2021 San Francisco Giants Midseason Top 30 Prospects Update
Entering the season, the consensus was that the Padres and Dodgers would fight it out for the top spot in the National League West. The Giants, however, have stood tall over both of them, and had the game’s best record entering the final week of July. They’d accomplished it without a true superstar in the mold of the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. or the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts, but had succeeded just the same.
The record, plus a farm system rejuvenated by a strong pair of waves of international signings, had them in position to become buyers at the July 30 trading deadline. The top of their farm system is buttressed by a quintet of Top 100 Prospects, led by No. 9 overall prospect Marco Luciano, a precocious teenaged shortstop with an offensive pedigree matched by few prospects in the game.
The Giants buttressed their roster in the last minutes of the trade deadline by sending outfielder Alexander Canario and righty Caleb Kilian—one of the system’s biggest risers—to Chicago for all-star Kris Bryant. San Francisco also added reliever Tony Watson from the Angels for three pitchers, none of whom cracked the initial Top 30.
Top 10 Prospects
1. Marco Luciano, SS
Age: 19. Team: Low-A San Jose
Luciano took a little while to get going in his first test at full-season ball, but he’s been as advertised since hitting his stride. He’s the unquestioned top prospect in the organization and projects to hit for both average and power no matter where he makes his defensive home.
2. Joey Bart, C
Age: 24. Team: Triple-A Sacramento
Had things been normal over the last two years, Bart’s script might have been reversed. He would have spent 2020 in Triple-A mashing, then made his big league debut in 2021. Regardless, he still has the inside track on the Giants’ catcher of the future job.
3. Heliot Ramos, OF
Age: 21. Team: Triple-A Sacramento
It’s easy to forget just how young Ramos is, given that he was drafted in 2017. He’s spent the season learning how to better use the whole field, given his rep as a pull-heavy hitter coming into the year. His routes and instincts in the outfield have improved, too, giving him a better chance to remain in center field.
4. Luis Matos, OF
Age: 19. Team: Low-A San Jose
Matos has passed his first full-season test with flying colors. One of the breakout stars of the Giants’ 2020 instructional league has kept it going in 2021. He’s got quick hands and plenty of bat-to-ball skills to be a potentially plus hitter in the big leagues, and has the chops to stick in center field as well.
5. Kyle Harrison, LHP
Age: 19. Team: Low-A San Jose
Like Luis Matos, Harrison wowed evaluators during the 2020 instructional league and has kept it going into 2021. The lefty, whom the Giants paid big money to woo away from a UCLA commitment, has shown three swing-and-miss pitches, including a fastball that sits in the mid 90s. He definitely has to polish his command and control, but he’s used his outstanding raw ingredients to stand out as the system’s best pitching prospect.
6. Will Bednar, RHP
Age: 21. Team: None
NEW After his season was delayed due to a neck injury, Bednar spent the rest of the year impressing evaluators. His season culminated with six hitless innings in the final game of Mississippi State’s College World Series win over Vanderbilt. Bednar fronts his arsenal with a potentially plus fastball and slider, as well as an average changeup, and control which projects as average.
7. Matt Mikulski, LHP
Age: 22. Team: None
NEW After going undrafted in 2020, Mikulski drastically improved his stock in 2021. The Giants thought enough of him to take him in the second round, making him the earliest drafted player ever from Fordham. He fronts his arsenal with a 93-95 mph fastball that has peaked around 98. His slider flashes average potential, but his changeup gets more swings and misses thanks to the conviction and deception with which it is thrown. He also has a curveball he can flip in for strikes.
8. Jairo Pomares, OF
Age: 20. Team: Low-A San Jose
Pomares has shown the most power of his short career this season with San Jose, all without a sacrifice to his hittability or on-base skills. He doesn’t walk much, but so far he’s made enough contact that it hasn’t mattered.
9. Aeverson Arteaga, SS
Age: 18. Team: Rookie-level ACL Giants Orange
The headliner of the Giants’ 2019 international class, Arteaga was impressive during extended spring training and continued his hot start when his official professional career began once the Arizona Complex League season began on June 28.
10. Will Wilson, SS
Age: 23. Team: Double-A Richmond
Wilson was acquired from the Angels shortly after he was drafted in 2019, and now he is part of a system with plenty of his former North Carolina State teammates, including lefty Nick Swiney and catcher Patrick Bailey. Wilson doesn’t have a particular standout tool, but he doesn’t have a glaring weakness either. He should make the big leagues as a bundle of average tools who can play both middle-infield positions.
