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Joey Bart leads a slightly improved farm system

The future isn’t 2020, but it’s not as far away as you fear.

Scottsdale Scorpions v. Glendale Desert Dogs Photo by Jennifer Stewart/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Let’s be thankful for this passage from FanGraphs’ Top 34 prospects ranking of the Giants system that went up yesterday:

a lucky few scouts and media folks had a religious experience watching the sweetest-swinging teenager on Earth absolutely roast balls fed to his barrel by a high-speed pitching machine. Because of how close you can sit next to the field there, you can feel the sonic force of bat-to-ball impact radiate into your body. When Marco Luciano connects, you feel it to your core. He is not normal.

Never in my life have I seen a San Francisco Giants prospect described with such hyperbole. This is how they talked about Jeter. Kris Bryant. The hushed reverence reserved for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Fernando Tatis Jr. This is not normal. If I were five years younger, I’d be flipping out with excitement.

Now older and beaten down by blog management, I know that prospect write-ups are for eyebrow raises or slight nods and not ear-to-ear grins. So, if you’re smiling right now, stop it. Yes, Marco Luciano is an exciting prospect . . . perhaps the most exciting prospect the Giants have had in over fifty years. But despite the provocative language, FanGraphs still gives Luciano a Future Value of 55.

A reminder of how FanGraphs does Future Value:

Future Value attempts to combine a prospect’s potential (reasonable ceiling and floor) as well as his chance of realizing it (including injury-related risks or proximity to the majors) into one tidy, value-based number.

So, yeah, 55 (on the 20-80 scouting scale) is still really great and this figure is largely based on his proximity to the majors. Maybe in a couple of years it’ll be higher than a 55. Maybe it’ll be higher than Joey Bart’s 60 FV.

That number puts Bart 17th on FanGraphs’ overall prospect ranking list (Luciano is 36th), the third-best catching prospect in baseball. Again, according to FanGraphs.

But don’t dismiss FanGraphs. Every year it seems like one of their writers gets hired by a team. Kiley McDaniel, who co-writes these prospect rankings, was literally the Braves’ Assistant Director of Baseball Operations from 2015-2017. Their ratings shouldn’t be sacrosanct — because prospect projection can very easily get confused with astrology — but their enthusiasm reflects their environment.

The Giants have exciting prospects. Let’s just absorb that.




Keep absorbing it.



In the Bart writeup, they say, “He also has field general qualities: he’s a rousing, vocal leader at times, a calming presence at others.” Absorb.




Oh, Heliot Ramos is still in their top 100, too. He’s 52nd on their list with a 50 FV. Click through to the article to read the entire writeup, but in summation, they reiterated their Randal Grichuk comp on the Giants’ would-be outfield masher. Not quite as exciting and off the peak hope we once had for him, but still a projectable big leaguer. He’s also just 20 years old. Meanwhile, Marco Luciano is barely 18.

Back in May, half of the Giants’ top 10 prospects were under 20. That’s not the case this time around because Ramos turned 20 and the new front office added in new, older prospects. Before I give you their offseason top 10, take a look at the 18-month evolution of FanGraphs’ top 10 list for the Giants:

May 2018

This was before the draft, of course, so Joey Bart hadn’t been selected.

  1. Heliot Ramos
  2. Steven Duggar
  3. Alexander Canario
  4. Tyler Beede
  5. Garrett Williams
  6. Chris Shaw
  7. Jacob Gonzalez
  8. Andrew Suarez
  9. D.J. Snelten
  10. Aramis Garcia

D.J. Snelten, as Alex Pavlovic noted the other day, played independent ball in 2019 after a 10.38 ERA in 4.1 major league innings in 2018. He was but a soft-tossing lefty for the Giants in that brief stint. But after a year of reeducating himself, he’s posting videos like this:

So, hey, look. Great for Snelten. It also means that a lot can happen in a year.

May 2019

  1. Joey Bart
  2. Heliot Ramos
  3. Marco Luciano
  4. Alexander Canario
  5. Gregory Santos
  6. Sean Hjelle
  7. Melvin Adon
  8. Shaun Anderson
  9. Logan Webb
  10. Patrick Hilson

Patrick might’ve always been P.J. Hilson and I didn’t make the adjustment. Anyway, he is no longer on FanGraphs’ top 10 for the Giants (he’s #21), and here’s the key line from their brief writeup on him:

The gap between what Hilson is now and what he might be is perhaps the widest in pro baseball, a yawning chasm that the Giants player development staff will try to close.

He has a long way to go and the Giants have managed to draft, acquire, and develop better prospects in — literally — the six months since they did this ranking.

November 2019

  1. Joey Bart
  2. Marco Luciano
  3. Heliot Ramos
  4. Hunter Bishop
  5. Luis Matos
  6. Logan Webb
  7. Luis Toribio
  8. Alexander Canario
  9. Mauricio Dubon
  10. Jaylin Davis

This isn’t a seismic shift in the farm system, but a steady improvement that still features four players under 20 years old (Luciano, Matos, Toribio, and Canario). Some of these younger guys were discussed in the last two prospect podcasts. If you don’t immediately recognize Luis Matos, that’s fine, because he’s still 17 years old. He’s a toolsy center fielder the Giants acquired during the 2018 international signing period. And right now he’s the Giants’ fifth-best prospect.

But here’s a list for a rebuilding team that’s already in the midst of theirs and not at the beginning. Just three players on this list are from the new front office (Bishop, Dubon, and Davis) and the rest were either top prospects when acquired or prospects whose stocks jumped significantly thanks to the new development system.

No, the Giants aren’t on the level of the best farm systems, but they have as many players in FanGraphs’ top 100 (three) as the Rays and Dodgers. They’ve also added four players with future values of 40. Remember: that’s the magic scouting number on FanGraphs. An FV of 40 or greater means they see a prospect as a player who will make the majors and stick to a roster in some capacity.

In May, they had 22 prospects with an FV of 40 or more. Six months later, they’re up to 26. All three of the players the Giants received in the deadline deal with the Twins are on this list, as is Tristan Beck, the top 25 prospect the Braves gave to the Giants in exchange for Mark Melancon’s entire contract.

And at the high end, the Giants have raised their stock of 45 or greater future value prospects from five to nine. All that in just six months.