Prospect Report: Giants 2023 Imminent Big Leaguers

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Below is an evaluation of the prospects in the San Francisco Giants farm system who readers should consider “imminent big leaguers,” players who might reasonably be expected to play in the majors at some point this year. This includes all prospects on the 40-man roster as well as those who have already established themselves in the upper levels of the minors but aren’t yet rostered. We tend to be more inclusive with pitchers and players at premium positions since their timelines are usually the ones accelerated by injuries and scarcity. Any Top 100 prospects, regardless of their ETA, are also included on this list. Reports, tool grades, and scouting information for all of the prospects below can also be found on The Board.

This is not a top-to-bottom evaluation of the Giants farm system. We like to include what’s happening in minor league and extended spring training in our reports as much as possible, since scouting high concentrations of players in Arizona and Florida allows us to incorporate real-time, first-person information into the org lists. However, this approach has led to some situations where outdated analysis (or no analysis at all) was all that existed for players who had already debuted in the majors. Skimming the imminent big leaguers off the top of a farm system will allow this time-sensitive information to make its way onto the site more quickly, better preparing readers for the upcoming season, helping fantasy players as they draft, and building site literature on relevant prospects to facilitate transaction analysis in the event that trades or injuries foist these players into major league roles. There will still be a Giants prospect list that includes Grant McCray, Patrick Bailey, Aeverson Arteaga and all of the other prospects in the system who appear to be at least another season away. As such, today’s list includes no ordinal rankings. Readers are instead encouraged to focus on the players’ Future Value (FV) grades.

Let’s revisit what FV means before we offer some specific thoughts on this org. Future Value (FV) is a subjective valuation metric derived from the traditional 20-80 scouting scale (where 50 is average and each integer of 10 away from 50 represents one standard deviation) that uses WAR production to set the scale. For instance, an average regular (meaning the 15th-best guy at a given position, give or take) generally produces about 2 WAR annually, so a 50 FV prospect projects as an everyday player who will generate about that much annual WAR during his pre-free agency big league seasons.

Why not just use projected WAR as the valuation metric, then? For one, it creates a false sense of precision. This isn’t a model. While a lot of data goes into our decision-making process, a lot of subjectivity does too, in the form of our own visual evaluations, as well as other information related to the players’ careers and baseball backgrounds. A player can have a strong evaluation (emphasis on the “e”) but might be a great distance from the big leagues, or could be injury prone, or a superlative athlete, and context like that might cause one to augment the player’s valuation (no “e”). Using something more subjective like Future Value allows us to dial up and down how we’re interpreting that context.

There are also many valuable part-time players who can only generate so much WAR due to their lack of playing time. As such, FV grades below 50 tend to describe a role more than they do a particular WAR output; you can glean the projected roles from the players’ reports. In short, anyone who is a 40+ FV player or above projects as an integral big league role player or better.

Now some Giants thoughts. The Giants are very active on the margins of their roster. The team likes to claim players off waivers and see if meaningful changes can quickly be made to their swing, repertoire, etc., that turn them into no-doubt big league pieces. San Francisco has done versions of this with Luis González, Austin Wynns, Drew Strotman, José Godoy, Hunter Harvey, and many, many others. The results have been mixed, which is to be expected since there are reasons these players have fallen off of other rosters. This approach only costs the Giants a roster spot, and they have a huge big league coaching staff that enables any one of them to spend lots of time with recently-acquired players to see what they can improve. Because (as is mentioned in some of the below blurbs) the team is currently pretty thin at shortstop and center field, we anticipate San Francisco is in the market to do this with a guy or two who plays those positions as they come free near the end of spring training.

As the new front office regime has gotten traction, and because their new minor league facilities at Papago Park were built to include state of the art player dev infrastructure, the Giants are helping pitchers improve at a rate that rivals baseball’s best orgs. This applies to pitchers they’ve acquired at the major league level (ahem Sean Manaea), and we’re starting to see the minor leaguers who’ve changed and improved start to arrive on the big league doorstep as well. You see it in Keaton Winn‘s post-TJ look, in Sean Hjelle‘s fastball velocity, in Landen Roupp’s approach to pitching, and in many mid-round college pitchers who are still in the lower minors and who will be on the full (and honestly, quite long) Giants prospect list. Talent-wise they’re clearly a tier below the Dodgers and Padres within their division, but the Giants and Diamondbacks are good enough that the NL West might be this season’s “Division of Death” like last year’s Eastern divisions were.

