There are two things we know about the four players the Giants recently added to their 40-man roster.
There's a decent chance that most of them are pushed off the 40-man before the calendar turns to 2022, and there's an equally decent chance that one of them ends up being the latest surprise contributor when the season gets going a few months later.
Since Farhan Zaidi took over three years ago, the Giants have undergone an endless churn on the back end of their 40-man, but they have found plenty of diamonds in the rough. There's no such thing as a "minor" November move these days by the Giants, so an eyebrow should be raised every time a new player joins the mix.
With three waiver claims and one selection from the Triple-A roster, the Giants recently added four players to a 40-man that now stands at 38 players. Here's what you need to know about them:
Hunter Harvey, RHP: Claimed from the Baltimore Orioles, Harvey was the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 draft, which should be enough to intrigue every Giants fan and make every Orioles fan cringe. Thirteen rounds later that year, the Orioles selected Mike Yastrzemski.
There's a lot more in Harvey's profile, though, that makes him an ideal Giants reclamation project. They like to bet on players who were high draft picks (hello, Kevin Gausman) and they especially like to bet on players who are undervalued because they were recently hurt (hello, Alex Wood). Harvey checks both boxes.
The 26-year-old was a top 100 prospect as late as 2016 but his trip through the minors was halted repeatedly by injuries, including an elbow issue that cost him two seasons and led to Tommy John. In nine years as a professional, Harvey has made just 107 appearances on a mound, including 26 in the big leagues.
He pitched in just nine games last season because of lat and oblique injuries, and he finished the year on the 60-day IL. When the Orioles brought him off the 60-day and tried to get him through waivers, the Giants, the last team in the waiver order, pounced. So, what did they see?
Harvey has primarily been a two-pitch -- four-seamer and power curve -- guy in the big leagues, and the fastball is a big one. He averaged 97 mph last year and hit 98, and he has gone a couple ticks higher in the past. While the minor league appearances are scattered, he has averaged 10.5 K/9 in the minors and has 23 strikeouts in 25 big league innings, with walk and homer rates that are just fine.
Throw him in Brian Bannister's lab and give him a reliable breaking ball to go with that big fastball and the Giants might have an interesting relief arm here. And the flip side to all of those injuries is that -- if he can get and stay healthy -- it's an arm without a lot of innings on it.
Austin Dean, OF: The 28-year-old has the most big league experience of this group, having played 123 games for the Marlins and Cardinals over the last four seasons. He has a .225/.282/.391 slash line while playing primarily left field, with a little right field and first base sprinkled in. The Giants claimed him from the Cardinals.
While none of those numbers jump off the page, Dean does have a .349 career OBP in the minors and hit 18 homers in 252 at-bats in Triple-A two years ago. In 174 career games in Triple-A, he has a .394 OBP, 28 homers and 37 doubles. Dean also has been an above-average runner at the big league level by sprint speed.
He also once did this:
Dean is a right-handed hitter who has mostly played left field, so his fate will be determined by how the rest of the offseason shuffle plays out. With Buster Posey retired and Kris Bryant a free agent, the Giants can use all the right-handed options they can get, but if they re-sign Brandon Belt they'll have Darin Ruf and Austin Slater to take most of those right-handed at-bats in left field.
Joe Palumbo, LHP: A 30th-round pick in 2013, the New York native broke through in 2016 and had 22 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings the next year when Tommy John came calling. The Rangers added him to their 40-man roster as he rehabbed and he had been there ever since, until the Giants picked him up.
Palumbo, who turned 27 last month, made the big leagues in 2019 and allowed 20 earned runs in 19 career big league innings for the Rangers, striking out 26. He has had high strikeout rates throughout his career, but also has struggled with command. Palumbo's fastball averaged 94 mph in 2019 and 92 mph in his big league appearances the next year. He also throws a curveball and changeup, and the curve hasn't been hit much in his limited big league time. It's an easy delivery:
Like with Harvey, Palumbo has had trouble staying on the field. Ulcerative colitis cost him most of the 2020 season and a back injury wiped out his 2021 year. The Giants don't have a lot of pitching depth in Triple-A right now, though, so if they can hold Palumbo through the offseason, he might be someone worth watching in the spring.
Yunior Marte, RHP: While the others here are all newcomers, Marte spent all of last season with Triple-A Sacramento, posting a 3.49 ERA in 43 appearances. In 56 2/3 innings, he struck out 62 batters, walked 23 and allowed four homers. According to the River Cats, Marte had a 2.37 ERA in his final 19 innings for them with three saves in three opportunities.
The Giants signed Marte to a minor league deal last offseason and invited him to big league camp, and he was one of the last NRIs to be reassigned last spring. It's a fastball-slider mix, with the fastball sitting in the mid-to-upper 90s this past season and reaching 100.
Marte walked a ton of batters earlier in his career but his command got better as the 2021 season went on and the Giants saw enough that they added him to their 40-man last week at a time when a lot of his teammates were becoming minor league free agents.