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San Francisco Giants Top Fantasy Baseball Prospects 2023

San Francisco features a bevy of prospects with projectible growth.

Ever since their miraculous 107-win season in 2021, the San Francisco Giants have developed a reputation for kickstarting renaissance periods for the game’s elder statesmen. They’ve squeezed significant late-career production out of guys like Evan Longoria, Alex Cobb, Brandon Crawford, and Jake McGee. They even have a fresh class of undervalued veteran projects with guys like Mitch Haniger and Ross Stripling.

The Giants develop veterans so well and are comfortable with consistently having one of the oldest rosters in the league. But what about the prospects? How do they develop the players with, theoretically, the brightest futures? In terms of recent success stories, we don’t have much to look at.

Brandon Crawford and Joey Bart are the only players in their projected starting lineup by Roster Resource who were signed or drafted initially by the Giants. But Brandon Crawford is now 36 and Joey Bart has fallen quite short of our expectations in his young career. Farhan Zaidi’s Giants have developed a clear strategy for building a contending MLB roster through savvy signings and trades, but the jury is still out on prospect development.

As it currently stands, the Giants’ farm system is highlighted by two premiere talents at the top, and then a bevy of mid-tier prospects that have the potential to take significant steps forward in 2023. While they’re not known for churning out young studs, a few of these guys below will force their way onto the aging Bay Area roster this summer.

 

San Francisco Giants Top Fantasy Baseball Prospects

 

1. Kyle Harrison, SP

Age: 21

2022 Stats (A+/AA): 113.0 IP/2.71 ERA/1.13 WHIP/186 SO

Giants General Manager Farhan Zaidi told reporters in early October that he expects Kyle Harrison to contribute to the Major League starting rotation in 2023. Harrison is the crown jewel of the organization and is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. The former third-round pick has progressed quickly in the minors and ended 2022 with 84.0 fantastic AA innings as a 20-year-old.

Harrison currently utilizes three pitches that project to be plus-plus – a fastball, slider, and changeup. His 11% walk rates suggest that his command has room for improvement, but he’s been quite young for each level he’s pitched at thus far. He also carries strikeout rates above 35%, which gives him a fantastic skills baseline to work with as he continues to tweak and make improvements.

 

2. Marco Luciano, SS

Age: 21

2022 Stats (CPX/A+): 268 AB/.262 AVG/.343 OBP/.460 SLG/12 HR/0 SB/36 R/42 RBI

Marco Luciano was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018 and has established himself by making continual improvements in the low minors. After the pandemic and the restructuring of the Minor League affiliate teams, Luciano got his first taste of Low-A in 2021 and impressed as a 19-year-old.

He carried a 137 wRC+ in 308 plate appearances to start the year and then earned a promotion to High-A. After the promotion, his strikeout rate spiked, his walk rate plummeted, and his game power was sapped. He must’ve taken the offseason to learn from his time in High-A, because he bounced back across the board in 2022.

He spent most of the year back at High-A and produced a 121 wRC+ in 230 plate appearances. His plate approach improved dramatically and his strikeout and walk rates regressed towards the numbers we had seen during his 2021 stint in Low-A. He should see a good amount of time next year at AA, and I expect that he will keep making improvements to adjust to better competition as he sees it. It’s just a question of how far his improvements will go.

 

3. Casey Schmitt, 3B

Age: 23

2022 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): 471 AB/.287 AVG/.360 OBP/.478 SLG/20 HR/4 SB/70 R/76 RBI

Casey Schmitt leapt through the Giants’ organization in his second season of professional baseball. Propelled initially by his glove at third, he has developed a fearsome bat to round out his profile. The glove is no joke, and his prowess at the hot corner has been lauded at each level. His defensive highlights invoke high hopes of a gold glove, and it could ensure regular playing time at the hot corner for years to come in San Francisco.