Giants Imminent Big Leaguers and Top 100 Prospects
Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
Kyle Harrison 21.6 AA SP 2024 55
Marco Luciano 21.4 A+ RF 2024 50
Casey Schmitt 24.1 AAA 3B 2024 45
Landen Roupp 24.5 AA SP 2025 45
Luis Matos 21.1 A+ CF 2024 45
Brett Auerbach 24.6 AA C 2024 45
Keaton Winn 25.1 AA MIRP 2023 40+
R.J. Dabovich 24.2 AAA SIRP 2023 40+
Tristan Beck 26.7 AAA SP 2023 40
Jose Cruz 22.8 A SIRP 2024 40
Cole Waites 24.8 MLB SIRP 2023 40
Blake Sabol 25.2 AAA C 2024 40
Ricardo Genovés 23.8 AAA C 2023 40
Brett Wisely 23.9 AAA 2B 2023 40
Randy Rodriguez 23.5 AAA SIRP 2023 40
Sean Hjelle 25.9 MLB MIRP 2023 40
Bryce Johnson 27.4 MLB CF 2023 35+
Kade McClure 27.1 AAA MIRP 2023 35+
Erik Miller 25.1 AAA MIRP 2023 35+
Heliot Ramos 23.5 MLB RF 2023 35+
Thomas Szapucki 26.8 MLB MIRP 2023 35+
Melvin Adon 28.8 AAA SIRP 2023 35+
Jorge Guzman 27.1 MLB SIRP 2023 35+
Ryan Walker 27.3 AAA SIRP 2023 35+
Sam Delaplane 28.0 AAA SIRP 2024 35+
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55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from De La Salle HS (CA) (SFG)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / L FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 60/60 45/55 40/45 93-95 / 98

After a breakout 2021 season, Harrison managed to improve in virtually every column of his stat sheet in 2022. He issued more strikeouts and lowered his WHIP, all while racking up more innings and advancing two levels without showing many growing pains in the process. His 39.8% strikeout rate was the highest in the minors among qualified pitchers last year, and he fanned 186 batters in just 113 innings. Harrison’s fastball sits 93-94 mph, topping out around 98, and it plays up thanks to its shape and the deceptively low lefty arm slot Harrison hurls it from. He primarily pairs the heater with a shapely low-80s slider and gets most of his swing-and-miss in the zone with both offerings. His changeup isn’t consistent enough for it to play a major role in his arsenal quite yet, but he trusts his slider enough to use it in place of the changeup, even against righties. He has been a hot knife slicing butter all the way through Double-A and shows little signs of stopping. If the Giants are contending for a playoff spot, he may be called up during the 2023 season, perhaps first in a bullpen capacity, but he projects as an eventual impact starter.

50 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (SFG)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 208 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/70 30/60 45/40 30/40 50

Bat speed prodigy Luciano has encountered a few developmental speed bumps since roasting the Cal League in 2021. After hitting .278/.373/.556 with San Jose, he was promoted to High-A and struck out at a 37% clip during the final month of the season. His 2022 line (.263/.339/.459) was solid if unspectacular, though some of the reduction from his performance in 2021 is simply due to exiting the Cal League for the more muted offensive environment in the Northwest. Importantly, Luciano’s strikeout rate returned to his career norm of 22%, indicating he adjusted after the whiff-prone end of 2021. Unfortunately, his season was interrupted (and maybe compromised) by a back injury that cost him all of June and July, and he only played in 57 games throughout the season. He was set to pick up winter ball reps in the Dominican Republic for Estrellas Orientales, but was shut down after just five games due to continued back discomfort. He turned out to have a stress fracture in his lower back, which the Giants revealed as players reported to camp at the start of 2023. Even with the back issue, the Giants put Luciano on their 40-man roster during the winter. He was on pace to start 2023 at Double-A and be in the mix for a big league roster spot at some point in 2024 if he kept hitting. Now, after what might be a delayed start to his 2023, he’ll be asked to hit the ground running after only playing half of last year. It’s a tall order for a prospect who already has some hit tool risk.

Luciano’s bat speed is incredible but his barrel accuracy is not. He tends to swing through the down-and-in portion of the zone and struggles with anything away from him. It’s hard to know how much of that was caused by the back issue, which may have been compromising his movement. That caveat extends to his defense, where Luciano continues to look miscast as a shortstop. He plays with the high center of gravity more typical of an outfielder, and has a hard time flipping his hips to make fundamentally typical throws if he’s had to range left to field a groundball. The loss of reps might accelerate a move down the defensive spectrum (the Giants have publicly refuted this) so Luciano can just focus on hitting his way to San Francisco. He still hits the ball really hard for a player his age and looks the part in the uniform, but there’s growing risk here, enough to reposition Luciano’s FV into this tier.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from San Diego State (SFG)
Age 24.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/50 40/45 40/40 60/70 70

