|Original Published Date: January 3, 2020|
The Giants have a very good minor league system. It’s not stacked with a lot of Top 100 prospects, but instead, it’s comprised of a lot of young talented players in the lower levels of the minor leagues.
Joey Bart leads the system followed quickly by Marco Luciano. Bart was the number two overall pick in 2018 MLB Draft and in the same year, Luciano was selected as one of the top international free agents. Bart is just about ready and could even see the Major Leagues in 2020. Luciano has yet to make his full-season debut but tore up the AZL last season.
While Bart and Luciano are known entities, Seth Corry, Alexander Canario, Jairo Pomares, and Luis Matos are younger players who are starting to show intriguing skills in the lower levels of the minor leagues. All have the upside to be impact performers in the big leagues. Throw-in another high draft pick in the 2020 MLB Draft and help could soon be on its way to assist Brandon Belt in carrying another Championship to the city by the Bay.
Prospect Quick Shot
- Top Prospect: Joey Bart
- Biggest Mover: Seth Corry
- Emerging Prospect: Luis Matos
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1. Joey Bart (C)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2020-21 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 10 C
- Tools Summary: Plus power but needs to control the strike zone better. A plus defender.
With all the talk of Adley Rutschman, it’s easy to forget that Joey Bart was the top catcher in the 2018 MLB Draft where the Giants drafted him with the second overall pick. He had a solid year in the California League playing in one of the few pitcher-friendly ballparks in the League, San Jose. In 57 games, he’s slashed .265/.315/.479 with 12 home runs and five stolen bases. He did miss six weeks from mid-April through May recovering from a broken hand that he suffered after getting hit by an errant fastball from Mitchell Jordan on April 15th. He finished the year in Double-A slashing .316/.368/.544 in 22 games.
Bart projects to be a Top 10 major league catcher with excellent defensive chops and good, but not plus offensive upside. He has good size and bat speed and projects to hit 20 plus home runs at the highest level. He is aggressive at the plate and will expand the strike zone, so there will likely be pressure on both his batting average and on-base percentages.
2. Marco Luciano (SS)
- Highest Level: Short-Season ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 10 SS or 3B
- Tools Summary: Potential five-tool player who lived up to his pre-sign hype.
Marco Luciano was the big sexy name in the International Free Agent pool in 2018. The Giants were the lucky winner, signing him to a $2.6 million dollar signing bonus.
They brought him directly stateside where he was impressive in 37 games in the AZL slashing .322/.438/.616 with 10 home runs and eight stolen bases. It was indeed an impressive debut for a kid who played the entire season as an 18-year-old. The performance got him a promotion to the Northwest League where he only batted .212 but still controlled the strike zone well. It sure is nice when a player lives up to the pre-draft hype, or in this case, the pre-sign hype; especially when fantasy owners spent a very high pick in last year’s rookie drafts.
Luciano has a solid toolset across the board. He has great bat speed and projects to develop above-average, if not future plus power. He’s also a plus runner and while he needs to learn better base running skills, (he stole 8 bases, but got caught 6 times), he projects to steal 20 plus bases as he moves through the development process. The hit-tool is the open question and while I don’t see him as a .300 hitter, he should make enough contact with a patient approach to hit .270 with a .340 plus OBP. If you add it all up, the upside is a 20-20 performer who should be able to hit. He might not be able to stay at short, but still should be able to play in the dirt.
3. Hunter Bishop (OF)
- Highest Level: Short-Season ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 OF
- Tools Summary: Excellent power with good speed but with plenty of strikeouts.
After an impressive junior season at Arizona State University, the Giants selected Hunter Bishop with the tenth overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. As a junior, he slugged .748, hit 22 home runs and even added a dozen stolen bases. He also struck out 22% of the time and therein lies the red flag.
In his professional debut, he split his time between the AZL and the Northwest League, once again showing decent power (.429 SLG), good speed (8 SBs in 32 games) but he also struck out 26% of the time. The good news, as was the case in college, he walked a lot.
