SF Giants top prospects: No. 24 — 3B Sean Roby
Highest Level: Class-A (Augusta)
Acquired: Draft (2018)
Future-Value Grade: 40+
Sean Roby was an intriguing junior college prospect that the Giants nabbed in the 12th round of the 2018 draft. After a solid debut with their Rookie League affiliate, Roby began earning more consistent attention in 2019. At Salem-Keizer, where Roby was younger than most of the college juniors making their pro debuts, Roby hit .338/.429/.450 and won the league’s home run derby.
The Giants promoted Roby for a taste of full-season ball at Augusta before the season came to a close. He struggled to make contact against the more advanced pitching, striking out 30 times in 79 plate appearances, but still posted a career-best .213 isolated power in the historically pitcher-friendly league.
Roby’s path to a big-league career is limited. He’s a below-average athlete without a great track-record of glovework. While it’s easy to project a move to first base, he’s probably better at the hot corner, even though he’s probably below-average at best. In an American League organization, Roby might solely be developed as a designated hitter. As momentum moves towards the universal DH, that may be where he’s heading with the Giants as well.
While he’s yet to put it together, Roby has flashed an above-average hit tool and plus power potential. However, he’s generally been unable to tap into his power at a significant level without seeing his punchouts skyrocket as they did at Augusta. Still, he impressed at big-league camp in 2020, where he amassed 5 hits and 2 walks in just 9 plate appearances before spring training was suspended. He might have been slated to start last year at High-A if he continued trending up in the preseason.
Given his relatively limited experience against top-end pitching, Roby is the kind of prospect who might have lost out from the canceled minor-league season. At the same time, if he could put things together with the extended time off, he could be a dark horse to move through the system quickly.