SF Giants Rule 5 Draft Preview

New York Yankees pitcher Trevor Stephan (81) pitches during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees pitcher Trevor Stephan (81) pitches during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports) /
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SF Giants, Tyler Cyr
SF Giants pitcher Tyler Cyr (87) throws during a workout at Oracle Park. (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports) /

SF Giants Prospects Most At Risk: Jose Marte, Daniel Alvarez, Tyler Cyr, Ricardo Genoves

The restrictions on Rule 5 selections generally limits teams to a few profiles. The most common are starters with premium stuff that have struggled in the rotation and relievers. Jose Marte falls in the former category, Daniel Alvarez and Tyler Cyr in the latter. On the position-player side, fourth outfielders, strong defensive shortstops, or catchers tend to be the targets. A potential everyday backstop, Ricardo Genoves falls in that group.

Marte ranked as the 31st best prospect in the Giants system in Around The Foghorns’ Updated Giants Prospect Rankings. Marte was a late-blooming prospect that builds his repertoire around an electric fastball. However, control and consistency will probably force him to the bullpen. Another organization could hope he could put it all together for them next season.

Cyr has always fallen on the outside looking in of most prospect lists, but has dominated out of the pen almost everywhere he’s played. Over his minor-league career, he has struck out 10.6 batters per nine innings and posted a 2.65 ERA. While he’s never gotten an extended taste of Triple-A, he’s recorded a 2.35 ERA over 92 Double-A appearances with strong peripherals. He also was consistently called one of the most impressive pitchers at the Giants alternate site by fellow players in interviews with Around the Foghorn. It’s frankly, still a bit surprising he did not get a big-league promotion at some point this season.

The Giants signed Alvarez as a minor-league free agent earlier this offseason, but he remains Rule 5 eligible. He’s just 24 and, like Cyr, has already had great success at Double-A. His fastball typically sits between 90-93 mph, but Alvarez has built a well-rounded repertoire to make up for what he lacks in velocity. He shows hitters different looks with a four-seam, two-seam, and cut fastball while working in his secondaries, which are his best pitches. Alvarez’s curveball is a potential above-average offering and pairs well with his palmball.

Genoves is the highest-ranked prospect available to opposing teams this draft. Ranked the 18th best prospect in the Giants system, others around the industry have been tepid to jump on the bandwagon. However, he has the potential to be above-average both offensively and defensively from the catcher position.

In 2019, at just 20 years old, Genoves was challenged with an assignment to Low-A Salem-Keizer. It didn’t end up much of a challenge. He posted a massive .229 ISO and was doing it without much swing and miss (just a 16.4% strikeout rate). He remained productive (.292/.361/.446 line) in a limited promotion to Class-A Augusta as well. Of course, drafting someone who has yet to even reach High-A obviously comes with a lot of risks, but if I worked for another organization (especially a rebuilding one), I’d be pounding the table for Genoves.

Other Notable SF Giants Prospects Available: Sandro Fabian, Patrick Ruotolo, Franklin Labour, Ryan Howard, Raffi Vizcaino, Jalen Miller, Prelander Berroa, Mac Marshall

Franklin Labour is the only other player to rank in the top-31, although Prelander Berroa did rank among the ten prospects who just missed the list, but as a lumbering power-hitting corner bat who struggled in his limited taste of full-season ball, it’s hard to envision any team betting on rostering him for a whole season. Berroa has yet to reach full-season ball, but has drawn comparisons to Fernando Rodney and could pick up velocity with a move to the bullpen. Still, he’s likely to stay put.

Outfielder Sandro Fabian, second baseman Jalen Miller, and southpaw Mac Marshall were all relatively prestigious prospects in the system not too long ago, but the improving system combined with injuries in Fabian’s case, struggles for Miller, and both for Marshall has led them all to become a bit forgotten. Marshall is the oldest (24), but they’re all still relatively young. It would be a massive surprise if any were selected, but they all have resume’s that an organization could have secretly fallen in love with. All also seem well-positioned for rebounds in 2021.

Ryan Howard, Pat Ruotolo, and Raffi Vizcaino all fit more standard Rule 5 profiles. Howard is a soft-hitting infielder that can play a below-average shortstop and can handle every position on the dirt. Ruotolo is a low-90s reliever but has a deceptive delivery and gets great extension on the pitch. He’s the kind of guy that scouts struggle to see in the back of a bullpen, but also has a career 1.59 ERA in the minors with 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings and no warning signs in the walk-rate. Vizcaino has more traditional high-leverage stuff, building his arsenal around a mid-90s fastball with excellent run, but he’s seen his walks creep up against Double-A competition. It’s worth noting that Vizcaino is currently pitching the Dominican Winter League and has been very effective. With scouts able to get looks at him, other teams may be more comfortable selecting him.