Position-by-Position Breakdown of the SF Giants Instructional League Roster
SF Giants Instructional League Roster: Right-Handed Pitchers
We’ll break them up in groups:
Top 31 Prospects
Tristan Beck, Blake Rivera, Camilo Doval, Matt Frisbee, Jose Marte, Trevor McDonald, Gregory Santos, and Jake Wong were all ranked in the midseason updated SF Giants top 31 prospect rankings so you can read full writeups on them there.
Best Remaining Prospect
Prelander Berroa is the best remaining prospect of the group. Acquired in the Sam Dyson trade last July, Berroa has an above-average fastball and two secondaries that flash as above-average big-league pitches. If he puts it together, he could remain a starter but has a decent shot to become a high-leverage arm if his feel for pitching doesn’t fully develop.
2019 Draft Prospects
Solomon Bates, Caleb Kilian, Taylor Rashi, Cole Waites, and Preston White were all a part of last year’s draft class. All collegiate arms, Killian and Rashi were the only ones who had solid D-1 success. Kilian is easily the best prospect of the group with a chance to become a back-of-the-rotation starter. Rashi was an All-American out of UC Irvine’s bullpen.
White was a decent reliever at the Master’s College but lacked much draft pedigree. Bates was an erratic hard-thrower at Stanford who could be a middle-reliever if he puts it all together. Waites racked up strikeouts over his entire career at West Alabama, but well below-average control limited his draft stock.
2020 Draft Prospects
Ryan Murphy and RJ Dabovich were drafted this June. Both signed for below-slot deals to enable the Giants to sign Nick Swiney and Kyle Harrison to above-slot deals. Dabovich has premium stuff, but an undeveloped command. He’s somewhat comparable to Sam Coonrod (on the field) at this point in his career. Murphy is more likely a system arm with a potential track as an innings eater.
Ty Weber and Wil Jensen were both signed as undrafted free agents. Both were effective starters, but lack the stuff to overpower big-league hitters. They should have the pitchability to at least be effective in the lower minors with a chance to develop their repertoire to exceed expectations.
International Free Agent Signings
Kervin Castro is probably the best prospect of this group. He has been mentioned as a sleeper in the Giants system for a number of years, but he quietly had a very strong 2020 at Salem-Keizer. He’s generated an exceptional 50% ground-ball every year of his career and last year maintained a 2.66 ERA over 14 starts with nearly a strikeout per inning and just 13 walks in 67.2 innings.
Manuel Mercedes signed for $400,000 in last summer’s international-free agency period and reportedly has a big arm. He has yet to play an official game, but he’s definitely an exciting young arm to watch.
Jorge Labrador has had an erratic young career. In 2019, it looked like he’d made his first strides towards consistency. Between the AZL and Salem-Keizer, he struck out 46 in 35 innings and walked just 10.
At 24, Norwith Gudino is easily the oldest of this group. He spent three years at the DSL even though he was effective every year he was there. Since moving stateside in 2018, he’s been sent all around the lower minors. He’s put up impressive strikeout totals last year and has always limited walks so even at his advanced age could be an interesting lottery ticket.
Ivan Armstrong, Wikelma Castillo, Randy Rodriguez, and Julio Rodriguez are 20-year olds (Randy Rodriguez is 21) who pitched in rookie-ball last year. They all struck out more than a batter per inning, but also walked over 5 per 9 innings. Armstrong, Randy, and Castillo were both members of the 2017 IFA class and made their stateside debuts in 2019. Armstrong is listed at an impressive 6’5”-247. Julio Rodriguez, a Cuban national, was signed in 2018 and debuted in the AZL that season.
Patrick Ruotolo has been one of the Giants best minor-league relievers when healthy. He doesn’t have typical closer or high-leverage stuff, but it’s hard to argue with his numbers. He’s recently dealt with some injuries, but pitchers who rack up strikeouts, don’t walk hitters, and are dominant at Double-A are always worth watching.
Keaton Winn was the Giants fifth-round pick in 2018 and was a solid starter at Class-A Augusta in 2019. He lacks the ceiling of his Augusta teammate Blake Rivera and isn’t as refined as pitchers like Wong and Sean Hjelle, however, there is a starter ceiling. His fastball works in the low-90s with a potentially above-average slider.
Jesus Ozoria was acquired for catcher Tom Murphy last spring. He made his stateside debut last year with Salem-Keizer and Augusta. He wasn’t particularly effective at either level but is an intriguing lottery ticket who’s flashed the ability to strike batters out and generate groundballs.