San Francisco Giants Top 10 Prospects Chat

Frank (Indianapolis IN): How many of these guys are likely to make the BA 100?
J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone, thanks for coming out to the final Top 10 Prospects chat of the 2016-2017 Prospects season. Amazing to think that prospect season is almost over and it’s time to turn to college baseball, high school baseball, the draft and the upcoming 2017 season. As far as Top 100 Prospects, I see one sure-bet in Beede and then…..probably no one else. You could make a case for Arroyo, but I don’t think he’ll make the Top 100 after a .274/.316/.373 3 HR season (albeit with 36 doubles) at Double-A Richmond. The same could probably be said for Shaw and Reynolds/Suarez are pretty safely not going to make the 100. So that’s a longwinded way of saying 1-3 but most likely 1.

Paul (San Francisco, CA): I've been a fan of Matt Krook for some time, but those BB's worry me. Is he a lottery ticket, or could he shake it off and become something more?
J.J. Cooper: He’s a big-time lottery ticket, but one who could really pay off. The Giants bought a lot of scratchers in the 2016 draft with Krook, Garrett Williams, Stephen Woods, Alex Bostic and even Gio Brusa. Those are a lot of high-risk prospects but ones who could have big-time payoffs. If the Giants hit on one or two of those lottery tickets, it’s a very worthwhile gamble.

Frankie (Chicago, IL): Is CJ Hinojosa someone to keep an eye on? Is a position switch likely, or can he field SS well enough to stay there?
J.J. Cooper: He didn’t miss the Top 10 by all that much. Hinojosa is the rare post-hype amateur prospect. He was a very significant prospect coming out of high school and was considered a likely high pick coming out of Texas but he really fell apart as a junior and tumbled down draft boards. So far as a pro, he’s looked more like the promising amateur prospect he was earlier in his career rather than the one who seemed lost at the plate as a junior. Hinojosa plays shortstop well enough to stay there, although he may profile better as a utilityman than an everyday player.

Roger (Washington DC): Can Steven Duggar stick as a major league CF? And if not, does he profile as a starter or 4th OF type?
J.J. Cooper: Yes. He’s turned himself into a viable CF option, which gives him a better chance to be a starter. His arm makes him an option in RF as well. Duggar’s 2016 season was a big step forward for him and he’s got a shot to be an everyday guy, although his outfield versatility makes a 4th OF role a very viable backup plan.

Roger (Washington DC): What do you make of Jalen Miller? Plenty of athleticism and bat speed, but rugged performances so far as a pro.
J.J. Cooper: That was not a 2016 to remember. You summed it up pretty well in shorthand. Miller is athletic, but until he improves his pitch recognition it won’t really come all together. He was all too often an easy out for a pitcher with a plan last year.

Grant (NYC): Will Ryan Howard be likely to play and stick at shortstop? Is he a potential table setter at the plate?
J.J. Cooper: Yeah. He’s reliable if not particularly rangy. Good debate whether he or Hinojosa is a better defender. Obviously Hinojosa has an edge on Howard in that he’s produced at a full-season level, something Howard will have to prove he can do in 2017. Like Hinojosa I’d say with Howard that he’s more likely to be a utility infielder than a regular, but there is a plausible path to starting for Howard (like Hinojosa), just probably not in San Francisco with Crawford/Panik/Arroyo ahead of them.

OnlyDefense (USA): Rodolfo Martinez was hitting 100 MPH and then in the AFL there was reports of him down in the 92-93 range. Was he injured or were his mechanics off?
J.J. Cooper: He was hitting 101-102. He got into overthrowing at times during the season and it happened again in instructs/AFL. He was 95-97 mph in other AFL outings and there’s not anything I’ve heard that is really concerning about it. At his best in instructs, he was more precise and in his best at instructs he was back in the dugout after three quick outs having barely broke a sweat. It’s more a reminder that he has a lot of work to do. Martinez has better pure stuff than Reyes Moronta, but his San Jose teammate may be a little more advanced. Both are comfortably in the 11-20 range on the Top 30 in the Prospect Handbook.

