San Francisco Giants

The Giants have a very good minor league system.  It’s not stacked with a lot of famous prospects outside of Marco Luciano and Joey Bart, but the depth is strong.

I made the bold decision to put Marco Luciano at the top of the system.  He’s a potential five-tool talent and has played well in his limited exposure to professional baseball.  Tools like he possesses just don’t come around that often and when they do, you have to jump on it.  Joey Bart is next and got a chance to show his stuff in the Major Leagues in 2020.  It didn’t go well but there is good power albeit with some swing and miss issues.  Hunter Bishop, Heliot Ramos, and Alexander Canario all have ceilings of full-time regulars and are coming on fast. 

The system is not at the level of where the Padres were a couple of years ago, but it’s also not that far off.

Prospect Quick Shot

  • Top Prospect: Marco Luciano
  • Biggest Mover: Luis Matos
  • Emerging Prospect: Kyle Harrison

1. Marco Luciano (SS)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site 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 has lived up to his pre-signing hype when the Giants inked him to a $2.6 million bonus in 2018.  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 projects to steal 20 plus bases annually.  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.

2. Joey Bart (C)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2020 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 Catcher
  • Tools Summary: He’s a plus defender with plus power potential but needs to control the strike zone better

With Buster Posey opting out of 2020, the Giants turned to Joey Bart in mid-August to make his Major League debut. Despite struggling, the Giants kept him on the roster for the entire year where he received 109 plate appearances.  How bad did he struggle?  He slashed .233/.288/.320 striking out 37% of the time and only walking three times.  While the experience was invaluable, there is development remaining.  With his current approach, he’s not going to ever hit for a high average, but I would expect better things as he grows as a player.  A .240/.320/.430 slash line with 15 to 20 home runs should be a good baseline.  It’s not Buster Posey, but it should be good enough to make him a top 15 catcher in the game.

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.

The Giants selected Hunter Bishop with the tenth overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.  In his professional debut, he split his time between the AZL and the Northwest League, 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. 

4. Heliot Ramos (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2021-22 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 50 OF
  • Tools Summary: He has a chance for plus power, but strikeouts could become a problem.  Also, he’s already slowing down, so stolen bases are likely not going to be a huge factor

I had a chance to scout Heliot Ramos in the Fall League in 2019 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.  Based on his approach, I’m therefore concerned 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.

5. Alexander Canario (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 OF
  • Tools Summary: Plus power with a little speed but the hit tool is still very raw

Alexander Canario was signed for a modest $100,000 in 2016 and has exceeded expectations.  When the Giants signed him, they knew the tools were there, but they’ve been encouraged at how quickly his hit tool has developed.  While he struck out 32% of the time in 2019, the Giants believe that will improve as he gains more experience.  If true, it should unlock what could be double-plus home run power.  He’s still young and raw but the upside could be significant.

6. Patrick Bailey (C)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 Catcher
  • Tools Summary: Offensive-oriented catcher

The Giants drafted Patrick Bailey in the first round last June (pick 13).  He was a three-year starter at NC State and put up tremendous offensive numbers.  In 84 games, he slashed .322/.429/.602 with 18 home runs.  He also walked more than he struck out, although he did strike out at an alarming 25% of the time in his abbreviated 2020 season.  Evaluators love his swing and believe that he has enough athleticism to develop into an above-average defensive catcher.

7. Luis Matos (OF)

  • Highest Level:  DNP 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.

Luis Matos began his professional career by hitting .362 with a .430 OBP in 55 games in the DSL in 2019.  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.  From a scouting standpoint, he has great bat speed, is a plus runner, and appears to have an idea at the plate. He’s a long way away but the upside could be a 20-20 performer at the highest level.

8. Seth Corry (LHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2022 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP
  • Tools Summary: Excellent 2019 season where he showed excellent swing-and-miss stuff.  Control continues to be a problem

Seth Corry had a terrific 2019 season where he pitched to a 1.76 ERA over 26 starts striking out over 12 per nine. The problem is he walked over four batters per nine.  He 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.  While the arsenal is solid, if not a touch better, he has yet to show he can throw consistent strikes. 

9. Jairo Pomares (OF)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2023-24 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 OF
  • Tools Summary: Tons of tools including plus power potential but there is concern about his ability to hit enough to get to the power

Jario Pomares is yet another young tooled up player that the Giants have added to their system over the past several years.  He has plus raw power and is currently an above-average runner.  While the swing is compact, he expands the strike zone, and the worry is that will become a bigger problem as he faces better pitching.  Then again, you can say that about 90% of the prospects in the game.  For Dynasty League owners, there are fantasy-friendly tools, but he’ll have to hit to get to them.  2021 should tell us a lot as he’ll likely begin the year in Low-A.

10. Will Wilson (2B/SS)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site ETA: 2022-23 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 15 2B
  • Tools Summary: Good power with some on-base skills but he needs to cut down on his strikeout rate

Will Wilson was originally drafted by the Angels but was traded to the Giants in the salary dump of Zack Cozart.  While he played shortstop in college, I see him as a second baseman in the pros.  He has good bat speed and could develop 15 to 20 home run power.  However, he strikes out too much and I worry that he’ll also hit .240.  He’s an average runner and while he didn’t steal many bases in college or his debut, he could steal a handful of bases annually going forward.

11. Luis Toribio (3B)

  • Highest Level:  Alternate Site 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

The Giants signed Luis Toribio in 2017 for a modest $300,000.  He’s a hit-first prospect with excellent contact skills who controls the strike zone well.  He projects to only have average power as his swing currently lacks loft and is more geared for doubles-power.  Because he’s hunting pitches at the plate, he does tend to get passive and that might oddly lead to strikeouts. 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.

12. Sean Hjelle (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2022 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 in 2019, he looks like at least a mid-rotation starter.  Between Low and High-A, he posted a 2.70 ERA striking out over eight per nine.  However, at 6-foot-11, there’s 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.

13. Kyle Harrison (LHP)

  • Highest Level:  DNP ETA: 2024 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 45 SP with extreme risk
  • Tools Summary: Athletic pitcher who was paid first-round money in the 2020 draft

Kyle Harrison was drafted in the third round last June and was paid first-round money.  He’s athletic with a low 90s fastball and a feel to spin a curveball.  As he matures, he’ll likely see a jump in velocity and through repetition, should throw more strikes.  The Giants invested and there is a reason for that.  He’s one to keep an eye on.

14. Luis Alexander Basabe (OF)

  • Highest Level:  Majors ETA: 2020 Fantasy Ceiling:  Top 60 OF
  • Tools Summary: The shine is off but there are still some skills here

Luis Alexander Basabe was originally signed by the Red Sox, traded to the White Sox in the Chris Sale deal before being released, and then sold to the Giants in August.  He was once considered an elite prospect but now at the ripe old age of 24, the shine is off and he’s barely holding on.  Perhaps I’m on an island, but I’ve always liked him.  He’s athletic with a little pop, a little speed who isn’t lost at the plate.  Sure, he’s not going to be a star, maybe not even a full-time regular at this point, but he could be a fourth outfielder, and given he’s still young, there’s still time to develop.

15. Gregory Santos (RHP)

  • Highest Level:  Low-A ETA: 2023 Fantasy Ceiling:  Closer
  • Tools Summary: Plus fastball-slider combination.  After missing time in 2019 and not being assigned to the ATS, there are even larger questions about his ceiling

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.  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. 

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