Five Giants prospects who are underrated coming off big 2019 seasons

Five Giants prospects who are underrated coming off big 2019 seasons

The Giants are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. With shrewd international spending and some solid drafts from two regimes, they're generally considered to now have a top 10 farm system, one that could vault much higher in the coming years. 

That's how you build a sustainable winner, and the Giants are counting on Joey Bart, Marco Luciano, Heliot Ramos, Hunter Bishop and the rest to get them back to prominence. But you don't win a World Series with just first-round draft picks. You need contributions from guys who might not be all that well known as they're working their way through professional ball, and that's what made 2019 so exciting. 

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The Giants have plenty of prospects coming off sneaky-good seasons. Here are five who stood out from 2019:

Alexander Canario

The group that went through Salem-Keizer last summer is a big part of what gives the Giants so much hope. Bishop and most of last year's draft class did well, and lesser-known prospects like Franklin Labour and Sean Roby put up strong numbers. The guy who really stands out for what he did in Oregon and elsewhere is someone most fans are beginning to know. 

Canario, an outfielder, isn't fully under the radar anymore. He's starting to get more and more attention, but he still is not someone popping up on top 100 lists. Perhaps another season like 2019 will change that.

As a 19-year-old, Canario hit seven homers in 43 at-bats in the rookie-level Arizona League and that power carried over to Salem-Keizer. In 193 at-bats, he had nine homers, a triple and 17 at-bats, batting .301, albeit with a high strikeout rate. In all, Canario had a .318/.377/.623 slash line in 2019 and he entered this year No. 6 on MLB Pipeline's organizational top 30. 

Kai-Wei Teng

The Sam Dyson trade has the potential to be quite the heist for Farhan Zaidi, who did extremely well in two other deals made that afternoon (Mauricio Dubon from the Brewers; Mark Melancon's salary to the Braves). The Giants sent Dyson to Minnesota and he almost immediately went on the Injured List, ultimately having shoulder surgery (there are horrific off-field allegations against him, too). In return, they got Jaylin Davis -- who crushed in Sacramento and could be a big part of the outfield this year -- and two young right-handers. 

Prelander Berroa only pitched once in rookie ball, but Teng went to Low-A Augusta and built off everything else he's done as a professional. Signed for $500,000 out of Taiwan in 2017, Teng has a 2.28 ERA in the minors thus far. He made five appearances for Augusta after the trade, allowing five earned runs in 29 innings, with 39 strikeouts to just seven walks. He didn't allow a home run and has given up just one in 122 1/3 professional innings. 

Luis Matos

Want to feel old? We're about to discuss a prospect who was born in 2002.

Matos, an outfielder from Venezuela, is part of a 2018 international class that has the potential to be a game-changer for the Giants. In his professional debut as a 17-year-old, he showed why he's currently ranked as the organization's eighth-best prospect, per Pipeline. 

Matos played 55 games in the Dominican Summer League, batting .362 with an OPS of a 1.000. He had seven homers, two triples and doubled in 10 percent of his at-bats. Matos also stole 20 bases in 22 attempts and limited his strikeouts. He played five additional games in rookie ball in Arizona, going 7-for-16. Matos is a guy you hear about when you ask Giants people for underrated prospects, and the numbers back up the early hype.

Matt Frisbee 

Asked about the 2019 San Jose Giants, some players on that team pointed to Frisbee as the player who doesn't get enough attention. It's hard to shoot up prospect lists when you're a right-hander who doesn't throw 98 mph, but Frisbee got impressive results last season. 

After being taken in the 15th round out of UNC-Greensboro in 2018, Frisbee pitched out of the bullpen for Salem-Keizer. Last year he went back to being a starter, posting a 2.81 ERA in a quick cameo in Augusta before making 22 appearances -- 20 starts -- for San Jose. Frisbee had a 3.17 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 131 strikeouts to just 22 walks. He's not someone you'll find on top prospect lists, but thus far he has cruised through the low minors.

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Tyler Cyr 

He was on the fast track a few years ago, pitching in the Arizona Fall League in 2017 and then getting an invite to big league camp the next spring. But the right-hander suffered an elbow fracture early that season and had season-ending surgery.

Cyr returned to Double-A Richmond last year, making 37 relief appearances with a 2.05 ERA. He struck out 57 batters in 48 1/3 innings. Cyr was back in camp this spring and could be a candidate for the taxi squad if the Giants resume play. 

Fellow right-hander Sam Wolff, who came over in the Matt Moore trade with the Rangers, has had a similar path. He also has dealt with injuries but had a 1.78 ERA for Richmond last year and was in camp this spring as well.

Padres troll Giants, Dodgers with hilarious fun fact about Max Muncy

Padres troll Giants, Dodgers with hilarious fun fact about Max Muncy

Things were simpler for the Giants a year ago.

I'm not even referring to the global pandemic-shaped elephant in the room, or the coronavirus' impact on baseball and society writ large. No, I'm thinking of the fact that Madison Bumgarner still wore orange and black in 2019, and his beef(s) with celebrating hitters were still on the minds of Giants' fans. 

The San Diego Padres, apparently, also pine for that simpler time. A fun fact about Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy on the Petco Park scoreboard called back to the Bumgarner era on Monday night, reminding us that the man sometimes known as Mason Saunders and Muncy traded verbal barbs last season.

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You might not remember the particulars, considering everything that happened in the 421 days between Muncy telling Bumgarner to fetch Muncy's homer "out of the ocean" and the Padres alluding to it Monday.

Muncy said he said as much to Bumgarner when the former Giants pitcher ... took issue with the speed at which Muncy rounded the bases.

A hydrological debate over whether or not McCovey Cove, and thus San Francisco Bay, could be considered an ocean followed suit, as did Muncy and the Dodgers capitalizing on the dinger. Muncy wore a shirt with his retort when the Dodgers and Giants played again less than two weeks later, and the Dodgers were set to give out bobbleheads immortalizing Muncy's trash talk this season. That'll have to wait until 2021 at the earliest, as no fans are allowed in MLB ballparks this season.

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Of course, considering the last few months, 2019 will feel like ancient history by the time fans can safely attend baseball games. A long-past Muncy-Bumgarner feud probably won't be top of mind for anyone at that point.

The Padres might need to provide a few more scoreboard reminders of it in the meantime.

Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper give George Kontos hilarious analyst advice

Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper give George Kontos hilarious analyst advice

George Kontos entered the first day of his new life Monday. The former reliever made his debut as a Giants analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area, appearing on "Pregame Live" and "Postgame Live."

Prior to the Giants' 7-6 loss to the Colorado Rockies, broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper gave Kontos some advice before his debut. To no surprise, Kuiper went the more comedic route, too.

"Well, my advice is going to be the best one, and it's going to be the simplest one before I hand it over to Mike," Kuiper said. "If you think you're really going to say something stupid, just stop and tell everybody that you have to take a pee." 

Kontos, who pitched for the Giants from 2013 through 2017, couldn't help but laugh at Kuiper's supposed advice. 

"I'll remember that, absolutely," Kontos said. "That's great advice." 

Krukow went a little more literal while still keeping it light for Kontos. 

"George, no cuss words -- not allowed," Krukow said. "And No. 2, listen to your play-by-play guy or in this case, listen to [Greg] Papa. He will bring you in, he will let out and he will cover your mistakes.

"Trust him."

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Kontos, 35, had an eight-year big league career. He last pitched in 2018, when he suited up for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees that season. Over six seasons with the Giants, he went 15-14 with a 3.05 ERA. 

Kontos also won the 2012 World Series as a member of the Giants and proudly sported his ring on the air. 

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