Now that the dust has settled after the 2022 MLB Draft signing and 2022 trade deadline, it is now time to take a look at the SF Giants farm system and see where it stands after an influx of talent brought by the 2022 draft class and the trades that happened. These are the prospects that all of the Giants' minor league affiliates will trot out until the end of the season.
SF Giants 2022 Top 30 Prospects: Post-trade deadline update
Note: I will also take note of how many spots were gained or lost compared to last month's 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. No FVs or Future Value for now as I will talk about the prospects in bunches.
1. Kyle Harrison (0)
2. Marco Luciano (0)
3. Casey Schmitt (0)
4. Grant McCray (+5)
5. Mason Black (+3)
6. Vaun Brown (+6)
7. Luis Matos (-3)
8. Heliot Ramos (-3)
9. Carson Whisenhunt (NR)
10. Aeverson Arteaga (-3)
11. David Villar (0)
12. Ryan Murphy (-6)
13. Eric Silva (+2)
14. Landen Roupp (+5)
15. Trevor McDonald (-1)
16. Reggie Crawford (NR)
17. Randy Rodriguez (-1)
18. Tristan Peters (NR)
19. Jairo Pomares (-9)
20. Keaton Winn (NR)
21. Nick Zwack (NR)
22. Carter Aldrete (+5)
23. William Kempner (NR)
24. Nick Swiney (-11)
25. Nick Sinacola (NR)
26. Will Bednar (-8)
27. Nick Avila (NR)
28. Carson Seymour (NR)
29. Jose Cruz (NR)
30. Ben Madison (NR)
Stability at the top
Giants'If the doomsday scenario of gutting the top of the farm system for Juan Soto happened, we would actually have a very different conversation. Instead, the stability at the top continues with Kyle Harrison, Marco Luciano, and Casey Schmitt leading the charge. Below them are three prospects who kept on performing at a high level. Grant McCray is still Grant McCray, a guy who can do a lot of things on the diamond and plays with exciting flair but strikes out a bit too much to cap his ceiling. Mason Black's numbers do not tell the entire story as he is probably the best pitcher other than Harrison who has a shot at sticking in a rotation role with the combination of stuff, control, and smarts. Call him old and all but Vaun Brown's going for that 30-30 season that is a very tall task even in the Minor Leagues. Vaun Brown is this year's breakout story for the Giants farm system.
The very weird zone
At first, I was going to call the six prospects after the first six as the "death zone" because they all have the talent to become top talents but they either massively regressed, just can't stay healthy and/or earned enough question marks on their game but that sounded very awkward and weird so I will just call it the weird zone. After four months, it is time to finally hit the panic button on Luis Matos. At first, I was just like yeah, he's gonna be fine. However, it's already August and Matos still has a batting average below .200 and an OPS below .600. From the looks of things, it's a combination of both mechanical and mental flaws as he's still making tons of contact (16% strikeout rate in 2022) but a lot of it have been weak contact. He's shown that he's an above-average defender at center field, but his bat which should be his strength has now been his massive weakness. It's the Leody Taveras story all over again.
Both Matos and Heliot Ramos have such rough 2022 seasons that it's very hard to defend them right now to still sit inside the top ten, quite honestly. Maybe we're still holding on to nostalgia. Maybe we're still expecting that them from the past will come back because we've seen how good they could be before. Sure, Matos could still be defendable as 2023 will be the true test of his actual ceiling but for Ramos, it's been one and a half seasons' worth of ineptitude in the Triple-A level. It's been the same old story for Ramos so far: hits balls hard when he connects but a lot of whiffs and weak contact. Look, he's done what he's supposed to be doing which is pulling the ball more but it made his overall hitting ability in question because of a lack of true middle-of-the-field approach (4/5 of balls in play either have been pulled or hit the opposite way).
It made Matos and Ramos sticking in the top ten quite easy because the prospects who both now fell have not been up to par so far. Carson Whisenhunt might be the highest-ranked prospect on all other big publications in the 2022 draft class but he is far from the surest thing in the world. Prospects Live's Joe Doyle was not impressed by the rustiness that Whisenhunt showed when he pitched in the Cape this year, and my issue is more on the "he's basically a Nick Swiney who throws a harder fastball but does not play as well as Swiney's fastball" than anything.
