MLB 2020 Farm System Overview: San Francisco Giants

While we wait for the 2020 MLB season to get underway, it’s time to take a closer look at players who could one day be on opening day rosters. For the next month or two, we’ll be examining each team’s farm system, which will contain several prospects that will either one day be contributors for them, or could be used to acquire impact major leaguers. 

Since we’ll be going in alphabetical order by city, our 24th farm system overview will be of the San Francisco Giants. We’ll rank their top ten prospects, discuss some of their other notable minor leaguers, and then analyze the overall state of the farm system.

#1: SS Marco Luciano

lucaino
Photo Cred: The Athletic

Age: 18

Height: 6’2″ Weight: 178 lbs

Signed: July 2, 2018

Hit: 60 Power: 70 Field: 47.5 Arm: 57.5 Speed: 50

Overall Grade: 59.125

Not only have the Giants never had a talent-rich farm system, but per MLB Pipeline, their last homegrown international All-Star was Pablo Sandoval, who they signed out of Venezuela in 2003. That’s about to change soon, however. Signed for $2.6 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, Marco Luciano has quickly demonstrated his superstar upside in professional ball. He already reached Low-A in his first season, but in 38 games in Rookie Ball, he posted a 177 weighted-runs-created-plus (wrc+), and did so at just 17-years-old. Not only does he have one of the most beautiful swings in the minors, which will allow him to tap into 40 home run power, but he also has excellent plate discipline; he’s a flawless player offensively. Now, he’s probably more of a third baseman or outfielder than a shortstop, as his defense isn’t great, but I’ll trade defense for his type of offense any day of the week. Once Wander Franco graduates, I wouldn’t be shocked if Luciano is the best prospect in the MLB in a season or two. He’s a future superstar, and I expect him to follow the mold of Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna Jr.- he’ll be an impact player in the majors by the time he’s 19 or 20-years-old.

#2: C Joey Bart

joeybart
Photo Cred: San Francisco Chronicle

Age: 23

Height: 6’3″ Weight: 235 lbs

Drafted: 2nd Overall- 2018

Hit: 45 Power: 60 Field: 62.5 Arm: 57.5 Speed: 32.5

Overall Grade: 55.6

The Giants missed out on the first pick after winning the final game of the 2017 season on a Pablo Sandoval walk-off home run, and thus missed out on the chance to draft Casey Mize in the 2018 draft. However, they needed a long-term replacement for Buster Posey behind the plate, and they got their guy in Joey Bart. Coming out of Georgia Tech, the 23-year-old was applauded for his raw power, which he’s shown through his professional career so far. However, it’s been his defense that has impressed, as he’s improved his craft tremendously, and by all accounts, he’ll be an elite defender behind the plate. Now, Bart’s plate discipline is a concern, as he has some swing and miss in his game and doesn’t draw many walks, which could limit his offensive value. Yet, he plays the most valuable position in terms of how hard it is to find catchers, and in short time, he should be a top-ten or top-five catcher. He’s not a perfect catching prospect like Adley Rutschman, but he’s a 10-year starter with tremendous upside.

#3: RHP Sean Hjelle

hjelle
Photo Cred: MiLB.com

Age: 22

Height: 6’11” Weight: 225 lbs

Drafted: 2nd Round- 2018

Fastball: 55 Breaking Ball: 50 Third Pitch: 50 Command: 55

Overall Grade: 53.75

Just one round after taking Bart, the Giants once again went the college route in the 2018 draft, selecting Kentucky right-hander Sean Hjelle. He stands out with his 6’11” frame, but he’s a very polished prospect in his own right, and has a great chance to tie the record for the tallest pitcher in MLB history. The 22-year-old’s deception is off the charts, as he’s super uncomfortable to hit against, which gives him a very high floor. He doesn’t have a flashy pitching arsenal, but his fastball velocity plays up due to extension he naturally creates in his stride, and he commands his pitches absurdly well for someone with his frame. He’s not a high upside pitcher, but he almost feels like a sure bet to be a productive #3 starter in the MLB. By next season, he’ll be a part of San Francisco’s big-league team pitching to Bart.

#4: OF Alexander Canario

canario
Photo Cred: Amino Apps

Age: 19

Height: 6’1″ Weight: 165 lbs

Signed: July 2, 2016

Hit: 47.5 Power: 57.5 Field: 52.5 Arm: 57.5 Speed: 52.5

Overall Grade: 53.2

Luciano was the first major international signing the Giants could make after suffering from signing limits for two years after giving Bahamian shortstop prospect Lucius Fox an enormous $6 million bonus. However, they still managed to find a steal in 2016, signing outfielder Alexander Canario to just a $60,000 bonus. Still just 19-years-old, the Dominican outfielder has wasted no time dominating in Rookie Ball and Low-A, which is extremely encouraging. His power, which is demonstrated with high measured exit velocities, per Fangraphs, gives him an excellent upside offensively; he needs to work on his feel for hitting, but he has time to do so, and has walked at a fine rate. Meanwhile, he’s a capable defender at all three outfield spots, and if he settles into a corner outfield spot, he could be an above-average defender. When you add all his tools together, and it’s safe to say that Canario is a very exciting prospect. He’s still very young, and is an overall work in progress, but as his early statistics indicate, he is very talented- he is a prospect who could soar up public rankings in the future.

