Image credit: Joey Bart (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
To see the Giants top 10, click here.
Kegan Lowe: Hey y’all! Thanks for submitting all of the Giants questions. Looks like we have some good ones in the queue, so I’ll try to answer as many as I can over the next hour or two. Let’s go!
- Where would you rank Bart among the top catching prospects in the minors?
Kegan Lowe: Let’s start at the top with Joey Bart. In our most recent updated Top 100, Bart was behind only Francisco Mejia (Padres) and Keibert Ruiz (Dodgers) in terms of catching prospects. I think those three form a pretty clear top three, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Bart ended up being the best of the bunch.
- This list is very RHP heavy. Who are some of the more intriguing LHP in the system?
Kegan Lowe: Yes, with five righthanders and zero lefthanders in the Giants’ Top 10 it’s fair to say the farm system, at least at the top, favors heavily towards righties. Two lefthanders that I would keep an eye on are Seth Corry and Garrett Williams. Williams was a top-10 prospect this time last year, but he struggled mightily in Double-A in 2018. Corry was impressive while repeating the Arizona League early in 2018, but he was roughed up a little bit in the Northwest League in a small sample size. Both guys have reliever risk in their profile, but there’s still potential starter’s upside for both.
Mike (Charlotte, NC):
- Hi Kegan, Thanks for the chat! I had the opportunity to watch Melvin Adon pitch in the fall league. The kid had a nice downward plane on his fastball and was throwing heat. Looks like he has potential to work out of the pen. I was wondering what the thoughts are with him? Do you guys think he has advanced from his no. 14 rank in last year’s handbook? Thanks!
Kegan Lowe: Melvin Adon did receive some consideration for the Giants’ Top 10 after an impressive AFL campaign, but he ultimately just missed the cut. Your scouting report was fairly spot on. Adon has a plus fastball that touches triple digits out of the bullpen, which is where I expect him to be moving forward. His fastball-slider combination should work well in a high-leverage relief role in the future, so long as he can continue improving his command and control. As a reliever, Adon could start climbing up the Giants’ system quickly.
Frank (Indianapolis, IN):
- How many of these guys are likely to make the next BA 100 list?
Kegan Lowe: I feel confident in saying Joey Bart is a sure-fire lock to make the next BA Top 100. I’m not sure he’ll crack the top 20, but somewhere in the 25-40 range sounds right, at least to begin the season. Marco Luciano and Heliot Ramos both deserve consideration, although I highly doubt both of them make the Top 100. And there’s a chance neither break through when we update in a few weeks.
- Is Luciano over Ramos more about how talented Marco is? Or in response to Heliot’s struggles in Low A?
Kegan Lowe: Let’s tackle the Luciano versus Ramos debate since they were brought up in the last question. It was very close, and I’m sure you could find several evaluators who would have Ramos at No. 2 and Luciano at No. 3. I wouldn’t argue too much with any of those evaluators. Ultimately, Ramos’ struggles in low Class A pushed him down just enough for us to bump Luciano up to No. 2. But obviously, the rankings also have a lot to do with Luciano’s talent. So the answer to your question is simply, “both.”
SAL fan (SAL Land):
- Who is there to look out for with Augusta early in the season? Hjelle, Canario, and? Any chance Bart or Ramos start there?
Kegan Lowe: I don’t mean to ruin your day, SAL fan, but I think Bart, Ramos and Hjelle may all start 2019 in high Class A San Jose. I’d guess San Jose is going to be the minor league “team to see” for the Giants next season. As for Augusta, I’d look forward to seeing righthanders Gregory Santos, Jake Wong and Juan De Paula, as well as the aforementioned Seth Corry. That could be four-fifths of the starting rotation. I’d guess Alexander Canario plays in the Northwest League in 2019, but I won’t rule out time in Augusta, either.
J.P. (Springfield, IL):
- Thanks for chatting, Kegan. What were the biggest factors which led to Chris Shaw falling off the top 10 this year? Are you optimistic about his ceiling at this point?
