|Original Published Date: December 29, 2017|
At some point, the streak had to end and in fact, it ended with a thud. The Giants are a bad baseball team. Making matters more difficult, their minor league system is really weak. In fact, they are competing with the Diamondbacks for the worse system in the division.
Chris Shaw leads the list and is a true prospect with a chance to be a Top 20 first baseman. However, the Giants have committed to Brandon Belt and unless they move him, Shaw will have to move to the outfield where he will be a potential liability. The Giants might have gotten a steal with Heliot Ramos in last year’s draft and I think he could become a Top 40 outfielder in the game. He’s young and four years away, but he’s somebody that the Giants can build around.
Their best pitching prospect is Tyler Beede. I’ve been up and down and all around on him since the Giants drafted him but after seeing him again in the AFL, I think he’ll be a solid mid-rotation pitcher; not a star but solid.
The Giants have multiple World Series Rings over the past decade but all good things must come to an end. It’s likely to be a long road back but they’ve done it once and therefore, I would not count them out from doing it again.
Highest Level: Triple-A, ETA: 2018, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 20 1B
Chris Shaw split his season between Double and Triple-A slashing .292/.346/.525 in 125 games. He showed off his plus power by slugging 24 home runs and driving in 79 runs. He also showed his penchant for striking out as he whiffed 26% of the time.
His strikeout rate last season was in line with his career 23% strikeout rate. He’s not a three true outcome player as he only walks 8% of the time. However, overall he has a chance to be solid, power hitting first baseman at the highest level with pressure on his batting average.
His biggest issue is that he’s blocked at first base by Brandon Belt. While Belt has battled some serious concussions over the past few years, if healthy, he’s a far better option at first than Shaw. Realizing this, the Giants have moved him to the outfield both in-season and during the AFL. When I saw him in October, he played ok in left. I did not get a chance to see him make a throw though. This move could accelerate his path to the big leagues with a chance to see San Francisco in the second half of next season.
Scouting Report: At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Shaw is a big boy. His power is generated through raw strength as opposed to elite bat speed. Despite his size, his swing is direct to the ball and therefore, I think he’ll keep his strikeout rate under control. While it won’t be Altuvian, he could post a mid to low 70’s contact rate which should be enough to let his double-plus power play.
Shaw is a below-average runner and in fact, has never posted a stolen base. But his game is about power and that power could increase once he is introduced to the major league baseball. If it all comes together, he could produce 25 home runs with a .260 batting average, hitting in the middle of a big league lineup.
Fantasy Impact: I think Shaw is a legitimate fantasy prospect. The power is real and I think you can bank 25 home runs annually; even playing half his games in AT&T Park. What is also real is his swing and miss and the likelihood of hitting .230 to .250. The upside then is a Khris Davis type of performer.
Highest Level: Rookie, ETA: 2020-21, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 40 OF
The Giants might have gotten a steal when they drafted Heliot Ramos number 19th overall in last year’s MLB Draft. He was one of the youngest players in the draft, only turning 18 in September after the season ended.
The Giants assigned him to the AZL to begin his career and he more than held his own. In 35 games he hit .348 with six home runs and 11 stolen bases. He did strikeout a ton, whiffing nearly 32% of the time but when you post a .500 BABIP, the strikeouts are masked.
Given his age, the Giants could elect to hold him back in the complex league next season, but given his feel for hitting, I think they assign him to Augusta in the Sally League.
Scouting Report: The scouting reports entering the draft last season on Ramos was that he could hit. In his first exposure, he did just that. He has a short compact swing that could translate into a plus hit tool in the future. He also has good bat speed, so projecting at least average in-game power seems reasonable. He’s also an above average runner so if it all comes together, he could be an impact player at the highest level.
Fantasy Impact: I’m going to be targeting Ramos in Dynasty League rookie drafts in the latter part of the first round (15 team leagues). While he’s three, maybe four years away, he can hit with potentially 15/15 power and speed, with upside. That should translate into a useful number three outfielder on your fantasy team.
Highest Level: Triple-A, ETA: 2018, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP
During the AFL last fall, I missed Tyler Beede’s first outing, actually, I didn’t miss it as apparently he pitched in Instructs the night before and the Giants decided to rest him. Bummer…I was trying to reconcile my two previous times in which I saw him wherein 2015, he was throwing 89 to 90 MPH and in 2016, he was bumping 96 MPH.
In early November, I had a chance to make it back to the AFL and got lucky and caught his November 8th start. Well, guess what…he split the difference. He was sitting 92 to 93, bumping 94 with a really good curveball. I was actually happy with those result as it gave me hope that he could, in fact, be a nice mid-rotation starter, likely debuting in San Francisco next season.
Scouting Report: At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Beede uses his size very well to get great plane on his pitches. Because of that, he’s become an extreme groundball pitcher. He does flash a plus curveball and change-up but both play down because of his inability to throw them consistently for strikes.
While sinkerball pitchers will many times struggle early in their career with control, Beede looks to be solving that. This is the second straight year that he’s posted a 3.2 BB/9 rate.
