There was no minor league season last year, but that didn't stop the Giants from continuing to improve what now is one of the game's best farm systems. They already had a strong group, and last summer a couple of teenagers took a leap that could soon have them listed among the game's very best prospects.
Baseball America released its annual list of top 10 Giants prospects, and while there were no surprises at the top -- Marco Luciano was followed by Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos -- the top five was rounded out by a couple of players who have combined to play just a handful of professional games. Luis Matos, an 18-year-old center fielder, vaulted all the way up to fourth after a strong performance in the instructional league. Kyle Harrison, a left-hander taken in last June's draft, debuted in the fifth spot.
Matos was signed out of Venezuela in 2018 and has long been a favorite of Giants evaluators and scouts, but he's starting to get national recognition. He has played just five official games in the United States and wasn't included on the alternate roster last summer, but he spent the year working out in Arizona and then proved to be one of the more powerful prospects in the instructional league, held after the MLB season. Matos has lighting fast hands and one of the prettiest swings you'll see from a right-handed-hitting prospect.
Baseball America wrote that Matos is the most likely of the Giants' outfield prospects to stay in center long-term and added "no Giants prospect raised his stock more than Matos during the challenging conditions of the 2020 season."
Before the big league season started, the Giants took Harrison, a De La Salle product, in the third round and gave him a signing bonus of $2.5 million, well over the slot value of the pick. The Giants believed he was a first-round talent and were able to sign him despite a strong commitment to UCLA.
Harrison also played in the instructional league, and general manager Scott Harris recently said the 19-year-old starter was one of the fall's standouts.
"He was up to 97 (mph) and he was landing all three pitches for strikes and just dominating some young hitters in instructs," Harris said. "That was really fun to watch."
BA ranked Harrison two spots ahead of catcher Patrick Bailey, who was the Giants' first-round pick. Outfielder Hunter Bishop, taken in the first round in 2019, was ranked sixth. Outfielder Alexander Canario, left-hander Seth Corry and infielder Will Wilson rounded out the top 10.