Prospects In Person: Giants Double-A Affiliate boasts multiple prospects

April 8, 2024

As this particular FSS Plus writer is based in New Jersey, we often have to wait to see prospects from other areas come to town and are at the mercy of the schedule-makers every year on just who you’re fortunate enough to get those early looks at.

This year, they were kind, even if the team itself wasn’t quite as giving. Right-handed starter Hayden Birdsong was held out for the team’s home opener on Tuesday, leaving the looks mostly at a deep group of position players on this year’s Richmond Flying Squirrels roster.

Vaun Brown and Adrian Sugastey are among the Top 30 players on Joe Doyle’s look at the San Francisco Giants system who you won’t be seeing on here just yet, but we did get to see Double-A debuts for two bigger names, as well as a 2019 top-ten draft pick who has seemingly fallen off the radar of late.

Grant McCray, OF (No. 9 Giants Prospect)

Wanted to like it. There’s so much upside here. And, to be fair, a two-game sample size — McCray and most of the team’s top players didn’t play on Sunday — isn’t really enough for anything resembling a fair and thorough evaluation of any kind.

The good? McCray is a sturdy, six-foot-two, 190-pound left-handed bat in the outfield. He can play all three spots, but speed you’ll see graded as high as a 70 makes him a logical fit for center. There’s significant power in there, and he shows easy, athletic actions across the board.

The bad? There’s so much swing and miss here. He swung and missed nine times in two games against Somerset Patriots pitching, and was rarely aggressive early in the count. The 23-year-old, who was a third-rounder back in 2019, only reached on two walks, but struck out in six of his ten plate appearances. It lines up with leading the Northwest League in strikeouts last year, and producing a 29.6% K rate over the last two seasons. If that gets cleaned up? San Francisco inarguably has got something here. If not? None of it matters.

Eric Silva, RHP (16)

Eric Silva is an alumni of the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series, having come through during the 2020 National Combine, when he was still a two-way player. It was pretty clear back then that he was going to go the pitching route, however, and that’s what the Giants had in mind when they took him off the board in the fourth round a year later.

The six-foot-one, 185-pound righty has been a steady mover through their system since, but has seemingly yet to unlock his vast potential, as evidenced by a high career ERA and WHIP despite a relatively low walk rate. The Giants transitioned him from starting into a bullpen role midway through last year.

On Sunday at TD Bank Ballpark, Silva, still only 21 years old, made his Double-A debut in relief. The end line wasn’t pretty, but the stuff was there, with a plus slider — one that got him in trouble during the outing — mixing well with a fastball that sat between 92-94 and touched 95 miles per hour.

Hunter Bishop, OF (NR)

Despite being selected tenth overall back in 2019, Bishop is now nearly entirely off the prospect radar, and won’t be found on any San Francisco top 30 you read these days despite being a consensus Top 100 prospect in all of baseball in both 2020 and 2021.

Why? Injuries and poor play have hampered the one-time Arizona State star’s ascent to the big leagues, but a quick look this past weekend showed he may finally be on the way back up.

Now 25 years old, Bishop made his long-awaited Double-A debut and performed well, reaching in four of his first ten plate appearances. That includes a home run, something he delivered plenty of back in his Sun Devils days, one that showed his still significant pull-side power. His six-foot-five, 210-pound frame and lefty bat that made him so enticing to teams during that 2019 MLB Draft also made him pop this past weekend, and he still profiles as a corner outfielder long-term.

If there was a path to the big leagues with the bat, perhaps first base would be in play, but he’s yet to play there professionally.

If he can remain healthy — and that’s been the biggest of “ifs” with him, as he missed all of last year due to injury and had just 132 pro games under his belt entering 2024 — then he was able to show, albeit again in a small sample size, that the best is yet to come…finally.

Mike Ashmore
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