Tony (San Francisco): Control issues are derailing Kyle Crick. Is it mechanical, mental, or both?
J.J. Cooper: Yes. He ranked 27th on the Top 30 last year, returned to Double-A for a third straight year and while his walk rate plummeted, so did his ability to miss bats. This has been Crick pretty much throughout his career. Crick has never walked less than five per nine in a pro season and he was battled wildness in high school as well. At this point, Crick’s chances of being a big league contributor are getting to be somewhat slim. Every now and then there are pitchers who can’t throw strikes for years and years and figure it out–the best recent example is Chris Archer, but Archer’s wildness was never as pronounced as Crick’s is and Archer started to figure it out by the time he turned 21. Crick will be 24 next season.

James (Palo Alto, CA): What led to the flip of Arroyo and Beede? Just a toss up? Is it more of a positive on Beede or are people a little more down on Arroyo than last year?
J.J. Cooper: Beede was significantly better in 2016 than he was in 2015. In 2015, he showed improved control and an ability to sink the ball and get ground balls more than in the past, but his velo backed up. This year, those 2015 improvements remained but he showed his previous velocity more often, giving him a chance to either get ground balls or go up in the zone to try to blow a guy away when needed.

James (SF): Odds: Is Ray Black ever going to make an impact in the big league bullpen? Besides lighting up the radar gun a few times?
J.J. Cooper: 2 of 10? Black’s arm is still extremely impressive, but he’s a 2011 draft pick with less than 100 career pro innings! He’s never shown an ability to pitch on back-to-back days, something pretty necessary for a pitcher in the big leagues. I wouldn’t be surprised if Black ends up somewhere else eventually. Teams will keep giving him chances because of his 103 mph fastball, but in the Giants system, there are pitchers with similar arms with a much shorter injury history and much better durability that have leapfrogged him. I’d still put it as 20 percent because if Black can stay healthy for a full season, something could click and he could go from Double-A to getting key outs in the big league in the matter of a few weeks. Look at Hunter Strickland as an example of what Black could do…kick around for year after year and then at some point it all clicks. Arquimedes Caminero or John Holdzkom are two other examples.

Roger (Washington DC): What in the world has happened to Mac Marshall? Your pre-draft scouting report on him in 2015 said "he fills up the zone with his whole arsenal." But two years into his pro career the zone's been pretty empty!
J.J. Cooper: He’s taken significant steps backward with his control and the concerns that he wouldn’t really end up as a starter have seemed to be coming true so far. I still think there’s a chance he could be a lefty reliever.

OnlyDefense (USA): How good is Cory Taylor sinker?
J.J. Cooper: Very good. He largely pitches with it and a slider even as a starter. That seems like a reliever profile long term, but the sinker’s quality gives him a chance to be a useful reliever.

Tony (San Francisco): Chris Shaw at #3 is higher than some other lists I've seen. Is this more of an optimism in the power or a belief that he'll improve defensively?
J.J. Cooper: It’s optimism on the power and the belief that if he hits, Shaw doesn’t have to be a plus defender at first base to be a big leaguer starter. In the Handbook we include the BA Grades. The difference in BA Grade between Shaw and say Steven Duggar is pretty modest, so him being No. 3 vs. No. 10 doesn’t necessarily mean as much as the seven spots would seem to indicate.

JG (Sacto, CA): Did Jalen Miller merit consideration for the top 10?
J.J. Cooper: No. Moved from shortstop to a less-demanding defensive position and hasn’t hit yet. He’s in the 30, but closer to No. 30 than No. 10.

Tablejumper (Waukesha, WI): Dan Slania pieced together another solid year punctuated with the successful conversion to starter. He's a bulldog. I didn't expect him to crack the Top 10, but I did expect him to finally achieve "prospect" status. Has he done that? What's his upside?
J.J. Cooper: Yep. He’s easily in the top 30 and earned a spot on the 40-man roster. I still think he ends up in the big leagues as a reliever, but he’s done a good job of carving out a role for himself. I see him likely ending up as a middle-innings reliever.

