While the Giants were represented by only one prospect on Baseball America's midseason Top 100 list, the same can now be said for MLB Pipeline, the prospect service of MLB.com. The only difference is who represents the Giants on these lists.
For Baseball America, outfielder/first baseman Chris Shaw leapt right-handed pitcher Tyler Beede as the team's top prospect and was named the No. 86 prospect in all of baseball. On Monday, MLB Pipeline unveiled their new Top 100 list and Shaw too passed Beede, but as San Francisco's No. 2 prospect. Infielder Christian Arroyo came in as the Giants' No. 1 prospect after a sensational start to the season as a 21-year-old in Triple-A, earning him a call-up to the bigs.
Arroyo is the lone Giants prospect on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list, coming in at No. 67. Beede, now dealing with a groin injury, is 6-7 with a 4.79 ERA in Triple-A.
There's an argument to be made for both Shaw and Arroyo as the leading man when looking at the next wave of the Giants' future that appears to be more important than ever with the second worst record in the majors so far this season.
In Shaw, the 6-foot-4 slugger has exceeded expectations this season, giving the Giants a legitimate power threat they have been desperately looking to bring to AT&T Park. Shaw tore up the pitcher-friendly Eastern League of Double-A with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, hitting .301/.390/.511 with six home runs over 37 games, earning him a promotion to Sacramento. Since then, Shaw has continued to show off his power with nine more home runs, but has also been overmatched at the higher level at times. Through 53 games with the River Cats, Shaw has now struck out 61 times to only 11 walks for a .310 on-base percentage. Over his last 10 games, Shaw is 7-for-39 at the plate, coming out to a .179 batting average.
The 23-year-old can flat-out hit, no matter the occasional slump at the highest level of the minors, living up to the billing of perhaps the top pure hitter in the 2015 draft class. Between Richmond and Sacramento, the No. 31 pick in the '15 draft is slashing .286/.343/.494 while knocking out 15 home runs.
When it comes to Arroyo, erase the image you have of a .192 hitter in 34 games with the Giants this season. And no, he's not the .396 hitter that made Triple-A baseball look way too easy for someone we're pretty sure runs a lemonade stand on the side. To find that happy medium though, let life give you lemons.
Arroyo looked like the young hitter he is at times with the Giants, striking out 32 times to eight walks. But he also showed the ease in his swing with advanced balance and the ability to barrel up balls on a consistent basis for years to come is clear. He also hit three home runs and five doubles in his first stint with San Francisco. The Giants' top pick from the 2013 draft is now a .300/.345/.434 career hitter with 24 long balls in 368 minor league games.
The big question between Arroyo and Shaw is, who brings more to the table? Shaw's power is far beyond anything Arroyo's will ever be. On the other hand, the same goes for Arroyo's defense to Shaw's, who is playing outfield for the first time in his minor league career this season, though he spent plenty of time out there at Boston College. Arroyo, a natural shortstop, has a strong arm and is a capable everyday player at the hot corner or up the middle.
At different times this season, along with Arroyo, the Giants have given time to other prospects such as Austin Slater, Ryder Jones and Miguel Gomez in the field. If it weren't for injuries to his left wrist/hand, we would have seen more Arroyo in San Francisco. Now, we wait and see if this splendid season can bring us an Arroyo-Shaw sighting in September. Or just wake me up when it ends.
Around The Horn
- Hey, Alex Pavlovic found the Giants' new third baseman!
-Heliot Ramos, the Giants' top pick in the 2017 draft, is ranked as the team's No. 4 prospect on MLB Pipeline's Giants Top 30. He is one spot ahead of 2016 top pick Bryan Reynolds.
-Panda Watch: Pablo Sandoval is now batting .231 in four games between the San Jose Giants and Sacramento River Cats.