It’s hard to have a season go further off the rails than the San Francisco Giants’ 2017 has. At the major league level, the Giants are on a pace to combine the franchise’s highest ever payroll with its worst ever record. For those of you scoring at home…that’s not good.
On the minor league level they’ve been beset by injuries to several of their better prospects (Steven Duggar and Christian Arroyo’s being particularly upsetting) and not enough big steps forward. The system is currently about as thin as I can remember it in many years — they’ve been forced to raid Indy league Lancaster Barnstomers to even field a team in AA Richmond — and their pitching in particular currently lacks both impact and depth.
Though they have had some pleasant surprises, the entire picture is one that only amplifies the big league team’s struggles. There are potential contributors here, but little impact except at the lowest levels. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t nuggets to be found, so let’s sojourn on, shall we?
Suggested drinking game to accompany this list:
– tweener OF
– contact oriented MI
– back-end rotation
I’ll see you at the bottom of the bottle.
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
1. Chris Shaw, LF/1B
Age: 23 (DOB: 10/20/93)
Shaw rocketed up to AA in his first full season in 2016. After a dip in production in his first month in the pitcher-friendly Eastern League, he regained his footing to end the year and returning to the league in 2017 made significant advances his his contact rate, walk rate, power and overall hitting numbers. Promoted to AAA he’s once again seen a slight development bump, with strong power numbers coming along with a spike in his K rate. He’s also been moved full time to LF. As long as Brandon Belt’s around that’s his likely spot in the Giants‘ lineup and though his speed might well be Pat Burrell-esque his actions are smoother in LF than around 1b. His easy raw power and better than average feel for the barrel make him a very likely contributor in the Giants‘ lineup in the very near future, possibly as soon as August if the Giants feel he’s made enough progress with his defense.
2. Christian Arroyo, IF
Age: 22 (DOB: 5/30/95)
At 21, Arroyo began the year as one of the youngest players in AAA. He also began the year as a force of destruction, hitting .439/.471/.682 over his first 17 games in the PCL. That hot start, combined with injuries and mounting losses caused the Giants to give Arroyo his first big league call up. The youngster proved to be not quite ready for the challenge. Though he provided some lifts with some much needed clutch hits, big league pitchers found it easy to take advantage of Arroyo’s aggressiveness, and he ended up posting just a .548 OPS over 34 games. Much worse, within a week of being sent back down he was hit on the hand with a pitch, and when he returned from a DL stint he was immediately hit on the same hand, breaking a finger and putting him out until at least September. Arroyo showed excellent defense in the majors at nearly any position. The key for him will be improving his plate discipline. Over the last two years he’s had an OPS more than .450 better when ahead in the count. If he can find the balance between over-aggressive and selectively aggressive, he’ll find a home in the IF. If he can’t, he may end up a UT player. For now he looks like the heir apparent at 3B in 2018. His power would play much better at 2B, but while Joe Panik’s in the lineup that’s not likely.
3. Heliot Ramos, CF
Age: 17 (DOB: 9/7/99)
The Giants‘ top selection in the 2017 draft, Ramos is something of a unicorn in the Giants‘ system, making it difficult to find the right tier for him. He has the physical tools to be a tier 1 player, but at 17 and very raw, I can’t make a case for putting him there just yet. Still, he has the system’s best power after Shaw, and at least for now the speed and arm to man CF. As he matures physically it’s possible his body could grow out of the CF projection, but he should still have the arm for RF. His debut has been all the Giants could have hoped for thus far. He’s shown lots of loud contact in the rookie league AZL, with half of his hits thus far going for extra bases. He’s currently third in the league in OPS, despite being one of the youngest players in the league. He won’t turn 18 until the AZL has wrapped up its season. With the power to make AT&T play small and the speed to turn Triples Alley into “Inside the Park HR Alley” Ramos shows a collection of physical tools that can’t be matched anywhere else in the system. Next challenge, bringing down the strikeout totals (15 in 53 ABs) and beginning to build the basics of an approach at the plate. He’ll work on that next year in the Sally league (where he’ll have a brand new stadium to break in).
