Who The Giants Should Trade

Today is one of the biggest days for the Giants when it comes to the prospects they have, and prospects they may get.  Yep, it’s the Trade Deadline.

As of the end of Sunday’s game, the Giants once again are just a half-game out of playoff position, behind the Marlins and the Colorado Rockies for the two wild card spots.  But is this the season to cash in some assets to chase a playoff spot?  It seems obvious that if the Giants go after anyone, they’d want someone under control for more than this season…if someone like that is available.

As of right now, we still don’t know if the Giants intend to buy, to sell, or all of the above or none of the above.

So…with absolutely no knowledge of what’s going to happen, let me list players I think the Giants can (reasonably) trade for prospects, and prospects they might be willing to part with (and not miss too much) to add some help right now.

BUY WITH: Chris Shaw and Melvin Adon

Alright, start with the obvious ones.  These two were added to the Giants 60-man pool just this week, despite both being on the 40-man roster.  That should be a hint, that they weren’t brought in either with the players who could help this season, or the top prospects to get work in.  Both have big power tools, though a lack of big tools otherwise.

It’s hard to be surprised with Shaw, who has been unable to capitalize on his chances, but Melvin Adon hasn’t gotten a huge shot yet.  Notably, he’s also the only guy in the high minors with a triple-digit fastball.  The Giants bullpen has been missing the hot velocity that is a part of many bullpens, and it’s not an easily teachable tool.  But, that tool is also very tradable.  And I wouldn’t be shocked to see that happen today.

SELL WITH: Kevin Gausman

Gausman said this week he doesn’t want to get traded…but come on, is any player going to say that they want to get traded unless things are totally toxic?  Gausman was a heck of a pickup by Zaidi and Harris, and they have helped him turn things around this season.  He has a 4.54 ERA this season, but a great 38 strikeouts with 7 walks in 27.1 innings.  He’s a free agent after this season, but he’s a quick strikeout addition to any rotation this playoff season.

BUY WITH: Sam Coonrod

Coonrod is rocking things in the Majors, after missing a couple of weeks with a minor lat strain early.  And there is no doubt that he’s got a lot of potential.  He’d be a major-league ready prospect for a lot of teams, so he’d be liked.  But why trade him away?  Well, Coonrod has been up and down his entire career, posting a 6.96 ERA in 33 games with Sacramento last season, even though he had a 3.58 ERA in 33 games in the Majors.  And, there’s also the total speculation of Coonrod being the only Giants who stood for the season opener, and possible awkwardness.  There has been zero public shows of friction, but it’d be hard to imagine that all the teammates ignored that.  The Giants daily are connected with a very politically incorrect (and, frankly, embarrassing) right wing alumni, and though Coonrod has not shown any extreme attitudes…there might be a sigh of relief, especially if the Giants get someone impressive.

SELL WITH: Tony Watson

Name a more iconic duo than lefty relievers and trade deadlines.  Watson is easily the most experienced and well-proven talent in the Giants bullpen, and was a real contender to be closer to start the season.  He’s only pitched in 13 games, and gotten just 11 innings of work, but he has a 0.82 ERA and a 0.73 WHIP.  Relievers don’t get bigtime prospects in return, but the Giants did well with relievers last season at the trade deadline, and this year could be no different.

BUY WITH: Alexander Canario

Wait, wait, hear me out.  Okay, the Giants do have a lot of outfield prospects, though you shouldn’t count any chickens before they hatch.  But Canario is a huge high-risk/high-reward guy.  He could be a superstar, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him land far lower if he doesn’t improve his plate discipline.  This week, chatter on him has been higher than ever.  Should the Giants sell high?  Well, only if the right star player that has multiple years left is available.  Or maybe a similar high-risk/high-reward pitching prospect.  Who knows what might happen?

SELL WITH: Johnny Cueto

Cueto’s 4.75 ERA is surprising, because when he’s been on this season, he’s looked great.  There have been some implosions as well, but overall, he’s not just a good starter, he could move into many contender teams rotations as one of their top 2 starters in the playoffs.  And he’ll be with the team for 2021 as well.  He would be a very impact player.  Plus, the Giants could take on a lot of his salary to get back an even better prospect.  If the Giants are going to get a future big star, I can’t imagine anyone being the price other than Cueto.

Baseball Needs To Do Better…but Kwan Adkins is Doing Better

Obviously, this past week has been another difficult week as another black man has been killed in the street by police, and protests have erupted again, with players across sports striking in response, including the Giants and Dodgers for a game this week.

Going beyond the systemic racism in the justice system, there are many battles that need to be fought.  And baseball, even on the weekend where baseball has been celebrating Jackie Robinson, has continually lost the black players that used to populate the game in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and beyond.

Before the protests this week, Giants prospect Kwan Adkins had been talking with many others about the representation of black boys and men in baseball, and how he’d be supporting the other black prospects in the Giants system.  If you have not watched or read these, I highly recommend it, and think about how baseball can change to be more inclusive, and a better opportunity for people of all races.

And this is a couple of weeks old, but it’s worth reading again.

And on top of everything else Kwan is doing, he had a little non-baseball news as well…and congratulations to him!

Tournament Updates

As of last week, the Battle of the Bourbon Trail tournament now has (at least) three Giants players listed as competitors.  The four-team tournament across two cities has not done much in terms of keeping fans involved.  The Florence teams have a website that has stats for the players there, but the Lexington teams do not.