So, we have a player with plus future power potential, is a good runner but based on his swing and miss tendency, will likely support a low batting average. The good news is that with his plate patience, he also should post a reasonable on-base percentage. That’s a soft regular for me. A chance to be a Top 45 outfielder with good power and speed but pressure on the batting average.
4. Logan Webb (RHP)
- Highest Level: Majors ETA: 2019 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP
- Tools Summary: Athletic with three above-average pitches. He’s not a flame thrower with his fastball sitting 93 to 94 MPH, but he repeats his delivery with a quality arsenal.
As Logan Webb was moving through the minor leagues, he was viewed as a two-pitch pitcher that might eventually need to move the bullpen. In 2019, he showed growth in his change-up and according to PitchFx data, it got the most Whiffs of any of his pitches. However, his curveball continues to be his money pitch with a great Whiff rate and one of the better spin rates in the game. He’s not a flame thrower with his fastball averaging 93 MPH, but he can touch 95 when he needs something extra.
He’s athletic and is able to repeat his delivery and therefore has always been able to throw strikes. His minor league career BB/9 ratio is a very workable 2.98 which represents above-average control. If you add it all up, he has a chance to be a solid mid-rotation starter.
He should get plenty of opportunities to start for San Francisco next season. While wins will likely be few and far between, he could strike out close to a batter an inning with above-average ratios.
5. Mauricio Dubon (2B)
- Highest Level: Majors ETA: 2019 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 2B
- Tools Summary: He’s an aggressive hitter who makes great contact. Last year’s power is likely an outlier, but he’s not void of power either. He’s also an above-average runner.
Mauricio Dubon was traded at the deadline last July and by the end of the season, he was the starting second baseman for the Giants. After slashing .274/.306/.434 in 30 games with four home runs and three stolen bases, he proved once again that sometimes, all it takes is a chance.
Dubon should be able to hit enough to carve out a career as a full-time regular at either short or second base. He’s an aggressive hitter who doesn’t walk a lot (6% BB/9 career ratio) but makes excellent contact (13% K/9 career ratio). He’s got a little bit of pop, even hitting 19 home runs across the International and Pacific Coast League last season with above-average speed. He could pop 15 home runs if the juiced ball continues or 8 to 10 if the ball magically reverts back to its old form. Throw-in 10 to 15 stolen bases and he has a chance to be Top 15 fantasy second baseman.
6. Heliot Ramos (OF)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2021 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 60 OF
- Tools Summary: He has average power to go along with a little speed but the strikeouts are starting to mount as he faces tougher competition.
After a disappointing season in 2018, Heliot Ramos bounced back to slash .306/.385/.500 in 77 games in the California League. Granted, his .306 batting average was supported by an unsustainable .385 BABIP, but overall, it was a better year. While the Cali League has many hitter’s parks, San Jose is not one of them. The good news is that Ramos slugged more at home games than he did in away games; although he did hit more home runs. The performance got him a late July promotion to Double-A where he played ok slashing .242/.321/.421 but he also saw a spike in his strikeout rate.
I had a chance to scout Ramos in the Fall League in September and he didn’t have a great showing. He was chasing a lot of pitches out of the zone and consequently, he struck out 23 times in 70 plate appearances. While his strikeout rate in High-A was 25%, his strikeout rate spiked to 31% in his six weeks in Double-A. So, I’m concerned as to how much contact he will ultimately make. I think he has enough strength and foot speed to hit for power and run a little, but it might come with a .240 batting average.
7. Alexander Canario (OF)
- Highest Level: Short-Season ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 OF
- Tools Summary: Plus power with a little speed but swing and miss has been a problem to-date. He’s still very young.
After crushing AZL pitching in June, the Giants promoted Alexander Canario to the college heavy Northwest League and he continued to play extremely well. In 49 games, he’s hit .301 with a .365 on-base percentage with nine home runs and three stolen bases. He has shown a penchant to strike out too much (32% K/9 ratio) but he just turned 19 and is extremely young for the league.
