Make sure to revisit our weekly SF Giants prospect rundowns to keep up with each of the organization’s minor-league affiliates.
SF Giants hitting prospects rundown (4/5 - 4/17)
If you do not feel well acclimated to the prospects throughout the farm system, you might want to revisit this year's Prospect Week articles (specifically the SF Giants 2022 prospects depth chart) or purchase the 2022 SF Giants Prospects Primer filled with scouting reports of 150 San Francisco Giants prospects from the best of the best to the unheard-of prospects. If you’re just interested in the biggest names, then the four-part 2022 pre-season top 30 prospects ranking and the thought process behind the ranking is the one-stop-shop for you.
I'm here to recap the happenings on the hitting front throughout the first week of the 2022 Minor League regular season.
River Cats Hitting Prospects
David Villar: 9 G, 40 PA, .303 AVG, 1.183 OPS, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 7 BB, 13 K
Heliot Ramos: 6 G, 28 PA, .250 AVG, .774 OPS, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 7 K
Luis Gonzalez: 9 G, 44 PA, .278 AVG, .881 OPS, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 8 BB, 9 K, 3 SB
Ricardo Genoves: 8 G, 34 PA, .258 AVG, .711 OPS, 1 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 10 K
Looks like David Villar took things personally when the Giants curiously did not add him to the 40-man roster to protect him in the Rule 5 Draft and probably thought to himself "fine, I'll do it myself" with this superb start of the season. Villar has been a full-blown three-true-outcomes behemoth as 62.5% of his plate appearances have been either a home run, a walk, or a strikeout. His 32.5% strikeout rate should not be ignored, but if he can continue producing like this which I think he could considering his present BABIP of .333 is somewhere along the lines of his previous numbers, he will definitely force his way into the 40-man roster and into some big league playing time.
Speaking of the 40-man roster, do you know who's on the 40-man roster? That's right, it's Heliot Ramos. We all know why he only played six games for the River Cats. I am excited about what he can do in his second lick of the PCL. I could definitely see Heliot in an everyday/platoon-type role a la Austin Slater where he will be a staple of the lineup against lefties (.908 OPS last year versus lefties) while being capable to play in center field which is very nice. Against lefties though, he might see sporadic playing time (.675 OPS last year versus righties) so having a consistent performance against either handedness will be crucial for him.
Even though he already reached the big leagues in 2020, Luis Gonzalez is still very well a prospect. His four-hit game, where he also hit a walk-off single, against Sugar Land is boosting the numbers for him in the early going. Gonzalez embodies a lot of the hallmarks that the current regime is looking for in a hitter. He gets on base (.409 OBP), he works the count (4.3 pitches per plate appearance, and he can provide a little bit of everything (play good outfield defense, steal some bases, hit some home runs). Other than Joc Pederson and Steven Duggar, there are not a whole lot of lefty bats in the big league roster and if one of the two ever gets hurt, I expect Gonzalez to be in the fold.
Let's cap off the River Cats rundown with their catcher Ricardo Genoves. I was initially surprised when they announced that Genoves will start the season in Sacramento instead of Richmond because he did not really perform well in Eugene and the front office signed Jhonny Pereda to supposedly be the starting catcher for the River Cats. However, that's not the case as Genoves has been getting the bulk of playing time behind the plate and though the offensive performance is not exceptional as expected, his defense behind the plate is much improved as he only allowed just one passed ball so far. The opponents are testing his arm though and are doing so successfully (3/3 stolen base attempts against him). It will be interesting if Genoves will hold up offensively throughout the season or his struggles will prompt a switch between him and Brett Auerbach.