4. Tyler Beede, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB: 5/23/93)
Beede’s career, both collegiately and as a pro, has tended toward dramatic swings back and forth. Now in his third year as a pro, we’ve seen several variations of Beede. The low K, groundball machine at San Jose. Then the reduced velocity guy who got knocked around in the 2015 Futures Game and first attempt at AA. In 2016 his four seam fastball returned (up to 97 at times) and he dominated with a full repertoire that included at least three different kinds of fastball and a curve and change that both flashed above average. 2017 has been a mixed bag that has seen the velo increases of 2016 disappear and the hard contact of 2015 recur. At his best he’s pitched like the San Jose version, lots of sinkers, not many Ks. At his worst he’s been a fly ball pitcher in the PCL. Beede has a great body to absorb innings, a lot of weapons at his disposal, good athleticism, and baseball intelligence. None of his many pitches projects to be much of a kill pitch, but he figures to be able to craft a career as a mid- or back-end rotation piece for several years. However, like many other members of the system, Beede’s 2017 has now hit an injury bump as he was a late scratch from yesterday’s start when he strained his groin during warm-ups. We’ll see if this prevents him from getting an audition later in the year.
5. Steven Duggar, OF
Age: 23 (DOB: 11/4/93)
Of the many injuries that have plagued the system this year, Duggar’s has been the one that team officials bemoaned most often. After getting regular time in CF during Spring Training, Duggar was slated for AAA and a possible audition in the big leagues in 2017 (as the season progressed, that possible turned to probable). But a flexor tendon injury in his throwing elbow and persistent hamstring tightness have cost him the entire first half of the year. Duggar’s just now started playing games (a rehab assignment in San Jose). But if he can maintain health, there’s still a decent chance that he could see time in SF before the year’s out (especially if Denard Span dons a new uniform soon). Duggar combines some of the best tools in the system with an advanced approach to the plate. In his college career, scouts often bemoaned the things that he didn’t do (he’s fast but doesn’t steal bases; he has raw power but doesn’t hit HRs). But since turning pro, the Giants have loved the things he does do. He has the speed and arm to be playable in CF or make a real AT&T RF. He has an extremely patient approach at the plate that has always resulted in high OBP. He’s shown a good feel for hitting, and he’s a high energy guy on the field. While the Giants sound like they’re viewing him as the heir apparent in CF, RF is his more natural home (and the place he’s played most of the time since college). Getting him into the Giants lineup in CF and moving to RF when a more natural CF arrives could make for an excellent long term plan. If you want to dream big on Duggar (and I’ve always been inclined to), an Adam Eaton comp is probably where you’ll want to settle.
6. Bryan Reynolds, OF
Age: 22 (DOB: 1/27/95)
Reynolds has some tweener concerns. His speed and range are playable in CF but its not certain he’ll be a regular there. His arm might be stretched in RF. And his bat might not be powerful enough in LF. Like Duggar, how you view Reynolds depends on whether you look at the things he can’t do or the things he can. The things he can do are many: an athletic fielder who can fit in at any of the three OF spots when needed. A switch hitter with excellent bat speed and feel for hitting from both sides. Some pop from both sides. Am I crazy or did I just describe the perfect 4th OF? Whether or not Reynolds develops enough to be a solid starting OF, he has one of the higher floors in the system with a definite chance of more if he can stick as a big league CF. He’s very likely to contribute to big league rosters for a good long time.
7. Austin Slater, OF
Age: 24 (DOB: 12/13/92)
Had Austin Slater not torn his hip flexor off the bone he’d have graduated out of this list and spared me the headache of figuring out where to rank him. His success in the big league lineup originally had me placing him above Reynolds, but the severity of the injury and some concern over it’s implications caused me to nudge him down. Slater has always been a tough guy to rank. Stop if me if you’ve heard this before, but he’s a bit of a tweener. Speed stretched in CF, arm stretched in RF, power stretched in LF. But what Slater does is just hit. A solid line drive and opposite field approach has resulted in high averages at every level and he can punish mistakes. His raw power plays down in games because his swing isn’t designed to take advantage of it; he’s the type of player who could sell some contact for power and suddenly turn into [every player in the majors in 2017]. With true power threat Chris Shaw right behind him in line as 2018’s LF, it’s difficult to see the best case role for Slater. The right side of a LF platoon is probably his best contribution long term, which isn’t a bad career to have, but he might just hit his way into starting roles.
