San Francisco Giants Top 20 Prospects for 2018
The list and grades are a blending of present performance and long-term potential. Comments are welcome, but in the end all analysis and responsibility is mine. All of these grades are subject to change as the winter progresses.
The final grades will be finished sometime in early March when all 30 teams are complete.
QUICK PRIMER ON GRADE MEANINGS
Grade A prospects are the elite. In theory, they have a good chance of becoming stars or superstars. Theoretically, most Grade A prospects develop into stars or at least major league regulars, if injuries or other problems don’t intervene. Note that is a major “if” in some cases.
Grade B prospects have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role.
Grade C prospects are the most common type. These are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys. Some don’t make it at all.
Finally, keep in mind that all grades are shorthand. A Grade C prospect in rookie ball could end up being very impressive, while a Grade C prospect in Triple-A is likely just a future role player.
1) Heliot Ramos, OF, Grade B+: Age 18, first round pick in 2017 from high school in Puerto Rico; hit .348/.404/.645 in rookie ball, with 10 steals, six homers, 10 walks, 48 strikeout in 138 at-bats; complete set of physical tools: speed, power, arm all rate very good to excellent and he’s still just 18; clobbered rookie ball despite raw, aggressive approach; this may remain true in Low-A but as he moves up pitchers will take advantage eventually; opinions differ on how quickly he will make adjustments; optimists view him as already being a Top 30 MLB prospect which would put him in the B+/A- range in my grading system; I want to see more before going quite that far but there’s no doubting his tremendous upside; ETA 2022.
Here’s seven minutes of cool Heliot Ramos video from Baseball Census:
2) Chris Shaw, OF-1B, Grade B/B-: Age 24, first round pick in 2015 from Boston College, hit .292/.346/.525 with 24 homers, 38 walks, 132 strikeouts in 469 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A; no secrets here, 65 power from the left side, destroys right-handed pitching and held his own against lefties, too, hitting .284/.329/.463 against them in Triple-A; there are contact questions, batting average/OBP may be erratic against top-quality pitching; decent glove at first base, not a terrible outfielder but lack of speed limits him to a corner; ETA 2018.
3) Austin Slater, OF, Grade B/B-: Age 25, eighth round pick in 2014 from Stanford, hit .321/.377/.467 with 15 walks, 39 strikeouts in 184 at-bats in Triple-A, then .282/.339/.402 in 117 major league at-bats until season was cut short by hip injury; has always hit in pro ball, with .308/.370/.443 line in the minors; doesn’t have Shaw’s pure power potential and is older but is a better overall athlete and more natural outfielder; nothing left to prove in the minors and ready for a job if healthy; ETA 2018.
4) Steven Duggar, OF, Grade B-/B: Age 24, sixth round pick in 2015 from Clemson University, hit combined .262/.365/.445 in 164 at-bats combined between High-A and Triple-A, six homers, 10 steals, 27 walks, 54 strikeouts; missed two months with hamstring and arm problems; very fast, shows power, draws some walks too, arm and speed for center but instincts sometimes fail him; at times appears more of an athlete than a baseball player although this has improved since college; can be erratic but should post strong secondary averages; better tools than Slater but not as polished; ETA late 2018.
5) Sandro Fabian, OF, Grade B-: Age 19, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 for $500,000; hit .277/.297/.408 with 30 doubles, 11 homers, 10 walks, 88 strikeouts in 480 at-bats in Low-A; extremely aggressive hitter who jumps at pitches but still hits them hard; must hone discipline at higher levels but offensive ceiling is quite impressive and he’s very young; 60-grade arm is accurate as well as strong, leading to 15 assists from right field, also made 11 errors but that should improve with time; high-risk but intriguing; ETA 2022.
6) Andrew Suarez, LHP, Grade B-: Age 25, second round pick in 2015 from University of Miami Hurricanes; posted 3.30 ERA in 156 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 135/42 K/BB; classic polished lefty strike-thrower with fastball around 90, sometimes higher, a slider/cutter, a curve and a change-up, not overpowering but knows how to pitch, fiercely competitive; generally projected as number four starter but might exceed that; ETA 2018.