Greg (Sacramento, CA): It is so hard to complain about the Giants after 3 WS titles......but is it a fair criticism of their general drafting style that they focus too hard on high floor guys and miss out too often on the high ceiling guys? They got lucky and drafted well when given top 10 picks (Posey, Lincecum) and also hit in the late 00's on HS pitchers Cain and Bumgarner, but since then it seems like one low floor guy after another.
J.J. Cooper: I’d disagree about that when you look at this 2016 draft for example. Yes, the top guys (Reynolds, Quinn) are safe bats, but they then took on a ton of risk after that with Krook, Williams, Bostic and others. There’s a decent chance that none of those high-octane lefties they took in 2016 will throw enough strikes to be a big leaguer, but if they get one or two of them straightened out, these are impact arms, not back-end strike throwers. Going back to 2015, I’d say first-rounder Chris Shaw is more boom-bust than safe and the same can be said for third-rounder Jalen Miller.

GPro (Philippines): Rodolfo Martinez' stock seemed to have fell off the cliff when he got promoted to Richmond and suddenly lost control and velocity of his fastball. Do you think he can bounce back next year?
J.J. Cooper: Yes. Delivery issues he needs to smooth out, but the arm is special.

Dan (Augusta, ME): Was Heath Quinn given any consideration for the top 10? He seemed to have no issue adjusting to pro ball after he nearly matched Kyle Lewis statistically in the Southern conference last year. What's the concern with him? Thanks.
J.J. Cooper: He didn’t really come close to matching Lewis statistically last year, as Lewis showed better batting average, on-base percentage, K-rate, BB-rate, etc. But Quinn is a pretty solid hitter who has shown outstanding power at times. I think he’s more of a hitter than slugger, but he’s got enough ability to hit for average and power to be a productive contributor as a corner OF.

Ray (Greene): Seems like the Giants are loading up on outfield prospects with Pence and Span aging. Can we expect Slater and Duggar to compete for starting roles in the near future. Thanks.
J.J. Cooper: The Giants do have a number of potentially productive OFs in the minors, although none really have star potential. Reynolds+Duggar+Quinn+Slater. Not all of them will make it, but numbers give the Giants some options.

Ray (Richmond VA): Having watched Tyler all of last season from start to finish, How is his fastball a 55? He constantly sat 93-95 and late in games would still be tipping 96-97,even very late in the season. Haven't seen many starters touching 97 a few times in the 8th and 9th innings like he did a few times.


Keith ((Providence)): The scouting grades on Beede seem a bit higher than what I've read from some others that might view him as a 50/55 tweener FV type maybe. Seems like the BA scouting grades might view him as clear cut 55 and maybe a reasonable strong 55 too. Any thoughts on this?
J.J. Cooper: Wanted to answer these two together as one asks if we’re light on Beede and the other asks if we’re too optimistic. Beede has touched some 97s this year, as we noted in the report, but that pitch has not played as a true plus pitch. But we do see him a potential mid-rotation starter to answer Keith’s question. He’s durable, he’s gotten his velo back and he’s improved his command and control. I can’t speak for other reports on Beede, but as we see it, there’s a lot to like in Beede.

Roger (Washington DC): Does Kelvin Beltre make the Handbook? If he can ever stay on the field, what might we expect of him?
J.J. Cooper: Yes. He’s in the 30 and still is one of the higher-upside hitters in the org. But he needs to be healthy.

Nathan (Nashville): Since this is the final prospect Q&A, where would Japanese ace (&DH) Shohei Otani rank if he qualified for the BA Top 100? Is he the best pitcher not currently in MLB?
J.J. Cooper: This isn’t the last prospect chat, it’s the last Org Top 10 prospects chat for the year. We’ll have a full Top 100 chat coming up before long, but in my mind, he’d be an easy No. 1.

