After another month of action, it's time to update my SF Giants top 30 prospects. In case you need a refresher, here is my 2022 pre-season top 30 prospects and the thought process of creating the last a few months ago, and click here for the May update.
SF Giants 2022 Top 30 Prospects: June Update
Two months' worth of action should be a big enough sample size for updating prospect evaluation. The first month of action should be more of a "what's different that is visible on the batter's box or on the mound" but the second month should also factor in the performance of the prospect. We can also see during that sample size which hot start was for real or not and whose cold start should we not worry about. I often tend to value the back half of the season more than the front half because it shows a prospect's effectiveness after going through the grind of the season but it all predicates how well a prospect sets himself up in the first half of the season.
Note: I will also take note of how many spots were gained or lost compared to the pre-season ranking. If a prospect gained a spot, there will be a (+) and the corresponding spots moved, and conversely, a (-) and the corresponding spots moved for the fallers. If someone holds his spot, the prospect will have a (0) and an (NR) for the newcomers.
Without further ado, here are the updated top 30 prospects in the San Francisco Giants organization with their respective FVs or Future Values. FV is the value that
the prospect would most likely provide if everything goes as planned.
1. Kyle Harrison (0)
2. Marco Luciano (0)
3. Luis Matos (+1)
4. Casey Schmitt (+2)
5. Heliot Ramos (-2)
6. Ryan Murphy (+3)
7. Mason Black (+5)
8. Aeverson Arteaga (0)
9. Eric Silva (+2)
10. David Villar (+6)
11. Grant McCray (NR)
12. Jairo Pomares (-5)
13. Will Bednar (-8)
14. Randy Rodriguez (+6)
15. Adrian Sugastey (+8)
16. Nick Sinacola (-2)
17. Trevor McDonald (+1)
18. Sean Hjelle (-8)
19. Armani Smith (-2)
20. Nick Swiney (+4)
21. Brett Auerbach (-8)
22. Matt Mikulski (-2)
23. Ryan Reckley (+2)
24. Sean Roby (-9)
25. Ghordy Santos (-4)
26. R.J. Dabovich (0)
27. Cole Waites (+1)
28. Vaun Brown (NR)
29. Mat Olsen (NR)
30. Jose Cruz (NR)
Going Through One to Fifteen
While the top two prospects in the organization, namely Kyle Harrison and Marco Luciano, have not moved much, they have taken their game to another level where I can see both of them as potential All-Stars. After the dynamic duo though is where chaos ensues.
There are two prospects currently who I view as potential everyday big leaguers: Luis Matos and Casey Schmitt. We have now known Matos' injury thanks to Alex Pavlovic's Tweet and I am looking forward to his return. With Schmitt, it's just a matter of time before I finally push him up. He's been very consistent and he has become a legitimate threat on both offense and defense. Sure, you can knock him back on him being a 23-year-old but he's actually only half a year older than the average competition in High-A. Schmitt could get the call to Richmond next month.
After the top four prospects are where things get a lot shakier. I have moved Heliot Ramos down to a 45 FV tier because of his poor performance ever since getting sent back to Sacramento. Don't get me wrong, he's been hitting the ball hard often but he's been hitting the top of the ball a lot more often than usual as he does not drop his shoulder much this year compared to seasons past. Even though he's been rocked in his second time back, Ryan Murphy still gets a bump up because of the improvement of his changeup as his legitimate third pitch to pair his fastball and slider while also being a clear step ahead of the rest of the pitching class in terms of control and starter traits.
It is clear after the first two months of the season that Mason Black is the best pitcher in the 2021 Giants pitching draft class with his ability to throw three pitches for strikes. There are a lot of things that I mentioned that could Black should improve on in my patch notes on my Patreon but even if only some are met, Black will still be a viable big-league pitcher either in relief or in the rotation. Aeverson Arteaga has held serve this month offensively making good contract but also being undisciplined at times while looking improved on defense as he looks more composed and on time.
Rounding out the top ten are a couple of prospects that continue the theme of rising up through the ranks. Eric Silva's ERA might be high but in the low-Minors, stats are not valued as highly because tools and projection are what's more important and Silva has that with his four-pitch mix where all flashes above-average at times and the athleticism and flexibility to project above-average command. There are still plenty of stray pitches that Silva needs to work out as he progresses but I am a believer that he will. David Villar just continues to torch the Triple-A competition as he is showing that he's ready for a big-league call-up. There is plenty of swing and miss in his game but he is definitely a big-league talent right now with a shot of being an everyday player.
Making the biggest jump for this update is Grant McCray at number 11. McCray was literally the final cut in my May update because I want to see him perform well in May before committing to a raise because I can see the improvements in his physique and his batting stance, particularly in two-strike counts and his hand set-up. It helped him drive the ball better and he was scorching hot during the first two weeks of last month. There are a lot of similarities between him and Steven Duggar's game but if McCray can solve his issues against lefties and righties with good changeups, McCray could be better than Duggar.