8. Andrew Suarez, LHP
Age: 24 (9/11/92)
The Giants top pitching prospect (Tyler Beede) was twice a 1st round pick. And it’s second best pitching prospect (Suarez) was twice a 2nd round pick. I find such things amusing! The Giants have collected safe back-end rotation type pitchers lately and Suarez definitely fits that pattern. He has a full four-pitch repertoire and he has solid command of most of it. His slider is his best pitch, but none of his offerings is standout. Suarez thrives by sequencing and reading hitters and using his entire repertoire in all quadrants. It’s not sexy, but it’s a well-trod path to the big leagues. Suarez spent a lot of his college career rehabbing from injuries (both elbow and shoulder) but he’s been healthy throughout his pro career.
9. Aramis Garcia, C
Age: 24 (DOB: 1/12/93)
Injuries have really slowed Garcia’s development as a pro. He lost most of 2016 after a slide into 2B resulted in a fractured face. His 2017 started out red hot, but a concussion (his second as a pro) sidelined him for two weeks (and limited his time at C when he came back). At his best, Garcia shows solid pull power. Defensively, he’s gotten modest reviews but he’s worked hard to improve and his pop times have gotten markedly better. His combination of power and acceptable defense probably profiles as a backup catcher at the top level, but given the state of major league catching, a starting outcome is certainly possible.
10. Ryder Jones, 3B/1B/OF
Age: 23 (DOB: 6/7/94)
Somewhere in the middle of his 2016 campaign in AA, Ryder Jones changed. How he changed is up for debate. He grew into his body. He got stronger. He started looking for pitches to drive. He made a mechanical adjustment that made his swing handsier. All of these explanations are part of the truth. But after two and a half years of posting ~.250/.290/.390 lines, Jones posted a .290/.362/.454 line the second half in pitching friendly Richmond. And he followed that with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. Moving up to AAA in 2017, Jones gave more proof that this is a new and improved Ryder. His walk rate isn’t just a career high, it’s doubled his previous career high. His ISO has leapt .100 points. This isn’t just PCL shenanigans, this is a hitter who has refined his approach. The Giants were so intrigued they gave Jones a promotion to the majors where he a) struggled, and b) was hit on the hand with a pitch (should have added that to the drinking game). Like Arroyo, Jones doubled down on HBP to the hand immediately after rejoining Sacramento and is currently back on the DL. Where he’ll fit in the Giants plans after that is the question. A sub-par 3B, Jones profiles best in LF, where Austin Slater has already performed well and Chris Shaw is fast coming or 1b, currently the employ of Brandon Belt. But regardless of positions, if the bat keeps improving the Giants might have to see what the 2013 2nd round pick with the powerful LH swing can do.
11. Sandro Fabian, RF
Age: 18 (DOB: 3/6/98)
It’s been a rough time with a tough challenge this year for Fabian. Sally league pitchers have found his over-aggressiveness easy to take advantage of. He’s drawn just six walks this year while striking out 68 times. But the strong armed teen still has the potential to develop into a major league corner OF if he can learn some of Ryder Jones’ lesson and pick up some selectivity. He can hunt fastballs and make hard contact but is learning the hard way that pitchers can throw other things, too.
12. C.J. Hinojosa, SS/2B
Age: 23 (DOB: 7/15/94)
A disastrous Junior year offensively and defensively at UTexas caused Hinojosa to tumble to the 11th round of the Giants. But as with Brandon Crawford and others before him, the Giants are looking to be the beneficiaries of that fall as Hinojosa has done nothing but perform in three years of pro ball. Hinojosa was promoted with Shaw and Duggar to AA midway through his first full season and, like Shaw, he had an adjustment period at the level, particularly on defense where the speed of AA sometimes seemed to overwhelm him. But returning to the level in 2017 he’s been a revelation. He’s shown playmaking skills at both 2B and SS and taken his contact abilities to a new level with more walks than Ks this year. If you’re reading this and thinking: “Joe Panik” you’re not far off. And Hinojosa’s career could tread a very similar path.
