Baseball America released its annual preseason Top 100 prospect list (subscription required) on Wednesday and the SF Giants had five prospects make the cut headlined by Marco Luciano. However, there is another prospect who is expected to rise up the list in the coming year.
SF Giants outfield prospect's stock expected to rise quickly
Kyle Glaser identified five prospects who made the Top 100 list and who could rise up the list quickly including Giants outfield prospect Luis Matos. Matos was listed as the No. 73 prospect according to Baseball America.
He was originally signed by San Francisco along with Luciano and Jairo Pomares during the 2018-2019 J2 signing period. The Giants targeted top-end talent during that cycle and it is a move that should pay dividends in the not-too-distant future.
This is not the first time that Matos has been recognized as a prospect who is ready to take the next step. Glaser believes that the gap between Matos and Luciano is closer than many think:
"Matos teamed with Marco Luciano at Low-A San Jose in 2021 and often outperformed his more touted counterpart. Matos hit for a higher average (.315 vs. .278), had a lower strikeout rate (12% vs. 22%) and showed he was more likely to stay in the middle of the field with his play in center field compared to Luciano’s at shortstop, leading some evaluators both inside and outside the Giants organization to say they prefer Matos of the two. Matos has some work to do improving his breaking ball recognition and not chasing bad pitches early in counts, but his advanced pure contact skills, strength to drive balls to all fields and underrated athleticism give him the tools to make a substantial jump in 2022"- Kyle Glaser
Luciano is widely considered the top prospect in the organization and one of the best prospects in baseball. Who comes after that is up for debate, but I have believed for a while now that the front office internally views Matos as the No. 2 prospect in the organization.
It is easy to see why. The right-handed bat has one of the more technically-sound swings that I can remember from any Giants prospects at his age. He flashes a compact swing with good bat-to-ball skills and the ability to drive the ball to all fields.
In the field, Matos has worked primarily as a center fielder since his pro career began in 2019. He has an athletic frame with good speed and it seems likely that he can stick in the middle of the field, which helps to maintain a high ceiling.
The right-handed bat got his first taste of full-season baseball in 2021. He was assigned to Low-A to play for the San Jose Giants and he put together an impressive campaign, slashing .313/.359/.495 with 15 home runs, 86 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 491 plate appearances. This included a 5.7 percent walk rate against a 12.4 percent strikeout rate, so there is room for improvement in controlling the strikezone.
Nevertheless, Matos has a lot of believers both inside and outside of the organization. The outfield prospect's stock should continue to rise as he gets more game repetitions under his belt. The Giants seemingly have a bright future with a strong farm system and Matos will play a key role in that.