#5: OF Heliot Ramos

San Francisco Giants versus Chicago White Sox
Photo Cred: The Mercury News

Age: 20

Height: 6’0″ Weight: 188 lbs

Drafted: 19th Overall- 2017

Hit: 50 Power: 55 Field: 50 Arm: 60 Speed: 55

Overall Grade: 53

The Giants’ previous regime, led by Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans, was known for making surprise picks in the draft, such as Christian Arroyo and Joe Panik. They followed suit in 2017, selecting Puerto Rican outfielder Heliot Ramos with the 19th overall pick in the 2016 draft; Ramos was young for his class, and was expected to be drafted in the second round. So far, though, San Francisco appears to be reaping the benefits of the previous regime’s risk. Despite being 19-years-old for the entire season, he’s succeeded at every level, and even reached Double-A this past season. His he has some major whiff issues, but his power is solid and will only get better as he adds mass; a 9.4% walk rate is also an acceptable rate. I don’t see much upside, as his athleticism will only decrease as he continues to fill out into his frame, which is why he ranks lower than Canario. Nevertheless, he’s a future everyday corner outfielder in the mold of Randal Grichuk and Mitch Haniger, and his higher floor complements Canario, more of a boom-or-bust prospect, really well.

#6: RHP Logan Webb

San Francisco Giants Spring Training
Photo Cred: The Mercury News

Age: 23

Height: 6’2″ Weight: 220 lbs

Drafted: 4th Round- 2014

Fastball: 55 Breaking Ball: 60 Third Pitch: 50 Command: 50

Overall Grade: 52.75

Injuries and suspensions both can really hurt a prospect’s development, but rarely does a player have to deal with both of those problems before even making his big-league debut. That’s the case with Logan Webb, as he missed most of 2016 and 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and then missed the first 80 games this season due to a PED suspension. Yet, the 23-year-old was still able to make his MLB debut by August, which speaks to the talent he’s shown when on the mound. I don’t love his fastball, but his power slider is a clearly swing-and-miss generator, while his changeup is developing nicely. Plus, his command is better than you’d expect, so overall, he’s a traditional 9 K/9, 3 BB/9 type of pitcher. That’s obviously not an ace’s peripherals, but Webb is another pitcher in this farm system that should settle into the middle of the Giants’ rotation. Hopefully, whenever the season gets back underway, he’ll be able to build off his productive 2019 campaign with a big-league rotation spot.

#7: 3B Luis Toribio

toribio
Photo Cred: 2080 Baseball

Age: 19

Height: 6’1″ Weight: 165 lbs

Signed: July 2, 2017

Hit: 55 Power: 55 Field: 47.5 Arm: 57.5 Speed: 40

Overall Grade: 52.575

Just like they had to do with Canario, the Giants were forced to go bargain shopping during the 2017 international signing period due to the penalties from bringing in Fox, but somehow still managed to land an impact prospect. Brought in from the Dominican Republic for $300,000, Luis Toribio has torn apart the pitching in Rookie Ball, and has done enough to deserve more recognition. Not only does he have exceptional pure-hitting ability, but he also has posted walk rates of 18.6% or higher in back-to-back seasons, so there’s a chance for him to be a .400 on-base percentage type of hitter at his highest upside. Add that to his above-average power, and it’s clear he has a lot to bring offensively. However, can the 19-year-old be adequate enough defensively? He has the arm strength to play third base, but per MLB Pipeline, many are skeptical he can stick there long-term, so he may be limited to playing first base. That would place a lot of pressure on his offense, which I think he can handle, but his value overall would decrease. Regardless, any player who is as refined as he is at 19-years-old is someone that I’m going to want in my farm system. Despite their limited international spending power, he’s yet another player that should have a place in their long-term lineup.

#8: OF Hunter Bishop

San Francisco Giants Hunter Bishop
Photo Cred: The Mercury News

Age: 21

Height: 6’5″ Weight: 210 lbs

Drafted: 10th Overall- 2019

Hit: 45 Power: 62.5 Field: 52.5 Arm: 45 Speed: 60

Overall Grade: 52.5

In his first draft with the Giants, there were a lot of different routes that President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi could’ve gone with the 10th overall pick in the draft. In the end, however, he went the local route, selecting Bay Area native Hunter Bishop. The 21-year-old Bishop wasn’t spectacular in his first two years at Arizona State, but he flourished in his junior year, posting a 1.227 OPS with 22 home runs in just 57 games. Obviously, judging by his statistics, he has plenty of power, which comes based on his strength, bat speed, and natural launch angle from his swing. Plus, he’s an impressive athlete with the ability to play all three outfield spots; anyone who can do that and hit 40 home runs is going to have value. In the end, though, Bishop’s offensive future will be determined by his development of pure hitting ability, as he simply strikes out too much right now. Assuming he can continue to display the patience to draw walks at an exceptional rate, he can follow the mold of Joey Gallo, an athletic three-outcomes outfielder. Still, he’s a boom-or-bust prospect right now, and it’ll be up to San Francisco’s revamped prospect development system to develop him. I have faith they can, but only time will tell on if Zaidi’s first draft pick will be a success.

