As the SF Giants offseason gets underway, Around the Foghorn prospect expert Marc Delucchi ranks the best prospects that missed his updated top 31 rankings.
Since I’ve been focusing my coverage on SF Giants prospects and minor leaguers over the past two years, I’ve been adamant that the system was on the rise. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season and so many prospects haven’t been able to take the step forward 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 roster hasn’t reaped the rewards of that system, fans should begin to see a shift over the coming couple of years.
During the 2020 season, I updated my Giants top 31 prospect rankings with tidbits and notes from player’s work at Spring Training, the alternate site, or independently. Now, as the Instructional League comes to a close, it’s a great time to expand on those rankings to the best prospects who missed out.
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.