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SF Giants hitting prospects rundown (5/8 - 5/14)

Kevin Padlo
Kevin Padlo / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages
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San Francisco Giants  v Philadelphia Phillies
San Francisco Giants v Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

SF Giants hitting prospects rundown (5/8 - 5/14)

SJ Giants Hitting Prospects

Grant McCray: 6 G, 29 PA, .435 AVG, 1.422 OPS, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 6 BB, 8 K, 2 SB
Vaun Brown: 6 G, 25 PA, .455 AVG, 1.747 OPS, 1 3B, 5 HR, 10 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 3 SB
Aeverson Arteaga: 6 G, 25 PA, .227 AVG, .729 OPS, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K
Adrian Sugastey: 5 G, 23 PA, .182 AVG, .490 OPS, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K

Last week we talked about Grant McCray having an electric week. Now, it maybe is time to talk about how high McCray will be ranked on the June update after an insane two weeks. His stats so far this month are bonkers: .471 AVG, 1.452 OPS, five doubles, a triple, five bombs, eight walks, 12 strikeouts, and five stolen bases. McCray employs a more upright stance early in the counts and takes time to load up then shifts to a more crouched set-up with less load in two-strike counts. McCray has shown some youthful errors in the batter's box like being over-eager to make an impact resulting in impatience at times and has been vulnerable against lefty pitching (.222 batting average versus lefties compared to .355 batting average versus righties). But if you are seeing the ball like a beach ball like McCray is, does it really matter? Okay, maybe it does but he's been flashing all of the tools that we know from him (plus-plus home to first times, at least average power, stellar defense in center field) and we are seeing a breakout season with him ranking second in the California League in OPS and fourth in batting average.

That seemed like a lot of words of praise for McCray but man, I will not mince my words for Vaun Brown as well. If we are talking about late bloomer, this guy might be it. The dude might be turning 24 next month but he is looking like a man amongst boys, especially this month with him having hit eight home runs already in just 11 games played this month. That resulted to a 1.548 OPS and he has also shown flashed savvy wheels at the bases having already stolen ten bases but only being caught once. He has not shown any platoon vulnerability (1.328 OPS versus lefties, .938 OPS versus righties) and his physicality is obvious. The arm strength might only be average but his range and physicality plays at center field. Like I know he should be dominating the league because he is almost three years older than the average competition but man, he has raw tools and the type of physicality that you want to see.

There are actually a lot of good hitting across the San Jose squad this month but there are two top prospects who are surprisingly cold amidst the sizzling bats, and they are a couple of hitters from the 2019 international FA cycle. The first is Aeverson Arteaga. His performance so far has been consistent when comparing this month to last month (.721 OPS in April, .708 OPS in May). I have mentioned before that the things that Arteaga need to work on like improving his breaking ball recognition and his internal clock on defense are not overnight fixes and that's what we've been getting from him so far this month. There have been hard-hit balls but the plate approach is akin to a player his age and his .365 BABIP suggests that his performance could become even worse as the figure goes to average. I am honestly unsure of what to think of Arteaga right now and I need to mull a lot on what to do in terms of updating his tool grades and ranking.

The final hitter whose been continuing to struggle to get going is Adrian Sugastey. Sugastey won the ACL batting title last season but has not carried that level of performance so far this season with a .590 OPS. Like Arteaga, Sugastey still has struggled to find a groove at the plate which is particularly hard for a catcher but we know that he has the bat-to-ball ability to do so. However, I am particularly worried about the explosiveness in his swing as he reminds me of Ricardo Genoves in terms of athleticism at the batter's box for a catcher. He's been focusing on putting the ball in the air more often and he's done so (40% flyball rate this season compared to 25% last season) but if the exit velocity is just barely scraping triple-digits often, it's as good as a groundball out. I have been impressed though with Sugastey's relatively clean play behind the dish (only one error so far) but there are things that I am not fond of like picking balls in the dirt instead of corralling it and his 24.3% caught stealing rate is proof that his arm strength is more solid-average than a plus. I am leaning on keeping Sugastey's ranking if he continues to swing a cold bat.

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