Farm System Making a Giant(s) Impact

Will Wilson, 2022 Arizona Fall League. Photo credit Benjamin Rush, @BenRushPhoto on Twitter and @benrushphoto on Instagram.

The Giants open July both in a playoff spot and with one of the best records in baseball since the beginning of May.

The Giants rise to the top of the National League is thanks to it’s fully armed and operational farm system. Coming into the season it was clear that the farm was on the cusp of not only producing big leaguers, but impact players. Only the Cincinnati Reds have debuted more true rookies this year than the Giants, with five of the eight rookies looking like long-term solutions at their positions. Let’s take a look at what the farm has given the Giants so far and who is still on their way.

Casey Schmitt, SS/3B,Preseason Rank – #3 (12-team league) (Impact Player)
Schmitt got off to an incredible start after debuting on May 9th going 16/40 with 4 doubles, 2 HR’s, and only 7 strikeouts in his first 10 games. He’s cooled down as of late, riding a 5-for-37 the last week or so. Regardless of how he’s been hitting his defense has been as advertised regardless of where he’s played on the field and Kapler has plugged him at 2B, SS, and 3B to good effect. It’s really Schmitt’s success at shortstop that should have Giants fans most excited. Not only has he been able to spell Crawford (which has led to Crawford’s bat to come back to life), but he legitimately looks like he may be the shortstop of the future. Realistically the sample size is small, having only been 140 plate appearances, but you don’t have to squint too hard to see it. Unless his bat completely disappears and he stops taking good at bats, it’s hard to see the Giants sending him back to Triple-A at any point the rest of the season.

Luis Matos, OF, 21, Preseason Rank – #5 (12-team league) (Impact Player)
To the casual Giants fan, Schmitt’s success since being called up may have come as a surprise, but all Giants fans are expecting great things from Matos. So far Matos has played nearly everyday, and at no point has he looked overmatched by major leaguing pitching. It’s likely that Matos is here to stay unless Farhan brings in a serious upgrade at the trade deadline.

Patrick Bailey, C, 24, Preseason Rank – #24 (12-team league) (Impact Player)
There was a lot of consternation over the Giants moves or lack of moves at the catcher position coming into the season, and depending on how optimistic you were about Joey Bart’s future dictated how concerned you were. Bailey is here to say that you need not worry, because he’s putting a claim on the franchise catcher mantle. He’s looked like a star since being called up, as one of the top defenders and framers, and has been great with the bat. Going into the All-Star break, Bailey has firmly put himself in the Rookie of the Year race and the Giants are no doubt hoping Bart can rebuild some of value before the trade deadline.

Just look at that arm, sheesh.

Blake Sabol, C/LF/DH, 25, Preseason Rank – #21 (18-team leagues/points leagues) (Complimentary piece)
Most of Sabol’s contributions have come with the bat so far this season and the Giants don’t seem to be concerned about it. His roster spot looks secure for the rest of the season, if only because of his Rule 5 status. The Giants don’t seem keen to give up on him and so long as he continues to adjust to big league pitching, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to.

Keaton Winn, RHP, 25, Preseason Rank – #23 (14-team leagues/points leagues) (Complimentary piece)
Winn made some cool history in his debut, completing a 4 inning save, and looking good while doing it. Winn, Beck, and Hjelle have looked great in bulk inning roles as of late. Winn, in particular, has no doubt impressed the front office as well as Giants fans. The future looks bright for Winn, especially after his debut in the rotation. Given his success and unsettled nature of the bullpen, the Giants will likely give him an opportunity to establish himself as a full time starter.

Tristan Beck, RHP, 27, Preseason Rank – #37 (18-team leagues/points leagues) (Complimentary piece)
Coming out of Spring Training, Beck looked like a prime candidate to get some innings out of the bullpen for the Giants and that’s exactly what’s happened, as he spent some time in a mop up role the past few weeks. Like Winn, Beck will probably continue to go back and forth between Sacramento and San Francisco as the need arises.

Brett Wisely, 2B, 24, Preseason Rank – #31 (30-team leagues) (Complimentary piece)
Wisley seemed to have some bad luck with batted balls while he was with the big league club but he played a good 2B and was trusted in CF on more than one occasion. Wisley will likely serve as a fill-in for the rest of the season.

Ryan Walker, RHP, 27, Preseason unranked (18-team leagues/points leagues) (Complimentary piece)
Walker kind of came out of nowhere, never ranked on our prospect lists, but seems to have locked down a roster spot. Kapler has used him mostly in 1 inning outings, but he’s been effective in the few multi-inning appearances so far. The biggest thing going against Walker is he’s one of the few arms in the bullpen with options, so he could become a victim of roster mechanics as the year goes on, but so far his performance proves he should stay.

There is no question that the rookies have been an integral part of the team’s success so far this season and there are still a few more players on their way.

Kyle Harrison, LHP, 21, Triple-A, Preseason Rank – #1 (All Leagues) (Impact Player)
Harrison’s debut continues to be a matter of when and not if. Zaidi recently made it clear that the Giants are really only waiting on Harrison to refine his pitches and become more efficient with his pitch count so he can pitch deeper into games. Given the patience and restraint the Giants have shown with Harrison so far it’s likely that he’s going to make his debut in the rotation with the expectation that he’s going to stay there moving forward. A rotation of Logan Webb, Harrison, and Alex Cobb is nearly here.

It sounds like even with the losses mounting on the pitching staff Harrison won’t be rushed into anything, and so Giants fans will have to wait a few weeks more. Unless Harrison gets packaged with the rest of the farm for Shohei Ohtani in a few weeks…

Marco Luciano, SS, 20, Double-A, Preseason Rank – #2 (All Leagues) (Impact Player)
It’s unlikely we’ll see Luciano this year, but the chances aren’t zero. He seems to finally be healthy and is playing well. He’s in desperate need of at-bats to make up for lost development time, but the front office demonstrated with Matos if they decide you’re ready, it doesn’t matter what level you’re at.

Will Wilson, SS, 23, Preseason Rank – #26
Wilson has some hurdles to overcome if he wants to see the Bay this year. Not only does he have a somewhat uninspiring slash line at Triple-A where he’s hitting .220/.293/.405 across 205 plate appearances, but he’s not on the 40-man roster. The good news is that he’s walking, the bad news is he’s striking out three times as often as he takes a walk. But as he continues to work on his hitting, Wilson is someone who could see time in the middle infield later in the season if the need arises.

Randy Rodriguez, RHP, 22, Preseason Rank – #28
Rodriguez has been putting together a good season down in Double-A, he’s likely putting himself in a position for a promotion to Sacramento in the near future. The front office has been pretty aggressive with relievers (see Walker, Ryan) so him being in Richmond doesn’t mean much, especially since he’s already on the 40-man roster. If he continues on his present course we’ll definitely see Rodriguez this summer.

Tyler Fitzgerald, SS/CF, 24, Triple-A, Preseason Rank – #46
Fitzgerald was recently promoted to Triple-A following Matos’ big league debut. He continues to hit and field his position well. With the potential of Haniger being out the rest of the season, it seems the Giant’s may be given Fitzgerald an opportunity to prove himself in the outfield, giving him some starts in CF recently. If he does well in the outfield there’s no doubt that the front office will give him a shot at the big league level sometime this summer.

*Insert Impact Player*
The front office looks poised to be buyers at the deadline and that means that a number of ranked prospects are going to be headed out the door. We’ll give the farm credit for whatever impact player(s) join the clubhouse in the next few weeks.

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