In the final installment of the six-part series looking at the Hi-A West, we conclude with the Eugene Emeralds, the affiliate for the San Francisco Giants. The team finished atop of the league standings in the regular season by 0.5 game over the Spokane Indians. Their +50 run differential was third in the league. In the playoffs, the squad ended up coming together to win the league championship over Spokane (Rockies).
Looking ahead to next season, the vast majority of the group currently holding down the Low-A team will be the core of Emeralds’ roster entering 2022. The future is bright for the Giants, particularly with their ability to sign and develop international hitters becoming apparent. If that trend is sustainable, it gives the organization the luxury of spending its MLB draft capital on the pitching prospects they need to balance out the system. If the organization can make the vision come together, there will be a plethora of talent on both sides of the ball emerging around the same time to form the nucleus of the future.
Marco Luciano, SS
The top prospect was inked for $2.6 million in July 2018 and has proven to be a wise investment thus far. The 6-for-2, 178-pound shortstop has a plus hit tool, plus-plus raw power, and average speed that projects to slip a bit as a matures. The righty tore through Low-A, looking every bit the part of an elite prospect. However, Luciano has found the more advanced pitching in High-A to be a challenge. The righty is still a work in progress, but the final result could be massive.
Recently turning 20-years old, there is plenty of time for the slugger to develop into a core player for the franchise moving forward. It is not often this combination of skills presents itself in a young, projectable shortstop, making Luciano one of the most intriguing prospects in all of baseball. From a dynasty perspective, there are not more than a handful of prospects at any level with more potential. The list of hitters in the Major Leagues with a plus hit tool and 30-35 home run power is not long.
🗣️ GET OFF THE SHED.
Marco Luciano with his first High-A homer!
— Eugene Emeralds (@EugeneEmeralds) August 7, 2021
Jairo Pomares, OF
The 21-year old originally joined the organization as part of the 2018 international class and displayed promise in rookie ball in 2019. The lefty took his game to a new level in Low-A this season, showing a notable increase in power that far surpassed his scouting grades entering the year. Pomares has not enjoyed the same level of success against more advanced pitching, but that is not uncommon for players making the leap. As it stands, he possesses a well-rounded skill set with average or better tools across the board.
Pomares will need to continue adjusting his overall approach at the plate to reach his full potential. The breakout leftty has established himself as one of the premium prospects in the system and could find himself cracking some top 100 lists this offseason. From a dynasty perspective, his stock has risen more than any player in the organization and should be considered a quality stash in dynasty leagues moving forward. On the flip side of the coin, a case could be made it is the ideal time to shop Pomares around and see what kind of return is possible.
Jairo Pomares went 2 for 4 with a 2B (102mph EV) and HR (113) on Thursday pic.twitter.com/dYhrPWy0Mn
— SFGProspects (@SFGProspects) September 7, 2021
Ryan Murphy, RHP
The fifth-round pick out of La Moyne College in 2020 has transitioned to pro ball much quicker than anticipated. The 21-year old displayed a strong BB% in the college but saw a massive spike in K% in his final season. The same level of dominance has carried over to the pro ranks as Murphy led Low-A pitchers in strikeouts before joining the Emeralds. The righty has been even better since his promotion to High-A, which bodes well for his potential.
Murphy has gone from relative unknown to one of the top pitching prospects in the organization with his outstanding performance. Should similar production unfold in the upper levels, he would be considered a top pitching prospect. Considering Murphy has been near the top of the strikeout leader board most of the season, the righty has kept a relatively low profile. He is a nice stash on the pitching side with grow to gain even more steam once his success becomes more mainstream.
#Giants prospect Ryan Murphy had an incredible August in 27.1 IP. He posted a 1.65 ERA & a 0.73 WHIP. 40 K/8 BB. Fastball sits 92-94 with arm side run.
Throws slider well to lhh and wipes out rhh with a 12-6 curve. Change is still developing.pic.twitter.com/Ti49kD0ilX
— Chris Clegg (@RotoClegg) September 2, 2021
Kai-Wei Teng, RHP
The righty signed out of Taiwan for $580,000 in 2017. The Giants acquired him along with Prelander Berroa during the 2019 trade deadline from the Twins. Teng was lauded for his strikeout upside and control upon signing. His 34.1 K% with the Emeralds certainly backs up that assessment. His control took a massive step back this season as his BB% has nearly doubled to a career-high 12.9%.
Teng will show flashes of brilliance, but like many young pitchers, consistency can be elusive. Listed at 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, the righty certainly has the workhorse frame to remain a starter if he can get his control back to previous levels. Otherwise, Teng would profile as a high-strikeout reliever capable of working multi-inning stints. Teng is worth monitoring in case the ingredients blend into a productive starter.
Kai-Wei Teng struck out nine over 5 2/3 innings on Tuesday, topping out at 95mph pic.twitter.com/HPENESJsR4
— SFGProspects (@SFGProspects) August 13, 2021
Keep an eye on
Armani Smith, OF – The 23-year old was a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound outfielder had little trouble with Low-A pitching and received an early promotion. His production has dipped but remained above league-average. Smith is flashing some pop and good on-base skills but needs to keep an eye on his K%.
Ismael Munguia, OF – Listed at 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, Munguia had a solid season for Eugene. He finished the year with nine home runs, 15 stolen bases, and an incredible 7.6 K%. Keep him on your radar, as any further growth would be notable and make the lefty impossible to ignore.
Seth Corry, LHP – The 22-year old lefty had some preseason buzz as a potential riser entering the season. The strikeout stuff has been there, but his command has taken a massive step back from the improvements he showed in Low-A in 2019. The walk rate is screaming bullpen arm at the moment, but lefties with strikeout potential are afforded every opportunity to succeed.
Logan Wyatt, 1B – Listed at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, the big first baseman had a 20.1 BB% and 18.0 K%. However, that came with a total of two home runs in 324 PA. The lefty will need to show massive improvements in power before he can be considered a viable long-term option at the position in fantasy.