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SF Giants farm system: Updated top 31 prospect rankings

DENVER, CO - JULY 11: Marco Luciano #10 of National League Futures Team bats against the American League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 11: Marco Luciano #10 of National League Futures Team bats against the American League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Kai-Wei Teng, Nick Morreale
SF Giants pitching prospects Nick Morreale (left) and Kei-Wei Teng visit PK Park for the start of the Eugene Emeralds’ 2021 season.

I’m only writing full reports on the SF Giants top 31 prospects, but I gave 42 players in the farm system a 40-grade. Here’s a quick synopsis of the 11 who just missed the list.

42. Matt Frisbee, RHP

An incredible start to the season at Double-A had him approaching the 45-grade tier before a promotion to Triple-A seemed to unravel everything. Hitters in the Triple-A West league teed off on Frisbee’s fastball, knocking 16 home runs in 53 innings. While he’s been better since returning to Double-A, he hasn’t shaken the long ball. He throws strikes and has a fringe-MLB arsenal, but is probably limited to a long-reliever role unless he develops another above-average offering.

41. Kai-Wei Teng, RHP

Teng’s scouting report has changed dramatically this season. Teng’s fastball experienced an unexpected velocity jump, beginning to sit in the mid-90s after working from 90-92 mph for most of his career. However, his previous advanced control dissipated. After a midseason suspension for the use of a foreign substance, his walk rate continued to spike. He’s transformed a fringey four-pitch mix into a more powerful fastball-breaking ball combo that has helped him record at least 10 punchouts in multiple starts this season. Teng may actually be on the verge of a breakout if he can combine his previous command with the recent jump in velocity, but that remains to be seen. For now, he’s striking out roughly one out of every three batters he faces alongside 47 walks and a 4.75 ERA across 77.2 innings at High-A.

40. Camilo Doval, RHP

Doval has elite closer upside. He works out of a funky three-quarters delivery that makes it difficult for hitters to pick up his already elite pitch arsenal, but could also make him particularly prone against left-handed pitchers. Command has always been the question surrounding Doval’s future, but his fastball velocity has even more consistently reached triple-digits this year.

39. Tristan Beck, RHP

Beck was one of the system’s best pitching prospects in the upper minors heading into the season but only made four starts at Richmond before missing a couple of months with an injury. Beck has a long injury history, including with his shoulder, so an undisclosed absence hurts his stock quite a bit. Beck’s curveball is a potential plus pitch, but his fastball velocity has fluctuated between the low-to-mid 90s and will ultimately determine whether Beck can be a back-end starter, reliever, or something more.

38. Diego Velasquez, INF

The only seven-figure signing from the Giants most recent IFA class, Velasquez began his professional career stateside in the Arizona Complex League. While he’s struggled mightily to impact the ball (.278 slugging percentage) against mostly older competition (he turns 18 in October), he’s also shown an impressive knack for putting the ball in play, striking out just 16 times in 129 plate appearances.

37. Sandro Fabian, OF

Fabian was one of the most exciting prospects in the Giants system just a couple of years, but injuries, struggles, and other breakout prospects have left him behind. Still, he has the potential to make contact, hit for power, and be an average defender in right field. He’s always shown a good ability to put the ball in play, but also has horrendously bad walk rates. Still, he’s hitting .262/.293/.464 with 13 home runs at Double-A this season at just 23 and I expect to see his name called in this winter’s Rule 5 draft.

36. David Villar, 3B

The Giants drafted Villar in the 11th round of the 2018 draft as a power-over-hit corner bat out of South Florida and he’s consistently lived up to that label since. After a solid, but unexceptional 2019 at High-A, Villar has taken a huge step forward in the pitcher-friendly environment at Double-A, blasting 18 homers and posting a .273/.372/.500 triple-slash in 95 games. He’s not excellent on the other side of the diamond but could be an average defender at third or first base. Still, he’s going to have to hit his way to the majors. Plenty of hitters have seen breakout seasons tempered by the Eastern League (now known as Double-A Northeast), but Villar is 24 with questions about his ability to make consistent contact going forward. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he one day became a passable everyday player, but looks more like a bench/platoon bat.

35. Esmerlin Vinicio, LHP

A complete projection IFA signing in 2019, Vinicio has an incredibly lanky 6’2’’ frame. The southpaw has already added some velocity and figures to add more to an already strong feel for a breaking ball. Vinicio has walked a bit too many batters to sneak onto the back of the top 31, but he’s racking up punchouts in Rookie Ball at 18. Assuming he gets challenged with a Low-A assignment next season, he could be a breakout candidate.

34. Blake Rivera, RHP

Rivera’s control and command have been spotty throughout his career, but some scouts see Rivera’s repeatable delivery and athletic frame (6’4”-225 lbs.) as signs that he could stick in the rotation. His fastball is a 65-grade pitch at its best and his curveball is a consistently plus pitch as well. He has a high upside as a starter, but a combination of an inconsistent changeup velocity leads most to believe he’s a future high-leverage arm. He was the 12th-best prospect in the system heading into the year but mysteriously didn’t pitch while he dealt with an undisclosed injury. He’s back in Eugene now and could be back in the org’s top-15 prospects with a strong finish at High-A, but every time a tweener between starting and relieving misses extended time, it only speeds up the clock towards a move to the pen.

33. Eric Silva, RHP

The Giants big-bonus fourth-round pick out of JSerra Catholic High School, Silva was a top-three round talent with a big arm that has already reached 97 mph with fast arm action. Silva is a great athlete, who played on the infield and was one of the best hitters in the JSerra lineup. The Giants player development team has had great success with several recently selected pitchers and Silva has plenty of tools to dream on even if he’s a bit rough around the edges.

32. Alexander Suarez, OF

Suarez has some similarities to prospects Alexander Canario and Luis Matos (his cousin). Suarez has the potential to hit for power with speed and above-average defense in center field. However, unlike Matos, Suarez struggles to make contact. In his stateside debut this year at the Arizona Complex League, Suarez has stolen 13 bases and hit .317/.381/.524 at just 19. However, his 58-to-6 strikeout-to-walk rate in 180 plate appearances exemplifies how much he has to refine his approach. Suarez will be 20 in 2022, and likely make his full-season debut at San Jose. He could stumble against more advanced pitching but has the tools to breakout.

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