Minor league baseball has been in full swing for some time but the SF Giants final affiliate to start its 2021 season will begin on Monday. The Giants will have two rookie ball teams competing at the Arizona Complex League (ACL), which was known as the AZL (Arizona Rookie League) before this year. Full rosters have not yet been posted on their websites, but the ACL Giants Black and ACL Giants Orange will both feature rosters with 25+ players facing off against other organization’s rookie ball talent.
Some of the Giants top 31 prospects are expected to begin their season at the ACL alongside several others on my preseason watch list. However, some other names have emerged over the past few months from conversations with industry sources and other reporting on the Giants system. While I am not ranking the five best prospects I expect to see at the ACL, I’m ranking the five I am most interested in watching to learn more about their long-term potential.
SF Giants prospects to watch at ACL
Honorable Mention: Alexander Suarez, Ghordy Santos, Anthony Rodriguez, Aeverson Arteaga, Victor Bericoto, Esmerlin Vinicio, Trevor McDonald
Trevor McDonald was the only player ranked among the top 31 prospects in the organization who did not make my top five. I am very interested to see how he performs and am not lower on him now than I was before the season, but do not think he has the premium tools to pop in rookie ball like the others on the list. He should be able to put up some strong numbers, but his low-90s fastball and potential plus breaking ball probably will not have him rocketing up prospect lists unless he’s made some big improvements we haven’t heard about.
The Giants third-round pick in 2019, Grant McCray has also received high praise from those in the organization and will likely begin the year at the ACL. However, similarly to McDonald, I expect a solid but unexceptional performance from him.
The rest of the group that I considered, but ultimately decided to leave out were various international free agent signings from the past few classes. Ghordy Santos is easily the oldest, set to turn 22 this year. He has the advanced defensive ability to turn into a big leaguer if his bat can just make marginal improvements. Aeverson Arteaga and Anthony Rodriguez are a pair of recent shortstop signings who have everyday potential but are not expected to have eye-popping tools. Victor Bericoto was one of the best performers in the DSL back in 2019, but is probably limited to first base, left field, or designated hitting. Alexander Suarez was reportedly a tooled-up outfielder who hit well in the DSL back in 2019 but dealt with injuries. Finally, Esmerlin Vinicio might become a top prospect one day, but still has a lanky frame that will probably need to fill out more to take any huge steps.