After a second-half surge at Low-A in 2021, Schmitt climbed his way through the Giants system in 2022. He started the season at High-A, posting walk and strikeout rates better than the league average while slashing .273/.363/.474 with 17 homers in 93 games. He then played 29 games at Double-A, where he improved every column of his slash line while maintaining a strikeout rate close to the 22% mark he’d put up in Eugene. He did this by making a lot of contact and posting a .432 BABIP, resulting in a 144 wRC+ despite his walk rate shriveling to just below 5%. A significant number of those base hits at Double-A were grounders that were either just out of the reach of opposing infielders or required them to range far enough to weaken their throws to first, and it’s not hard to envision a more steadfast defense plugging those enough of those holes to affect Schmitt’s ability to reach base on grounders so consistently. What’s more, most of Schmitt’s success has come off of fastballs. At Double-A, he posted a 1.073 OPS on heaters, which accounted for 49% of the pitches he saw. Meanwhile, his slash line against offspeed and breaking balls was an anemic .216/.286/.333.

Schmitt’s swing is a dead ringer for Anthony Volpe’s, down to his closed-off setup and deep knee bend timed to the pitcher’s release, shifting his weight to his back leg before exploding toward the ball. This swing is designed to get under the ball consistently regardless of where it’s thrown, which makes Schmitt’s low average launch angle (more than 10 degrees lower than Volpe’s) and high groundball rate confounding. A closer look at the numbers reveals key differences that point to why their offensive outputs diverge despite the carbon-copy swing mechanics. Schmitt’s difficulty reacting and adjusting to offspeed pitches in the zone and breaking balls below it generated worse-than-average swing-and-miss rates in 2022 (his under-the-hood contact data is worse than his raw strikeout rate). Sub-optimal swing decisions (he chased at a 33% clip in 2022) negatively affected the type of contact he made in 2022, even though he did hit 21 homers.

No write-up of Schmitt would be complete without singing a few bars of praise regarding his defense. His instincts and hands at third base are tremendous, and he sweetens it with elite arm strength. He saw time at shortstop in High-A, and while that wasn’t true during his stints at Double- and Triple-A in 2022, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get more reps there this season given the Giants’ relative dearth of shortstop options behind Brandon Crawford.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2021 from UNC Wilmington (SFG)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
45/45 50/50 70/70 35/60 89-93 / 95

Roupp was a 12th-round selection in 2021 and wasted no time proving that he was a steal due to a plus-plus curveball that he favors over the rest of his arsenal. The curve accounted for 50% of his pitches in 2022 and he spins it like mad, generating an average of just under 3,000 rpm on the upper-70s offering, which Roupp routinely lands for strikes; its shape also fits nicely with that of his fastball. A slider and changeup round out his four-pitch mix. The curveball features so much arcing depth that more advanced hitters might be able to identify it out of his hand, though that hasn’t been the case during his rapid ascent through the system. He posted a 35% strikeout rate over 48.2 innings at Low-A, then advanced to High-A, where his K-rate increased above 41% while he simultaneously issued fewer walks. Roupp finished the season with five games at Double-A, where he gradually increased his fastball usage (it eventually outpaced the curveball, though not by a wide margin). His fastball averaged 92-93 mph in 2022 but he commands it throughout the zone, with sink and run created by his true three-quarter arm slot. His delivery is of the drop-and-drive variety, with a deep bend in his front knee. His slider sits 83 mph and also features a ton of spin, with a similar, though less exaggerated, shape as his curveball. The swing-and-miss the slider elicited at Double-A was out of the zone, but it only accounted for 7% of his pitches at that level. While his mid-80s changeup is currently fringy and rarely offered, he still has time to develop it into a viable arm-side piece. We like him as a no. 4/5 starter who is probably another year away.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (SFG)
Age 21.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 40/45 30/40 50/50 45/50 50

After a stunning 2021 during which he slashed .313/.358/.494 as a 19-year-old (a performance that earned him Cal League MVP honors), Matos had a rough 2022. He hit just .211/.275/.344 in the Northwest League and his bat speed looked like it had regressed significantly compared to his electric foray into pro ball. Despite this, Matos remained tough to make swing and miss, and he ran a 16% K% last season. In part due to a quad strain and because it was his 40-man evaluation year, the Giants sent Matos to the Arizona Fall League to pick up reps and try to earn a roster spot. He didn’t hit especially well in Arizona either, but the Giants aren’t exactly deep with viable defensive center fielders, so they rostered Matos in the offseason.

