Giants Struggle to Start Small

The Giants have struggled finding elite prospects to stock their minor leagues. The last three years they have been 27th on the top prospect list out of 30 teams. Four years ago they were 28th. The last time they were in the top ten was in 2009 and 2010 when they had Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey matriculating in their minor leagues. You have to go back to 2014 to find a prospect rated in the top ten. That was Gary Brown and he was on the down side of what turned out to be a short career.

The Giants hope the drafting of Joey Bart in the first round will be the start of a resurgence in the minor leagues similar to what Buster Posey was in 2009. Buster is not ready to give up the catching position just yet but Bart should be a fast riser, drafted out of Georgia Tech. He has a bat that can hit for power and average and an arm that can control the running game. In a couple years he will move Buster to first base.

Heliot Ramos, the Puerto Rican outfielder the Giants drafted in the first round in 2017 is the Giants hope to end their drought of ordinary outfielders. Last year he struggled to make contact dropping his average more than 100 points to .246 after his rookie league debut in 2017. The speed exists to play center with the power to fit in a corner. Heliot was one of two players to make a Top 100 list last year.

The other Giant to make a Top 100 list was Chris Shaw, a man without a position. Brandon Belt occupies his best position and Buster Posey will take over first base once Joey Bart is ready to catch. That means Shaw and his lack of speed will have to roam left field. Last year he hit 24 homeruns but struck out 144 times in 101 games in AAA. That production would be sufficient to cover for his lack of defense in left field, not the .185 average and 23 whiffs in 54 at bats he brought in a brief appearances with the Giants.

Melvin Adon has a blazing fastball but no control of it. He hits triple digits with the pitch but needs to work on his secondary pitches to get hitters out. Despite the heat hitters ripped him at a .287 average and his whiff to innings pitched was below one. Next year he should start the season in AA with a possibility of pitching in the bullpen if he can show some control.

Ray Black is a clone of Adon with a fastball that explodes toward the plate at three digits, hitting 104 miles per hour. Like Adon, he has no concept of where he is throwing it and lacks a quality secondary pitch. He got some major league opportunity last year after blowing away minor league hitters (.153 opposition average and 66 whiffs in 34.2 innings) but he was prone to the long ball (4 dingers in 23 innings) elevating his ERA to 6.17.

They signed Lucius Fox out of the Bahamas for $6 million then traded him to the Rays for Matt Moore. They went back to the well again and signed another shortstop from the international market, this time the Dominican Republic’s Marco Luciano, only shelling out $2.6 million to sign him. After signing Fox they recognized that he may not hit enough to make a major league impact. They hope the same does not come true for Luciano. He was considered the best hitting prospect of the 2018 international free agent class but has yet to make his minor league debut.

After that it gets tough. The Giant farm system is lacking in impact players, as it has the last eight or nine years. There were not enough players even to establish a top ten list.

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