J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone. Sorry Chrome crashed on me and I’m doing a radio show. Will be back in 20 minutes.

Norm Chouinard (Connecticut): It is so tough to get a read on Cal league performances due to the hitters bias. Did any pitchers stand out for the SJ Giants?
J.J. Cooper: Yes, the league inflates offense (and then Giants hitters go to Richmond which deflates power). But San Jose is one of the fairest parks in the league. I liked the two-headed bullpen of Martinez/Moronta. Both are very intriguing relief prospects.

quincy0191 (CT): After the tragic departure of Adam Duvall, the Giants have gone approximately 547 years between homegrown outfielders. Any chance Slater's the guy? Why doesn't the industry seem to like him given his breakout 2016?
J.J. Cooper: Slater had a very good year, but there still are some reasons for concern. 1) His power bump last year came somewhat out of nowhere as Slater has never hit for that kind of power before. 2) He’s a righthanded hitting left fielder which is a tough profile.

Nick (San Jose): All I want are your thoughts on Gio Brusa. Tell me can this hometown boy make good and be a HR hitter for the Giants?
J.J. Cooper: I’m not as high on Brusa as Quinn but Brusa very much fits the Giants “type.” The Giants put a lot of value in how a player performs in the wood-bat Cape Cod League, often valuing that over statistical performance in college with metal bats (see Matt Duffy for an example). Brusa hit in the Cape and didn’t hit at Pacific as a junior, but did bounce back as a senior. I worry that he’ll swing and miss too much to get to his power, but there is legit power potential there.

Charles (Georgia): Your selections for the top 10 raise 3 questions. Why Fabian versus Quinn? Why Garcia versus Slater? Why Gregorio versus Coonrod?
J.J. Cooper: Fabian to me has a chance to be a better version of Quinn. Both are bat-first corner outfielders long term but I think Fabian has more value defensively with equivalent hit/power tools. Garcia is a catcher who can stay behind the plate, Slater is a left fielder who is going to have to really hit to be a big league regular. Gregorio has better pure stuff than Coonrod and a little more potential. Coonrod is probably a little safer–there’s not a ton of separation between the two.

Kevin (Lake Tahoe): Love seeing Sandro Fabian creep up on your list. Think he's due for Augusta?
J.J. Cooper: Lucius Fox went to Augusta last year and Fabian is more polished at this point than Fox was last year, so I think it’s very possible. The Giants don’t mind pushing guys aggressively.

Paul D. (San Francisco!): Seems like the organization has depth, and hopefully can help with having quality set-up men - do you see Tyler Beede becoming the 5th starter at some point this season (either replacing Blach or if someone gets hurt...heaven forbid...)
J.J. Cooper: I think Beede is short drive away injury option in AAA to start the year. The Giants used eight starting pitchers last year. They used nine in 2015 and eight in 2014. If Beede pitches like I think he will in AAA this year, he’ll be up in San Francisco at some point in 2017. The organization has outstanding depth as far as viable starting pitching options in AAA this year. Assuming Matt Cain edges out Ty Blach for the fifth starter job, the Giants could start the year with Blach, Beede, Andrew Suarez, Joan Gregorio, Sam Coonrod, Dan Slania, Chris Stratton and Clayton Blackburn in AA/AAA. That’s pretty impressive upper-level starting pitching depth. A number of those arms project as likely bullpen guys, but that’s eight guys who are all viable spot start options.

norman (greenville,sc): Ty Blach is favored by most to beat out Cain for the 5th rotation spot. And if so in ATT Park will probably win 15 games. Your thoughts.
J.J. Cooper: I do think he has a chance to edge out Cain, either on April 1 or a little while later in the season if Cain wins the job out of spring training. Blach will be durable and keeps the ball in the ballpark, so while wins isn’t a great proof of pitching success, it’s not outlandish to think he could win 10+.

J.J. Cooper: Sorry that I disappeared for a little while there, but I wanted to come back and answer some more questions because there were a lot of really good ones. Apologies for not being able to answer all of them.

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