Kegan Lowe: Chris Shaw was right there, and I think there’s still a decent argument for him to be included in the Top 10, even if I didn’t rank him there. Obviously, his small sample in the majors wasn’t encouraging, but his Triple-A numbers were solid. The power is legit, and he may have improved enough to be an average defensive left fielder. However, the swing-and-miss issues are a real concern. He struck out in 34 percent of his at-bats in Triple-A, and that number jumped to 37 percent in the majors. Shaw can get overagressive at times trying to tap into his plus power, and it can come back to bite him. I wouldn’t give up on him being an everyday left fielder yet, but cutting down on the strikeouts should be a major focus.
Roger (Washington DC):
- Was Ray Black eligible for your lists this year? And if so, was he considered for Top 10? How do you stack up Black, Melvin Adon, and Camilo Doval in terms of potential late inning impact arms?
Kegan Lowe: Ray Black was eligible for the list, and—spoiler alert—he made the Giants’ Top 30 that you’ll only be able to see if you—shameless plug—buy the 2019 Prospect Handbook from BaseballAmerica dot com. To answer your question, Black wasn’t seriously considered for the Top 10, but that was mostly due to his age (28) and the lengthy injury issues. He has an electric arm and was impressive in 2018. The biggest key for him moving forward is simply staying healthy and on the mound. I’d take Adon over Black or Camilo Doval, but all three have the potential to be high-leverage relievers in the majors.
Kyle (San Francisco):
- Could Melvin Adon be a viable SP in the future, or is he strictly a reliever?
Kegan Lowe: We’ve obviously already touched on this, but I’d view Adon as strictly a reliever from here on out. And he has a chance to be a good one.
Justin (Detroit, MI):
- Tyler Beede – prospect or suspect?
Kegan Lowe: I tried avoiding the Tyler Beede questions, but I know they’re unavoidable. Obviously, the numbers have been ugly for the former first-round pick in 2017 and 2018. He’s still a prospect, but there’s no denying his status has fallen significantly over the last 18 months. I think the Giants will stick with him as a starter in Triple-A for the beginning of 2019, but a move back to the bullpen is still very much on the table. Beede has to figure out his fastball command. If he doesn’t, he’ll be much more “suspect” than “prospect” to use your phrasing.
Lou (New Jersey):
- What were the splits for Canario versus RHP and LHP as it relates to the spike in K rate? Was it a matter of not recognizing better spin? Last, do Giants see him as a fast mover through their OF-starved organization?
Kegan Lowe: We’re talking an extremely small sample size here, because Canario only had 27 at-bats versus lefties in 2018. He struck out four times those 27 at-bats (14.8 percent) and 47 times in 149 at-bats against righthanders (33.3 percent). From what I’ve heard, Canario can get overagressive at times trying to sell out for power, which obviously hurts his strikeout numbers. I would hold off, at least for now, on digging in too much to his left/right splits. I don’t know if I’d consider him a fast-mover, seeing as he’s yet to play about Rookie-ball, but he definitely has some of the most raw talent of any prospect in the organization.
Mike (Tampa, FL):
- What does Jacob Gonzalez need to work on most this year, and is he in the 11-15 range?
Kegan Lowe: For a big, physcial guy with plus raw power, Gonzalez hit too many groundballs in 2018. He needs to work on getting the ball in the air more in order to tap into that power, because he’ll likely never be much more than an average defensive third baseman.
- Kegan, thanks for the chat. What is your overall assessment of this system? I was surprised to see so many household names omitted (Shaw, Beede, Garcia, Avelino). Is this system weak because these four graduated by differing standards, or is the regression of (Fabian, Adnon, Quinn, Gonzalez, Corry) a major red flag that San Fran loyalists should be worried about.
Kegan Lowe: I’ve answered a lot of player-specific questions, so let’s take a step back. As of right now, the Giants have a bottom-five farm system in baseball. I’d also say there’s a clear top 10-12, but the difference between No. 13 and No. 30 in this system isn’t much. You could pretty much rank prospects 13-30ish in any order and there’d be evaluators that both agreed and disagreed with your new rankings. As for the four names you mentioned, only Shaw received consideration for the top 10. But yes, subpar seasons from players such as Beede, Sandro Fabian, Jacob Gonzalez and others definitely hurt this system’s overall ranking as we head into 2019.