Matos’ feel for center field is currently his best asset. His reads and routes are a fit at the position and he’s an above-average runner under way (below average from home to first). While it once looked like Matos might have the hit and power combination to be a star despite his free-swinging approach, his bat speed is not what is was when he first arrived in the U.S. from the DSL and he currently has a contact-only offensive skill set. His swing is still lovely looking, it just isn’t as hard as before. This was still the case during the start of the 2023 season. Teams typically use one or two 40-man roster spots on a developmental player, and in a vacuum that’s still what Matos is because, largely due to his propensity to chase, he’s not a very good offensive player right now. Unless the Giants re-roster Bryce Johnson, injuries may press Matos into big league duty during the 2023 season because he can actually play center field, and his bat is not ready for that. Still, a 21-year-old with this sort of defensive ability, physicality, and swing probably still goes in the back of the first round if you drop him into the draft. He’ll be a glove-oriented fourth outfielder during the early stages of his big league career and, if the whip in his swing returns, could have a later-career breakout.

Age 24.6 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 40/40 30/35 55/55 40/45 45

Auerbach is still among the most fun prospects to watch on the field. After spending 2021 in Low- and High-A, the 24-year-old spent all of 2022 in Double-A Richmond, where he finished the season just below league average in wRC+, but exhibited an improved approach, posting a walk rate above 11%. His swing-and-miss is higher than big league average, but most of those whiffs came on breaking balls below the zone (likely more an indication of well-executed pitches than a swing-happy approach). His flat swing is still occasionally punished with fastballs up at his hands, but the athleticism and effort in his swing, along with the lower-half adjustments he’s made since his college days, have largely quieted the louder concerns about his in-zone coverage.

He spent most of his time in the field in 2022 at second base, with sound footwork and quick hands, but he’s proven himself a viable option virtually anywhere. When he wasn’t manning the keystone, he spent time in the hot corner (though his arm is better suited for the right side of the infield), and his speed and athleticism allow him to cover ground in the outfield (he saw time in all three outfield spots). On top of that, he has a background as a catcher, having regularly posted pop-times under two seconds in his time behind the dish at ‘Bama. It adds up to an exciting spark plug, well equipped to provide utility support from the bench, with the potential to be a starting second baseman if he’s able to continue bringing down his swing-and-miss.

40+ FV Prospects

Keaton Winn, MIRP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Iowa Western Community College (SFG)
Age 25.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 238 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops
55/60 45/50 60/60 40/40 94-96 / 99

After losing two seasons of development — one to COVID and the other to Tommy John — Winn climbed to the upper levels of the minors very quickly in 2022 and is poised to occupy a 40-man spot in 2023. After working just two or three innings at a time early in the year, the Giants began to stretch Winn to five and six innings per start starting in mid-July, promoting him to Richmond after he continued to dominate deep into games. While his stuff wasn’t as crisp at Double-A, he showed a three-tick bump in fastball velocity compared to his 2019 season across the entire season and has one of the nastier splitters in the minors. He’s a little bit stiff, and despite relatively strong strike-throwing performance, the eyeball evaluation of Winn’s delivery tends to funnel him toward the bullpen. Limited in-zone fastball utility (his heater has downhill angle and run) adds to this, though Winn’s repertoire depth should enable him to work multiple innings of relief if it turns out he can’t start. Because he has shown he can handle a pretty big innings load and is an optionable pitcher, Winn is more likely to begin 2023 as a spot starting sandbag. Regardless of the specifics of his role, Winn’s velocity and splitter would fit somewhere in the meaty middle of a contending team’s pitching staff.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Arizona State (SFG)
Age 24.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops
55/55 70/70 40/45 94-97 / 99

Dabovich’s dazzling 2021 debut season, during which he put up a nearly 50% K-rate, landed him on a fast-track. In 2022, however, his control faltered drastically, and he ended the year walking an inordinate number of hitters at Triple-A. His velocity is still good, with his fastball in the mid-to-high 90s; it’s paired with a mid-80s curve that has plus vertical movement. He creates deception with a high arm slot that creates enough downhill plane that it forces him to command the baseball to the top of the zone, though Dabo took a step backwards during his sophomore season in that regard. He started the year at Double-A, where he struck out 35.8% of the 106 batters he faced and walked just 5.7% of them, but his promotion to Triple-A exposed his vulnerability against hitters with more mature approaches. He depended more heavily on his curveball, with its usage creeping above 50%, while the chase rate on his curveball fell by almost 10%, per Synergy. A scout source who saw Dabovich considered his stuff to be a little flat out the gates in the spring of 2023. He was evaluated as a future set-up man last year and has slid a little bit, though he still projects as an impactful reliever.

