question for them is how well can they hit with power. In A ball, guys to be mentioned here include Jacob Gonzalez, Sean Roby, Franklin Labour, Ricardo Genoves, Logan Wyatt and others. The lower levels are also fills up the cupboard, with Marco Luciano, Alex Canario, Hunter Bishop, Luis Toribio, Armani Smith, George Bell, Garrett Frechette, Dilan Rosario, Connor Cannon and Rayner Santana are the prominent prospects that comes to mind.
You might say that most of the prospects mentioned above came from the Bobby Evans-John Barr era especially the guys who lead the way but let's also give the Zaidi era some credit in terms of developing the prospects to tap to their power and also the way they approached the 2019 in terms of going after power guys all throughout the draft and in some shrewd moves throughout the season.
(Thinking Emoji) Where Is The Starting Pitching?
Pitching is what defined the 2010s Giants dynasty along with great defense. The 2020s Giants however is lacking of high-ceiling pitching prospects. There are only a handful of what I consider as legitimate starting pitching prospects once they reach the Majors: Logan Webb, Seth Corry, Sean Hjelle, Gregory Santos and Tristan Beck.
While I do not consider it as a great rotation, it is not that bad. All of them do have mid-rotation ceilings but are more likely to be back-end options at the very least. The 2020 Draft do present an opportunity to get another high to mid-end rotation piece to help balance out the farm system on top. Guys like Mick Abel, Jared Kelley, Asa Lacy, Garrett Crochette and JT Ginn should be the prospects that the Giants should have high on their radar come June. The 2020 season does look like another lost season for the big league club and in that way, they can get another high first round pick and get an elite pitcher. Should I start the #SuckerForRocker movement?
Birdshot But With Buckshot Rounds
The quality starting pitching prospects that the Giants currently have might be lacking in depth, there is no short in velocity pumping out in the pipeline. The most famous of them all might be Melvin Adon, one of the few arms in the entire league that can throw to the low-100s with ease and has a true 80 rating in his fastball. He is followed in suit by guys like Rodolfo Martinez, Camilo Doval, Jose Marte, Tyler Cyr, Prelander Berroa, Raffi Vizcaino and Sam Wolff who can reach the high-90s mark.
The main problem with all of them is that they do have the velocity but they do not have the consistency to throw their fastballs for quality strikes for 5-6 innings, with them only having 45-50 command at best. That is why most of the prospects listed are relief options, and their stock is not that high as a result. There are also guys like Marte, Berroa, Blake Rivera, Aaron Phillips, and others who can benefit on transitioning from the rotation to the bullpen because even though they put on the innings in starts, their command often comes and goes within their start and that tells me they can most likely work better throwing all out for 1-2 innings and have their stocks rise as a result.
Get Drafted (But Not In The Army For World War 3)
With 5 picks sandwiched in the top 85 picks in the 2020 draft that is considered as one of the deepest class in recent memory, Zaidi and friends not only can add impact players early on but also add even more depth to an organization that prioritizes depth over everything in terms of roster building. The Giants can replicate what the Diamondbacks have done in the 2019 draft when the team had a plethora of picks and they went high school school prospects early then college late.
The circumstances between the Giants and the DBacks are slightly different given that the Giants have their top prospects ready to rock the Majors within the next two years while the Diamondbacks have their window still relatively closed. Based on what the Giants have done in the 2019 draft, they drafted who they thought was the best player available in Hunter Bishop but when you look at it, the Giants saved up a ton of money in drafting Bishop and Wyatt, both performed really well in college, and the result was having enough change to pay a little extra to sign Dilan Rosario and Trevor McDonald. That style of drafting would work really well in 2020 with plenty of picks and plenty of draft money as a result.
If we look at specific draft strategies, the Giants can actually look at it in two ways, draft prepsters early then draft college performers to save capital later on like what the DBacks did, or the other way around in drafting college early then drafting prepsters late like what the club have done last year.
If the Giants are gonna look at in the DBacks point of view, prep pitching is a premium on the draft class and they do tend to slide down on draft day, so getting one of the trio of Mick Abel, Jared Kelley and the now eligible Nick Bitsko might be possible. In terms of position players, take a look at either Ed Howard, Jordan Walker or Robert Hassell to be potential players come draft day. However, that style would not align with the expected call-up timelines of the current top prospects that the Giants have and that might not be beneficial if they are indeed trying to compete in the 2022-2026 window.
Instead, the Giants could look to replicate what they have done in last year's draft, drafting college performers early, saving up money and getting prepsters late. Look for guys like J.T. Ginn (the early on favorite), Casey Martin, CJ Van Eyk, Reid Detmers and Tanner Burns as players that should be on the watchlist of most Giants fans in the draft. I am going to touch on those prospects deeper in the future before the pitchers and catchers report but I highly endorse Brian Recca (in case you haven't already) as the guy to follow for the 2020 MLB draft class. He is more into the draft than I do in this stage and I use his informative insights as one of my sources to consolidate my thoughts in terms of draft prospects.
Cheers To The Wish You Were Here, But You're Not
This is the portion of the list where I salute to the notable prospects that went away during the 2019 season and in some parts of the 2019-2020 offseason in a variety of ways. I wish these guys all the best in their new teams and may they reach the Majors anytime soon.
- Connor Joe
- Juan de Paula
- Malique Ziegler (my man)
- Breyvic Valera
- Mac Williamson
- Travis Bergen
- Jacob Lopez
- Williams Jerez
- Mike Gerber
- Garrett Williams
- Courtney Hawkins
- Johneshwy Fargas
The 2020 Top 30 Prospects List
Tier 1 - 55+ - 60 overall (Potential All-Star everyday player, #2-3 Starter)
Tier 2 - 50+ - 55 overall (Borderline All-Star player but more everyday player/ #3-4 Starter/ Elite Closer)
Tier 3 - 45+ - 50 overall (Everyday player but more of utility player/ #4-5 starter/ Good closer/ set-up reliever)
Tier 4 - 40+ - 45 overall (AAAA-type player / Set-up reliever to 7th inning reliever)
Tier 5 - 35+ - 40 overall (High minors-type player / Middle reliever)
Tier 1 - 2
Tier 2 - 2
Tier 3 - 6
Tier 4 - 11
Tier 5 - 9
Position Players (based on current position) - 16
C - 2
INF - 5
1B - 1
2B - 0
3B - 1
SS - 3
OF - 9
Pitchers (based on current position) - 14
LHP - 1
LH SP - 1
LH RP - 0
RHP - 13
RH SP - 10
RH RP - 3
The Top 30 Explained
Overall, the farm system is loaded with hitters up top and is deep in terms of pitching prospects but it is mostly relief pitching instead of starting pitching.
Two hitters highlight the overall farm system, those two are Joey Bart and Marco Luciano. Bart is meeting the expectations of a franchise-caliber catcher while Luciano could be the best hitter that the Giants ever had in their farm system, including Buster Posey. I went with Bart ahead of Luciano because Bart's impact on the defensive side and the leadership, the overall field general feel, is present while Luciano still need to improve on his defense at shortstop.
After the two superstar hitters, there are two hitters that should enter plenty of Top 100 prospect lists but is a bit below as compared to Bart and Luciano. Those two are my hermano Heliot Ramos and Hunter Bishop. Both have star potential but both have certain traits that hold them back in terms of being elite, with both having a quite concerning strikeout issues and both could end up in the corner outfield instead of center, although Bishop has the range to play there. But make no mistake that both have plenty of talent, as Heliot is as good of a hitter as Bart in terms of hitting to all fields with power and Bishop has the best power-speed combo in all of the prospects and is up there in terms of being the best overall athlete in the system.
After the quartet of star hitters, there is a pretty sizeable gap after because the next tier is composed of what I think are Major League-caliber players, but either does not have the ceiling of the four, more volatile in terms of risk in their profile, or a combination of both.
I feel that both Alex Canario and Logan Webb deserve a tier of their own, maybe Tier 2.5, but I don't do it so they are here. I feel that both has the same star power as Heliot and Bishop but carries more risk than the two, with Canario's strikeout issues are more concerning and his walk rate is trending to the wrong direction and while Webb's stuff is nasty, his control is suspect and his fastball is rather average in velocity when compared to 2018.
Behind them is the group of Luis Matos, a Will Wilson, the overall solid player that the Angels drafted in the first round in 2019, Seth Corry, the left hander who broke several of Augusta's pitching records in 2019 by utilizing an above-average to plus three-pitch mix, Mauricio Dubon, the nimble infielder that proved last year he should be an everyday starter for the Giants in 2020, Sean Hjelle, who might be the most advanced pitching prospect in terms of pitchability and command and Luis Toribio, the Dominican third baseman that posted crazy exit velocities from his left-handed bat. The group has potential ceiling issues, particularly Wilson and Hjelle whose tools are more average to solid across the board but plays up due to Wilson's baseball acumen and Hjelle's graceful athleticism given his height. For Toribio and Corry who both have the ceiling of being a star, polish is the main issue, particularly on Corry's control and Toribio's raw swing and putrid defense. For Matos, the issue is his age and the general lack of track record even though his ceiling is huge.
The next tier consists of players who I thought of having a shot of being a big leaguer but are not as polished nor as talented and this is where the depth generated by those Zaidi trades are located. Gregory Santos has the same ceiling as with Tier 3 guys but was hurt for most of 2019 and he has a recurring issue of not striking out as well as his stuff would indicate. Jairo Pomares has plenty of potential with his bat but the rest of his tools is currently fringy to average at best. Jaylin Davis has top notch speed and tapped to his power this year but his flat swing path might not tap to his power completely against Major League pitching. Kai-Wei Teng has the feel of a finesse pitcher with a wide frame. Grant McCray has tantalizing athleticism and great outfield skills but is still generally raw offensively. Tristan Beck has a cool curveball and changeup with a fastball that would reach the mid-90s. Melvin Adon should be very close to a Major League promotion given his age and his already peaked stuff and control. Logan Wyatt is still tapping to his raw power while maintaining his great on base skills. Dany Jimenez has a knee buckling curveball and a mid-90s fastball that should play in the Major League bullpen. All of these players mentioned could play in the Majors in the near future or in the case of Jimenez, would be in the Majors if he plays well.
The final tier is a hodgepodge of prospects whether fresh or already a prospect veteran, and would go beyond the top 30 or even the top 40. Blake Rivera has nasty stuff but is still a pretty long way to go in terms of control with some shades of Garrett Cave. Ricardo Genoves is a resident prospect for years now where he would be pretty good backup catcher in the Majors. P.J. Hilson oozes with tools and potential but is a Bubba Starling in terms of trajectory as he is still very raw. Jake Wong is an innings-eater but currently lacks the swing and miss stuff to the next level. Franklin Labour has plenty of potential with his power but his right field profile could limit his value if he does not show the type of power that he had in the Northwest League. Trevor McDonald has the ingredients to become a mid-rotation starter but is currently lacking the reps. Jose Marte when converted to a reliever might be as good as Adon in terms of stuff.
In the 10 years that I follow the Giants and baseball in general, never have I ever seen a prospect with this much promise at the plate like Luciano. Maybe Buster Posey is very close but in my opinion, the way Luciano just absolutely blasted Rookie ball and the way he showed poise in Short Season ball is something to be adored heavily.
At age 17, he put up one of the most dominating stat lines that I have ever seen in Rookie ball: .322/.438/.616 with 10 homers, 9 doubles, 2 triples with 27 walks in 38 games played. He's not done it in spurts either. Consistently, day in, day out, Luciano played like a demi-god and those mere mortals that are his opposing pitchers never stood a chance. I mean, his longest streak without a hit is 2 games, two! Good Lord. He got promoted mid-August to Salem-Keizer where he tasted his first ever adversity, where he went 1-12 in his first 12 at bats but managed to put a nice 5-game hitting streak before he got shut down when he injured his right quadriceps that effectively ended his 2019 season.
Ever since FanGraphs and Prospects Live released their Instructional League videos of Luciano taking BPs in a pitching machine, I started to scrutinize the man. First of all, his frame is perfect, square upper half with good looking muscles already in it but only listed at 178 lbs. which tells that there is a great chance to add plenty of meat on that bone to help his power and overall strength. When Marco, Luis Toribio, Jairo Pomares and Alex Canario all lined up for a photograph, you can really see how big Marco's frame is and how it can get even bigger.
Second is his swing. To be quite honest, it is almost picture-esque. In terms of comparisons in his setup at the plate, few come to mind: his fellow Giant prospect Heliot Ramos and Alex Rodriguez. Operating with a wide base, linear to very slightly closed stance with his hands at ear level and the bat almost parallel to the ground, Luciano's actions are very smooth from that point forward: he rocks his body back with his decently aggressive but sound leg kick that in turn loads his hands. He is still holding his hands back at front foot plant where he opens up ever so slightly to better convert his stored energy but the hips stays closed, boom goes the bat breezing through the hitting zone like a whip and squaring up balls to places never been reached by humans before (I tried my best Bill Walton impersonation). Jokes aside, the real important thing is that on the entirety of his swing, his balance at the box is so good that his head is so steady throughout his swing, that gives him a much better vision of the ball and hit it.
Boy, let's talk about that bat speed. I have seen crazy bat speed before: Javier Baez, Heliot Ramos do come to mind. Marco's bat speed is right up there with the greatest. His balance in his setup, his prodigial hand speed and strength and natural hitting feel gives him ridiculous ability to square balls up, and with a naturally slight uppercut in his swing, those balls often go over the fence. He is so good that if you take a look at this swings on balls in play that are available to be looked at, his swing stayed the same. Even if it is a single, a double, a triple, a homer, or even a chopper in the infield, the swing stays pretty much the same. That ability to repeat the same swing and yield out different results is downright impressive for a guy in his age.
If there are things that Luciano needs to work on offensively, it is more on adjustments that comes with experience: things like recognizing spin and approach, where based on his spray charts, he's been more of a pull hitter where most of his hits are from left pole to center field, but don't get me wrong here, his power is from foul pole to foul pole as he got 2 homers in right field and 3 doubles to right center. I also love his ability to lay off pitches that he could not do damage on, as seen when he was in Salem-Keizer. Even though Luciano struggled to muster base hits early in his short stint with the Volcanoes, he managed to draw 4 walks in his first 4 games, with 3 coming on one game. Those are really encouraging in terms of his approach.
In choosing who is the best prospect in the organization, between Bart and Luciano, I chose Bart because there is one thing that I am still pretty concerned on Luciano: it's his defense. Whenever I look at Luciano fielding at shortstop, I am pretty concerned if he will stick long-term. He does not look like a natural there with some fundamental errors like first step, routes to the ball, and often sails a ball or two to the first baseman. I see Luciano struggling to throw on the run and at times getting under the ball and slinging it sidearm usually.
A lot of work needs to be done to make him an average defender there but his fringe eventual speed once he fills out his frame (I have timed his home to first speed at 4.51 seconds although he did not run hard on the fastest time, and 8.54 seconds on home to second base) could be the final nail in the coffin for Luciano to move out of shortstop and place him somewhere where he can be effective. There have been advocates at the corner outfield, some at third base but I think he can do well at second base, where his slinging motion and shorter distance to first base can make him more accurate. I do think that it is way too early for him to give up trying to be a long-term shortstop at age 18, I say give him all the shot that he can.
With the type of tools that Luciano has in his disposal, it is easy to think that he can make a Wander Franco or a Vlad Jr.-type of quantum leap if he will have a very good 2020 season that will make him one of the very best prospects in baseball. Let us hope that Marco continues to improve his defense at shortstop because the Giants might just move him out of there and put him in the outfield to accommodate his offense and advanced defensive positioning can hide him, like Kyle Schwarber. That might come in a couple years from now.
3. Heliot Ramos OF AAA (projected)
6'0" 188 lbs. R/R Age: 20 ETA: 2020
Hit 50 | Power 60 | Speed 50 | Arm 60 | Glove 50+
Video: Credits to Prospects Live, Baseball. and Baseball America
tl;dr: Ramos enjoyed a bounceback 2019 season as an outfielder that is adept at hitting in all fields with power and has displayed the matured not only in his frame but also in his pitch selection and overall patience at the plate but his fringy to below average strikeout rate looms large as well as his frame possibly move him towards the corner outfield as he is one step closer to the Majors.
Ramos has actually been on at least the top 5 of most Giants prospect list and heading towards the 2020 season is no exception for the big man, as Heliot finally put altogether the necessary improvements needed for him to bounce back in a big way in 2019 after experiencing plenty of growing pains in 2018.
