San Francisco Giants 2018 Top 50 Prospects

San Francisco Giants Top 50 Prospects for 2018

2017 was a bitter disappointment in virtually every conceivable way for the Giants. Coming off a painful end to their 2016 post-season, the Giants committed even more long term money to Mark Melancon, boosting their payroll to an all time franchise high, $203 million, pushing into the CBT for the third straight year, and hampering the team’s long-term flexibility with big contracts to aging players with No Trade Clauses all across the roster. On Opening Day Melancon blew his first save opportunity. In the drama business, this would be known as a harbinger of things to come. The Giants’ 98 losses at the big league level were only one of their problems organization-wise. A team that was already thin on talent suffered injuries to top prospects like Christian Arroyo, Steven Duggar, and Tyler Beede that ended or hampered development. Players deemed major league ready, like Arroyo or Ryder Jones, failed miserably in their first tastes of the big leagues. The system was nearly bereft of major development leaps or strong pop up prospects, and in the high minors they were forced to raid the Independent Atlantic League just to field a AA team.

Every full season level flirted with their league’s worst record, as the organization stumbled to a top-to-bottom faceplant. In many places around the baseball world, an old declining major league roster combined with a weak, thin minor league system would inevitably lead to a full rebuild. San Francisco is not one of those places. And now the front office is tasked with trying to return the major league team to relevance, without a great deal of financial flexibility or a strong system from which to trade. It’s a daunting and complicated prospect. Their big league struggles stymied their attempts to woo Giancarlo Stanton, while the prospect struggles have, as GM Bobby Evans has admitted, hampered their attempts to land other trade targets. Two of my original top 10 — Christian Arroyo and Bryan Reynolds — helped bring in former stars Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. But there are still plenty more holes that need addressing and the stock of prospect value is dwindling. Other teams are no doubt focussing with laser like focus on the Giants one legitimate impact prospect, Heliot Ramos, who likely stands as the one potential star on some future Giants team that the system currently boasts.

For now the front office seems to be committed to a bi-focussed approach to the near and far-terms. Resisting the urge to move Ramos, adding more top tier prospects using their lofty position in the 2018 draft and international bonus pool (I would expect at least one elite prospect to come from each of these avenues next summer), all while trying to return to something resembling competitiveness at the big league level is the complex path they have set themselves to tread. It’s difficult to tell if making the big league club competitive or returning the prospect pipeline to health represents the greater challenge.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster




 

TIER 1:

1. Heliot Ramos, CF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-#3)
Age: 18 (DOB 09/07/99)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Ramos fell to the Giants at the 19th pick in the 2017 draft, but after the young CF ran roughshod over one of the most talented AZL rookie leagues in recent memory, it looks like the Giants’ cannily grabbed one of the steals of the draft. He obliterated AZL pitching to the tune of a .348/.404/.645 line, the second highest OPS in the league (among qualified hitters), while playing the entire season at age 17. Ramos showed extremely easy power to all fields, consistent hard contact, speed that played on the bases and in the field, and a joie de vivre and vocal presence that quickly made him a leader on his talented roster. A lack of experience (and familiarity with quality breaking balls) led him to rack up Ks in huge numbers, but the easy bat speed, huge power, extreme athleticism, and loud contact hint at a fully rounded toolbox that could blossom into stardom with some finishing touches. There’s some concern that he could be pushed off CF if the lower half thickens up, but he has the impact bat and plus arm to handle RF well. For now his future is a tantalizing five-tool (literally!) CF. He’ll start 2018 in full season South Atlantic League (A) where he’ll play the entire season at the age of 18. ETA: 2021

 

TIER 2:

2. Chris Shaw, LF/1B  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#6, Mid-#1)
Age: 24 (DOB 10/20/93)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
While the rest of baseball has entered a dingerific new era, the Giants have steadfastly remained stuck in a dead ball game of their very own. Shaw stands as the Giants best, and maybe only, opportunity to join in the fun in the near term. Shaw is really a one tool player, but it’s a loud tool, with big power from the left side. He started 2017 with a return to AA (where he had a 60 game debut in ’16). The return did him well, as Shaw showed marked improvements across the offensive board, posting a .301/.390/.511 line in 37 games before earning a promotion to AAA. That line included career best marks in both walk rate (11.7%) and K (16.9%) which suggested a real ability to make adjustments. That improvement in peripherals didn’t survive the move to AAA, where he struck out in nearly 30% of his PA, but the power certainly did. Shaw led the Giants organization with 24 HR and had 60 XBH across the two levels. He also spent the year working on a return to the OF, where the Giants could certainly use a player of his offensive profile. That experiment hasn’t gone quite as well as his limited foot speed will always keep him striving to be an average defensive OF. Still, if he can reach that bar or close to it, the bat will give the Giants a legitimate power source in their power starved lineup, with raw power that should be able to play, even in AT&T. ETA: 2018

