As part of Saturday’s roster reveals, the San Jose Giants revealed an unsurprisingly stacked roster of some of the system’s youngest and most exciting prospects, making for one of the best opening day rosters the franchise may have ever seen.
Starting with #1 overall prospect Marco Luciano and simply continuing across every part of the lineup, San Jose has prospects at nearly every position. The newly Low-A affiliate has been garnering a lot of attention for the number of prospects filling the roster.
Here are the rosters, and those prospect ranked by GiantFutures are noted:
Kyle Harrison (#6 Overall, #1 Starting Pitcher)
Carson Ragsdale (#8 Starting Pitcher)
Nick Swiney (#20 Overall, #6 Starting Pitcher)
Ricardo Genoves (#22 Overall, #3 Catcher)
Garrett Frechette (#29 Overall, #2 First Baseman)
Jimmy Glowenke (#2 Second Baseman)
Marco Luciano (#1 Overall, #1 Shortstop)
Casey Schmitt (#18 Overall, #2 Third Baseman)
Luis Toribio (#10 Overall, #1 Third Baseman)
Alex Canario (#11 Overall, #3 Corner Outfielder)
Luis Matos (#5 Overall, #1 Center Fielder)
Armani Smith (#6 Corner Outfielder)
Names To Watch:
Well, this almost is like saying “Duh”, but Marco Luciano. But he’s part of five top hitters from the Caribbean that are worth watching, with outfielders Luis Matos and Alex Canario, infielder Luis Toribio, and catcher Ricardo Genoves. It’s been rare for the Giants to have a large contingent of international top prospects in one place, as it’s been rare since the Sabean era to have this many international top prospects in the entire system at once. Hopefully this will help all of them flourish, as for each of them, this will be their first full seasons in the U.S.
I’d be amiss to not also mention the team’s top pitching prospect, Kyle Harrison, who was drafted out of De La Salle high school in Concord, CA, in the third round of 2020. Harrison stepped forward with increased velocity over the past year, and Giants fans are excited about his arrival. The Giants are shallow on top tier pitching prospects, and Harrison goes a long way to bring hope to that side of the game.
Armani Smith doesn’t get the press a lot of his new teammates do, but the UC Santa Barbara draftee has an excellent set of raw tools that can impress as well, including some power he showed in his senior (2019) season at UCSB, with 11 home runs in 56 games. On a team of top prospects, the now-nearly 23 year old could have a breakout and be the first promotion out of Low-A. There’s also a bonus, as Roger Munter noted on Twitter.
A second name on this sleeper list will be first baseman Garrett Frechette, who has a sweet swing but hasn’t had nearly enough opportunities to show it off, even before he was drafted.
Biggest Question: How is third base going to shake out, and as an adjunct, where will Luis Toribio play most?
Toribio and Casey Schmitt are the team’s listed third basemen. Toribio is easily the more established one, with two short-seasons under his belt after signing in 2017, and is considered one of the organization’s better pure hitters. However, he was a defensive work in progress, and his future at third is not assured. Schmitt, the team’s 2nd round pick in 2020, is a strong defender at third, but needs to show his offensive potential is for real.
Toribio needs time defensively to prove himself, either at third or potentially at first base, where the aforementioned Frechette will likely get the lion’s share of duties. The designated hitter will help get players into the lineup more, but this crunch is one of the early roster issues the Giants organization will need to work through after the 2020 layoff.
As a bonus here: Marco Luciano is also thought to be a third baseman long term. I doubt that’ll figure into this year at San Jose, but wherever Luciano ends up defensively, he’ll be the top guy, so third could be an interesting position to watch long term.
Wild Card: Lenn Sakata’s Return!
You might be thinking “Who?”, but those who have been following baseball for a long time know Lenn Sakata, a former Orioles player and one of the best coaches (and factually the winningest coach) in California League history. Sakata is returning to the San Jose Giants for the first time since 2014, for his eighth season with the club, and has managed several minor league teams both in America and Japan. At one point, Baseball America named him the top managerial prospect in the California League. Sakata had a reputation for being beloved by his players and a great motivator, and him working with these prospects brings huge expectations.