2019 saw Heliot mature in almost all facets of his game, or you can put it in another way as putting it all together the necessary adjustments that will take his game to the next level. Heliot showed maturity in his frame, his overall approach at the plate, his in-game power, and we are finally seeing what will be his likely role in the Major League level.
Ramos has put on more muscle in his frame, with his lower half looking gorgeously thick and muscular as so does his torso, and is most likely heavier than what his 188 lbs. frame might suggest. That frame looks like too big to play center field, and he did looked like he lost a step in 2019 that lowers his chances for him to be a mainstay in center, but his arm is still plenty strong and is going to be an above-average right fielder with his good, matured reads, first step, and ball tracking skills. That add muscle also made Heliot to not being an asset on the bases as a base stealer, but his breakaway speed is still there when hustling for doubles and triples, and is able to still post above average run times. It might not matter that much because Heliot has taken massive strides as a potential middle of the order-type of bat.
2018 saw Heliot put up rather pedestrian numbers in the Sally as much better quality of play took a lot of what made him a really good prospect coming out of Puerto Rico, especially with him not hitting homers to put it simply. 2019 saw Heliot pump out more homers, 5 more in fact, but the more fascinating thing to me is looking where those homers went.
Looking at Heliot's spray charts and comparing 2018 to 2019, there's a positive trend that I saw. 2018 saw Heliot took a massive leap in terms of hitting the ball to all fields, retracting from a rather pull-happy approach in his cup of coffee in the Arizona League, but the only issue that I see is that all of Heliot's homers are towards his pull side, with his hits towards the opposite field are primarily line drives or flyballs that are barely going over the fence. 2019 is a whole different ballgame. Heliot still maintained that all-fields, inside-out approach at the plate but those flyballs to other way started going out, with 6 of his homers going to his opposite side with a few probably would've gone out in some parks.
His maturity is also evident at his patience at the plate. Heliot is now more able to work the counts more in his favor, foul off pitches to get deeper in every plate appearance, be more selective in pitches to drive, as evidenced by 3.92 pitches per plate appearance in 2019 compared to 3.70 in 2018. The pitches that Heliot should've done damage but fouled off instead in 2018 certainly became damage in 2019 but there is a sore thumb with him. Heliot's strikeout rate got worse in 2019, where it spiked at 31.1% when he reached AA ball and there have been ways to get Heliot.
Heliot does have a hitting mechanics to dream on: a wide, pre-loaded setup, a slight leg lift to move his momentum forward, his picturesque bat path, his explosive hands, his great follow through to position himself to run to first base quickly. He gets his arms extended in his swing that is great for covering and driving outside pitches but he gets beaten by pitches high and inside, often getting late on or being a set up pitch to throw breaking balls away getting Heliot to chase. I am not exactly sure how that hole will get fixed by Heliot or will it ever be fixed or just live with it and be still hella productive anyway is the thing to watch for 2020.
There is no doubt that Heliot can make the Majors in 3 years, and might make it some time in 2020. There are still room for improvement for Heliot to make, mostly refining his approach and prepping to what looks like a move to the corner outfield. There is real concern about Heliot as being a three-true-outcomes hitter in the Majors due to the fact that his strikeout rate might limit his offensive ceiling and make him just an everyday regular instead of a borderline All-Star player that us fans expect from him. If he continues to produce like what he did in 2019 or even better, it's time to get excited for the first wave of new Giants arriving in Heliot and Bart.
4. Hunter Bishop OF A+ (projected)
6'5" 210 lbs. L/R Age: 21 ETA: 2022
Hit 50 | Power 60 | Speed 60 | Arm 40 | Glove 55
Videos: Credits to MLB Pipeline, FanGraphs and JustBombProductions
tl;dr: The 2019 first rounder selection of the Giants has the best combination of power and speed in the organization and has shown his advanced patience at the plate in Salem-Keizer but there are going to be questions about how much he will hit on the next level.
I think we have known Bishop enough at the time of his draft so I am not going to talk about that. Instead, I am going to talk about the stuff that Bishop has done in pro ball. I think the most popping stat about Bishop's stint in pro ball is not the home runs or the stolen bases, no. It is the walks. Bishop has more walks than games played (38 walks in 32 games). I think it shows not only how Bishop takes his time at the plate looking for pitches to drive but also it shows how advanced he is versus the level of pitching that he faced.
Of course, if we talking about Bishop, we are going to talk about his power. Yes, Bishop did not hit for a high average in pro ball in a small sample size, but he did hit 5 home runs in 32 games, with a double and a triple to his name. From what I saw in his games, his home runs are not cheap shots. His overall hit spread is towards his pull side but his power is from pole to pole, with a homer towards left field.
One major concern that people have in Bishop is his strikeouts. Yes, he did have almost the same strikeout to walk ratio, but overall he still struck out more than once a game (40 strikeouts in 32 games). His swing and miss issue was the main knock against him in college and sure carried that one in Salem-Keizer.
Those three true outcomes are what knocked Bishop lower in the pecking order as compared to Bart and Luciano on the top of the food chain. I don't think that there will be a huge improvement in terms of strikeouts for Bishop as his height creates plenty of weak spots. I like Bishop's 2019 swing a lot, but his breaking ball recognition has to improve and he needs to take the next level in terms of getting beat by spin and sequencing, and that limits his power. I think that if Bishop does not improve on those issues, his likely outcome could be a three-true-outcomes type of hitter in the Major Leagues.
That said, I think that Bishop has one of the highest ceilings in the organization, possibly only behind Luciano. Bishop's super athletic, is able to move very quickly for his size and should be a 25-30 stolen base-type of player if he does not pack in the muscle to further add in his already plus-plus raw power. I think Bishop is a better fielder than some give him credit for, because I can see that even though his route running is not the most efficient as of this moment, he has way enough range to cover ground and is able to make highlight reel plays with his glove. Once his route running improves, look out. The real fascinating thing is his arm strength. The strength has not come back since he got hurt in his throwing arm back in college and he needs to throw for at least average to stick in center field.
Bishop should be aggressively challenged by the Giants brass given his stature as a very good prospect. If he can improve on his hit tool by figuring out a way to improve his spin recognition to trim down some swing and miss, he could be a star because he can hit homers in bunches, steal bases in bunches, play a dynamic defense in the outfield and is a great player. Let's try to put some thought as well for the passing of his beloved mother and the way he would handle himself on the field in 2020 will be something that we should watch.
5. Alexander Canario OF A (projected)
6'1" 185 lbs. R/R Age: 19 ETA: 2022
Hit 45 | Power 60 | Speed 50 | Arm 60 | Glove 55
Videos: Credits to Alexander Canario, Kenny Kelly, Roger Munter and LMR
tl;dr: Canario is as risky of a prospect as they come in the farm system with a potential to become a middle-of-the-order power hitter with his light-tower power thanks to his very strong hands, ridiculous bat speed and buffed frame with a chance to be an above average defensively in the corner outfield but his strikeout rate and walk rate have taken a turn for the worse.
I was shocked when I saw that Canario was going to start his 2019 campaign in the Arizona League instead of the Northwest League after he posted a solid 2018 campaign with the AZL squad. That proved to be a good decision however, as Canario went bonkers in the AZL, tormenting every pitcher that dared to throw to him. He went through a pretty rough start in Salem-Keizer after his promotion there, but once he found his footing, he was the same old Canario, tormenting pitchers in his wake.
When you turn on the stats for Canario, the first thing that will impress you the most is his power. When the famous photo of the four Latino prospects together was put up, I was so shocked to see that Canario is that big. Like, there should be plus-plus raw power on that one. He is chiseled in the best possible way, he already filled out his frame with load of muscle that I love his frame. Looks too good to be true, and I mean Luciano is beside him but Canario is pound-for-pound on the same level as Luciano in terms of raw power, definitely heavier than his listed weight of 185 lbs. Not quite DK Metcalf, but he is getting to that territory.
Now, let's look at how that power translated. Canario has hit 16 home runs in 59 games. That my friends is an absurd number. If you take a look at his spray chart in his Salem-Keizer stint that while there is a heavy lean on the pull side in terms of his groundball outs, his power beyond the diamond is all over the field. We have seen Canario pump out hard hit balls to his pull side, to the middle of the field and to the other way, where he peppered the whole field in terms of his home runs.
Canario puts his raw power into games quite effortlessly. His set-up can get out of whack when his front foot lands in an open position because he uncorks the bat so quickly that his momentum drags him to the side, but he can even hit balls out of the park when he was out of balanced on the box. He loads his back side so well and with his front leg landing open after a slight leg kick and pulls his hands back, he creates that spring effect that gives him maximum torque where he just let his physicality, strong wrists and that spring effect to quickly whip his bat to plus-plus levels. Canario is actually finishing his swing a bit better in 2019 compared to his old videos, but he still needs to improve on his balance so that his head stays still throughout his swing. Couple that with his uppercut swing path that is tailored for hitting flyballs, you got yourself a legitimate home run threat in the box.
Canario is not a perfect hitter as he does have some glaring issues. Because he can get off balanced in his swing, add to that his very aggressive approach at the plate, a bit of spin recognition issues where he is sometimes out in front of a breaking ball but still has the ability to pump it out for a home run, and a bit of bat control issue to have him post an increased strikeout rate in 2019 while cutting his walk rate almost by half. With his BABIP being extremely inflated, I expect that things will go down to his batting average once BABIP caught up to him. With his high tendency to chase pitches, like a mediocre slider out of the zone and evidenced by having zero walks and 39 strikeouts when he falls behind in the count, I would expect his strikeout rate to be high throughout his baseball career unless he improve on those issues moving forward.
Because he looks jacked, Canario spent more time defending in right field than in center. Canario might not be the best defender right now but he has the tools to be a solid defender in either outfield spots, where his solid at present raw speed plays and his plus arm strength can definitely play in right. Canario's profile fits the prototypical right fielder anyway, where his power-hitting ways will get him to a lineup as low as the high minors. Hopefully, Canario's high walk rate in his earlier days will come back in 2020, because I would suspect that his batting average to dip in a tougher hitting environment in terms of the quality of pitching. Maturity at the plate is the key for Canario moving forward, and I think he will get there where he can be at least a three-true-outcomes threat with a strong defensive value in the outfield.
6. Logan Webb RHP MLB (projected)
6'2" 220 lbs. R/R Age: 23 ETA: 2019
FB 50 | SL 60 | CH 60 | CMD 45
Videos: Credits to 2080 Baseball
tl;dr: Webb reached the Majors in the second half of 2019 after getting suspended for PEDs in the first half and has shown that he can be a back-end starting caliber pitcher at the present with his plus slider, changeup and competitive nature help aid his average fastball velocity and movement and his inconsistent control and command.
If there is one prospect that has enjoyed the highs and the lows in 2019, it's got to be Logan Webb. After getting popped for PEDs in April (with reports of unsuspected PEDs in sexual enhancement drugs and that could be the case with Webb), he was back as good as ever and his strong performances in Richmond and Sacramento earned him a trip to the Majors and pitched for more than a month to the big league level, in a fast track-kind of fashion.
Thanks to his Major League experience and the much bigger information gathering that is happening in the Majors as compared to the Minors in terms of available advanced metrics online, we can finally see what Webb truly has in his disposal.
We can see that his fastball is only average in terms of velocity (93.2 MPH in his 4 seam, 91.8 MPH in his sinker yeah, the pitches that are 55 before are now becoming 50), spin rate (2238 RPM in his 4 seamer, 2055 RPM in his sinker), break (17.8 inches vertical break and 8.9 inches of horizontal break for the 4 seam, actually solid 25 inches vertical break and 16.3 inches horizontal break for the sinker) and inconsistent control and command (48% in zone and 44.9% edge rate for the 4 seamer, 48.2% in zone and 36.5% in the edge for the sinker) that results to a very low whiff rate (14.5% for the 4 seam, 11.1% for the sinker), low in zone swing and miss rate (10% for the 4 seam, 11.1% for the sinker) and low chase swing and miss rate (29.6% for the 4 seam, 11.1% for the sinker).
Looking at Webb's heat maps for his fastball and sinker and it is evident that his four seamer typically lies in the heart of the plate, with a preference on middle-away of right-handed hitters and particularly when he gets behind in the count where leaves it right down the pipe. Ahead in the count, Webb goes upstairs for the majority of time, particularly attacking up and away against righties or out and up the zone where he gets his swings and misses but still leaves majority of his pitches in the middle or upper portion inside of the zone, and that can particularly be trouble for him.
I am more concerned with regards to his sinker where there is a bigger chance that it ends up on the upper half and in towards the right-handed hitters when thrown in the zone rather than down and in towards righties where it is supposed to be located. However, In my opinion, that contributes to 36.61% of batted balls allowed by Webb leaving above 100 MPH and a below average overall exit velocity of 88.7 MPH. That's a lot of numbers, I know but the point is his fastball is currently unable to be established as a primary pitch for his stellar off-speed pitches to shine.
Webb's slider, in which his best offspeed pitch since putting on a pro baseball uniform with the Giants, and his changeup, in which he honed really well when he was away from the game while serving his PED suspension, has legit promise to become really good pitches in the Major League level.
His slider coming in at 81.9 MPH is his main putaway pitch (29.8% of outs ending with a slider) has above average break (42.5 inch vertical break, 10.7 inches horizontal break) with a good spin rate of 2718 has a ridiculous strikeout rate of 42.5% (35.5% swing and miss rate and 62.1% chase swing and miss rate), decent 15.4% in zone swing and miss rate. It was barreled around the same rate as his fastball (4.8%) because when he does not throw it as a chase pitch down and away, he lands it right in the heart of the plate especially against lefties and/or in even counts. There is also a pretty sizeable release difference or tunnel whenever he throws his fastball and slider, with a lowered arm slot more often than not that can give experienced hitters better chance of hitting. However, most hitters do fish for the slider in two-strike counts down and away out of the zone and often swing on top of it.
Webb's changeup is something that I am excited about. On film, it looked nasty. On the stats, it indeed is nasty with a great vertical break of 38.3 inches to compensate for its relative lack of horizontal break (11.8 inches). Even though it is very often left on the bottom half of the zone, it is often in the zone instead of below it, particularly behind the count where it is in the middle of the bottom half of the zone too often. Nonetheless, it has good swing and miss rate (30.9%), particularly in the zone (21.4%) where the pitch has late diving break, acting like a splitter at times. However like his slider, Webb lowers his arm slot with his changeup, even more so in plenty of occasions than his slider.
For Webb to improve as a starting pitcher, he needs to repeat his arm slot on all of his pitches. It will do plenty of wonders with his control and command that will make his secondaries even more effective. Webb often gets hit in the Majors by pitches traveling through the zone too much, particularly his fastball, so he needs to establish control of his pitches consistently, although there have been multi-inning spurts where he will locate his pitches well without much movement of the catcher's mitt. That will separate Webb from being a starter to a reliever.
In terms of pitching similarities, Baseball Savant throws names like Jakob Junis and Kyle Gibson as pitchers who are similar to Webb and I think that is a good call for what would likely be Webb's end result. There are also names thrown like Jose Berrios and Stephen Strasburg who are probably what Webb could be if his command will reach its true ceiling, albeit with less fastball velocity.
7. Luis Matos OF A- (projected)
5'11" 160 lbs. R/R Age: 17 ETA: 2023
Hit 50+ | Power 50 | Speed 60 | Arm 50 | Glove 50+
Videos: Credits to Baseball America, LMR, tyler j. spicer and Roger Munter
tl;dr: Matos combined his wiry strong frame, plus to better bat speed, advanced barrel control, above average speed with adept base stealing ability, good glove and plus-plus makeup, feel and work ethic to tore up the DSL as a part of a banner 2018 international FA class.
I am really glad that for the first time in my life, I watched full DSL Giants games on YouTube and I am really glad that it exists because it helps showcase the very lowest of levels of pro baseball and expose it for everyone to see. So please, if you have the time to watch, I highly recommend you to watch SFG DSL Stream.
As I am watching the games, there is one guy that stood out to me that feels just on another level as compared to the other players on the field. And it's no surprise that it is Luis Matos. Not to be shadowed by his fellow 2018 international FA signee Marco Luciano, Matos set the DSL on fire in 2019, constantly pumping out multi-hit games and he performed so well that it earned him a trip to the States to play in the AZL playoffs but got cut short when he collided with his teammate in the outfield.