13. Heath Quinn, RF
Age: 22 (DOB: 6/7/95)
Quinn’s season has been dogged by health concerns, as he began the year on the shelf with a broken hamate and has since been on the DL with a sore shoulder. When on the field he’s shown excellent power but the strikeout rate in the Cal League has been concerning (nearing 30%) and the walk rate has dropped significantly from his debut in short season ball. Quinn needs to get healthy and regain the balance in his plate discipline to continue to advance.
14. Miguel Gomez, 3B
Age: 24 (DOB: 12/17/92)
Gomez is a remarkable development story. A late signee, he didn’t make his pro debut until he was 19 and then spent the first three years of his career in the DSL. Finally making it to short-season NWL at age 22, Gomez then shot through the system, reaching the majors just two years later. It’s been a perpetual question where Gomez fits defensively as he’s moved from C to 3B to 2B, to varying degrees of not-quite-success. But boy does he hit! A switch-hitter with decent power from both sides of the plate, Gomez hasn’t gone three starts without a hit since 2013, his second DSL season. Back in the 60s or 70s Gomez would settle in for a long career as a pinch hitter. Whether he’ll find a way to contribute with today’s short benches probably depends on his glove, but his bat has taken him to the majors.
15. Jacob Gonzalez, 3B
Age: 19 (DOB: 6/26/98)
Like Ryder Jones (and Christian Arroyo, and Joe Panik) Gonzalez was considered something of an over-draft by some, but the Giants jumped on a player who provides some of the best raw power in this year’s High School class. Some area scouts in his Arizona home were raving about Gonzalez’ adjustments as a hitter this spring. The son of Arizona hero Luis Gonzalez, Jacob made an immediate splash in his pro career by bashing out 15 hits in his first five games. Virtually nobody thinks Gonzalez can stick in 1b and it’s entirely possible that being a R-R 1b is in his future. That puts all the pressure on the bat for his development.
16. Melvin Adon, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB: 6/9/94)
The Giants have had some success signing older pitchers on the international market (think Luis Ysla) and Adon looks like he could be another example. Debuting the week of his 19th birthday made him old for the teen heavy DSL and little about his season there stood out. But the following spring the rumors started coming out of XST that Adon was hitting 100. He struggled through a rough domestic debut in the college heavy NWL but has shown great improvement this year in the Sally by nearly every measure. He’s on the old side at 23 and still struggling to repeat his delivery and feel for his pitches, but he’s also had some dominant outings. Adon’s advanced age may ultimately push him to the pen, but it’s hard to give up starting with an arm that can maintain upper 90s gas into the late innings of a start.
17. Kyle Crick, RHP
Age: 24 (11/30/92)
Crick was once the #1 prospect in the system and expected to be the next impact SP that the system had produced in a line from Matt Cain to Tim Lincecum to Madison Bumgarner. Those hopes were dashed under a tidal wave of walks and control problems during three long and fruitless years in AA. Giants officials admitted that his career as a starter had stalled and moved him full-time to the bullpen this year. As a starter, Crick’s troubles were often exacerbated when going to the stretch, but now that he’s ditched his windup, he seems more comfortable repeating his motion from the stretch. The rest of 2017 will be an extended tryout for late inning leverage situations at the major league level for Crick. So far he’s kept both the walks and the strikeouts down. If he can bring the Ks back without the walks coming too, he may have a career in the 7th or 8th inning. That’s a big win from where he was a year ago.
18. Reyes Moronta, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB: 1/6/93)
Moronta was one of three players elevated directly from AA Richmond to the majors this year, but his stay was just one day and he has yet to make his major league debut. Despite a month’s stay on the DL, it’s still possible he could do that in September. The burly right-hander sits in the high 90s and throws a tight slider that’s a true kill pitch. Moronta has closer potential though he’s more likely to settle in as late inning reliever.
19. Orlando Calixte, IF
Age: 25 (DOB: 2/3/92)
Picked up as a minor league FA last winter and then surprisingly added to the 40 man to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, Calixte has turned into an interesting jack of all trades defender with some pop in the bat. Though he’s looked rough in the OF in the majors, he can defend all around the diamond and he leads AAA Sacramento in virtually every offensive category this year.
