It wasn’t a great year for the Giants in 2017 and, unfortunately, there isn’t much help coming from the farm for 2018. The organization has some depth — especially in the outfield — but the system lacks impact bats and arms.
The Graduate: Ty Blach, LHP: As mentioned, there wasn’t much that went right for the Giants in 2017 but the development of Blach rates as one of the best. And I kinda saw it coming. He’s soaked up innings for the Giants as a freshman and currently sits at 150. He gives up a lot of hits (166) and doesn’t miss many bats (70 Ks) but he doesn’t hurt himself with walks (36) and he does a respectable job of keeping the ball in the park (16 HRs). The southpaw throws four pitches for strikes even if the heater sits around 90 mph. He’ll never be a star but Blach should continue to eat up innings and provide league-average-ish numbers for the Giants at the backend of the rotation — and in this era of the long-ball there is a lot of value in that skill.
First Taste of The Show: Christian Arroyo, 3B: Arroyo made his MLB debut in 2017 but not much went well for him other than that accomplishment. He produced a limp .548 OPS with a BB-K of 8-32 in 135 plate appearances. Arroyo then broke his hand in early July and missed the remainder of the season. When he’s going good, the rookie hits the ball hard (although with limited home-run loft) and piles up the hits. Unless he makes adjustments to his swing, he’s never going to be a big home-run hitter, which could hurt him since he projects to play third base at the big league level – a position that typically produces power. Arroyo will return to triple-A to open the 2018 season in hopes of making some adjustments so his next kick at the big league can is a lot more successful.
The Stud: Bryan Reynolds, OF: The Giants system lacks a true “stud prospect” although the organization has proven that it can — time and time again — churn out big league players. Reynolds was selected by the organization in the second round of the 2016 draft and turned in a solid first full season in ’17. He spent the entire year in high-A ball and produced a .312 average with a line-drive rate just shy of 21%. On the down side, he wasn’t overly young for the league, he didn’t walk much and hasn’t shown the kind of power that you ideally like to see from a corner outfielder (He played some center field but he’s not going to play there every day in The Show). Reynolds, 22, probably won’t be a star but he should be a solid everyday player.
The Draft Pick: Heliot Ramos, OF: On the surface, Ramos’ numbers look pretty frickin’ fantastic. Dig a little deeper, though, there are signs of issues to come. The good: impressive power for a 17-year-old with a .297 ISO. The bad: a 32% strikeout rate and… an almost unheard of BABIP of .500 in 151 plate appearances. He’s likely going to be a long-term project despite what the surface numbers say but the ceiling — power, speed, defence — is exciting. Look for Ramos to need some more time in extended spring training in 2018 before heading back to short-season ball. The system is loaded with outfield prospects so there is no need to rush Ramos.
The Riser: Aramis Garcia, C: Being a catching prospect in the Giants system must be a hopeless and lonely endeavour. Selected in the second round of the ’14 draft, Garcia entered pro ball with the reputation of being an offensive-minded backstop but he struggled with consistency with the bat until 2017. Garcia is still too aggressive for his own good and needs to slow things down at the plate to truly tap into his potential, which includes the pop to hit 12-15 homers with regular playing time in The Show. His defence has improved to the point where he should be an average-or-better defender. He’ll likely spend a good chunk of 2018 back in double-A.
The Tumbler: Sam Coonrod, RHP: This right-handed hurler finished a solid 2016 season with a 13-start stint in double-A. Coonrod returned to the level in ’17 — seemingly for a quick stay — but struggled with consistency and command. He ended up spending the entire season in double-A and produced a dismal 4.69 ERA. He even split time between the rotation and the bullpen. He can hump his hitter up into the mid-90s but is more effective with a little less zip and better positioning down in the zone. A lack of a reliable third offering also hinders him. Coonrod, 24, will look to rebound in 2018.
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.