In some ways, Matos' 2019 season and his overall profile gets compared to his fellow Giants prospect Alex Canario but for me, the two differs in that Canario offers more of a middle-of-the-order profile while Matos is more of a top-of-the-order profile. Even though Matos' 160 lb. frame reflects in the field as he looks very wiry out there, he has sneaky strength as he already has Major League-quality exit velocities at 17 years old. Once Matos starts to fill it up, I can see him have above-average to plus raw power in his disposal.
Matos has a good looking stance in the box, his feet beyond shoulder-width and his hands at chest level rocks the bat slightly. Matos pulls the bat back and has a slight leg kick and his athleticism and quick twitch shows while loading his backside as well has his hands. I like how his head stays still without any herky jerky movements to limit his vision from the start of his leg kick to the end where he lands closed with his front foot. His momentum transfer is very explosive at ball strike, often swinging with a fine balance of effort and control with great hip rotation, using his eye-hand coordination to stay in front of balls but there are times where he overswings.
Aside from the very nature of his swing, I also really like Matos' approach at the plate. He is already a selective hitter at the plate, as he picks the pitches that he would like to drive, fouling off good pitcher's pitches and laying off on borderline strikes. Matos' aggressiveness at the plate is very high, swinging at early in the counts and might be compromising his walk totals. Matos makes good contact more often than not for a very aggressive hitter which drives his strikeout rates low but there are swing and miss atypical of a very young hitter that needs to be polished. His also tends to get a little bit too pull-happy currently, and I think that is pretty understandable given that his frame is a too skinny for him to effectively drive baseballs the other way and out of the fence, but Matos has great potential offensively, I am just unsure yet if he will transform to more of a power-hitting guy as compared to the line-drive guy that he is at the present.
What separates Matos currently from other prospects that the Giants have at the moment is that he is a very proficient base stealer, with 21 stolen bases compared to 3 caught stealing. Armed with plus raw speed that figures to lose a step once he fills out his frame, his base running instincts takes over and figures to be the best stealer the Giants have in the future. His work in center field is also very good, with a good arm that figures to get stronger with his body and even though his routes need more refinement, he figures to stay in center field for the time being.
Matos figures to be much better than first thought, as he is a very exciting prospect that is almost as good as the best international signees in that year. His career arc could take him a lot of ways at this point in time, from a line-drive, speed-driven game to a more power-hitter game once he matures in his frame. I believe that his chances of reaching the Majors at his age is already high due to his plus-plus intangibles playing those tools up, and I am excited at what he can offer in 2020. I don't expect him to play in the Sally in his first full season, I think that would be detrimental to his development than being a positive one. I think starting in the Northwest League (God, please don't kill the Volcanoes) is the best, or even starting in the Arizona League if they are being a little too conservative.
8. Will Wilson SS/INF A+ (projected)
6'0" 184 lbs. R/R Age: 21 ETA: 2022
Hit 50 | Power 50+ | Speed 45 | Arm 50 | Glove 50+
Videos: Credits to NC State Sports Highlights, Prospects Live, James Weister and ACC Digital Network
tl;dr: The Giants move to add Wilson in the Zack Cozart contract-shedding deal is a shrewd one as the organization adds a prototypical "grinder", high floor-type of player average tools across the board with chance for more in terms of power and defense in the infield with plus or better intangibles (makeup, feel for the game, competitive nature).
The Giants got Wilson in the Zack Cozart deal that I reacted on so I won't get onto the nuance of telling you about the trade and its ramifications.
Wilson does not have one loud tool in his disposal but is a "sum of the parts" type of player, or a "grinder" so to speak, that made him a top 15 pick in the draft. Wilson is wiry but very strong with a compact, proportional frame. I do not see any big changes in his frame but his body is proportional and has some room for a bit more muscle in his frame. The one thing that stood out to me is his twitchiness. He has quick feet and wrists and his overall actions feel athletic.
There is plenty to like about Wilson's bat. Starting off with a very slightly open set up but the entire body is already pretty closed and stays loose with his body and with a quick, rhythmic cocking of the bat. I got worried at first glance about Wilson's leg kick but what amazes me is that even though the leg kick is aggressive, his head stays very quiet throughout that allows him to track balls very well. He has great vision, is able to recognize spin and lay off breaking pitches and foul off breakers in the zone.
The swing itself is very good. He does not have the strongest of bodies but it is as compact as his swing. The swing itself is very quick, as he uses the forward momentum generated by his leg kick to push all of the force forward. With his front leg stiff, most of it transfersl of those elements allows Wilson to spray line drives on all fields. His aggressiveness at the plate made him not have a strong walk rate but his bat control allows him to just post a good strikeout rate.
The only thing that concerns people (including myself) is where will Wilson ultimately end up defensively. Wilson only has fringe speed at best and although he has a good first step on the ball and takes good routes to the ball, the range would ultimately send him out of shortstop and onto the other side, where his accurate but average arm strength, his quick feet and good picking skills and torso rotation will make him a solid defender there, where his in-game tape shows a good defender in the dirt. There have been some noise about Wilson will probably best suited at catcher and if he wants it, it will only add to his value.
Wilson has the profile that is very interesting to think about. If you check his stats, he does fit the type of player that analytics-driven organizations like the Athletics and the Dodgers get in terms of plus on-base, productive college prospect although his walk rate is below average. The two organizations are littered with guys like Will Smith, Austin Barnes, Chad Pinder and others who are versatile on the baseball field defensively and has good advanced metrics offensively and has plus makeup, feel and mentality to profile as an everyday big leaguer. It's no surprise that Zaidi and Holmes targeted Wilson, after all.
9. Seth Corry LHP A+ (projected)
6'2" 195 lbs. L/L Age: 21 ETA: 2022
FB 50+ | CH 60 | CB 55 | CMD 45
Videos: Credits to 2080 Baseball, The Dynasty Guru and GPT 1 and 2
tl;dr: Even though Corry absolutely destroyed the competition in Sally in 2019, he still projects as a mid to back-end starter due to his inconsistent low-90s fastball command and regressed curveball command although his changeup has become a real weapon for him with great arm-side action and strides in his mechanics to keep himself in line with the plate.
Augusta featured one of the best, if not the best rotations in the SAL entering 2019 with names like Gregory Santos, Sean Hjelle, Jake Wong and Corry headlining the rotation. At the end of the season, it was only Corry who remained as Santos was shelved for the majority of the season due to shoulder problems and both Hjelle and Wong got called up to San Jose. But it was Corry who eventually performed the best out of that loaded rotation, and performed even better after the SAL All-Star break.
I mean if you look at his first half, you will say not bad. 2.74 ERA, 73 strikeouts with 37 walks in 49.1 innings pitched? Not that bad to be honest. If you look at his second half though, I mean it is bonkers. 1.10 ERA, 99 strikeouts, only 21 walks accounting to 0.80 WHIP in 73 1/3 innings pitched? Jesus Christ, probably should've called the firemen in because he was so hot. There came a stretch of 5 straight starts without an earned run from the middle of July to the middle of August where he just went Super Saiyan. Crazy to think about.
In terms of stuff and mechanics, Corry reminds me of Aaron Sanchez (now with the Astros) but from the left side. Corry utilized a half-delivery especially in the second half of the season where he truly took off. Standing tall in a set position with his hands around shoulder level, Corry takes a quick step with his front foot as he rocks his hands down to his belt that loosens his back leg for weight load and picks his hands back up to shoulder level in his leg kick. To be honest, Corry's mechanics is hard to repeat even though Corry is a very good athlete. Corry does a great job of staying closed while driving towards the plate but his arm action is tough to repeat and his body is stiff while driving. He tends to dive towards the ground when releasing the ball and that is a double-edged sword for Corry as it allows him to release the ball much closer to home plate in a three-quarters slot giving an effect of additional velocity but it adds to the inconsistency of his release point as he tends to fly open when his mechanics are not in line.
Because Corry's mechanics tend to be easier when he is throwing away from lefties because it is natural path, Corry establishes his low-90s fastball easily towards that side with command and sinking action when down the zone and tailing away up the zone. His back side lags, and it affects his overall control of his fastball inside lefties, often missing his spot back towards the middle of the plate or away or way in with a lot of tail when the glove is presented inside the plate.
Before when he was still young, Corry's curveball is ahead of everything primarily because he can throw the pitch for not only strikes but quality strikes but Corry's command of the pitch waned as he focused on locating his fastball better, often burying it in the dirt that still gets swing and misses and awkward swings but the shape of the pitch is not as sharp as it used to be nor does the ability to land it on the catcher's mitt consistently is as good as it used to be, often failing to get on top of the pitch even though the spin rate is plus.
The pitch now with the most promise with Corry is his changeup, where it gets plenty of whiffs and plays very well with his fastball when the ability to locate his fastball for strikes is on. Corry often locates it down and out of the zone where it gets whiffs on a pretty good basis. The primary concern for Corry will still be his consistent control of his pitches, especially his fastball to his arm side and that what will likely tell us about Corry's future role if either he is a starter or a reliever. And according to his own account, he is hunting for strikeouts a bit too much that hurts his pitch count and him going deeper into games. I think pitching to contact is a good thing for Corry to experience, but I feel in the end, Corry will be better off unleashing his strikeout stuff and be a multi-inning force.
What I think is most likely is that Corry will be a lefty version of Logan Webb where his offspeed pitches are very good but his average fastball velocity and inconsistent control of the fastball will make Corry a back-end rotation piece rather than a mid-rotation one that fans most likely expect what he will be.
10. Mauricio Dubón SS/2B MLB (projected)
6'0" 160 lbs. R/R Age: 25 ETA: 2019
Hit 60 | Power 40+ | Speed 50+ | Arm 55 | Glove 50
Videos: Credits to Prospects Live and MLB
tl;dr: Dubon has a chance to become an everyday player in the dirt for the Giants in 2020 as his innate ability to make contact with ease with surprising wiry power will keep him in the lineup and his good range and a strong arm will keep him in the infield with no definitive long-term home.
Dubon is one of the prospects outside the Giants farm system that I really want to be a Giant for no exact reason, I just have a feeling ever since the Madison Bumgarner trade talks starts to brew last offseason. I have followed the guy since his Red Sox days and I was really thrilled that he was really brought in by Zaidi from the Brewers in exchange for Drew Pomeranz. Dubon has proven my faith in him when he excelled in Sacramento that earned him the call-up in late-August and performed very well in the Majors, even hitting a homer off Clayton Kershaw for good measure.
Dubon has a compact, wiry frame but it has more muscle than a typical 160 lb. frame would suggests. While he hit an impressive 4 home runs in his month of experience with the Giants, his in-game power is more towards his pull side, with 4 of his 5 doubles also coming from that side. Dubon's unlikely to add more to his frame as he already looks proportioned and even though Dubon has that 4 home runs to his tally, he will not be a real power threat because his below average exit velocity (84.8 MPH), hard hit rate (19.8%) and barrel rate (2.3%) correlates with his frame although he crushed baseballs all over the field in the Minors in 2019 so I would not be surprised if he can add even more power to his stroke.
Instead, Dubon's game is more of making solid contact with the baseball but with a plan. Looking at Dubon's swing tendencies, he is very aggressive at pitches in the middle of the strike zone (76%) and has a pretty good batting average when he swings on pitches. Dubon is pretty much a 50/50 swing in pitches that are on the edges, and looking at his heat maps, it shows that he loves pitches that are either low and away in the zone or either middle in or down and in on the edge of the zone, where he hits for a good average. Even though Dubon has a tendency to swing more on the inside half of the zone than the outer half, he does not have a good batting average on it, specifically on the upper inside of the strike zone where he posted an above average whiff rate.
Blessed with great eye-hand coordination, Dubon pumps line drives all over the field as evidenced by his spray charts where his base hits typically lie on the middle to opposite side of the outfield although his infield hits are more towards his pull side, so other teams can employ a Ryan Howard-style shift where the infielders are playing the pull while the outfielders are shading towards the opposite side.
Dubon employs a pretty big leg kick where loads his backside nicely and pushes his momentum forward at front foot landing. Sometimes in two-strike counts, Dubon utilizes more of a heel lift instead of a full leg kick just to make contact and try not to do too much although I have seen more leg kick than heel lift. In his swing, Dubon does a great job at staying in the baseball and he utilize a back leg slide famously done by Jose Altuve and Miguel Cabrera. As Dubon's very aggressive at the plate, he will not have a high walk rate in his career but his propensity to make contact will not make him a strikeout artist, although the way to beat Dubon is by making him chase breaking balls in the dirt, although his chase rate out of the zone is below leave average (24%) and him swinging at waste pitches is just 7% so pitches really need to have a plan on how to get Dubon out via strikeout.
Dubon suffered a torn ACL injury in 2018 and that might be the reason why he just sat on the 60th percentile in terms of MLB sprint speed after posting 30+ stolen base seasons in 2015-2017. There might still be lingering pain on that left knee that I could not say, but I do wish that the old speed that Dubon had early in career would come back so that he can be a threat on the bases once again. That lost step might made him move to second base in the long run even though he has the arm strength to play on any position in the infield. Dubon projects only as an average defender at short although he might be a solid option at second or might even see time in the outfield although he has never played one game professionally outside the infield.
It really is amazing to see the growth of the Giants farm system over the past couple years as Dubon's tools go toe-to-toe with the tools of Christian Arroyo from a couple of years back as a bat-first potential everyday player, although I must say that Dubon is a more versatile player than Arroyo defensively. I mean, a top prospect from 2016 is now just a top 10-ish prospect heading towards 2020? Really crazy thing to think to be honest. I am happy that the Giants have Dubon in the infield in 2020 and looks like he will be one of those rotational chess pieces that will find an everyday role in the field, with a chance to fortify that leadoff spot or the 8th hole in Gabe Kapler's cards.
11. Sean Hjelle RHP AA (projected)
6'11.5" 225 lbs. R/R Age: 22 ETA: 2021
FB 55 | CB 50+ | CH 45 | SL 45 | CMD 55
Videos: Credits to Baseball., 2080 Baseball and San Francisco Giants
tl;dr: Hjelle breezed through the minor leagues in his first season, topping out at AA ball at the end of the year, using his advanced pitchability, a solid three-pitch repertoire to pitch more towards contact than striking out and taking advantage of his height to quickly get to the big leagues as a back-end starter.
The 2018 second round draft pick moved extremely quick through the Giants system in a span of a year. From Salem-Keizer in late-August in 2018 to Richmond at the same time last year, Hjelle experienced a whirlwind of promotions and yet, he kept his thing cool and steady. I think we should already nickname him Steady Hjelle.
As a finesse pitcher, Hjelle does not really hunt for strikeouts according to his own account. And as such, his numbers do reflect a pitch to contact guy. He's been living in the strike zone fairly well, throwing 65.14% of total pitches for strikes, has a very good walk rate of around 6.5% and is primarily a groundball pitcher with a groundball rate north of 60% but he does have a high BABIP (above .330 across three levels) that suggests that he is living in the strike zone a bit too much and leaving too many pitches at the plate for hitters to swing and make contact.
Taking a look at Hjelle as a pitch to contact guy and I saw that he has a very good fastball. Hjelle's fastball is only living in the low-90s but has a high spin rate resulting to very good life, Hjelle's natural height and high release point results to an extraordinary downhill plane when thrown down in the zone that is very tough to lift. He does live on the zone with the pitch a bit too much, and hitters do adjust on its average velocity enough for them to make hard, line drive contact with the pitch. He does reach 95 MPH early on his August outings but will sit on the 90-93 MPH range as the game wears on.
Now to that Hjelle's mechanics. For a guy with Hjelle's height, it is already well known that his mechanics is very fluid and repeatable. It will score an 80 on the scale in terms of fluidity, and because Hjelle is very athletic and flexible for a guy of his height, moving like a sub-6 foot pitcher with his ability to cover first base with ease, in part because his follow through naturally takes him towards first base. Hjelle stays in sync with his mechanics easily and is able to tunnel his pitches well. Hjelle won't add on weight in his frame, but he need to make sure that he can endure the long season.
Hjelle only has an average strikeout rate, with a diminishing rate as he moves above the minor league ladder. A part of it is a result of his rather than average to fringy secondary offerings. His knuckle curveball is his best secondary pitch, flashing above-average at times with very good 11-5 shape on the pitch but generally is an average pitch where it get more weak contact rather than strikeouts and its recorded spin rate is fringy to below average that doesn't help its case as a true strikeout pitch. His other secondary pitches are average to fringy at best, as his changeup has some fade and his newly incorporated slider is only thrown sparingly with present mediocre break. However, Hjelle has feel to throw his four pitches for strikes and is competitive and aggressive on the mound.
