How Giants' top five prospects following 2017 season turned out
No. 1: Chris Shaw
Taken 31st overall in 2015, Shaw signed with the Giants having built a reputation for showing big-time power. He went to Salem-Keizer that summer and hit 12 bombs in 46 games, and he has at least 20 homers in every minor league season since. Shaw's first big league homer went 468 feet. The problem, of course, is that it remains his only big-league homer.
Shaw has had 82 scattered plate appearances in the big leagues and finds himself in that dreaded position where he has put up big numbers in Triple-A but hasn't grabbed a big-league job, in large part because of high strikeout numbers. Shaw no longer shows up on prospect lists, but he's only 26 and power hitters always take longer to develop. Perhaps the new staff can unlock the potential that once made him the organization's top prospect.
No. 2 Tyler Beede
Like Shaw, Beede is a first-round pick who has had trouble breaking through that final wall, but he seemed to finally be getting there this spring. Beede's fastball velocity, which dipped when he was going through the minors, is back up to 97-98 when he's on, and he showed flashes last year as the Giants let him sink or swim.
Beede was headed for a rotation spot this spring when his elbow started barking and he's currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. He should be back early next season, and the new staff is eager to see if he can find the consistency that will make him a regular in the rotation for years to come.
No. 3: Heliot Ramos
Drafted 19th overall in 2017, Ramos went straight to the top three on the organization's list and has remained there. Pipeline still ranks him third in the organization, although now he's behind Joey Bart and Marco Luciano. The 2017 scouting report basically hit on everything that remains true. He's a high-ceiling outfielder with raw power, and last year that led to 13 homers in San Jose before a promotion. Ramos has remained in center, although it remains unclear where he'll ultimately end up.
Regardless, he should arrive in the next year. Ramos was a good bet for a September call-up before the season was halted and is a candidate to be on a 50-man roster as part of the taxi squad. The Giants would love to see him join Bart in the lineup next year, showing fans that the future has finally started to arrive.
No. 4: Austin Slater
With Slater three years removed from Stanford, Pipeline's scouting report read: "entered pro ball with an inside-out right-handed swing and it took him time to learn to get his bat head out front." That's still the case to an extent, as Slater saw success early on by shooting balls to right field but has had to alter his swing over time to tap into more power.
It feels like Slater has been around forever, but he's still just 27 and still looking to reach 200 at-bats in a season for the first time. This might have been his best shot, as the new staff likes his versatility. If the game returns in July with increased rosters and doubleheaders, Slater could see quite a bit of action.
No. 5: Steven Duggar
The most interesting part of the scouting report on Duggar comes at the end. "He spent most of his college career in right field, in part because he has a strong arm," Pipeline wrote. "But he played quality defense when he got extensive time in center last year." Duggar's best trait right now is that defense in center, and if he can stay healthy that'll keep him in the big leagues.
He never put up dominant numbers in the minors but always had a good eye, which thus far hasn't translated to the big leagues. Duggar has had back-to-back seasons wrecked by shoulder injuries, but he's still just 26 and the glove is so important that he'll definitely get another shot.
The Top 30 from 2017 is filled with guys who have already gotten an opportunity or have been part of noteworthy transactions. Aramis Garcia (6) and Andrew Suarez (9) have had their cracks at the big leagues and are still around, and Shaun Anderson (14) and Sam Coonrod (18) are former starters who could be big parts of the bullpen moving forward.
Miguel Gomez (21) briefly made the big leagues and earned a "Go-Go" nickname from Bruce Bochy. Julian Fernandez (25) made the list after being taken in the Rule 5 Draft, but he had Tommy John surgery before ever appearing for the Giants, rehabbed with them and then the Marlins, and ultimately got returned to his original team, the Rockies. You might remember Jason Bahr (30) as the prospect the Giants had to attach to Cory Gearrin and Austin Jackson to shed their salaries and dip under the tax. He reached Double-A last season with the Rangers.
The biggest surprise from this class has been Reyes Moronta, who broke through in San Jose in 2016 and reached the big leagues the next season. Ranked 23rd in the organization in 2017, Moronta might have been the closer this year had he not suffered a shoulder injury last summer. Left-hander Seth Corry (11) is now ranked fifth in the organization and the Giants have high hopes for him after he posted a 1.76 ERA in Low-A Augusta.
Alexander Canario (17) is sixth on the current list. In 2017, Pipeline wrote "If his bat develops like San Francisco hopes, he could be a legitimate five-tool player." Well, Canario had an OPS of 1.000 in the minors last season.
Haven't Made it Yet
This is about the time you would expect most of the top 20 from 2017 to be vying for big-league jobs, but there have been a lot of guys who have stalled. Sandro Fabian (7) hasn't gotten past San Jose yet and is currently ranked 27th.
He's only 22 years old, though. Heath Quinn (8) reached Double-A last season. Joan Gregorio (10) played in the Mexican League last year. Jacob Gonzalez (12) has spent two years with Augusta and hasn't hit much, but he's still just 21. C.J. Hinojosa (13) got to big league camp but missed time with a suspension and is now with the Brewers organization.
Around the Majors
The Giants actually had a shot at having the top prospect in the game heading into the 2018 season. They made a hard run at Shohei Ohtani and drew consideration, but he ultimately signed with the Angels and immediately became MLB Pipeline's No. 1 prospect. Gleyber Torres (2) and Ronald Acuña Jr. (6) are the best of the Top 10 so far, but there are plenty of guys who could become superstars, including Vlad Guerrero Jr. (4), Eloy Jimenez (5) and Michael Kopech (10).
Jack Flaherty was ranked 48th and Fernando Tatis Jr. was 52nd, but they're not even the most underrated members of that class. At No. 37, there's a skinny 19-year-old Nationals outfielder named Juan Soto with a scouting report that includes "has the makings of a middle-of-the-order hitter at maturity." He ended up hitting that level the very next season.