SF Giants top prospects: No. 24 — OF Jairo Pomares
Highest Level: Low-A (Salem-Keizer)
Acquired: IFA (2018)
Future-Value Grade: 40
Jairo Pomares was one of the three big Giants international free-agent signings in the summer of 2019 alongside Luis Matos and Marco Luciano. While Matos and Luciano rocketed up prospect lists last summer, Pomares remains a legitimate prospect.
He doesn’t have the flashy tools or high ceiling of Matos or Luciano, but Pomares was considered the most refined prospect of the trio and he’s proved to be a solid performer. Older than the typical IFA signing, Pomares defected from Cuba, so his advanced age came along with a more extensive track record.
His game doesn’t have any obvious flaws, but it also lacks a carrying tool. His top-end ceiling probably looks something like Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi. While Benintendi hasn’t lived up to the top prospect hype, he’s turned into a solid everyday player who’s an above-average hitter and defender with 45-grade game power.
Last season, Pomares started alongside Luciano stateside in the Arizona Rookie League. Luciano earned most of the headlines with his unprecedented dominance, but Pomares more than held his own. He didn’t overpower opposing pitching, but his mature approach and smooth swing consistently led to hard contact. Before he was promoted to short-season Salem-Keizer, Pomares put up a strong .368/.401/.542 line.
A .422 BABIP was partially responsible for his success and it fell down to earth at Low-A. The difference between the AZL and Northwest League is quite stark. Pomares struggled to make that adjustment. His strikeout rate spiked to 27.4% and he posted a meager .517 OPS.
He didn’t turn 19 until August of last year and there isn’t too much reason for concern. Even if the tools don’t quite develop, Pomares still seems to have a pretty high floor as a AAAA player or 4th outfielder.