40 FV Prospects

Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Stanford (ATL)
Age 26.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
45/45 55/55 50/50 50/55 50/55 92-95 / 97

Beck bounced back from a 2021 herniated disk to pitch 111 innings (mostly at Triple-A) in 2022, though his season ended early with another back injury. When healthy, Beck still looks like a backend starter, with a game defined more by arsenal depth than pure stuff. Beck’s best offering is a power curveball with tight spin and hard downward break. He mixes in a healthy dose of curveballs and tailing mid-80s changeups against lefties. Beck also throws lots of mid-80s cutter/sliders against righty batters, working away from them in the 84-88 mph range. The pitch garners the highest rates of whiff and chase among Beck’s offerings, but its utility is limited to righty batters. While Beck’s 92-95 mph fastball jumps on hitters because he lunges way down the mound, its life and movement are only fair. An above-average athlete whose line is direct to the plate, Beck throws plenty of strikes; the only barrier to him starting has been his health. His stuff isn’t so nasty that he’s going to be a star, but if he can stay healthy, he’ll almost certainly pitch toward the back of a rotation.

Jose Cruz, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (SFG)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 178 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/70 40/45 30/40 94-97 / 98

Cruz was 2022’s Randy Rodriguez, a low-level reliever who had a big enough breakout to merit a 40-man spot even though he’s still a sizable distance from the big leagues and may not see action there until 2024. Cruz looks like he came off the Camilo Doval assembly line. He works from the first base side of the rubber and has a cross-bodied, drop-and-drive delivery that creates uphill angle on his fastball; his low arm slot adds exploding tail to the pitch. His fastball averaged 96 mph in 2022 at Low-A and he pairs it with a heavily-used, upper-80s changeup with a similarly tailing shape and inconsistent (but nasty) sink. He posted a 42.6% strikeout rate and 0.84 WHIP with San Jose using largely these two pitches. The changeup could be a real monster at peak, as the offering garnered a 50% whiff rate in 2022. There’s late-inning potential here, though Cruz is further away from the bigs than some of the other relievers in this system. His fastball sat 93-94 out of the gate during 2023 spring training, a little below 2022, but we’re betting that Cruz’s overall looseness and athleticism will enable him to sustain big velo and play a core bullpen role relatively soon.

Drafted: 18th Round, 2019 from West Alabama (SFG)
Age 24.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
70/70 45/50 45/45 96-99 / 100

After experiencing delays to his development – first the 2020 shutdown, then a 2021 meniscus tear – Waites rocketed from High-A to the majors in 2022, with stops at each level in between. Each promotion saw an uptick in walks and a downtick in strikeouts, but never to such a concerning degree as to prevent his further promotion. Waites throws plenty of strikes with his triple-digit fastball, which misses bats up in the zone and punishes righties on the inside of the plate. His slider quality and command are not especially good (he only throws it 20% of the time), and much of the swing-and-miss with his breaking ball is the result of the batter gearing up for the fastball. But Waites hasn’t had a ton of reps — his 41 innings in 2022 were easily the most of his career. There may still be a good breaking ball in there, and if there is, he’ll be a late-inning weapon. If not, he’s more of a middle-inning option with one amazing pitch. He dealt with a lat strain during 2023 camp, which may delay his graduation.

Drafted: 7th Round, 2019 from USC (PIT)
Age 25.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/55 30/45 30/30 30/40 40

Once a pretty famous high school prospect, Sabol went to USC, where he moved out from behind the plate and to the outfield (including spending a little bit of time in center) after his freshman year. He slashed .268/.333/.375 in college, not great for what had become a corner outfield prospect. Over time, the Pirates moved him back behind the plate, increasing his reps until he was mostly catching (while playing some left field) in 2022. Sabol has raked through the minors, but as an old-for-the-level regular, culminating in a huge 2022: .284/.363/.497 with 51 extra-base hits as a 24-year old at Double- and Triple-A. After a fair Fall League stint, the Pirates decided not to roster Sabol and exposed him to the Rule 5 Draft, which is how he ended up with San Francisco, a club often seduced by guys who can catch and do other stuff.

Sabol’s arm strength is okay but it takes him so long to get out of his crouch that his pop times often play in the 2.05-2.15 range, which is not good. Among the many changes the Giants made to his approach back there is that he’s more likely to cut it loose from his knees, Erik Kratz style, as a way of avoiding how long it takes to get his huge frame up out of his crouch. Sabol used to be a stiff, one-knee’d receiver but the Giants have him moving around much more, sometimes starting in a traditional crouch before going to a knee as the ball is in flight (or about to be). It’s a better look than what he was doing with Pittsburgh, but we just won’t know how well Sabol can throw until he gets more reps with his new style. And it’s important for him to catch part-time because he likely doesn’t have the hit tool to profile as a corner outfielder. In a vacuum, he’d get as much time as possible to stick back there but because he’s a Rule 5 pick, the Giants have to believe he can play enough of a role in 2023 to keep him on the active roster or return him to the Pirates. He’ll likely have a peak as a really cool role player, it just may not be with the Giants.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (SFG)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 254 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 55/55 30/40 20/20 50/60 60

Genovés is a glove-first backup catching prospect who shares similarities with Erik Kratz. He has a huge frame and presents a giant, stable target to his pitchers. Some catchers have a tough time blocking balls while receiving on one knee, but Genovés’ base is so wide that he rarely lets anything by him. He’s blocking better now than in previous years and shows uncommon athleticism for a catcher his size, as well as a strong, accurate arm. Genovés often starts to exit his crouch before the pitch reaches him, routinely pops below two seconds, and sprinkles in back-picks to first and third base. He is a confident and dangerous sniper.