While the tools are still very raw, the upside is a power hitter outfielder with a chance to add a handful of stolen bases. As mentioned, the approach will need to be refined and the strikeouts reduced, but there’s a ton to like in the 19-year-old outfielder. I expect him to begin 2020 in Augusta of the Sally League.
8. Jairo Pomares (OF)
- Highest Level: Short-Season ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 OF
- Tools Summary: Tons of tools including plus power potential. He performed very well in the AZL but was overwhelmed after his promotion to the Northwest League.
Jairo Pomares was one of the best performers in the AZL last season hitting .368 with a .542 SLG in 37 games. The performance got him an August promotion to the college-heavy Northwest League where he hit .207 in 14 games.
Pomares is yet another young tooled up player that is starting to transform the San Francisco Giants minor league system. He has plus raw power, is an above-average runner who appears to have a semblance of a hit-tool. His power is generated out of strong, quick hands and a compact swing. While the approach is still raw, the early returns are positive with a 16% strikeout rate and a 6.7% walk rate.
He’s still four years away, but if the hit tool develops, he could be a Top 45 outfielder in the game with solid power and speed.
9. Seth Corry (LHP)
- Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP
- Tools Summary: Excellent season where he showed excellent swing-and-miss stuff. Control continues to be a problem.
Seth Corry has had a terrific season while pitching in the Sally League. The 2017 third-round pick pitched to a 1.76 ERA over 26 starts striking out over 12 per nine while allowing 73 hits in 122.2 innings. The problem is he walked over four batters per nine.
Corry has good stuff with a fastball that he can run up to 95 MPH and a nice 11-5 curveball that is his primary swing and miss pitch. He’s also showing a feel for a change-up but it’s clearly his third pitch. While the arsenal is solid, if not a touch better, he has yet to show he can throw consistent strikes.
His control problems are coming from his inability to repeat his delivery. The delivery is simple without a lot of effort, he just hasn’t been able to find a consistent slot for his release. If he can solve that, he has a chance to be a solid mid-rotation starter. If not, it’s more of a back-of-the-rotation profile.
10. Luis Matos (OF)
- Highest Level: Rookie ETA: 2023+ Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 OF with risk
- Tools Summary: Very young but has plenty of tools including a semblance of a hit-tool.
The Giants have really stepped up their game in Latin America. They’ve signed numerous young Lattin players that appear on this list. Luis Matos might not be the best known of the players, but he has really started to open eyes with evaluators.
Signed in 2018, the Giants assigned him to the DSL to begin the 2019 campaign and in 55 games, hit .362 with a .430 OBP. He also slugged seven home runs and stole 20 bases. The performance earned him a promotion stateside to the AZL where he continued to hit in his brief stay. His season was cut short after an outfield collision sidelined him in late-August.
There are a ton of tools to get excited about with Matos. He has great bat speed, is a plus runner and based on his limited professional exposure, appears to have a promising hit-tool. He’s a long way away but the upside could be a 20-20 performer at the highest level.
11. Sean Hjelle (RHP)
- Highest Level: Double-A ETA: 2021 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 60 SP
- Tools Summary: Standing nearly seven feet, Sean Hjelle will provide a different look for hitters. He has good stuff and solid control.
It’s difficult to assess the ceiling of Sean Hjelle. Based on what he did last season, he looks like at least a mid-rotation starter. Hjelle started the year in Low-A and posted a 2.66 ERA and after nine starts, he was promoted to High-A. He was equally good in the California League posting a 2.78 ERA striking out nearly eight per nine and walking only 19 in 77.2 innings. He finished the year in Double-A and while he didn’t post great numbers, he showed solid stuff.