Hjelle can be a starter in the Major Leagues, as he has starter traits in his mechanics, mound presence and his pitchability. His fastball will definitely play against Major League hitters but with only his curveball as his only competitive secondary pitch, he might need development in the Major Leagues with his third pitch in order to stick as a starter. I think that his ceiling is similar to Ryan Vogelsong, a pitcher that does not rely on blowing hitters away but using his competitive spirit and fastball command with a good curveball. If he can't stick as a starter, he can definitely be a viable late-inning reliever with his fastball and curveball.
12. Luis Toribio 3B A (projected)
6'1" 165 lbs. L/R Age: 19 ETA: 2023
Hit 50+ | Power 50 | Speed 40 | Arm 60 | Glove 40+
Videos: Credits to Prospects Live and 2080 Baseball
tl;dr: Toribio has the potential to be an everyday regular with his ability to barrel baseballs with an improved effort to incorporate the opposite field in 2019 with power but his defense at third base is still very questionable with still the youthful errors that he is making in order to stick in the position.
In his first season in the United States after destroying the DSL in 2018, the third baseman posted great numbers against the AZL competition as the other half of the Dominican duo (the other being Marco Luciano) who paced the Giants Black to contention in the backfields. Toribio did not post overwhelming numbers however, but the advanced approach that he showed in 2018 continues to be evident in 2019.
The very first thing that stood out on Toribio is his plate discipline. He has a good eye at the plate, has already a pretty good spin recognition, is able to lay off on borderline pitches and is willing to take first base via the free pass. The 2.3 pitches per plate appearance seems to obscure that information a bit but it is very apparent in film that Toribio is willing to work the count, and there is a very large difference in production if Toribio is ahead of the count as compared to when he's behind.
At the batter's box, Toribio does not look very imposing. As a matter of fact, in the Latino quartet photo, Toribio looks like the one who has the smallest frame as both Canario and Luciano are definitely bigger and stronger while Pomares is pretty much neck and neck with him. I would give Toribio a present average raw power with room for above average as he still looks like an unfinished product in terms of physicality.
As what was displayed in his 2018 spray charts, Toribio does have a swing geared towards pulling the ball. Either pitches inside or outside the zone, Toribio will most likely pull it as he does not get his hands in consistently. As a result, Toribio tends to pull outside pitches for weak contact instead of letting the ball travel and hitting where the ball is located. Working with an open stance on the box, Toribio has a seemingly polished swing but it has some glaring flaws. He tends to get rotational on his swing, meaning that instead of taking advantage of his great weight shift generated by his leg kick by working his front leg hard and shifting all his weight from his backside forward towards out in front where hitters tend to produce good contact from, Toribio stops his momentum dead in its tracks once his front foot lands and he stays on pretty much the same vertical axis. The tendency to get rotational is evident when he is fouling off pitches.
The swing works for Toribio as it allows him to have his head still, allowing for seeing the ball really well, but it saps some of the power generated by his momentum shift, and with his hands extended and struggling to keep his hands in, pulling the ball happens. Toribio compensates the lost of power by swinging with max effort, taking big cuts and has a glorious follow through when he knows the hit is headed towards extra bases. Those big hacks and him being rotational will make him susceptible to infield shifts and better pitch sequencing.
What Toribio has that really is working for him is his innate ability to barrel the ball. Yes, he has the flaws in his swing that might not be fixable but if he can barrel the ball well throughout his career, he might not need to fix it anyway because he is athletic enough to let it be at the moment and still crush balls. Add that to his already advanced patience and approach at the plate, you got yourself a good hitter in the lineup. Toribio does not look physically imposing but his big hacks when it really connects, can make the ball travel beyond the fence. Toribio started incorporating the opposite field in 2019, particularly in the power production where his 3 home runs in 2019 have been towards left field.
Toribio is a very good athlete at third base and has just enough range and a plus arm to really stick in the position if he can just start to clean up his defensive miscues. He has a good reaction to the ball but time and time again, he struggles to throw on the run. Good footwork drills should correct those mistakes. If he can't be able to fix it down the road, first base is a good landing spot for him or the corner outfield. Toribio will have plenty of time though to clean up his defensive chops and also his swing. If Toribio's numbers in full season ball in 2020 becomes appalling, we can probably point a finger to the shifts employed to keep his pull-happy swing in check. His outlook in 2020 is as volatile as they come.
13. Gregory Santos RHP A (projected)
6'2" 190 lbs. R/R Age: 20 ETA: 2023
FB 55 | SL 60 | CH 50 | CMD 45
Videos: Credits to FanGraphs and Prospects Live
tl;dr: Santos has the best overall stuff in the organization but was hurt for most of 2019 due to shoulder issues and when he was healthy, he is still an anomaly for me where his stuff does not match with his expected strikeout numbers and relying to pitching to contact too much ala Kohl Stewart.
Santos came with a lot of hype coming into 2019, as the shocked eye emoji is the best possible description of how nasty his stuff is in Spring Training heading into the season. Santos pitched good in the first month of the season before suffering a shoulder strain in his pitching arm in late-April that sidelined him until mid-June. He pitched as usual for a month until that shoulder acted up on him again in mid-July that resulted to him being shut down through the rest of the year.
Don't get me wrong, Santos has the most explosive stuff in a starting pitcher for the Giants. With his fastball hovering at around 93-96 MPH with great life, spin rate and downhill plane, Santos induces a lot of groundballs with the pitch, retaining the same late life when thrown to the inside half of lefties and can be blown by against hitters. With his frame still pretty lanky and has room to add weight, even more velocity might be coming. His slider is also a plus pitch, with explosive two-plane break that Santos can locate for quality strikes if he has the feel for it. His changeup also moves late and is a solid third pitch for him but he telegraphs the pitch by slowing his arm down in order to obtain velocity separation with his fastball.
With those three nasty pitches that Santos has in his disposal along with a mechanics that is fairly easy to repeat but can look a bit stiff at times or he reaches back on his backside in his arm swing a bit too much, it is not that difficult to think that Santos would have a very high strikeout rate in his pro career. However, it isn't that way. I started wondering why for a guy with pitches that graded as high as 65 on some evaluations as Santos has, why the hell does he only have 18.2% strikeout rate in 2019 that in today's game is below average?
I started wondering on that topic since last year when I am writing my 2019 primer asking the same exact question to myself. I thought that 2019 would give me the answers on why is that but since Santos got hurt for the most of the year, injury can be a possible excuse as to why. I looked to all of the videos available, checked all of Gameday pitch by pitch breakdowns (it's nowhere near perfect but hey, at least they record swinging strikes and foul balls correctly) in 2019, and even though it is primarily a short amount of time, I have an idea in mind to why is Santos not striking out hitters that was expected of him. And that idea is that Santos struggles to finish hitters.
The things I noticed are that hitters attack on Santos early in the count, primarily because Santos has a tell at times on his pitches, specifically when he reaches back as far as he can when he throws his fastball and slows down his arm in case of a changeup. Around half the time, hitters attack Santos in less than or equal to 3 pitches per at-bat, but Santos does a good job in striking out hitters when ahead in the count, 16 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings. However, plenty of his strikeouts are on the called strike territory rather than the swinging strike territory, and I counted a lot of foul balls in some of his starts and that is somewhat of an eyebrow raiser for me. His swinging strike rate is very low in starts as well. His control is not exactly refined yet, likely bothered by his nagging shoulder, but there are times in spring training where he struggles to strike out hitters swinging in two-strike counts by throwing a nasty pitch when needed.
I think that in my opinion, a combination of hitters having a gameplan of hitting early in counts against Santos, hitters fouling off good pitches in two-strike counts, Santos generally struggling with the feel of his pitch to throw a strikeout-quality pitch when he need it in two-strike counts and hovering in the heart of the strike zone more often than usual are the likely factors to why Santos has such a low strikeout rate throughout his pro baseball career.
Since he is injured for much of 2019, I am not exactly sure if my assessment of Santos is correct. He still need to focus on refining his control and command of his pitches to throw quality strikes. He also need to incorporate his lower body more in his mechanics and his shoulder injury should probably the wake up call that he need to do it in order to make it easier on his arm and avoid further damaging the shoulder and the rotator cuff in the future. And now that he is behind the reps, it pushes his value down a bit and would need a healthy 2020 to really show that he can rack up the strikeouts while holding his healthy walk rate in order to push back to the top of the pitching mountain in the organization.
14. Jairo Pomares OF A+ (projected)
6'1" 185 lbs. L/R Age: 19 ETA: 2024
Hit 55 | Power 45 | Speed 50 | Arm 45 | Glove 45
Videos: Credits to Prospects Live 1 and 2
tl;dr: Pomares has an innate feel for the barrel to produce loud contact all over the field with sneaky power but his average speed, arm strength and pretty clunky defensive actions relegate him to left field.
The 2018 international signing class for the Giants is such a heist, getting 3 top 15 prospects along the way in Luciano, Matos and now Pomares. Pomares came with a bit of a hype heading towards 2019 as a guy with a beautiful looking swing in Extended Spring Training and he did not disappoint in his stint in Rookie ball, as he destroyed the competition like a man amongst boys.
Pomares best tool is the bat, and he is not shy of using it often. Often very aggressive at the plate as he hunts for fastballs or pitches early in counts, Pomares has an innate feel for hitting. With an open stance where his front heel is lifted off the ground, Pomares varies his swing according to what was thrown, a skill not all 19 year olds have. I like it when Pomares two hands it on a pitch in the upper half of the zone, using a blend of plus bat speed, excellent eye-hand coordination, slight uppercut in his swing and sneaky power to produce really loud contact. Even though more than half of Pomares' hits and all of his singles are less than half the distance to the outfield, he exhibited that power hitting stroke towards the opposite field, although its power is more gap to gap at the moment.
Pomares' frame is broad, broader than Luis Toribio, a guy with more raw power. Even though Pomares already has average raw power, because his frame can still add muscle especially on his lower half, and given how good his lower half works in his swing, Pomares can have up to above average game power to tap on if he shifts from an all-fields approach to more of a pull-happy swing kind of like what the Astros did with Kyle Tucker in his development. When the pitches are thrown down in the zone though, Pomares goes to more of a slap-type swing, having a bit of a choppy, downhill swing that hinders on him applying power and relies more on his wrist strength to drive the ball.
I think Pomares has that kind of innate hitting ability to experiment with that because majority of his value lies on his bat. Aside from his bat, everything else is fringy for Pomares. His speed is only average at best, and adding more weight in the long run will slow him down even further and will relegate him to the corners. Pomares does not exhibit good route running at the moment and lacks the instincts to play center field. With only an average arm at best, Pomares will be relegated to left field. Pomares said he is working hard on his defense to provide more value, so let's see next season whether his work on his defense will pay off when it matters.
Because Pomares is an very aggressive hitter, it will hurt his walk totals throughout his minor league career. Although he has exhibited a potential to take more walks than average, Pomares has a below average walk rate so far. Having a more selective approach at the plate will benefit him moving forward, and he experienced a bit of an adjustment period when he got promoted to Salem-Keizer late in the season, where pitchers took advantage of his aggressiveness and that resulted to a bit of a spike in his strikeout rate.
I am excited what the 2020 holds for Pomares, on whether he can continue to be an offensive force that utilizes an all-fields, line-drive approach or becomes more of a power hitter is something to be seen. I am a believer of his bat even though his other tools might not be as spectacular and even though it might be more than average, he has a good shot of making the Major Leagues with his bat alone. If he can be like a Kyle Schwarber or an Eddie Rosario-type of player remains to be seen, but his outlook is indeed looking up.
15. Jaylin Davis OF MLB (projected)
6'1" 195 lbs. R/R Age: 25 ETA: 2020
Hit 45 | Power 55 | Speed 65 | Arm 50 | Glove 50+
Videos: Credits to TrueRGM: Player Highlights, Tom Froemming and Baseball.
tl;dr: Davis came to the Giants organization with a renewed swing that he honed in the 2018 AFL that unlocked everything for him offensively in 2019, particularly in terms of his in-game power, that helped him earn a Major League promotion in September where he also showed that he has two rockets strapped in his butt but I am unsure if his homers that he showed in the PCL will play as well as in the Majors due to his flat swing path.
Davis came from the Twins in the Sam Dyson deal and even though he is not considered to be the centerpiece of any sort as the deal was initially thought to be an organizational depth-oriented move for the Giants, he eventually became the jewel of the trade after he absolutely demolished AAA pitching with Sacramento as he is doing with the Rochester Red Wings in 2019.
The reason of Davis' 2019 success is the work that Davis and the Twins minor league hitting coordinator put into refining his swing. The refinement did not happen on his upper body, where he still has that kind of swing since lowering his hand set-up in the box on May 2017. The change points us to his lower half, particularly in his leg kick. A hitter with an open set-up at the plate, Davis tends to double clutch his front leg on the leg kick as a way to close his backside and load his hips. In the 2018 Arizona Fall League, Davis' leg kick falls down rapidly, and I busted out the trusty stopwatch to time his leg kick and I timed it somewhere in the 0.5 second range.
The offseason saw Davis' front leg having a slower and softer land in his leg kick, where I timed his leg kick at around 0.7 to 1 second range. His leg kick allowed him to stay more consistent with his swing, more effectively transfer the potential energy to the bat and gave him a better eye at the plate. A rushed leg kick throws off a hitter's timing and a chance to only focus on the ball. Davis surely proved that the change in the way his lower half works in the plate did wonders, especially in terms of his power.
2019 saw Davis hit 36 homers in two levels on two teams, 25 with the Twins organization and 11 with the Giants, including career homer number 1 in the Majors in walk-off fashion against the Rockies. Davis shaw his power numbers skyrocket, almost doubling his ISO as compared to his 2018 performance. Davis' homers did not come to his pull side, as plenty of his homers headed towards right field. His cup of coffee in the Majors did see him pull the ball for a good amount and that should be monitored moving forward.
Davis also showed that he not just a threat via the long ball but by showing off the wheels. While Davis only stole 10 bases in the 2019 season, his sprint speed is ranked on the 96th percentile, according to Baseball Savant, so while he does not steal bases at a high rate, his raw speed gives him tremendous range in center field. The very athletic Davis fits well at center with his range and strong arm but is still refining his first step and route running. He played in right field for the Giants in his cup of coffee and he looked good there, catching routine balls and taking good routes on some challenging balls.
There are some pretty glaring drawbacks on Davis that is why I do not rank him as high as some on their own prospect list. First is his groundball rate. Davis has a notorious flat swing path, and even though his athleticism and bat speed generates hard contact, he tends to be flat in terms of hitting the ball, at times downhill where potential line drives become screaming groundballs. His flyball rate in Sacramento looks like an outlier, particularly the glaring stat where half of his flyballs are homers in the AAA. That one is unlikely to stick on the next level. Davis held an above average BABIP throughout his Minors career and in the AAA, he took his BABIP even higher and that one would not likely stick also.
Reaching the Majors is a big achievement for a 24th rounder from Appalachian State and Giants fans do expect plenty from Davis as he looks to become an everyday fixture in the Major League lineup, patrolling right field and/or possibly platooning with Steven Duggar at center. If the very athletic Davis can fix his long standing bat path, putting a bit of an uppercut in it, it will help him unlock his power in the Major League level. If Davis sticks to what works for him, we do hope that some of the power will stick and his improved walk rate that came alongside the power will make him at least a three true outcomes-type of outfielder.
16. Kai-Wei Teng RHP A+ (projected)
6'4" 260 lbs. R/R Age: 21 ETA: 2023
FB 55 | SL 50 | CB 50 | CH 45 | CMD 55
Videos: Credits to TSNA專業體育新聞團隊, Kai Wei Teng - 鄧愷威 and Tom Froemming
tl;dr: Teng has Major League-type traits as a potential back-end, innings-eater type of pitcher with a good feel for his four-pitch mix and has a picturesque mechanics and balance to dream of above average to potential plus command but the stuff is more average than solid overall.
As one of the trio of prospects that the Giants got from the Twins on the Sam Dyson deal, Teng started and ended the 2019 season by absolutely dominating full-season A ball, either in the Midwest League or in the Sally. Teng dominated them not by blowing guys away with 100 MPH bullets badabing badaboom, but instead by throwing them everything but the kitchen sink with strikes.