As Genovés has climbed the minor league ladder, his power production has dipped. He’s still walking and reaching base regularly enough to make up for some of that power drought, but not enough to be a primary catcher. His maximum exit velo on the year was an impressive 109.5 mph, which is higher than where most big league catchers tend to top out, so he’s clearly still capable of a good clobbering. But his average exit velocities and rate of sweet spot contact are more pedestrian, indications that Genovés’ feel for contact isn’t great. His swing relies more on physique than physics, with Genovés generating power by brute force rather than feel for the barrel. He swung at more than half of the pitches he saw in 2022, garnering an in-zone whiff rate of 19%, largely on outer-half breaking balls and upper-zone fastballs. Having previously skipped Double-A, Genovés found himself back there after a lackluster beginning to the 2022 season at Triple-A. An optimist will point out that the move was prompted by the need to make room for Joey Bart on the Triple-A roster without sacrificing Genovés’ play time. A pessimist would point out that even after Bart returned to the big league clubhouse, Genovés remained in Richmond for the remainder of the season. Big-framed power-over-hit catchers are the sort who break late, and that’s still in play for Genovés, but it’s more likely he’s just an eventually solid backup.

Drafted: 15th Round, 2019 from Gulf Coast CC (FL) (TBR)
Age 23.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 40/40 30/40 40/40 45/50 50

Wisely was a Day Three junior college pick who hit his way to the Rays upper levels and put himself in the mix for a 40-man roster spot. He was acquired in exchange for skinny, sweet-swinging outfielder Tristan Peters ahead of the offseason 40-man deadline and rostered by the Giants.

Wisely is a versatile infielder with above-average feel for contact and below-average power. He can turn on inner-third fastballs with lift (the bend in his lower half when he really cuts loose is gorgeous), and Wisely will let heaters away from him travel deep before driving them the other way. These two avenues are how Wisely does most of his extra-base damage. It would have been easier for him to play a viable shortstop if defenders were still able to shift. Wisely is good at making plays moving to his left but doesn’t have the arm strength to make throws from the hole. He’s a 50 defender at second and third base, but just a 40 at shortstop. Still, after Brandon Crawford and Thairo Estrada, Wisely is the only other viable shortstop on the Giants 40-man. He’s also had some time in the outfield — in left while he was with Tampa and now in center (where the Giants are also thin) a few times this spring. He hasn’t taken to the position like a fish to water but it’s far too early in the experiment to squash it. If he can actually play center field, then he should be a 45, but here Wisely is projected as mostly a 2B/3B/1B part-time piece who fits nicely with the Giants’ righty-hitting infield contingent.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (SFG)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 166 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 40/45 40/40 94-97 / 99

Rodriguez had a breakout 2021 during which he sat 94-96 mph while incorporating a low-80s slider with big horizontal sweeping action. In 2022, his walk rate climbed and his fastball lost about two ticks on average, as rather than reaching back for 98-99 at peak, Rodriguez was sitting 93-94 and topping out at 97. He only pitched in one early 2023 Cactus League outing before a multi-week dark period, even prior to the start of minor league spring training, but a Giants source indicated to FanGraphs that Rodriguez is healthy and active. The vertical movement on his fastball began to trend down in the middle of 2022 and it was still diminished in his first 2023 spring outing before this dark period. After having spent his first year on the 40-man entirely in the minors, we still expect Rodriguez to be up and down in 2023, his second option year. Over time, his level of athleticism should enable him to sustain something close to his peak stuff and play a core middle inning role.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Kentucky (SFG)
Age 25.9 Height 6′ 11″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 45/45 45/50 50/50 92-96 / 97

