It Is A Great Time To Be A SF Giants Fan
The crown jewels of the 2018 international free agent class (Marco Luciano, Luis Matos, and Jairo Pomares) still pace the top of several Giants prospects rankings but the story of last season was the emergence of the 2020 Giants draft class, particularly the pitching talent, that helped even out the talent up top. The leader of the pack is Kyle Harrison, a third-rounder who was more thought of as a pitchability lefty as an amateur but emerged as a potential big-league ace after taking several leaps into his development.
Not too far behind is Ryan Murphy, a fifth-rounder more known initially as a cost-saving selection broke out by using his well-rounded combination of stuff and pitchability to dominate the low-Minors. After Murphy is the duo of Nick Swiney and R.J. Dabovich who both flashed promising swing-and-miss stuff and are clear inclusions in any top 30 Giants prospects rankings.
On the hitting side, the Giants’ hitting prospects performed according to their offensive profiles. Luis Matos and Jairo Pomares proved they are two of the best contact hitters in the farm system after they demolished Low-A pitching. Diego Rincones proved he can hit well even with unique swing mechanics and tore through High-A and Double-A.
Ismael Munguia showed that adding juice to a swing can elevate a slap-hitting approach to a more respectable offensive profile after winning the High-A West batting title. And finally, Adrian Sugastey paced the entire Rookie ball in batting average just to name a few notable pure contact hitters. The prospects mentioned were given at least solid hit tools before the 2021 season started and they proved after the season that those grades were indeed accurate.
Also, the prospects who were lauded for their power potential hit for power as expected. Hitters like Jairo Pomares, Sean Roby, Marco Luciano who had at least above-average to plus, even plus-plus, raw power hit for at least 19 home runs last season.
The Giants coaching staff emphasized adding loft in their hitting prospects to better tap on their raw powers and it produced several breakout power hitters. Brett Auerbach transformed his approach from a contact-heavy with the San Jose Giants to a power-heavy approach once he got promoted to the Eugene Emeralds and hit 15 home runs in the second half of the season (17 total). David Villar shattered the Richmond Flying Squirrels' franchise record in home runs in a season with 20 while also hitting with a strong triple-slash line. Tyler Fitzgerald was a stalwart for the Emeralds by leading the team in home runs with 19 while also providing stellar defense in second base.
On the pitching side, the Giants coaches did an excellent job of putting their pitching prospects in the best position to succeed by emphasizing pitch usage and what works best for them tunnel-wise. As a result, Eugene and San Jose led their league in strikeouts as a team, and San Jose led the entire Minor Leagues outright. It produced several breakouts aside from the 2020 pitching draft class, most notably Randy Rodriguez, who dominated in the bullpen that earned him a 40-man roster spot and a potential starting pitcher role in the upcoming season.
Several relievers also put up excellent seasons such as Chris Wright who served as Eugene's closer after he got promoted, Ryan Walker who was extremely reliable for both Eugene and Richmond, Joey Marciano who was absolute lights out for Richmond in the first half of the season, and Norwith Gudino who put up mind-boggling strikeout numbers versus high-Minors hitting to name a few.
Entering the 2022 season, San Francisco is projected to be locked into a very competitive three-horse race for NL West supremacy while having a consensus top-10 farm system where three of their top prospects are only entering their age-20 seasons once Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos graduate, and Ramos is only entering his age-22 season. With even more talented under-20 prospects in the lower depths, it only makes the farm system even better because of its young depth and its balanced hitting and pitching depth. It makes the farm system an asset for Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris to pull off a major mid-season trade without dealing a huge blow to its depth like last season when the club traded for Kris Bryant.