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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Kervin Castro
ATF's number 22 prospect entering the 2022 season Kervin Castro / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

40 FV: The Rest Of The Top 30

The enviable depth of the farm system continues with the rest of the top 30 comprising ten 40 FV prospects. It is here that every single prospect mentioned can be replaced by any prospect outside of the rankings with a 40 FV. These ten prospects were chosen because of how they impressed last season, and how the organization viewed them based on their moves.

The first two prospects as the rankings rolled to the 20s are both high-Minors relievers: R.J. Dabovich and Kervin Castro. It was tough to separate the two as both have the same operation on the mound but with completely different body sizes. Both have a vertical-oriented approach on the mound by throwing high fastballs and low, 12-6 curveballs. Dabovich's curveball has more sweep than Castro's, but both can throw their pitches in the strike zone at a high clip and can even command their pitches. They are up here in the low-20s as they are almost ready to help the big-league club in 2022 (Castro is ready to help the big-league club now) and should be able to graduate off the list as soon as possible and are ranked higher than the other pitchers on the list who only pitched to as high as Low-A ball.

After the two high-Minors relievers come two position players: Ismael Munguia and Ryan Reckley. Munguia is probably ranked higher here than many people because his hitting ability, speed, defense, and infectious energy should bode well for his chances of reaching the Majors. His ceiling is not exactly high (he is a utility-type role at best) but he deserves more love than what the big media sites give him, which is only very little. Reckley's just signed about a month ago, but the athleticism is very alluring and he will be an exciting prospect to follow in the coming years.

Next comes two starters in San Jose last year: Carson Ragsdale and Prelander Berroa. The way Giants handled Ragsdale is interesting. He is entering his age-23 season, which is exactly ideal, although the mileage in his arm might be a couple of years younger. It came as a surprise knowing that his vertical approach angle is just average while Sean Hjelle is at the extreme end of the spectrum, even though Ragsdale is just a couple of inches shorter than the 6'11" Hjelle while also having a higher arm slot. That makes his pitches playing worse than intended as he got hit around far too often in a level that he should have dominated.

Now he's entering his age-24 season and if the Giants believe in his stuff, they will transition him to the bullpen and aggressively promote him like what they did with Dabovich although Dabovich was a converted reliever already in college while Ragsdale was a starter.

Berroa is interesting as well as he was dominant during July but faltered from August until the end of the season. He was dominant early on because his fastball control was crisp and overpowering, but his breaking ball often hung in the upper half of the strike zone way too often for comfort. He made some strides during his August slump to locate his slider down in the zone better, but his fastball control deteriorated, which was most likely a sign of fatigue. Excited to see him continue his journey in 2022.

The next prospect after Berroa is someone that should still be in the top 30 and that is Ricardo Genoves. He was not effective in Eugene in terms of swinging the bat, but he still showed his good feel for the strike zone. The deal-breaker for having Bailey ahead of him is the regression in Genoves' defense. Sure, he is a great framer and still has a strong arm, but his blocking and allowing too many passed balls are issues that are tied to his athleticism and he is not exactly the best of athletes.

The Giants showed their hand in the middle of the last season when they put Genoves ahead of Bailey in the pecking order (promoted Genoves and demoted Bailey) and that could still be true as we enter the 2022 season but catchers only need to be good defenders with exemplary intangibles to make it to the big leagues. Based on that criterion, Bailey has a better shot of making the big leagues than Genoves.

It’s anyone’s game at this point after Genoves. An argument could be made on who to have with the final three spots in the top 30, but Genoves at 27 is the gatekeeper in terms of who should deserve to be in the rankings. With that, three prospects came to mind who have the potential to make a big-time jump in my rankings if they play well in a full season.

First of which is Manuel Mercedes. It is probably too early to call for a Mercedes breakout because the things that he needed to work on, particularly with his delivery, need at least a season before being fully realized. However, a pitcher only needs that one crucial change to break out, and if Mercedes breaks out, the potential is huge. We are talking about a potential ace.

The final two are outfielders who needed only one thing to soar through the rankings but are completely different. For Hunter Bishop, health is the only thing that he needed. The explosive athleticism, the sound strike-zone discipline, and the power are still present. If he can stay healthy and perform like what he is capable of, he will shoot up this list faster than anyone might think.

For Grant McCray, it's an improved approach at the plate. McCray is a promising young talent based on his San Jose film last season. He opened the eyes of many when he had an exit velocity of 114 MPH in his best swing. That is as good as the best power hitters in the farm system like Luciano, Pomares, and Sean Roby. The problem is that he might shoot for the moon a bit too often and that left him susceptible in two-strike swing-throughs. If he can improve his two-strike approach, there's a big chance for McCray to break out because he has at least four above-average raw tools (raw power, speed, arm strength, defense).