In case you missed it, below are the posts that cover the top 30 prospects of the San Francisco Giants entering the 2022 season.
2022 Pre-season SF Giants Top Prospects: 1-5
2022 Pre-season SF Giants Top Prospects: 6-10
2022 Pre-season SF Giants Top Prospects: 11-20
2022 Pre-season SF Giants Top Prospects: 21-30
Harrison vs. Luciano
Four prospects emerged as above-average prospects early on the creation of the rankings. They are Marco Luciano, Kyle Harrison, Luis Matos, and Joey Bart. However, only two emerged as the final contenders for the top spot in the rankings: Harrison and Luciano.
It is a controversial choice but Kyle Harrison ultimately ended up as the number one prospect in the Giants farm system where everywhere else you will see Marco Luciano at the top. It is a fact Luciano has star potential. However, Luciano has company in terms of their ceiling in Kyle Harrison. If Luciano plays everywhere else other than shortstop, he would receive an easy 60 FV because the bat has the potential to be All-Star caliber. The fact that Luciano plays shortstop pulled his FV down a tick because of how he projects defensively at the position.
Looking at the best shortstops in the game, Luciano's defense and/or grace in playing the position does not compare to the likes of Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Fernando Tatis, Jr., Brandon Crawford, etc. Even comparing him to the likes of Bo Bichette, Xander Bogaerts, Tim Anderson, and Corey Seager, who are not exactly defensive wizards at the position but are offensive forces, Luciano does not move like them and most likely never will. Luciano is better off moving to a position where his acceleration and footwork will not matter, which is most likely in third base. But with Casey Schmitt being more than enough to handle the position defensively, it makes perfect sense for Luciano to move to the outfield.
If Luciano is put in the outfield right now, his offensive potential is enough to make him a 60 FV prospect. Also, that Luciano finished the season on a whimper affected his scouting report. It is understood that the pandemic is still going on, but he should have prepared for the rigors of the 2021 season like the others who handled the end of their season with flying colors.
Harrison, on the other hand, was one of those prospects who finished the season with flying colors. Last July, there was a vibe that Harrison is that the Giants coaches were going to ease him and limit his pitch count towards the end of the season to preserve his arm. Instead, Kyle did the complete opposite and took his game to a whole another level towards the end of the season, when most were tiring out.
If Harrison just replicates his performance from August to September in Eugene for a full season, he should be in the top 50 overall prospects consideration. It is easy to envision a 93-98 MPH from the left side coming from a low release height with unheard-of movement up in the zone, a plus slider with a hard, two-plane break that is both visually appealing and whiff-inducing, and a changeup that improved to an average pitch as the season went on, as a potential number-two starter material.
The stats showed that he's an average strike-thrower from August onwards, but when digging into the film, Harrison has a plan of attack and showed great baseball IQ on the mound. With the type of person Harrison is and how competitive he is, the expectation entering the 2022 season is for him to be even better than what he showed at the end of last season. A more efficient strike-thrower with a more refined arsenal is not out of the question.
The risk associated with pitchers is there but if there is a talent that might blossom into a staff ace, let alone a left-handed staff ace, it's a pretty easy call to make based on the rarity of the position compared to an eventual corner outfielder with a standout bat. Harrison at worst, if his changeup does not improve as planned or the control stalls out, still has two plus pitches from a low arm slot where his fastball might move to an elite territory with the potential uptick in velocity. That profile is like Josh Hader, an elite reliever with a 55 FV, which is still a valuable asset to have in the organization.
For Harrison to take his game to the next level, he needs to have a third plus pitch. The great aces and sure-fire Hall of Famers of this generation like Kershaw, Scherzer, and Verlander all have three plus pitches. The only great ace of this generation that did not have a third plus pitch is CC Sabathia. What Sabathia had aside from plus velocity is elite control of his arsenal because of the athleticism that he had for his size. Kyle is not an elite athlete like a deGrom to expect elite control. But the lefty should have enough athleticism and control to make his pitches work to his advantage constantly. It ultimately hinges on the development of his changeup to make him a surefire starting pitcher material.