Outfield prospect Jose Siri was recently designated for assignment by the Cincinnati Reds. Should the San Francisco Giants place a waiver claim?
Farhan Zaidi has shown a knack for finding value on the waiver wire since taking control of the San Francisco Giants front office last offseason.
An intriguing option has recently been designated for assignment in the form of toolsy outfielder Jose Siri. He was cut loose by the Cincinnati Reds to create room on the 40-man roster for free-agent signing Nicholas Castellanos.
So what does Siri potentially bring to the table?
The 24-year-old is a right-handed hitting outfielder who has some intriguing power potential and an MLB-caliber glove with speed.
The biggest question mark is his hit tool and the considerable amount of swing-and-miss he has shown in the minors. He’s hit above .270 just once in full-season ball.
However, his upside still carries plenty of intrigue, enough that he was ranked as the No. 15 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system by MLB.com at the end of the 2019 season.
He would clearly be a project player and would undoubtedly benefit from some further seasoning at Double-A or Triple-A. He is on the older end of the prospect scale, but Zaidi has had some success with players like that in the past. Max Muncy and Chris Taylor come to mind immediately from his time with in the Los Angeles Dodgers front office.
Siri put himself on the prospect radar with a breakout season in 2017 when he hit .293/.341/.530 with 24 doubles, 11 triples, 24 home runs and 46 steals as a 21-year-old playing at Single-A. However, those strong counting numbers came with a 130-to-33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 552 plate appearances.
He has failed to match that level of production the past two seasons, and he hit a dismal .186/.252/.245 with just five extra-base hits and 39 strikeouts over 112 plate appearances in his first Triple-A action down the stretch last year.
Now without a home, it’s clear Siri is going to need to make some significant adjustments at the plate if he is going to reach the big leagues and carve out a role there.
At first glance, Kansas City Royals slugger Jorge Soler looked like an easy potential comparison. Siri offers a similar mix of power potential and swing-and-miss rate, and Soler was a late-bloomer so there’s still hope Siri could find another gear as well.
However, Soler has 55 pounds on Siri and speed has never been a part of his game during his time with the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals, so it’s not a perfect match.
Hunter Pence is also a potential best-case scenario for Siri. In his prime, he had an all-around solid mix of power, speed, and defense, but none of those tools were considered elite.
There are also some similarities to Kevin Pillar. However, Siri has a higher power ceiling and better wheels with 70-grade speed, while lacking the overall defensive awareness that Pillar possesses.
All in all, finding a fitting comparison is tough, and a lot of that has to do with his inconsistency.
Last year, MLB.com wrote: “Now is the time for Siri to put it all together, especially after seven years in the organization and being 23 years old. On any given day, a scout could give him 70 and 80 grades across the board. But he needs to improve his emotional control and be pushed at times to reach what still appears to be a high ceiling. As one scout said, “He’ll show the tools at 5 o’clock, but will it translate at 7?”
The San Francisco Giants have experience working with guys like Heliot Ramos and Chris Shaw who began their pro careers with a swing first and ask questions later approach, and they have both now developed a more refined approach at the plate.
Taking on a toolsy project like Siri would seem to be a cost-effective solution for the Giants to bolster the upper levels of their farm system.
If we’ve learned one thing about Farhan Zaidi it’s that he loves to shop in the bargain bin to create organizational depth. Don’t be surprised if Siri is his latest addition sometime in the next few days.