As the postseason begins, the Giants farm system is looking towards the future, as they prepare to send several of the team’s top prospects, including three former first round picks, to participate in the yearly showcase circuit.
The Giants will send their top prospect shortstop Marco Luciano, along with catcher Patrick Bailey, outfielder Hunter Bishop, LHP Seth Corry, RHP R.J. Dabovich, RHP Gregory Santos, RHP Cole Waites, and SS Will Wilson. Many of the players had some struggles with aggressive promotions this season, and a couple just need more time on the field after limited seasons.
The AFL has six teams, which all 30 major league teams submit prospects to. The Giants submit to the Scottsdale Scorpions, who play in the Giants’ spring training home at Scottsdale Stadium. They’ll be joined by prospects from the Cleveland Indians, the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, and the Minnesota Twins.
Marco Luciano made his full-season debut in 2021 as a 19-year old, batting .278/.373/.556 with 18 home runs in 70 games at Low-A San Jose, and then batting .217/.283/.295 with one home run in 30 games at High-A Eugene. The Giants’ top prospect was one of the youngest players in the High-A West League after his promotion, and will be one of the younger guys in the AFL as well.
2020 first round pick Patrick Bailey started the year in High-A, but hit just .185/.290/.296 in 33 games at High-A. Bailey was moved down to the ACL for a short stint of two games, before he was put in Low-A San Jose, where he began to blossom. In 47 games there, he hit .322/.415/.531 with seven home runs.
2019 first round pick Hunter Bishop missed nearly the entire season with shoulder problems. He got in three games at the start of the season at Eugene, where he was 2-for-12 with a double and two walks. He began his comeback with 11 games in the ACL, where he was 4-for-12, and played two games in San Jose in late August before shutting his season down for good.
Another 2019 first round pick, Will Wilson, also started his season in HIgh-A Eugene, where he hit .251/.339/.497 over 49 games, with 14 doubles, 2 triples, and 10 home runs. He was promoted to Double-A Richmond, where he hit just .189/.281/.306 in 51 games, with eight doubles and five home runs.
Seth Corry started the season as one of the Giants top pitching prospects, but struggled mightily in High-A Eugene, putting up a 5.99 ERA, with 63 walks to 100 strikeouts. Corry had last pitched in 2019 in Low-A Eugene, where he had a 1.76 ERA with 172 strikeouts to 58 walks.
Gregory Santos was protected from the Rule 5 draft in 2020 by getting place on the 40-man roster, and the team gave him a Major League debut despite not having pitched above Low-A (where he had a 2.86 ERA in eight starts before going down with injury). Santos pitched three Major League games, where he had a 22.50 ERA with six runs in 2.0 innings. Santos then was moved to Triple-A, where he had a 5.17 ERA in 14 relief appearances, striking out 15 and walking nine. At the end of June, he was suspended for testing positive for PEDs, and missed the rest of the year.
R.J. Dabovich was the team’s 5th round pick in 2020, and he exploded out of the gate in 2021, with a 1.42 ERA in 11 games, while striking out 28 to six walks in 12.2 innings. He was promoted to Double-A with a 3.66 ERA in 20 games, where he struck out 34 in 19.2 innings, with seven walks. Between the two teams, he picked up ten saves in eleven attempts.
Cole Waites’ season didn’t start until August, when he began the year with three appearances in the ACL before moving up to Low-A. Overall, he had 31 strikeouts to six walks in 13.1 innings, allowing just one hit. He allowed two runs, one earned, for a 0.68 ERA overall.
The AFL is one of two regular offseason events prospects take part in, but the Giants won’t be in the other one. Reports indicate that the Giants will not be participating in this winter’s Instructional League, after having had two team participate in the 2020 Instructs after the lost minor league season. The team this season will instead have more focused workouts for the prospects.