20. Sam Coonrod, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB: 9/22/92)
Many observers have long suspected that the bullpen is the ultimate destination for the strong-armed Coonrod, whose inconsistent control and secondaries make him a poor fit in the rotation. The Giants have held on to him as a starter up till now (no doubt in large part due to the lack of depth at the position). In 2016, he showed extremely low ERAs in A-Advanced and AA that were supported by peripherals. This year the strikeouts have come back a bit, but the overall effect has been inconsistent.
21. Joan Gregorio, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB: 1/12/92)
Gregorio was rumored to have been considered for promotion to SF on a couple of occasions this year, but his year came to a premature conclusion when he was suspended for PED usage. The timing couldn’t have been worse for the BIG (6’7″) right-hander who’s on his final option and now has no way to prove his major league worth in a season when opportunities might abound. Gregorio’s always seemed like an arm that could be extremely valuable in relief where his fastball/slider combo could be lethal in short bursts.
22. Jordan Johnson, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB: 9/15/93)
Due to a variety of injuries, Johnson barely pitched his Freshman and Sophomore years at Cal Northridge (9.2 IP) and when he did get on the mound he wasn’t very good (5.33 ERA). But the Giants liked what they saw out of him in a Texas summer league and after changing his breaking pitch to try to reduce arm soreness, Johnson burst on the scene throwing high 90s gas and a four pitch mix in 2015. His last two years have been plagued by HR issues and command problems, but his peripherals have stayed strong. If he can find fastball command to compliment his secondaries, there’s still a chance he can be a rotation piece.
23. Matt Krook, LHP
Age: 22 (DOB: 10/21/94)
The ultimate high variance pitching prospect, Krook was selected 35th overall out of High School and can feature multiple dominating pitches as his best. But he’s seldom been at his best the last few years as injuries and inconsistent mechanics have set him back. The Giants challenged with a High A assignment this year and he’s had his troubles with the challenge, walking nearly a batter per inning and featuring an ERA over 6.00 much of the year. His fastball doesn’t have elite velocity but rather elite movement — it’s been compared to Zach Britton’s and if he can get an average amount of control over it he’ll likely he a carry as a reliever. He also can flash above average secondaries as well.
24. Garrett Williams, LHP
Age: 22 (DOB: 9/15/94)
Williams was famous from a very early age after posting one of the most dominating performances in Little League World Series history (striking out 31 batters in two games) but, say it with me, injuries and inconsistent command have set him back over the years. He had surgery to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome in high school which affected his stuff. In college at Oklahoma State University, he pitched sparingly due to extreme control problems. But like Krook (his fellow 2016 draftmate), he’s a lefty with a great body and fantastic stuff. Assigned to A ball, Williams has made some big strides with his control this year, particularly lately, while posting a 2.21 ERA. A strike throwing Williams could be a huge asset to the Giants pitching depth.
25. Stephen Woods, Jr., RHP
Age: 22 (DOB: 6/19/95)
Another member of the “throws hard/low command” group taken in the middle of the 2016 draft, Woods was a 6th round draft pick out of High School. But at his parents’ request he went to college instead, choosing the very far off the beaten path SUNY Albany to pursue his career. There he struggled mightily to throw strikes and had a career ERA over 6.00. But professional coaching (and catchers who can deal with his stuff) have done wonders. Like Williams, Woods has spent 2017 in A ball and is working on refining his mechanics and command. His lively fastball and sharp curve can make for a devastating combination.
26. Kelvin Beltre, IF
Age: 20 (DOB: 9/25/96)
Beltre was the top signing for the Giants in their July 2 class of 2013 when they gave him 0,000. The Giants have been high on his athleticism ever since, even considering moving him straight from the DSL to the Sally when he was 18 before thumb surgery intervened. Injuries have played a large role in Beltre’s story as he was limited to just 98 games played over his first three seasons. He’s finally on his way to playing a full season in 2017, which is a big milestone. He’s been working on his approach this year with a big reduction in strikeouts and a big increase in walks. Oddly, that tradeoff has seen him lose nearly all of his extra base power, so hopefully still a work in progress. Still Beltre’s athleticism and ability to make hard contact are an intriguing package in the middle infield.
