2017 San Francisco Giants Top 10 Prospects
|TOP 10 PROSPECTS|
|1. Tyler Beede, rhp|
|2. Christian Arroyo, ss/3b|
|3. Chris Shaw, 1b|
|4. Bryan Reynolds, of|
|5. Andrew Suarez, lhp|
|6. Ty Blach, lhp|
|7. Joan Gregorio, rhp|
|8. Sandro Fabian, of|
|9. Aramis Garcia, c|
|10. Steven Duggar, of|
The Diamondbacks, Padres and Rockies (who have never won the division) seem stuck in a perpetual rebuild. Not one of those three teams has posted a winning record since the Arizona won the division in 2011. Since then, it’s been the Giants and Dodgers battling for supremacy.
Eventually that duopoly will have to end, though it may not change in 2017.
But the most stable organization in baseball enters 2017 with the realization its current window of contention is closing slowly. The Dodgers are younger than the Giants. They have a better farm system and more money to spend. Also, Los Angeles has topped 90 wins and claimed the NL West title in each of the past four seasons. San Francisco hasn’t reached 90 wins since 2012.
A team with catcher Buster Posey, lefthander Madison Bumgarner, shortstop Brandon Crawford and three World Series titles in the past seven seasons has no need to panic. Bruce Bochy is still a Hall of Fame manager. The front office is still in place with decades of experience and success. The Giants have enviable stability, and their scouting and player development departments work together seamlessly.
But the same players who have given the Giants their most successful stretch since John McGraw was the club’s manager are getting older. More than half of the Giants’ projected everyday starters will play most of 2017 at age 30 or older. If righthander Matt Cain is in the rotation, three-fifths of the starting five will be 30 or older.
That doesn’t mean San Francisco has incentive or reason to change direction until the current stalwarts show significant signs of decline. The team’s homegrown core—first baseman Brandon Belt, Bumgarner, Crawford and Posey—is under contract for the next three seasons. All but Bumgarner are signed through 2021.
The Giants lack elite prospects, but the system features a number of players who aren’t far from being big league ready, namely a group of starting pitchers headed for Triple-A Sacramento.
But the Giants’ stable lineup and rotation also create plenty of opportunities for the organization to trade prospects to fill holes. San Francisco has dealt young players such as shortstop Lucius Fox, third baseman Matt Duffy, outfielder Adam Duvall and righthander Keury Mella to reinforce the big league rotation with like Mike Leake (2015) and Matt Moore (2016). More prospects could be moving on in 2017.
Luckily for the Giants, they don’t have to top the Dodgers in the standings, not with two NL wild cards available. They merely have to be the best of the second-place teams, and that’s an attainable goal when the Diamondbacks and Padres look like rebuilders and the young Rockies appear a year away from contention.
1. Tyler Beede, rhp | Born: May 23, 1993. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 210. Drafted: Vanderbilt, 2013 (1st round). Signed by: Andrew Jefferson.
2. Christian Arroyo, ss/3b | Born: May 30, 1995. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Drafted: HS—Brooksville, Fla., 2013 (1st round). Signed by: Mike Metcalf. Background: Scouts have long loved Arroyo’s hitting ability and his confident, aggressive style of play dating back to his amateur days. The 25th pick in the 2013 draft, he owns a career .294 average in pro ball but faces questions about his impact potential. Scouting Report: The Giants had Arroyo split time between shortstop and third base for the first time in 2016. He projects as a plus defender at third with above-average instincts, an ability to throw accurately from multiple arm angles, soft hands and an excellent internal clock. His throws generally seem to have just enough to nab the baserunner. At shortstop, Arroyo is reliably fringe-average but has limited range, especially to his left, thanks to his fringe-average speed and short-range quickness. He runs the bases better than his speed would indicate because he has excellent anticipation and awareness. At the plate, Arroyo has a very short swing and excellent hand-eye coordination. It’s easy to find scouts who project him as a plus hitter capable of hitting .280 or higher, but they see 10-home run potential to go with 35 doubles. The Future: Giants incumbent third baseman Eduardo Nunez is a free agent after the 2017 season, which syncs up nearly perfectly with Arroyo’s timetable. He projects along the lines of former Giant Matt Duffy as a bat-first third baseman with a good glove.