As of Sunday, the stats are interesting, and Simon Whiteman has definitely broken through.  The stat lines are:

Simon Whiteman: 9 G, 9-for-31, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 BB, 8 SO, 2 HBP, 7 SB, 0 CS, .290/.477/.484
Tyler Fitzgerald: 14 G, 13-for-62, 4 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 11 BB, 27 SO, 2 HBP. 1 SB, 0 CS, .210/.342/.452
Logan Wyatt: 9 G, 6-for-41, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 BB, 13 SO, 0 HBP, 0 SB, 0 CS, .171/.268/.200

Now, it’s hard to draw any huge conclusions from this.  We can’t assess the true level of competition well, nor how much the pandemic has affected the players.  But it’s hard not to love Simon Whiteman’s line.  The 9th round pick out of Yale doesn’t have the huge natural tools, but got good marks for his intelligence and hustle.  His OBP might be powered by that, knowing to let these pitchers pitch themselves into trouble, and using his plus speed to get steals when needed.  But if his performance here is indicating a discipline improvement he can take to the pros, he could go from fringy infielder to a bench weapon or more.

Logan Wyatt’s performance is similarly offering cautionary disappointment.  The second round pick is completely off his game, not showing the plate discipline that was his standout tool.  But Wyatt was also a draft pick that in the low levels really, really was in need of coaching to help his swing go for power.  Without the ability to work with coaches this year, and perhaps in the middle of a swing change that isn’t complete, that could be part of these struggles.  But Wyatt is a lynchpin prospect for the Giants, and keeping an eye on him will be important.

Tyler Fitzgerald’s performance is less of a standout in either way.  His contact and plate discipline is down a bit, but he’s making up for it with some power.  Power hasn’t been a part of his toolset, as he has one pro home run in 48 games of his pro career so far.  Of all the tools to judge in this local league, power is among the hardest to know if true.  But if he can add some power, the 4th round pick will up his standing in the system.

In this minor-league-less season, we might be grasping too hard at whatever statistics we can get, but it’s undoubtedly nice to see these 2019 picks getting some work in, and hopefully continuing to connect as teammates.

Comings and Goings

Not truly a coming, but Chris Shaw and Melvin Adon were added to the Giants 60-man pool this week, which certainly was interestingly timed.  As Schulman noted, players have to be in the 60-man pool to be traded before the deadline later today.  So we will see.

Two seasons ago, Dereck Rodriguez was one of the most popular guys on the team, with him coming out of a minor league free agent signing to having a great season, posting a 2.81 ERA in 21 games, with 89 strikeouts and 36 walks in 118.1 innings.  But he had problems in his sophomore campaign, falling to a 5.64 ERA, and in his only opportunities in 2020, he could not miss bats, giving up 10 hits, two of them home runs, in four innings of work.  It’s a disappointing result after the hope from 2018…but if no other team claims him, there’s a chance he could return to the Giants farm system.

Officially, Yolmer Sánchez has found his new home.  Still amazing to see a gold glove winner get bounced around like he has.  Good luck, Yolmer!

They aren’t even bothering with a PTBNL in this trade for Rob Brantly, who had become a bit extraneous in the catching role at the Alternate Training site.  Brantly never really got a chance to do anything with the Giants, maybe he’ll get more chances with the Yankees.

Going Gonzo

Just a glimpse at Jacob Gonzalez in the cage while working at Driveline.

Gonzalez obviously has the bloodlines, but he’s had his struggles with two seasons in Augusta, hitting just .241/.312/267 in his second try at the level.  One of his problems had been defense at third, where his reactions weren’t great, but they kept him plugging away at the position until near the end of the season.  He got 18 games at first base, and eight in left field.

He notably got an invite to big league spring training (the first one in AZ, where the Giants had him playing first base, and he was showing much stronger defense there by my eye.

Gonzalez at 6’3 and a listed 190 pounds has power in him, that he hasn’t really developed.  There’s hope that once he settles at a position, he can really develop that power.  A low average, high power first baseman is doable, even at first base.  The outfield also remains an option, albeit a crowded one in the Giants system.  But his name will get him a few more chances to prove himself.

Reading and Listening to Kyle Haines

Giants Director of Player Development Kyle Haines has been making the rounds, and he is by far the most public farm director I’ve seen in decades of covering the Giants minor leagues, and that is a great thing for us.

Haines was on Baseball America giving Alexander Canario a shining review for his work in the Alternate Training Site.  Canario has apparently been turning heads with all his tools, but particularly improving his plate discipline.  He also throws in some nice things about Patrick Bailey

GPT has a thread here on things he said over KNBR about life in the ATS, but there’s a link to the actual interview in there as well, and it’s worth listening to.  He also spent time with Bill Laskey, as this thread talks about.

What I noted about it was at the end, which is the talk about an extended Fall league for prospects, taking the Arizona Fall League further.  “It would be a logistical nightmare” is the precise line.  That’s notable, because there is a lot of talk about MLB trying to take over all the logistics of the minors if no agreement is made, and that logistical nightmare would go a lot further…it would be very difficult.

The Reading List

Maria Guardado talked to Will Wilson about his time at the ATS, and how his move to the Giants organization has gone.  Wilson is perhaps one of the biggest unknowns in the Giants system for the fans because of his trade, lack of the minor league system, and his stature as a first round pick.  It’s nice to see that while his primary focus is still at shortstop, he is taking reps all over the infield.  He also brings up all sorts of different prospects, so it’s worth listening.

Keith Law took one paragraph this week to talk about Joey Bart, and basically told us everything we have obviously recognized, although this was written before Bart really began to struggle over the last few games.

Matt Daniels, the Giants coordinator of pitching analysis, had a tweet about Caleb Baragar and his improvements, and how talking about him throwing harder.  Baragar has definitely had an eye-opening major league debut, and it’ll be interesting to see if other prospects follow this path.

The Wrap-Up

I usually try to be light hearted here, but I’ve got to be honest, this week has pretty rough for a multitude of reasons.

So I’m going to leave you with a promotion the San Jose Giants are doing to support local fire relief efforts, all across northern California.  See you next week.