27. Jalen Miller, IF
Age: 20 (12/19/96)
The question of whether Miller or Beltre is the better prospect has been following the pair of youngsters for two seasons now. As teammates in both the AZL and Sally, Beltre tended to perform better while he was on the field, but Miller often got better scouting reports and advancements. Miller’s struggled with both a Sally assignment at 19 and now a Cal League assignment at 20. He possesses a lot of physical skills — often being comped to Brandon Phillips prior to the draft — but has struggled to translate those tools into game skills on a consistent basis. Plus bat speed, above average footspeed, and good hands in the infield, Miller offers a tantalizing package that the Giants would love to see manifested in game production.
28. Chase Johnson, RHP
Age 25 (DOB: 1/90/92)
The Giants used a 3rd round pick in 2013 to take the seldom used RHP out of Cal Poly after seeing him shine in the Cape Cod League the previous summer. Johnson had somehow landed in his (somewhat famously dictatorial) coaches’ dog house (possibly by going to the Cape Cod League in the first place) and pitched just 23 innings from Cal Poly’s bullpen his Jr. year. The Giants converted the power armed righty to starting and kept him there through AA. But inconsistent mechanics resulted in a move to the bullpen last year, and his 2017 was wiped out by Tommy John surgery. Johnson is still on the Giants 40 man and will get a chance to advance rapidly if he makes a successful comeback next year.
29. Dan Slania, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB: 5/24/92)
When Chase Johnson left the Richmond rotation, out of sheer necessity Dan Slania was inserted into it. Slania had been struggling in mid-relief, but the very large RHP surprisingly took to starting and thrived at every level in 2016 (including a short stint in AAA). 2017 has been a very different story as Slania was pummeled out of Sacramento’s rotation and back to AA, where he’s done little better. In between those stops he did make his major league debut however.
30. Jake McCasland, RHP
Age: 25 (DOB: 9/13/91)
McCasland is yet another enigma in the Giants‘ starting pitching depth. He features a fastball that often works in the 95-96 range and can flash some occasionally devastating secondaries (particularly his splitter). But a penchant for mistakes up in the zone has given him an unsightly ERA above 5.00 in the Cal League. With stuff like this he should be getting better results in the Cal league. The Giants drafted the RHP twice so they clearly like the arm. If you’re the type of Giants‘ fan who bitterly regrets Joe Biagini getting away, McCasland may be for you.
31. Ryan Howard, SS
Age: 22 (DOB: 7/25/94)
Another player the Giants drafted twice (in both 2015 and 2016) Howard is another player very much in the Giants tradition of high contact MI and like Matt Duffy and C.J. Hinojosa before him the Giants believe he’s a serious sleeper prospect. The former Team USA starting SS has thus far shown more contact than anything else in his offense. A little more secondary average would certainly serve him well in his efforts to advance.
32. Seth Corry, LHP
Age: 18 (DOB: 11/3/98)
The Giants third round pick in 2017 out of the Utah High School ranks, Corry draws a lot of comps to current Giants Matt Moore. His signature pitch is a beaut of a curve. He also shows good velocity on his fastball but will need a lot of work on his mechanics to gain satisfactory control of his offerings. As with 4th rounder Garrett Cave, you’ll frequently see “head whack” mentioned in his scouting reports.
33. Jack Conlon, RHP
Age: 18 (DOB: 11/10/98)
Conlon is sort of a right-handed version of Corry as another 2017 High School pick (of the Orioles) who brings solid velocity but also a severe head whack that needs some cleaning up. Conlon is a highly projectable pitcher who made steady progress throughout his HS senior year. The Giants picked him up as a FA when negotiations between Conlon and Baltimore fell through and the Orioles failed to make the minimum necessary offer to send Conlon back into the draft pool. Through such convoluted methods, the Giants managed to snag a bonus top round pick outside the normal bonus pool restrictions.
34. D.J. Snelten, LHP
Age: 25 (DOB: 5/29/92)
After failing in a couple of attempts at starting, the 6’7″ lefty from the University of Minnesota has found a home in the bullpen. His low to mid-90s velocity can play up due to some deception in his delivery and his height gives him great plane. The result tends to be a lot of groundball outs. Snelten doesn’t have the same pure stuff that Steven Okert and Josh Osich feature, but there’s a chance he could provide stability to the left side of the bullpen that neither of them have.