7) Tyler Beede, RHP, Grade B-: Age 24, first round pick in 2014 from Vanderbilt; posted 4.79 ERA in 109 innings in Triple-A, 83/39 K/BB, 121 hits, 14 homers allowed; up-and-down prospect lists since his college days; fastball anywhere between 89 and 97 depending on the day, usually at the lower end of the scale in ‘17; curve, change-up, and cutter all flash plus but seldom at the same time; physical ability to be a number two starter but doesn’t have necessary consistency yet; missed last part of season with groin injury; my thinking is that he’ll always be erratic but isn’t as bad as the Triple-A stats imply; ETA 2018.
8) Shaun Anderson, RHP, Grade B-: Age 23, third round pick by the Boston Red Sox in 2016 from University of Florida, traded to Giants last July; combined 3.44 ERA in 123 innings between Low-A and High-A with 107/33 K/BB, 102 hits allowed; mid-rotation projection based on low-to-mid-90s solid sinking fastball, solid slider, solid change-up, solid command and control; I could type the word “solid” 50 times and it would apply quite well; ETA 2020.
9) Garrett Williams, LHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 23, seventh round pick in 2016 from Oklahoma State University; posted 2.32 ERA in 97 innings in Low-A and High-A, 96/35 K/BB, 87 hits, 2.11 GO/AO; intriguing combination of strikeouts and ground balls, weak contact; heater 90-96, plus curveball and promising change-up; biggest problem has been erratic command; seen as a future reliever in the past but ’17 gives hope that he can start down the line; breakthrough candidate; ETA 2020.
10) Aramis Garcia, C-1B, Grade B-/C+: Age 25, second round pick in 2014 from Florida International University; hit combined .274/.323/.485 with 32 doubles, 17 homers, 24 walks, 94 strikeout in 402 at-bats between High-A and Double-A; rather old for just figuring out advanced minor league pitching but has been slowed by injuries; very good power, can be impatient and probably won’t hit for high averages in the majors but should contribute HRs; pretty good defensive catcher who can also play a competent first base; ETA late 2018.
11) Jacob Gonzalez, 3B, Grade B-/C+: Age 19, second round pick in 2017 from high school in Scottsdale, Arizona; son of former major leaguer Luis Gonzalez; nice debut with .339/.418/.458 line in rookie ball, 15 doubles, one homer, 16 walks, 23 strikeouts in 168 at-bats; 60-grade raw power although he didn’t get to it often in the Arizona Rookie League; on the other hand his pure hitting and plate discipline skills were better than advertised; more homers should come in time; glove is main question, atrocious .837 fielding percentage with mediocre range an unplayable combination; might improve with more reps but expect a move to first base eventually; ETA 2022.
ANALYST NOTE: There’s a clear dividing line between the Top 11 and the next nine. The C+ guys could be ordered many different ways, including the ones in the “other” section. I focused here on guys most likely to make a short-term impact with the first five, then more speculative types in the next four.
12) Reyes Moronta, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2010; posted 2.92 ERA in 37 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 47/20 K/BB in 37 innings, then fanned 11 with three walks in seven major league frames; classic short reliever with 95-99 MPH heater, plus slider; effective against both left and right-handed hitters when his command is working; could get chance to close games down the road if he throws enough strikes; ETA 2018.
13) D.J. Snelten, LHP, Grade C+: Age 25, ninth round pick from University of Minnesota in 2013; rang up 2.20 ERA in 74 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 71/23 K/BB, just 57 hits; big 6-6, 240 pound southpaw throws low-90s fastball, key pitch plus-quality change-up; average slider rounds out arsenal; throws strikes, shuts down lefties with relative ease but holds his own against righties often enough that he may not be just a LOOGY; makes a matched set with Moronta as MLB-ready relievers; ETA 2018.
14) Julian Fernandez, RHP, Grade C+: Age 22, signed by the Colorado Rockies out of the Dominican Republic in 2012; claimed by Giants in 2017 Rule 5 draft, has to stick on roster or go back to Colorado; posted 3.26 ERA in 58 innings in Low-A with 57/18 K/BB; throws extremely hard, up to 102 MPH; although his control improved in 2017 he was left unprotected due to erratic secondary pitches; he could stick as back of the bullpen arm with more possible once he settles in; ETA 2018..
