SF Giants Post-Prospect Prospects:
#13 OF/1B Joe McCarthy
Acquired: Trade (2019, via TB)
Future Value: 30
Career MLB Stats: 4 G, 10 PA, .000/.000/.000, 50.0% K%
Joe McCarthy was a potential first-round draft pick during his time at the University of Virginia. However, back surgery and a disappointing junior season caused him to fall down draft boards. The Tampa Bay Rays eventually nabbed him in the fifth round of the 2015 draft.
The Giants acquired McCarthy at last year’s trade deadline in a minor move to aid the Rays in their roster management. McCarthy was still an intriguing prospect, but was blocked and would soon require 40-man protection. Tampa Bay knew they weren’t going to open up a spot for him. So they recouped a low-minor league prospect for him from the Giants.
A slew of injuries have taken quite a toll on McCarthy. He once projected to have a plus-hit and average power tools at the plate, but now he probably will be lucky to develop an average hit tool.
FanGraphs Prospects has remained highest on McCarthy, comparing him to former MLB first baseman Nick Johnson in the past. Last year, they wrote McCarthy should be a “role-playing 1B/OF who yields value on par with a low-end regular, assuming he can stay healthy.”
McCarthy’s approach has always been his best tool. A keen eye generates walks and works counts, even when he hasn’t been producing at the plate. That kind of plate discipline has clearly been something targetted by Giants brass since Farhan Zaidi has taken over as the Giants president of baseball operations.
However, McCarthy hasn’t done enough damage at the plate to really warrant the respect necessary to draw walks. Over his entire minor-league career, McCarthy has slugged just .406 and couldn’t hit above .200 in nearly 300 plate appearances at Triple-A last season.
McCarthy broke camp with the Giants and started in left field on Opening Day, but after going 0-10 with 5 strikeouts and no walks, he was quickly optioned to the alternate site. Still just 26-years old, there’s time for McCarthy to figure things out, but given his long injury history, recent struggles in the minor leagues, and a terrible start to the 2020 season, it’s hard to see that happening.