35. Garrett Cave, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB: 7/18/96)
More head whacking! The Giants 4th round pick this year, the RHP from Tampa features premium velocity and life on his fastball and he flashes an above average curveball. As a late inning reliever he has a chance to move quickly up the ladder. He could well start next year in San Jose.
36. Cory Taylor, RHP
Age: 23 (DOB: 12/14/93)
A college teammate of Yankees‘ prospect Chase Adams at Dallas Baptist, Taylor’s best pitch is a hard sinking fastball with life. The rest of his repertoire has struggled against advanced hitters as he’s been hit hard and seen his walks raise significantly in a challenging assignment in AA. He could end up a valuable groundball pitcher out of the pen.
37. Raffi Vizcaino, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB: 12/2/95)
Signed for $200,000 back in the 2012 July 2nd year, Vizcaino has progressed slowly, spending his first three seasons in the DSL. But the still young RHP offers an intriguing three or four pitch mix off a low 90s fastball. After starting the year in XST he’s had mixed success in the Sally.
38. Gio Brusa, OF
Age: 23 (DOB: 7/26/93)
Brusa offers power from both sides of the plate but he’s struggled to provide much else so far in his pro career. Probably limited to LF, Brusa is a career .245 hitter who’s K’d in nearly 30% of his at bats as a pro. Still, above average power from both sides of the plate creates interest.
39. Matt Winn, C
Age: 24 (DOB: 8/5/92)
The 2015 Johnny Bench Award runner up (for top defensive catcher in college), Winn surprised many when he was assigned straight to AA in his first full season. He was soon back down in the Sally and since then he’s bounced up and down to many levels. The reason for Winn’s odd assignments is relatively straight forward: his glove can handled any assignment, his bat struggles with most. Still, Winn has two things that can make a back up Catcher in today’s game: above average defense and RH power. It’s not crazy to imagine him Eli Whitesiding his way into a big leaguer career.
40. Dusten Knight, RHP
Age: 26 (DOB: 9/2/90)
41. Tyler Rogers, RHP
Age: 26 (DOB: 12/1/90)
Numbers 40 and 41 are something of a matched pair: right-handed relief arms whose appeal relies on something of a one-trick pony resumé. Knight’s one trick is a great one: an honest to god major league swing and miss curveball that has allowed him to post some elite level K rates in his climb through the minor leagues. His fastball is a much more pedestrian offering so the question going forth will be whether or not he can get to his kill pitch enough against the best hitters.
Rogers trick is his extreme arm angle which lies somewhere on the spectrum between “sidewinder” and “submariner.” Though none of his offerings are particularly above average in terms of velocity or movement, he can provide headaches due to his change-of-pace look. At his best he’s an extreme groundball pitcher, which could work well with the Giants excellent infield defense. Rogers twin brother Taylor is a LHP for the Twins who’s having solid success for Minnesota’s middle relief corps.
42. Jacob Heyward, LF
Age: 21 (DOB: 8/1/95)
Jason’s little brother is having a bizarre season in his first full year of pro ball. An excellent athlete with a good ability to impact the baseball, Heyward has turned into the most Three True Outcomes player in the system. As of today, an amazing 42% of Heyward’s PA in the Sally have resulted in either HRs, BBs, or Ks. On the one hand, putting up 12-15 HR season while playing half one’s games in Augusta is a strong feat. But should a player who graduated from a major college program (UMiami) and played in the College World Series struggle so badly to make contact (28% K rate) against Sally league pitchers?
43. Tyler Cyr, RHP
Age: 24 (DOB: 5/5/93)
Another in the group of solid fastball/slider middle relief arms in the system. Cyr has good velocity and life on his fastball and has missed bats at a very steady clip on his climb up the system, though his walks have taken a leap this year against advanced AA hitters. One thing in Cyr’s favor as he seeks to move up: he’s been adept at multi-inning relief stints his entire career, often stretching out for 2-3 inning stints and bouncing back on his next scheduled work date.
