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The SF Giants Prospect Round-Up - Midseason Rankings Shuffling

Several Rankings have been redone for midseason. How did the Giants and the farm system fare?

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

Let’s start this week with another video from the SFG Productions team.

A good video production team will always be a win with me. Love that stuff.

The Midseason Rankings Are Out…and the Results are Predictable and Mixed

The big story this past week was a lot of rankings coming out for the midseason, both overall in baseball and team-specific. Personally, I find rankings a bit of a silly exercise and I don’t spend a lot of time doing my own rankings. That said, obviously people love them, and this year, there’s a bit to talk about here. So, let’s talk about the rankings we saw this week.

Let’s start with one of the biggest websites, and their (subscriber) content:

I won’t post the article with all the comments for you to read, but let’s compare Baseball America’s Preseason and Midseason lists:

BA’s Giants Rankings

# Preseason Midseason
# Preseason Midseason
1 Heliot Ramos Joey Bart
2 Chris Shaw Heliot Ramos
3 Tyler Beede Marco Luciano
4 Christian Arroyo Sean Hjelle
5 Bryan Reynolds Chris Shaw
6 Aramis Garcia Steven Duggar
7 Garrett Williams Shaun Anderson
8 Steven Duggar Gregory Santos
9 Sandro Fabian Alexander Canario
10 Andrew Suarez Melvin Adon

So…three of the top four prospects were acquired this summer. Two of the preseason players were traded away, one has graduated, and three have played themselves off the list (I’m not sure I’ll say Fabian did so much as other players got better.

That truly representative of this Giants’ farm system and the 2018 season, with a lot of change happening this year for all sorts of reasons. The prospects are mostly younger, and one of the midseason Top 10 will likely graduate off as well (Steven Duggar). It’s also notable that both prospect acquired in the Eduardo Nunez trade make an appearance here.

Of course, that’s just the system ranked against itself. How about overall? In their Midseason Top 100, Joey Bart indeed makes the list, and in fact is all the way up at #39 overall on the list. I admit, even with Bart’s hot play at Salem-Keizer, I’m a bit surprised he’s that high. But pleasantly surprised.

But, let’s look at others…

Keith Law leaves Joey Bart off of his Midseason Top 50

Let’s take a different look at an all baseball list. Normally, Keith Law’s Midseason Top 50 MLB Prospects (subscription needed) wouldn’t be a big deal. The Giants haven’t got a lot of top prospects, and with Heliot Ramos’ tough season, he wasn’t going to be on the list. And with just 50, expecting a 2018 draftee to already be on the list would normally be a tad over-enthusiastic.

So I wasn’t greatly surprised to not see Bart on Keith Law’s list. Except that a lot of 2018 picks are on there.

Casey Mize, the first overall pick, is at #14 on Law’s list. Not a surprise. But Matt Liberatore, the #16 pick, made the list at #45. Jarred Kelenic, the #6 pick, is #46 overall. Law also listed 13 honorable mentions, and includes two more 2018 picks: #3 overall Alec Bohm, and #10 overall Travis Swaggerty.

Now, obviously, what Keith Law thinks doesn’t matter in the long run. And he was never high on Bart. And a lot of other Top 10 picks might be considered “snubbed”, but Bart is an interesting omission. Especially when you compare his Salem-Keizer numbers .314/.368/.700 with 7 home runs in 17 games against a comparable college prospect at a comparable pick, #3 Alec Bohm, who is performing at .192/.288/.212 with zero home runs in 14 games at a comparable level. No reasons were put in the article about why Bohm and certainly nothing on why not Bart.

Clearly, though, even as a top pick, Bart will have some expectations to overcome. For some fans who like to root for underdogs, that should be fun.

2080 Baseball Has 3 Giants on it’s Midseason Top 125

To be honest, I’m surprised the Giants got three on this list. And even more so, who was listed above Heliot Ramos. If you don’t want to click and scroll through the list, here’s who the Giants have on the list:

Joey Bart - #73

Steven Duggar - #103

Heliot Ramos - #119

No huge surprises, but like Law, a few 2018 draftees are ranked higher than Bart. Mize is at #38, Kelenic at #39, Swaggerty at #42, Bohm at #58, (#5 overall) Jonathan India at #62, and (#4 overall) Nick Madrigal at #70. Bart got ranked as an “Extreme” risk, which might be a clue as to the lower ranking.

