Who’s On The Block?

Before this season, I was looking at the Giants roster and thinking about if the Giants might start trading away some of their veterans with expiring contracts to restock the farm system.


72 games into the season, and the San Francisco Giants have the best record in Major League Baseball.  And, they play in the division with the three best teams in the National League.  I think it’s fair to say the Giants won’t be selling.

Despite the best record, though, the Giants still have some opportunities.  Even more than in the bullpen.  But let’s not talk about the holes; let’s talk about the glue that will fill those holes.

The Giants are, actually, still rebuilding.  With many key players on the current team having expiring contracts, the farm system will be relied upon for long term fixes, and it’s not the deepest in the league.  But it’s not the shallowest.  So, let’s look at the areas in the farm system the Giants may trade from…and start with those they won’t.

Not Getting Traded – Marco Luciano, Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos

Zaidi and Harris would have to be very, very high to trade any of these three.  They have high expectations, but more importantly, they have the ability to be key contributors (maybe cornerstones).  Any trade to even consider moving one of these three would have to be for a similar long-term player.  That kind of player won’t be available at the deadline.

High-Level Outfielders – Steven Duggar, Joe McCarthy, Jaylin Davis, LaMonte Wade Jr, Bryce Johnson, Austin Slater

The Giants really do have too many outfielders hitting well at the high levels.  Sending down LaMonte Wade Jr is just an example of how much depth there is.  It could be true that some of these hitters are performing well from how Gabe Kapler is using them (see the below section), but all are doing well enough to potentially help someone.

Among all these names, no one would be totally safe.  Whether the players are currently in the majors or not may not mean anything.  They generally don’t have the highest ceilings, but their proximity to the Majors would make any of them desirable.  After all, there’s a reason two of these players were involved in mid-season trades in 2019 to arrive to the Giants.

Low-Level Outfielders – Luis Matos, Jairo Pomares, Alexander Canario, Hunter Bishop, Diego Rincones, Ismael Munguia, Armani Smith

Here’s the high ceilings.  Again, the Giants just have a ton of depth here.  The names listed are too many players for two starting outfields.  Some are higher ceiling than others, but that might maximize the return they get, in terms of long-term return.  Many of these players could be highlights for another team in a trade.  All of these players do have some risk, and for the Giants, it might be about balancing who is the best risk versus return when making offers.

Of all these names, I’d especially look at Alexander Canario.  He’s got incredibly exciting potential, and has flashed it at times this season, and has been coming on stronger in June, especially dropping his strikeout numbers.  The Giants might see the combination of risk and reward he offers as ideal, with the depth they have elsewhere.

40-Man Young Pitching – Camilo Doval, Gregory Santos, Kervin Castro

The team that added these three names to the 40-man roster, was a rebuilding team trying to protect against losing some high-ceiling prospects.  But the brass foolishly thought two of them would be able to contribute in the big leagues right away (Spoiler: they weren’t).  Three pitchers who had never pitched above High-A have struggled both in the bigs and Triple-A, although the raw stuff remains undeniable.

Clearly, the Giants believe there was demand for them, or else they wouldn’t have needed to be protected.  But a trade here would serve a second purpose as well, in clearing off a roster spot for a player who could be more productive this season.  Of the three, I’d think that Doval would be the least likely to be traded, but who knows.

Catchers – Patrick Bailey, Ricardo Genovés

You can never have too much catching, sure.  And truthfully, there’s more catching available now in the minors than possibly ever before.  But the Giants could try to use some of their depth here.

This group is a bit more doubtful, and not just because it’s just two names.  Trading Patrick Bailey would be trading him at a low point, after he’s struggled in his first pro season.  That leaves the Giants a bit more shallow if they do trade Genovés, who is having a strong season in San Jose.

Of course, the team could choose to trade away just about anyone else…so who knows.  This is a contending team, suddenly.  Who knows what could happen as this team makes a run for the postseason.

Something to Watch with Wade

Henry Schulman made an interesting observation about the recently optioned LaMonte Wade today.

He’s got a good point, even if the Giants are very platoon oriented.  But the truth is that Wade isn’t getting a lot of chances in the minors to work on facing left-handed pitching, either.  In 13 games at Triple-A, Wade has only 7 at-bats against LHP, going 1-for-7 with three strikeouts.

It’ll be interesting to monitor Wade’s usage in the future in Sacramento, and whether he’ll be used more against LHP, or whether they’ll continue to keep facing his strength.  Wade’s been a bit of a project this spring, as he makes changes to his swing.  How far this goes will be interesting.

Players of the Week – Eugene and San Jose

In Eugene, Franklin Labour has been hammering the ball, and was named the High-A West Player of the Week.  On the week, Labour hit .455 with three home runs, a double, seven walks and nine RBI, slugging 1.364 over five games played.  Labour got off to a slow start on the season, but has really begun to come on strong.