3. Tyler Beede, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#1, Mid-#4)
Age: 24 (DOB 05/23/93)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
As a prospect, Beede is the proverbial river one never steps in twice: every year seems to bring a new profile by the talented, enigmatic right-hander. After a successful return to AA in 2016 which saw him return to upper 90’s velocity with his 4s fastball, 2017 brought more mixed returns. The velocity trended down again, partially because he seemed to return to a heavier 2-seam and cutter mix in the difficult pitching climes of the PCL. Along with that, his K/9, which had climbed near to 8.25 in 2016, dropped back to a disappointing 6.85 in 2017. His FIP shot up above 5.00, due in no small part to a propensity for the long ball. To make matters worse, the season ended in injury as a groin strain kept him on the shelf from mid-July until about half way through the Arizona Fall League schedule. Beede has one of the richest assortment of pitches in the system, mixing 4-seam, 2-seam, cutter, curveball and change effectively. Some scouts think the repertoire is too varied and that Beede would benefit from simplifying. None of the offerings is really an out pitch and Beede hasn’t consistently shown the type of command necessary for a pitcher who struggles to rack up Ks to be successful. Still, he has the size, velocity, and repertoire to provide innings at the back end of a rotation, and the promise of something more at the upper end of his development. He’ll compete for the openings at the back end of the Giants’ rotation with lefties Ty Blach and Andrew Suarez and his fellow 1st round RHP Chris Stratton (and likely some veteran challengers brought to camp as well). ETA: 2018.

4. Steven Duggar, CF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#12, Mid-#5)
Age: 24 (DOB 11/04/93)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Duggar was yet another prospect whose 2017 was marked by injury. It’s quite possible that Duggar’s injury was the most bitterly regretted by a Giants’ front office that is sky high on the CF prospect. Giants’ fans heard frequently from beat writers this year that Duggar would likely have made his major league debut in ’17 had he not been sidelined in spring training by hip flexor and hamstring injuries, and he’s known to be a favorite of VP of Baseball Ops Brian Sabean. Instead of building on a fantastic AA campaign in 2016, Duggar spent the first half of the year rehabbing in XST, and ultimately spent more of 2017 in A+ San Jose than anywhere else. He ended the season on an upswing however, with an excellent appearance in the AFL where he hit .263/.367/.421 after a slow start. Duggar got strong notice for his ball-hawking in CF and finally began to show signs of turning his excellent speed into a weapon on the bases, stealing 9 out of 10 SB attempts. Duggar is one of the most tooled up players in the system, with above average arm and speed. He has raw power to the pull side, but his game swing is more built for content and gap to gap. He has one of the best eyes in the system, and consistently gets on base (career .378 OBP in the minors). Giants’ officials have consistently expressed their enthusiasm for Duggar who appears to be the future in CF and possibly in the very near term. His defense should make him valuable while the offensive game is adjusting to the big leagues. If it all comes together there could be an All Star ceiling for Duggar, but even the floor would appear to be a useful 4th OF so long as he can keep the injuries at bay. ETA: 2018.

5. Andrew Suarez, LHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#5, Mid-#8)
Age: 25 (DOB 09/11/92)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Oddly, the Giants best pitching prospect (Beede) is a two-time 1st round draft pick, and their second best pitching prospect is a two-time 2nd round draft pick. That would be Suarez, who spurned the Washington Nationals as a 2nd round pick following his Junior year at the University of Miami. As a senior draft pick Suarez is on the older side, but the Giants have moved him aggressively, so he already has nearly 100 AAA innings under his belt after just 2.5 seasons in pro ball. The adjective most readily applied to Suarez is “reliable.” He’s rarely sensational, but he piles up effective innings in level after level. His best pitch is his slider which is particularly tough on LHH, and he sets it up well with a 90-93 mph fastball. He mixes in a curve and a change as well, both of which are lesser offerings, but they help him attack batters with feel and sequencing. It doesn’t sound sexy, but unlike Beede, Suarez actually improved his K rate when he moved up to the PCL (posting a 8.12 K9) and kept his ERA and FIP under 4.00 in the offense friendly league. He was at his best down the stretch last year, with 8 consecutive starts allowing 2 or fewer ER from July 22 – August 28. He’ll challenge for a rotation spot next spring, against doppelgänger Ty Blach, among others. ETA: 2018

 

TIER 3:

