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They Might Be Giants

The SF Giants Prospect Round-Up: The Futures Game and the Deep Future with July 2nd Signings

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It was a busy week in the system for news, and new additions!

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

July 2nd International Free Agent Signings

This week, the International Free Agency period began this week, and as expected, this year the Giants did not have any of the very top-ranked signings (for what rankings there were). But the Giants were active in signings, with a couple of interesting tidbits.

The Giants come into the signing period with a Signing Bonus budget pool of $5,398,300, like most other teams. Teams from smaller markets get more money (The Athletics got $6,025,400).

The big name, as expected, was LHP Esmerlin Vinicio, ranked 23rd in the class by MLB and 26th by Fangraphs. He was signed to an $750,000 bonus. By comparison, Marco Luciano last season got $2.6 million. Vinicio’s bonus is closer to last year’s secondary picks, Jairo Pomares (11th ranked, $975,000) and Luis Matos (27th ranked, $725,000). Stop me if you recognize this from the draft: Evaluators love his makeup. He throws in the low 90’s, and has the potential of a plus curveball, and has good command for his age.

However, that wasn’t the biggest bonus given. The Giants gave $1.2 million to Venezuelan shortstop Aeverson Arteaga, which came as a touch of a surprise. The Giants had been connected to him, but he had not been ranked by MLB or Fangraphs. Arteaga will be one of the best defensive shortstops in the system, and has the batspeed to be something at the plate. While the Giants signed more than a few shortstops, Arteaga and Yeison Lemos are the two best defenders.

The Giants also added Anthony Rodriguez from Venezuela for slightly more than Vinicio, at $800K. He was also previously connected with the Giants as well. Overall, the Giants had quite a number of players from Venezuela compared to past seasons. They also grabbed on of Nicaragua’s best players in 3B Elián Rayo, who has a strong enough arm to pitch and raw power, but his bonus was reported to be just $350K.

It’s notable that the Giants signed 13 Venezuelan players, more than from other countries combined. I can not remember the last time the Giants signed that quantity of players from Venezuela.

Here is the current list, with the reported bonus figures listed below:

LHP Esmerlin Vinicio - DR ($750K)

SS Aeverson Arteaga - Venezuela ($1.2M)

SS Anthony Rodriguez - Venezuela ($800K)

C Adrian Sugastey - Panama ($600K)

LHP Manuel Mercedes - DR ($400K)

SS Yeison David Lemos - DR($600K)

C Onil Perez - DR ($250K)

3B Elián Rayo - Nicaragua ($350K)

If you do the math on the bonuses that are announced, you’ll notice the Giants have spent $4.95 million, out of $5.398 million, with other players having been signed. That’s very interesting, and leaves the Giants without a lot of wiggle room over the next year (This period ends June 15, 2020).

The Giants can always trade for more bonus money if they want, looking for some wiggle room if late rising prospects get noticed. That said, there may be a rush for that money, as the Cubs have already apparently exceeded their bonus pool by around $400K. Also, deals for $10,000 or less don’t count against the bonus pool, so the Giants can sign as many of those as they want.

Overall, it seems bonus prices for the top players are going up, even with the bonus limits not increasing as quickly.

hile Vinicio’s bonus money is right in line with last year’s ranked players that the Giants signed, it seems that some of the mid-level prospects are getting more and more money.

This information will continue to get updated and more may sign. Most of these prospects we won’t see in games until 2020, so don’t get too excited. But remember that while big names (like Marco Luciano) get a lot of press, often players like Alexander Canario, Luis Toribio and others come from the midrange levels.

Hopefully, you’ll hear some of these names in the years to come.

The Futures Game ends in a tie; Mixed Results for Bart and Ramos

MLB changed up the format of the Futures Game this season, and aside from making it AL vs. NL as opposed to USA vs. The World, they also made it seven innings long.

At least, they intended it to be.

The Futures Game ended in a 2-2 tie, and went an extra inning (eight total) to do so. And in doing so, the Giants’ top prospects Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos did not have a big impact on the final. But that’s not to say that they did nothing in the game.

