Giants building MLB's next elite farm system right now, Keith Law says


Giants building MLB's next elite farm system right now, Keith Law says

Prior to the cancelation of spring training due to the coronavirus pandemic, some Giants top prospects were opening eyes in Scottsdale. 

For the second straight year, Joey Bart proved once again he has all the skills to be a star in the near future. The Giants' top prospect hit .438 with two homers and a 1.401 OPS in nine games with the big league club. He wasn't the only young prospect impressing the coaching staff, too. 

Hunter Bishop, San Francisco's top pick from the 2019 MLB Draft, only had one hit in eight at-bats in major league camp but manager Gabe Kapler saw shades of Bryce Harper in the powerful outfielder. 

"I thought that Hunter Bishop coming over made a really good impression on all of us," Kapler said Monday on KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger, & Brooks." "And he's a first-round pick, he's got the pedigree, he's got the power. I thought about his swing and it's so violent, very similar to the way Bryce Harper is. Harper's is violent.

"By the way, I'm not comparing Hunter to Bryce Harper," Kapler continued. "What I am saying is there's some similarities in their personality, and their hustle and the way they play the game like their hair's on fire. So, Hunter made a really strong impression."

The Athletic's Keith Law is impressed, too. 

Here's what Law was asked in his "Klawchat" on March 26: "Who is the next team on the way to building an elite farm system?"

Law had one word to answer the question: "Giants." 

The Giants landed at No. 10 in Law's preseason farm system rankings at the beginning of March. But he isn't super high on any of San Francisco's top prospects. It's more about the entirety of the system. 

"I feel like the whole exceeds the sum of the parts here," Law wrote about the Giants' farm system in March. "Each individual Giants prospect of note has some significant risk of low or no return, but if you add them all up, there’s more than enough upside to start to feel optimistic about the Giants’ long-term future." 

[RELATED: These three Giants stood out to Kapler in spring training]

Bart (No. 44) and Bishop (No. 87) are joined by Heliot Ramos (No. 52) and Marco Luciano (No. 58) on Law's top 100. The Giants also signed an exciting 17-year-old shortstop last month, Javier Alexander Francisco Estrella, who already has been compared to young San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr.

While fans will have to wait to see these young players, there are plenty of reasons of optimism in San Francisco right now.

Giants sign 17-year-old prospect compared to Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr.


Giants sign 17-year-old prospect compared to Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr.

The Giants saw firsthand what a young superstar looks like last season every time they faced the San Diego Padres. Fernando Tatis Jr. showcased all his skills from Day 1 against San Francisco. 

Tatis, only 20 years old at the time, singled off Madison Bumgarner on Opening Day last season in his first big league at-bat. The young shortstop went 2-for-3 that day in a 2-0 win over the Giants. Nearly one year later, the Giants signed a prospect who already is being compared to Tatis. 

The Giants signed 17-year-old Javier Alexander Francisco Estrella from the Dominican Republic. Twitter account @Giantsprospects reported the news Monday night. MLB Insider Hector Gomez provided pictures of the signing on Tuesday morning. 

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Javier Alexander Francisco Estrella firma con los Gigantes de San Francisco. El talentoso campocorto @javieralexander2019, de 16 años, firmó con los Gigantes de San Francisco ¿El próximo Tatis Jr.? El béisbol es el deporte de las comparaciones y con frecuencia los fanáticos y analistas del juego suelen hacer el ejercicio con jugadores contemporáneos o de distintas épocas. Javier Alexander es un prospecto de 16 años, campocorto de 6’2’’ y 162 libras, que al igual que muchos jóvenes dominicanos, buscaba estampar su firma al profesionalismo el pasado Julio 2 del 2019. ¡Impresiona a todos! ¿Qué lo hace tan especial y similar a Fernando Tatis Jr.? Javier Alexander tiene una condición que lo hace especial para la mayoríade scouts que han tenido el chance de evaluarlo. Su increíble parecido en casi todos los aspectos del juego con el actual campocorto de los Padres de San Diego Fernando Tatis Jr. en el momento que Tatis esperaba ser firmado por alguna organización de MLB. Fernando Tatis, ex jugador de MLB, trabajó con Javier Francisco por más de un año y entiende que el parecido de ambos jugadores a la misma edad es impresionante. ‘’Hay mucha similitud entre ellos a la misma edad, Javier tiene un excelente desplazamiento, tremendo brazo, un swing fluido y limpio, golpea muy bien la pelota para todos los lados delterrenoy sabe jugar el juego. Esas son las condiciones que se necesitan para jugar una posición tan exigente como el campocorto y Javier las tiene. Como dirigente, ese es el tipo de jugador que me gusta’’, expresó. Dura realidad del sistema: Con una mirada firme, pero algo de amargura en el rostro, Tatis recuerda las dificultades que vivió mientras esperaba por la firma de su hijo Tatis Jr., puesto que apenas unos cuantos pudieron proyectar las herramientas del talentoso jugador que se ganó la titularidad en la posición número seis en el exigente béisbol de MLB con San Diego. ‘’No fue fácil, lo admito. Fue una gran prueba de paciencia para mí como padre y para toda nuestra familia. Hoy en día se busca un pelotero formado con 16 años y eso no es posible, ni aquí ni en ningún lugar del mundo", sostuvo con un dejo de impotencia.

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Fernando Tatis Sr., who played 11 years in the majors and is the father of the Padres' young star, worked with Francisco Estrella for over a year in the Dominican Republic. The former big leaguer saw the similarities between his son and the Giants' new prospect right away. 

"There is a lot of similarity between them at the same age," Tatis Sr. said to Gomez in June 2019. "Javier has an excellent displacement, tremendous arm, a fluid and clean swing -- he hits the ball very well from all sides and he knows how to play the game. Those are the conditions that are needed to play a position as demanding as the shortstop and Javier has them.

"As a manager, that's the type of player that I like." 

Francisco Estrella already is 6-foot-2 and 162 pounds. Video evidence shows how closely he resembles Tatis Jr. under the elder's coaching. 

This latest signing only adds to the Giants' improved farm system. MLB Pipeline and The Athletic's Keith Law both ranked San Francisco's farm system as the 10th best in baseball. Fellow teenage shortstop Marco Luciano is a big reason for the Giants' rise, too. 

[RELATED: Four Giants named to Keith Law's top 100 prospects]

Luciano, who the Giants signed in July 2018, was only 17 years old all of last season when he made his minor league debut. He opened eyes right away by hitting .322 with 10 home runs and a 1.055 OPS in 38 games with the AZL Giants Orange in the Arizona Rookie League before finishing the season for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in Short-Season Class A. 

Between Francisco Estrella and Luciano, Giants fans can only hope for the next Tatis Jr. in San Francisco.

*Editor's note: The article originally listed Javier Alexander Francisco Estrella's age as 16 years old.