SF Giants 2022 Top 30 Prospects: September Update
SF Giants Top Prospects #11 - #21
Reggie Crawford might actually be Joey Gallo on offense with all the raw power in the world but with a strikeout ocean. The good thing is that being a hitter is the worse side of the two-way spectrum as him being a pitcher is looking like the way to go. I won't dismiss the possibility of Crawford hitting at least 15 homers next season in San Jose, but if he pitches the way that he's flashed before his elbow injury for Team USA and in the Cape, then him being a pitcher is definitely the path to take. The problem is that we'll only know the answer once he actually gets reps on the mound.
David Villar has returned to Sacramento this month and it's been the usual David Villar experience: lots of walks, hitting for power, and lots of strikeouts. However, for the third straight month, his batting average has been below-average and if he's below-average in AAA, well, you can kind of think what happens in the big leagues. We have seen it already, haven't we?
It's back to the pitching crop once again and it's time to talk about a couple of pitchers who are kind of similar in a way. Eric Silva has the tools to be a great starting pitcher. He has the athleticism, the fluidity in his motion, and the stuff to make batters swing and miss at a high rate. The main issue with him this year is the inconsistency of his pitches. He throws strikes but he struggles to finish a hitter quite a bit. Improving his fine control should be the most important thing for him along with adding more weight to his frame to better cope with the rigors of starting. He has the potential, he just has to harness his talent.
After a stellar 2021 season, it feels like Ryan Murphy never really had the type of season that he was looking for. He was hurt on two occasions this year (due to his back) but he still got promoted to Richmond because he is too good for Eugene. Murphy looked a bit thicker this year compared to last year and the strike-throwing regressed just a touch but with him being more of a control pitcher than anything, that touch of regression matters. With a good and healthy off-season, Murphy hopes to bounce back to what he is: the premier strike-thrower in the organization.
The next prospect is someone that I truly love but it's time to face the truth: Heliot Ramos might not actually pan out. After close to 900 plate appearances in the high-Minors including more than 600 plate appearances in Triple-A, Ramos is still struggling to make his mark on the level. Heliot's undergone a massive tweak in his batting stance but the results of that are still to be determined. There's still the argument of he's still young but 600 plate appearances is enough to get acclimated to the level but Ramos just fell flat this year unfortunately.
Right after Heliot is Jairo Pomares who had a great August but even when he's good, he's still having the great strikeout disease. Unlike McCray though, Pomares doesn't have any other plus in his toolbox that will help give him a safe floor if the hit tool fails.
Up next is Nick Zwack who actually impressed me after watching his watchable outings in an Emeralds' uniform. Yes, the fastball might only be in the low-90s and has a sinker shape but he can spot it in the edges of the strike zone. The two things that really caught my attention though are the slider and the cutter. The slider flashes above-average to plus with a late, sweeping bite that just dips below the barrel of the bat, and his cutter also flashes that late movement and it compliments well with his sinker. The results might not be there as an Emerald (might be a tweak by the Giants coaching staff to extract more swing and miss out of him) but I was pretty pleased with what I saw and I can't wait to dive deeper into his film in the winter. Another Nick, Nick Swiney, is just below Zwack. I slotted Swiney below Zwack but the two Nicks are pretty much neck and neck in my opinion. I just like the breaking stuff and strike-throwing from Zwack a touch more.
Next is Trevor McDonald. Look, McDonald's ERA might indicate that he's enjoying the transition from the late-inning relief role to a starting role in the second half of the season but the numbers under the hood indicate not quite the same story. His walk and strikeout rates went worse in the rotation role and he's been getting by with plenty of weak contact because of the sheer velocity that he's throwing the ball (up to 97 MPH as a starter) and the amount of movement that is just overwhelming Low-A hitting. If McDonald can rein it in once again like when he did as a relief guy next season in a rotation role, he will be a stud. If not, then he's a late-inning relief-only dude.
After some thought, I have decided to put Cole Waites back as the best true relief prospect in the organization right now. Waites has been pretty dominant in his stint with Richmond though there were some chinks in the armor (particularly his control issues) but we finally got a hold of his Statcast data when he got promoted to Sacramento this month and boy, oh boy, it's beautiful. The fastball sits in the mid-90s with plus rise on it (just 11" of drop) and the slider's just serviceable enough to make it work. If Waites continues to pound the upper third of the zone with his fastball, he'll be dominant. I sneaked him ahead of Randy Rodriguez because Rodriguez missed some time this month and was pretty iffy with his control.