I understand that I’ve been all over the board on Beede but do believe he has a chance to be a solid number three pitcher in the big leagues. His curveball is going to get plenty of swings and misses and provided he continues to keep the ball down, he’ll likely avoid being homer prone.
Fantasy Impact: Beede should see considerable time in the big leagues next season and should post league average results. Over time, I think he’ll be better than that with a chance to be a solid number three starter. However, he could get a bump pitching half his games in spacious AT&T Park.
Highest Level: High-A, ETA: 2019-20, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP or LOOGY
Primarily a reliever in college, the Giants drafted Garrett Williams in the 2016 MLB Draft and moved him back to the rotation. The experiment is starting to pay off as Williams posted impressive number across Low and High-A last season.
In 18 games (16 starts), he posted a 2.32 ERA striking out a batter an inning and walking 3.2 per nine. His ability to control his arsenal plagued him in college where he walked 7.5 per nine and again last year but through hard work and great instruction, things are starting to click. If it continues, he has a chance to be a solid mid-rotation starter and if he regresses back to old form, he’ll likely wind up a LOOGY.
Scouting Report: Williams has a plus arsenal with a fastball that will touch 96 MPH and a hard curveball that is his main strikeout pitch. He also throws a changeup, which isn’t as good as his fastball or curve, but still grades out as a solid pitch.
The problem has been his control which can be traced back to his inability to repeat his delivery. The delivery has some effort with a lower arm slot that makes it even more difficult to repeat. The Giants have elected to keep him low, which ultimately might lead to a long-term role in the bullpen but for now, you can’t argue with the success he’s having.
Fantasy Impact: Williams is an intriguing pitcher. He’s got premium stuff and if he continues to maintain his improved mechanics, he could be a solid mid-rotation starter if not more. Next season should tell the tale as he moves to the upper minors. If his control continues to improve, he could start moving up our list very quickly.
Highest Level: Majors, ETA: 2017, Fantasy Ceiling: Middle Infielder
With 125 at-bats at the major league level, Christian Arroyo sneaks in under our cutoff for inclusion by five at-bats. We’ve now seen him throughout his minor league and now major league career and I still believe he’ll ultimately be a utility player at the highest level.
While he can hit and is a quality defender, he has below average power and speed. That said, he did hit three home runs in 34 games in the majors last season and another four in 25 games in Triple-A. Plus, he doesn’t turn 23 until next May. So, you can argue that there is more in the tank. If you were to say he could hit 15 home runs annually, ok…I’ll give that to you. But, in today’s game, with 130 players hitting 20 home runs last season, 15 home runs is considered below average in-game power.
Scouting Report: Arroyo doesn’t have the level of tools that will make him a star. He has below average future power potential (maybe average), below-average speed and while he’s a solid defender, I can’t put his skills at above-average. That said, he can hit and that’s what will get him to the big leagues. He swing is more geared to doubles-power but he’s strong enough to put a charge into the ball. However, until he adds leverage, I don’t see more than high single-digit future home run potential. Then again, did anyone see the power breakout of Brandon Crawford as he was working through the system?
Fantasy Impact: I’ve never been a fan of Arroyo as a fantasy asset. I just don’t think he has the secondary skills to warrant full-time inclusion in a mixed league lineup. There’s always a chance that his power will develop as he matures, but unless he changes his swing mechanics, I don’t give that a high probability. He can hit and if he gets full-time at-bats, he could serve as a short-term fill-in at a middle-infield slot; assuming he stays at short.
Highest Level: Triple-A, ETA: 2018, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 60 OF
After a nice step-up season in 2016, Steven Duggar got off to a slow start in 2017 after spending the first half of the season on the disabled list with a hip injury. The Giants eased him back into game action by putting him back in High-A where he posted a .831 OPS with four home runs and seven stolen bases in 29 games. The Giants then jumped him over Double-A and he spent August in Triple-A where he posted a .783 OPS.
I caught up with him in the AFL where he really started to show his tools. In 20 games, he hit .263 with nine stolen bases and three home runs. Assuming he can build off that production next season, he should see San Francisco by in the second half of next season.
Scouting Report: I honestly didn’t know a lot about Duggar until I saw him in the fall in Arizona. He’s athletic with good speed (I had him at 4.23 to first) and a simple swing. His swing though is more geared towards doubles power than over-the-fence power but he does have good speed and with some added loft, he could eventually hit double-digit home runs. I do think he’ll steal bases; not at the pace we saw in the AFL, but 20 stolen should be in the cards.
Fantasy Impact: Duggar is not owned in many Dynasty Leagues, but after seeing him live, I think he could get regular at-bats in the majors. He makes good contact, has an idea of the strike zone and should be able to steal 20 bases. The open question is power. I think he could add 10 to 12 home runs annually. If you add it all up, that’s a solid number four outfielder on a fantasy team.
Highest Level: High-A, ETA: 2019-20, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 60 OF
After ranking number two on our list, Bryan Reynolds drops mostly because others have taken a step up.