Neither player started, but both came into the game for the bottom of the 4th inning, as part of a mass substitution that saw many of the non-starters come in. Joey Bart’s biggest impact came in that half inning. Bart was behind the plate when MLB.com’s #1 prospect Wander Franco was on first and tried to steal second. Despite a very good jump, Bart gunned Franco down easily. Franco has 17 steals on 28 attempts this season, and a 60 run tool as rated by MLB. Unfortunately, Bart did not get any hits at the plate, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout, and a plate appearance that was interrupted by a caught stealing and restarted in the extra inning.

Ramos did not have any great opportunities to shine defensively, and got just one chance at the plate. That one plate appearance did lead to a single right back up the middle, hit hard enough to just get by the middle infielders that closed in on it from either side. Ramos was left standing on deck when the final NL out was made in the top of the 8th.

As for the non-Giants aspect, all the NL scoring happened before the Giants got in, as the top of the fourth featured four singles, a hit batter, two runs, and a caught stealing of home that ended the inning…although if replay was a part of the Futures Game, that call may have been overturned. The NL stayed in front until the bottom of the seventh, when Texas prospect Samuel Huff hit a booming home run to left that tied the game, leading to the extra inning. Huff would take home the Game MVP for the hit.

Bart and Ramos should head back to rejoin San Jose this week, and hopefully we’ll see more than just a couple of at-bats from the Giants’ top prospects.

Wrapping up the 2019 Draft

A couple of big things happened this week in regards to the 2019 draft.

The Giants made what will probably be their final signing from the draft class.

Getting a player like McDonald’s caliber in the 11th round was a minor steal, and though he was the last player to sign, there’d been overtures and rumors that they had a deal worked out. With the reported $800K signing bonus, the Giants seem to have gone just a little over their bonus pool. With the reported bonus amounts being unofficial, it’s hard to tell how much over, but it appears that they will just pay a penalty tax, rather than lose a draft pick.

It’s unclear when we might see McDonald on the diamond. With high schoolers, especially later round pitchers, they might be held back all summer to work with the organization on things. On the other hand, he might get a Seth Corry treatment and head to the AZL pretty quickly. Or maybe he’ll just make a late season cameo in AZL games that actually have box scores. With McDonald, we’ll just have to wait and see.

In other news, the Giants’ top draft picks began getting into games. 4th round pick Tyler Fitzgerald played 3 games with the AZL Black team, before getting promoted up to San Jose. Fitzgerald hit .273 with a double and a home run in the AZL, but is 1-for-8 in S-K in two games so far. 2nd rounder Logan Wyatt got into two games at the start of last week, going 1-for-7, but has been held out since July 2nd for unknown reasons. And top pick Hunter Bishop finally made his debut on Sunday in the AZL, going 1-for-3.

One More All-Star for Richmond!

Richmond already had six All-Star selections, but they’ve got one more now!

Cyr has a 2.73 ERA in 22 relief appearances this season, with 34 strikeouts and 14 walks in 29.2 innings.

If you’re wondering how the rather…feckless Richmond team got so many All-Star selections, just remember, Richmond is hosting the EL All-Star Game this season.

Further Reading and Viewing

If you’re a subscriber for The Athletic, Melissa Lockard put up an interview with Farm Director Kyle Haines, which is always something worth reading.

lex Pavlovic did a profile on former Grand Canyon University pitcher Jake Wong, who is adjusting to the California League.

alton Johnson has a look at Marco Luciano, who might be a good ballplayer.

O Crowley took a look at the other youngsters the Giants have that are performing…

enry Schulman did a Futures Game review, talking Bart and Ramos.

his is a great video interview with Najee Gaskins, the 2019 20th round draft pick of the Giants, with a little peek behind the draft process.

And, if you like rankings, Marc Delucchi did a midseason ranking that includes the 2019 draft picks, plus a Q&A.

And…I’m just going to leave this here for no good reason.

Top Prospect Updates

Joey Bart

Week: 1-for-14, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 1 SB, .071/.187/.071
Season: 31-for-128, 21 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 8 BB, 29 SO, 2 SB, 1 CS, .242/.302/.445

It was a short week, but certainly a difficult short week for Bart, who had a three game hitless streak going into his Futures Game Break. Despite going hitless in that game, hopefully the break helps him turn around.