As a hitter, Schmitt offers plenty of extra-base pop while limiting the strikeouts. He’s posted strikeout rates lower than 23% and his wRC+ has not dipped below 130 at each level where he’s had at least 100 PAs. If he can take a similar step forward at the plate in 2023 as he did in 2022, we could be talking about the Opening Day 3B in 2024. He might even capture at least a share of the job by the end of this summer.

 

4. Vaun Brown, OF

Age: 24

2022 Stats (A/A+/AA): 387 AB/.346 AVG/.437 OBP/.623 SLG/23 HR/44 SB/100 R/75 RBI

Vaun Brown¬†was drafted in the 10th round of the 2021 Amateur Draft and has asserted himself as an offensive force in his early career. He hasn’t posted a wRC+ lower than 165 in Low-A or High-A and he should get a chance to keep the streak going in AA next season (he only got 2 PAs in AA to end the 2022 season). Nothing has slowed him down so far, and while his BABIPs suggest his .350 batting average might not be realistic, he absolutely earns his power and is almost unstoppable on the base paths.

Even though he wasn’t initially heralded as a top prospect, Brown is forcing the issue and inserting himself in the conversation for a top-100 ranking. The jump from A+ to AA can be the most difficult, so we should know pretty quickly how he handles adversity in professional baseball.

 

5. Luis Matos, OF

Age: 20

2022 Stats (A+): 369 AB/.211 AVG/.275 OBP/.344 SLG/11 HR/11 SB/55 R/43 RBI

Luis Matos has seen his prospect value fluctuate pretty dramatically over the last year. He spent the first two-thirds of the 2022 season plummeting down prospect rankings list as he struggled to hit above .200. This was a pretty drastic shift after hitting .313 and posting a 121 wRC+ in 491 PAs at Low-A in 2021. His strikeout rate rose by a few percentage points, but it still sat at a really great 16.0% for the season in 2022. The biggest difference seems to be in his BABIP, which was .332 in 2021 and .226 in 2022.

He also worked back a bit towards the end of the season and showed flashes of the prospect pedigree he carried early in his professional career. In August and September, he slashed .283/.312/.462 with 5 home runs and 7 stolen bases. It was just enough to keep some interest in him for me, but he should have a pretty short leash heading into 2023.

 

6. Grant McCray, OF

Age: 22

2022 Stats (A/A+): 502 AB/.289 AVG/.382 OBP/.514 SLG/24 HR/44 SB/107 R/82 RBI

Grant McCray was selected in the third round of the 2019 Amateur Draft and had a few fairly mediocre stints at Rookie ball and Low-A just before and just after the pandemic in 2019 and 2021. 2022 was his breakout season where he posted a 130 wRC+ in 507 PAs before he was promoted to A+ and finished out the season. He took the promotion in stride and produced at a very similar level across his 62 High-A PAs.

He should split most of him time between High-A and AA next season, and the jump to AA will be super important for him because the biggest wart in his profile is his strikeout rates. He’s carried a strikeout rate very near or above 30% at every stop above rookie ball. It’s possible his K% hits the high 30s against better competition, and that might make it incredibly difficult to crack the majors. We’ll need him to at least stay where he is, but ideally we’d like to see some real improvement there.

 

7. Mason Black, SP

Age: 23

2022 Stats (A/A+): 112 IP/3.21 ERA/1.17 WHIP/136 SO

To give credit where it’s due, I first heard Mason Black’s name mentioned when he was featured as a Prospect of the Week by Eno Sarris on his podcast with Derek Van Riper, Rates and Barrels. Sarris mentioned that when he asked a team official a question about Kyle Harrison, the official sang Harrison’s praises briefly before asking if he had heard of Mason Black and stating that the org was excited about him. Black was drafted in the third round of the 2021 draft and he made his professional debut at the onset of the 2022 season.