Aeverson Arteaga has struggled mightily with his bat this month. Maybe it's the youth that's showing out, maybe it's the actual lack of polish in his game. One thing is for sure, he needs to be certain that he is ready for the grind of full-season ball after looking like he's close to running out of gas for this season. David Villar has had his moments with the big league club this season (nice strike zone control) but it's a rude first taste of the big leagues for him. Villar must fare better if he ever gets a second dip of the Majors or he's going to be in the doghouse as well.
Ryan Murphy has sustained his second injury this season and it just looks like a pretty lost season for him as he got promoted to Double-A before the injury. The stuff is pretty much the same as last season but he's regressed a bit in terms of pinpoint control. He's also not gained any tick in velocity this season which hurts his ceiling a bit. But Murphy's still got it in terms of execution and setting batters up so a healthy Murphy would easily bolt up this ranking.
We now see a pretty exciting group of prospects after the group with the most question marks ahead of them. Quite honestly, there are only a few pitchers in the organization that has the ability to throw three distinct pitches with at least average grades and enough strike-throwing to make it work. The best of them are located up top as you expect. These pitchers might not receive the accolades and recognition but these pitchers deserve the love.
Eric Silva has been dominant ever since he started his second-half workload with a 3.71 ERA, 8% walk rate, and a 34% strikeout rate. There are still plenty of giveaway pitches from Silva but the rest definitely helped him in terms of his breaking ball sharpness. If Silva keeps this going up to the end of the season, he's a definite lock inside the top 10 with his feel to throw four above-average pitches for strikes.
Landen Roupp kept on impressing with a dominant July as a starter in Eugene. The star of the show is his plus to plus-plus curveball but he also has a 91-95 MPH fastball with plenty of running movement as well as a changeup that he often uses against lefties. The only knock against Roupp is that he tends to run out of gas after four or five innings of work but still finishes his outing well. He's on the older side but you can't deny the stuff, control, and general feel for pitching at this point.
The final of the trio is Trevor McDonald who might not have the finest of months strike-throwing wise but he's been up to 97 MPH with his sinker and he's definitely upped the ante on his swinging strike count with double-digit swinging strikes in his last four starts. He's a pitching success story this season and I can't wait for him to kick it up another gear once he reins in his control by refining his much-improved delivery.
First-rounder Reggie Crawford makes his introduction at number 16. After initially thinking that he's a legit top 10 prospect, I came to the notion that he's probably riskier than I first thought because we just don't know what the velocity is going to be. If it's back to the mid to high-90s, then it's going to be fine. However, how much rust will Crawford have once he returns is also a question. Whether we'll see a changeup in his arsenal is another question because he's a dominant two-pitch pitcher when he was healthy, not three. Just a lot of question marks but we'll ultimately get the answers to those questions next season.
Randy Rodriguez has been much more comfortable and confident when he's pitched out of the bullpen than in the rotation this season and the stats definitely tell the same thing (2.77 ERA, 10% walk rate, 53% strikeout rate since transitioning to the pen). His vicious fastball-slider combo works so well in relief and there is no doubt in my mind that he's the best relief prospect in the system right now.
Tristan Peters is the highest-ranked prospect that is acquired by the Giants at the trade deadline. With an all-around offensive performance in the Brewers organization this season, Peters instantly enters as one of the more well-rounded hitters in a system chock full of hitters with good power but not a lot of contact and have massive strikeout issues.
Rounding out the goodies is Jairo Pomares who had a pretty rough July but was still essentially the same prospect. My issue for him is that with Tristan Peters on the roster who has a more rounded game than him, it's an easier choice to make if you remove the nameplates.
The final eleven prospects that I will talk about are the result of a combination of two things. The first is the massive regression of the hitting prospects in the organization that the prospects who are having a decent season swinging the bat get bumped up higher than usual. Also, there's just a number of good pitching developments in the fringes of the farm system that are here by merit. It's another way of thinking about why the 2022 Giants draft class looked very pitching-heavy even though it is a hitter-heavy draft class in general. The front office might've thought "we kinda suck at developing hitters but we've had positive results on our pitching dev, so let's invest more on that".
