Since the San Francisco Giants have signed all their draft picks and the 2020 minor league season has officially been canceled, Around the Foghorn’s prospect expert Marc Delucchi is back with his updated prospect rankings.
Since I’ve been focusing my coverage on Giants prospects and minor leaguers over the last year and a half, I’ve been pretty adamant that the system was on the rise. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season and so the Giants haven’t been able to take the massive step forward that I predicted, but the improved system depth is obvious.
Prospects that would’ve vaulted into the team’s top 15 prospects are now struggling to break the top 30. Ultimately, while the big-league team hasn’t reaped the complete rewards of that system, fans should begin to see the shift over the coming couple of years.
Each prospect ranking site has a different qualification to lose prospect eligibility. However, with the peculiarities of the suspended season, a number of players who would’ve lost eligibility by now haven’t because of the delay. I will come out with a ranking of the post-prospect prospects not included in the rankings over the next couple of weeks (Mauricio Dubon, Logan Webb, Jaylin Davis, Sam Coonrod, Conner Menez, etc.).
One thing that did surprise me as I combed back over the system for these rankings was just how deep the pitching side of the equation is. Most fans are familiar with the big boppers at the top of the system, but the next couple tiers of prospects are filled with pitching (9 pitchers are ranked between 14-23). Many of them were in positions for breakout seasons and lost that opportunity with the pandemic. However, it’s easier for pitchers to stay in game shape than hitters. I’d expect a number of huge breakouts if things return to some degree of normalcy in 2021.
I originally set out to write a usual top 30 prospect rankings, but I’d already written Jose Marte’s scouting report (ranked 31) when the Giants acquired Jordan Humphreys from the Mets. Since Humphreys slotted into my top 30, I decided to keep Marte’s report. If you are hoping to read a report on a player not included, I’ll be sharing writeups on a number of prospects who just missed the rankings soon.
Prospects are ranked based on their future-value grade on the scouting 20-80 scale. A system’s talent tends not to be evenly distributed. Just because someone is ranked one spot away from another, the grades are better indicators of how I classify players than their rankings. Here’s a breakdown of what to make of each grade.
80: Top 5 player in baseball (8+ WAR per season at peak)
70: Top 10 player in the baseball (5-8 WAR)
60: All-Star (3.5-5 WAR)
55: Above-average everyday player (2.5-3.5 WAR)
50: Everyday player (1.5-2.5 WAR)
45: Platoon player (0.5-1.5 WAR)
40: MLB backup (0.2-0.5 WAR)
35: Quad-A player (-0.2-0.2 WAR)
30: Triple-A player
20: Organizational player
Two important notes:
1. The grades next to the players are current expected values, meaning you can think of those grades as the 50% outcome. Obviously, most prospects have a wide range of potential outcomes so those grades are an attempt to quantify the average expected outcome.
2. Some players will have grades with + signs next to them (40+, 45+, etc.). This has to do with the way player grades work. Probably 70-90% of top 30 prospects in each organization fall somewhere from the 40-50 grades. So it can get difficult to differentiate prospect No. 11 from No. 23. Part of this is on purpose, but some 40-grade players are closer to moving up to a 45-grade than others. Hence, the plus. A strong half-season from a 45+ player will almost definitely jump them up to a 50 grade. Same with a 40+ player going to 45.