The SF Giants 2022 season is beginning to take a nosedive and relief is not on the way anytime soon. They are currently sitting 61-67 on the year and nine games behind the San Diego Padres for the third Wild Card spot. They are not making the playoffs. How did the season turn out this way?
The most disappointing part of the SF Giants 2022 season is not happening in front of us
Well, there are a lot of reasons that the Giants' season has turned out the way it has. The bullpen has been abysmal, the defense has been erratic, and many of the key veteran players have regressed substantially compared to last season.
For all of these reasons, the Giants have struggled to look anything like the team that won 107 games just last season. There was a probability that this all might occur at the same time. But, that is not the most disappointing aspect of this season. In fact, the most disappointing part is not happening in front of us each night. It is not at Oracle Park. Rather, the most disappointing thing is how the farm system has struggled to feed the major league club.
The Giants have thrived on finding under-the-radar players in free agency and through minor trades. That said, they eventually need to complement the major league roster with quality prospects and it just has not happened yet.
Farhan Zaidi was hired as the president of baseball operations in November of 2018. Part of his appeal was that he would help build a sustainably competitive organization through the draft. In that time, he has overseen four drafts and four international free-agent signing periods.
A total of two draft picks from those drafts have reached Triple-A (R.J. Dabovich and Cole Waites). infield prospect Will Wilson has also reached Triple-A, but he was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels. Lastly, Caleb Kilian has already reached the majors, but he has done so with the Chicago Cubs.
Maybe it is too early to judge a front office that is only in its fourth season at the helm. After all, the baseball draft is unique in that draft picks do not feed the major league roster right away.
In 2019, the Giants selected three college bats in the first four rounds including Hunter Bishop (first round), Logan Wyatt (second round), and Tyler Fitzgerald (fourth round). Grant McCray, who is having a breakout season, was plucked in the third round by the Giants out of high school.
At the time of the 2019 draft, it felt like Giants fans would begin to see the impact of many of those picks by 2022 or 2023. Not every pick hits, but there should be some quality level of talent observable.
So far, Bishop has battled a nagging shoulder injury that has limited him to just 125 games as a pro. Wyatt has battled the injury bug as well, missing most of 2022 season, but he has struggled badly at the plate when healthy.
Fitzgerald has quietly put together a nice track record since becoming a pro. The 24-year-old prospect has blasted 21 home runs with a .762 OPS in 440 plate appearances in the Eastern League in 2022. The Eastern League can be a tough hitter's environment, so these are promising numbers.
Some of the remaining top picks include Garrett Frechette (5th round), Dilan Rosario (sixth round), and Simon Whiteman (ninth round) have struggled since becoming a pro as well. In the case of Frechette and Rosario, they were both drafted out of high school, so it is too early to make a judgment.
Maybe it is too early to make a judgment on the 2019 draft as a whole. That is what I thought at first. However, it is hard to ignore that pitcher Alex Manoah, who was a 2022 AL All-Star, was selected one pick after Bishop and is in his second season with the Toronto Blue Jays. Or, that 2019 draft picks like Michael Harris II (third round) and shortstop Vaughn Grissom (ninth round) have already begun to establish themselves with the Atlanta Braves.
More recently, the Arizona Diamondbacks promoted top outfield prospect Corbin Carroll. Carroll was selected seven spots behind Bishop in the first round of the 2019 draft and has been regularly regarded as one of the best prospects in baseball.
I do not like playing the game of who the Giants should have drafted because hindsight is typically in the favor of whoever is making the judgment. Plus, the baseball draft is a crapshoot.
Nevertheless, this goes back to why the new regime was brought in. It might be too early to evaluate the 2020 draft class, but that does look like a quality group for San Francisco. The 2021 and 2022 draft classes are far too early as well.
However, it is hard to ignore that other teams have begun to see production from their own 2019 draft class. But, the Giants are far away from any meaningful impact from that class if it ever occurs. So, there are a lot of reasons to be disappointed about the 2022 season, but the slow development of many top draft picks has to be atop the list.