3 Giants prospects to watch in Arizona Fall League

September 28th, 2022

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Most Giants farmhands are preparing to shift into offseason mode now that the Minor League season is winding down, but there won’t be much of a break for the eight prospects who will be heading to the Arizona Fall League this year. 

The AFL is scheduled to begin its 30th season on Monday, giving some of the brightest prospects in the game a chance to continue to refine their skills against elite competition. The Giants contingent will play for the Scottsdale Scorpions, which will be managed by Braves coach Matt Tuiasosopo during the six-week showcase circuit. 

Here are three Giants prospects to watch in the AFL:

Luis Matos, OF (Giants’ No. 3 prospect, per MLB Pipeline)

Matos, a 20-year-old center fielder and right-handed hitter from Venezuela, emerged as a standout on a loaded Class A San Jose roster in 2021, earning league MVP honors after batting .313/.358/.494 with 15 home runs, 86 RBIs and 21 stolen bases over 109 games. He struck out only 61 times over 451 at-bats, displaying the advanced approach that turned him into one of the best pure hitters in the Giants’ organization.

Despite his elite bat-to-ball skills, Matos endured a disappointing season at the plate in 2022, hitting only .211/.275/.344 with 11 homers and 11 steals over 91 games with High-A Eugene. Even so, the Giants are hoping that he’ll be able to get back on track with a strong showing in the AFL and reassert himself as the club’s center fielder of the future.

“I know it hasn’t been the easiest year for Luis,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said earlier this month. “Part of that is somewhat injury-related. Some of it is just I don’t think he performed his best this year. There are some adjustments to make. He’s going to go to the Fall League, and that’s going to be almost a new season for him. It’s sometimes nice to start fresh. If he goes out and has a good Fall League, it almost feels like everything else is washed away.”

Carson Whisenhunt, LHP (No. 7)

A second-round Draft pick in 2022, Whisenhunt was forced to sit out his junior season at East Carolina University after receiving a year-long suspension from the NCAA for testing positive for a banned substance that he said came from a supplement he purchased at a national nutrition store chain. But the 21-year-old showed he hadn’t lost his stuff after making his professional debut with the Giants, striking out seven over 4 2/3 innings in two starts with San Jose.

Whisenhunt, who has yet to allow a run since turning pro, features an elite changeup with a 91-95 mph fastball and an average curveball, making him a potential mid-rotation starter with a high floor.

Adrian Sugastey, C (No. 19)

Signed for $525,000 out of Panama in 2019, Sugastey had to wait two years to make his pro debut due to the pandemic, but he quickly turned heads by capturing the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League batting title in 2021, when he hit .358/.405/.439 at 18 years old.

Like Matos, Sugastey also regressed this season, batting only .240/.329/.333 over 75 games with San Jose. Still, he won’t turn 20 until late October and boasts one of the strongest arms in the Giants’ system, allowing him to throw out nearly 30 percent of basestealers over his first two Minor League seasons.