When you look at some of the names near the top of the Giants’ farm system, it’s easy to get excited Joey Bart… Mauricio Dubon… There are names that we know and the perception is that they hold significant upside. Is that true, though? Or is the perception for different than reality? Let’s take a look:
1) Joey Bart – Catcher
ETA – 2020
Grade – B
Considered the heir apparent to Buster Posey, the second overall selection in the 2018 draft could arrive at some point this season. Regardless, you have to wonder exactly how high the offensive ceiling is. After missing time due to a broken hand in ’19, Bart spent his time at High-A (234 AB) and Double-A (79 AB) combining to hit .278 with 16 HR and 5 SB.
There is some power in his bat, though having added 14 doubles and 3 triples it’s questionable how high that ceiling is (think 20-24 HR). That’s fine, though a questionable approach further clouds the issue (strikeout rate // walk rate):
- High-A – 19.9% // 5.6%
- Double-A – 24.1% // 8.0%
His 9.5% SwStr% at High-A isn’t terrible, though it ballooned to 12.8% at Double-A. While it was a small sample size, the lack of walks helps to show that he could get exposed by more advanced pitching. It’s not to say that he’ll be a bad option at the highest level, as he could be one of the better offensive catchers in the game, though the stock is down slightly.
2) Marco Luciano – Shortstop
ETA – 2023
Grade – B
Luciano is only 18-years old (he won’t turn 19 until September), so it’s easy to say he’s a long ways from arriving at the highest level. At the same time he was one of the most hyped signings from the 2018 international signing period and he did a good job of backing up the hype. In his first taste of professional baseball he hit .302 with 10 HR and 9 SB over 179 AB and the feeling is that he should continue to grow into his power and develop into a plus power bat.
The two questions will be whether or not he can develop into a solid base stealer (he needs to learn to become more efficient) and whether or not the Giants will be able to reign in his approach. He’s obviously young and developing, but a 20.4% SwStr% in Rookie Ball is eye-popping.
Still, he has the ceiling of a Top 10 prospect and five-tool player if it all comes together.
3) Hunter Bishop – Outfielder
ETA – 2022
Grade – B
Drafted tenth overall in 2019, Bishop has quickly given the appearance of the new “typical” prospect. He has power (5 HR) and speed (8 SB), which he showed over 105 AB in his first taste of professional baseball. He also showed an ability to draw a walk, as he walked (38) nearly as much as he struck out (39). The problem? Obviously he struck out a ton:
- Strikeout Rate – 26.7%
- SwStr% – 13.3%
There is 20/20 potential, assuming he can refine his approach and make enough contact to tap into it. That’ll be interesting to watch, but any signs of improvement will cause his stock to soar.
4) Sean Hjelle – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2021
Grade – B-
Hjelle is a unique pitcher in that he’s a monster of man, standing 6’11”, and that may quickly draw the connection to Randy Johnson. However Hjelle doesn’t have the elite velocity (nor is he left-handed), but he does bring an impressive skillset. Playing across three levels Hjelle may not have shown big-time swing and miss stuff, but he has the ability to generate groundballs and avoid walks (something that’s particularly impressive given his height):
- Strikeout Rate – 8.74 K/9
- Walk Rate – 2.33 BB/9
- GO/AO – 2.33
He spent 77.2 innings at High-A, where he posted a 10.0% SwStr%. That doesn’t give the illusion of more strikeouts on the horizon, though all he may need to do is come reasonably close (think 7.50-8.00 K/9) to be successful with the other skills he owns. Reports have him developing his changeup in 2019, and as he continues to round out his repertoire the upside will only become more impressive. He’s not a highly thought of prospect, but he has a high likelihood of settling into an MLB rotation before long and making an impact when he does.
5) Logan Webb – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – Already Arrived
Grade – B-
There was once a thought that Webb’s future laid in the bullpen, but reports of developing his changeup has changed the narrative. He reached the Majors in ’19 and threw the pitch 20.1% of the time over his 39.2 innings, which shows that he does have trust in it. The problem is that he was hit hard overall, with a 42.6% Hard%, and showed decent but unimpressive skills across the board:
- Strikeout Rate – 8.39 K/9 (8.9% SwStr%)
- Walk Rate – 3.18 BB/9
- Groundball Rate – 48.8%
Obviously it was a small sample size, but his control has always been considered his best skill. It’s not quite Hjelle elite, though you have to wonder how much missed time has weighed on his lack of development. He had Tommy John surgery, costing him a significant chunk of time in 2016 and 2017, and he also missed games due to an 80-game PED suspension in 2019. That’s a lot of development time to lose, so it’s highly possible another gear is still there to tap into.
The Next Five:
6) Heliot Ramos – Outfielder (Grade – C+) – The team’s first round pick in 2019, Ramos thrived at High-A (.306 with 13 HR over 338 PA) though he struggled after being promoted to Double-A (.242 with 3 HR over 106 PA). The biggest question is whether or not he’ll be able to make enough contact, as a 12.1% SwStr% at High-A led to a 25.1% strikeout rate. While his strikeout rate ballooned to 31.1% after his promotion, his SwStr% actually fell to 10.7%. It wasn’t a big sample, though that’s a promising sign for the future. If he can keep his strikeout rate in check, he has enough power and speed to develop into at least a 20/10 player (with even more power upside there for him to tap into).
7) Mauricio Dubon – Second Baseman (Grade – C+) – Dubon is penciled in as the Giants’ starting second baseman, after being acquired from the Brewers in ’19. He showed a power explosion in ’19, totaling 24 HR between Triple-A (20 HR) and the Majors (4 HR). Of course his speed, which was once considered his best talent, declined significantly last season (13 SB). Still a 15/15 middle infielder has upside, assuming he can hit enough to tap into it. His approach in Majors gave more questions than answers, considering a 46.3% O-Swing% over 111 PA. Never one to draw many walks, he needs to be able to continue making contact in order to hold appeal. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.
8) Seth Corry – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+) – Corry has become a hot name, as he posted a 1.76 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 122.2 IP at Single-A last season. He accomplished it with big strikeout stuff (12.62 K/9 courtesy of a 13.9% SwStr%), though even with “improved” control his 4.26 BB/9 needs further refinement and his 44.6% groundball rate leaves the question of whether or not home run issues are in his future. If he improves his control the upside is there, though time will tell.
9) Luis Matos – Outfielder (Grade – C+) – Matos just turned 18-years old in January, so he’s got plenty of time to develop/mature before arriving on an MLB field. However what he showed in his first taste of professional baseball was impressive, hitting .367 with 7 HR and 21 SB over 251 AB. He also added 25 doubles and 2 triples showing there’s even more power potential, and he has the upside of a 20/20 performer (or better). Obviously it’s far too early to diagnose exactly how things will play out, but with 31 K vs. 21 BB at two levels of Rookie Ball he could make the leap into a B-/B type prospect in short order.
10) Alexander Canario – Outfielder (Grade – C) – Canario made the move from Rookie Ball to Low-A last season, hitting .301 with 9 HR over 219 PA at the level. He won’t turn 20-years old until May, so he has time to improve his approach with more experience. Right now all reports have him focusing on his power, which has caused significant swing and miss issues. He posted a 32.4% strikeout rate at Low-A, courtesy of a 16.6% SwStr%. That’s a scary mark that could be exposed even further against more advanced pitching.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, MILB.com
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 prospect rankings: