After a cancelled minor league season and only some prospects getting time at the Alternate Training Site, the Giants announced the 66 players they will be sending to the fall Instructional League, with a relative who’s-who of their farm system, and notable missing prospects as well.
The Instructional League was in doubt until late this year, due to the ongoing Coronavirus concerns. Not every Major League organization was required to participate, but all 15 organizations in Arizona will be. To ensure there is an even number of teams, the Giants will be fielding two squads. Players reportedly will move between the two teams, however.
The Giants will be sending some of their biggest names at the lower levels of the farm system. Top prospects like Marco Luciano and Hunter Bishop, who were at the Alternate Training Site all summer, will join pitchers like Seth Corry, and many players who spent 2019 in Single-A and below to make up the rosters.
The only Giant invited who finished 2019 in a level higher than High-A is Heliot Ramos, who finished the year in Double-A. Ramos also spent the season in the Alternate Training Site, though he missed some time with a leg infection as the 2020 regular season started.
Eight of the Giants’ top 10 prospects as written by MLB Pipeline will be participating, with only C Joey Bart (#1) and P Sean Hjelle (#10) not going. Six of those eight were also a part of the Giants’ Alternate Training Site.
The Instructs will also be some of the first team appearances for many players, although Instruct stats are not collected and shared, nor viewed as part of a minor league career stats. There are three signees from the International Free Agent class of 2019: pitcher Esmerlin Vinicio, pitcher Manuel Mercedes, and catcher Adrian Sugastey. Normally, they would’ve made their debuts in the summer, likely in the Dominican Summer League. However, other international free agents are not attending, such as another 2019 signing, Aeverson Arteaga. It is unclear but speculated that there may have been travel restrictions affecting some players.
In most years, the Instructional League is a place for younger players to get more playing time. The league focuses on younger players getting more playing time and players rehabbing from injuries, and the games are controlled to allow for players to continue work on specific skills. The Instructs are voluntary, and the Giants did not participate in 2019.
Usually, around the same time, the Arizona Fall League is occurring, where each team sends six prospects, mostly from the higher levels, but that league has been cancelled for 2020.
The oldest player attending will be 25-year old Patrick Ruotolo, who had injuries limit him to just 19 innings in 2019. The same is true for 24-year old Mac Marshall, who got just 14 innings in 2019. There are 8 players aged 24 or older, all of whom are pitchers.
The youngest players in the camp are the 2019 IFA signings, led by Vinicio at 17 years and 9 months old. He’s followed by Sugastey, at 17 and 11 months old, and will turn 18 on October 23rd while at the Instructs. They are the only two players under 18, with 5 18-year olds joining them, including Mercedes, who turned 18 in September.
Some players have tried to get work in over the summer. Three infielders, Tyler Fitzgerald, Simon Whiteman, and Logan Wyatt all were playing in the amateur Battle of the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky, where four teams of players from various minor league and independent levels competed.
The Giants will host the camp at their Scottsdale facility at Indian School Park. The team continues to hope that their new minor league facility at Papago Park in Phoenix will be ready for 2021.
The roster is listed below. All ages are as of October 1st, 2020. The levels listed are the player’s final level played at with at least 5 appearances. The prospect rankings are for MLB Pipeline’s rankings.