15) Tyler Herb, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, 29th round pick from Coastal Carolina by the Seattle Mariners in 2014, traded to Giants last summer for Chris Heston; very good year in Double-A, 3.09 ERA in 163 innings with 136/48 K/BB, 158 hits; inning-eater type with 89-92 sinker, average curve, slider, change-up; nothing spectacular but it adds up into something good due to his pitching instincts and command; projects as useful four/five starter or long reliever, similar to Chris Heston five years ago; ETA 2018.
16) C.J. Hinojosa, INF, Grade C+: Age 23, 11th round pick in 2015 from the University of Texas; hit .265/.321/.340 with four homers, 31 walks, 42 strikeouts in 373 at-bats in Double-A; contact hitter with decent strike zone judgment and occasional sparks of power although this is not consistent; reliable on routine plays but range is limited at shortstop; has looked solid during trials at second and third; utility type but the Giants have a good track record maximizing output from these types of players; ETA late 2018.
17) Heath Quinn, OF, Grade C+: Age 22, third round pick in 2016 from Samford; hit .228/.290/.371 with 10 homers, 20 walks, 86 strikeouts in 272 at-bats in High-A; not a great year but hampered by a broken hamate and shoulder injuries, wasn’t healthy most of the season; scouts report 60-grade power and throwing arm with a chance to be an impact bat if he can avoid doctors and hone his strike zone discipline; ETA 2020.
18) Melvin Adon, RHP, Grade C+: Age 23, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2015; posted 4.35 ERA with 89/35 K/BB in 99 innings in Low-A, 110 hits; raw for his age and his stats aren’t too good but scouts drool over 94-98 MPH fastball which peaks at 102; needs further work on slider, change-up, and overall command; probably a reliever in the long run; ETA 2020.
19) Alexander Canario, OF, Grade C+: Age 17, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2016, hit .294/.391/.464 in Dominican Summer League with 33 walks, 40 strikeouts, 18 steals in 235 at-bats; DSL performance must be taken with large grains of salt and I am usually cautious with players this low in the system but reports are positive on this one, pointing to explosive bat speed combined with a good batting eye; also has above-average speed and arm strength; ETA 2022.
20) Gregory Santos, RHP, Grade C+: Age 18, signed by the Red Sox out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, traded to Giants along with Shaun Anderson in Eduardo Nunez deal; posted 1.29 ERA with 41/20 K/BB in 49 innings in the DSL; as with Canario, reliable analysis of DSL players is problematic but there are good markers here, including a 93-95 MPH heater, a promising curve, and indications of soft contact from hitters; ETA 2022.
OTHER GRADE C+: Jason Bahr, RHP; Kelvin Beltre, 2B; Garrett Cave, RHP; Sam Coonrod, RHP; Seth Corry, LHP; Tyler Cyr, RHP; Miguel Gomez, 2B; Joan Gregorio, RHP; Ryan Howard, INF; Domenic Mazza, LHP; Ismael Munguia, OF; Diego Rincones, OF; Dereck Rodriguez, RHP; Sam Wolff, RHP
OTHERS OF NOTE: Logan Baldwin, OF; Aaron Bond, OF; Gio Brusa, OF; Gustavo Cabrera, OF; Orlando Calixte, INF; Israel Cruz, RHP; Camilo Doval, RHP; Orlando Garcia, INF; John Gavin, LHP; Ricardo Genoves, C; Manuel Geraldo, INF: Roberto Gomez, RHP; Bryce Johnson, OF; Chase Johnson, RHP; Jordan Johnson, RHP; Pierce Johnson, RHP; Franklin Labour, 1B-OF; Jose Marte, RHP; Rodolfo Martinez, RHP; Jalen Miller, 2B; Justin O’Conner, C; Dan Slania, RHP; Malique Ziegler, OF
The Giants system lacks high-tier impact talent at the top but as usual they have a lot of C+ guys who could prove useful.
I will be around in the comments section to answer questions.