6. Sandro Fabian, RF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#7, Mid-#11)
Age: 19 (DOB 03/06/98)
2017 Highest Level: A
Fabian won’t turn 20 until spring training of 2018 but he’s already impressed Giants officials with his work ethic, his attitude and his feel for the game. As a result, he’s been one of the highest rising teenagers in the system. The Giants have been aggressive with Fabian, moving him from the DSL through full season ball in just three seasons. In general, he’s responded well to the challenges. He pounded the AZL in 2016, posting a .340/.364/.522 line. But by the All Star break of 2017, it looked like the jump to full season ball was too much for the 19 year old. He posted just a .606 OPS with a woeful .263 OBP in the first half of his Sally league campaign. But he responded with an excellent 2nd half, hitting .311/.331/.473 the rest of the way. Fabian makes consistent hard contact but he’ll need to fix his approach if he hopes to keep rising. Fabian walked just 10 times in nearly 500 PA last year, and that swing at everything approach keeps him from honing in on balls he can really attack. Though not fast, Fabian has good range in RF with a plus arm. His power may not be better than average, but if things all come together there’s a productive major league starting RF here. ETA: 2021.

7. Aramis Garcia, C  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#17, Mid-#9)
Age: 25 (DOB 01/12/93)
2017 Highest Level: AA
After bashing his way to San Jose back in August of 2015, Garcia probably wouldn’t have guessed he’d have such a lengthy stay in the Cal League. It took two full years, and parts of three seasons, before Garcia finally earned a much hoped for promotion to the Eastern League. The primary culprit in the long delays were injuries: in particular a facial fracture suffered in a slide into 2B and multiple concussions (the bane of catchers everywhere). The resultant stints on the DL stymied his development and frequently prevented Garcia from getting into the rhythms of the season. He played just 41 games in 2016 and just 93 in 2017. The concussion he suffered in April of 2017 ended an opening month in which he’d hit .348 and slugged .674, leading to many promotion rumors. He would finally get that promotion in August and end his year with an excellent month in AA, posting a .282/.360/.436 mark with 12 doubles in 22 games. A second consecutive year in the AFL, however, produced tepid results and qualified compliments from observers. Though he has a strong arm, his receiving and footwork tend to get mixed reviews. Garcia has solid pull-side power, though mixed with a below average hit tool. But given the state of Catching in the majors, that should be enough to secure a job as Buster Posey‘s backup if the glove makes it to major league quality. ETA: 2020

8. Garrett Williams, LHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#28, Mid-#24)
Age: 23 (DOB 09/15/94)
2017 Highest Level: A+
Williams has known baseball fame since an amazing star turn as a pre-teen, when his strikeout exploits nearly led the Lubbock team to a Little League World Series, striking out 42 batters in 16 innings of work. For many years after that, it appeared that his career might have peaked at the age of 12. Though Williams has always shown a plus curve and flashed a plus fastball in the making, there have always been “buts….” attached. Injuries (he had thoracic outlet surgery in high school), inconsistent stuff and most of all control issues have thrown obstacle after obstacle in his path. He pitched just 13 innings in his Junior year for Oklahoma State because of his trouble locating the strike zone. The Giants took a flyer on the enigmatic lefty in the 7th round of the 2016 draft and the results thus far have been everything they could hope for. Williams start to 2017 was delayed by a minor injury, but once he got to Augusta (Sally league) in May not much slowed him down the rest of the year. In 12 games in A ball, Williams maintained a 2.25 ERA and saw an uptick in his strikeout rate (8 per 9), though the walks were still on the high side (3.5/9). But it was during a late season stint in A+ Cal League that Williams really soared. Over six games in the Cal League Williams struck out 38 and walked just 10 over 33 innings, posting a 2.45 ERA. Though he’s still primarily a two-pitch guy (fastball, curve) both pitches can be above average or better — potentially a lethal combination. And he has the makings of an average third. The Giants are hoping 2017 was a big corner turned for the lefty with the best upside in the system. If he repeats the performance in 2018 he’s likely the best pitching prospect in the system (whether Beede and Suarez are still on the list or not). If he doesn’t, there’s still a chance for a lefty crusher bullpen piece here. ETA: 2020

9. Melvin Adon, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#34, Mid-#16)
Age: 23 (DOB 06/09/94)
2017 Highest Level: A
Adon was a late international signee but he’s made up for lost time since the Giants inked him in February 2015.  Just over a year later Adon was making a name for himself by hitting triple digits in XST in Scottsdale. The results haven’t always been there for Adon (witness a 5.48 ERA in Salem-Keizer’s rotation in 2016) but the Giants have promoted the strong armed righty aggressively. As one might guess for an international player who didn’t sign until he was 20, Adon is raw in nearly all phases of the game, but he possesses a special arm amongst Giants farmhands. Adon combines a great frame for absorbing innings with lightning arm speed. He not only touches triple digits, he can maintain high 90’s velocity well into games. Adon found inconsistent success in Augusta, allowing 1 or fewer runs in 10 of his 19 starts, but still struggling to a 4.35 ERA. His best stretch came in mid-summer, when he allowed just 3 runs total over 4 starts (22.2 IP) while striking out 22. He left a dominant August start with back spasms and struggled in most of his appearances afterwards. Adon has much to learn and likely a future in a bullpen, but he’s one arm that could move fast up the system if things clicked. ETA: 2020

