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Five takeaways from MLB.com's Giants Top 30 prospects list originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Giants' latest Top 30 prospects list was released Thursday morning by MLB Pipeline, and there aren't too many surprises with the first few names.
Marco Luciano of course leads the way, followed by Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos. Those three names will round out the top three from nearly any major outlet. It's the Giants' No. 4 ranked prospect where outlets usually differ.
MLB Pipeline went with Hunter Bishop, the Giants' first-round pick from the 2019 draft. But that isn't always the case. Luis Matos is the Giants' No. 4 prospect per Baseball America and FanGraphs, and Seth Corry received the honor on Keith Law's list for The Athletic. Following the first three names, there isn't exactly a consensus when it comes to the Giants' top prospects.
After looking at MLB Pipeline's latest Giants Top 30 list, here are five takeaways for 2021 and beyond.
Luis Matos is too low
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm a big believer in Matos. While Luciano is the headliner of the Giants' 2018 international signing class, Matos is inching closer and shouldn't be considered too far behind. MLB Pipeline has him as the Giants' No. 7 prospect. That's too far behind in my book.
There's a reason Baseball America and FanGraphs have Matos ranked No. 4 in San Francisco's farm system. That feels like a good landing spot, but I wouldn't be afraid to put him in the top three. Matos turned 19 years old this past January, has the best chance of sticking in center field out of the Giants' top outfield prospects and his eye-opening bat speed produces big-time power.
Matos doesn't have much minor league experience, but he dominated over 60 games in 2019. He hit .367 with seven home runs and 21 stolen bases between the Dominican Summer League and Arizona Rookie League. This will be a big year for him after the minor league season was canceled in 2020. Matos has a real chance of opening a lot more eyes and proving his sky-high potential.
The Giants gave fifth-round pick Garrett Frechette $797,500 in the 2019 draft, which was well over slot. It's clear the Giants believe in Frechette and he's showing why. The Southern California native made the biggest jump in the Giants' Top 30, going from unranked to No. 21 overall.
"His bat speed combines with the leverage and projectable strength in his 6-foot-3 frame to create considerable raw pop, and he already has added 10-15 pounds since turning pro," MLB Pipeline wrote in Frechette's scouting report.
Frechette is a left-handed first baseman, and it sounds like the Giants are going to give him some reps in left field this season as well. He's only 20 years old and already has a very smooth swing. While he still has a ways to go in getting to the big leagues, there are plenty of reasons to like Frechette's game and expect him to keep rising up the rankings.
Where 2020 MLB Draft Class is ranked
Last year's draft easily was the weirdest we've ever seen. It was shortened to just five rounds, but the Giants might have found some real talent. It didn't hurt that they had two extra picks thanks to Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith signing with other teams in free agency.
The Giants surprised many when they selected catcher Patrick Bailey just two years after taking Joey Bart. Farhan Zaidi believes you can never have too much catching depth and Bailey is ranked as the Giants' No. 6 overall prospect.
Bailey isn't the only 2020 pick ranked in the Giants' top 10. He's joined by left-handed pitcher Kyle Harrison, who was a local prep star at De La Salle High School. Harrison (No. 8) is followed by Nick Swiney (No. 15), Casey Schmitt (No. 16) and Jimmy Glowenke (No. 29). Pitchers R.J. Dabovich and Ryan Murphy aren't ranked yet.
Who has 2021 ETA?
The Giants have five players -- Bart, Ramos, Sean Hjelle, Tristan Beck and Jaylin Davis -- with 2021 ETAs in the big leagues. Bart and Davis already have made their MLB debuts, so that leaves just Ramos, Hjelle and Beck.
Ramos has crushed the ball this spring, making it hard for the 21-year-old to not force his way to San Francisco this summer. Hjelle and Beck both are starting pitchers, and the Giants badly need to see what they have going forward with the two this season as real options for the rotation in 2022 and for years to come. There's certainly a real chance they make their big league debuts as either a starter or reliever this season.
But there could be more debuts than just those three, which brings us to our next topic ...
Diving deeper into pitching depth
The Giants only have two pitchers -- Corry and Harrison -- ranked in their top 10. The top 30 consists of 18 position players and 12 pitchers. When it comes to depth lower on the list, there are a handful of arms who can help as soon as this season.
Manager Gabe Kapler has been impressed by Kervin Castro and Camilo Doval this spring. Both look like future options at closer, and could make their debuts at some point this season. Castro is ranked as the Giants' No. 25 overall prospect and Doval is one spot higher at No. 24. The Giants protected both of them, along with Gregory Santos, from the Rule 5 Draft last winter by adding them to the 40-man roster.
Santos is ranked as high as the Giants' fifth-best prospect by FanGraphs. But MLB Pipeline has him much lower at No. 13. He worked exclusively out of the bullpen in the Arizona fall Instructional League, and was one of the most impressive prospects in the desert. Pipeline says the Giants will progress with him as a starter, though.
There's no denying the Giants have more high-end hitting prospects than pitching. Their depth on the mound in the farm system also shouldn't be completely questioned. There are young arms who might even help this season, with guys like Corry on their way in the near future.