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2023 Willie McCovey Memorial Community Prospect List: the final rankings

A look at the top 44 prospects in the Giants system.

Kyle Harrison throwing a pitch Photo by David Durochik/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Well friends, we did it once again. Almost four months after we got started, we’ve successfully finished the goal of the Willie McCovey Memorial Community Prospect List, by ranking the top 44 prospects in the San Francisco Giants organization going into the 2023 season.

There are names that are on the Major League roster currently, names that will be later this year, and names that never will be. There are players who have been in the system for ages, and others who have yet to even play a game. There likely are prospects who will make the All-Star Game wearing a Giants jersey, and others who won’t be in the system when the season concludes.

Let’s look at the final list. The number in parentheses following each name is their ranking in last year’s CPL. Names with “UN” following them were unranked last year, while names with “N/A” following them were not in the system at the time of last year’s CPL.

The final list

  1. Kyle Harrison — LHP (5)
  2. Marco Luciano — SS (1)
  3. Casey Schmitt — 3B (24)
  4. Luis Matos — CF (3)
  5. Vaun Brown — OF (UN)
  6. Grant McCray — CF (34)
  7. Aeverson Arteaga — SS (12)
  8. Carson Whisenhunt — LHP (N/A)
  9. Reggie Crawford — LHP/DH (N/A)
  10. Patrick Bailey — C (9)
  11. Mason Black — RHP (42)
  12. Heliot Ramos — OF (4)
  13. Eric Silva — RHP (38)
  14. Jairo Pomares — OF (7)
  15. Cole Waites — RHP (UN)
  16. Keaton Winn — RHP (UN)
  17. R.J. Dabovich — RHP (16)
  18. Tyler Fitzgerald — INF (35)
  19. Ryan Murphy — RHP (13)
  20. Landen Roupp — RHP (UN)
  21. Will Wilson — INF (18)
  22. Adrian Sugastey — C (27)
  23. Trevor McDonald — RHP (UN)
  24. Tristan Beck — RHP (UN)
  25. Will Bednar — RHP (8)
  26. Nick Swiney — LHP (17)
  27. Rayner Arias — OF (N/A)
  28. Carson Seymour — RHP (N/A)
  29. Hunter Bishop — OF (10)
  30. Sean Hjelle — RHP (30)
  31. Ryan Reckley — SS (11)
  32. Randy Rodríguez — RHP (22)
  33. Brett Wisely — INF (N/A)
  34. Blake Sabol — C (N/A)
  35. José Cruz — RHP (UN)
  36. Hayden Birdsong — RHP (N/A)
  37. P.J. Hilson — OF (UN)
  38. Brett Auerbach — UTIL (28)
  39. Nick Zwack — LHP (N/A)
  40. Gerelmi Maldonado — RHP (UN)
  41. Diego Velasquez — SS (UN)
  42. Wade Meckler — OF (N/A)
  43. Bryce Johnson — CF (UN)
  44. Onil Perez — C (UN)

Note: Clicking on the above names will link to the CPL where they were voted onto the list.

The themes

There are a few easy to spot themes when looking at this crop of prospects. First: the Giants have gotten flack for drafting and developing, and it’s easy to see why if you look at their first-round picks: Will Bednar, Patrick Bailey, and Hunter Bishop have not exactly made the Giants braintrust look smart, though Bailey had an excellent spring and is drawing rave reviews.

But for all those criticisms, it’s clear that Giants are helping some players take the next step. It’s hard to believe that Kyle Harrison, the nearly unanimous top prospect in the organization, was ranked fifth last year. And the top six includes a player who rose from No. 24, a player who rose from No. 34, and a player who wasn’t even on anyone’s radar for making the list a year ago. The Giants have done a strong job of helping some unlikely players establish themselves as potential stars.

There’s also a theme of helping players have breakout years. 11 of the final 12 names on the list are new to the CPL, and even the players from that grouping that weren’t in the system last year were not expected be seen as notable prospects when the Giants acquired them.