In plenty of ways, Teng is kinda like Sean Hjelle in a way that both has the physical intimidation factor, feel to throw all of his pitches for strikes (quality strikes at times) and ability to repeat a smooth and fluid very well. While Hjelle intimidates hitters with his sheer height, Teng intimidates pitchers with his plain old size. Listed at 6'4" 260 lbs, hitters will know that Teng is on the mound. However, Teng does not look like a burly, old man with a damn beer belly on the mound. His shoulders are broad, his thighs are big, his stomach is pretty level with chest and moves in an athletic. If Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs compared Hjelle to a Pau Gasol, I compare Teng to a Nikola Jokic-type of frame.
In terms of his mechanics, I can compare Teng's to one similar to Jeremy Hellickson in terms of simplicity, overall ease of execution and tempo. Teng starts in the stretch position already even with no runners on base, most likely by choice or possibly Yu Darvish is his favorite pitcher (I mean Darvish has thrown exclusively from the stretch in Japan before heading to the States, for those who did not know). There are times that Teng also does the Yu Darvish-double clutch in his front leg during his leg kick when nobody is on base, sometimes subtle sometimes pretty obvious.
That said, everything from his mechanics is smooth and rhythmic, from his leg kick to his drive to his pitch release to his follow through. Teng's arm action is also silky smooth, he drives off his back leg well, lands closed and releases the ball on a true three-quarters release point, eyes on the catcher's mitt throughout the delivery, follows through his pitches well. Everything that I see from Teng's mechanics are clean, in sync with his body, and he repeats it very well because he is fathletic (this is a mood) enough to repeat it with ease.
You would expect a everything but the kitchen sink from Teng, as he would not blow you away with his stuff. The fastball can reach 95 MPH early in his outings but will generally be in the 90-93 MPH for the majority of his starts. The pitch has great spin rate (2400+ RPM) and has some sharp tailing action at times when thrown towards the inside hip of left handed hitters. He got some knack of throwing it for quality strikes already. There's a toss-up between his slider and his knuckle-curve on what is his best secondary pitch because both flashed solid to above average but generally are fringy to solid pitches, depending on their location in the strike zone. He is throwing his curveball more early in the counts as more of get-me-ahead pitches then finishing them off with his slider off the plate, blowing them away with a high fastball or freezing them with curveballs. I have not seen Teng throw plenty of changeups but those he thrown play well with his fastball with two-seam action.
I rank Teng in the same level as Hjelle because stuff-wise they are very similar, performance-wise they destroyed the A ball (although Hjelle pushed towards AA ball in the end of 2019), projection-wise they are likely to be back-end starters in the Major Leagues. Teng's frame is highly volatile and needs proper TLC but Bartolo Colon was fine as who he is. That said, his pitchability, feel for his pitches and ease of mechanics gives Teng an easy above average command projection so Teng projects to move through the system relatively quickly like a polished college pitcher and expect the Giants front to be aggressive on his assignments moving forward.
17. Grant McCray OF ROK (projected)
6'2" 170 lbs. L/R Age: 19 ETA: 2023
Hit 50+ | Power 40 | Speed 60 | Arm 55 | Glove 55
Videos: Credits to The Prospect Pipeline and Prospects Live
tl;dr: McCray can become a defensive wizard in the outfield with his tantalizing mix of plus-plus athleticism, advanced instincts, strong arm and route running while he has shown a better offensive ceiling than first thought with his advanced pitch recognition and pitch selection but he still needs to fill out his frame and clean up his hitting mechanics to produce enough loud contact.
The 2019 MLB Draft third round selection was an unheralded name in the time the draft was over, and by the time his first taste of pro action was over, I am convinced that McCray is going to be one of the steals of this draft class as a piece of clay that in the right hands, will be a potential everyday player in the Majors at least.
The one thing that stood out to me is the adjustments McCray has made in his swing set-up. He's still working on an open stance in the batter's box but the biggest thing that has changed in McCray is how he loads his hands. The Giants adjusted how he sets up his hands by making his hands bent closer to his body in a 45 degree angle as compared to an almost perpendicular set-up. The Giants also made McCray incorporate more of a leg kick than a simple pull back of the front foot when he starts to load his backside. That resulted to his hands cocking back to its load position quicker and better and the leg kick resulted to him timing pitches better.
It took a bit of a time for McCray to adjust to his ironed out loading but once it kicked in, it started paying off huge dividends, as evidenced by his numbers from June to August, wrapping up his last month to a triple slash line of .321/.379/.410. Looking at his spray charts, McCray is adept at punching the ball to all fields, often times letting the ball travel and taking it to where it was thrown, an advanced trait for a high schooler to have. His approach at the plate is also advanced, as he is willing to work the count and let go of close pitches that he could not hit or what he thinks are going to be outside the zone. His head throughout his new hitting mechanics also stayed level, giving him excellent vision. His eye-hand coordination still needs some ironing out as he can swing and miss on a good amount.
His hands also work well but there is mediocre raw power in his frame at best because McCray is so skinny. Even so, he still punched a homer out to his pull side and barreled pitches all over the field for extra bases. McCray needs to put on the pounds for his raw power to rise but his ability to barrel baseballs or make good contact at the very least could turn opposite field doubles to homers once he adds on the muscle. Adding weight would also mean that he can swing the bat easier as he tends to really push his body weight and his bat forward just to produce loud contact, making his bat path flatter than expected. Once McCray starts to gain more strength, he can finally let his explosiveness and quick twitch work more than all-out swinging that can get him to trouble at times.
McCray is an excellent athlete with a solid looking frame to add weight on. Full of quick twitch, he has plus raw speed and is an aggressive base stealer, though he needs to work out more in terms of being a smarter baserunner and improving his first step. McCray has a shot at stealing at least 25 bases if he improves on his base stealing technique but has already shown the ability to stretch those singles into doubles and triples. That speed translates very well to the outfield where he played an above average center field at the moment with a strong arm to stick. His routes are good in general although McCray still makes some fundamental mistakes that would be ironed out eventually and he projects as a plus defender in any outfield spots.
Look for McCray to iron out his swing even more in 2020, and if McCray busts out a bigger frame and a better looking swing path with a more stable front leg in the preseason, the hype is real for the guy. McCray is ultra competitive, ultra hungry that just wants to do everything in his power to win, so I am betting on this guy to break out in the short season ball.
18. Tristan Beck RHP AA (projected)
6'4" 190 lbs. R/R Age: 23 ETA: 2022
FB 50 | CB 60 | CH 55 | CMD 50
Videos: Credits to Prospects Live and MLB Pipeline
tl;dr: The tall and lanky right-hander threw harder in the Arizona Fall League, reaching the mid-90s with good life but will sit in the low-90s in a starting role with a knee buckling 12-6 curveball that would play really well in a relief role if he transitions to that but has enough of control and a solid or better changeup to continue to work in a starting role.
I started following Beck around the 2017 draft as a draft-eligible sophomore and was delighted by the frame and his secondaries that I thought that he could be a player that the Giants could look for in the early stages of the draft but went to sit out the entire 2017 season due to a back injury and decided to come back to 2018 as a redshirt sophomore. Beck was as solid as ever in 2018 in Stanford, but his injury history and age (already 22 as a redshirt sophomore) scared me a bit and so does other teams from drafting him really early apparently, as he was taken by the Braves in the 4th round and was signed overslot.
Beck was banged up again in 2019 that saw him lost almost 2 months of action for the Braves, that is why you will see that his classic stats are pretty inflated, especially his ERA. He was then part of the trade in the deadline that saw him back to his home state of California along with Dan Winkler for Mark Melancon and the money tied up on him. While Winkler has not amounted to much in his stay with the Giants, Beck made a very good impression with the organization in his stint in San Jose and in the Arizona Fall League.
Citing comfort and a fresh start as reasons, Beck was highly successful in San Jose, posting above average strikeout rate and a solid walk rate while ending the season in a really strong note, with bet. Beck made a change in his overall windup where he brings his hands up over his head before his leg kick and that change proved to be very positive for him. Beck's frame is also filled out, definitely not the type of body listed at 165 pounds that he was listed on MiLB and was listed at 190 lbs. in college. He is still lanky in that frame, where his long levers and his overall athleticism stand out.
When talking about Beck's stuff, we have to talk about his secondaries first, particularly his curveball. Beck's curveball back in college is pretty good, but not as sharp as what I have seen in the Arizona Fall League. The curveball is around the mid to high-70s with a 12-6, knee buckling, very sharp break that is a true plus pitch. It is Beck's best pitch and his main putaway pitch to both righties and lefties. Before in college, Beck would struggle at times locating his curveball down in the zone and lacks the shape when he hangs it. Now, Beck's curveball breaks very sharply that when located in the middle part of the plate, it still is a competitive pitch. When located perfectly down in the zone, it is just a problem for hitters to square up.
Beck's changeup flashes above average, with sharp fade especially when thrown down in the zone against lefties, where it gets a good amount of swings and misses. Beck achieves so much late sharp break on his secondaries because he finishes his mechanics very well where he drop and drives and is athletic to stay on top of the ball consistently. The weakest pitch in his arsenal might be his fastball, where it will only sit in the low-90s in starts but will touch the mid-90s in a relief role. His fastball command sometimes comes and goes, but should be enough to be at least average in the future, and he received above average grades on it back in college so once he locks in on the tweaks he made in his mechanics, he could go back to above average command ceiling-wise.
Health might be Beck's biggest issue at the moment with his injury history but when fully healthy, Beck might have one of the highest ceilings in the farm system in the pitching side with his exemplary secondaries, potential room for more velocity and command once he gets on top of his health and get more reps. Beck might be coming to San Francisco in a hurry if he pitches his best ball in 2020 with Richmond, and could arrive to the Giants later in the year.
19. Melvin Adon RHP AAA (projected)
6'3" 235 lbs. L/R Age: 25 ETA: 2020
FB 80 | SL 65 | CMD 35
Videos: Credits to Roger Munter
tl;dr: Adon is a Major League reliever in the making with his ridiculous 100+ MPH fastball with up to 2800 RPM of spin and a 65 grade slider at best also with ridiculous spin rate but I doubt on whether he will stick for a long time in the Majors with his life-or-death dance with control issues.
Generally, I value a pitcher who can throw a 95 MPH pitch with average command than a pitcher who throws 98 but will be scattershot with its command, but Adon's a different animal. Ever since converting to the pen to unleash the 100-octane right arm that he's got, Adon just kept pushing the envelope on what he could become in the Major Leagues after a blazing AFL stint where it put him in the national attention as the hardest thrower in all of baseball aside from Jordan Hicks.
2019 saw Adon still have the usual Adon stats that you would expect, pumping out a strikeout rate north of 30% and a walk rate in the neighborhood of 14%. I can compare Adon to a bird shot but instead of hot BBs coming to the plate, it's 50 caliber bullets of try to hit this one *****. Adon still has that same mechanics with a big arm swing and a three quarters release, and I don't think much can be done to ever improve the mechanics in order for Adon to find better command.
When talking about Adon, it always start with his fastball. The pitch comes in ridiculously hot, from 98-103 MPH depending on how loose his arm is and it is tough to pick up from his hand because of his long arm swing and his slinging style of throwing the pitch. That slinging style results to ridiculous RPM on the pitch, with it reaching up to 2800 RPM at times, giving the pitch tremendous rise and tail at the upper portion of the zone with sinking action at the bottom of the zone. Couple that with a mid to high-80s slider with ridiculous two-plane late break with a spin rate of around the same as his fastball. The pitch almost comes from the same tunnel as his fastball so it adds to the effectivity of the pitch.
Because Adon is as unhittable as he is unpredictable not because of pitch sequencing but because you just never know where the pitch is going, it adds to the allure and confusion. I think that Adon is already a finished product and he could be rolled out to the Majors come the next season and would be ready to take on Major League hitters with his bewildering pitches. Adon is Ray Black without the injuries, the Giants have plenty of bullpen holes to plug in, and I think Adon could become one of the candidates to fill out those spots and maybe receive better coaching on whether to adjust his front foot when he lands in his delivery.
20. Logan Wyatt 1B A+ (projected)
6'4" 230 lbs. L/R Age: 22 ETA: 2023
Hit 50+ | Power 50+ | Speed 35 | Arm 50 | Glove 50+
Videos: Credits to Roger Munter and Prospects Live
tl;dr: Wyatt came out of college as a polished hit-over-power first baseman with advanced approach at the plate but the relative lack of power in college as a result of a lack of lower half involvement and concerning player comps drives back his potential outcome.
I have already brought up the idea in my 2019 mid-season special that Wyatt's OBP-based first baseman counterparts have been disappointments considering where they have been selected in the draft (Pavin Smith, Will Craig, Matt Thaiss) and I ranked Wyatt lower than third rounder Grant McCray. However, I already have noticed something based on his Augusta film and college film: a swing tweak.
This swing tweak must be pointed towards an effort for Wyatt to incorporate more power to his swing. Wyatt still stands in a wide but slightly open stance with a wide base but the difference in his set-up between his college and pro days is how his hands work throughout his swing. In college, he rests the bat on his left shoulder parallel to the ground and stays pretty loose and when it's time to close his front leg and crouch his torso, his hands load by cocking down to the letters. In the pros, Wyatt still holds the bat parallel to the ground but this time, he grips the bat pretty tightly and holds it at ear level, not resting it on his left shoulder. When his front leg closes, Wyatt does not crouch down his torso as much as in his college days, and he does not cock down his hands as he holds the bat still perpendicular to his shoulder.
The result of the swing tweak is still to come in 2020 once he gets his full season reps on the way. What was very evident in his pro ball stint is his ability to work the count, posting a plus walk rate in every level that he's played in. His BABIP at the end of the season was below average so expect those stat lines to be better it moves up to the norm. Wyatt has shown the ability to be a strong fielder at first base, with smooth actions, great footwork and an average arm for the position.
The big talking point about Wyatt in 2020 though is whether he can incorporate more power in his swing. I think that the tweaks to incorporate more power to his swing, like loading his backside more, using his lower half more firing from the ground up instead of trusting his hands and golfing the ball out of the park. Wyatt has plus or more raw power, a very good athlete for his size and has the eye at the plate to generate plenty of walks.
In order to buck the trend for OBP-centric first baseman prospects trying to transition from getting on base to hitting with more power. Will Craig has been a victim of that transition. Pavin Smith has been a victim of that transition. Thaiss in a way is a victim. If Wyatt can retain his superb on base skills and batting lines while adding the power, he is a pop-off candidate and still shoot up this list in the mid-season as a better option than Chris Shaw.
21. Dany Jimenez RHP MLB (projected)
6'3" 190 lbs. R/R Age: 26 ETA: 2020
FB 60 | CB 60 | CMD 45
Videos: Credits to Prospects Live and Baseball Census
tl;dr: The Giants 2019 Rule 5 draft pick has a good shot at sticking in the Majors in 2020 as he mixes a wonderful combination of over the top release point, plus arm speed and hiding the ball towards both righties and lefties in his mechanics to help his high spin rate mid-90s fastball and sharp 12-6 curveball to get plenty of swings and misses.
It is on a second year in a row that the Zaidi front office targeted a reliever from the Blue Jays organization in the Rule 5 draft. First was Travis Bergen, who was actually pretty decent but was eventually shipped back to the Blue Jays to make room for Logan Webb who was heading out for his Major League debut. The second was Dany Jimenez, who was taken this year.
Jimenez was stellar out of the bullpen in two levels in the Blue Jays, with a strikeout rate north of 35%, a walk rate of around 8.5%, with strong peripherals across the board. Plenty in the national baseball media liked the Jimenez selection and they gave him a pretty good shot at sticking in the bullpen, like what Bergen did for the most part of 2019.
Jimenez is already 26 years of age, so he is in what is called the athletic prime. He is pretty wiry and there is no indication that he will add up muscle in his frame, so that hurts his chances as a potential starting option. Jimenez is destined to be a stellar bullpen option for the Giants anyway, so that is not that worrying.
Coming from a set position, Jimenez starts off with his hands at chest level and his back leg already pre-bent while his front leg is tall. His torso stays level in his leg kick where the front leg closes his body and rotates him closed a little bit, while his hands dip slightly in rhythm with the leg kick. Jimenez drives off forward towards the angle of his front leg, around 45 degrees creating some crossfire ala Corey Kluber but he drives off his leg aggressively with athletic actions. He starts to fall off his glove side once his front foot plants back to the ground to create that vertical, over the top plane that Jimenez has and finishing his mechanics moving towards first base.