Keaton Winn leads the charge and is another example of a good pitching development story. When he was drafted in 2018, he was more of a "good athlete, throws hard, throws strikes, but not much else" guy. After a Tommy John surgery and plenty of seasoning during the downtime, he's now blossomed into a legitimate prospect. He can still hit 98 MPH in a six-inning role but has touched 100 MPH in shorter stints, usually sitting at 94-97 MPH with some life up the zone but more of a downhill plane pitch than a legit riser. He compliments his hard fastball with a nasty splitter that just falls off the table and has a nice vertical movement separation with his fastball and a slider that flashes above-average with late bite. He's been a strike-thrower ever since he got promoted to Eugene and it's just unfair at times. I feel like a lot of folks have not been into the Keaton Winn train and I am here to change that.
Nick Zwack makes his top 30 debut just behind Winn. Zwack's had a very good season so far with the Mets organization looking like a lefty version of Ryan Murphy: a guy whose pitch mix plays up because of how good he can execute and locate his pitches. He just plain avoids the heart of the strike zone with his assortment of average stuff. His fastball can touch 94 MPH but is more on the 90-93 MPH range with sink and cut, the latter being a better offering, flashing above-average in the high-80s. His slider is his best secondary offering in the low-80s while his changeup looks solid as well. Murphy beats him because Murphy has a better breaking ball and a flatter fastball at the top of the zone. Nonetheless, I expect the Giants to look to tweak to find a sharper breaking ball from Zwack to make him a legit prospect.
Carter Aldrete is the lone position player prospect here after getting promoted to Richmond. It is a much-deserved promotion but his improved approach will get a big test against Double-A pitching.
Third-rounder William Kempner makes my top 30 prospects because he is a pitching unicorn. Much like Kyle Harrison, you just don't expect someone to throw up to 100 MPH from a four-foot, sidearm slot. If the Giants staff can help improve his slider and his general strike-throwing, he is going to be a problem for hitters because of his uniqueness.
Nick Swiney is here because he could not find the strike zone at all but he still has the nastiness with his offspeed stuff to stay in the top 30. The other Nick, Nick Sinacola is back on the list after faring much better this month as a starting pitcher. The life on his fastball is back which is very essential since he only throws in the low-90s. The slider is still nasty though.
Will Bednar continues to fall because of his injury (still don't have a timeline yet), prospects with better stuff and/or control in a rotation role than him, and just the general vibe of him becoming more of a reliever than a true starting rotation option which he was just a year ago. The progress never happened for Bednar.
Next up are four pitchers with more than enough stuff and a decent control baseline that allows them to see success this year. Heading the list is Nick Avila. The now-Richmond reliever can get his fastball up to 98 MPH with a James Karinchak-esque delivery and has his fastball play up the zone well. His breaking ball has been able to get whiffs and he throws enough strikes to think he is a Rule 5 get if left unprotected.
The newest Giants prospect Carson Seymour is more of a sinker-slider guy rather than a fastball-curve guy like Avila but he's been up to 97 MPH with his sinker and the slider has good depth and late bite. He's more control than command but all of his pitches move and he's been effective. I expect him to stick in the rotation.
Next up is Jose Cruz whose been tearing it up in San Jose as a true relief ace. The sidewinding righty has a turbo sinker that is up to 98 MPH from a low release height, a unique trait, and a nasty changeup with as much fade as his sinker but is thrown with fastball arm speed and good velocity separation. There's also a slider in his pitch mix but it's inconsistent.
The final prospect in the top 30 is Ben Madison. Madison is such a good story. He has not pitched since the end of the 2019 season due to the pandemic and undergoing Tommy John surgery. He's back with the Giants and his stuff might be the best that it's ever been. He can touch 98 MPH with his fastball and his power curveball has a lot of vertical depth that tunnels well with his four-seamer. He is an interesting Rule 5 prospect like Avila.
To cap off, there are a number of Rookie ball pitchers who deserve plenty of consideration in the top 30 but are ultimately left off. Yoniel Ramirez is up to 96 MPH with his fastball and has a nasty sweeping slider from a low 3/4 arm slot. Willian Suarez is up to 97 MPH with his fastball with life and throws plenty of strikes. Mikell Manzano is only in the 88-91 MPH range with his fastball but he can locate his repertoire (fastball, sweeping breaking ball, good changeup) pretty much wherever he wants a la 19-year-old version of Ryan Murphy. It just shows how much the pitching talent in the organization has taken over due to the regression of the hitters in the system.