3. Chris Shaw, 1b | Born: Oct. 20, 1993. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 255. Drafted: Boston College, 2015 (1st round). Signed by: Mark O’Sullivan. Background: Shaw led the short-season Northwest League with 12 home runs in his 2015 pro debut, then launched 16 more at high Class A San Jose in 2016 prior to a promotion to Double-A Richmond, where Eastern League pitchers gave him his first pro challenge. Scouting Report: Shaw has plus-plus raw power, and EL pitchers worked hard to prevent him getting his arms extended on pitches in the zone. Even with a below-average hit tool, he has the potential to hit 20-plus home runs on an annual basis. His swing has some length and has a tendency to be a little too grooved. Pitchers who fail to locate are bound to get hurt, but Shaw doesn’t have the quick hands to adjust his swing on pitches in his cold zone. He does have a solid understanding of the strike zone and will collect his share of walks and strikeouts. Shaw spent much of the 2016 season putting in plenty of early work on defense. He’s still below-average defensively but has improved his range and footwork. Shaw has an above-average arm, but it doesn’t come into play much at first base. The Future: Shaw’s power potential gives him a chance to be a first-division first baseman, but he’ll need to improve his defense and hit tool to reach his ceiling. He will head back to Richmond in 2017.
|San Jose (HiA)||.285||.357||.544||270||47||77||22||0||16||55||28||77||0|
4. Bryan Reynolds, of | Born: Jan. 27, 1995. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 200. Drafted: Vanderbilt, 2016 (2nd round). Signed by: Jeff Wood. Background: After giving up their 2016 first-round pick to sign free agent Jeff Samardzija, the Giants were thrilled to see Reynolds, a late first-round talent, slide to the second round. He hit .329 in a three-year career at Vanderbilt and .346 in the 2015 Cape Cod League. After signing with the Giants he quickly advanced to low Class A Augusta and hit .313 in his pro debut. Scouting Report: Reynolds may not have a true plus tool, but he also doesn’t have a below-average one. His feel for the game enhances his raw ability. He’s a switch-hitter with quick hands and a loose swing. He gets too passive at times with two strikes and carries a high strikeout rate. Still, he uses a controlled swing, understands pitch sequencing and works counts to the point he is beginning to tap into his average power. Defensively, Reynolds is a plus defender in the corners and is playable in center field because of his average speed. His arm is average but plays because he’s accurate. The Future: As a switch-hitter who can hit and play all three outfield spots, Reynolds has a high floor as at least a big league contributor. His ability to stay in center and rein in his strikeout rate will determine whether he can be an everyday impact player.
5. Andrew Suarez, lhp Born: Sept. 11, 1992. B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 210. Drafted: Miami, 2015 (2nd round). Signed by: Jose Alou. Background: Suarez was selected three times with a draft pick in the first 10 rounds. He turned down the Blue Jays (ninth round) out of high school. The two-time second-round pick spurned the Nationals in 2014 to return to the Hurricanes. The Giants signed him for a touch more than $1 million in 2015. Scouting Report: Suarez is yet another creative Giants starter. He mixes his pitches, changes speeds, works in and out, elevates and sinks and manipulates the ball around the strike zone like a veteran. And he does it with legitimate stuff. Suarez pitches with an 89-93 mph fastball that touches 95 with late life. It plays as an above-average pitch because his slinging, low three-quarters arm slot presents a tough angle. His slider is an above-average pitch and his changeup is average. He also uses a fringe-average curveball and cutter. All Suarez’s pitches play up because of his plus control (strikes with 70 percent of pitches, according to the Giants) and above-average command, though he would benefit by making hitters chase a pitch more often. The Future: Suarez’s feel and control are reminiscent of fellow Giants lefthander Ty Blach, but he pitches with firmer stuff. He should slot in as a No. 4 starter and is ready for Triple-A Sacramento in 2017.
|San Jose (HiA)||2||1||2.43||5||5||0||0||30||25||2||5||34||.225|
6. Ty Blach, lhp Born: Oct. 20, 1990. B-T: R-L. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 200. Drafted: Creighton, 2012 (5th round). Signed by: Lou Colletti. Background: Blach has exceeded 100 innings each of his past six seasons, stretching back to his sophomore year at Creighton. He topped 160 in both 2015 and 2016 at Triple-A Sacramento. A September callup, Blach provided a highlight when he outdueled the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw on Oct. 1 with eight scoreless innings to sew up the Giants’ playoff spot. Scouting Report: Blach repeated the Pacific Coast League in 2016 and improved across the board, notably by inducing batters to chase out of the zone more frequently and sequencing better. He has long been a favorite of Giants coaches for his intelligent approach to pitching and his excellent work ethic. He lacks a plus pitch, but his changeup is above-average and his control allows him to keep hitters off balance. He hits his spots with average stuff, has above-average control, keeps the ball in the park, holds baserunners and is an excellent fielder. Blach has also gained strength to the point where his fastball is now an average 91-92 mph. He tightened his curveball in 2016, making the formerly loopy pitch sharper, albeit still fringe-average. His slider is a fringe-average pitch without the bite to be an out pitch. The Future: Blach profiles as a No. 5 starter and will compete in 2017 with more tenured pitchers for a spot in the big league rotation.