A couple of fallers make up the next two spots. Jairo Pomares is turning into a three-true-outcomes hitter that the Giants want him to be by massively increasing his walk rate this season but there are still plenty of questionable swing decisions sprinkled in between his improved plate discipline. Will Bednar dropped massively because of the sustained control issues that he's had since his first outing this season. The fastball velocity has not picked up, the changeup looked solid at times but mostly fringy, and his release point is all over the place. Until he regains the control that he showed last season in Mississippi State, he will be the third-best pitcher in his draft class behind Black and Silva.
The final couple of prospects in the top 15 and in the 45 FV tier are a couple of bounceback prospects. Randy Rodriguez started slowly but he really got the ball rolling as the calendar flipped to May, particularly with his velocity. His fastball was only in the low-90s in April but was hitting 97 MPH in three-to-five-inning outings last month. The control is and will probably always be an issue but at least we now know that the stuff never left and he can hold that velocity after throwing 60+ pitches.
Adrian Sugastey has finally strung together a prolonged period of standout hitting this season. I said last month that it would not take much for me to move Sugastey's bat back up again because I am a believer in the bat. It's not that he sucked by swinging foolishly on bad pitches but he is a victim of the BABIP gods with his contact-heavy approach. There are some physique issues that I am seeing from him right now and potentially in the future, specifically with how his body shapes up, but he should progress nicely in the system as long as he can stay on top of his fitness level.
The Back-Half Full of 40 FVs
I had Nick Sinacola in the conversation of the best pitching prospects in the 2021 Giants draft class. Still, after another month of action, I feel like he is more into that Tier Two prospects behind Black and Silva in terms of potential. Still, it's not because of Sinacola pitching badly but because of how promising both Black and Silva's likely outcomes are. I would say though that Sinacola is neck and neck with Bednar, and Mikulski. The same thing goes for Trevor McDonald in that he did not pitch poorly but we are starting to see some signs of worry like his control. Sean Hjelle also took a bit of a fall after a pretty rough month which is to be expected from a contact pitcher. The good thing for him is that the velocity is still holding up and the movement profiles are above-average but his contact-heavy approach on the mound will lead to a couple of rough patches to make me think that he is more of a solid relief rather than late-relief ace.
Armani Smith was one of the first prospects to receive a promotion where the big outfielder was sent from Eugene to Richmond. He's done well in Richmond so far and has looked as fit as ever. He's a big guy with a compact swing and has plenty of pop but he prefers a balanced approach at the plate. Nick Swiney started slow but he's picked up the pace this month. However, there are a good number of issues with Swiney, particularly the lack of progress in his fastball velocity, but the changeup is still as good ever to think of him reaching the big leagues as a reliever.
The next two prospects are a couple of guys who have shown relative struggles this month. Brett Auerbach missed a good chunk of the early part of May due to an illness and has only started to get going. The strikeouts cap Auerbach's ceiling which is particularly concerning due to his small stature presumably giving him a smaller strike zone and more opportunities to make contact but the aggression and the bat-to-ball ability resulted in the consistently high strikeout rate. Matt Mikulski has improved his whiff rate over his past three starts but the concern is that he's allowed too much contact early last month. The extremely high BABIP which should regress and the rise in his whiff rate might be an indication that Mikulski's starting to pick up the pace and is in line for a big June which will definitely help pick his fallen stock back up.
Even though Ryan Reckley has not played yet, he's still around these parts because of his anticipated debut next month in the Complex League and the recent videos that I've seen from him look promising. Sean Roby has seen his stock plummet this month as he finally cooled off after a torrential April. He's still in the top 30 because he can basically turn it back on in a flick of a switch and he's absolutely making The Diamond, a park notorious for being very pitcher-friendly, into a bandbox with his power display. Another prospect whose cooled off heavily this month is Ghordy Santos. Santos has an on-off performances where he will put up consecutive 0-fers then having a couple of nice performances sprinkled in between.
The final five are relievers and a lot of breakout candidates. We are already aware of what R.J. Dabovich and Cole Waites are capable off on the mound and their performances last month have not nudged that notion a single bit. A couple of relievers have raised their stock though and that's Mat Olsen and Jose Cruz. Olsen served as a piggyback starter last month before transitioning to a full-time, high-octane late-inning relief role swapping places with Trevor McDonald. Olsen has been sensational as a result and has earned a promotion to Eugene. The high-energy righty has not lifted his foot off the gas and has continued to dominate the level with his up-tempo delivery and a couple of nasty pitches with his mid-90s fastball and his hard curveball. Cruz, on the other hand, dominates by being the modern ball of clay by the Giants with their mid to high-90s sinkers thrown at the bottom of the zone from a low release height. Cruz gets plenty of groundballs and an obscenely high strikeout rate that can only be matched by Kyle Harrison.
The final prospect that rounds out this list and is sandwiched between the pair of old and young relievers is Vaun Brown. Yes, the dude is way too old for the level but he's doing things that way too old for the level dudes are supposed to do. Brown might be the most physical prospect in the organization right now with how jacked up he is, only comparable to Gabe Kapler, and has all the raw tools to turn into a mid to late-20s big leaguer. He has a compact and handsy stroke for a guy as buffed as he is and he's shown excellent base-stealing instincts as well as playing strong defense in the corner outfield. There is a bit of a swing and miss issue for Brown but he is basically torching the level right now and is in a major need of a call-up very soon.