San Francisco Giants: Checking in on the Arizona Fall League participants
C Joey Bart (No. 1 SF prospect/No. 19 MLB prospect, per MLB.com)
Bart sustained a fractured hand after being hit by a pitch in early April, so he was sent to the AFL to recoup some lost playing time.
The 22-year-old was probably disappointed when the minor league season ended after finishing the year on a high note. In his last ten games with Double-A Richmond, Bart batted .472 with two home runs and seven RBI across 36 at-bats.
The good news is that Bart’s strong finish to the minor league season carried over to the AFL.
In 30 at-bats over his first 10 games, Bart batted .333 with a 1.290 OPS while launching four home runs and collecting 10 RBI. To add to this already impressive stat line, he also coaxed nine walks.
However, all good things must come to an end and Bart saw his AFL stint cut abruptly short by another hand injury:
Nevertheless, Bart showed off the exciting upside that made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft. It would not be surprising to see him don the orange and black at some point in 2020.
OF Heliot Ramos (No. 2 SF prospect/No. 50 MLB prospect)
Similar to Bart, Heliot Ramos sustained an injury that knocked him out for a chunk of the minor league season, missing about a month with a knee injury.
The 20-year-old enjoyed a nice season with High-A San Jose, batting .305 with an .885 OPS while collecting 13 home runs. That earned him a late-season promotion to Double-A Richmond. His skill set and talent are impressive for any minor league prospect, but his 2019 was especially impressive considering that he just turned 20 in September.
As a result, an invite to the AFL is a welcomed challenged for the young outfielder. Unfortunately, he has not enjoyed the same level of success as Bart, hitting just .190 with a .526 OPS in 59 at-bats.
Ramos has played a lot of baseball in the last calendar year including a full minor league season, an AFL season, and he spent time in the Puerto Rico Winter League last year. It is possible that fatigue has finally kicked in, which is not uncommon for prospects when they reach the AFL.
Regardless, this can be a positive experience as he learns to play through adversity. If Ramos takes similar strides in 2020, he could join Bart at Oracle Park at some point in 2020.
2B Jalen Miller (Unranked)
Jalen Miller has been in the San Francisco Giants long enough that he will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December. He did not miss substantial time this season, so the Giants likely sent him to the AFL to gauge where he is at in his development.
Miller was a third-round pick in the 2015 draft out of Riverwood High School in Sandy Springs, Georgia. His ascent through the San Francisco system has been a deliberate process, as he has often been challenged by being one of the younger players at each level.
With that being said, the AFL pitching has proven to be a difficult assignment for the 22-year-old second baseman. In 25 at-bats, Miller is batting only .200 with a .560 OPS, which includes ten strikeouts.
These numbers are similar to the .216 batting average and .619 OPS that Miller posted at Double-A Richmond. However, the Eastern League tends to be a difficult environment for hitters. Given his age and the fact that he played in 135 minor league games this past season, it is fair to question if fatigue is a factor in Miller’s case as well.
While he will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft if not added to the 40-man roster, it seems unlikely Miller would be selected.
OF Jacob Heyward (Unranked)
The younger brother of Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward, Jacob is also eligible for the Rule 5 draft this offseason.
The younger Heyward is known for his strong strike zone awareness, which is a skill that team president Farhan Zaidi covets. Across 1,522 minor league plate appearances, Heyward has posted a robust 14 percent walk rate against an acceptable 26 percent strikeout rate.
Sometimes, his knowledge of the strike zone gets him into trouble:
Heyward’s AFL campaign has had its ups and downs. In 34 at-bats, the 24-year-old has recorded a .205/.325/.471 line, including one home run and four RBI. The batting average is not great, but he’s still proving to be a tough out by reaching base in nearly one-third of his plate appearances.
On the negative side, Heyward has struck out 14 times, so he is raising some concerns with his ability to make contact.
Despite being Rule 5 eligible, Heyward will likely not get plucked away if the Giants decide against adding him to the 40-man roster.
C Ricardo Genoves (No. 22 SF prospect)
Genoves was a late entrant to the AFL this season. As a result, he has only accumulated seven hitless at-bats. The 20-year-old has a lot of upside and is the best catcher in the San Francisco Giants system not named Joey Bart.