|San Francisco (MLB)||1||0||1.06||4||2||0||0||17||8||1||5||10||.143|
7. Joan Gregorio, rhp Born: Jan. 12, 1992. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 230. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2010. Signed by: Pablo Peguero. Background: Gregorio signed as an “older” 18-year-old amateur out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, yet the Giants had to be patient as he filled out his massive 6-foot-7 frame and learned how to repeat his delivery. He cruised through an assignment at Double-A Richmond in 2016 to earn a May promotion to Triple-A Sacramento, where he hit a speed bump as he ran up a 5.28 ERA in 21 starts at age 24. Scouting Report: Even as he struggled every fifth day, Gregorio impressed at times. He ranges from 90-93 mph as he mixes two- and four-seam fastballs. He struggles to locate to his glove side but is comfortable locating armside. Gregorio has shown improved feel, and he creates plenty of angle on his fastball with his long limbs. His best secondary pitch is an average 82-85 mph slider. His below-average 85-86 mph changeup took a big step forward in 2016 when he started to show conviction in throwing it. He showed improved maturity in his pitch selection by sticking with a pitch even if it’s getting hit and sharpening it during the game. The Future: Scouts are split on Gregorio’s future role. His age, wavering control and the Giants’ crowded Triple-A rotation all hint at a move to the bullpen, but he’s shown flashes of starter potential as well.
8. Sandro Fabian, of Born: March 6, 1998. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Signed: Dominican Republic, 2014. Signed by: Pablo Peguero/Felix Peguero/Jonathan Bautista. Background: Fabian was the Giants’ top target on the 2014 international market, and they signed him for $500,000. He helped lead his Dominican Summer League team to the league title in 2015 and followed it up by being one of the best hitters in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2016. The 18-year-old ranked among the league’s best in many offensive categories, including average (.340), extra-base hits (20) and slugging (.522). Scouting Report: Fabian is an advanced hitter for his age, and he loves the challenge of catching up to quality fastballs. He has a significant leg lift to begin his swing, using it to load and explode into the pitch. He does a good job of using his lower half in his swing, but his lack of current pitch awareness makes him vulnerable to offspeed pitches. His hand-eye coordination allowed him to survive against AZL pitchers despite his aggressiveness. Fabian is a plus defender in right field with excellent routes and a good first step. He has a plus arm with accuracy. Fabian is a below-average runner. He shows fringe-average raw power now, but his lean frame limits his growth potential. The Future: Fabian lacks physical projection and is a fringe athlete who succeeds more because of hard work and feel for the game. He will attempt to keep exceeding expectations in 2017, possibly at low Class A Augusta.
|AZL Giants (R)||.340||.364||.522||159||30||54||13||5||2||35||7||28||3|
9. Aramis Garcia, c | Born: Jan. 12, 1993. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 220. Drafted: Florida International, 2014 (2nd round). Signed by: Jose Alou. Background: One of the better hitting catchers available in the 2014 draft, Garcia walked more than he struck out as a Florida International junior and led Conference USA in average (.368) and slugging (.626). He popped 15 home runs at low Class A Augusta in 2015, but his timing never returned in 2016 after he missed two months with a facial fracture that required surgery. He injured himself in a collision sliding into second base. Scouting Report: Garcia has focused his attention on his defense in pro ball as a result of being labeled a bat-first catcher in high school and college. A fringe-average defender with a plus arm, he is more than playable behind the plate. He will rip off above-average pop times of 1.85-1.9 seconds on throws to second base. Garcia’s blocking and the smoothness of his receiving is limited by his size and by a little stiffness, but he has worked to improve. His performance at the plate in 2016 disappointed because he didn’t show his trademark power or consistent approach. If he can get back to pre-injury form, Garcia is a .250 hitter with line-drive power and about 10 home run potential. The Future: Even in a lost season, Garcia didn’t carry his offensive struggles into the field, where he has only improved. He will attempt to rebound in 2017, possibly with a return to high Class A San Jose.
|San Jose (HiA)||.257||.323||.340||144||20||37||6||0||2||20||14||42||1|
10. Steven Duggar, of Born: Nov. 4, 1993. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 195. Drafted: Clemson, 2015 (6th round). Signed by: Donnie Suttles. Background: A right fielder at Clemson and early in his pro career, Duggar slid over to center field and blossomed in 2016. He spent the second half at Double-A Richmond and combined to hit .302 at two stops while showing wide-ranging ability, including 10 home runs, 72 walks and 15 stolen bases (albeit with 14 failed attempts). Scouting Report: Thanks to plenty of extra work, Duggar turned himself into a potentially above-average defender in center with lots of range thanks to his plus speed. That and his plus arm will be essential if he is to man San Francisco’s spacious right field. A lefthanded hitter, Duggar also made strides at the plate as he worked to flatten the angle his bat takes as it enters the hitting zone. The flatter path led to more consistent hard contact, which helped him spray the ball to all fields, particularly at Richmond, where he hit .321. Duggar’s strike-zone discipline enhances his above-average hit tool and drives his high on-base percentage. His speed hasn’t translated into basestealing success. The strength in his swing could allow him to hit 15 home runs or more if he is willing to trade average for power. The Future: Duggar is a premium athlete who is proving he can hit. Unless he develops more power, he profiles best as a potential top-of-the-order hitter.
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|San Jose (HiA)||.284||.386||.462||264||43||75||12||4||9||30||44||66||6|