10. Jacob Gonzalez, 3B  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-#15)
Age: 19 (DOB 06/26/98)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
The Giants made Arizona Diamondback legend Luis Gonzalez‘ son a surprise 2nd round pick in 2017, and young Jacob spent most of his rookie league campaign making the pick look smart. Gonzalez slashed .339/.418/.458 in 46 games in the Arizona League. His .876 OPS was 7th in the league. Gonzalez came to pro ball with a reputation for having an advanced approach at the plate, as befits the son of a big leaguer, and he lived up to the billing with a strong (for rookie ball) 8.2% walk rate and extremely impressive 11% K rate. He has the frame to grow into power and his knowledge of the strike zone should help him find it. On the other side of the ball, however, it’s hard to find many scouts who believe he has a future at 3B. If he ends up sliding over to the opposite corner, it will put tremendous pressure on the bat to carry the freight of his value. Gonzalez was also one of the oldest HS players in the draft (he’s less than three months younger than Sandro Fabian). In that, he’s reminiscent of Ryder Jones, another 2nd round Giants pick from the HS 3B ranks. ETA: 2022

11. Austin Slater, OF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#15, Mid-#7)
Age: 25 (DOB 12/13/92)
2017 Highest Level: MLB
For awhile it looked like Austin Slater was going to be one of the few (perhaps the only) unambiguously good things that happened to the 2017 Giants. It also looked like he had little to no chance of appearing on prospect lists this winter. Then the maws of 2017 swallowed him whole. A slip in the OF ended in a severe groin tear that cost him nearly the entire second half of the season (he had 17 AB in September in an aborted comeback attempt) and left him 13 AB shy of using up his rookie eligibility. Assuming Slater comes back healthy, he’s a legitimate big league contributor who’s done little but hit his entire pro career. After punishing AA Eastern League  pitching (.317/.413/.490) in the first part of 2016, he spent parts of two seasons in the PCL (AAA), hitting .308/.380/.490 in just under 500 PA. In his major league debut, he hit .282/.339/.402, and prior to the injury was maintaining a higher level. The question now is whether Slater is a full-time player or a UT OF. He’s probably over-stretched as a full-time CF and he hasn’t shown the power you’d like to see in a corner. In this era of launch angle über-alles, Slater still shows an extreme ground ball and extreme opposite field approach, familiar to many former Stanford players. His bat speed and bat to ball skills do result in impressive home runs on occasion, but he’ll need to show some adjustments in his swing mechanics to get to the power more routinely. Even if he doesn’t however, he’s a useful bench player who can handle all three OF positions and punishes LHP. ETA: 2017

12. Shaun Anderson, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 23 (DOB 10/29/94)
2017 Highest Level: A+
Despite their dismal record, the Giants made just one deadline deal in 2017, shipping UT Eduardo Nuñez to Boston. But they did make that one deal count as they got two intriguing pieces in return for two months of Nuñez’ time. Shaun Anderson pitched exclusively out of the bullpen on a stacked U. of Florida staff, but the big bodied RH possesses a starters repertoire and in his six starts with the Giants he quickly put himself on the map as one of the best SP in the org. Featuring a low 90’s fastball with life, and a very sharp slider, Anderson also mixed in effective tumbling changeup and a curve and throws all four for strikes (he walked just 33 in 123 IP across three leagues last year). Like Tyler Beede, it’s a large assortment that he sequences well but doesn’t really include a true swing and miss pitch, but there’s potential for a ground ball heavy starter or a sinker/slider late inning reliever. Both Boston and San Francisco were cautious with Anderson’s innings load last year, but the Giants plan to move the RH to AA and take the leash off in 2018. ETA: 2020




TIER 4:

13. Miguel Gomez, IF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#33, Mid-#14)
Age: 25 (DOB 12/17/92)
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Gomez’ career trajectory has been bizarre: after initially spending three seasons in the Dominican Summer League, it took him barely more than 2 years to go from his short season ball debut to the major leagues. Gomez progress has been delayed by concerns about his size, his conditioning, and most especially his defensive position (so far he’s been tried at C, 3B, and 2B). But one thing that has never been in doubt has been his ability to put the bat on the ball. He’s hit .300 for five consecutive seasons, posting a career line in the minors of .312/.348/.465. In some ways, Gomez is reminiscent of Pablo Sandoval: a switch hitter who swings at everything offered. He’s walked just 37 times in more 1100 PA since the start of 2015 (his domestic debut). But he also rarely strikes out, posting about a 10% K rate combined through his A-, A, A+, and AA campaigns. And he has enough pop to make himself a threat, especially from the left-hand side. Like Slater, Gomez’ major league debut was cut short by injury, and like Slater it’s not clear that there’s a starter profile here, particularly on the defensive side. But Gomez might craft himself a career as versatile bat off the bench. ETA: 2017

