A Big Return

The Giants got the last major piece of their young 60-man camp in place, as Hunter Bishop tested negative for Coronavirus for the second time in a row, clearing him to join the Giants in Sacramento.

Kerry Crowley of The Mercury News reports that Bishop had been free of symptoms for most of July, but it was taking time for him to get the negative tests to return.  The saliva tests he was taking were coming back either positive or inconclusive.  But that seems to have been a bright spot for Bishop.

“I’m feeling super healthy, strong and it’s a good thing I didn’t go right after quarantine honestly,” Bishop said. “I wouldn’t have been ready for baseball. Now I’m strong, healthy, hitting everyday and working out.”

Bishop is a big, and yet sometimes overlooked part of the Giants farm system.  His 2019 debut was underwhelming, as he combined to hit .229/.438/.429 between 25 games at Salem-Keizer and seven in the AZL.  But although the lack of contact was troubling, Bishop walked (38) almost as much as he struck out (39) in 146 plate appearances, showing the plate discipline that was a big part of his draft status.

Bishop played center in college and in his debut season, but could slot in nicely in Oracle Park’s big right field, allowing Ramos to man left as he bulks up.  The pair could be manning the outfield corners for years, barring big setbacks, and Bishop gives the team a likely speedy OBP player ahead of Ramos, Bart, and Luciano as they come up.  There’s no doubt that his development will be key to help make a winning team in the next few years.

A Trade For More Outfield Depth

The Giants got Luis Alexander Basabe, a switch-hitting outfielder from the Chicago White Sox for cash after the Sox DFA’d the soon-to-be 24-year old.

Even though he’s still young, Basabe is a bit of a reclamation project.  He’s got tools, but what he hasn’t had is health.  He had knee surgery after 2017, though he got into 109 games in 218.  In 2019, he was limited to 74 games, with hamstring, quadriceps, and hamate bone issue.

Basabe has the raw tools to hit for average, power, and has speed, but rarely has been able to translate it onto on-field success, though obviously the injuries limit him.  He spent most of 2019 in Double-A (when healthy), as he spent half of 2018 there.  Being on the 40-man roster, he’ll get good chances to work with the Giants team and coaches to find what he’s been missing.  

Basabe got ranked at #18 on the MLB Pipeline Giants Top 30 prospects coming in.  But he is outfielder number 8 on the 40-man roster, and that’s not counting Mauricio Dubón nor Darin Ruf, so he will really be working uphill to prove his worth.

More Minor Roster Moves

As noted in the tweet above, the Giants place Jordan Humphreys on the Restricted List to make room for Basabe.  It was mentioned that Humphreys is currently dealing with some family issues.  That generally won’t last long, and so another roster move will have to be made to get him back onto the 40-man roster, so some fringe guys may be getting nervous.

The Giants also moved Jarlin Garcia back onto the 40-man roster after he had been on the 60-day IL.  To do so, Abiatal Avelino was designated for assignment.  Avelino had been acquired from the New York Yankees as part of the return for Andrew McCutchen in 2018.  However, Avelino’s infield usefulness had slowly been replicated by Giants acquisitions of players like Mauricio Dubon, Wilmer Flores, and Donovan Solano, all of who play multiple infield positions like Avelino, but who either have hit better or have higher ceilings.

Aggressive Promoting?

This week, Farhan Zaidi made an interesting comment on 95.7.

“It’s a little bit easier for pitchers I think to demonstrate dominance in smaller samples than it is for position players,” Zaidi said on “Damon, Ratto, Ratto and Kolsky Show” on Wednesday.  “Pitchers have the ability to move more quickly, and that certainly factors into our thinking as well.”

That is a very interesting comment considering the Giants’ current farm system.  The system is bereft of clear, top-tier pitching talent.  Right now, it’s younger players with some risk in their development, like Seth Corry, or players with polish but not high ceilings, like Sean Hjelle and Tristan Beck.

Giants pitching prospects are not a presence in camp.  All the pitchers they did invite from the minors were offseason free agent signings, or players that already had Major League experience, like Logan Webb and Conner Menez.  There was only one exception, Caleb Barager, who had a great debut against the Dodgers, and looked good after making an adjustment from the new coaching staff.

According to Kyle Haines, this is because they think pitchers can develop better at home than needing live at-bats at camp.

However, this could mean more to a system top-heavy with hitters.  If the Giants continue to collect pitching prospects, be it in trade like with Jordan Humphreys or the 2021 draft.  As hitters like Bishop, Luciano, Canario and others make it to the Majors, newer pitching prospects could be jumping up levels to catch up, so the Giants have both ready at about the same time, a big part of making this next wave of prospects a contending team.

MLB Pipeline Updates Its Top Rankings

The top 100 finds the Giants with four in the list.  Joey Bart is the highest of the Giants in the list, at #15, with Marco Luciano a bit surprisingly as far down as #37.  It’s a ways down the list until more Giants are to be found, with Heliot Ramos at #71 and Hunter Bishop at #77.

The list shows some changing perceptions from the end of last season.  In the list released in September of 2019, the same four Giants were on the list.  Bart was close to his current spot (#20, compared to 15 now).  Marco Luciano made a big jump, from 62 to 37.  Meanwhile Heliot Ramos dropped 20 spots from 51 to 71, while Bishop dropped from 66 to 77.

Of course, there hasn’t been much baseball to make judgments by since then, just spring training, summer camps, and some scattered news from elsewhere.  Ramos and Bishop were likely somewhat victimized by prospects not graduating off the list, while 2020 draft picks were getting added.  However, Ramos’ leg infection and Bishop’s COVID-19 positive during summer camp may have also had a hand in their rankings dropping a little.

However, as one last note, MLB’s Jim Callis made a prediction about 2022 which probably isn’t at all exciting to Giants fans…

Marco Luciano Reading List

Okay, it’s a short list this week.  And this is pretty repetitive after last week.  I mean, there’s not really a lot of specific things to point out in this story.  Just a lot of “Marco Luciano is awesome” said by many people in several different ways.

Other Notes

Not much to read here other than what you just read.  This appears to be the first report of Bart actually playing first in game…well, a scrimmage.  Of course, with no press or scouts there, we’ll have to wait before we hear anything about how well he’s handling the position.

Get ready for more Ramos mentions in the coming weeks.  I assume this is supposed to say he has plate discipline, and that he hasn’t been training dinnerware to follow his decrees…but, it’s summer camp, so who knows.

Meanwhile, Will Wilson is becoming a disciple to versatility, playing all three infield positions (I assume first base is the not-infield position being left out).  There are potential opportunities at all of those spots, so we’ll see how it works out.

Okay, enough prospects who were drafted.  Marc Delucchi did an interview with USF and Archbishop Mitty alum Hadyn King, who signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent.  So check out the local kid and his thoughts about coming to the Giants in the most unusual of years.

The Wrap-Up

I just…I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the Augusta GreenJackets for this shirt.