SF Giants prospects: Midseason 2021 rankings
29. Tyler Fitzgerald, INF
Highest Level: High-A (Eugene)
Acquired: Draft (2019)
Future-Value Grade: 40
While 2019 fourth-round pick Tyler Fitzgerald just missed my preseason SF Giants prospect rankings, he made my list of 15 system sleepers. Here’s what I wrote about him coming into the year:
"“Tyler Fitzgerald projects with 45 or 50-grade tools across the board. A likely utility infielder with second-division starter upside, Fitzgerald does not seem like the type of prospect set to take the minor leagues by storm. Instead, the fourth-round selection in 2019 will likely post a respectable .275/.340/.420-esque triple-slash line. Still, sometimes we underrate the potential of “safe” prospects. If Fitzgerald could find another level of power, his strong plate discipline and defensive versatility could change how he’s viewed quite quickly.”"
In his first full minor-league season, Fitzgerald has spent the year at High-A Eugene, where he’s been one of the most consistent power hitters in the league. In nearly 400 plate appearances, the Louisville alum is hitting .275/.354/.520 with 27 doubles and a league-leading 18 home runs. Needless to say, he’s far exceeded my expectations.
With that said, Fitzgerald’s swing does generate some significant swing-and-miss. Even while he’s older than the average player at High-A, Fitzgerald has still struck out in more than 30% of his plate appearances with a roughly league-average walk rate. The Giants new High-A affiliate in Eugene plays to loftier swings and has definitely aided Fitzgerald’s numbers. It’s hard to estimate how much of Fitzgerald’s power spike will play going forward until he goes up against better pitching. On the other hand, Fitzgerald’s lanky frame could add some bulk and potentially help his power continue developing as adjusts to upper-level pitching.
Defensively, Fitzgerald has played primarily at second base and probably profiles best moving around the infield than sticking at shortstop. There’s a path to him producing a 2013-2018 Brandon Crawford-like line at the plate with far worse defense but probably ends up relying on versatility and serving as a utility infielder.