#9: LHP Seth Corry

sethcorry
Photo Cred: The Dynasty Guru

Age: 21

Height: 6’2″ Weight: 195 lbs

Drafted: 3rd Round- 2017

Fastball: 55 Breaking Ball: 55 Third Pitch: 55 Command: 47.5

Overall Grade: 51.25

The Giants struck out on several pitcher first-round picks at the beginning of the decade, so in recent years, it’s fascinating that they’ve selected a position player with their first pick in the past four drafts. However, at the very least, the previous regime had the tendency to draft pitchers in the middle rounds, including Seth Corry, who signed for an over-slot $1 million in the third round of the 2017 draft. The initial returns with Corry weren’t strong, but with a new front office in place, his progression skyrocketed in 2019. The 21-year-old struck out an impressive 172 batters in just 122.2 innings last season, and in total, posted a 3.15 xFIP in Single-A. He has the three-pitch mix to strike plenty of batters out, but for him, the refinement of his command will be critical. His walk rate (4.26 BB/9) was still too high in his breakout season, but according to multiple accounts, he tweaked his mechanics, and was able to improve his walk rate as a result. If Corry can  prove the advancement in his command was legitimate, then he could skyrocket up this list. There is a chance he could be a #2 starter in the MLB, but at the moment, he projects more as an inconsistent, yet intriguing middle-of-the-rotation starter.

#10: RHP Gregory Santos

gregorysantos
Photo Cred: Baseball America

Age: 20

Height: 6’2″ Weight: 190 lbs

Signed: August 28th, 2015

Fastball: 57.5 Command: 55 Third Pitch: 47.5 Command: 47.5

Overall Grade: 51.125

The previous regime, as mentioned, had easily identified strategies/tendencies, and one of them was their reluctance to trade their big-league assets. They did, however, trade pending free agent infielder Eduardo Nunez to the Red Sox in 2017, landing two pitching prospects in Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos. Anderson already debuted with the Giants in 2019, but in the end, Santos may turn out to be the top player acquired in that trade. With a fastball that touches 98 MPH, he’ll generate plenty of ground balls given its sinking action, and with more time, he may also have a 60-grade breaking ball. If he can improve his changeup and command, there are plenty of reasons to believe he can stick as a starting pitcher, though there are durability concerns. He’s pitched under 50 innings in each of the past two seasons as he’s dealt with some shoulder problems, and as a result, may have to become a reliever. Yet, because of his skills, I wouldn’t pull the plug on him being a long-term starting pitcher. At the very least, Zaidi, who comes from the Dodgers, may choose to use him in a Kenta Maeda/Ross Stripling type of role, in which he splits time in the rotation and bullpen. It’s becoming a strong amongst the smarter organizations in baseball, and if he’s used that way, there isn’t any reason why he couldn’t find some sort of success. At this point, we just need to see him pitch more.

Best of the Rest

  • Melvin Adon’s 100 MPH and high-spin slider thrived as a reliever last season once he was finally turned into strictly a reliever, and he’ll be in the majors at some point.
  • Signed in the same class as Luciano, Luis Matos doesn’t have a very high upside, but he also doesn’t have a clear weakness and could develop into a solid outfielder.
  • Jose Siri has now been cut loose by the Reds and Mariners, and hopefully, the Giants can be the team that can get him to realize the potential he has with his power and athleticism.
  • The Giants almost used the 10th overall pick on Will Wilson, but they still managed to acquire him by taking on Zack Cozart’s salary from the Angels. He has Brian Dozier potential at second base, though I see him as more of a utility player than an everyday player.
  • A former sixth-round pick, PJ Hilson’s offensive skillset is non-existent, though he is an exceptional athlete.
  • Similarly to Wilson, the Giants acquired Mauricio Dubon from the Brewers in a mid-season trade for Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black, and I expect he’ll be a utility player in the future.
  • Camilio Doval is a very weird prospect; sometimes, his fastball sits at 100 MPH, but other times, it barely touches the low-90s. That’s concerning, as is his absurdly poor command, but he has reliever upside with an amazing cutter.

Farm System Overview

The previous regime deserves some credit for improving the farm system before leaving, though their inability to accept the closing of their window of contention prevents the Giants from having an elite farm system. On the bright side, Zaidi has overhauled San Francisco’s player development staff, and it’s showing based on their prospects’ progression this season. Luciano is a future superstar, Bart should be an above-average catcher, while Canario, Ramos, Bishop, and Toribio headline what could be an intriguing lineup in the future. Meanwhile, it wouldn’t hurt them to add more pitching prospects, as although Hjelle, Webb, and Corry all are potential middle-of-the-rotation starters, they lack a true ace. Nevertheless, with more depth to complement the duo of Luciano and Bart, Zaidi could have this franchise on the track to contend by 2023 at the latest.

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