Grant McCray, CF
BATS: L / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: Drafted 2019, 3rd Round
LAST LEVEL: High-A
VOLATILITY: Very High
GiantFutures 2023 Ranks: #4 Overall, #1 Center Fielder
2022 Performance: Grant McCray had the breakout season that had been teased for seasons after being drafted in 2019.
With his first full season, McCray hit .291/.383/.525 in San Jose with 21 doubles, nine triples, and 21 home runs, and also 35 steals in 45 attempts over 106 games, catching headlines and causing excitement across the system and observers. McCray was promoted up to Eugene on August 26th, and hit .269 over 14 games, with two doubles and two home runs, and eight more steals on as many attempts. Grant McCray became the first player in the 34-year history of the San Jose Giants with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases
McCray did have one major red flag on the stat line, which were his strikeouts Overall, McCray struck out 170 times in 569 plate appearances (29.9%), which is not a good number by any stretch of the imagination. He did draw 67 walks (11.8%), which led to a .383 OBP overall, which does help, especially since one of McCray’s biggest weapons was his speed.
Strengths and Weaknesses: McCray is a rare player with a 70-level tools ad judged by scouts, with that being his speed, and that speed helps McCray make an impact on many parts of the game. With his best hitting year, McCray saw it boost his doubles and triples, and also steal a lot of bases. And of course, it helps his defense, where he is a legitimate center fielder, as California League managers voted him the league’s best defensive outfielder. He also has an above-average arm, which just adds to his defensive chops.
Where McCray really looks to have improved his game was his hitting. He shortened his swing and got more upright for the 2022 season, and his hitting took off. He’ll never have the highest batting average, but his high exit velocity showed that he can hit for power, and he had as many home runs as doubles because of it.
2023 Outlook: McCray has reached top prospect status, which might get the Giants to push him up the system a bit quicker than they have. But I expect that he’ll start the upcoming season in Eugene with a chance to move quickly if he starts off his season hot.
Future Profile: With his plus-plus speed, McCray has a very high floor, as his defensive ability in center field is enough to carry him far. If he can hit like he did in San Jose, despite the strikeouts, he could be an All-Star level center fielder, but he’s more likely to be a more average hitter that is a weapon on the basepaths.