At the start of the previous decade, the Giants farm system was stronger than it had been in years. Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt soon would spark three World Series titles in five seasons, and Zack Wheeler also was on hand before going to the Mets in an ill-advised trade for Carlos Beltrán.
While San Francisco was winning at the big league level, its development pipeline began to dry up. It hasn't drafted and developed an All-Star since Joe Panik in 2011, or signed and cultivated one internationally since Pablo Sandoval in 2003. After the Giants stopped producing difference makers, they stopped winning and finished the 2010s with their worst three-year stretch since 1983-85.
San Francisco has begun to revitalize its system in the past two years, however, acquiring 20 members of MLB Pipeline's new Giants Top 30 Prospects list. The biggest moves came in 2018, when it landed a pair of potential superstars by drafting Joey Bart with the No. 2 overall pick and signing Dominican shortstop Marco Luciano for $2.6 million. Luciano headlined a potentially special international class that also includes sweet-swinging outfielders Luis Matos and Jairo Pomares.
The Giants' 2019 Draft came together nicely, as they saved money without sacrificing talent with their top two choices (outfielder Hunter Bishop and first baseman Logan Wyatt), allowing them to give over-slot bonuses to six of their next nine selections. First-year president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was active on the trade market as well. Though he declined to deal Bumgarner or Will Smith, he still managed to add middle infielders Will Wilson and Mauricio Dubón, outfielder Jaylin Davis and right-handers Tristan Beck and Kai-Wei Teng without trading anyone in San Francisco's long-term plans.
Now the system is stronger than it has been since Posey, Bumgarner and Co. were heading toward San Francisco. The Giants may not capture three championships in the next five seasons this time around, but their future certainly looks brighter than it did two years ago.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2019 preseason list to the 2020 preseason list.
Jump: Luis Matos, OF (2019: NR | 2020: 8) -- An advanced hitter who may have more power than the Giants realized, he finished third in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League in batting (.362) and OPS (1.000) in his 2019 pro debut.
Fall: Chris Shaw, 1B (2019: 11 | 2020: NR) -- He still has some of the best raw power in the organization, but he doesn't offer much else and has 31 strikeouts in 82 big league plate appearances.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 55 -- Marco Luciano (Mauricio Dubón, Luis Matos, Jairo Pomares, Luis Toribio)
Power: 60 -- Luciano (Joey Bart, Hunter Bishop)
Run: 60 -- Grant McCray (Aeverson Arteaga, Bishop)
Arm: 60 -- Sandro Fabian (Bart, Ricardo Genoves, Luciano, Heliot Ramos, Toribio)
Defense: 60 -- Bart
Fastball: 80 -- Melvin Adon
Curveball: 60 -- Blake Rivera (Seth Corry)
Slider: 60 -- Adon (Logan Webb)
Changeup: 55 -- Corry
Control: 55 -- Sean Hjelle (Kai-Wei Teng)
How they were built
Draft: 13 | International: 10 | Trade: 6 | Rule 5: 1
Breakdown by ETA
2020: 6 | 2021: 6 | 2022: 11 | 2023: 6 | 2024: 1
Breakdown by position
C: 2 | 1B: 1 | 3B: 2 | SS: 5 | OF: 8 | RHP: 11 | LHP: 1