Labour is batting .245 with a .389 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage, with six doubles, a triple and six home run.  He’s walked 24 times with 36 strikeouts.

Down in San Jose, Kyle Harrison was tabbed as the Low-A West Pitcher of the Week, on the strength of his start against Modesto on Friday.  Harrison went six scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and a walk while striking out 8.  Harrison has spent much of the first part of his first pro season dealing with control issues, and on Friday, for at least one day, he had them under control.

On the season, Harrison has a 2.48 ERA, and has struck out 57 in 32.2 innings.  He’s given up as many hits (21) as walks, and has a .183 batting average allowed.  He’s the third San Jose player to win a weekly honor, along with Wil Jensen and Casey Schmitt.

Highlights of the Week

I’ve got to lead off with this highlight.  Diego Rincones got the chance to pick up a a grand slam this week.

But the best part of it was definitely this delayed bat flip.

And hey, that wasn’t the only grand slam this week…

Armani Smith is showing off some of his power after his promotion to High-A, with some huge exit velocity numbers…

But his teammate Franklin Labour is no slouch in that department either..

And talking about power, you can’t forget Marco…

Okay, it was father’s day weekend.  Does that really justify a dad-quality pun on someone’s name?

Well, I’ll give the Emeralds credit, their name-pun game is better than MLB Pipeline’s…

Oh, we don’t want to only talk about hitters here.  How about Seth Corry’s big hook that he’s throwing in Eugene?

The Reading/Listening List

If you’re reading me, you should be also reading and listening to my former partner at McCovey Chronicles, Roger Munter.  He had a spectacular interview with Joe Salermo, the Giants Director of International Scouting.  The July 2nd signing period no longer happens on July 2nd, but you should still listen to this.

Why do pitchers move faster than hitters?  Melissa Lockard talked with Giants minor league hitting coordinator Michael Brdar about the hitters, with some nice breakdowns of Joey Bart, the Single-A guys, and names that are looking good in the AZL.  (Subscription)

The draft has a new date in July, and its got new processes like the first ever upcoming Draft Combine.  So, now is a great time to start talking about what will happen in the upcoming draft, and Kerry Crowly got an interview with Giants scouting director Michael Holmes.  He didn’t tip any hands on names the Giants are considering, but he did say a couple of things that might tip you off. (Subscription)

Susan Slusser took a look at the life with the San Jose Giants, with some insights into how minor league life is right now, and especially in the post-pandemic world.  There’s no talk about prospect scouting reports, but if you like the minor league life, this is an excellent look into world behind it.  (Subscription)

Monday’s Quick Notes:

AAA: Sacramento 7, Salt Lake 6

Top Lines

3B Arismendy Alcántara: 2-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 2B (2), 1 HR (4), 1 SO, 1 E (4)
SS Thairo Estrada: 1-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 HR (7), 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 E (9)
C Joey Bart: 2-5, 2 SO, 1 PB

SP Tyler Beede: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR, 1 HBP
RP Daniel Álvarez: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
RP Jay Jackson: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
RP Gregory Santos: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 1 HBP
RP Caleb Baragar: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
RP Trevor Hildenberger: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO

Okay, this was one wild ending.  Salt Lake scored a run in the ninth, giving them a 6-3 lead.  But Bryce Johnson led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk, and Braden Bishop singled.  That let Thairo Estrada hit a 3-run home run to tie the game with nobody out.  After two outs, Jaylin Davis got a walk.  Joe McCarthy then popped a fly ball to deep right, and former Major Leaguer Jon Jay, well, watch the video.

Other Notes:

  • Arismendy Alcántara had his first game of the season with two extra base hits, his second double and fourth home run.  Across 14 games, he’s batting .286/.344/.571
  • Thairo Estrada’s game-tying home run was his first since May 31st.  Estrada has seven home runs on the season.  In his last full season, he had a total of 11; eight home runs in 60 Triple-A games, and three in 35 MLB games.
  • Tyler Beede was victimized a bit by errors, allowing four unearned runs out of five total.  The batting average he’s allowed is up to .255 , which has moved up from .159 at the end of May.
  • Gregory Santos hasn’t allowed a hit or a walk over his last two appearances, though he has hit a batter in each game.  

The Wrap-Up:

As you probably know, I love uniforms here.  So I had to take a look back at one of the special uniforms the Giants wore this week…

To be honest, they looked better in the game than in this promo photo, with the bear cubs not looking like they were bright purple.  But they really have a classic look, even though the team they paid tribute to only lasted one year.

And that’s after the Giants made history earlier this season as the first MLB team to incorporate the Pride colors onto their uniform.

It’s easy to get cynical about alternate uniforms, but if teams are going to do it, the jerseys should mean something, and really, really mean something.  I love it.