However, let’s talk about Steven Duggar, probably soon to not be a prospect, making that list. Duggar has had high expectations from Giants fans, but nationally speaking, he hasn’t been given a lot of attention. But 2080 seems to like the young man, particularly his ability to stay in center field and his “above-average” offensive profile.

By the end of the year, I think Bart will be higher on these lists. And the Giants should see some players start climbing the lists in the next couple of years, like Ramos, Hjelle and even possibly Marco Luciano in the next couple of years. It’ll take some patience, but the Giants have some names in the pipeline.

Fangraphs Re-Ranks Just The Giants Midseason

What, you haven’t had enough rankings?

Fangraphs gave the Giants a midseason re-ranking. Interestingly, while 2080 has Duggar as the Giants’ #2 prospect, here he gets bumped from the Top 3 by Shaun Anderson, as they laud his repertoire and strike throwing, envisioning him as a potential #3-4 starter.

The list continues pretty similar to what you might expect if you’ve been following the Giants. Jacob Gonzalez gets a somewhat generous placement, and they seem happy with Gregory Santos’ progress.

You’ll notice that Fangraphs does not have Marco Luciano on their list, where Baseball America does. Why? Well, without Luciano having played a game yet, only organizations with scouts in the Dominican would be able to have a grasp on Luciano’s potential. Fangraphs would’ve just been going by reputation, at least so far. But that shows how the placement of players on these lists can vary from person to person.

Is there anyone you think got snubbed on these lists? The Comments section is open for your arguments in that regard.

One More Rankings Note

Wander Franco is #26 on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects in all of baseball, and #17 on Keith Law’s. No, not that one. No, not THAT one either. The one that’s on the Rays.

Can’t we just swap the brothers in the night and no one will notice?

Guess Who’s Back?!

Now 27 years old, Gardeck had back-to-back Tommy John surgeries in 2015 and 2016 (and hip surgery in 2016), and hadn’t pitched in a game since 2015…until now.

It’s been a bumpy ride for Gardeck, who threw in the high-90’s before his surgeries. He’s been DFA’d twice (and re-signed twice), the second time coming the same time the Giants DFA’d Ray Black in 2017 (yes, that happened).

In Gardeck’s most recent season, he had a 3.54 ERA in 61 games, striking out 104 with 24 walks in 86.1 innings in San Jose. In his first appearance this season, he gave up two runs on three hits, but did also strike out two. It will be interesting to see how the team handles ramping him up as he comes off all the surgeries, and lets him work this year.

Trevor Abrams - The Undrafted Prospect

23-year old Trevor Abrams went undrafted and was signed by the Giants in December, not making his debut until he appeared with Salem-Keizer this summer. And now, we know the story.

If you don’t click on the story (and you should click on the story, which is fantastic), Abrams had knee surgery before his senior year, and came back early, playing his senior season injured, which ended up being a reason that he went undrafted, and he became available to the Giants after going to an offseason academy, and the Giants saw some real improvement.

Abrams debuted strong with the Volcanoes, playing 15 games in Short-A, batting .361/.391/.574 with eight doubles, a triple and a home run (although he did have 19 strikeouts in 61 at-bats. He was pushed to Augusta, where he’s batting .209/.292/.302 with just four doubles in 13 games so far.

Peter Bourjos Joins The Giants’ Organization

Last week, the Giants picked up 31-year old Peter Bourjos after he was released by the Braves at the end of May. Bourjos has 66 steals in 98 attempts at the Major League level, but was batting just .205 with no steal attempts for Atlanta before his release.

So how’s he doing?

In 9 games so far, he’s batting .333/.385/.444 with two doubles and a triple for the River Cats, so not so bad. With the Giants still ridiculously close to the Luxury Tax level that they’d like to stay underneath, the Giants probably won’t call up Bourjos unless it’s an emergency. But the Giants at least have one more backup option for center field in Sacramento, just in case.

The Giants Sign Another Undrafted Free Agent

After Trevor Abrams last winter, the Giants picked up another undrafted free agent in a bit of an unusual signing.

OF Zander Clarke is a slugging outfield from Division-II UC San Diego, where he was a 2018 All-American at the level and the CCAA Conference MVP.

He was also a Junior, which makes this signing unusual. Often, Juniors who go undrafted will stay in school, maybe go to a summer league to show off their skills and get a better draft position the following year. Clarke, a big man with some power at a non-elite college level certainly would seem to be a player who could put himself on draft charts with another year of performance.

The scouting report in the tweet above indicates that he has a floor of a power bench bat or platoon role. To be honest, that kind of profile, even at a Division-II school, seems like a Day 2 draft profile. I’d want to know what caused him to not get drafted in 40 rounds.