Black made quick work of Low-A, pitching to a 1.57 ERA and 3.09 xFIP and being awarded the California League Pitcher of the Month for May. After his 34.1 stellar innings, he was promoted to High-A. His skills dipped a little bit after the promotion, and he saw his luck stats tilt more against his favor as well. He still performed pretty well, but his groundball rate dropped from 61.3% to 43.4% and his FB% saw a mirrored increase, which explains a jump in xFIP to 4.16. His K-BB% also dropped from 26.7% to 19.5%.

He’s absolutely someone to monitor as the season begins and he gets more professional innings under his belt. He likely starts at High-A again and will get another chance to show us if he can get closer to his Low-A skills profile.

 

8. Reggie Crawford, 22

Age: 22

2022 Stats (CPX): 19 AB/.158 AVG/.238 OBP/.158 SLG/0 HR/0 SB/2 R/0 RBI

Reggie Crawford was the Giants first-round pick in the 2022 Amateur Draft. He entered the draft as a two-way prospect, playing both as a left-handed pitcher and a first baseman, and the Giants plan to allow him the time and resources to try to play both positions in the minors. He hasn’t yet made his pitching debut because he underwent Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2021, but he plans to be ready to go by the start of Spring Training. His small sample at the complex league doesn’t give us a lot of information, but he offers plenty of upside with an equal amount of risk for your upcoming FYPDs.

 

9. Blake Sabol, C/OF

Age: 25

2022 Stats (AA/AAA): 447 AB/.284 AVG/.363 OBP/.497 SLG/19 HR/10 SB/74 R/75 RBI

Blake Sabol was selected by the Reds from the Pirates in the 2022 Rule 5 Draft and within a few hours, the Reds traded him to the Giants. Sabol will get the chance to start the season on the opening Day roster due to his status as a Rule 5 pick, so we’ll know pretty quickly how he looks in the Big Leagues.

He was a solid hitter at each level in the Pirates’ organization, but his plate discipline has seen plenty of ups and downs so it’s hard to peg where it might land in the majors. Projections systems like The Bat, ATC, and Steamer all predict him to carry a walk rate just north of 8% and a strikeout rate a touch below 30%. He’s consistently posted ISOs above .200 and wRC+ numbers above 120 in the minors, but almost each promotion has seen a decline in those skills, so he likely fits in as a fourth outfielder and bench player on the Giants’ roster right now.

Maybe the most intriguing part of his profile is that he has experience both at catcher and in the outfield, and Roster Resource has him listed as the only backup catcher to Joey Bart. In 2022, he started 66 games at catcher, 21 games in the outfield, and 36 games at DH. If we’re lucky, there’s a non-zero chance he finds himself in a similar position as Daulton Varsho where he accrues more PAs than what’s normal for a fantasy catcher due to his ability to play multiple positions. He’s just not nearly as talented as Varsho as it stands right now. If he doesn’t struggle mightily from the get-go, he could still accrue a good about of PAs for a rookie in the backup catcher and fourth outfielder role for the platoon-happy Giants.

 

10. Ryan Murphy, SP

Age: 23

2022 Stats (A+/AA): 39.2 IP/4.31 ERA/1.29 WHIP/54 SO

Ryan Murphy was drafted in the fifth round of the 2020 Amateur Draft and has posted a strikeout rate higher than 35% in 140.0 innings between Low-A and High-A. Usually the most common caveat to this kind of profile is a high walk rate, but his walk rate sits at 7.1% in those innings and his command projects to be his greatest asset according to his Fangraphs scouting profile. He was called up to AA for two starts at the end of 2022 and was lit up very badly, so it will be interesting to see how he bounces back at the beginning of 2023. If he continues to post impressive K-BB percentages in AA and above, he could realize mid-rotation potential in the Big Leagues.