14. Ryan Howard, SS  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#50, Mid-#31)
Age: 23 (DOB 07/25/94)
2017 Highest Level: A+
Ryan Howard is the kind of prospect we tend to think of, when we think of Giants’ prospects: the classic overachiever college kid. The Matt Duffy special. It’s no surprise then to learn that the Giants drafted Howard twice, the 31st round in 2015 and the 5th round of 2016. Howard was the Team USA shortstop in the summer of 2015, but he tends to be fringy in range and short-burst quickness. He has very steady hands however, and a strong arm so he makes the plays he gets to. After getting a challenge promotion to the Cal League (A+) in his first pro season, Howard responded with a .306 average, sixth highest in the league, just behind teammate Bryan Reynolds. Unfortunately that didn’t come with much secondary average, as Howard had miniscule 4% walk rate and just an .091 Iso. GM Bobby Evans has noted the connection between those two things. If he can refine his approach and force pitchers into his hit zone there’s a chance for an average dependent steady starting SS, but he’s most likely a UT profile going forward, more along the lines of a Kelby Tomlinson than a Matt Duffy. ETA: 2020

15. Heath Quinn, OF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#11, Mid-#13)
Age: 22 (DOB 06/07/95)
2017 Highest Level: A+
Following an outstanding pro debut in the short season NWL in 2016, Quinn came to spring training with high expectations. But injuries and a brutal second half slump totally derailed Quinn’s hopes in 2017. He started out breaking a hamate bone in spring training. But once he joined San Jose (A+ Cal League) in May it appeared that the injury wasn’t going to slow him down at all, as he hit .288/.352/.559 with 8 HR before the All Star break.  But following a short stint on the DL with shoulder soreness, Quinn never seemed right after the break and posted a brutal .186/.246/.242 line the second half. Quinn admitted that he started pressing as he tried to pull himself out of the slump. He may also have been playing with compromised health. Whatever the cause, he’ll need to show that 2017 was an aberration if he’s to reclaim his position as one of the better power prospects in the system. He’ll likely return to the Cal League to start 2018. ETA: 2021

16. C.J. Hinojosa, SS  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#16, Mid-#12)
Age: 23 (DOB 07/15/94)
2017 Highest Level: AA
As a SS with fringy range and an average dependent bat, Hinojosa is often grouped together with the aforementioned Ryan Howard but that does a disservice to Hinojosa’s primary skill: an uncanny control of the strike zone. Not quite at the Joe Panik level of 1:1 BB:K rate, Hinojosa has still kept the K rates extremely low and the walk rates decently high throughout his career. He struck out just 10% of the time last year in Richmond (AA Eastern League). Unfortunately, like Howard, Hinojosa’s offense is very singles-reliant. More concerning, like Quinn he suffered through a brutal second half slump in 2017, hitting .219/.267/.264 after the break. And while he had more walks that Ks in the first half of the season, he struck out twice as much as he walked in the second half. This was the second consecutive season that Hinojosa has faded in the second half, so it’s quite possible that adding strength to his slight frame will be the key to a potential UT career at the highest level. ETA: 2019

17. Reyes Moronta, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#14, Mid-#18)
Age: 25 (DOB 01/06/93)
2017 Highest Level: MLB
For those of a certain age, Moronta brings back memories of Rich ‘El Guapo’ Garces, with his rotund physique and hard-throwing ways. Moronta’s fastball can reach the upper 90’s, but it’s his slider that punishes RHH and racks up the Ks. It’s taken just three seasons for Moronta to progress from middle relief in A ball to his major league debut. He could use another pitch to use as a weapon against LHH but for now he’s definitely in the middle relief mix for the 2018 Giants. ETA: 2018

18. Gregory Santos, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 18 (DOB 08/28/99)
2017 Highest Level: Foreign Rookie
The second arm the Giants received in the Eduardo Nuñez deal quickly established himself as one of the most intriguing players in the system, and one who could take a huge leap in 2018. In a system that is far too loaded with 25-year-olds, Santos represents a rare bit of youth, as he’ll play the entire 2018 season at age 18. Just a week older than Heliot Ramos, he’s the third youngest player on the list and one of just four teenagers in the top four tiers. Santos can run his fastball up to 97 and has a burgeoning mix of pitches, though some reporters from Instrux saw a reliever’s arm action. He excelled at getting strikeouts and groundballs in the DSL, though he’ll need to refine his control to keep developing as a starter. ETA: 2023

19. Julian Fernandez, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 22 (DOB 12/05/95)
2017 Highest Level: A
The Giants lone Rule 5 pick, Fernandez is the one guy on this list who can scoff at Melvin Adon‘s fastball. Pitching in relief, Fernandez hits 100 with relative ease and has been clocked as high as 102 with extreme life. That’s Fernandez only claim to fame though as his offerings have little to no relationship with the strike zone. As a Rule 5 guy he’ll need to stay on the major league roster all year to stick in the org. ETA: 2021 but he can’t wait that long.

