Another day, another top prospect list released. At least that's how it feels, as we're in the midst of "prospect season" where multiple print and online publications put out their top prospects around baseball or in each team's farm system. And with the MLB lockout in its third month, prospect lists represent most of the baseball news available to consume at the present time.
One of the newest rankings comes from The Athletic (subscription required), where longtime prospect writer (and former Toronto Blue Jays front office employee) Keith Law handles most of the prospect work. Law's list features five SF Giants minor-league players, the same number as both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus put in their ranking of the game's top future Major Leaguers.
The Athletic's list has the same five players as Baseball America featured, though in a different order; Baseball Prospectus had four of the same five but threw a changeup on their preference of outfielders in the system. The Giants also bumped up from four prospects to five among the game's top-100 in the eyes of Law.
Marco Luciano remains on top in the SF Giants farm
In 2021, Law had shortstop Marco Luciano at #31, around 20 spots below other sites. After a great half-season with Low-A San Jose and growing pains with High-A Eugene, Luciano jumped 16 spots to #15. Law recognizes Luciano should hit for a lot of power in the Majors, but he's skeptical about Luciano's eventual defensive position - flatly stating "Luciano is not a shortstop."
The second-listed Giants farmhand is a deviation from many other rankings, including that of Baseball America (though it tracks with Baseball Prospectus): Luis Matos at #55, in front of Joey Bart. Matos did not make the 2021 The Athletic overall ranking, but this time around is seen as having plenty of tools and "a chance to stay in center," though Law sees a risk that the bat might not develop enough to play as a corner-outfielder if Matos slows down too much for center.
Heliot Ramos, who was left off Baseball Prospectus' top-101 in favor of Jairo Pomares, falls to #70 after being #58 in 2021. Law envisions a lot of strikeouts but a good batting average and power, but to be more than a solid regular he'll need to improve pitch recognition and take more walks.
Bart settles in at #79 (#41 in 2021) after what Law called a "disappointing year" at the Triple-A level with "lethargic defense." The Giants' expected primary backstop in 2022 is still seen as a plus defender - Law speculates that it's possible Bart was just going through the motions because he wanted to be in the big leagues instead of at Sacramento - but the potential of being a star is dwindling.
The final Giant listed was left-hander Kyle Harrison, at #82. He replaces another southpaw from the 2021 rankings, Seth Corry, who was #71. Law seems to like Harrison, mentioning that if he cuts down on the walks he issues and improves his secondary pitches he could be a No. 1 starter - and even if he doesn't get there, he has a good chance to be a "well above-average starting pitcher."
Law's organization and more in-depth prospect rankings come out next week, so we'll be able to get a better idea how one of the more experienced prospect evaluators views the system as a whole. At the very least, having five players listed in these rankings are further confirmation that the Giants have more potential star power coming soon than early in the last decade.