Hjelle is tall. Tall tall. And while it seems an easy catch-all to liken him to a giraffe, his low-effort, upright mechanics have unmistakably giraffian qualities. He keeps his back straight and maintains stilt-like height throughout the duration of his tall-and-fall delivery, and he throws from a true three-quarters arm slot that seems higher due to his overall length and arm extension. His lower half creates an optical illusion; based on his body’s movements, it seems like he’s taking a short stride off the rubber, but then you realize your sense of scale is completely off, and his “small stride” is landing in the same place as other pitchers’ lunges would. His fastball sat 92-94 mph at Triple-A with sink and arm-side run, but he struggled to miss bats with it, particularly against lefties, who slashed .352/.424/.534 against the pitch. He was called up a few times throughout the 2022 season, with the longest stint coming at the end of the year, and while his eight big league appearances were all out of the bullpen, four of them lasted at least four innings. His heavy knuckle-curve features good downward movement and ultra-low spin, averaging 1,829 rpm compared to a big league average of over 2,500. It plays well off of his sinker, garnering 34% swing-and-miss rates, both in and out of the zone. He’s had a velo spike this spring and has been up to 95-97 according to a scout who has seen him, but Hjelle’s secondary stuff hasn’t made a leap. He’ll likely live off his fastball in a middle relief role.

35+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 6th Round, 2017 from Sam Houston St (SFG)
Age 27.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/45 45/45 35/40 60/60 50/50 60

Johnson can really run and is one of the few viable defensive center fielders in the upper levels of the Giants org. He was up and down several times in 2022 but not enough to exhaust rookie eligibility. While Johnson was outrighted and unclaimed over the offseason, he’s still a prospect who does enough stuff to play a small role on a big league roster, mostly because of his speed and defensive fit. Johnson’s compact swing from both sides of the plate will allow him to spell platoon-vulnerable outfielders and offer an in-game option if the manager needs a ball in play or a pinch runner. He doesn’t have the offensive punch to profile in an impact role, but Johnson’s toolkit is diverse enough for him to have situational impact in a lot of baseball games as the team’s fifth outfielder.

Kade McClure, MIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2017 from Louisville (CHW)
Age 27.1 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops
45/45 55/55 45/45 40/40 60/60 92-94 / 97

Not every pitcher who showed a velocity uptick in the fall of 2020 (returning from lots of time off due to the pandemic) held that increase, but McClure did, sustaining his 92-95 mph band for the last two seasons, probably in part due to his 2022 move to the bullpen. After the first month of the year, the White Sox shifted McClure into relief and slowly backed off his per-game workload until he was pitching one to two innings per outing, then they shipped him to the Giants in the offseason in exchange for Gregory Santos. He does not have typical arm strength for a reliever, but his command, especially of his slider, is a separator. That firm, tight, mid-80s slider with short, late bite is McClure’s only above-average weapon and he could stand to throw it more. With his big frame and strike-throwing ability, McClure bears some resemblance to Chris Martin, though he doesn’t throw quite as hard. He throws a ton of strikes with his fastball, slider, and curveball, and could operate as a spot starter if the Giants decide to stretch him back out, but for now he projects as a low-leverage long reliever.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Stanford (PHI)
Age 25.1 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/50 60/60 35/40 93-95 / 97

Acquired from the Phillies just before the 2023 season in exchange for hard-throwing reliever Yunior Marte, Miller is a relatively stiff lefty with the repertoire depth of a starter, and the command and mechanical look of a reliever. Miller’s arm slot and release varies frequently, especially when he throws his changeup, for which he has a tendency to drop down to a noticeably lower angle. His changeup has big fading action and is going to be a bat-missing big league pitch anyway. He also has a mid-80s slider with two-plane break that plays against lefties. Even though he lacks the control and command to project as a starter, his repertoire depth should enable Miller to pitch in long relief.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Leadership Christian HS (PR) (SFG)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/40 55/55 45/45 55/45 45/50 55

The 2022 season was easily Ramos’ worst as a pro, as he posted a .227/.305/.349 line and a 65 wRC+ (yeesh) with Sacramento. Ramos has filled out in a way that has impacted his mobility, which perhaps should have been anticipated given that he has had a bowling ball build since high school. He’s slowed down to the point where not only is he a corner-only defender, but he’s not an especially good one right now. Combine that with below-average plate discipline and in-zone contact ability, and you’re looking at a fringe big leaguer. Ramos still has dangerous power and tends to inside-out the baseball to right field in the air with impressive force. He struggles with high fastballs and swings over top of secondary pitches, including many that finish in the strike zone. If he was a lock to get to his power reliably, then Ramos would still profile in a prominent big league role, but he tends to drive a lot of his contact into the ground. His average launch angle is below 10 degrees and his barrel rate is comfortably below the big league average even though Heliot’s exit velos are pretty big (his hard-hit rate was 45% in 2022, for example). If that power can be actualized, then we’re talking about a short-end platoon outfielder. If not, it’s tough to project a consistent big league role for Ramos.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2015 from Dwyer HS (FL) (NYM)
Age 26.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 181 Bat / Thr R / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 60/60 45/45 45/45 92-95 / 98

