The SF Giants added four prospects to the 40-man roster and designated three others for assignment.
MLB teams had until Friday at 3:00 pm, Pacific Standard Time, to protect prospects that had accrued the necessary service time from the Rule 5 draft, by adding them to their 40-man rosters. With 39 spots filled and several prospects eligible for protection, the SF Giants seemed likely to have to make some changes. The team decided to protect Alexander Canario, Kervin Castro, Camilo Doval, and Gregory Santos. To make room, they designated Aramis Garcia, Chris Shaw, and Jordan Humphreys for assignment.
Castro’s selection is easily the biggest surprise of the group. Having never pitched in full-season ball, the 21-year old seemed unlikely to be targetted by another team. However, he did pitch at the Instructional League in Arizona, where other teams had a chance to watch and collect data on him. He has been considered a sleeper in the system for some time, working off a low-90s sinker that generates soft contact at a strong rate. In 2019, he was the ace of the Salem-Keizer volcanoes working to a 2.66 ERA with a 4.61 K/BB in 14 starts.
It’s worth noting though, that he’s always received strong reviews for his advanced feel and control on the mound. If a team thought that his velocity could more consistently reach the mid-90s, they may have been willing to draft him, put him in their bullpen in 2021, and let him return to developing as a stater in 2022.
Doval spent the summer at the Giants alternate site in Sacramento and even spent some time on the team’s taxi squad. With some of the nastiest stuff in baseball, Doval is the Giants best relief-pitching prospect and could make the Opening Day roster even though he’s never pitched above High-A. In 163.1 career minor-league innings, Doval has struck out 233 with an upper-90s fastball and slurvy breaking ball.
Canario is one of the Giants best prospects with big-time power potential and a strong arm. However, he suffered a torn labrum in the final week of instructional league play. While he will be out for all of next season, the injury may have made the Giants even more inclined to add him to the 40-man roster since a team in the Rule 5 draft could have selected him and placed him on the injured list for all of 2021 and used minor-league rehab time for a good part of 2022 as well.
Santos entered 2019 as one of the hottest prospects in the system but dealt with a shoulder injury and inconsistency throughout the year. While he still ranked as one of the team’s highest ceiling pitchers, his status was up in the air. Then, this offseason, FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen said he will rank in his top-100 prospects, suggesting he’d made big strides. By adding him to the 40-man roster, the Giants seem to confirm that he’s in their future plans.
Shaw and Garcia were drafted in the first two rounds of the 2015 and 2014 draft, respectively. Both were power-hitting college prospects that had questions surrounding their hit tools. They worked their way through the minors with solid, albeit unexceptional, performances before making their big-league debuts in 2018.
The Giants acquired Humphreys, a right-handed pitcher, from the Mets in exchange for Billy Hamilton. He lacks premium stuff and might have struggled to impress the team’s brass at the alternate site in Sacramento. Still, if he clears waivers, which seems possible, he might like to stay in the Giants organization given their dearth of starting pitching.
Garcia, a catcher, was out for all of 2020 with an injury and would have had an uphill battle to make the big-league roster with Buster Posey, Joey Bart, and Chadwick Tromp in stronger positions to compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster. A competent defensive catcher with some pop (Garcia has a .419 slugging in 37 MLB games) will be highly sought after on the minor-league free-agent market if he goes unclaimed on waivers.
Limited to first base and left field, Shaw always had a harder path to the majors and looked overmatched in his two MLB stints. In 82 career plate appearances, he struck out 31 times and posted a .466 OPS. Granted, in 264 games at Triple-A, he’s batted .280/.328/.538. He could be a candidate to be claimed by a team like the Boston Red Sox. If not, he still should have a relatively robust market of minor-league offers.
Canario, Santos, Doval, and Humphreys all rank among the Giants top 31 prospects.
Jose Marte, Tyler Cyr, and Melvin Adon are the most obvious omissions from the SF Giants 40-man roster. They all have the stuff to play in the back of a bullpen, but in the case of Adon and Marte have struggled with control. Cyr underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2018 and lacks the triple-digit velocity of Adon and Marte, but has a much stronger track record of success. They appear to be the most likely Giants prospects to be selected by another team.