MLB Pipeline lists young outfielder as No. 3 prospect in SF Giants organization

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Most prospect publications agree that Marco Luciano and Kyle Harrison are the top two prospects in the SF Giants system at the moment. They may differ on the order. Though, Harrison seems to have inched ahead of Luciano this winter in many rankings.

Who comes after that is up for debate. Casey Schmitt is commonly mentioned as the organization's No. 3 prospect as he brings a combination of strong defense and power. Mason Black has been mentioned there as well. Even Luis Matos is still considered the No. 3 prospect in the organization by some after a down season. However, MLB Pipeline published its list of top 30 organizational prospects on Friday, rating outfield prospect Grant McCray as the No. 3 prospect.

MLB Pipeline lists young outfielder as No. 3 prospect in SF Giants organization

Seeing McCray as the No. 3 prospect is not too surprising as he offers some of the highest upside of anyone in the organization. In that respect, he makes a lot of sense in that spot. That said, there is still a lot of development left to realize given that he has tallied a total of 62 plate appearances above Low-A as a pro.

Perhaps, Schmitt has a lower ceiling, which is possibly why MLB Pipeline rated him as the No. 4 prospect. You could make the case for either one as the team's third-best prospect. Outfield prospect Vaun Brown was ranked as the No. 5 prospect after reaching Double-A in his first full pro season.

In McCray, it took a couple of years for his career to gain momentum, but the 2022 season was very much a breakout year. The Giants selected him in the third round of the 2019 draft out of Lakewood Ranch High School in Bradenton, Florida.

The outfield prospect had verbally committed to Florida State University, but the Giants swayed him away from that commitment with a $697,500 signing bonus.

Like any prospect who was selected in the years leading up to 2020, McCray did lose an important year of development due to the canceled minor league season. The left-handed bat sustained an undisclosed injury in 2021 that limited him to just 153 plate appearances. 65 of those plate appearances took place in the Arizona Rookie League as he recovered from injury.

By the time 2022 rolled around, the 22-year-old outfielder was still very green with experience as a pro. Last year should have been his third full year as a pro, but circumstances and injuries derailed that a bit. In a way, his trajectory is not too dissimilar to that of Logan Webb, who missed a lot of time in the minors due to injury and a suspension.

With all that being said, McCray really flashed some impressive tools in 2022. He began the year in Low-A, slashing .291/.383/.525 (130 wRC+) with 21 home runs, 69 RBI, 92 runs, and 35 stolen bases in 45 opportunities. This included an 11.4 percent walk rate against a 29.2 percent strikeout rate.

The former third-round pick earned a late-season promotion to High-A where he continued to produce, registering an .810 OPS in 62 plate appearances. McCray spent the bulk of his season in center field and has the speed and arm to stick at that position.

MLB Pipeline believes that he has a chance to be a good leadoff hitter with power:

""With improved strength and a shorter stroke with more loft, he has begun driving the ball in the air to his pull side more consistently and shows 25-homer potential. He did strike out 170 times last year, so he'll need to make better swing decisions against more advanced pitchers, but he's also not afraid to work deep counts and take walks.""

Jim Callis

There is going to be a lot of attention on McCray this year. Both Marco Luciano and Kyle Harrison should graduate as prospects in 2023. The same could be said for Casey Schmitt, so the prospect focus will begin to shift to the next wave. This includes McCray, who is not too far from being one of the best prospects in baseball.