On one hand, you can say that the Giants are just churning, as they do. On the other hand, a look at the players who are falling suggests that the farm is just getting a lot stronger. Reliever R.J. Dabovich dominated AA last year, and ended the season knocking on the door of an MLB debut, yet he fell a spot. Randy Rodríguez started the year in High-A and ended the year on the verge of an MLB debut, and he fell 10 spots. Will Wilson, Brett Auerbach, Nick Swiney, and plenty of names who fell off the list are further proof that even having a good year in the Minors isn’t enough to move up with the way the system is advancing. That’s a great thing.

It also is worth noting that most people invested in Giants prospecting can probably name 10-20 additional players that they would consider putting in the final tier. Last year it kind of felt like the final spots were shrugs. Or, put a different way, this year’s list feels like trying to trim a top 60 down to a top 44, while last year’s felt like a top 30 with some additional names thrown on the end.

Who’s off the list?

A whopping 21 of the 44 names are new to the list (or, to be technical, weren’t on the list last year ... some are returning after a hiatus). That’s a ton of turnover, and it means that — surprise! — 21 names from last year’s CPL are off it.

Four of those 21 players graduated: catcher Joey Bart (No. 2), RHP Camilo Doval (No. 6), third baseman David Villar (No. 19), and LHP Sam Long (No. 21). The first three names broke camp on the active roster, so it was a pretty successful graduating class.

Another five players are no longer in the system. RHP Prelander Berroa (No. 31) was traded during the season for Donovan Walton (oops), RHPs Kervin Castro (No. 26) and Gregory Santos (No. 32) were designated for assignment, and outfielders Diego Rincones (No. 15) and Armani Smith (No. 41) elected Minor League free agency and have since signed with different teams.

Another 12 players simply fell off the list: LHP Matt Mikulski (No. 14), catcher Ricardo Genovés (No. 20), RHP Manuel Mercedes (No. 23), outfielder Ismael Munguia (No. 25), LHP Chris Wright (No. 29), LHP Seth Corry (No. 33), RHP Carson Ragsdale (No. 36), outfielder Alexander Suarez (No. 37), corner infielder Luis Toribio (No. 39), LHP Esmerlin Vinicio (No. 41), second baseman Jimmy Glowenke (No. 43), and RHP Kai-Wei Teng (No. 44).

As evidence of the Giants organizational depth, it’s easy to see most of the 12 players who fell off not only return to the list in 2024, but return with a high ranking.

Acquisition breakdown

Of the 44 players, 37 have spent their entire careers in the Giants organization, with the team drafting 25 players and signing 12 international prospects.

Five of the 44 players were acquired in a trade: Will Wilson (No. 21, in the Zack Cozart trade); Tristan Beck (No. 24, in the Mark Melancon trade); Carson Seymour (No. 28, in the Darin Ruf trade); Brett Wisely (No. 33, in the Tristan Peters trade); and Nick Zwack (No. 39, in the Ruf trade).

Blake Sabol (No. 34) was a Rule 5 pick, while Brett Auerbach (No. 38) was an undrafted free agent, though in the five-round draft in 2020.

Of the 25 players the Giants drafted, here’s the breakdown of the year they were selected:

2017: 2
2018: 3
2019: 5
2020: 6
2021: 5
2022: 4

It’s kind of funny that the year with the five-round draft has the most prospects, though it also makes sense given that they had two compensatory picks.

And here’s the breakdown of the round that the 25 were selected in.

1st: 5
2nd: 4
3rd: 3
4th: 3
5th: 2
6th: 3
8th: 1
10th: 1
11th: 1
12th: 1
18th: 1

And here’s the age breakdown of the 44 players.

16: 1
18: 1
19: 2
20: 4
21: 4
22: 9
23: 7
24: 10
25: 4
26: 1
27: 1

10 of the 44 players were acquired by the previous administration: Marco Luciano (No. 2), Luis Matos (No. 4), Heliot Ramos (No. 12), Jairo Pomares (No. 14), Keaton Winn (No. 16), Sean Hjelle (No. 30), Randy Rodríguez (No. 32), José Cruz (No. 35), P.J. Hilson (No. 37), and Bryce Johnson (No. 43)

And that’s our CPL! Thanks to everyone who participated in our awesome community exercise!