4. OF Alexander Canario
Acquired: IFA (2016)
Future Value: 50 (grade up)
I’ve been saying for a good part of the 2019 season that if the San Francisco Giants organization didn’t also have Heliot Ramos and Hunter Bishop in it, Alexander Canario would be a consensus top-100 prospect in baseball.
As much as scouts try to evaluate every prospect to the same standard, it’s innate to question whether one organization can have three players at the same position who belong on top 100 lists. Canario is clearly the rawest of the three and has thus been pretty easily overshadowed. Still, his bat speed, raw power, and potential to stick in center field give him star potential.
The 19-year-old is an above-average runner with an above-average arm, and his lanky 6’1” frame has space to add weight. As he bulks up he may be forced to a corner spot, but his offensive profile makes a transition to right field reasonable. He’s shown good plate discipline throughout his career, but can still struggle to make contact, especially against offspeed pitches.
Canario began 2019 by repeating the Arizona Rookie League, but he quickly proved ready for a new challenge, hitting.395/.435/1.000 with seven home runs in 10 games before he was bumped up to Low-A Salem-Keizer.
That level tends to be filled with elite teens and recently selected college players. Canario, who won’t turn 20 until May, was one of the younger players in the league. The increased competition exemplified his bat to ball struggles, as he struck out in nearly 33 percent of his plate appearances.
However, he still managed to be one of the most productive hitters in the league.
Even after starting the season in rookie ball, he still finished tied for second in the Northwest League in home runs (9) while leading the league in extra-base hits (27). His 152 wRC+ also ranked among the best in the league.
It’s hard to find fair comps for Canario at this point in his career. His profile matches someone like Wil Myers or Hunter Renfroe, but Renfroe went to college and Myers was a much more contact-oriented hitter as a younger prospect. Starling Marte may be a similar match, but he is a better athlete than Canario. Randall Grichuk lacks Canario’s plate discipline, but their hit/power profiles are similar. Triangulate those players and that’s what the ceiling for Canario looks like.
As is the case with so many of the San Francisco Giants top hitting prospects, the development of his hit tool will determine whether the MLB team ever sees him flourish.
Next season’s assignment will be an intriguing look at how far along the Giants believe Canario is. Going into his age-20 season, an assignment to High-A isn’t out of the question, but Single-A would be a reasonable next step as well.