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Kyle Harrison and Marco Luciano get glowing writeups

They come from Keith Law’s keyboard, not usually an avenue for praise where the Giants are concerned.

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2022 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

I’ll take any good news about the farm system for the San Francisco Giants wherever I can find it. This time, it comes from an unlikely source: Keith Law.

He’s always been sort of a Giants skeptic and not just when it comes to their prospect pedigree... which we can all admit they haven’t had much of this century. And as someone who is so incredibly down on the farm system helping out the team in 2023 so as to be almost depressed about it, I guess an outside source from a long-time curmudgeon of sorts should force me to not be such a glib bozo about it.

Anyway, he released his top 100 prospects the other day for The Athletic (subscription required), and the Giants’ top two prospects, Kyle Harrison and Marco Luciano, are right there in the top 25. This is incredible news because Keith Law knows more about baseball than all of us combined will ever know. This is like God telling us everything’s going to be okay... especially when you see what he’s written about them.

Now, obviously, I’m only going to post snippets here, and I’m going to even mention what he wrote about both guys in last year’s top 100 writeup (since he linked back to them in this post). Go read the article for the complete blurb (and see the rest of the list)

12. Kyle Harrison, LHP, San Francisco Giants

Age: 21 | 6-2 | 200 pounds
Bats: Right | Throws: Left
Drafted: No. 85 in 2020

Last year’s ranking: 82

Last year’s writeup:

Harrison has premium stuff [...] He’ll have to cut the walks, and figure out some stuff with his secondaries, but he might have No. 1 starter upside and at worst his ceiling is that of a well above-average starting pitcher.

This year’s writeup:

[...] he struggles with timing and his arm can be late relative to his front leg, a potential red flag for future injuries. If he stays healthy, which he has so far in pro ball, this is No. 1 starter stuff [...]

He spends more time in the full description talking about Harrison’s delivery and his pitch shape and movement and gives a player comp that certainly sounds intriguing. I tend to trust our good friend Roger Munter a bit more in his direct assessment, if only because I suspect Roger has seen Harrison pitch more often than Law has, and Roger’s description made me think Harrison might wind up a bit closer to Alex Wood than a top of the rotation guy. Although it should be noted that Harrison Wood was 20% better than the league average from his age 22 to age 26 seasons.

Wood wasn’t able to stay healthy, and he became the guy the Giants have now — about a league average pitcher under the right conditions and who is probably better in a swingman/long relief role. But that’s way too far ahead in the projection for my tastes. For now, I will take the Kyle Harrison Keith Law describes or age 22-26 Alex Wood.

21. Marco Luciano, SS, San Francisco Giants

Age: 21 | 6-2 | 178 pounds
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Drafted: International signing in 2018

Last year’s ranking: 15

Last year’s writeup:

[...] The question around his position is not whether he can stay at short, but whether he can stay on the dirt. [...] His bat will still profile there, but he’ll lose some value with each move down the defensive spectrum. There’s huge upside here — maybe a third baseman who hits 35 homers a year with some walks — but also some risk in the hit tool and size, which could push him to an outfield corner when he reaches his peak.

This year’s writeup:

[...] he hits the ball extremely hard when he squares it up, giving him that elite offensive upside where he could hit .300 and still get to 30 homers. [...] he should move to third base or first, but there’s a decent chance he’s a corner outfielder. [...] At third, he might be a top 5-10 player in baseball. In the outfield, he might just be a star.

Law doesn’t stress the injury part of Luciano’s assessment too much, though he does point out that he wasn’t the same hitter after returning from his back injury in August; and, Luciano’s ranking did fall year over year while Harrison’s went up.

Law stays focused on the obvious raw talent in Luciano’s physical profile and his batted ball skill. That the team’s plan for him to participate in winter ball didn’t pan out either suggests that he’s well behind in his development, even if player development never progresses in a linear fashion. In other words, 2023 might not be the year for Luciano, but if he can get back on track and correct his back situation, he could very easily have a great season that sets up big things for him in 2024.

Industry talk and local talk rarely seem to sync up when it comes to prospects and the Giants. That definitely seems to be changing. Baseball Prospectus has Luciano at 18 and Harrison at 20, Baseball America has the duo at 37 and 38, respectively; and even Casey Schmitt made it onto BP’s top 100 at #94. Even if the consensus is that the Giants are a third-place team in their own division, at least everybody agrees that could be changing in the next couple of years thanks to prospects in their system.

Edited to add:

Law also did a “just missed the top 100” list and, wouldn’t you know it, there’s another Giant!

Luis Matos, OF, San Francisco Giants

Age: 21 | 5-11 | 160 pounds
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
International signing in 2018

Last year’s ranking: 55

Last year’s writeup:

Matos has tools [...] and the bat speed to be able to continue to hit against better velocity. [...] there’s also upside here given his exceptional contact rates — among the 25 minor leaguers with the lowest strikeout rates (min. 400 PA), he was the youngest – and potential to get 15-20 homer power in the majors.

This year’s writeup:

He’s a plus power guy with plus defense in center when he’s 100 percent, with some concerns about his pitch recognition, but none of that was evident in 2022. I’m inclined to write it off as injury [...]