San Francisco Giants 2021 Top MLB Prospects Chat

Image credit: (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Josh Norris: Let’s chat.

Jonathan (OH):

     Can you provide updates on Heliot Ramos and Hunter Bishop? Any MLB player(s) you would comp them to? Very excited for the future of the Giants outfield. Thanks for your time

Josh Norris: I don’t do comps, so I’ll skip that part, but each of Ramos and Bishop has his own questions to answer. Ramos needs to continue to work on his strike zone discipline, particularly against offspeeds, though he improved in that regard at the alt site this year. He also has to continue to work on his conditioning. Bishop still has questions to answer about his overall hittability that have been with him since he was an amateur. Given that he’s going to likely move to a corner, he’ll have to tap into his raw power quite a bit as well.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):

     Slugger Chris Shaw slipped away to the Orioles – what’s your take on that? Would he have made the top 30 prospects included in the Prospect Handbook?

Josh Norris: The Giants have plenty of better prospects in their system, so Shaw got passed up. Since he was not in their system, I did not consider if he would have ranked among the Top 30.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):

     While a top 10 prospect last year, Sam Hjelle, has slipped out of that category – how far did he dip down in your opinion?

Josh Norris: Not terribly far, and part of it was simply the additions of Kyle Harrison and Patrick Bailey to the mix. Another part was that it was very difficult to gauge what kind of progress he did or did not make because he was at neither the alternate site nor instructs.

Mike (Honolulu):

     Thanks for the chat! There’s been questions about Joey Bart sticking behind the plate. I may be wrong, but I think some of the rumors are that he doesn’t want to play catcher. Can you go over his position concerns?

Josh Norris: I have not heard those rumors, but he’s a fine defensive catcher and would be in line for that position in most orgs. However, Patrick Bailey is outstanding and earned instant raves from the day he joined the org. Part of the reason Bart got the call this summer is because some in the org believed he was the best defensive option available at the time. Under normal circumstances he would have spent plenty of time in the upper minors.

Mike (Honolulu):

     What tidbits can you share from the alternate site and instructs? Anybody stand out at either place? Any surprises or deep roster guys?

Josh Norris: The Giants are tricky because they did not allow outside scouts into their facility for instructs (if you’ve been there, you’d see that it’s not built for social distancing), but Luis Matos was the guy who got the best reviews, as well as Kyle Harrison. They were quite impressed with both of those guys. Gregory Santos was impressive too. I liked him a couple of years ago, wrote nice things about him … and then he missed all of 2019 and then of course 2020 happened. He could be an interesting reliever prospect.

Mike (Honolulu):

     Outside the Top 10, which prospects are you keeping a particularly watchful eye on in 2021? Also, how about a less talked about prospect that may get noticed in 2021?

Josh Norris: First of all, I hope to be able to keep watchful eyes on ALL PROSPECTS in 2021. (Go away, Covid, you foul beast). But if you want something more specific than “everybody,” I’d be very interested to see the new and improved version of Kervin Castro, who wowed the team enough to get a place on the 40-man

Bertram (Taiwan):

     The way Corry ended 2019 I expected him to be much higher on this list. Did the missed year hurt his stock or does be just need to prove the control/command is there for more than half a season before he moves up?

Josh Norris: Mostly the latter. Yes, he improved at the end of 2019, but there was still work to be done in that regard and he just didn’t get a chance to prove it in 2020 against competition outside of the instructional league.

Roger (Washington DC):

     Who do you think is likely ready to help out with some starts in SF first: Sean Hjelle or Tristan Beck?

Josh Norris: I’d say Beck of those two simply because he got to develop this year in front of Giants coaches in-person and Hjelle did not after the shutdown. Otherwise, they would be roughly neck and neck.

William (CO):

     Noticed Corry dropped a bit in top-10 – just due to draft picks being better, or did they see anything at instructs?

Josh Norris: The former. Harrison and Bailey are better prospects at this point, which pushed other guys down.

Buff (Colorado):

     Long term, do you see Matos as more of a speed guy or a power guy?

Josh Norris: I think he’s a guy who’s going to have a blend of above-average tools with no one particular tool standing out. In other words: He could have both power and speed, though neither in eye-popping quantity.

Marc D. (Hawaii):

     Aside from Harrison, Corry, and Gregory Santos, who is your favorite pitcher in the Giants system?

Josh Norris: This is not a particularly pitching-rich system. Harrison, Corry and Santos are three of my favorites for sure, and Beck intrigues me given that his pitch mix fits naturally into the type of repertoire the Giants seek. Also, as mentioned in an earlier question, I’d be interested in seeing what Kervin Castro looks like. Camilo Doval drew raves from the alt site as well.

