Top Giants prospect Marco Luciano gets a lot of the publicity, and rightfully so, but there is another shortstop in San Francisco's minor league system worth keeping an eye on.
Aeverson Arteaga doesn't come with the hype of Luciano -- or the signing bonus -- but the 19-year-old Venezuelan is climbing up the Giants' prospect rankings (currently No. 11, per MLB Pipeline) and is turning heads in Arizona this spring.
The Giants inked Arteaga during the 2019 international signing period and gave the then-16-year-old a $1 million bonus, the largest they handed out that summer. Three years later, they are starting to see that investment pay off.
Arteaga got his first taste of pro ball last season, playing in 57 games for the Giants' Arizona Complex Team. He slashed .294/.367/.503 with 12 doubles, one triple, nine homers and 43 RBI. He walked 23 times, struck out 69 times and stole eight bases. At the end of the minor league season, the Giants sent Arteaga to Low-A San Jose for one game where he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
This spring, Arteaga is playing in High-A games on the backfields in Arizona, and that's where he caught the eye of The Athletic's prospect expert Keith Law.
"On Thursday, the Giants and Cubs affiliates played each other, with the High-A game played at the Cubs’ Sloan Park," Law wrote Saturday. "Giants shortstop prospect Aeverson Arteaga showed off an impressive right-handed swing with big rotation and hard contact throughout the High-A game. The 6-foot-1 infielder who just turned 19 earlier this month, did strike out too often last year, and some of his power output may have been the result of the Giants’ ACL home park, but that’s a swing on which I’ll gladly bet."
Last week, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Arteaga showed off his blossoming power with a homer in a High-A game against the Athletics.
While Arteaga is playing in High-A games this spring, it's more likely that he will start the 2022 minor league season with the Low-A San Jose Giants, while Luciano starts with the High-A Eugene Emeralds.
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The future looks bright for the Giants, led by Luciano, Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos and Luis Matos, among others at the top of their prospect ranking. But Arteaga is right behind them and could climb up the rankings with a big first full season of pro ball in 2022.