The problem with properly assessing Hjelle is his height. He stands 6-foot-11 and there is not a long history of players that tall pitching in the Major Leagues. Sure, Randy Johnson was that height but Hjelle fastball sits more 92 to 94 MPH and he throws a curveball instead of Johnson’s wicked slider. Although, his change-up is his best secondary pitch. What Hjelle can do is throw strikes, which is no small feat for someone who is nearly seven feet tall. Plus, his delivery gives batters a different look and that alone could help his stuff play.
He’ll likely start 2020 back in Double-A with a likely arrival date in San Francisco in 2021.
12. Luis Toribio (3B)
- Highest Level: Short-Season ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 15 3B
- Tools Summary: Excellent plate patience with solid contact skills. He’s not showing much power as his swing lacks loft. His defense might cause a move off third base.
After posting a .902 OPS in the DSL in 2018, Luis Toribio nearly duplicated his performance in the AZL in 2019. In 51 games, he slashed .297/.436/.459 with more walks than strikeouts. He also hit three home runs and stole four bases. He was rewarded for his performance with a three-game promotion to the Northwest League to finish the season.
He projects to only have average power as his swing currently lacks loft and is more geared to hit doubles than clear the fence. But his plate coverage and plate patience are indeed impressive. Because he’s hunting pitches at the plate, he does have a tendency to get passive and that might lead to too many strikeouts. However, in both the DSL and Low-A, his strikeout rate averaged 23%.
Toribio is an intriguing prospect given his ability to hit. He’s not a great defender but if he continues to hit, the Giants will find a place for him to play.
13. Gregory Santos (RHP)
- Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2022-23 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 SP or Closer
- Tools Summary: Plus fastball-slider combination. 2019 was cut short due to a shoulder injury. Assuming health, the Giants will continue to develop him as a starter, but the stuff might play better in the bullpen.
The Giants had hoped that Gregory Santos would have taken a significant step forward in 2019, but a shoulder injury plagued him for most of the season and he only pitched 34.2 innings in Low-A. He continued to show premium stuff with a fastball that can hit the upper nineties which he complements with a nasty slider. He just turned 20 in August, so he still has youth on his side, but he Giants want to see him healthy and moving through the system.
Given his health concerns and lack of a third pitch, the Giants might decide to move him to the bullpen where his fastball-slider could be a real asset. But for now, they will continue to develop him as a starter.
14. Logan Wyatt (1B)
- Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 20 1B
- Tools Summary: Has an excellent understanding of the strike zone with good strikeout rates. Compares favorably to Brandon Belt.
Logan Wyatt was selected in the second round of the 2019 MLB Draft from the University of Louisville. He was a walk-machine in college, posting a 22% BB/9 rate in both his sophomore and junior year. He also posted excellent strikeout rates: 2018 – 12% and 2019 – 15%. While he showed a promising hit tool, he only demonstrated modest power and given he’s likely limited to first base, that could present a problem.
In his first exposure to professional ball, it was more of the same. In 44 games across three levels, he posted a .388 OBP but also only slugged .377. He’s a big kid at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, but the swing is more contact-oriented as he lacks loft. But, the Giants seem to like players like this as they signed Brandon Belt to a long-term contract and he has a similar skill set. Belt is signed through 2021 and the timing should work for Wyatt’s arrival. Will he develop power? I think he could hit 15 to 20 annually. Kind of what Belt has done.
15. Franklin Labour (OF)
- Highest Level: Low-A ETA: 2022-23 Fantasy Ceiling: Top 45 OF with extreme risk
- Tools Summary: Double-plus raw power but that power will come with a low batting average.
Franklin Labour’s carrying tool is his double-plus power that was on display when he led the Northwest League in home runs with 14. Not only did he show a ton of pop, but he also hit .307 with a .392 OBP and kept his strikeout rate to a reasonable 23%. This led to a promotion to Low-A in August where he struggled.
He slugged .299 in 31 games and struck out 34% of the time. The Giants will need to work with him to cut down his swing path as his swing does have length. However, the power is truly double-plus and if he can replicate how he controlled the strike zone in the Northwest League, there could be something there.