But one thing’s for sure. Looking at his video, this is no boy. He is a big player with muscle. In a way, that reminds me of Chris Dominguez from several years ago. Hopefully, Clarke will be able to adjust to breaking pitchers better than Dominguez did.

Hitter of the Week - Abdiel Layer

In a week without slugging, it’s the hits and walks that matter, and no batter was doing it better than Jose’s younger brother Abdiel.

The final pick for the Giants in the 2018 draft put together a hell of a week for the AZL Giants Black. He went 10-for-16 (.625), and added in five walks for a .714 OBP on the week. He also added a pair of doubles and a pair of stolen bases for a little on top of that.

Layer’s week has put his stats into a good spot. In 20 games this season, he’s batting .307/.409/.413 with an .822 OPS. He’s 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts, and has 12 walks against 23 strikeouts. It’s only 20 games, and Layer will need to prove that this hot streak isn’t all there is to what he can do, but hey, for a 40th round draft pick to get player of the week honors? That’s a bright side.

Pitcher of the Week - Casey Kelly

Sacramento’s 28-year old pitch continues to get the strikeouts.

Although he didn’t have the best strikeout rate of the week, Kelly collected the most total strikeouts while staying effective, striking out 13 in 13/1 IP, with just 4 walks. Between the walks and 11 hits allowed, Kelly gave up four runs, two earned, for a 1.35 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.

Kelly’s had highs and lows with Sacramento this season, now with a 4.76 ERA in 21 starts, and 96 strikeouts in 119 innings.

Saturday’s Lines

Sacramento Litter Box

  • Miguel Gomez had another 2-hit game, and now has strung together five games where he’s hitting 10-for-22. He’s raised his batting average at Sacramento from .241 to .287.
  • Peter Bourjos picked up his second double in nine games at Sacramento.
  • Casey Kelly had a solid start, giving up eight hits, but just one run was earned. The three strikeouts was a bit disappointing after he struck out ten in his last start, but he’s more effective than he was in June, in terms of run-scoring.
  • Tyler Beede gave up a pair of runs for the second straight outing, and he continues to struggle, now with a 10.61 ERA in the month of July in eight relief apperances.

Richmond Nuthouse

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Richmond and Erie were postponed in Ohio, and will try to make it up as part of a doubleheader on getaway day tomorrow.

San Jose Footprints

  • Once again, Logan Webb impresses. His ERA dipped back under 2, after he gave up a pair of runs in each of his last two starts.
  • Jalen Miller picked up his 28th double of the season on a 2-hit game. He’s slowly improving his July numbers to turn around this month. He’s still batting .241, his lowest batting average for the month, but he has a .300 OBP and a .470 SLG.

Augusta Putt-putt Course

  • Ismael Mungia has three mutli-hit games over his last four, and has had a successful first week in Augusta. He’s batting .367/.367/.533 over eight games since his promotion, after batting .345/.397/.552 in 15 games with the AZL Orange team.
  • Garrett Cave had a perfectly nondescript appearance. He gave up nine baserunners in five innings, and struck out only one, but he did keep it to just two earned runs. Last year’s 4th round pick has had his ERA hovering in the High 4’s for the month of July.

Salem-Keizer Crater

  • David Villar’s 10th inning double was the game winner for the Volcanoes. Jose Layer led the inning off with an intentional walk, putting two runners on. Villar’s 10th double scored both runners. Villar now has a 7-game hitting streak going.
  • Jose Layer had his second straight 2-hit game, raising his batting average to .311 at Salem-Keizer.
  • Norwith Gudino had a shutout start, his first without an earned run since June 27th. Gudino’s ERA had shot up to 6.03 over the month of July until this start.

AZL Desert

The Arizona League had the day off. Orange and Black will return on Wednesday.

Dominican Beach

  • This was another DSL special. The Giants committed six errors, including two by Luis Toribio, and starter Freddery Paulino gave up six runs but just one was earned. It was Paulino’s shortest start since his second start of the season.
  • Toribio shook off two-straight hitless starts by going 1-for-2 with a walk. Toribio has 31 walks against 35 strikeouts in 38 games this season.

The Wrap-Up:

If Roger ever starts doing his own narration of minor league highlights, he’ll have to out perform the Moose in Sacramento.

But, if you expected to be left on a hopeful or amusing note about the Giants farm system…I’m very sorry.

Ooooooh boy. Hold onto your Heliots…..