The Top 30 Prospects Explained

ATF's number 2 prospect Marco Luciano chasing down Athletics' consensus number 1 prospect Tyler Soderstrom
ATF's number 2 prospect Marco Luciano chasing down Athletics' consensus number 1 prospect Tyler Soderstrom / Clifford Oto/The Stockton Record via
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ATF's number 20 prospect entering the 2022 season Patrick Bailey playing behind the plate
ATF's number 20 prospect entering the 2022 season Patrick Bailey playing behind the plate / Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

40 FV Prospects Inside The Top 20

This is where the depth of the farm system shines the brightest. After evaluating every Giants’ prospect in the roster pages online, there are at least 40 prospects who were graded or close to being graded as 40 FV. That means aside from the prospects already covered above, at least ⅙ of the entire farm system has the potential to reach the big leagues no matter how small the possibility is.

That also means that anyone with a 40 FV grade included in the Top 30 can be replaced by a 40 FV graded prospect outside the rankings. However, kicking out any 40 FV prospect in the top 20 would be a massive disappointment.

The impressive depth of the system holds for a lot of relievers in the system and, boy, there are a lot of fun ones out there starting with both Nick Swiney and Randy Rodriguez. The two topped the 40 FV list, but here we are. It is not because they are the best relievers but they are relievers that have the best shot of ending up as a big-leaguer which is pretty weird especially for Rodriguez who primarily pitched in relief last season in San Jose.

When the front office remarked that Rodriguez could be put in a rotation role in 2022, it sounded exciting and suspicious at the same time. Rodriguez has three pitches that could all play in a rotation role with enough control to show for. Swiney is currently a starter but could eventually shift in a relief role because of how effective his changeup is and how ineffective his fastball is. It would not be a bad idea if the Giants decide to rush Swiney through the Minors because his changeup is already big-league ready.

Brett Auerbach is ranked after not only because of his impressive play last season but also by his evolution on both sides of the ball during the season. When he was in San Jose, he was his usual self: a high-level contact hitter with the ability who can get on base via base on balls while holding his strikeouts in check. Then suddenly, when he was promoted to Eugene, the coaches asked Auerbach to become more aggressive and hit for more power, which differed completely from what he did in San Jose. Not only did he completely change his approach mid-season, but he did it very well, transforming to a power hitter resulting in a much higher home run rate. It had its consequences though, as his batting average and walk rate dipped while the strikeout rate went up.

That kind of mid-season evolution is very impressive. It shows his ability to absorb instruction and apply it in games. Oh, he's also doing it while playing six positions on the baseball field at a high level. Now, doing it against high-Minors pitching this season can only be answered by playing. However, if there is a guy who can adjust and adapt, it's Auerbach. It is rare to see this kind of adaptability, especially coming from an NDFA. An impressive job by the Giants identifying, scouting and adding him to the organization.

It is now back to the pitching side and Eric Silva is ranked after Auerbach. Silva stood out early in the 2021 Draft film study together with Jake Tillinghast. Silva only impressed the more he pitched, and it brought plenty of delight when San Francisco drafted him in the fourth round. His superb athleticism on the mound and present ability to fill the strike zone pop out the screen. His motion is clean, and he generates so much energy off the ground with the way he loads up his back leg and not with his shoulders and elbow. It will be interesting how the Giants tackle Silva’s development because the organization is into the concept of seam-shifted wake and he presently shows the elements of a late dropping sinker and a hard, sweeping slider.

Now, the final two prospects in the top 20 are interesting. Diego Rincones was lights out in Eugene and was even better when he got promoted to Richmond. His swing is unique in a way that it's very rotational like someone spun a pole and it is very top-hand heavy. His defense is also in question. Interestingly, the Giants’ front office did not add him to the 40-man roster after having one of the best seasons from a Giants hitting prospect last season and proved his worth in Double-A over a pitcher who only pitched in Low-A. That decision ultimately led Rincones to slide down the rankings.

The final prospect in the top 20 is a notorious one. His name is Patrick Bailey. Bailey's stock plummeted not because of injury but because of performance. The whole case against Bailey was written in the Bart vs. Bailey post last December, but to keep it short, Bailey did not impress plenty with the way he handled his 2021 season. Sure, he finished strong in San Jose. But the expectation that is set for him with the way the Giants handled him right after picking him in the first round last year is that he should have finished strong in Richmond, not San Jose.

His career is not off the rails yet, far from it in fact because of his defense behind the plate, which is still good. However, the bat must wake up in the upcoming season to gain his stock back or he will be a disappointment of a pick. To put things in perspective, an NDFA in the same draft class has already surpassed him.