 

11. Aeverson Arteaga, SS

Age: 19

2022 Stats (A): 503 AB/.270 AVG/.345 OBP/.431 SLG/14 HR/11 SB/87 R/84 RBI

Aeverson Arteaga was signed as an international free agent in 2019 out of Venezuela. He got his first taste of A-ball in 2022 and posted a 101 wRC+ in his 565 PAs. Normally I would like to see a higher number for a prospect I’m looking to invest in, but he was relatively young for the level and his swing has been touted by scouts (and Keith Law) as being extremely promising and projectable. He’s very fast but needs to hone his base stealing skills, as he was only successful 65% of the time in 17 attempts last season. He’s still quite young and should be looking to improve his plate discipline, but there’s the makings of a toolsy shortstop here.

 

12. Will Bednar, SP

Age: 22

2022 Stats (A): 43.0 IP/4.19 ERA/1.09 WHIP/51 SO

Will Bednar was the Giants’ first-round pick in the 2021 Amateur Draft and made four fantastic starts prior to the end of the 2021 season. He followed that up in 2022 by posting solid ratios and a 15.8 K-BB%. The walk rate currently provides his biggest barrier to success, and it will be the most important improvement to look for as he begins the ’23 campaign. He has above-average strikeout potential but hasn’t quite shown it yet against his Low-A competition. His xFIPS look ghastly mostly because he pitches to a very high FB% (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but the walk rates sure don’t help his cause there. He’s also already had injury bouts with both his shoulder and his back.

 

13. Carson Whisenhunt, SP

Age: 22

2022 Stats (CPX/A): 7.2 IP/0.00 ERA/0.91 WHIP/14 SO

Carson Whisenhunt was the Giants’ second round pick in the 2022 Amateur Draft, and he was able to make three professional starts before the end of the season. The Giants were all about capitalizing on fallen value in the first couple rounds of this draft – firstly with Crawford coming off of Tommy John, and secondly with Whisenhunt coming off a PED suspension that prevented him from pitching for East Carolina University in 2022. Prior to the suspension, he was thought to be a potential first-round pick if he could have built off of a solid 2021 campaign where he posted a 3.77 ERA and a 11.47 K/9.

 

14. Hunter Bishop, OF

Age: 24

2022 Stats (A+): 315 AB/.235 AVG/.320 OBP/.406 SLG/13 HR/20 SB/51 R/44 RBI

Hunter Bishop was the Giants’ first-round pick in the 2019 Amateur Draft. He had a promising debut at Rookie ball and Low-A in 2019 before he lost the 2020 season to the pandemic and most of the 2021 season to a strained shoulder. 2022 was pretty steady considering he hadn’t seen consistent playing time since the 2019 season, but he did lack a lot of the thump that he showed he had in his draft year. His poor batting average wasn’t fueled by a poor (or even below-average) BABIP, and he struck out just above 32% of the time in 2022. He has a lot to work on ahead of the 2023 season, but he still holds a first-round pedigree if he can stay healthy and continue the rebound.

 

15. Nick Swiney, SP

Age: 23

2022 Stats (A+): 89.0 IP/3.84 ERA/1.21 WHIP/105 SO

Nick Swiney was a second-round pick for the Giants in the 2020 Amateur Draft and showed some strikeout upside with some walks concerns in his brief stint at Low-A in 2021, his first professional season. After being promoted to High-A for 2022, he wasn’t able to cut the walk rate at all and finished with the exact same percentage (11.8%), and his strikeout rate dropped by more than 13 percentage points down to 27.6%. His ERA was pretty good, but he was the benefactor of good luck according to his BABIP, HR/FB%, and LOB%. His profile was intriguing initially but I think he’ll have to really improve his K-BB% to have a shot at making the Big-League rotation.

 

Featured graphic by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)

Jake Maish

Jake is a fantasy baseball writer located in Cincinnati, OH. He plays most fantasy baseball formats but his favorite is H2H categories. When he's not watching and writing about baseball, he's playing board games with his girlfriend, Emma, or playing fetch and/or tug-of-war with their dogs, Moose and Daphne.

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