The minor league season is over, but six of the Giants’ top prospects have more baseball ahead of them this year.
Arizona Fall League rosters were announced Wednesday and three of the Giants’ top overall prospects –shortstop Marco Luciano, catcher Patrick Bailey and outfielder Hunter Bishop– will represent the organization with the Scottsdale Scorpions, who open play on October 13.
The Giants are also sending three pitching prospects to the Fall League and all are relievers. Right-hander Gregory Santos, who made his major league debut this season but was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, will pitch for the Scorpions and be joined by fellow righties R.J. Dabovich and Cole Waites.
Santos, who pitched in three games for the Giants this year, will soon need to be added back to the team’s 40-man roster, but it’s not clear when that transaction must take place. Dabovich was the Giants’ fourth round draft choice in 2020 and quickly ascended to Double-A Richmond, where his impressive season was interrupted by an injury.
Waites, an 18th round draft choice in 2019, ended the year as the Low-A San Jose Giants closer and recorded the final out in the Low-A West championship series. The right-hander has a promising future in the organization thanks to a fastball that can touch triple digits on the radar gun and it’s easy to envision a scenario where Santos, Dabovich and Waites are all contributing out of the Giants’ bullpen by the end of the 2022 season.
The three position player prospects heading to Arizona are unlikely to reach the majors next season, but all are expected to play a critical role in forming the Giants’ next homegrown core of stars.
Luciano, who at 20 is the youngest player on any Fall League roster, is the Giants’ top overall prospect and a player who should benefit from seeing more advanced pitching after posting impressive power numbers at Low-A San Jose before struggling with High-A Eugene at the end of the season.
Bailey, the Giants’ first round pick in 2020, had a rough first half of the season with High-A Eugene, but after making swing changes with minor league coaches in Arizona, the North Carolina State product reported to Low-A San Jose where he found his power stroke and contributed both offensively and defensively during the team’s title run.
Bishop, the Giants’ first round selection in 2019, has enormous potential but has had a difficult time staying healthy since being drafted. The Serra High (San Mateo) product may be the prospect who stands to benefit most from extended playing time in the Fall League as he was limited to just 45 at-bats in a challenging year.