Mike (Honolulu):

     Where do you see the biggest holes in the system?

Josh Norris: Starting pitching. Your question made me realize that just five of the Top 30 project as starters, and two have them (Harrison, Swiney) haven’t thrown an official pitch as a professional.

Mike (Honolulu):

     Excluding the possible call up of Heliot Ramos and likely call up of Joey Bart, which prospects might see notable 2021 time at PacBell/SBC/AT&T/Oracle Park, one of baseball’s crown jewels of a stadium!?

Josh Norris: Doval should get a look. Other than that, mayyyyyybe Tristan Beck and/or Sean Hjelle? The best prospects in the system are very young, so there might not be a whole lot of debuts this year.

Jim (Newark):

     What type of player could Luciano be at his peak?

Josh Norris: A cotdang superstar.

Mike (Honolulu):

     Jaylin Davis. Where range does he sit in the Giants Top 30? Any information from the alternate site or instructs?

Josh Norris: He did not make the Top 30. At this point, he appears to be an extra guy.

Cal (San Francisco):

     What’s your take on Trevor McDonald, the pitcher taken on 2019 11th round pick that the Giants are high on? Thanks.

Josh Norris: He’s got interesting stuff—averaged 94 at instructs—but his arm stroke is not one you see too often from a starter.

Mike (Honolulu):

     In 2021, which level (MLB, AAA, etc.) of the organization will have the best winning percentage? In other words, which team will have the greatest relative-to-their-league talent? Which players drive that choice?

Josh Norris: 1) It’s hard to even know how many games will be played in the minor leagues (at affiliates) until we see how the rollout of the vaccine will go. IMO, the better we do with that, the more games we see at affiliates. 2) Having better prospects does not necessarily equate to a better team. An MiLB team can be stocked full of veteran guys who run roughshod over their more talented, prospecty peers quite easily.

Jim (NJ):

     At Salem, Canario whiffed in 33% of his appearances but posted a .904 OPS. Is the concern that more advanced pitching will only further expose the swing and miss part of his game? Has he shown to be coachable?

Josh Norris: It’s not the swing so much as the approach. He’s a very free-swinger, and yes, they would like him to tone that down somewhat. That was a particular point of emphasis before Canario had his shoulder surgery.

Sam (santa cruz, ca):

     Hey Josh, how much more room for growth do you think Luciano has in terms of power? 118mph seems unheard of for a 19 year old.

Josh Norris: Probably not a whole lot more in terms of pure exit velo, but look at it this way too: In 2019, his average EV was 93 mph. This year, the big leaguers with that same number were Marcell Ozuna, Jose Abreu and Rafael Devers. Last year, just five big leaguers averaged better than 93 mph: Yoan Moncada, Christian Yelich, Franmil Reyes, Kyle Schwarber and Nelson Cruz. Decent company!

Mike (Honolulu):

     Luis Alexander Basabe is out of options. Will he make the big league club, get DFA’d and possibly outrighted to AAA? Is he “just” an elite defensive outfielder with no bat (a la Adam Engel)?

Josh Norris: I don’t think he’s quite in Adam Engel’s world in terms of defenders, and he needs more seasoning in the minor leagues before we can determine what he might look like as a finished product. He hasn’t even had a game at Triple-A yet and struggled with injuries in the White Sox’s system.

Mike (Honolulu):

     The Giants outfield, other than Mike Yastrzemski, seems to be mostly platoon, placeholder types. When does help arrive?

Josh Norris: Ramos should get there at some point this year (depending on how the MLB and MiLB seasons look), but beyond that Bishop and Canario and Matos are far away.

Fonz (Milwaukee):

     Any intel on Nick Swiney, the Giants’ second round pick? Does he project to be used as a starter or reliever?

Josh Norris: He gets an “incomplete” grade this year. Swiney really shined with NC State this year (ashamed I didn’t see him at all, considering I live like 15 minutes from NC State) but his stuff was a bit down this year in instructs. He’s also a guy whose stuff pops well with the various analytical measurements. Next year will be a much better sample from which to evaluate.

Joey (Mi):

     Hey Josh. Thx for chatting. How many giants do u think will be on top 100? Is it true the top 100 comes out Monday? Also, why is Bishop so low? Is he not a top 100 prospect anymore!?

Josh Norris: I won’t answer how many Giants I think will be on the T100 since I know the answer. Yes, it comes out Monday though!

Josh Norris: That’s all for me today. Thanks guys. The Top 100 comes out Monday, and we’ll have a chat about the list on Tuesday. See you then.

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