by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The San Francisco Giants lack the immediate impact of an elite prospect, but don’t let that convince you that the system lacks impact talent. They have a few players who could develop into top talents, albeit in two-to-three years. Who are they and what are their overall outlook? Let’s take a look:
1) Lucius Fox – Shortstop
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019
The 18-year old switch hitter profiles as a potentially elite top of the order bat, with game changing speed and a good approach at the plate. He’s listed at 6’1” and 175 lbs. and could gain a little bit of power as he matures. Is he going to become a 30+ HR threat? Not likely, though he could chip in 10 HR with 40+ SB upside.
That’s Jose Reyes in his prime, when he was among the best players in the game. The biggest question is going to be if he is able to stay at shortstop or is forced to transition to centerfield. Regardless, his skill set is going to play anywhere.
2) Phil Bickford – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B (borderline B+)
ETA – 2018
Selected in the first round of the 2015 draft (18th overall), Bickford was impressive in 22.1 innings in Rookie Ball last season as he racked up 32 K vs. 6 BB. He also has the size team’s look for, standing 6’4” and 200 lbs., but like many pitchers from this draft class there are questions as to whether he’s a better fit in the rotation or bullpen. There are varying reports about his velocity, both from season to season and as a game wears on. There’s little question that the Giants are going to give him an opportunity to stick as a starter, so time will tell if he can continue to develop.
3) Tyler Beede – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B
ETA – 2017
The team’s first round selection in 2014, Beede reached Double-A in ’15 though he struggled to the tune of a 5.23 ERA and 1.34 WHIP over 72.1 IP. Part of the problem was poor luck (58.3% strand rate), though his control was poor (4.35 BB/9) and his strikeouts were unimpressive (6.10 K/9). His one redeeming quality was his groundball rate, which he showed at both stops last season:
- High-A – 2.44 GO/AO
- Double-A – 1.87 GO/AO
That type of mark could help him produce, if he can at least find his control. He showed signs early (1.55 BB/9 at High-A), but he needs to find consistency. If he can he has upside, but it’s not something we can bank on at the moment.
4) Mac Williamson – Outfielder
Grade – B
ETA – 2016
After hitting 25 HR in his first full professional season Williamson needed Tommy John surgery, limiting him to 100 PA in ’14. He split time between Double & Triple-A last season, also getting his first taste of the Majors, but struggled to return to form hitting .275 with 13 HR over 517 PA. While he’s shown a good eye at the plate, the strikeouts rose as he moved up:
- Double-A – 18.3%
- Triple-A – 24.2%
At 6’5” and 240 lbs. his power is going to be his carrying tool. The question is going to be if it can return after the injury or not.
5) Christopher Shaw – First Baseman
Grade – C+
ETA – 2017
The 31st overall selection in 2015, Shaw showed tremendous power in his first taste of professional baseball with 12 HR (as well as 11 doubles) over 178 AB. It shouldn’t be a surprise, as he’s 6’4” and 255 lbs., though he’s going to be limited to either first base or designated hitter and did show the propensity to swing and miss at Low-A (20.5% strikeout rate). He shouldn’t be ignored, given his power potential, but the upside is also limited.
The Next Five:
6) Christian Arroyo – Shortstop
7) Samuel Coonrod – Right-Handed Pitcher
8) Adalberto Mejia – Left-Handed Pitcher
9) Ray Black – Right-Handed Pitcher
10) Aramis Garcia – Catcher
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference
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Grading System (still in development):
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On
Make sure to check out all of our Top 10 Prospect Lists: