Marco Luciano

How Giants' top five MLB prospects from preseason performed in 2019

How Giants' top five MLB prospects from preseason performed in 2019

While the Giants have tumbled down the standings in the final month of the season after making an earlier postseason push, the team's farm system experienced quite the 180 this season. 

The Sacramento River Cats won the Pacific Coast League and now play one final game Tuesday against the Columbus Clippers in the Triple-A National Championship. San Francisco's Triple-A team was one of the Giants' five affiliates to make the playoffs this year. In one season, the Giants went from one of the worst collections of minor leaguers in baseball to a middle-of-the-pack farm system with prospects on the rise. 

Through trades, call-ups and players rising and falling, the Giants' top prospects list has changed for the better. Trading for a player like Mauricio Dubon, who looks like an everyday solution up the middle for the long term, only helps. 

Prior to the season, and the Giants improving their farm system, here is how MLB.com ranked the team's top five prospects: Catcher Joey Bart, outfielder Heliot Ramos, shortstop Marco Luciano, pitcher Shaun Anderson and pitcher Logan Webb.

Let's look at how each performed this year and what it says about their future.

Joey Bart, Catcher

Bart entered the season with unreasonable expectations. He hit .298 with 13 homers for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in Class A Short Season last year after the Giants selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. Fans really started clamoring for his MLB debut when he hit .350 for the big league club in spring training, and took home the Barney Nugent Award

Bart began the 2019 season with the San Jose Giants in Class A Advanced. He had two hits and two RBI in his team debut and really hit his stride in July when he batted .289 with six homers for the month. 

His time in San Jose came to an end in early August when the Giants promoted the catcher to Double-A Richmond. After a slow start, Bart caught fire to end the year. He was named the Eastern League Player of the Week to end the regular season when he hit .538 with a homer, four doubles, a triple and six RBI in his final seven games. 

[RELATED: Why Giants top prospects exceeded expectations]

Between San Jose and Richmond, Bart hit .278 with 16 homers and an .824 OPS this season. He will take the next big step this week when the Arizona Fall League begins Wednesday. There, he could learn another position for the first time, advancing his ETA to big leagues. 

Though it likely won't be at the beginning of the season, expect Bart to join the Giants at some point next year.

Heliot Ramos, Outfielder

Ramos, who just recently turned 20 years old, came into the season after a down year in Low A Augusta. He made the needed adjustments over the winter, however, and was the Giants' most impressive prospect this year. 

Built more like a running back than a center fielder, Ramos showed off his five-tool potential this year. The Giants' top pick in the 2017 draft hit .306 with 13 homers and an .885 OPS. He was promoted to Double-A the same day as Bart and hit .242 with three more homers for the Flying Squirrels. 

At the time of his call-up, Ramos was the youngest prospect ever to play for Richmond. He hit .290 with 16 homers, 24 doubles and an .850 OPS. There's no overstating just how special he was this season at such a young age. 

Ramos will be 20 all next season. The Giants want he and Bart to be on similar paths to the majors, but will they bring him up that young? 

When the Giants drafted Ramos, he said he wanted to play at Oracle Park in three years. It's quite the stretch, but don't doubt the young star.

Marco Luciano, Shortstop

For as much hype as Bart and Ramos garnered this year, Luciano might have earned even more. 

Luciano turned 18 less than a week ago. Like Ramos, he's extremely advanced for his age. Already standing 6-foot-2 and 178 pounds, Luciano hit .322 with 10 homers and a 1.055 OPS over 38 games in the Arizona Rookie League. He also added nine doubles, two triples and eight stolen bases. 

Before he even turned 18, Luciano played nine games with Salem-Keizer. His season was cut short due to an ankle injury, but it's not thought to be serious.

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has raved about Luciano and the shortstop already is getting compared to a young Alfonso Soriano. Giants fans will need some patience with this one, but he looks to be worth the wait. 

Shaun Anderson, Pitcher 

All Anderson needed was eight starts with Sacramento this season to get called up to San Francisco. His future, however, still is a bit of a mystery.

Anderson, 24, was 2-1 with a 3.76 ERA for the River Cats over eight starts when he received his promotion. He has had his ups and downs with the Giants, especially as a starter. 

The young right-hander had a 5.33 ERA with six strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 starts with the Giants. He recently has pitched as a reliever, striking out 11 batters in 9 2/3 innings. Anderson is posting 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings out of the bullpen and his strikeouts-to-walk ratio has jumped to 2.8. 

There's no doubt Anderson will have a future on the mound in the majors. Whether he's starting games or relieving -- possibly as the Giants' closer -- is yet to be determined.

Logan Webb, Pitcher 

Webb came into the year as the Giants' fastest rising pitching prospect. He then had a 2.00 ERA with Richmond after the first month of the season, but was suspended 80 games for PEDs. 

The 22-year-old breezed through the minors upon his return and was called up to the Giants on Aug. 17. He's looked like a future ace at times, but also has had moments where he's seemed overmatched.

