The 2021 Minor League Baseball season is starting to creep out of the small sample size phase. It's not quite here yet, but we're getting there.
That brings us to this point: Losing last year's season to the COVID-19 pandemic really hurt some players, and it's showing early on. Baseball America's JJ Cooper did a thorough breakdown Monday morning of some sloppy play so far in the minors. That isn't a knock against the prospects, it's a reality check of just how important in-game development is.
For instance, Giants top prospect Marco Luciano is batting just .190 with 12 strikeouts and two walks in 10 games for the San Jose Giants so far. That isn't to say the 19-year-old is a bust. Far from it. More than anything, it's a reminder that some very talented prospects might take some more time to get going this season.
Hitters need live at-bats, the same goes for pitchers. On the mound, it has to do with fine-tuning. Kyle Harrison, the Giants' top pitching prospect, has a 1.69 ERA and 14 strikeouts through just 5 1/3 innings for San Jose, but he also has walked eight batters and hit two.
There has been plenty of good, too. Here are three things to know in our latest Giants minor league review.
Farhan Zaidi's Smartest Move?
Kevin Gausman, Alex Wood, Anthony DeSclafani, Mauricio Dubon, Alex Dickerson, Wilmer Flores ... the list goes on and on. The first-place Giants have a roster full of very, very good signings by president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.
The result of perhaps his smartest move, however, could be a red-hot infielder in Eugene.
San Francisco essentially bought Will Wilson from the Los Angeles Angels in December 2019 as a salary dump so the Halos could get rid of Zack Cozart's contract. That has worked wonders so far for the Giants.
Wilson has hit safely in all 10 of his games with the High-A Eugene Emeralds to start the season. He's batting .415, has three home runs, six doubles and a 1.329 OPS. After being robbed of hard contact all throughout big league camp, balls are falling in Wilson's favor all over the field, or beyond the fence.
Wilson mostly is playing shortstop right now for the Emeralds, but has the ability to get the job done at second and third base as well. His bat isn't the only part of his game that is getting attention, though.
When Zaidi recently talked about promoting prospects in the near future, Wilson was one the players he said he has been impressed with. Wilson could soon be on his way to Double-A Richmond, and appears on the fast track to San Francisco.
Luis Matos is Mashing
Though Luciano is off to a slow start in San Jose, there still is good news for the young and talented Baby Giants squad. Fans at this point are plenty familiar with Luciano, Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos. But Luis Matos can't be forgotten.
Matos started the season just 1-for-13. The 19-year-old center fielder has been on absolute fire ever since.
After going 2-for-5 on Sunday, Matos now is batting .383 with a 1.009 OPS in 11 games. He has two home runs, five doubles and has stolen three bases.
Matos is an extremely quick-twitch athlete with next-level bat speed. Don't be surprised if he's seen as the Giants' second-best prospect very soon.
Tyler Beede on his Way Back?
The Giants' starting pitching couldn't be much better right now. Wood was the latest to throw a gem Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, putting an exclamation point on what has been the best rotation in baseball.
But depth is extremely important, as the Giants already found out when Johnny Cueto went down to injury earlier this season.
Rotation help could soon be on the way.
Beede has made three rehab appearances for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats as he comes back from Tommy John surgery. His last outing was lights out as he tossed three scoreless innings Saturday, allowing just one hit with four strikeouts and no walks.
Before going down to injury last year, Beede looked great in spring training. He has been hampered by injury and inconsistencies in the past, but when he's right, he still has A-plus stuff.
Beede has been eyeing a June return to the Giants, and it will be interesting to see how they use him when he's deemed ready to roll for the big league club. At the very worst, he brings needed depth to a team that looks more and more like a real contender.