After releasing our SF Giants prospect rankings on Monday, Wrenzie breaks down the strengths and weaknesses of the org's prospects.
As our week of SF Giants prospect coverage continues, it is time to see how the farm system stacks on at each position and see what position groups are considered to be the strength of the organization and what position groups need further improvement moving forward.
Below is a graphic that conveniently displays the different position groups and each prospect is arranged per the future value based on our ranking of the Giants top-42 prospects .
Strength: Starting Pitching
The SF Giants farm system has the most depth in starting pitching. It is considered a strength more because of depth than a clear collection of stars, but Kyle Harrison is an excellent foundational piece to build off of. It is a credit to the Giants drafting and player development over the past few years that 12 of the 15 starting pitching prospects that received at least a 40 future-value grade were drafted after the second round.
Having incredible depth at the position means that even though most of the prospects listed are expected to move to the bullpen down the line, there's a good chance that at least a couple will make the necessary improvements to stick. Moreover, the others should still have a chance to contribute at the big-league level in either swingman or reliever roles.
There is a chance that Harrison graduates out of prospecthood at some point next season, but players like Mason Black, Reggie Crawford, Eric Silva, Carson Whisenhunt, and Carson Seymour all have the pieces to land on top-100 prospect lists by the end of the year.
The Giants have dedicated a lot of draft capital to pitching over the past few years, and while it has yet to translate into big-league success, the organization has the potential to become a pitching factory in the not-too-distant future.
The outfield maintains itself as a strength of the farm system even though things did not exactly go as planned last year. The breakout performances from Grant McCray and Vaun Brown helped alleviate the struggles from other outfield prospects like Luis Matos and Heliot Ramos. In fact, there's an argument that the group's top-end depth is even better than it was last season. Each member of the Matos-McCray-Brown trio faces some significant question they will have to prove they can overcome to become an everyday big-league outfielder. However, it would be quite surprising if no one from that group has a long MLB career.
Ramos is the biggest name in another group of players that flash big-league potential after the biggest names in the group. Jairo Pomares was solid last year at High-A despite his youth and could shoot back up the rankings if he either holds his own after a promotion to Double-A or cuts his strikeout rate. Ismael Munguia looks like a surefire fourth outfielder with some more upside if he is able to return from surgery. Wade Meckler lacks upside, but has a profile that could speed through the minors. Then, you have big power-hitting prospects like Hunter Bishop or Rayner Arias who are worth keeping an eye on.
Ramos and Blake Sabol are the most likely candidates to graduate from the rankings this season, but almost everyone else in the group will almost surely be back in the system's rankings next season.
Not a strength, not a weakness: Middle Infield
Even if Marco Luciano sticks at shortstop, which is far from a guarantee, the SF Giants have little depth behind him. If Luciano moves to a corner, that leaves Aeverson Arteaga and Tyler Fitzgerald as the best middle infield talent in the organization which might sound pretty rough. However, the Giants have made several investments at shortstop over the past couple of years on the international market. While they remain unproven, Ryan Reckley, Yosneiker Rivas, and Diego Velasquez could be a few names to watch.
Relievers always come aplenty as they are failed starters and the Giants have once again a bevy of relievers knocking at the door for a potential big league tryout to find the next long-term piece. Last year, Camilo Doval emerged as a valuable weapon at the back end of the bullpen while others like Kervin Castro and Gregory Santos found themselves in new homes. This year should be no different.
Thomas Szapucki and Cole Waites both reached the big leagues last year and should compete for a spot in the big league bullpen in spring training. Also, Jose Cruz were added to the 40-man roster and could also look to enter the fray along with already-added Randy Rodriguez and soon-to-be-added R.J. Dabovich. At least one of them should become a valuable asset for the Giants in 2023. Deep down, there are also a number of relievers who could enter the conversation in the coming years like Hayden Birdsong, Evan Gates, Seth Lonsway, and Erik Miller. And, of course, there are plenty of starters (Keaton Winn is probably the most notable) that could be heading to the pen soon.
Following the graduation of Joey Bart, the SF Giants system lacks any top backstop prospects. Neither Patrick Bailey nor Adrian Sugastey stepped up enough to fill the void left by Bart and maintained their position as 40 future-value prospects. Onil Perez is a name to watch that could be the best catching prospect in the group by this time next year. Both Bailey and Onil Perez have flashed plus defensive upside behind the plate, and Sugastey has the tools to at least be a viable backup.
The Giants have constantly added talent at catcher via the draft and in international free agency. Recently drafted Zach Morgan, Thomas Gavello, and Nomar Diaz could become valuable pieces in the depth chart with strong first full seasons. Bailey could be added to the 40-man roster during the 2023 off-season, but it would be surprising to see him graduate before 2024. In fact, this entire group is very far away from the majors.
The second area of weakness in the farm system depth chart is the corner infield following the graduation of David Villar. Granted, that's not the end of the world since it's not uncommon for shortstops, like Luciano to come in that direction. The Giants have tended to bet on athleticism, only selected one full-time corner infield in the first 15 rounds of the past three drafts: Casey Schmitt. And that's turned out pretty well.
Reggie Crawford played first base as a position player in college but the best path for his development is on the mound, so he has no impact on this conversation at this point. The Giants added three corner infield prospects in the 2019 draft, but subpar performances and injuries have put both second-rounder Logan Wyatt and fifth-rounder Garrett Frechette on the outside looking in of prospect conversations. Granted, 15 th -rounder Carter Aldrete was a standout last season, adding much-needed depth.
With Villar and Schmitt potentially holding down the corners over the next couple of years and possibly beyond, there is likely not a need for the Giants to invest heavily toward first base as they can easily acquire talent via the trade. Otherwise, Aldrete and Victor Bericoto are the next closest prospects after Schmitt.
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