Luke (Los Angeles):
- Ranking Luis Toribio in the Top Ten is definitely aggressive when he hasn’t played a game stateside yet. How many folks have you spoken with that share the view that he’s going to charge hard?
Kegan Lowe: I guess it’s aggressive, but I’d say we’re much more interested in tools and scouting reports than worrying about if an 18-year-old played in the United States during his age-17 season. Obviously, the reports I’ve received are that Toribio is one of the 10 most talented prospects currently in the Giants’ system, otherwise I wouldn’t have ranked him this high. Yes, he has some extreme risk in his profile, just because of his age and currently below-average speed and defense, but he’s shown an above-average hit tool, plus raw power and a mature approach that was one of the best during his stint in the (age-appropriate) DSL.
J.P. (Springfield, IL):
- Do you agree with the decision to keep Bart in the NWL throughout his pro debut?
Kegan Lowe: I had no problem with keeping Bart in the Northwest League last season. It sounds like he could skip low Class A Augusta all together in 2019 and jump straight to high Class A San Jose to begin the season, so I’m not sure 15-20 games in the South Atlantic League in his draft year really matters one way or the other.
Roger (Washington DC):
- Was Juan De Paula in the conversation for the top 10? How does he compare to other young pitchers in the system who rated above like Santos and Wong?
Kegan Lowe: I’m a fan of Juan De Paula. Perhaps one of my favorite Giants prospects who isn’t currently in the Top 10. He’s got a potentially plus fastball that’s reached 98 mph in the past and feel for both a curveball and changeup. He’s obviously still raw and new to the organization, but he made a good first impression with the Giants and should gain some much-needed experience with Augusta in 2019. Improving his control should be his biggest focus this season.
Roger (Washington DC):
- Which role do you think Anderson ultimately fills in big leagues — back end starter or late innings relief arm?
Kegan Lowe: Assuming we’re talking Shaun Anderson here, I’d say he’s more likely a back-end starter, perhaps a solid No. 4 starter, more than a late-inning reliever. He doesn’t have the true, wipeout stuff of an effective set-up man or closer, but he has a nice four-pitch mix that he knows how to control and works best when navigating a lineup multiple times.
Heliot Ramos (HiA):
- I was one of the youngest draftees in my 2017 class. After a great showing in the AZL I was predicted by many as a huge potential breakout prospect in 2018. I ended up struggling for much of 2018 in LoA. How alarmed were scouts after my season at LoA? My 26% K rate is high but still within a reasonable range for being an 18 year old in LoA for all of 2018. Is the consensus my hit tool has taken a hit and now have scouts projecting to be FV 45-50 instead of 50-55?
Kegan Lowe: A lot of Ramos questions, so let’s answer the one from the man himself. Sure, scouts would have loved to see more from Ramos in 2018, but I don’t think anyone is freaking out or jumping off the bandwagon quite yet. He’ll never draw many walks, but he still has the potential to be a dangerous power-speed threat with at least above-average defense. We still have him as a 50-55 FV.
Roger (Washington DC):
- Jalen Miller improved his overall line and particularly his power numbers in 2018, but some of the underlying peripherals didn’t shift much at all. Do you see his 2018 as a breakout, a modest step forward?
Kegan Lowe: I’d say 2018 was more of a much-needed, modest step forward for Miller. I think the true test will be an assignment to Double-A in 2019. The defensive ability is there for Miller to be a major leaguer, and scouts rave about his makeup and work ethic, so it’ll likely come down to his ability to hit. Slashing .276/.321/.434 with 14 home runs and 11 stolen bases was a good start for Miller. Can he produce similar numbers next year in Double-A will be the question.
- Who are some of the best contact/OBP bats in this system?
Kegan Lowe: I think the easy answers here are Joey Bart and Luis Toribio, in terms of on-base percentage. We’ll see how Marco Luciano does in his pro debut in 2019, but he has a potential to be added to this list as well.
Kegan Lowe: Alright, that’s all I have time for today. I appreciate everyone stopping by and asking some really good questions. Hope I answered at least a few of your inquiries. Happy Monday, and I hope everyone has a good rest of their week!