Before he was dealt as part of the Darin Ruf 러프 trade, Szapucki had a promising stint with Triple-A Syracuse during which he issued 87 strikeouts over 64 innings, and he improved his strikeout and walk rates at Triple-A after arriving in the Giants system. His time at Triple-A Sacramento was interspersed with big league innings that were much better than the few he pitched for the Mets. In 13.2 innings of big league relief with San Francisco, he struck out nearly 30% of opposing hitters against a walk rate of just 7.4%, giving up fewer hits across those 10 appearances than he had in the two nightmare outings he’d hurled as a Met. Szapucki throws a mid-90s four-seamer (up two ticks from 2021) from a low, lefty arm slot (the Giants sure do have a thing for low-slot pitchers), and he creates uphill ride and run, which hitters need a few looks to adjust to. His arm slot also helps his curveball work as a back-foot offering against righties. He throws it 34% of the time for a 53% whiff rate. Both his breaking ball and changeup can miss bats but Szapucki doesn’t throw them for strikes consistently. He lost feeling in his left fingers this spring, was shut down, and as of publication was set to see a thoracic outlet specialist to determine what’s going on. Healthy Szapucki would be a solid middle-inning lefty with the tools to get hitters of either handedness out. His current injury slides him a tier below where he’d rank purely on ability.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (SFG)
Age 28.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 20/20 98-100 / 102

Maybe it’s silly to put a 28-year-old who hasn’t been healthy or thrown strikes for most of the last four years on this list, but Adon (who has been on FanGraphs prospect lists in the past) is still sitting 98-100 mph during the spring of 2023 and his pitch usage has shifted to become more slider-focused early in the count. He still can’t throw strikes with his fastball, but he might not have to if he can get ahead of hitters with his slider and then rush his heater past them once he’s in two-strike counts.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (HOU)
Age 27.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 182 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 45/45 60/60 30/35 96-99 / 100

In part because of injuries, Guzman could never quite crack the Marlins big league staff even though he was throwing extremely hard after they acquired him from New York for Giancarlo Stanton. Those continue to follow him, as Guzman has only pitched 32 affiliated innings since 2019. He elected free agency after the 2021 season and took a while to emerge on the Giants’ complex in Scottsdale, though once he got going he was sitting 96-99 mph and touching 100, with a short-but-hard slider in the 85-89 range and a power changeup at 93-94. All of those velocities are up compared to 2021, and the delta between Guzman’s changeup last season and now is so big that it’s possible that the entire pitch, grip and all, has been reworked. Command and fastball shape have been issues for Guzman, part of why he has struggled with upper-level bats, and that’s likely to continue. His posture and delivery still worry scouts injury-wise, but we’re talking about a guy with a huge arm and a plus secondary, so he might be a lightning-in-a-bottle relief weapon for the Giants at some point in 2023.

Ryan Walker, SIRP

Drafted: 31th Round, 2018 from Washington State (SFG)
Age 27.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 30/35 93-96 / 97

Another older pitcher who has had a velocity spike, Walker is a funky, cross-bodied sinker/slider guy who went from sitting 91-92 mph in 2021 to sitting 93-96 in 2022. He has a disorienting, low-slot, cross-bodied delivery typical of a righty specialist. His fastball works with sink and tail and Walker throws plenty of strikes with it. His slider has big lateral action, but it isn’t a dynamic bat-misser so much as it and his heater stay off of barrels and generate an above-average rate of groundballs. He currently looks like an up/down “look” reliever, with the arrow pointing up.

Drafted: 23th Round, 2017 from Eastern Michigan (SEA)
Age 28.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
30/40 70/70 40/45 90-92 / 93

You don’t expect much from a 23rd-round pick out of a MAC school, but for his first three pro seasons Delaplane was a totally dominant reliever in Seattle’s system, where he punched out more than 40% of opposing hitters. What’s more, Delaplane wasn’t throwing especially hard and was more reliant on his incredible slider. The pandemic and an unfortunately timed Tommy John surgery cost Delplane 2020-22; in the middle of that absence, he was DFA’d by Seattle and traded to San Francisco for cash. The Giants knew he was still going to be on the shelf for a while when they acquired him, and Delaplane returned to throw just 3.2 innings at the end of 2022. A 2023 non-roster invitee, Delaplane was in the 90-92 mph range during his early spring training outings. That’s two ticks below his pre-injury velocity, when he was more 92-94. His slider is still fantastic and has nearly elite spin, bending in at 80-84 mph. This will likely be Delaplane’s primary pitch regardless of whether his peak velocity ever comes back. It might be tough for him to have a big league role if it doesn’t, but he was ridiculously dominant before he got hurt and he should be monitored as he shakes off the rust from three years away.

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1 year ago

played high school ball and graduated with will wilson, was hoping to see him here