Maybe the most important takeaway is that he hides off his closed body in his mechanics so well that both lefties and righties picks up the ball out of Jimenez's hand at the very last second in his ball release. That plays well with his north-south gameplan on the mound with his fastball-curveball combo. Jimenez's fastball is around 93-97 MPH in velocity with a great spin rate of at least 2400 RPM and the curveball at low-80s has tight spin and 12-6 shape on it. Jimenez can throw any pitch at any count (he has good feel for pitching and his grips) and is able to locate his curveball down in the zone for strikes and his fastball has more control and command on it as he can throw the pitch for strikes.
After studying Jimenez, it came to me that he is the hard-throwing version of Patrick Ruotolo, a Giants reliever prospect that I liked ever since getting drafted by the club. In terms of the fastball-curveball combination, the over the top release, the very good athleticism and unique mechanics that gives them the ability to hide the ball until the very last second. The only difference is that Jimenez throws at around the mid-90s while Ruotolo throws more in the high-80s, and that velocity difference is what separates the two's chances of sticking in the Majors by a pretty good margin. I am excited on what Jimenez can bring to the table come Spring Training and here's to hoping he will stick with the big league club in 2020 and be a piece of a brand new Giants bullpen.
22. Blake Rivera RHP A+ (projected)
6'4" 225 lbs. R/R Age: 21 ETA: 2023
FB 55 | CB 60 | CH 50 | CMD 40+
Videos: Credits to Roger Munter and GPT
tl;dr: Rivera has the makings of a very good Major League reliever if the Giants start to move him to the bullpen due to his nasty fastball-curveball combination with a solid at best changeup but with a lack of consistent control and command.
While his fellow draftees Hjelle and Wong got promoted to San Jose during the middle of the season, Rivera stayed behind in Augusta in all of 2019, with his season grinding to a halt after sustaining an injury early in July and returned just in time for the Sally playoffs as a reliever.
Rivera encapsulates several of the other pitching prospects that the Giants currently have: currently a starter with great stuff but does not have the consistent command to stay in a starting role in the future. Probably the closest thing that the Giants have in #ForeverGiant Mark Melancon in both terms of delivery and stuff, Rivera has plenty of swing and miss pitches. His fastball is capable of reaching the mid-90s mark and has plenty of life above the zone due to his over the top release and a great spin rate, making it looks like a rising fastball. Rivera's knuckle curveball is also a plus pitch, with great spin rate and retains its shape even when thrown on the upper half of the zone, and is not only capable of generating plenty of swing and miss but also called strikes. The changeup also improved as a potential above average pitch, with tremendous fading movement down in the zone.
The only real problem that Rivera has ever since his college days is his struggle to locate his pitches consistently. Rivera is capable of throwing to a portion of the zone but could not locate it finely. Rivera can have stretches where he will be literally unhittable but there will be stretches where he will lose the feel for the strike zone. Rivera could have a better feel for his mechanics when he throws exclusively from the stretch and could continue to start due to his athletic and strong body.
Rivera should be promoted to San Jose in 2020 and should continue to start but would be better off in a relief role in the Majors. If he becomes a reliever, there is a very big chance that he will be a very good one as his fastball, curveball and even his changeup have Major League potential at their best.
23. Prelander Berroa RHP A- (projected)
5'11" 170 lbs. R/R Age: 19 ETA: 2024
FB 60 | CH 50+ | SL 40+ | CMD 40
Videos: Credits to Prospects Live
tl;dr: Berroa has premium velocity with a promising changeup and a decent slider in a compact frame that Giants fans can dream on as a potential Major League caliber pitcher, albeit in a relief role.
The last of the three prospects received from the Twins in the Sam Dyson trade, Berroa was also I would say the least polished out of the three. Berroa is a diamond in the rough-type of player where in the right hands, you have something that could turn out to be very good. Berroa's been designated to the Arizona League and has shown the type of player that is very raw but if you can coach him up really well, could become a Major Leaguer.
On the mound, Berroa looks diminutive at 5'11", 170 lbs. with still a lean frame but his stuff definitely is not. The fastball sits in the 92-95 MPH range in starts but will reach 98 MPH in the pen, and with still room for growth in his frame, could bump it up towards the high-90s on a regular basis. The pitch has plenty of jump on hitters due to his plus arm speed and has life up in the zone, and he's made AZL hitters swing late, not anticipating the velocity that he can sling it.
The slider and changeup are Berroa's secondaries and both are very raw, especially the slider where the pitch is very meh where you can tell that the pitch is breaking or not and the break on the pitch is so unimpressive at the present that it's mostly a pitch to throw for strikes at best. The changeup though has plenty of promise, with great fade and repeats the same arm speed but there are times where his tempo slows down just a bit, especially on his deceleration.
Berroa's mechanics had some changes in 2019 as compared to the 2018 version in plenty of aspects, on when those changes happened whether it is with the Giants or in the preseason with the Twins that I could not answer. What I could answer though is that it made his mechanics more active and has better tempo. The 2019 mechanics now has Berroa's hands on head level in his leg kick instead of chest level, drives off his back leg more and is more of a drop and drive rather than the tall and fall style, his arm now rides with his drive as compared to a quick arm circle and generated more hip-shoulder separation on front foot strike that would result to more torque and in turn, velocity and life.
The numbers that Berroa put up in 2019 pretty much summed up his progress so far: still more of a thrower that will overpower hitters with his plus fastball that he heavily relies on and will throw his fantastic changeup to lefties resulting to very good swing and miss rates but is still pretty much a thrower than a pitcher where he would struggle to locate his fastball and his secondaries at the plate. Berroa would need to tighten up his slider grip and produce more bite in order for him to still be promising in a starting role. If not, I can really see him few years from now where he will be in the bullpen doing some Kyle Crick things where he can let loose and throw his fastball and changeup at will on hitters. With his diminutive frame and a very strong present fastball-changeup combination, I can definitely see the reason why Berroa is heavily compared to Fernando Rodney.
24. Ricardo Genoves C A (projected)
6'2" 190 lbs. R/R Age: 20 ETA: 2024
Hit 45 | Power 55 | Speed 20 | Arm 60 | Glove 50+
Videos: Credits to William Boor and Roger Munter 1 and 2
tl;dr: Genoves is finally maturing at the plate in 2019, flaunting the plus power that he has in the low Minors and now has the hitting ability to consistently pound the ball with ease albeit with a handsy swing and his defense behind the plate is still very good but his big frame might move him out of the crouch as he gets older.
Genoves is just going to turn 21 in a few months time and yet it feels like he has been in this league in forever, and in some ways, he is. He is part of the old guard, the remnant of the past, as he was signed in 2015 by then-GM Brian Sabean as the batterymate of Padres prospect Anderson Espinoza. Genoves was brought up slowly as fast as time takes a smoked pork barbecue is cooked, and finally got a taste of A ball late in the 2019 season, and even got a lick of the Arizona Fall League after Joey Bart was pulled due to an injury.
Genoves finally broke out in 2019 after finally maturing to his frame, one that is already big and strong ad oozes raw power. Genoves finally put that raw power to use in games in 2019, as evidenced by a massive spike in his ISO, with him hitting 9 home runs in 51 total games, 9 times higher than his 2018 season. Genoves did not change his batting stance that much over the years, but what I really like is that he looks more athletic and in shape as compared to previous years, where his hips finally fire quickly to make his compact stroke a power hitting one. I did comment before in my past primers that Genoves' athleticism does not show at the plate as he is very handsy with his swing, but now it does so I am definitely delighted.
In addition to him being more athletic, his bat path became more direct to the ball as well as having a uphill plane, and that results to him pumping homers to all fields. Genoves time pitches well at the box but his big frame could lead to holes that pitchers would exploit. Even though he is poised to have some strikeout issues in the future, his approach at the plate is already pretty good, where his walk rate in 2019 is actually solid.
At the plate, Genoves is already fundamentally solid, as he has soft hands to frame pitches well, agility to move side to side on pitches, having a plus arm to catch base stealers but I am a bit worried that his pop time can vary at times, from above average to fringy. His lack of speed is really not a problem for the position as agility is more important and Genoves has it. Pitchers love to throw to him and builds great rapport with the staff and is a field general whenever he is on the diamond.
I still think that Genoves will be brought slowly, possibly repeating Augusta and probably reach San Jose later in the season if all goes well. Aramis Garcia might be one of the candidates that is being considered as the backup to Joey Bart in the future but Genoves is positioning himself as the true potential backup, where he can be a Hector Sanchez-type of player but he would likely have a starting job on other teams due to his defensive ceiling in the future.
25. P.J. Hilson OF ROK (projected)
5'11" 175 lbs. R/R Age: 19 ETA: 2025
Hit 35 | Power 45 | Speed 70 | Arm 65 | Glove 55
Videos: Credits to Prospects Live
tl;dr: Hilson can be compared to a slow-cooked stew where Hilson has all the physical tools, athleticism and work ethic to become a star but will definitely need plenty of time to mature at the plate where he is still has a raw feel for the barrel to become a top prospect.
If there is a prospect that you should exercise plenty of patience on, that is Hilson. Even though he's repeated the Arizona League where he did not fare any bit better and if you consider his inflated BABIP, you could say that he performed worse than his first taste in 2018. However, the tools that made Hilson as very desirable to people who love tools are still there and it's still freaking loud.
Hilson is still a super athlete on the field, just oozes in athleticism, quick twitch and room for growth in his frame. His non-offensive tools are pretty much offensive in a good way. His speed is double plus, as he moves like a fighter jet on the bases and in the outfield where he is potentially a terrific fit given his speed, almost double-plus arm that reached 95 MPH on the mound and some developing defensive chops. The real problem is that Hilson is nowhere near close to a finished product.
The 2018 6th round draft choice looks like a raw baseball player in almost all facets of the game, more specifically offensively. Even though Hilson has all the physical traits, the super strong frame that is capable of delivering plus or better power, the explosive hips, lightning-quick wrists and an eye at the plate, Hilson still struggles to find comfort at the box. Hilson tried out various batting stances throughout his pro career, and the latest version looks pretty good, where his legs are wider than his shoulders and utilizes a forward front leg action to load and swing.
Hilson struggles to time different pitches, sometimes getting late on a fastball, fouling off hittable ones because he is either late or does not put the barrel consistently, and is very early on the secondaries. Getting a feel for timing takes plenty of reps not just in the batting cage where pitches are primarily fastballs but also, and maybe the most important, games that do matter where a pitcher will throw everything including the kitchen sink. Hilson has to pick up certain nuances by the pitcher in throwing different pitches, whether the pitcher is slowing down his tempo just a bit when throwing his changeup or a distinct rise of the ball in pitch release indicating a curveball is most likely coming. Maybe a change in this hitting mechanics can help to time pitches better, maybe standing taller (more shoulder width) and with more of a slower and subtle leg kick rather than a rushed one that can possibly relax his body a bit more and time the pitcher's rhythm better.
The great thing about Hilson though is that when he connects, the ball will literally fly out of the park with ease, and he has improved his line drive rate in 2019. Hilson's swing is compact and is a bit handsy but the lack of feel for the barrel is what's holding everything back for him. For the second straight season, Hilson has posted an average walk rate and that is an indication that he already has good feel for the zone, it's just a matter of squaring the ball up more consistently and not swinging on top of breaking balls. Hilson might need another year in the Arizona League to zero in offensively and might really take a while to get to the Majors. But the good thing is that he is just turning 20, and the early growing pains might be good for him, as his makeup and work ethic are very good.
26. Jake Wong RHP A+ (projected)
6'2" 215 lbs. R/R Age: 23 ETA: 2022
FB 50 | CH 50 | CB 45+ | SL 45 | CMD 50+
Videos: Credits to San Jose Giants and Roger Munter
tl;dr: Wong plateaued in San Jose after a great performance in Augusta and has shown in his first full season that he can be a pretty solid innings eater-type of pitcher where his aggressiveness on the mound and the ability to throw four pitches for strikes stand out but his stuff across the board is only average to fringy at best.
Wong started the 2019 pretty conservatively, pitching in the Sally but has proven that he is way too advanced for the level as was out of there come mid-May, with two straight starts where he is literally unhittable as the highlight. When Wong got to the Cal League, he hit a bit of a wall as his overall stuff might not be enough for the next level.
When Wong pitched in Augusta, he had zero starts allowing 4 or more runs, with his last 4 starts only allowing 9 hits and 2 runs. However, when Wong got to the Cal League which is a much tougher environment for pitchers, he had zero starts where he allowed no runs, and had 5 starts where he allowed 4 or more earned runs. Wong's walk rate is still very good, still below 8 percent, but it is trending negatively. Wong's never been an elite strikeout artist, only having average at best strikeout rate, which might be an indication of his rather average stuff.
Mechanics-wise, Wong is still pretty much the same but we now have some track record to see how well his pitches fare against pro hitters. And Wong is primarily a flyball pitcher, where he only had a groundball rate of 43.2% in the Cal League, and that will not definitely fare well in a hitter-friendly league, particularly in Lancaster where he allowed the most runs in a start in 2019 with 5.
Wong loves throwing his fastball up in the zone where the velocity can blow by hitters as it reach up to 96 MPH. The problem though is that the movement is more of a two-seam tailing action than a "rising" movement and its spin rate is below average. Wong's secondaries are pretty much fringy to average, with him struggling to get swing and misses with his north-south style due to his solid curveball but lags due to inconsistent shape and feel and might be better off using his solid changeup as his main out pitch.
Wong's competitive nature and aggressive approach to pitching worked in the Sally but his peripherals there, particularly his very high line drive rate and flyball nature, predicted that his success at the level would likely not stick in the next level, and unfortunately it did not. There's a chance that Wong will be out of that level in 2020 and get promoted to the Eastern League where it will be more friendly for him but I do feel that he still needs plenty of work to do in order to take it to the next level. Wong needs to stay on top of his curveball better to be a viable pitch, and even though Wong has a good walk rate, his command of his pitches will need to improve if his stuff won't.
27. Franklin Labour OF A (projected)
6'1" 190 lbs. R/R Age: 21 ETA: 2024
Hit 45 | Power 60 | Speed 40 | Arm 55 | Glove 50
Videos: Credits to 2080 Baseball, Roger Munter and Jesse Roche
tl;dr: Labour set the NWL on fire, pacing the league in almost all offensive categories but hit a big wall upon his promotion to Augusta but he has a prototypical corner outfielder profile with big power on his right-handed bat, below average speed, strong arm and enough fielding ability to stick although he would be carried through the Minors with his power bat.
Labour came into the 2019 season as a low-end prospect even though he's posted good numbers in 2018, due to a relative lack of credible information surrounding him and hype in general. 2019 is a whole different story though, as he literally pummeled, crushed, destroyed, nuked, whatever superlative you might think of the entire Northwest League, in offense that saw him be named as the NWL player of the year by various baseball outlets. That earned him a promotion to the Sally where his production was nowhere near the numbers that he put up for Salem-Keizer.
The numbers that Labour put up for the Volcanoes was volcanic indeed, and might be Yellowstone levels in terms of explosion. In just 41 games, Labour hit 14 home runs, 14! His slugging percentage is .639. Jesus Christ, that is already someone's OPS! (albeit a poor one). Labour lit up everyone in his path, and that's because he matured in his frame and his hitting ability. Labour's frame is already pretty big when he signed at age 16 and has already filled out his frame at age 21. However, that already set him to have plus or more raw power.
Labour's swing has plenty of moving parts for a guy his size with a pronounced bat waggle. He rocks his front leg back in his leg kick as his way to load up and moves forward as he's ready to swing. The great thing that Labour does is that when his front foot lands, his backside is still loaded back and is not leaking out. The angle of his back elbow when he load his hands is so back that it forms an obtuse angle, almost at 150 degrees relative to his shoulder. That extreme elbow load results to his bat path to be uphill, and with plenty of energy stored and add that to Labour's good feel for the barrel and above average bat speed, balls fly out of the park pretty easily when barreled and will produce very good exit velocities.
Even though Labour's swing has full of bells and whistles, he keeps a good hold of it and personally, I like it because it keeps him loose in the box and for a guy that is only a solid athlete for his size, that keeps Labour's rhythm at the plate well. While the numbers in Augusta did not look good at all, especially the big loss of power, there is a good chance that Labour will adjust and should be back to his old hitting ways.
However, one thing that Labour lost is the ability to use the middle of the field. Labour's pull rate from the Volcanoes to the GreenJackets rose 9 percent and his oppo rate to 5 percent, sapping his ability to hit the middle of the field. We know that you know that you timed the ball really well when you hit the ball back to where it came from, in the middle of the field, and that spray charts shift in Augusta tells me that Labour lost his timing in his promotion, as he is either too early or too late on balls, with no extra base hits towards the opposite field based on his spray charts.
