Look, we all knew that the Giants farm system wasn’t the deepest coming into this year, it’s a topic that is talked about almost nonstop. Well, the San Jose roster is one of the spots where that lack of prospects will be felt. That doesn’t mean there aren’t 100 MPH arms (there’s actually two) or some intriguing bats to keep an eye on for the roster.
Here’s the Opening Day Roster for San Jose’s finest. As always, the ages listed are for Opening Day.
|Frandy De La Rosa||1B||22|
|Brandon Van Horn||SS||24|
Best Hitting Prospect: Sandro Fabian
Roger: Well first off, let’s face it: the position player portion of San Jose’s roster isn’t exactly a prospect hot bed. You have Jalen Miller still trying to put things together in his fourth season, Heath Quinn trying to bounce back from a horrific first full season, the slap and dash stylings of speedy Bryce Johnson, Gio Brusa trying to provide more value than the occasional HR while moving to 1b. This is not the team to focus on when it comes to hitting prospects. Standing head and shoulders above the crowd is the barely turned 20 year old Fabian, who should be manning RF at the Muni. This may be an odd comparison, but to me Fabian bears more than a little similarity to another youngster who the Giants had high hopes for recently — Christian Arroyo. Fabian is like the OF version of Arroyo. Both have instincts for the game that make their skills play up, particularly on defense. Both look to have a little less power than one might prefer from a corner bat. And both have a tremendous feel for getting the barrel of the bat on the ball — too much so in fact, as Fabian also shares with Arroyo a somewhat elevated passion for swinging the bat at anything thrown their way. Fabian had a blistering second half in Augusta, hitting .311/.331/.473 after the break, quite an effort for a 19 year old in his first full season. Next, he’ll have to show that he can learn to lay off pitches and hunt for the balls he can really attack before his free-swinging ways doom his fast rise up the ladder.
Kevin: Fabian seems like the obvious choice. He had a solid but not amazing year in Augusta, but was limited by Lake Olmstead being a pitcher’s park, slugging 40 points less on the road. He doesn’t have pure power, but his numbers will look good in the California League launching pads. Whether or not that will be a false positive, or a building block as he moves up the system is a story for beyond 2018. However, in whole, this isn’t a great list of hitting prospects to choose from.
Best Pitching Prospect: Melvin Adon
Kevin: Melvin gets it on pure strength and potential. Adon can hit 100 MPH and keeps his fastball in the high 90’s regularly. However, control issues have affected him in the past. He’s done a bit to improve that control and allow less walks, but he still gets hit harder than a fireballer should. He might be destined for the bullpen, where his lack of secondary issues will be less of an issue.
Roger: ‘Cuz the dude can throw 100! And he can throw 98 after 5 innings of work. Yeah, he’s still raw, he’s older than one could wish, he has a passing familiarity with the strike zone (it was an Adon spinner that caught Jacob Gonzalez in the helmet in one of the minor league camp’s more worrisome moments), and there’s an extremely high chance that his ultimate role will be in a pen and… uh where was I going with this? Oh yeah, the electric arm speed, the incredible build to soak up innings and keep up premium velo, the things you can’t teach. Last year Adon was a league-mate with Julian Fernandez and the two share more than a few pitcher qualities, but unlike Fernandez, Adon still has four more controllable years to develop before the Giants lose control of him. Which means that that electric arm will get every chance to develop to its potential.
Dark Horse Prospect:
Roger: Logan Webb
Why?: Webb’s been something of a mystery man ever since the Giants made the two-sport star out of Rocklin an unexpected 4th round pick. He showed flashes as an 18 year old in short season NWL, though the strong arm didn’t result in a lot of missed bats. Before he could build on that potential though, TJ struck down his 2016 full season debut and what was left of his 2017 found him back in the NWL once again, pitching in one inning relief stints. But this spring, Webb showed up in camp with a mid-90s fastball with life that touched 97, a two quality secondaries including a hard sharp curve. His camp was so strong that the Giants made the shocking decision to boost him all the way to San Jose. Webb is Rule 5 eligible this winter, so the challenge assignment should give the Giants a lot of information when deciding whether or not to protect him.
Logan Webb was throwing smoke today. 94-96 w fb. pic.twitter.com/kiRqEYhzXp— Roger Munter (@rog61) March 16, 2018
Kevin: Patrick Rulotolo
Why?: The 5’10 reliever has surprising mid-90’s velocity and a deceptive delivery, and he seemed to put it all together as closer for Augusta last year. He’s not as overpowering or impressive at first as a lot of minor league closer types, but he’s effective. There’s a bit of a Sergio Romo vibe on him. Middle relievers aren’t as exciting as other prospects, but Ruotolo has some magic around him.
Other Names To Watch:
• Mac Marshall
• Bryce Johnson
• Heath Quinn
• Rodolfo Martinez
Other Team Notes:
Kevin: Gio Brusa in the infield? This is the first I’ve heard of a conversion. Notably, he’s not listed as a first baseman, but rather IF, and the roster lists no third baseman…Bryce Johnson is listed specifically as a LF. Interesting for someone with such speed.
Roger: Kelvin Beltre broke his tibia late in camp and will be out six weeks, another rough break for multi-talented infielder who’s struggled to stay healthy in his career. Jalen Miller and Gio Brusa return to San Jose and attempt to turn their carrying tools into consistent production.