Quick note: Today is nomination day, so make sure you head to the comments to make your voice heard not just for this vote, but for nominations.
The 18th chapter of the 2023 Willie McCovey Memorial Community Prospect List brought us one of the most intriguing and talked about players from the 2022 season, as infielder Tyler Fitzgerald has been voted as the No. 18 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization. It’s a rise of 17 spots for Fitzgerald, who was No. 35 on last year’s CPL (and No. 40 the year prior).
There’s a lot to love and a lot to dislike about Fitzgerald’s 2022, which was spent with AA Richmond. Let’s start with the good.
He established himself as one of the better defensive players in the organization, capable of playing both middle infield positions, with some discussion that he might be able to play the middle of the outfield, too. He showed off a lot of power, as his 21 home runs broke the Richmond single-season record that David Villar had set the year prior (Fitzgerald does not, however, hold the record now, as teammate Sean Roby one-upped him). He seemed to make some big adjustments as the year went on, with a .540 OPS in April, a .793 OPS in May, and a .530 OPS in June, before rattling off a blistering .901 OPS in July and a .907 OPS in August (his numbers came back to earth in September, though it was just a half month).
On the bad side of things, two hot months and a lot of home run power wasn’t enough to salvage the season for Fitzgerald’s bat, as he was the definition of an average hitter. His .229/.310/.424 slash line resulted in a wRC+ of exactly 100. He has a big strikeout issue to fix, as he whiffed in 32.9% of his plate appearances, which followed a 32.2% mark in High-A Eugene in 2021. On paper that looks like an intriguing offensive profile to work with, but given that he turned 25 a few days before the season ended, it’s fair to wonder how much improvement is left to be made.
It will be interesting to see what the organization does with Fitzgerald this coming season. Unlike in our CPL, it seems as though the Giants prefer Will Wilson, and with he and Casey Schmitt around, to make no mention of Roby and the potentially optioned Villar, it’s entirely possible that Fitzgerald continues life in Richmond to start the year. Still, given his glove and power, he’s not far from an MLB debut.
Now on we march, and it’s nomination day, so make sure to head to the comment section to not only cast your vote, but nominate some new players for Monday.
The list so far
- Kyle Harrison — LHP
- Marco Luciano — SS
- Casey Schmitt — 3B
- Luis Matos — CF
- Vaun Brown — OF
- Grant McCray — CF
- Aeverson Arteaga — SS
- Carson Whisenhunt — LHP
- Reggie Crawford — LHP/DH
- Patrick Bailey — C
- Mason Black — RHP
- Heliot Ramos — OF
- Eric Silva — RHP
- Jairo Pomares — OF
- Cole Waites — RHP
- Keaton Winn — RHP
- R.J. Dabovich — RHP
- Tyler Fitzgerald — INF
Note: Clicking on the above names will link to the CPL where they were voted onto the list.
On to No. 19!
No. 19 prospect nominees
Rayner Arias — 16.9-year old OF, yet to debut
Will Bednar — 22.7-year old RHP, 6.26 FIP in Low-A (43 IP)
Ryan Murphy — 23.3-year old RHP, 8.61 FIP in AA (8.2 IP), 2.31 FIP in High-A (31 IP)
Adrian Sugastey — 20.2-year old C, 79 wRC+ in Low-A (340 PAs)
Note: Each player’s first name links to their Baseball-Reference page, and their last name links to their Fangraphs page.
Reminder: voting (and nominating!) is now in the comments!