20. Tyler Cyr, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#41, Mid-#43)
Age: 24 (DOB 05/05/93)
2017 Highest Level: AA
Whoa man, we’ve hit the Relief Arm Horse Latitudes! Cyr is the anti-Fernandez. His fastball is a modest low to mid-90’s effort, but he mixes in slider and cutter, has solid command and a great idea of how to pitch. Consequently, he’s run up high K rates in the minors even without flirting with the upper 90’s. He was named the top relief prospect in the Eastern League in Baseball America’s annual survey of managers and scouts in 2017. ETA: 2019

21. D.J. Snelten, LHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-#34)
Age: 25 (DOB 05/29/92)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Snelten began his pro career as a starter, but he’s likely best suited as a LOOGY. Though he can get his fastball up to the 94 range, it’s not really a swing and miss pitch. But the tall and gangly lefty comes from the extreme 1B side of the rubber with a lot of “elbows and knees” deception and something of a jerky delivery and he can create some really difficult angles and joyless ABs for LHHs. ETA: 2018

22. Joan Gregorio, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#9, Mid-#21)
Age: 26 (DOB 01/12/92)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Gregorio represents the biggest drop on this list, thanks to some spectacularly bad timing. Going into his final option year Gregorio first struggled a bit in AAA (his ERA was much improved but his peripherals plummeted) and then was suspended for the second half of the year for violating the joint drug agreement. Gregorio is out of options and it isn’t at all clear that he’s major league ready. While he comes to spring training with a dark horse chance at a 5th starter or middle relief role, he’s staring the down the barrel of the waiver wire roulette. ETA: 2018 or bust.

23. Chase Johnson, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#48, Mid-#28)
Age: 26 (DOB 01/09/92)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Like Sam Coonrod, Johnson struggled as a starter once he got to AA and after being moved to relief was very shortly a victim of TJ. The Giants high view of the former Cal Poly reliever is evidenced by the fact that he was never dropped from the 40 man in 2017 despite undergoing surgery early on in the year. He should be back to pitching around Memorial Day and the Giants hope he can insert himself into the bullpen mix before the year is out, but he’s never really recaptured his Cal League form since hitting the upper minors. ETA: 2019

24. Sam Wolff, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 26 (DOB 04/14/91)
2017 Highest Level: AAA
Wolff was part of the modest return from Texas in the recent Matt Moore deal. In many respects, 2017 was his finest year, as the 26 year old made AAA for the first time, where he struck out 32 batters in 22.2 innings with an upper 90’s fastball. His K rate between the Texas League (AA) and PCL (AAA) was over 30%. However, he ended the season by tearing the flexor tendon in his right elbow and will be out until the All Star break. Not on the 40 man, Wolff is another guy who could work his way into middle relief plans but is more likely just org depth. ETA: 2019

25. Tyler Herb, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 25 (DOB 04/28/92)
2017 Highest Level: AA
Acquired from Seattle in return for Chris Heston, Herb had his best season in 2017, splitting AA between the Texas and Eastern Leagues. Herb’s K rates have mostly hung in the 6-7 per 9 range in his minor league career, and his walk rates can be a touch high for someone doesn’t really miss enough bats. But he’s always run up pretty good groundball rates with a low 90’s sinking fastball. The Giants surprised many when they added Herb to the 40 man this winter and it remains to be seen how long he stays there, but he provides a depth arm not all that different from the older (and out of options) Heston. 2019

26. Orlando Calixte, SS  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#38, Mid-#19)
Age: 25 (DOB 02/03/92)
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Prior to 2017 the Giants signed Calixte to a minor league FA deal and then interestingly added him to the 40 man to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Calixte intrigued the Giants with his mix of skills, a MI who can (sort of) fake it in the OF, has speed and some pop in his bat. Calixte ended up leading AAA Sacramento in most offensive categories and had two different stints in San Francisco but by the end of the year he was removed from the 40-man and re-signed to a minor league deal. He’s still one of the few players in the org who can provide major league ready SS depth in the event of injuries at the major league level and could make another appearance at AT&T. ETA: 2017




TIER 5:

27. Alexander Canario, OF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 17 (DOB 05/07/00)
2017 Highest Level: Foreign Rookie
A minor five-figure signing in the 2016 J2 class, Canario ended up being the DSL squad’s best offensive player while also being youngest active player in organization in ’17. If there’s one guy on this list who can fly up to the top of next year’s from out of nowhere it’s Canario.