Webb has struggled with his command in the past and is dealing with the same issues in the bigs. He only has lasted at least five innings in two of his five starts so far. That doesn't mean he can't lead this staff one day, though. 

For now, the Giants can deal with Webb's shortcomings. He has the repertoire and tenacity to stay in the rotation for a long, long time.

Giants' No. 3 prospect Marco Luciano wants to play in MLB in three years

Giants' No. 3 prospect Marco Luciano wants to play in MLB in three years

Marco Luciano might be the most important Giants prospect in years. After years of swinging and missing on the international market, San Francisco appears to have a star in the making. 

“My goal is to prepare the best I can and be a leader, be a face of the team,” Luciano said to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. “I want to be in the big leagues in three years. That’s what I’m working so hard for.”

Luciano, 17, hit .322 with 10 home runs, nine doubles and a 1.055 OPS in 38 Rookie League games this season. He doesn't turn 18 until Sept. 10, yet he's already received his first promotion. The young shortstop was assigned to Class A Short Season Salem-Keizer on Sunday and hit a RBI double in his debut. 

Ranked as the Giants' No. 3 prospect by MLB.com, behind just Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos, Luciano continues to impress the Giants every day at the ballpark. 

“He’s just never looked out of place, even when he was going through some ups and downs,” Giants director of player development Kyle Haines said to Sanchez. “You think about his age and his limited experience and it’s been pretty incredible to watch his success.”

The Giants signed Luciano out of the Dominican Republic for $2.6 million on July 2, 2018. He didn't play in the Dominican Summer League last year, and his first exposure to pro ball couldn't have gone any better. 

Luciano headlines a new dawn for the Giants' farm system. While he's the cream of the crop, eight of the Giants' top 30 prospects are homegrown international prospects. The rest of the list includes outfielder Alexander Canario (No. 7), third baseman Luis Toribio (No. 10), outfielder Jairo Pomares (No. 13), pitcher Melvin Adon (No. 15), outfielder Sandro Fabian (No. 16), outfielder Franklin Labour (No. 20), catcher Ricardo Genoves (No. 22) and outfielder Luis Matos (No. 25). 

“When it comes down to player development, I think everyone wants to point to a smoking gun and say one thing is the difference, but it’s everything,” Haines said to Sanchez. “It’s scouting, player development, the analytics department, using technology to give us information and our cultural teachers.

"It takes a full team effort to develop all players and it’s even more magnified with the international players because they sign at such a young age. We are focused on that.”

[RELATED: Luciano drawing comparisons to Alfonso Soriano]

The Giants' last homegrown international prospect to become a MLB All-Star was Pablo Sandoval in 2012. San Francisco signed Sandoval out of Venezuela all the way back in 2003. 

Luciano looks to be the next Giant to do so, much sooner than later. 

Giants farm system jumps up to No. 15 in Baseball America ranking

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ALI THANAWALLA

Giants farm system jumps up to No. 15 in Baseball America ranking

Times are changing for the San Francisco Giants.

Over the last few seasons, the Giants have had one of the worst farm systems in baseball. They entered the 2019 season with the No. 28-ranked system, according to Baseball America.

But they aren't No. 28 anymore.

Baseball America updated their organizational rankings on Thursday, and they moved the Giants all the way up to No. 15.

Here's what BA wrote about the Giants:

"The Giants' 2018 draft and its international signing haul last year are quickly boosting what had been a bottom-tier farm system."

The summer of 2018 was very fruitful for the Giants. After drafting their top prospect, Joey Bart, with the No. 2 overall draft pick, they selected 6-foot-11 right-handed pitcher Sean Hjelle in the second round. Another college arm, Jake Wong, was taken in the third round. All three are already with the High-A San Jose Giants.

The Giants also saw success on the international market as they signed the No. 4 overall July 2 prospect Marco Luciano. The shortstop didn't play last season, but has been one of the standout players in the Arizona Rookie League as the 17-year-old is slashing .330/.425/.661 with eight homers and 25 RBI in 27 games.

Another July 2 prospect, Jairo Pomares, isn't as highly rated as Luciano, but is playing just as well in the AZL. In 23 games, he's hitting .394 with three homers and 25 RBI. Last week, he was named to the MLB Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week.

Those five players joined 2017 first-round draft pick Heliot Ramos, who is leading the San Jose Giants with 11 home runs at just 19 years old.

[RELATED: Dodgers 'quite interested' in Giants relievers]

This past June, the Giants selected outfielder Hunter Bishop with the No. 10 overall pick in the MLB Draft, but the Arizona State product is struggling in his first taste of professional baseball.

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was expecting to add prospects to the system ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, but an incredible run by the Giants in July has put a wrench in those plans. Now, instead of selling Madison Bumgarner and a few relievers, the Giants reportedly could be buyers and might have to dip into their stash of prospects in order to add players.