With the San Francisco Giants possessing a disappointing 46-55 record as the July 31 trade deadline approaches, it is possible that the team will try to move one or a few veteran players in order to fortify their lacking farm system. As the organization continues to reformulate their approach following two World Series victories in three years, they must maintain a steady influx of young talent in order to stay competitive.
The Giants’ most glaring need at the major league level is at starting pitching, but that may be less of a priority as they attempt to upgrade with more prospects. 10 of the 20 players ranked as the Giants’ top prospects are starting pitchers, and that’s not even including Chris Heston, who was ranked as the team’s no. 8 prospect prior to briefly being released last week but has since been re-signed.
What is exciting yet offsetting is that eight of those 10 starters began the season at either High-A San Jose or Class-A Augusta, and the majority of them are likely a year or more away from contributing at the major league level. Even with this depth, it’s never bad to acquire more starting pitching, as the starters who can’t find a spot in the rotation can always be used as relievers.
Perhaps the greatest help to the Giants would be some upper-level relief pitchers. Currently, the only Giants relievers in Triple-A without major league experience who still have a decent shot at a major league career are righthanders Heath Hembree and Brett Bochy.
With the team’s bullpen having struggled at times this year while going through a period of transition, it would definitely be beneficial for the team to add more relief depth going forward.
In terms of position players, it would also be helpful for the Giants to add to their talent pool. Their most fruitful area in the minors lies in the outfield, where Francisco Peguero, Gary Brown, Roger Kieschnick, Juan Perez, Brett Krill, Mac Williamson and Jesus Galindo have all put up numbers that indicate that they could have major league futures. With that said, none of these players is a surefire future star devoid of flaws.
Across the rest of the diamond, though, the prospect cupboard is more bare. The team has several catchers with legitimate potential, though that is far from their main area of need with Buster Posey likely to be behind the plate for at least the next several years.
Perhaps the most worrisome area is at the corner infield positions, where Pablo Sandoval is a free agent after next season and Brandon Belt has failed to consistently produce over the course of his three-year career.
First base prospect Angel Villalona has spectacular power-hitting potential and has gotten off to a great start since his promotion to Double-A last month, but there are still significant questions about his ability to hit for average in the majors. Third baseman Adam Duvall has been a disappointment in Double-A this year after hitting 30 homers in the California League last season.
This year’s top two picks, Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones, could both end up being third basemen at the major league level, but they were taken out of high school and probably won’t be ready for at least four years.
If the Giants are going to trade for a prospect, it would greatly behoove them first to try to acquire a more advanced corner infielder. They need insurance if they lose Sandoval after next season or if Belt needs to be replaced, and more options are always better in this type of situation.
Secondly, any extra bullpen arms they can bring in would help out with the system, especially with several younger relievers such as Jake Dunning and Sandy Rosario having graduated to full-time big-league status this year. Finally, it is always beneficial to add more starting pitching, and if the Giants have the opportunity to do it, they should.
If the deal is right, now is the perfect time for San Francisco to build up their organization for years to come.