28. Malique Ziegler, CF (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#43, Mid-#47)
Age: 21 (DOB 09/08/96)
2017 Highest Level: A-
Former Junior College star is one of fastest players in system and has an intriguing bat, but the CF wore down badly in short season ball and physicality is a question mark.

29. Bryce Johnson, CF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-#45)
Age: 22 (DOB 10/27/95)
2017 Highest Level: A-
2017 6th rounder is another 70 speed player with slap and dash hitting style from both sides of the plate; played mostly LF in deference to Ziegler in Salem-Keizer.

30. Camilo Doval, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-#49)
Age: 20 (DOB 07/04/97)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Though pitching only in relief, Doval had the 5th most innings on AZL Giants team and led roster with 14.20 K/9 thanks mostly to hard, sharp slider.

31. Jose Marte, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#46, Mid-#46)
Age: 21 (DOB 06/14/96)
2017 Highest Level: A-
Struggled to survive a challenge assignment to NWL but dominated AZL playoffs in final game of year; maintains mid-90’s velocity over multiple innings.

32. Seth Corry, LHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-#32)
Age: 19 (DOB 11/03/98)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Two sport prep star from Utah was third consecutive High School player selected at top of 2017 draft; dynamite fastball/curve combo if he can refine mechanics and gain command.

33. Jalen Miller, 2B  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#22, Mid-#27)
Age: 21 (DOB 12/19/96)
2017 Highest Level: A+
The toolsy MI has some of the system’s better bat speed, and flashes a lot of skills, but has hit .224/.279/.321 over three year pro career; needs to turn tools into production.

34. Kelvin Beltre, 2B  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#31, Mid-#26)
Age: 21 (DOB 09/25/96)
2017 Highest Level: A
After suffering through three injury plagued seasons, Beltre finally stayed mostly healthy in 2017, though the results were underwhelming as he OPS’d just .690 in repeat of Sally league.

35. Garrett Cave, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-#35)
Age: 21 (DOB 07/18/96)
2017 Highest Level: A-
The Giants 4th round pick last year features high 90’s velocity and a sharp breaking ball, but is another work in progress when it comes to control. It’s possible he makes a Garrett Williams (or even Stephen Woods Jr.) type jump next year if command comes around.

36. Gio Brusa, OF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#27, Mid-#38)
Age: 24 (DOB 07/26/93)
2017 Highest Level: A+
Switch hitting OF has ginormous power from both sides of the plate, but though he led San Jose in HR, .237/.296/.432 just won’t get it from a 23 year old in A+.

37. Aaron Bond, OF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-#NA)
Age: 20 (DOB 02/16/97)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Intriguing ’17 late round find from JC powerhouse San Jacinto, Bond offers true speed, defensive versatility and enough pop to be interesting.

38. Jordan Johnson, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#30, Mid-#22)
Age: 24 (DOB 09/15/93)
2017 Highest Level: AA
After exploding up prospect lists in 2016, Johnson has struggled mightily with long balls and inconsistency the last two years, but he has a well rounded repertoire and one of the system’s best changeups.

39. Sam Coonrod, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#21, Mid-#20)
Age: 25 (DOB 09/22/92)
2017 Highest Level: AA
The Giants finally gave up on Coonrod as a starting pitcher last summer, and his debut as a reliever ended in TJ surgery in September.

40. Jason Bahr, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-#NA)
Age: 22 (DOB 02/15/95)
2017 Highest Level: A-
Bahr pitched just 0.2 IP in his first three years of college before being cut, but he persevered to be one of the real college success stories of 2017 before the Giants picked the swing-man in the 5th.

41. Ricardo Genoves, C  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-#50)
Age: 18 (DOB 05/14/99)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
The glove-first Catcher was a training partner of Anderson Espinoza‘s before signing a pro contract; the bat is a long work in progress though.

42. Jacob Heyward, OF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#36, Mid-#42)
Age: 22 (DOB 08/01/95)
2017 Highest Level: A
For a player with major college experience (U. of Miami), Heyward’s A ball campaign in Sally was concerning (.223/.317/.351 with 110 Ks).

43. Diego Rincones, OF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 18 (DOB 06/14/99)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Rincones shows bat to ball skills (.308/.372/.428 in AZL), but doesn’t get rave reviews from scouts for his athleticism or body.

44. Andres Angulo, C  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 20 (DOB 09/05/97)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
Another intriguing defensive minded catching prospect in a system short on Catching depth; like Genoves the bat hasn’t really shown up yet.

45. Franklin Labour, OF/1B  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 19 (DOB 05/11/98)
2017 Highest Level: Foreign Rookie
Labour, on the other hand, is all about the bat with one of the prettiest RH swings in the system and a solid approach; could end up as R-R 1B though which places ton of weight on bat to develop.

