For a long time, the San Francisco Giants have had an official twitter feed, @SFGProspects, but it has sat silent for most of 2020 (other than the draft). On Tuesday, it began giving fans something they’ve wanted: a look at the Giants prospects as they play in the fall instructional league.
On Tuesday, they began posting recent highlights of several players. The video is low quality, and does not cut to different angles or anything else, but it gives the fans a look at the swings and pitches of the young players, many of whom they have not had a chance to see before.
This follows Luis Matos and Ricardo Genoves posting their own highlights, from apparently the same camera, on their personal Instagram feeds.
Let’s look at the videos.
It starts with Luis Matos, going down and hitting what’s reported to be a triple to the opposite field. It’s not the cleanest hit, but shows the strength he has even when not squaring up the ball.
Next, we’ve got 2020 4th round drift pick R.J. Dabovich, and we get to see three of his pitches. Although we don’t know if there are other pitches in this at-bat, we see a big curveball, a fastball, and then another curve. Dabovich has a distinctive stance with a foot forward and not standing straight as he comes set. He comes with an over-the-top delivery, and at least for the Brewers hitter he was facing, his delivery and pitch selection left the batter frozen.
That’s followed by a 2019 draft pick, Garrett Frechette. The first baseman hit .290/.364/.366 in 39 games in 2019 in the Arizona League. We only get one swing, but he does a good job of going down to get a double on what appears to be a low, inside changeup.
And then, another 2020 pick, 5th round pick Ryan Murphy. We get two very different strikeout pitches for him. He first elevates a fastball and gets an Angels hitter to chase it and completely miss. The next batter we see chases a tight inside slider that gets away from the catcher. Instructional league stats are really not worth looking at, but hearing Murphy got 5 K’s in six outs is pretty nice, especially as Murphy came from a much less heralded school and almost no prestige by the major publications pre-draft.
On Wednesday, we began to get other posts.
3B Casey Schmitt, the Giants 2020 2nd round pick, gets a bit of context for the video. He worked the count from 0-2 to 3-2 and hit a home run, and we even get an exit velocity (104). There’s no doubt that this is a pretty swing, as the pitcher hung that breaking pitch right down the middle. Schmitt is a very different prospect at third base than what the Giants have in the system right now, between Sean Roby and Luis Toribio. Schmitt could really be an interesting prospect at the hot corner if that power continues to come in.
Cole Waites was an 18th round pick in 2019, and he has one of the draft class’s best fastball, as the account notes he topped out at 97 MPH. We get a lot of pitches here, working against left-handed hitters. He shows off both a nice fastball, and what appears to be a changeup with excellent drop to it. As baseball pushes to shorten the draft, Waites is a good example that post-10th round picks can still bring interesting quality.
Finally, we get more Luis Matos. This time, we get a double, and we can see a different swing from the golf swing that he had in the first highlight that was posted. The 18-year old was absolutely a breakout in 2019, when he hit .362/.430/.570 in the DSL and was 7-for-16 at the end of the AZL season when he was promoted. He also had 21 steals in 24 attempts over 60 games. It will be exciting to follow the young outfielder’s career.
Instructional league is a very informal league held every fall, but it’s very different from the real minor leagues, and you can see it in these videos. Looking at these videos, you may note that there are not umpires behind the plate. There is a coach standing near second base calling the balls and strikes. There are not strict rules, as players may have specific things they are working on. And participation is not mandatory, as the Giants did not participate in 2019, but are using two “teams” in the league this year, giving the league an even number of teams.
We’ll keep an eye on what @SFGProspects posts, and we recommend keeping an eye on the feed to see if we keep getting these great highlights.