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2024 Willie McCovey Memorial Community Prospect List No. 10

Who is the 10th-best prospect on the Giants farm?

Black and white image of Willie McCovey sitting on a bench in the dugout. Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Note: Today is nomination day, so make sure to head to the comment section to nominate players for Wednesday’s CPL.

We’re only one chapter away from ranking our top 10 in the 2024 Willie McCovey Memorial Community Prospect List, in which we come together to vote on the top 44 prospects in the San Francisco Giants organization.

The latest iteration of this project has brought us one of the highest-risers of the year: right-handed pitcher Hayden Birdsong, who has been voted as the No. 9 prospect in the system, which is a rise of 27 spots from last year’s rank of No. 36.

In addition to having one of the best names and some of the best hair in the system, Birdsong had a spectacular 2023 on the mound. The 6’4 righty, who turned 22 a few months ago, entered the pros with minimal hype: not only was he a sixth-round pick in 2022, but he was an underslot signing, agreeing to a bonus more in line with an eighth-round pick (though it’s worth noting that the Giants eighth-round pick that year was Wade Meckler!). Birdsong pitched 11.2 quality innings after getting drafted, but his hype really came from the things the organization was saying about him, which is how he ended up on our CPL last winter.

As with a handful of other Giants prospects, it immediately became clear why the Giants were hyping Birdsong up so much. He began the 2023 season in Low-A San Jose, where he posted a 2.16 ERA and a 2.69 FIP in 12 games and 10 starts. Up he went to High-A Eugene, where he had a 3.25 ERA and a 3.59 FIP in eight games and seven starts. He ended the year in AA Richmond where his ERA (5.48) was inflated due to a variety of funny factors, but he posted a 3.36 FIP in eight starts.

Across the three levels, Birdsong had a spectacular 149 strikeouts in 100.2 innings, with a not-good-but-not-awful 44 walks. Among the Giants 56 prospects who pitched at least 50 innings in the Minor Leagues last year, Birdsong’s 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings was fourth-best, and second behind only top prospect Kyle Harrison among starters.

It’s best to view the Giants vat of pitching prospects as a vast pile of vaguely-defined roles, with almost everyone fitting into a “maybe they’re a starter, maybe they’re a multi-inning reliever, maybe they’re a single-inning reliever, who really knows what the Giants are planning” bucket. But, if trying to read the tea leaves, it feels to me like Birdsong is viewed as a clearcut starter by the Giants more than any prospect other than Harrison and Carson Whisenhunt.

He’ll probably start 2024 back in AA, where he only got 23 innings of work last year. But I’d expect to see him in AAA fairly soon, and if things go well from there ...

Now onward we march! And a reminder that today is nomination day.

The list so far

  1. Kyle Harrison — LHP
  2. Marco Luciano — SS
  3. Bryce Eldridge — RF/RHP
  4. Carson Whisenhunt — LHP
  5. Rayner Arias — CF
  6. Keaton Winn — RHP
  7. Walker Martin — SS
  8. Reggie Crawford — LHP/1B
  9. Hayden Birdsong — RHP

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

On to No. 10!

No. 10 prospect nominees

Mason Black — 24.0-year old RHP, 3.86 ERA/5.33 FIP in AAA (60.2 IP), 3.57 ERA/3.23 FIP in AA (63 IP)
Grant McCray — 23.0-year old CF, .777 OPS/114 wRC+ in High-A (584 PA)
Wade Meckler — 23.8-year old OF, .578 OPS/72 wRC+ in MLB (64 PA), .965 OPS/144 wRC+ in AAA (102 PA), .881 OPS/149 wRC+ in AA (174 PA), 1.127 OPS/205 wRC+ in High-A (87 PA)
Heliot Ramos — 24.3-year old OF, .537 OPS/47 wRC+ in MLB (60 PA), .928 OPS/120 wRC+ in AAA (263 PA)

Note: Each player’s first name links to their Baseball-Reference page, and their last name links to their Fangraphs page.

Poll

Who is the No. 10 prospect on the Giants farm?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Mason Black
    (367 votes)
  • 9%
    Grant McCray
    (63 votes)
  • 18%
    Wade Meckler
    (117 votes)
  • 14%
    Heliot Ramos
    (94 votes)
641 votes total Vote Now