46. Joey Marciano, RHP  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 23 (DOB 01/11/95)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
The 36th rounder out of Southern Illinois turned some heads in Arizona this summer (and fall) with the spin on his curveball.

47. Manuel Geraldo, SS  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 21 (DOB 09/23/96)
2017 Highest Level: A
One of the better defensive SS in the system, Geraldo has hit well in short season NWL the last two years after having struggled in the Sally both seasons.

48. Logan Baldwin, OF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 21 (DOB 04/09/96)
2017 Highest Level: A-
Another speed and defense type selected in the 21st round out of Georgia Southern, Baldwin was unexpectedly dynamic offensively in short season NWL.

49. Dan Slania, RHP (‘17 Ranks – not ranked)
Age: 25 (DOB 05/24/92)
2017 Highest Level: MLB
Slania’s had a wild ride the last couple of years from struggling AA bullpen piece to surprising starter conversion, to struggling starter to even more surprising MLB debut. His MLB record may never increase from current “1.0 IP” after being dropped from 40-man, but who knows what surprises are still in store for Big Dan.

50. Rodolfo Martinez, RHP (‘17 Ranks, Pre-#24, Mid-#44)
Age: 23 (DOB 04/04/94)
2017 Highest Level: AA
Just a year and a half ago Martinez wowed scouts at the Cal-Car All Star game, hitting 101 and cementing himself as best power pitching prospect in Cal league; virtually nothing good has happened to Rodolfo since.

AND ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD

51. Ismael Munguia, OF  (‘17 Ranks, Pre-NA, Mid-NA)
Age: 19 (DOB 10/19/98)
2017 Highest Level: Rookie
The 5’10” Nicaraguan OF isn’t the physical type that sets scouting charts alight, but he’s a fun, high motor player who’s impressed watchers consistently as a pro. Could end up another Miguel Gomez type who just hits.

MORE POTENTIAL BIT PARTS: Carlos Alvarado, Jonah Arenado, Sandro Cabrera, Michael Cederoth, Matt GageOrlando Garcia, Roberto Gomez, Ronnie Jebavy, Dusten Knight, Will LaMarche, Jake McCasland, Jose Rivero, Pat Ruotolo, Cory Taylor Brandon Van Horn

HOPE FOR HEALTH IN ’18: Ismael Alcantara, Ray BlackVictor Concepcion, Johan Herrera, Jose Layer, Mac Marshall, Rafael Martinez, Reagan BazarLogan Webb, Frankie Tostado

NOT ON THE LIST BUT NOT BECAUSE I FORGOT HE EXISTS: Dylan Davis

LIKELY TO BE GONE AGAIN BY THE TIME YOU’VE READ THIS: Engelb Vielma

TWO INTRIGUING YOUNGSTERS WHO STARTED OFF SHAKILY: Samuel Jorge, Ghordy Santos

About Roger Munter 7 Articles
Roger is a hopelessly lost Californian living in Capitol Hill in Washington DC. A life-long Giants fan raised on the days of Mays, McCovey, and Marichal, he can remember seeing the legendary players of the 50s and 60s (Aaron, Clemente, Robinson) but still loves the legendary players of today just as much (Trout, Harper). Roger also writes for McCovey Chronicles on SportsNation, where he chronicles the daily box scores of the entire Giants’ system. He can be followed on Twitter @rog61.

4 Comments

  1. You mentioned that Garrett Williams has the makings of an average third pitch. Do you know what pitch? Change? Slider? Is he currently working on it and is it a pitch he’ll be using more this season?

    • Sorry for the late reply! That third pitch is the change, and you’ll see people who say it’s flashed better than average as well. Getting consistent work in pro ball has really been a help for Williams. If he can gain consistency of his various offerings there’s the stuff there to be a valuable rotation member.

  2. I see no mention of 2017 California league all stars Connor Menez and or Mike Connolly in your potential bit parts. I would think this accomplishment as a pitcher in this league (considered the best overall hitters league in the minor league baseball) they also would have some prospect consideration…

  3. Hi Roger,
    I joined a 16-team dynasty league and inherited Austin Slater on my minor league roster. Should I hang onto him? What’s his ceiling? Someone also recommended Malique Ziegler as a sleeper. What you think? Should I grab Mac Williamson? I’d have to ink him to a 4-year deal if I do, but am tempted. We can have up to 50 minor leaguers, so it is a deep league and pretty much the top dozen or so guys in every system are taken. Can you recommend some under-the-radar guys in the SF system (and/or elsewhere)?
    thanks,
    jeff

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Friday January 26, 2018 - Fantasy Baseball Links - FantasyRundown.com
  2. New Year 2018 In San Francisco - Universe
  3. 2018 MLB Draft Link Round-Up | Prospects1500

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