GOODYEAR, Ariz.–MLB.com released its latest prospect rankings Monday and there’s no surprise what player ranks as the best in the San Francisco Giants farm system.
Catcher Joey Bart, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, is in his first big league camp and earning strong reviews for his work this spring.
The new rankings list Bart as the franchise’s top prospect and the player with the best “power” tool in the Giants’ system, but new farm director Kyle Haines is just as impressed by the Georgia Tech product’s defense.
“I know everybody talks about his bat, that’s the easiest thing to talk about,” Haines said. “But I’ve just been real happy with how much he helps pitchers out, how much he takes on that team aspect from behind the plate, wanting to see the pitcher succeed and how he wants to grow and be a game manager behind the plate.”
The Giants’ 2017 first round selection, Heliot Ramos, checks in as the No. 2 prospect in the organization behind Bart and should join the catcher in the middle of the order for Single-A San Jose at some point this season. Ramos posted a .709 on-base plus slugging in Low-A Augusta last year, but played his best ball at the end of the year.
“I think the big thing for him is that we just want to continue to see that he’s trending upward which he did last year,” Haines said. “If he does that this year, he’s going to be in a really good spot for 2020.”
A handful of new faces are sprinkled throughout the list including international free agent Marco Luciano, a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic who is listed as the Giants’ No. 3 prospect.
While the farm system is much deeper than it was a year ago, new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi is working on building depth at every level. Zaidi selected Haines to run the farm system after David Bell departed his post at the beginning of the offseason to become the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
Haines is particularly excited about the lower levels of the system as many players with big league potential will play in San Jose, Augusta and extended spring training this year. Infielder Manny Geraldo (unranked) is expected to jump from Augusta to San Jose while Camilio Doval, the No. 25 Giants prospect, could make the climb as well after posting a 1.88 ERA in the second half for Augusta last year.
“You’ve got guys like Camilio Doval who if you throw out his first couple of outings last year, he was maybe as dominant as any reliever in minor league baseball last year,” Haines said. “Just incredibly impressive stuff.”
Haines said a contingent of young players like Luis Toribio (No. 9), Alexander Canario (No. 10) and Jean Peña (unranked) have some of the highest ceilings in the system, even if they’re still several years away from reaching their desired destination.
Some of the lower-profile names to watch early in the year include starter Jose Marte (No. 27) who struck out nearly a batter per inning at Augusta last year and Mac Marshall (unranked), a left-hander who will likely spend a second season in the California League.
The top prospect, Bart, will remain in the spotlight throughout his minor league career, but he feels one of his teammates from the 2018 short-season Salem-Keizer club is significantly overlooked. The Giants’ 2018 11th round pick David Villar (unranked) tied Bart for the team-lead with 13 home runs last summer, but Villar produced 10 more doubles, finishing with 23 in just 62 games.
“He was a steal, man,” Bart said. “I always mess with him. I don’t know how he was an 11th round pick. He crushes and he plays great defense. He’s not like 6-foot-3 so that’s the only thing I can think of that they’re holding against him. He rakes.”