The 2022 Minor League regular season is now drawing to a close but there are still some fireworks happening in the Giants minor league system. Look, the farm system has taken a step backward compared to where they are entering the season. That is because of the struggles of their top draft picks in the Farhan Zaidi era (looking at you Hunter Bishop, Patrick Bailey, Will Bednar, Logan Wyatt, Matt Mikulski) and the fall of once consensus top 100 prospects Luis Matos and Heliot Ramos. That's a fact. Those are a lot of prospects, almost a quarter of a top 30 prospects list.
SF Giants 2022 Top 30 Prospects: September Update
What is lost in translation is the number of player development success stories like Vaun Brown and Landen Roupp. Just because they are not the talk of the national media doesn't mean the Giants' farm system suck. Call me a glass half-full or wearing rose-colored glasses or even working for Farhan Zaidi, but I would prefer to be that than being absolutely ignorant of the farm system outside of Kyle Harrison and Marco Luciano. It is my duty to raise awareness of the lesser-known prospects in the Giants' farm system and if you choose to wear the crap-colored glasses, then sucks to be you, I guess.
Note: I will note how many spots were gained or lost compared to last month's ranking. If a prospect gained a spot, there would 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. I will also include the prospect's Present Value (PV) or what kind of value that the prospect will provide if he's thrown to the big league roster right now, and Future Value (FV), or the most likely outcome of the prospect.
Just a reminder:
55 PV/FV = Potential 1-2x All-Star position player/ #2-3 SP/ Perennial All-Star RP
50 PV/FV = Everyday position player/ #3-4 SP/ Average closer
45 PV/FV = Platoon or utility player/ #4-5 SP/ Average set-up man
40 PV/FV = Pinch hitter or runner or def replacement/ AAAA-type SP/ Average reliever
30 PV/FV = Organizational depth
20 PV/FV = Non-prospect
1. Kyle Harrison (0) PV 45 | FV 55
2. Marco Luciano (0) PV 30 | FV 55
3. Casey Schmitt (0) PV 40 | FV 50
4. Grant McCray PV (0) 30 | FV 45
5. Vaun Brown (+1) PV 40 | FV 45
6. Luis Matos (+1) PV 30 | FV 45
7. Mason Black (-2) PV 30 | FV 45
8. Cason Whisenhunt (+1) PV 30 | FV 45
9. Landen Roupp (+5) PV 30 | FV 40
10. Aeverson Arteaga (0) PV 20 | FV 40 (0)
11. Reggie Crawford (+6) PV 20 | FV 45 (as P)/40 (as 1B)
12. David Villar (-1) PV 40 | FV 40
13. Eric Silva (0) PV 20 | FV 40
14. Ryan Murphy (-2) PV 40 | FV 40
15. Heliot Ramos (-7) PV 40 | FV 40
16. Jairo Pomares (+3) PV 30 | FV 40
17. Nick Zwack (+4) PV 30 | FV 40
18. Nick Swiney (+6) PV 30 | FV 40
19. Trevor McDonald (-4) PV 30 | FV 40
20. Cole Waites (NR) PV 40 | FV 40
21. Randy Rodriguez (-4) PV 40 | FV 40
22. Tyler Fitzgerald (NR) PV 40 | FV 40
23. Tristan Peters (-5) PV 30 | FV 40
24. Liam Simon (NR) PV 30 | FV 40
25. Spencer Miles (NR) PV 30 | FV 40
26. Keaton Winn (-6) PV 30 | FV 40
27. William Kempner (-4) PV 30 | FV 40
28. Patrick Bailey (NR) PV 30 | FV 40
29. Nick Avila (-3) PV 40 | FV 40
30. Adrian Sugastey (NR) PV 20 | FV 40
SF Giants Top Prospects #1 - #10
The cherry at the top is still the dynamic duo of Kyle Harrison and Marco Luciano. No questions there. I think in terms of nitpicking, I'd say there is one thing both of them need to work on. For Harrison, adding more muscle in his upper half might be the key for him to unlock more velocity. For Luciano, it's staying on top of his flexibility drills because he is already super physically built.