Reynolds had a nice season in High-A slashing .312/.364/.462 in 121 games. He only had 10 home runs but whereas most ballparks in the California League are hitters parks, San Jose is not. However, half his games were on the road, so the power he has shown to-date has been more doubles than over-the-fence.
Scouting Report: Reynolds brings a nice set of all-around tools to the table but doesn’t have a true carrying tool. He’s always posted a good batting average but doesn’t make great contact and doesn’t have a very patient approach. However, through the power of BABIP, the batting average has been great. That is likely to change and when it does, the batting average could fall into the mid-200’s.
He does have good bat speed and enough loft in his swing that 20 home runs are not out of the question. However, I would tag that as an upper limit. He’s also an average runner and should be able to steal mid-single-digit stolen bases.
Fantasy Impact: Reynolds is a high draft choice from a quality school but the upside doesn’t scream fantasy star. There’s a chance that he adds more power and if he does, the profile gets more interesting. Until then, his ceiling is a fourth or fifth fantasy outfielder.
Highest Level: Triple-A, ETA: 2018, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 60 SP
We suggested last year that Andrew Suarez was a pitcher to monitor. Well, that turned out to be true as he posted a 3.30 ERA across Double and Triple-A while striking out 7.8 per nine and walking 2.4 per nine. He did give up more than a hit per inning but kept his home run total in check. The stuff and performance don’t point to a top-of-the-rotation pitcher but I do think he’s a major leaguer with a chance to be a number four starter.
He’ll likely start next season back in Triple-A but there’s an excellent chance he will spend considerable time in the major leagues next season. I don’t think he’ll have instant success but pitching half his games in San Francisco and being a lefty should put him on the radar for all fantasy owners.
Scouting Report: Suarez has a nice three-pitch mix with a fastball that sits 88 to 91 MPH (T93). He complements the pitch with a plus slider and an above-average change-up. Part of the reason he gives up so many hits is that his fastball is not that explosive. Batters seem to have no trouble picking up the pitch and that did worry me when I saw him. To that end, his pitch mix and command will be the keys to his success.
He’ll need to mix in his secondary pitches more to offset his lack of a true plus fastball. Plus, he’ll need to locate his pitches very well, particularly his fastball in order to be effective. Can he pull it off? I think he can and therefore, I’m pretty bullish that he will have success as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Fantasy Impact: Expect Suarez to make his major league debut next season. I would be targeting him as a late round pick in NFBC type Draft and Hold Leagues. His ceiling is seven strikeouts per nine, a low walk rate but a higher than average ratio given his penchant to give up hits.
Highest Level: Double-A, ETA: 2019, Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 C
If the Giants decide to part-ways with Buster Posey, Aramis Garcia might be the internal answer. While he’s far from Posey, he has a nice offensive profile with good catch-and-throw skills.
He spent most of his time last season in High-A where he posted a .811 OPS in 81 games with 17 home runs. The Giants promoted him to Double-A in late July where he posted a .796 OPS but did not clear the fences in 22 games. He also spent time in the AFL getting only 54 at-bats.
Scouting Report: Aramis has always shown the ability to control the strike zone well with some pop. His lifetime strikeout rate is 23% while his walk rate is 8%. Both are not stellar but when you consider he’s a backstop, the approach could make him an above-average catcher. He’s had two-year showing good power and I did see him hit a home run in the AFL. He has good bat speed with enough loft that I think double-digit home runs should be in the cards.
Fantasy Impact: With Buster Posey still in the picture, Garcia is likely a backup, but if the Giants decide to tear it all down and start over, Garcia should get a chance to start. While his play won’t let Giants fans forget about Posey anytime soon, he could be an above-average catcher and therefore an above-average fantasy catcher.
Highest Level: Short Season, ETA: 2021, Fantasy Ceiling: Speed guy
Drafted in the 22nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Junior College, Ziegler was impressive in 64 games in Salem of the Northwest League.
In those 64 games, he hit .240 with a .329 OBP with five home runs and 26 stolen bases. He was hitting .340 at the end of June, but a .140 average in August tanked his average for the year. Whether he tired or the league caught up to him is unknown.
Scouting Report: Ziegler’s carrying tool is his double-plus speed that he showed last season in stealing 26 of 35 bases. He also has good bat speed and enough power to hit a handful of home runs annually. He will chase pitches outside of the strike zone and if he tries to muscle up too much, the combination will lead to a high rate of strikeouts.
Fantasy Impact: Ziegler should only be owned in leagues that roster over 400 minor leaguers. He has double-plus speed and at least for a month, showed the ability to handle professional pitching.
2018 Emerging Prospect
As a young 19-year-old, Sandro Fabian more than held his own in his first taste of full-season baseball. In 122 games in Low-A he hit .277 with 11 home runs and five stolen bases. He showed a real knack for making contact but also loved to swing the pole walking only 10 times in those 122 games. While raw, there’s a lot to like and is a player that should be monitored.