San Francisco Giants trade deadline target: Kean Wong
A red-hot month of July could be enough to convince the San Francisco Giants to make some additions before the trade deadline. In the days to come, we’ll highlight some potential trade target and propose hypothetical deals.
Even after losing on Saturday, the San Francisco Giants are still 13-3 in the month of July, and right in the thick of the NL wild-card race.
That could be enough for them to pursue some potential upgrades ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, and second base looks like an obvious spot to address.
We’ve already talked in-depth about the struggles of Joe Panik and the second base position as a whole this season.
Now it’s time to look at some potential targets.
We’ve already talked about Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Villar as a potential target.
Next up, let’s take a closer look at Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguer Kean Wong.
ATF contributor Marc Delucchi suggested him as a possible target on Saturday:
The younger brother of St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, Kean was a fourth-round pick out of Waiakea High School in Hawaii in 2013.
The 24-year-old has never been viewed as a top-tier prospect, but he’s enjoying considerable success at the Triple-A level this season.
This is the third straight season he’s seen time at the highest level of the minors, and he’s shown significant progress each year:
- 2017: 417 PA, .265/.328/.361, 26 XBH
- 2018: 502 PA, .282/.345/.406, 35 XBH
- 2019: 359 PA, .337/.398/.489, 32 XBH
He’s never going to be much of a power threat, and he’s benefited from a .423 BABIP, but he has shown enough hit tool and gap power to at least profile as a useful utility player with the potential for more.
Before his breakout performance this year, FanGraphs ranked him as the No. 40 prospect in a stacked Tampa Bay Rays system and offered up the following scouting report:
"In his second straight year at Triple-A, Wong hit .282/.345/.406 (the highest SLG% of his career, which coincided with a modest-but-relevant 5 percentage point drop in groundball rate) and started seeing action in left field in addition to his usual time at second and third. We don’t think he plays every day, but lefty bats with that kind of positional flexibility are good role players, and Wong is ready for the big leagues right now. The infield situation in Tampa Bay is very crowded and Wong may need a change of scenery to get an opportunity."
His offensive profile has improved enough this season to think there’s at least a chance he can handle an everyday role.
With Brandon Lowe and Willy Adames penciled in as the current middle infielders and other prospects like Wander Franco, Vidal Brujan and Lucius Fox more highly-regarded, the Rays have already flipped one middle infielder when they sent Nick Solak to the Texas Rangers.
If that trade is any indication, Wong can be had for cheap.
Solak was ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the Tampa Bay system, and all it took to pry him loose was an upper-level reliever with power stuff and late-inning upside in 25-year-old Peter Fairbanks.
With that in mind, consider the following hypothetical trade proposal:
To SF: 2B Kean Wong
To TB: RP Sam Coonrod
The Rays love power arms, and while he has yet to carve out a regular role at the MLB level, Coonrod offers intriguing upside with a 70-grade fastball and a slider that flashes plus.
The Giants have a wealth of relief pitching talent in the upper levels of the minors right now, and moving Coonrod could create an opportunity for someone like Sam Selman or Fernando Abad.
The San Francisco Giants are extremely thin on middle infield talent in the upper levels of the minors, and Kean Wong would give them an MLB-ready option who has made a strong case to see his first taste of MLB action with a breakout performance at Triple-A.