Labour is a fringy to below average runner in the outfield and his range and strong arm is a perfect fit in right field, where he looks like a Nelson Cruz in terms of profile. Now with the age of a college draftee this year, Labour could be challenged aggressively by the organization if he can show a strong Spring Training. Instincts tells me that he will repeat the level instead of taking a trip to San Jose because of the adjustments that he needs to put on like increasing his walk rate and shedding those swing and miss due to his timing issues. If Labour can rediscover the magic that he had in his right handed bat when he was in Salem-Keizer, look out everyone.
28. Kervin Castro RHP A (projected)
6'0" 185 lbs. R/R Age: 20 ETA: 2023
FB 55 | CH 55 | CB 45 | CMD 55
Videos: Credits to Prospects Live 1 and 2
tl;dr: Castro projects as a fastball-changeup reliever in the big leagues but has starting pitching potential in the next level as he need to develop his curveball but he has very good feel and control of his two main pitches thrown in a steep downhill plane with the same release point.
Castro came into the 2019 season as a relative unknown to anybody unless you are in a close relationship with the guy. After showing a strong extended Spring Training and a successful stint with the Volcanoes as their top starter for the season, it is starting to get evident that Castro is going to be a player on some top 30 prospect lists, and in this list, he gets in.
Castro's main ability is his control and command of his fastball. Sporting a walk rate below 5%, Castro pounds the zone with ease with his mechanics. Originally signed as a catcher before transitioning to the mound, Castro carries that classic catcher frame of a wide frame molded perfectly in a barrel with big thighs and core. He looks a bit shorter than his listed height of 6 foot because he is just plain wide.
A quick worker on the rubber, Castro starts his mechanics kind of like how MadBum started his: with his hands on head level. The overall mechanics is easy and clean, he stays closed with his drive and drives off his back leg pretty well. His arm action is clean and prototypical. He kind of hides the ball in his body towards righties that adds deception. Castro is not flexible but is athletic enough to repeat his high three quarters arm slot and is able to stay on top of the ball very well, with some projecting him to have plus command, evident of his 70.18% strike rate.
In terms of stuff, Castro's fastball is only solid in terms of velocity in his starts, sitting at 93-95 MPH with a tendency to dip a bit deeper in games. However, the fastball tends to play up because of its sinking action and pair that with his steep downhill plane, it is a tough pitch to lift, especially when thrown down in the zone. His best pitch might be his mid-80s changeup however, with late vertical drop that resembles a lot of splitter in terms of its tumble-like drop, earning plus grades at times. His curveball is his worst pitch. Even though the pitch has solid looking shape coming out of his hand, Castro has no idea where it is going to end up because the break is too much and too early. However, it seems to be the best third pitch for him because his over the top release makes the pitch easier to throw than a slider.
In terms of mechanics, pitching repertoire and command over stuff style, I can compare Castro to our old friend Clayton Blackburn. I see Castro as someone with the potential to be a back-end starter in the Major League level but there is not a big chance as of this moment of him reaching that ceiling unless he finds a third pitch. If Castro can't develop or will probably move to the bullpen what is most likely will be the case, I can see him as a good reliever where his fastball should pick up more velocity, and he's touched 98 MPH when he lets it loose. His command of his fastball and changeup should give him plenty of chances to stick in a rotation role though, and that might be a good thing in terms of his development.
29. Trevor McDonald RHP ROK (projected)
6'2" 180 lbs. R/R Age: 18 ETA: 2025
FB 55 | SL 55 | CH 50+ | CB 45 | CMD 50
Videos: Credits to Perfect Game USA
tl;dr: A completely projection play on my part, McDonald has all the tools to become a Major League pitcher with a good formula of stuff, projectability in his frame and in his mechanics and already control of his four pitches and has command potential.
The 2019 11th round selection might be very high on this list given that there are several more prospects to consider that have played well in the minor leagues this year, but I can see the potential in McDonald as a pitcher.
Even though McDonald only pitched 4 innings in his cup of coffee in pro ball due to him signing late, there are ingredients for him to work on. Even though McDonald is already pretty filled that resulted to his huge velocity jump, now up to 95 to 96 MPH, I think that there will be more velocity gains to come when he fully matures in his frame, or at least sit in the mid-90s. There's good life to his fastball and seemed to jump on hitters. His secondaries are still very volatile, with his potential above-average slider with two-plane break being the best of them although I really like McDonald's changeup action and could be a potential above-average offering for him in the future.
Not only can McDonald use more maturity in his frame, he can also use some tweaking in his mechanics, specifically shortening up his arm action in order to control his body more. Working on his sharpening up the break in his slider and tightening up his fastball command will be pivotal for McDonald to be successful in his first full season as a pro pitcher. I still think that he would repeat the Arizona League though, as I pretty much see a really raw but potentially very talented pitcher.
30. Jose Marte RHP AA (projected)
6'3" 180 lbs. R/R Age: 23 ETA: 2022
FB 65 | CH 55 | SL 45 | CMD 35+
Video: Credits to OaklandClubhouse
tl;dr: Marte has a chance to become a Major Leaguer if he transitions to the bullpen in order for his release point to be more consistent so that his repertoire of mid-to-upper 90s fastball, changeup with tremendous fade and slider that can get swings and misses at times will play up.
Marte emerged as an intriguing pitching prospect heading to the 2019 season as one of those live-arm types with a high-velocity fastball and enough secondary stuff to play in the Major Leagues one day. Marte got hurt early in the season but came back in June looking a little bit different as compared to his 2018 season.
Marte still looked the same in his frame, still a long-limbed player on the mound with weight in his frame that definitely does not look like 180 lbs. as listed. I do not think there's any projection left in his frame as his fastball is already hard. The fastball is already hard, with its velocity ranges from 95-99 MPH in his starts. It got only an average spin rate and does not have a lot of movement in it but his long extension in his mechanics helps add more perceived velocity to mitigate some of the lack of mediocre metrics.
His changeup looks like a Major League-quality pitch where he repeats the same arm speed as his fastball and has tremendous fading action that it gets the best of Cal League hitters fishing for the pitch. Marte's slider is a decent pitch in my opinion when he can locate it but he does struggle to throw it to his desired spot more often than not and lacks the tight break that you would expect.
Looking at Marte's numbers and comparing it to the film that is available really makes me think he should move to the bullpen soon to accelerate his development. Marte's strike rate is around the same as his previous season even though he has incorporated a slower tempo in his mechanics in an effort to allow him to throw his pitches in the same arm slot. The slowed down arm speed made hitters see Marte's pitches better and made them time his rhythm better but also made them more susceptible to his changeup. In 2019, it has been more of the same for him in terms of struggling to repeat his arm slot consistently throughout a 5-6 inning outing. Because his arm swing moves backward so much and he is not the most athletic of a guy to repeat that arm action consistently, he will be plagued by control issues throughout his career so I think that a move to the pen will help him accelerate his progress.
There's a stripe of positivity when looking at Marte's above-average strikeout rate in terms of a potential move to the bullpen, as it will make his fastball even harder and less likely to be exposed to the concerning metrics of the pitch. I also think that finishing through his mechanics will help Marte in control because at times, he will not finish through with it. His changeup will also play up with the greater velocity differential and he might just spurn his fringy slider to more of a cutter-ish type of a pitch as a third one.
The likely career track is similar to Rodolfo Martinez where he absolutely dominated in the bullpen as someone who throws ridiculously hard with a great changeup but Martinez forgot how to throw his fastball and the velocity regressed after some bouts of injuries. I think Marte can be a better version of Martinez on a command standpoint so that is why he earned a spot in my top 30 even though his numbers seemed ugly as a starter.
Notes on Other Prospects Not Included In the Top 30
(Video or FanGraphs profile in the player's name)
Note: I do not usually rank July 2 prospects that signed in the latest signing cycle highly because I do need to see how they will perform in action unless they are very special right off the bat like Marco Luciano.
* - Considered heavily to be included and is in the same tier as Tier 5 Top 30 prospects but was omitted.
*Aeverson Arteaga - Arteaga projects to be a defensive wizard in shortstop or in second base in all levels with great instincts, plus athleticism, ability to make spectacular throws and diving plays at short with the range at the position, has some potential with the bat but still looks raw offensively. Also has the speed to be a threat on the bases.
*Esmerlin Vinicio - A lefty pitcher with plenty of projectability and promise, Vinicio is already at high-80s with his fastball that he throws downhill, stays on top of his curveball that has the shape of a potential plus pitch, a changeup with plenty of fade, and a clean pitching mechanics that reminds me of a slowed down Derek Holland.
Anthony Rodriguez - There's not a lot of information that I have about him to write a good report from but he is a switch-hitting shortstop with good defense and bat speed but the overall swing is still raw.
Rayner Santana - Big bodied catcher in the similar build as Ricardo Genoves with thick thighs capable of handling the squat long-term, shown a good job of framing pitches, handling solid velocity, and plenty of pop in the DSL and has shown a good eye at the plate early on. Problems that I see are his bat speed is only average to solid and he has a tendency to strike out a good bit as a result of that and his body still need plenty of maturity as it looks pretty soft which is understandable for a guy in his age. I love his hustle on the field however and should be stateside in 2020.
Victor Bericoto - Big bodied first baseman with good feel to hit for average and power where he rotates off his front heel in his swing kind of like how Babe Ruth used to swing to baseballs. Not very conventional nowadays but it works for him. However, he is a righty hitter and his frame looks like it's pretty built already and needs to hit all throughout his pro career to work out.
Andrew Caraballo - It is the fourth straight year that Caraballo has posted a batting average below .240 but is flashing some pop on the bat with his surprising ISO but in a small sample size. His selling point though is his glove with smooth actions and some flair at second base.
*Garrett Frechette - Just turned 19, Frechette in-game power is not yet fully back after being sapped by mono and he can add more power by adding more raw power in his still pretty lean but broad frame. He still needs plenty of work in his bat as his bat path looks sub-optimal at the moment, making loud contact but not exactly driving the ball. If Frechette can make his swing path better while making his body stronger, he has the potential to be a special bat, even better than Logan Wyatt at first base.
*Dilan Rosario - Originally thought to be a glove-first shortstop at the time he was drafted, Rosario has shown in pro ball that it might be the other way around. Rosario has shown plenty of power in his athletic-looking swing, and is able to drive pitches very well, as proven by his spray chart, with a potential to have above average in-game power. His approach is still nascent with poor pitch recognition and an overly aggressive approach.
Rosario's supposedly advanced fielding ability is appalling in pro ball, possibly because of throwing on poor platforms although his arm strength is plus, and he needs to get his act together defensively but Rosario has the ingredients of being a Major League-caliber shortstop if everything checks out well. Reminds me a lot of Jalen Miller on the field.
Nick Morreale - Working on 2-4 inning spurts in the AZL, Morreale showed flashes of being a good pitcher for the Giants where his control is actually better already than what he's shown in college, but it's good to consider that he's older than most players in the AZL. Working in a 1-inning setting might be the best for Morreale as it might keep his fastball in the mid-90s with some tail and should adopt a true slider as a second pitch in the pen, where he might be great against lefties but unsure against righties as he hides the ball very well towards lefties but shows the ball a bit in his arm action against righties.
Najee Gaskins - My man Najee Gaskins performed well in the AZL, showing off his plus speed and is one of the most effective base stealers in the organization already but my man has to improve on incorporating more homer power in his body, keep up his great walk rate and he is old for the AZL so my man has to prove in every level that he can hit and be a true leadoff-type hitter.
Kanoa Pagan - Pagan has plenty of potential out of the bullpen with his fastball up to 96 MPH and a good looking curveball but from what I see from him, he is more of a thrower than a pitcher, and that's okay because he still has plenty of potential to tap on as a potential shutdown reliever in the big leagues.
George Bell - Bell has plus raw power in his frame but did not hit for average in his stints in AZL and NWL. Bell needs to not just be a pull-heavy, do-or-die hitter, but also be a more well-rounded hitter that needs to cut down on his strikeout rate to be more effective. Need to see more film of him and I need to see a turnaround stat-wise to be a believer.
Ghordy Santos - My first thought of Ghordy is Manuel Geraldo 2.0. Santos has an uppercut in his left-handed swing and more of a line-drive swing in his natural, right-handed side. Santos still has room to grow in terms of his frame that looked like gained some mass since the last time I saw his film. Looking like more of a true second baseman than shortstop long-term, Santos has plenty of range with above average speed and arm strength but needs to be a better fielder.
*Connor Cannon - Cannon is big man, we are talking about 80 raw power, and at times 80 in-game power, very big raw power to all fields. He will have some strikeout issues because of his height but the Giants already put on some adjustments on his swing set-up where they eliminate a bit of the excessive wiggle that Cannon has while waiting for a pitch and is taking great hacks as a result.
I feel that the swing needs a bit more work in terms of the things he does on his leg kick, make the hands more quiet to focus on hitting the ball. Cannon's work is done where he is old for the league, so he needs to continue to prove to be a legit power hitter with enough glove to be an everyday fielder at first.
Caleb Kilian - What I love about Kilian is that his mechanics is very unique, with a quirky arm action where the ball seems to release later than expected, causing hitters to be late on a sneaky quick fastball. The mechanics fits better in a relief role though, where he might get his fastball run up to 95 MPH more consistently. Even though his mechanics looks stiff, he has very good feel for it and could have above average control. Kilian's secondaries (changeup and curveball) looks average though, so he needs to continue developing those to stay in a starting role.
Carter Aldrete - Aldrete won the Cape Cod Home Run Derby in his sophomore year and has shown in his junior year that the raw power is there, also proven in pro ball where he hit homers in center field and in right. He's played all over the infield in pro ball, primarily in the corners where he might be too big to handle second base where he usually played in Arizona State. Aldrete needs to prove he can put his power more in games and could be a candidate to play in the outfield in 2020 if he won't stick at third.
Bryce Fehmel - Fehmel has some deception in his mechanics due to his short arm action. More of a control artist, Fehmel works in 2-3 inning stints and I think that is the best for him as he can add a bit more velocity in his high-80s tailing fastball and a decent looking slider. He is a college senior though, so he should put in the work right away.
Harrison Freed - Freed flashed plenty of power in his short pro stint in 2019, with a good looking swing and a pretty good approach. He needs to continue to put in the work though, as his strikeout rate in the NWL is a bit of a concern for me. Again, plenty of power from Freed and I expect him to showcase it again in 2020.
Conner Nurse - Nurse throws strikes but can get effectively wild at times. He can reach up to 95 MPH with a good curveball. He's still young so he can still improve on commanding his stuff but Nurse is more likely to be a pitchability pitcher than a true power pitcher. 2020 might be a make or break year for him to see his true ceiling or fall flat.
*Armani Smith - Smith has good baseball blood (nephew of future Hall of Famer CC Sabathia) like his fellow draftee Carter Aldrete. Smith has shown in pro ball in 2019 that he can hit a homer anywhere with a quick bat and very good weight transfer. Smith needs to work on cutting his strikeouts down and to continue hitting for power to all fields to be a relevant prospect in the organization.
*Tyler Fitzgerald - The 2019 fourth rounder does not project to be a high-ceiling player but could look to be a pretty quick mover through the farm system with a solid collection of tools across the board. Already covered him a good bit here and my thoughts about him are still pretty much the same after his cup of coffee in the low minors.
Jacob Gonzalez - They say any progress, whether big or small, is good and Gonzalez might not have broke out in 2019, he made incremental progress offensively in 2019. Standing taller in his swing set-up and a more quiet lower half helped Gonzalez to rely more on his overall strength than rely on his right hand to produce the power. He started to pull the ball a bit more, but managed to pump better numbers across the board while also improving on his strikeout and walk rate especially after the All-Star break.
With him still being a poor fielder at third base, that prompted the Giants to try out Gonzalez to the corner outfield, where he has some staying power in left field due to his below average range and still looking to continue to fill out his lanky frame. Jacob's plus-plus work ethic and makeup has produced positive dividends in 2019. He now needs to put it all together offensively in 2020 while thinking less about his fielding now that left field is proving to be a good landing place for him on the field.
Ismael Munguia - Even though Munguia does not project to be a power hitter in any form, he makes very good contact with the ball often and does a great job of utilizing his above average to plus speed on the bases, stretching singles to doubles and in stealing bases. I love how he hustles and is competitive out there. Munguia makes contact so much that it might be hurting his walk rate a bit. Munguia takes good routes to the ball in the outfield and has an average arm to fit in either left or center field.
