Down on the Farm: Top 10 Giants prospects to watch in 2018
Keep your eyes on these guys
The Giants will not find themselves at the top of any prospect rankings. In reality they fall closer near the bottom than anywhere else. That doesn't mean there aren't prospects worth noting, however.
Look at their current team at the big-league level. The Giants are led by Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt. All were home grown, and all played significant roles in bringing multiple World Series titles to San Francisco.
Who's next? This isn't so much a numerical ordered list of the top prospects in the Giants system, but instead 10 players you need to watch this year for different reasons, affecting the team in the present and future.
10. Shaun Anderson, 23, RHP
Anderson was the headliner in the Giants' trade of Eduardo Nunez to the Red Sox. When the Giants acquired him, Anderson became their No. 17 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. After his 2017 season, he's rising up the ranks. At the start of this season, Anderson is ranked as San Francisco's No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline and No. 9 by Baseball America.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander combined for a 9-6 record and 3.44 ERA over 123 innings pitched with the three teams he suited up for in 2017. Anderson sits between 91-94 and hits 96 mph with his fastball. The Giants are bumping Anderson up to Double-A Richmond to start the year. If he has a big year there, he can be in the conversation for the team's top pitching prospect.
9. Ryan Howard, 24, SS/3B
In 2017, Ryan Howard looked like an old Giants friend with a perfect fat cat. Is he the team's next Matt Duffy? Howard certainly has the traits. He easily makes contact, has a solid glove and arm as a shortstop but not the most range, and while he'll find his hits all over the field, he's still searching for that power stroke.
Over 127 games with the San Jose Giants, Howard batted .306 and totaled 161 hits, including nine home runs. But, he only walked 23 times and had a lowly .397 slugging percentage. Howard has the needed hitting instincts. Will he find his offensive numbers in the pitcher-friendly park at Double-A Richmond?
8. Jacob Gonzalez, 19, 3B
Gonzalez is more than the son of someone who once hit 57 home runs in one season, and he proved that in his debut. In fact, he proved that before he was even drafted. As the Giants' second-round pick in 2017, Jacob went two rounds earlier than Luis did in 1988 before the elder went on to be a five-time All-Star.
The third baseman slashed .339/.418/.458 with 15 doubles in 46 games in Rookie League. He has natural pop, but only knocked one over the fence in his first season. Expect more homers this year with the Augusta GreenJackets. Gonzalez is the team's No. 10 prospect by Baseball America and No. 11 by MLB Pipeline.
7. Aramis Garcia, 25, C
Garcia could easily be Buster Posey's backup at the beginning of 2019 and don't be surprised if we see him at some point this season. Behind the dish, Garcia has a rocket of an arm and he's full of power at the plate.
After 17 home runs in 81 games, Garcia was bumped from Single-A to Double-A. In Richmond, he upped his batting average, but didn't hit any more home runs. It will be interesting to watch three things with Garcia this year: 1) How will his power translate to Richmond this time around?
2) Will we see him at first base more with his concussion history?
3) When will we see him in Sacramento, where Hector Sanchez and Trevor Brown are the catchers in Triple-A?
6. Sandro Fabian, 20, OF
Fabian turned 20 years old on March 6 and is the youngest player on the San Jose Giants. His hit tool is way ahead of his age. His patience, however, needs some work.
At 19 years old, Fabian hit .277 and knocked 11 home runs in Augusta. On the other hand, he had just a .297 on-base percentage with 10 walks to 88 strikeouts. His maturity at the plate and power will be worth paying attention to on a nightly basis in San Jose.
5. Andrew Suarez, 25, LHP
In many circles, Suarez may now be seen as the Giants' top pitching prospect. He doesn't have the highest upside with stuff that jumps off the page, but he simply knows how to pitch and get the job done.
Madison Bumgarner is on the DL, as is Jeff Samardzija to start the season. Injuries are inevitable. Suarez is starting the season off in Sacramento and fans shouldn't have to wait forever to see him in San Francisco. He is ranked as the team's No. 8 prospect by Baseball America and No. 10 by MLB Pipeline.
4. Tyler Beede, 24, RHP
This is a big start to the season for Beede, ranked as the Giants' top pitching prospect. Does he still hold that honor? He has the stuff and now needs to show the consistency to start the season in Triple-A.
In the world of wanting prospects ready to go right away, many fans have grown impatient with Beede. Stay patient, for now. When healthy, he can be slotted right into a big-league rotation. If he can't find the zone though, his future outlook changes. Beede will have to give the Giants answers quickly in Sacramento.
3. Chris Shaw, 24, LF
Here's some analysis for you: Chris Shaw can hit. Really, really hit. The big question, will his bat force his way up to the bigs, and how soon? Shaw led all levels of the Giants with 24 home runs last season, all while slashing .292/.346/.525 between Double-A and Triple-A.
Ranked as the Giants' No. 2 prospect by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, the Giants will actually be monitoring Shaw's glove more than his bat. The team knows he can hit. What they want to see is how his slimmed down body is reading balls in left field. Shaw has a major-league bat. Now, let's see how long it takes the Giants to take advantage of the left-handed stroke.
2. Steven Duggar, 24, CF
Duggar will wear a Giants jersey more than a River Cats jersey this season. He nearly made the Opening Day roster, but starting him in Triple-A was the best move for more reasons than all the lefties the Giants will see to start the season. Duggar needs more everyday at-bats as his glove remains ahead of his bat.
In spring training, Duggar showed his plus speed and defense. Many have compared him to Gold Glove outfielders and he backed it up in the desert. The mystery remains his bat. Duggar has the all-around tools everywhere, a smooth swing and showed more power in Scottsdale.
1. Heliot Ramos, 18, OF
Mr. Untouchable is the Giants' undisputed No. 1 prospect at only 18 years old. Everyone wanted Ramos during offseason trade talks and the Giants knew the right answer was "no."
Ramos' athleticism is off the charts. And he's more than just an athlete. The teenager has all the makings of a five-tool player. In 35 Rookie League games, Ramos slashed .348/.404/.645 with six home runs, six triples, and six doubles. Do the Giants have a future star on their hands? Find a way to watch an Augusta GreenJackets game this year.