Heliot Ramos

Week: 5-for-14, 5 SO, 1 CS, .357/.357/.357
Season: 57-for-191, 33 R, 11 2B, 9 HR, 29 RBI, 23 BB, 56 SO, 4 SF, 6 CS, .298/.381/.497

No extra-base hits in this short week for Ramos, and his strikeouts are starting to rise without walks, but he’s getting himself slowly back to that .300 level.

Marco Luciano

Week: 11-for-25, 11 R, 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SO, 2 SB, .440/.481/.920
Season: 24-for-64, 24 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 18 RBI, 9 BB, 16 SO, 3 SB, 3 CS, .375/.467/.813

There’s little in Luciano’s game that is not impressive, but continuing to get hits, and putting together a nice walk/strikeout ratio are beyond impressive for this young man.

Jake Wong

Week: 10.2 IP, 14 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB 8 SO, 2.53 ERA, 1.59 WHIP
Season (SJ): 43.0 IP, 47 H, 25 R, 21 ER, 2 HR, 15 BB, 36 SO, 4.40 ERA, 1.44 WHIP

Two starts this week had Wong putting together more normal starts after a string of bad ones. Hopefully, this is Wong’s adjustments to the California League level.

Sean Hjelle

Week: 6.2 IP, 5 H 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1.35 ERA, 0.90 WHIP
Season (SJ): 46.1 IP, 42 H, 16 R, 10 ER, 2 HR, 10 BB, 46 SO, 1.94 ERA, 1.12 WHIP

With two more quality starts, Hjelle’s putting together even better numbers than he had in Augusta, despite California being more of a hitting environment. His WHIP (1.12 vs. 1.23) and average allowed (.240 vs. .256) are both improved rates for him, and his 4.50 GO/AO ratio in San Jose compared to 2.17 in Augusta speaks to him using his pitches and height better.

Gregory Santos

Week: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO, 1 HR, 6.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP
Season: 31.2 IP, 29 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 3 HR, 7 BB, 24 SO, 2.84 ERA, 1.14 WHIP

A bit of a rough week for Santos in terms of runs, but his other peripherals are okay. He got more strikeouts and less walks, at least.

Franklin Labour

Week: 13-for-30, 10 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 11 RBI, 2 BB, 9 SO, .433/.400/1.200
Season: 31-for-91, 25 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 11 HR, 25 RBI, 10 BB, 25 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS, .341/.423/.791

Well, it was a career week for Labour and his six home runs. One might blame the launching pad that Keizer can be, but five of them came in Spokane, which is still a good home run hitting park, but not as much as Keizer.

Seth Corry

Week: 11.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 12 SO, 0.00 ERA, 0.45 WHIP
Season: 70.0 IP, 44 H, 28 R, 17 ER, 2 HR, 43 BB, 98 SO, 2.19 ERA, 1.24 WHIP

Has Seth Corry found his control? This week’s two starts say maybe. Corry has been pretty damn unhittable, and if his control really is being found, he’d in a good position to help this farm system.

Sunday’s Lines

Sacramento Litter Box

  • There were so many hits and runs for Sacramento in this game at high altitude Reno, that even a pitcher got in on the home runs. A relief pitcher, Williams Jerez, in fact, with his first pro home run.
  • Zach Green had his 22nd home run and 16th doubles on a 3-hit day, leading the team with five RBI and three walks.
  • Chris Shaw’s 9th home run with Sacramento, and 16th total on the season. Green has 39 strikeouts against 11 walks in 122 at-bats in Sacramento.
  • Even with an incredible offense behind him, Andrew Suárez had a rough game, allowing six runs. It was the third game of the last four that he’s allowed more than three earned runs.

Richmond Nuthouse

  • Another tough day for Richmond at the plate. Shortstop Peter Maris led the way with two hits, in his first start since July 2nd.
  • Brandon Lawson allowed a season-high-tying four earned runs and a season-high four walks in this game, as his ERA raised up to 4.30. He has 45 strikeouts and 25 walks in 69 innings at Richmond.
  • Melvin Adon came in in the non-save situation, walking one and striking out two. It was his first appearance since July 3rd. He now has 56 strikeouts in 41.1 innings, and 25 walks.