11. Sean Hjelle, RHP
12. Luis Toribio, 3B
13. Hunter Bishop, OF
14. Tristan Beck, RHP
15. Ricardo Genoves, C
16. Patrick Bailey, C
17. Anthony Rodriguez, SS
18. Manuel Mercedes, RHP
NEW Mercedes is an intriguing righthander who has opened eyes with his raw stuff. His fastball has been up to 98 mph in extended spring training and again in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League, and he has shown a swing-and-miss breaking ball as well. He’s athletic and projectable, too, giving him all the ingredients of a player to watch.
19. Casey Schmitt, 3B
20. Jimmy Glowenke, SS/2B
NEW Glowenke was taken by the Giants in the supplemental second round of the 2020 draft but didn’t get a chance to show his stuff because he was recovering from Tommy John surgery he had while still at Dallas Baptist. He started the 2021 season slowly but in July has started to kick off the rust and perform like the player San Francisco expected. He’s likely to wind up at second base, but his contact skills and potentially average power should give him plenty of value.
21. Carson Ragsdale, RHP
NEW Ragsdale was selected by the Phillies in the fourth round of the 2020 draft, then quickly shipped to the Giants in the trade that brought reliever Sam Coonrod to Philadelphia. Ragsdale has had dominant spurts in the Low-A West, but needs to cut down on his walks before he’s ready to move up the ladder.
22. Ryan Murphy, RHP
NEW Murphy was the Giants’ fifth-round pick in the shortened 2020 draft out of Le Moyne (N.Y.) College. He’s carved up the Low-A West, especially in July, when he strung together five consecutive starts of double-digit strikeouts. As the season has gone on, he’s learned how to better optimize his fastball up in the zone to help it play off of his slider to get plenty of whiffs.
23. Diego Rincones, OF
NEW Rincones this year has shown a knack for barreling the ball. He bashed his way out of High-A Eugene—with a stint at the Olympic qualifier mixed in—before moving to Double-A for his first upper-level test. He’s a corner outfielder all the way, but if he can sustain his ability to make hard contact he could carve out a spot in the big leagues.
24. Prelander Berroa, RHP
NEW Berroa was part of the package the Giants received when they sent reliever Sam Dyson to the Twins in 2019. He’s shown plenty of improvement over the course of the season, and now has better control of an excellent slider to go with his mid-90s four-seam fastball. If his changeup can reach average—which it will do in flashes—he can remain a starter.
25. Adrian Sugastey, C
26. Nick Swiney, LHP
27. Logan Wyatt, 1B
28. Rayner Santana, C
29. Eric Silva, RHP
NEW Much as they did with Kyle Harrison in 2020, the Giants gave Silva more than double the slot value to forgo his commitment to UCLA. Silva is a 6-foot righthander whose fastball sits in the 90-94 mph range and has touched as high as 97 mph. He’s also got a short, low-80s slider which projects as a 55-grade pitch on the 20-80 scale and a changeup which could get to fringe-average. The Giants’ player development team has done wonders lately, and in Silva it has another ball of clay to mold.
30. R.J. Dabovich, RHP
Pontes Of View: May 11
We dive in deep to each start, mixing in some discussion of the pitcher’s arsenal, pitch shape, velocity and overall future role.
OF Jairo Pomares has unlocked the power the Giants knew he had in him, which has helped him fit right in with a San Jose lineup full of high-end prospects. The new power, if sustained, should allow him to profile in a corner-outfield spot.
RHP Manuel Mercedes has shown an electric combination of an upper-90s fastball, swing-and-miss breaking ball and an athletic delivery to become one of the team’s standouts in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League.
RHP Ryan Murphy ran through the Low-A West league easily, ending with a string of five straight starts with 10 or more strikeouts. He has a funky delivery and has been helped by the Giants’ pitching development department, which optimized Murphy’s arsenal.
Outfielder Hunter Bishop’s shoulder injury has limited him to just three games this year, which has kept him from valuable in-season repetitions and experience.
Catcher Patrick Bailey has dealt with injuries and underperformance this year. After starting the season in High-A Eugene, he’s seemingly been passed by Ricardo Genoves, who has moved to High-A while Bailey is at Low-A.
Despite his hulking frame, first baseman Logan Wyatt has struggled to tap into any sort of power, which will be necessary if he is to profile at first base.
Utility infielder Thairo Estrada has bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the big leagues but has produced every time he’s been called up.
Lefthander Caleb Baragar has made several stints in the big leagues but has had trouble finding the strike zone (14 walks in 18.1 innings) when he’s gotten a chance. Despite the control problems, he’s worked to a 0.49 ERA.
OF Hunter Bishop has dealt with a lingering shoulder injury which has limited him to just three games all year.
RHP Dedniel Nuñez, acquired from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft, had Tommy John surgery.
RHP Tristan Beck has missed significant time while recovering from a herniated disk on the left side of his back.
LHP Nick Swiney just made his first rehab appearance after sustaining a concussion in a freak accident.