SF Giants top prospects: No. 29 — OF Sandro Fabian
Highest Level: High-A (San Jose)
Acquired: IFA (2014)
Future-Value Grade: 35+
Fabian is the first of many outfielders who will appear on this list. There’s no doubt that his development has been stalled by injuries and underdeveloped approach. Still, Sandro Fabian is a legitimate prospect, even if he’s been surpassed on the system’s depth chart.
As a part of the Giants 2014 international free-agent class Fabian signed for a $500,000. He quickly moved through the lower levels of the minor leagues and reached full-season ball as a teenager.
His prospect status peaked after the 2017 season when he hit .277 with 11 home runs as a 19-year-old at Single-A. He produced at around a league-average clip (101 wRC+), but his hyper-aggressive approach was beginning to hamstring his production. In 504 plate appearances, Fabian walked an absurdly low 10 times.
Promoted to High-A in 2018, Fabian saw nearly every hitting category trend in the wrong direction and produced at a .200/.260/.325 clip before an injury cut his season short.
Another injury delayed the start to his 2019 season. By the time he was back with San Jose, outfielders Alexander Canario and Heliot Ramos were in the middle of breakout seasons and the Giants had added outfielder Hunter Bishop in the draft as well. With far less attention than he’d garnered from fans in years past, Fabian quietly put up an encouraging performance.
Fabian played in just 44 games with San Jose before the injury bug cut his season short once again. He put up a solid .287/.353/.413 line. He increased his walk rate to a respectable 7.5% and maintained his strong contact skills with just a 17.6 percent strikeout rate.
Fabian’s arm and ability to consistently put the bat on the ball are his only plus tools. Without a continued improvement in his approach, he won’t be able to tap into his 50-grade power nor really utilize his hit tool. He’s a solid athlete and should be able to stick in right field pretty easily, but lacks the range for center. Given the system’s depth in the outfield, it’s hard to envision him breaking through. However, if he can continue refining his approach, he has everyday potential.
Given his relative proximity to minor-league free-agency, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he pops up on a different big-league club in a few years or is packaged for a lower-minors pitcher.