JJ Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz has been a solid lefty pitching option in the organization, with a three-quarter delivery and some aptitude to throw strikes. He is a bit old for the level however, but has shown a solid looking fastball from the left side with some tail and a decent breaker. And hey, he has great reflexes too.
Anyesber Sivira - Very young for his age, he spent a cup of coffee in the Double A level, the first player born in the 2000s to play in that level, but was mainly a mainstay in the Augusta squad. He has below average power but he makes contact with the ball well but his selling point is his glove as he looks to be a versatile defender over the infield with his mature actions and a good arm.
Trenton Toplikar - Toplikar cleaned up his mechanics and now has a smooth arm action and pretty consistent tempo. He is athletic and has very good arm speed and I like how he finishes his mechanics, ready to field. His stuff (fastball, curveball and change) overall looks average and his control is only fringy but I like how smooth he is on the mound, he looks like a big leaguer in terms of mechanics.
Frankie Tostado - Toasty cooled off in terms of batting average from May onwards but he kept on mashing throughout the year, shifting a bit to the middle of the field in terms of spray charts. Frankie stays open at front foot plant but keeps his hips and upper half closed to enable more torque and in turn, more power like the late Oscar Taveras. I like how he moves at first base even though it is his first full year working there, and should be in the mix as one of the best in-game power sources in the organization.
Bryce Tucker - Tucker's been brought through the Minors rather conservatively as the already 23 year old (just turned 23) just finished his first season in Augusta, but we do consider that he was drafted in 2018. Still, the lefty pitched great, showing off his fastball and breaking ball to both sides, exhibiting little difference in the hitting categories between the two sides of the box. Tucker projects to be a decent lefty relief option that the Giants could sorely need in the future.
Keaton Winn - Winn pitched fairly well in 2019 for the GreenJackets, just a strikeout under 100 for the year and solid peripherals. Winn's athletic and improved his mechanics where he keeps his eyes to the mitt better. However, there's a lack of quality in Winn's stuff, especially on his secondaries at the present, to consider him as a quality prospect. Age is still on his side though, as he is just 21 years old and plenty of time to figure it out.
Garrett Cave - Cave just continue to spiral down in the pitching depth chart of the organization as he still continues to struggle to have and form of feel for his pitcher either in starting or relieving. However, his strikeout rate is still great, but maybe a result of his very wild outings and minor league hitters just don't know what to expect. I am not unsure what adjustment Cave needs to do in his mechanics and it might just be all about his mindset at this point.
*Camilo Doval - Doval is still a frustrating prospect for me to follow in terms of inconsistency. The control is always touch and go for Doval, where his ridiculous fastball and hard, sweeping slider will be a menace to catch and to hit often. Doval does not always have it but when he has it, the slingshot pitcher is downright unhittable that allures plenty with his 80 grade spin rate. I do not know how will the Giants figure out on how Doval would harness his stuff, possibly make him finish his delivery more consistently, but if they hit paydirt on 2020, Doval will be easily back to the Top 30.
*Sandro Fabian - Fabian was hurt for most of 2019 but played very well when he did, posting solid offensive numbers while keeping his walk rate and strikeout rate at a healthy rate. A healthy 2020 campaign for Fabian should give him more reps and has a chance to be a Major Leaguer if he hits well in a really tough environment in the Eastern League.
*Matt Frisbee - Frisbee broke out in 2019 after pitching very well in both Augusta and San Jose, where he hides the ball very well in his mechanics and is able to post a very good strikeout rate on both levels and commands his low-90s fastball and over the top curveball very well. The changeup still lags behind but Frisbee is able to throw consistent strikes and if he can improve on his change, he will be in the mid-season Top 30 as a potential back-end starter option.
Mac Marshall - Marshall just can't seem to get healthy and put together a full season, but I love how he keeps battling back and improving on his stuff. However, he is most likely a reliever now where his fastball runs up to 94 MPH and his curveball still flashes some swing and miss potential.
Shane Matheny - Matheny did not hit for much in Augusta but turned it on late in the season when he got promoted to San Jose. He might have overperformed in San Jose as what his BABIP dictates but he is more of a fringy at best bat with the ability to man every position in the infield well because of his impressive defensive instincts and a strong arm.
Kyle McPherson - Named as the best second baseman in the organization by MiLB.com's organizational All-Stars, McPherson played all of his games and nearly 400 at bats of action in San Jose, where he posted decent numbers across the board. McPherson has a compact stroke and can make solid contact with the ball and good plate discipline, albeit with below-average power.
Aaron Phillips - The athletic right-hander was an effective innings-eater in San Jose in 2019 with an impressive cup of coffee in Sacramento. However, I think he is best suited on the bullpen, where his deceptive arm action would play very well and might add a tick or two with his low-90s fastball that is thrown on a downhill plane with life. I still like Phillip's curveball a lot and should be a reliable pitch for him. He also throws for strikes and that should bode well for his future. I think he will still be a starter in 2020 but I don't see his changeup sticking well enough to be a third pitch for him at the moment.
Heath Quinn - Quinn just can't have a full year where he is healthy, as he missed time due to injury in two occasions in 2019. Quinn's hit tool is now trending down, as he continues to have a high strikeout rate. Still, there's power in Quinn's bat and projects as a three true outcomes-type of hitter due to his ability to draw walks on a pretty consistent basis.
*Diego Rincones - Rincones has great feel for the barrel and is very tough to strike out. His stroke is very short even though he has an abbreviated leg kick. He doesn't hit for much power as he is more of a line drive hitter but is adept at hitting to all fields, with a bit lean towards his pull side. Even though he has a strong arm, his lack of range will limit him to left field. Rincones should get on some top 30 lists if that evaluator loves their hitting tool and he has one of the best in the organization.
Frank Rubio - The sidearmer with a low-90s fastball and a fringy slider that relied more on location than movement pitched well in San Jose as their late reliever but hit a brick wall in Richmond in 2019. His stuff might peak in that level but he is effective against righties because of his arm angle.
Patrick Ruotolo - Quite possibly my favorite sleeper prospect for a couple of years now, Ruotolo saw limited action in 2019, most likely due to injury. Still, the undersized righty with a very funky delivery produced an above average to plus strikeout rate even though his fastball velocity is middling thanks to his deception and a solid curveball. However, Ruotolo will turn 25 late in January, so he is older than most of his opponents in San Jose.
Jesus Tona - In a similar mold as Kervin Castro, Tona has an arm action that hides the ball behind his body that causes his solid stuff to jump a bit. His fastball is in the low-90s and his changeup flashes above average. However, he is already 23 and does not have the stuff to blow by on the next level.
*Sean Roby - The Giants have brought along Roby slowly through the system, and has punished the hell out of the Northwest League pitching, posting ridiculous numbers before getting promoted to Augusta, where he struggled at the end of the year. Still, his numbers look great in Salem-Keizer, and flashed power and bat speed in the NWL Home Run Derby, where he won the competition. There's some serious breakout potential with him in 2020 if that Derby power translates more to in-game power while posting similar numbers to his Salem-Keizer stint in either Augusta or San Jose. I'm choosing the former.
David Villar - Villar's course has been steady, with a solid 2019 performance in San Jose. The third baseman posted solid numbers across the board but the warning signs of a potential swing and miss that will limit his hit tool in Salem-Keizer in 2018 proved to be correct in 2019, with a very high strikeout rate. Still, Villar projects as a source of solid power and will play solid defense at third.
Bryce Johnson - The 2017 6th rounder reached AA ball in 2019 where he played decently on both levels. The switch-hitter had a pretty confusing split on two levels with regards to his numbers on either side of the box (better numbers as LH in SJ, better numbers as RH in Richmond), so I think the switch-hitting would stay. Still, he projects as an AAAA-type of player with on-base ability with his walks and some speed to play the three outfield positions.
Rodolfo Martinez - Martinez can still pump out the gas out of his right arm, where it varies like an octane level from 91-100 MPH with still a solid looking changeup but he's been long overtaken by his fellow reliever Reyes Moronta due to his wildness. Camilo Doval might join his side if he does not get his control in check but Martinez could be in the mix for bullpen auditions that the Giants would have in the future solely because of his velocity.
*Nolan Riggs - Named the 2018 Reliever of the Year in the SJ Giants club, Riggs has very good feel for his body given his height (6'8") that gives him very good control of his mechanics. He has a bit of a crossfire in the way he throws but does a good job of staying on top of the ball and does a very good job of throwing his fastball on a steep, downhill plane and is flashing command of the pitch. His breaking ball is decent to below average but comes from a similar tunnel as his fastball. Pitched very well in Richmond in 2019 albeit in a short period most likely due to injury, I expect Riggs to become a potential player in the bullpen of the Giants as soon as this season.
*Raffi Vizcaino - Vizcaino really pumped the gas early on this year as the closer for the San Jose Giants and early upon his promotion to Richmond in 2019 but his control left him for a good bit afterwards. Overall though, Vizcaino will flash three above-average pitches with his high-90s sinking fastball, late-tumbling changeup and a snappy curveball. The problem though is his control is most likely to be the second half version, pretty scattershot.
*Abiatal Avelino - Avelino is still technically a prospect, but I think we already know his game based on what we have seen in 2018 and 2019, as a utility-type of player who can play several positions in the infield and is able to make good contact but lacks one game-breaking tool to play in an everyday role.
*Tyler Cyr - Coming off an elbow surgery in 2018, Cyr is back with a vengeance in 2019, with his fastball back reaching to 99 MPH with life and has a new plus pitch in his low-to-mid 90s cutter. His breaking ball regressed in terms of consistency probably as a result of the surgery but he should be a candidate to stir up the 2020 bullpen in Spring Training. He caused a buzz after showing off the ridiculously cheap minor league salary and I fully support the players in receiving a liveable salary for their families.
Zach Green - The former Phillies prospect has found his home in San Francisco, where he absolutely pummeled the PCL, hitting 25 homers in just 72 games that earned him a trip to the big leagues and made his Major League debut in 2019. I expect him to be back in Sacramento in 2020 as he might be a AAAA-type of player who kind of bounce around the block who can provide power on the right side of the box.
Jacob Heyward - Heyward projects to be a three true outcomes-type of player where he set the franchise record in walks for the Flying Squirrels in 2019, and his discipline and power are in full display, where he is able to hit to all fields when he is not getting on base with the walk. He might get a big league gig in 2020 once he gets his batting average up, and what better environment to run it up than in the PCL.
Ryan Howard - Howard really broke my heart in 2019 after failing to meet my high expectations on him about the confidence that I have with his ability to hit. He seemed to met his match in AAA but the thing is that his BABIP also went abnormally low, so there's a reason that it might bounce back. But, his ceiling is now lower than what I thought it would be, now only as a potential bench bat instead of an everyday option.
Peter Maris - The all around utility man that came from the Rays proved to be a good investment early when he performed well in San Jose but fell flat in the high Minors. He is 26 now so time might be running out on him but if he can recoup his SJ days in 2020 in Richmond, I think he is a candidate to be a Major Leaguer in 2020 or 2021, albeit in a bench role.
Jalen Miller - Miller had severe BABIP issues in 2019, particularly in the dog days of summer, but has improved in terms of drawing more walks and being a bit cleaner on the defensive side of the ball. There might be a bounce back in 2020 in terms of the offensive numbers for Miller once his BABIP comes back to neutral but Miller's now more of a utility-type of a player than an everyday-type from his draft days.
Sam Wolff - His age might be very old now for a prospect but Wolff should be given every chance to be in the Giants bullpen in 2020 as he has shown to have some of the best stuff in the pen with his mid-90s fastball, slider and curveball, all with swing and miss ability, high spin rates and ability to locate for strikes as long as he can stay healthy.
*Chris Shaw - Even though it's already two years that he's tasted the Majors, yes folks, Chris Shaw is still technically a prospect. He's worked very hard to work on improving his walk rate and he did so in Richmond at the start of 2019, and got promoted to Sacto where he put on a classic Chris Shaw power display that resulted to him getting called up again. I still doubt Shaw will ever hit for a good average in the Majors and is still a liability on the field defensively but he brings plenty of power to the table.
Joe McCarthy - McCarthy seems to be bothered again by a bad back throughout 2019 that is likely to be the reason of his year-long offensive slump. At his healthiest, McCarthy projects to be a high-OBP guy with feel to hit but limited defensive upside. But really, McCarthy has to have a clean bill of health in 2020 to get his swing back.
Carlos Sano - Sano's classic numbers in 2019 might be tough to look at but his strikeout rate looks very promising and he can throw it to 96 MPH with plenty of movement and a decent slider. He needs to cut down his walk rate to take it a notch but the age factor is not on his side as he is already 26.
*Conner Menez - Menez made his Major League debut in 2019 and he is still technically a prospect. Based on data on his MLB debut, his fastball velocity is below average (91.2 MPH on average) and has an average vertical and horizontal break (8" and 15.5" respectively) but has an above average spin rate (2350 RPM). However, he only throws the pitch for strike at 55%, a number he should improve upon.
His best secondary pitch based on metrics is his changeup, where his vertical drop is around league average (32"), but repeats the same slot as his fastball and gets the most out of the pitch. His slider and curveball all have below average break but is able to tunnel it very well especially the slider. Menez now projects to be a decent lefty relief option for the club.
Aramis Garcia - Based on MLB data and his film, Garcia seems to be hitting for homers a little bit too much but not getting much out of it, resulting to a lot of strikeouts and not a lot of production. He looks to be a good framing catcher, a nice battery-mate and has an average to solid pop-time and arm strength.
*Kean Wong - Still a relative newcomer in the organization, Wong spent a bit more than 2 years in the AAA level and continued to post very good numbers on the level, but the talent pool of the Rays is so deep that they have to cut him. Based on what I saw in his Tampa Bay days, Kolten's younger brother has solid tools across the board except for power. He makes good contact with the ball and is pretty good at peppering the whole field. His peripherals look good and his defense at second base looks solid on tape. I think he can try other positions as well. I think he can be a utility player for the Giants in 2020.
*Rico Garcia - A former Rockie top 30 prospect landed to the Giants via the waiver game. The right-hander might be undersized on the mound but makes up for it with his mechanics where his arm action has a slight hitch to it, making it hard for hitters to time his rhythm. The hitters can catch up to his low-90s heater though with some life and a bit of a cutting action on it. His spiked curveball flashes above average but its quality varies pretty wildly and also has a changeup but it is fringy at best. Garcia could play as an innings-type of pitcher in the rotation but his ordinary stuff and lack of fine command on it might limit him to the bullpen in the long run.
*Luis Madero - A really recent acquisition by the Giants from their waiver playland also known as the Los Angeles Angels, Madero had serious BABIP and homer-happy issues in the Cal League but his generally flyball nature along with his fringy to average fastball velocity really hurts him. His feel for locating his pitches is pretty good but he shows the ball in his mechanics pretty early and the fastball has sinker movement rather than rising movement.
Madero can flip a breaking ball well and could be on the verge of breaking out in 2020 after some pretty obvious mechanics tweaks where his front leg should be closed instead of opened at front foot land and his front foot lands open as well, resulting to his hips already open and could add more stress to his right arm if he throws harder.
Hit - Marco Luciano
Power - Connor Cannon/Armani Smith/Marco Luciano
Speed - P.J. Hilson/Grant McCray/Jaylin Davis
Arm - P.J. Hilson/Sandro Fabian
Glove - Joey Bart
Athleticism - P.J. Hilson/Hunter Bishop
Name - Aeverson Arteaga
Highest Ceiling - Marco Luciano
Highest Floor - Joey Bart
Highest Risk - Alexander Canario
Most MLB-Ready - Mauricio Dubon
First Player In Top 30 To Debut in MLB in 2020 - Joey Bart
Breakout Candidate - Grant McCray
Fastball - Melvin Adon
Slider - Logan Webb/Gregory Santos
Curveball - Dany Jimenez/Matt Frisbee
Changeup - Logan Webb/Seth Corry
Control/Command - Kervin Castro/Kai-Wei Teng
Athleticism - Seth Corry
Name - Matt Frisbee
Highest Ceiling - Gregory Santos
Highest Floor - Sean Hjelle/Kai-Wei Teng
Highest Risk - Gregory Santos/Camilo Doval
Most MLB-Ready - Logan Webb
First Player In Top 30 To Debut in MLB in 2020 - Melvin Adon
Breakout Candidate - Jose Marte