44. Rodolfo Martinez, RHP
Age: 23 (4/4/94)
One year ago, Rodolfo had just put the finishing touches on a dominant half season in the Cal League with an appearance at the Cal League All Star game in which he hit 101. At that point he was appearing some 30 spots higher on Giants‘ lists than this. But he’s been something of a “nowhere man” ever since 2016’s mid-season promotion to Richmond. After an abysmal half season in the EL, full of walks, disappearing strikeouts, vanishing sliders and all manner of mechanical issues, he had to be pulled out of the Arizona Fall League when his velocity dipped precipitously. He’s spent most of 2017 on the DL, appearing in just 8 games thus far (with 5 BBs and 5 Ks).
45. Bryce Johnson, CF
Age: 21 (DOB: 10/27/95)
Johnson leaps to the list of candidates for the title of “fastest player in the system.” His speed plays on both sides of the ball, so he fits the mold of a 70s style CF/leadoff hitter. Johnson picked up switch-hitting after his freshman year in college and he’s taken to it, though he’s strictly a slap and dash hitter from both sides of the plate. He has on-base skills, can run, and can run down balls in the gap: useful skills if he can hit enough.
46. Jose Marte, RHP
Age: 21 (DOB: 6/14/96)
If you’re looking to find the next Melvin Adon, Marte’s a pretty good candidate. Yet another older IFA signing (19 when he signed with the Giants on July 2nd, 2015) Marte’s been up to 95 in Instrux and flashes a plus curveball. He’s scuffling in his assignment against the advanced college hitters of the NWL, particularly with his control (20 BB in 22 IP). But considering his class mates from last year’s DSL team are either still in the Dominican or working in the Scottsdale camp, Marte’s doing enough to show he can hold his own against more experienced players.
47. Malique Ziegler, CF
Age: 20 (DOB: 9/8/96)
Drafted out of North Iowa Area CC, Ziegler has shown plus plus speed at times, though lingering injuries have downgraded that at times. Still, in just over 30 games Ziegler is second in the organization in SB (16 at this writing) and has the speed to be a true CF. He also has shown sneaky impact skills with the bat in his young career. Though on the young side for the NWL, Ziegler’s on his way to a well-deserved All Star appearance as he ranks among league leaders in average, OBP, SLG, and SB. Augusta could be lining up to have a very toolsy OF next year with both Ramos and Ziegler (and potentially our next guy).
48. Jose Layer, CF
Age: 20 (DOB: 5/18/97)
Another high school pick out of Puerto Rico, Layer is an athletic, speedy OF who should grow into more strength as he matures. Layer is a good enough athlete that the Giants experimented with him at SS this spring in XST but a hand injury stopped that conversion attempt, at least for the time being. Layer is one of several short season players in the org who looks capable of being a true CF.
49. Camilo Doval, RHP
Age: 20 (7/4/97)
Yet another older signee on the international market, Doval was a few months past his 18th birthday when he signed with the Giants for 0,000. In Instrux and XST he showed some present velocity in the low 90s with a feel for a slider. He still has some projection to add on to what’s already an impressive arm.
Ricardo Genoves, C
Age: 18 (DOB: 5/4/99)
Jeffrey Parra, C
Age: 19 (DOB: 1/24/98)
Genoves and Parra are both something like younger versions of Matt Winn. Both of the teenagers possess advanced defensive reputations. Genoves trained with and caught Anderson Espinosa before he signed his pro contract so we know he can handle velocity and movement. He also caught Johnny Cueto in the Dominican when Cueto was delayed coming to spring training. Parra has a premium reputation for both catch and throw skills and was assigned to short season NWL ball this year until he proved to be overwhelmed by the level of pitching. For both of these youngsters, developing their offensive side will determine how far they can go.
And 1 more to keep an eye on
Alexander Canario, OF
Age: 17 (DOB: 5/17/00)
Currently the youngest player on an active roster in the Giants‘ organization, Canario has opened eyes this year with a performance that landed him in the DSL All Star Game — where he took home the MVP. Canario leads his team in both HRs and SB and is among the league leaders in both categories as well as OPS. Canario signed for a five figure bonus, but he’s outplayed all of his six figure teammates thus far.
Link to our Preseason 2017 Giants Top 50 Prospects
Article featured image of Steven Duggar – courtesy giants.mlb.com