San Jose Footprints

  • Every batter in the San Jose lineup had at least one hit as the Giants had their first win this season after trailing in the seventh inning. The team did not have an extra-base hit.
  • Sandro Fabian collected a pair of hits, raising his San Jose average to .333 after three games. Fabian is making his return from injury, after he hit .200/.260/.325 in 112 games at San Jose in 2018.
  • Jose Marte had a solid start, matching his season high with five innings, but having his worst strikeout rate in a single game. He still has 37 strikeouts in 30.2 IP.
  • Trenton Toplikar worked a stellar relief outing, going four innings and allowing just one baserunner (the first batter he faced). The five strikeouts are the highest total he’s had in any pitching outing, start or relief, since May 1st.

Augusta Putt-putt Course

  • Seth Corry was the star of this game, with his second consecutive start without allowing a run. He went an inning shorter in this game, but struck out more (7) with no walks allowed. He has struck out 98 in 70 innings, with 43 walks, but also has allowed just 44 hits.
  • Orlando Garcia was 2-for-3 in this game, and picked up his first home run at Augusta in his 19th game. He had one home run previously this season in San Jose in 29 games there.
  • Jacob Gonalez hit his fifth home run of the season, and second in his last ten games. Gonzalez has had a marginally better season than last season, and now now three home runs shy of his total from last year. He’s batting .232/.307/.359 this season, compared to a .227/.296/.331 line last season.

Salem-Keizer Crater

  • Tyler Flores connected for a grand slam, his seventh home run, and fourth in his last five games.
  • Franklin Labour did not hit a home run, but did connect for just his fourth double of the season (he has 11 home runs). This was his sixth multi-hit game out of his last nine played.
  • Harrison Freed hit his fifth double in ten games at Salem-Keizer, and eighth in 16 total games this season.
  • Jesus Ozoria had his shortest start in four at Salem-Keizer, going just three innings and allowing four earned runs. Ozoria has just nine strikeouts in 19.1 innings since returning to Salem-Keizer.

Arizona Black Adders

  • 18-year old Garrett Frechette had his third straight multi-hit game, raising his average to .316 over his 10 games played so far this season.
  • Grant McCray, also 18, was 1-for-4 and picked up his sixth caught stealing. He now has just two successful steals in eight attempts this season.
  • Jasier Herrera gave up a season-high three earned runs, seeing his ERA raise to 2.42. As he repeats the Arizona League, it’s still lower than the 3.88 ERA he had last season.

Arizona Orange Order

  • Hunter Bishop made his season debut, and hitting leadoff, it didn’t take much time to get interesting. He hit a leadoff double, but was thrown out trying to make it to third, collecting one of the most unusual first pro hits you’ll see. He also drew a walk in his debut.
  • Marco Luciano hit his fifth double of the season, and has extended an eight-game hitting streak.
  • Luis Toribio picked up two more hits, including his fourth double of the season. Toribio only has the four doubles for extra-base hits this season.
  • Conner Nurse had a strong start, allowing just one earned run in six innings, and notching his first game without allowing a walk. In fact, out of 33 pitches thrown, only one was a ball. Last season, Nurse had 26 walks and 56 strikeouts in 53 innings in the AZL. This season, he has just eight walks and 23 strikeouts in 24.2 innings.

The Wrap-Up:

Okay, let’s talk perhaps the most inconsequential uniform talk possible.

The two large groups of international signees are pictured here, and the difference in jerseys is striking.

The Dominican Republic signees, all at the big Felipe Alou Baseball Academy, get the Orange jerseys with black shoulders that have been used in the AZL for a few seasons, which are some of my favorite jerseys that the Giants have ever had in the system. Them having these jerseys makes sense, considering the location.

But look at Venezuela. First of all, props to the young man in the middle with the black jersey. If I remember right, that’s a Batting Practice/Spring Training jersey from the late 90’s. (You can tell by the lettering; in 2000 with the move to AT&T Park, the letters spread out from each other, aimed at an angle; previously, they were all straight up while placed on that curve.)

Now about the rest of those jerseys. Notice something off? How about the team’s home wordmark (Giants) and a grey (normally road) jersey? I can not rememer seeing jerseys like that at any point in the system before If anyone would like to correct me, please do! But yeah, this is the kind of thing I notice and obsess over for no good reason whatsoever.

But, if you want to finish, check out these photos from this weekend’s San Jose Churros game, and the Bobble-cart giveaway featuring that iconic hat for San Jose fans. I still love this rebranded identity!