Marco Luciano is way ahead of the rest of the pack.
As pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training to begin yet another year of San Francisco Giants baseball, we get to look at the final falling domino in the list of top prospects. What better time to fantasize about how good future Giants can be than on the first day of Spring Training, when baseball hope springs eternal?
Fangraphs released their list of the top 100 prospects in baseball in Wednesday, and it features something that none of the other five publications we’ve covered — The Athletic, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN, and MLB Pipeline — have: five Giants.
As with all the other publications, Marco Luciano topped the Giants in Fangraphs’ list. And he did so by a comfortable margin, finishing at No. 11, with Eric Longenhagen calling him “arguably the best teenage hitter in professional baseball.”
Like ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel last week, Longenhagen notes that Luciano may be bound for the outfield, rather than staying in the infield. But that’s a discussion for another day, as we should all just stare at this quote from Longenhagen:
In January of 2019, when most baseball facilities across the country were dark, just feet away from oblivious Peloton riders and tennis-playing retirees, a few lucky scouts and media folks had a religious experience watching the sweetest-swinging teenager on Earth absolutely roast balls fed to his barrel by a high-speed pitching machine. Because of how close you can sit next to the field there, you can feel the sonic force of bat-to-ball impact radiate into your body. When Marco Luciano connects, you feel it to your core. He is not normal.
That almost makes up for the fact that Luciano is the only Giants prospect in Fangraphs’ top 50.
A year after being named the No. 5 prospect in baseball, Joey Bart’s rough MLB debut dropped him all the way to No. 55. Longenhagen questioned the Giants decision to call up Bart last year when he was so inexperienced, and wonders if that might have stunted offensive development. But he added some reasons for optimism, that manage to also be pessimistic:
With new questions about his bat, Bart’s defensive tools become the foundation of his skillset. He’s Mike Alstott’s size but with the lateral quickness and ground game of a small-framed catcher. He’s quick out of his crouch and throws accurate lasers to second base. He also has field general qualities: he’s a rousing, vocal leader at times, a calming presence at others. Still likely to be an everyday catcher, Bart’s ceiling is now dictated entirely by how much of his power he can get to in games.
Right behind Bart is outfielder Heliot Ramos, who came in at No. 61, with one of the best physical descriptions I’ve ever read in baseball writing: “Built like a boulder stacked on two Iberico hams.”
Longenhagen is concerned about Ramos’ whiffs, but likes the opposite-field power that comes out of Ramos’ unique swing.
Another Giants outfielder, Luis Matos, makes the list at No. 87, with an encouraging blurb:
It’s possible he has underlying issues (breaking ball recognition, an expansive approach, or any number of other things) that we just don’t know about yet because rookie-level pitching isn’t capable of shedding light on them … But I thought he looked fantastic against advanced Fall Instructional League pitching and his tools are a clip above most elite high schoolers about his age.
Rounding out the list is someone who, like Matos, we hadn’t seen in any top 100 lists before: right-handed pitcher Gregory Santos, whom Fangraphs pegs as a multiple-inning reliever, and the No. 98 prospect in baseball. It’s hard not to get enthusiastic when you think of Santos in these terms:
If a college arm were to come out of the gate with stuff as good as Santos showed during Instructional League, they’d be the early-season favorite to go first in the draft.
And so, with the final big prospecting site having released their list, we can now look at where the Giants prospects finished on the top 100 lists. Eight different Giants cracked a list, which is mighty impressive.
Check it out (key: BP = Baseball Prospectus, BA = Baseball America, TA = The Athletic):
Marco Luciano: 7 (ESPN), 8 (BP), 11 (FG), 12 (BA), 16 (MLB), 31 (TA)
Joey Bart: 23 (MLB), 29 (BP), 32 (ESPN), 41 (BA), 41 (TA), 55 (FG)
Heliot Ramos: 32 (BP), 58 (TA), 61 (FG), 62 (ESPN), 82 (MLB), 83 (BA)
Seth Corry: 71 (TA)
Hunter Bishop: 75 (BP), 83 (MLB)
Luis Matos: 87 (FG)
Gregory Santos: 98 (FG)
Patrick Bailey: 100 (ESPN)