Ranking the San Francisco Giants' Top Outfield Prospects
The San Francisco Giants' minor league system is teeming with young outfielders, all of whom have the potential to play for the big leagues one day.
As B/R featured columnist J.J. Schoch wrote, the Giants' current outfield is one of the worst in baseball. Hope lies in the minor league system, with five players who could contribute down the road.
Since this list looks toward the future instead of focusing on the present, players with Major League service like Francisco Peguero, Roger Kieschnick and Juan Perez will not be considered prospects.
The Giants always need more bats, so guys who can contribute offensively rank higher than defense-first players.
6. Brian Ragira
A corner outfielder who has seen time at first base, Ragira was named the No. 140 prospect in the 2013 draft by Baseball America. The Giants took him in the fourth round from nearby Stanford University.
Ragira is a contact hitter with a knack for getting on base, never batting below .320 in three seasons at Stanford. Through 38 games with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in Low-A ball, he has 10 doubles and 25 RBI.
If Ragira wants to play left or right field in the majors, he needs to continue developing his power. With an average glove and wheels, Ragira's future will be determined by his bat.
5. Devin Harris
Harris was blessed with an NBA player's name, but not his world-class speed. The left fielder makes his living off mashing home runs with High-A San Jose, having already sent 21 shots beyond the wall this season.
The 6'3", 225-pound slugger has the gap-to-gap power to thrive in AT&T Park's deep alleys. Harris has 36 doubles, five triples and a .494 slugging percentage this year.
Last season, Harris struggled making contact and finished with a .185 batting average in 53 games for San Jose. He's hitting .258 this season, and will need to continue improving to get a shot in San Francisco.
4. Jarrett Parker
No, not the pitcher across the bay. Jarrett Parker is the starting left fielder for the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels, and the Giants' next lefty power threat.
Parker was taken in the second round of the 2010 draft, just after Gary Brown. Though he has yet to crack Triple-A, Parker is hitting .391/.586/.978 so far in August.
Like many left-handed batters, Parker is especially deadly against right-handed pitching. The 6'4", 210 pounder has hit all but one of his 16 home runs off righties this season.
As the video above shows, Parker tends to whiff almost as much as he connects. He has struck out in 30.6 percent of his plate appearances this year, on par with Adam Dunn and Mark Reynolds' career averages.
Parker stole 28 bases last year on an 82.4 percent success rate, but like Brown, he has been less efficient this season. With 13 steals on 23 tries, he needs to prove he can steal bases at Double-A before moving up.
3. Gary Brown
Once considered the organization's Golden Boy, Gary's future has become a murky Brown after a rough transition to Triple-A.
The center fielder tore up High-A San Jose with a .336 batting average, 61 extra-base hits and 53 steals in 2011. Double-A was a little more challenging, CSN's Andrew Baggarly said, but Brown still held his own.
Since joining the Fresno Grizzlies, Brown has been the definition of streaky. He opened the season by hitting .195 through 30 games, then batted .278 and cracked eight home runs in June before cooling off in July and August.
The 2010 first-round pick still has a lot of upside, but he needs to rediscover how to steal bases. Brown has swiped just 15 bags this year, and has been caught 11 times.
2. Gustavo Cabrera
Cabrera is like the Sistine Chapel: Most people know nothing about him, just that he has an incredible ceiling.
In 53 Dominican Summer League games, Cabrera is hitting just .246 but has 21 stolen bases. MLB.com scouts rank players' attributes on a scale of 2-8, and Cabrera's speed earned a seven.
Scouts see Cabrera developing into a complete player, with an aggregate ranking of six by the time he is ready for the majors. What's more, his .379 OBP this year shows better plate discipline than many free-swinging Dominicans.
At just 17 years old, the earliest Cabrera will make the bigs is 2017. Giants fans will have to be patient while he adjusts to life and baseball in the U.S.
1. Mac Williamson
There's a whole lot of man packed into Mac Williamson (6'5", 240 pounds), and he's tearing up the minors one level at a time.
After the Giants took Williamson in the third round of the 2012 draft, the former Wake Forest star crushed Low-A pitching to the tune of a .342 average, seven homers and .988 OPS in 29 games.
The 23-year-old was then promoted to High-A San Jose, and has ripped 22 home runs while maintaining a .282 batting average in his first full season.
If the Giants re-sign Hunter Pence to a long-term deal, Williamson will have a roadblock waiting for him in the majors. For a converted pitcher and catcher, though, switching to left field shouldn't be a problem.