All alone in the third spot is Casey Schmitt. It was obvious that Schmitt got worn down as the season progressed in Eugene but the Richmond call-up acted like a breath of fresh air for him. The swing got longer and longer as the weather warmed up in the Northwest but got back to a short and direct approach in Richmond. He might be a five-hole to a seven-hole hitter but his all-around offensive game along with his stellar defense at the hot corner makes him a potential building block for the next generation of Giants players.
The next three are all outfielders with center field potential, it's just a pick your flavor-kind of thing. I just preferred to rank the three in this order. Grant McCray has a glaring strikeout issue (even when he's hot, he's striking out a good bit) but he's blossomed from a toolsy but raw guy who is a prospect that some people who really follow the prospects scene thought could have been drafted in the first round if he ever went to college and had this kind of season.
Luis Matos has definitely seen better days after returning to his more natural approach (meaning screw working the count and getting on base via walk, a base hit is as good as a walk) but that brings into question "can he ever be the all-around bat that we expect him to turn out to be?" We've seen this season that he can't but he will definitely have another crack at it next year. If he still can't, well, he's now more of a solid prospect with everyday potential rather than a future All-Star.
Vaun Brown is more tooled up than Matos and has performed better than McCray but he's also at least two years older than both of them so he slots in just behind the two. Brown is now in Double-A and he will finish the year trying to help the Flying Squirrels win an Eastern League title.
Next are a trio of pitchers who are, again, can be interchangeable for me but two are legit 45 FV prospects and the other one is a high 40 FV prospect but I'll get into the nuts and bolts to explain. Mason Black might be starting to run out of gas in the second half of the season (4.95 ERA this month) but you have to consider that this is his first time handling more than 100 innings for a season so he's maybe getting tired and all. However, he's still delivering in terms of his peripherals even when he's tiring down. Working on his stamina is definitely on top of Black's list but the level of fluidity that I see and the level of stuff at his best still make him a deserving top 10 prospect heading to next season.
Carson Whisenhunt has looked pretty spotty in the Cape but clips of him pitching in Arizona makes me pretty excited for his 2023 season. Whisenhunt is basically Nick Swiney if Swiney throws harder. The changeup is definitely the centerpiece that has legit plus-plus potential, he sits in the low-90s with his fastball and also has a pretty decent feel for a curveball. Like Swiney, I question if Carson can add more in his frame to potentially throw harder and there will surely be control questions but what I saw from him as a pro is pretty exciting.
Landen Roupp might be a 40 FV now but there's a legit shot he is a 45 FV prospect when I review all the prospects in the winter. The good thing about Roupp is that his showcase pitch is a breaking ball and it's a legit plus pitch now. He throws strikes with it very well and he's basically used it as a primary pitch as a professional which low-Minors batters pretty much have zero shot of hitting. Making Double-A batters miss his curveball when he got called up to the level is a testament to its effectiveness. When you think of it, Roupp is the best possible outcome of Kai-Wei Teng. Teng can definitely miss lots of bats in the Double-A level with his breaking ball as the primary pitch but unlike Teng, Roupp can actually throw his fastball in the zone well. Roupp's low-90s fastball can get hit if he misses his spots because of its sinker shape (but more run than a usual sinker). He's done well to smoothen out the tempo of his delivery throughout the season but I see Roupp as more of a Tristan Beck right now if Beck never had back issues. Further improving his slider should also be on the agenda to bridge the gap between his fastball and curveball. I see Roupp as a potential big-league starter if he can further augment his pitch arsenal as well as consistently miss the middle of the plate with his fastball.
Next are three prospects who are, yet again, kind of pick your flavor as they are three completely different hitters. Aeverson Arteaga has an overall solid season for San Jose Giants. There are definitely flashes of what he could become but you have to sift through the youthful mistakes to see it. He has improved his power to a potential double-digit homer threat but is still more of a doubles guy. There are also flashes of defensive brilliance but an inconsistent body clock resulted in far more errors than you would expect from a guy as tooled up as him on defense. 2022 has been a learning experience for him and it can hopefully turn into a fruitful 2023 season.