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Harrison, McCray lead march toward Bay Area

Giants' youthful All-Stars possess balanced mix of pitching, offense
Kyle Harrison limited opponents to a .196 average against and finished second in the Minors with 186 strikeouts. (Richmond Flying Squirrels)
December 12, 2022

Each offseason, goes position by position across each organization and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in each farm system. Next up in our 2022 Organization All-Stars series are the San Francisco Giants.

Each offseason, goes position by position across each organization and honors the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in each farm system. Next up in our 2022 Organization All-Stars series are the San Francisco Giants.

2022 Organization Summary

Triple-A Sacramento: 65-83
Double-A Richmond: 66-71
High-A Eugene: 81-48 (Northwest League champions)
Single-A San Jose: 74-58 (second place, North Division)
ACL Giants Black: 37-17 (League champions)
ACL Giants Orange: 18-37
DSL Giants Orange: 26-32
DSL Giants Black: 22-38
Overall record: 389-384 (.503 winning percentage, 14th among MLB organizations)

Giants Organization All-Stars

Catcher: Patrick Bailey

Bailey proved qualitative growth can be just as important for a Minor Leaguer as shiny numbers. Not only was the No. 12 Giants prospect a key cog in Eugene's second consecutive championship, he also helped lead a pitching staff that paced the circuit in nearly every major category while playing Gold Glove defense behind the plate.

Offensively, it was a season of peaks and valleys. Bailey struggled mightily in April and at various points throughout the campaign, but he did enough throughout the rest of the year to finish with a .761 OPS and career highs of 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 83 games. The major difference between his strong past two seasons was luck, or lack thereof. Bailey's .225 average makes more sense when paired with his .253 BABIP, but he still finished with an wRC+ of 113.

"His slow start hurt his final numbers, but Patrick proved to be an above-average performer if you look under the hood a bit more," said Giants senior director of player development Kyle Haines. "He drove the ball well, continued to play fantastic defense and showed a lot of growth, which is what the Minors are all about. We were happy with what he did for us this year."

First baseman: Frankie Tostado

The power has never been an issue, but Tostado managed to expand his offensive profile even more in 2022. The 24-year-old was in the midst of a breakout campaign when a broken wrist ended his year on July 24, but not before he batted .284/.330/.459 with 28 extra-base hits and 41 RBIs in 77 games with Richmond.

A career-high .341 BABIP surely played a part, but a new offensive approach proved equally as beneficial. Largely a pull hitter during his first three seasons, the lefty-swinging Tostado spread his hits around the field far more frequently in 2022. The California native went from pulling the ball a career-high 45.7 percent of the time in 2021 to 37.2 percent this past season while both his line drive and HR/FB ratios increased dramatically.

Second baseman: Isan Díaz

Still just 26, Díaz made a positive impression after being traded to San Francisco on April 30. The infielder compiled a .951 OPS, 23 long balls and drove in 61 runs in 87 games for Sacramento. After spending the majority of 2021 in the Majors with the Marlins, Díaz did not earn a call to The Show this past season. Once a top prospect in the Arizona, Milwaukee and Miami systems, the 2014 Draft pick has yet to enjoy the same success in the Majors as he has in the Minors, where he sports an .838 OPS in more than 2,500 at-bats.

Third baseman: David Villar

Villar isn't found on top prospect lists, but the 25-year-old certainly put himself squarely in San Francisco's plans. The 2018 Draft pick reached the Majors for the first time this past season and, despite playing in just 84 games in Triple-A, took home Pacific Coast League MVP honors. Villar duplicated his .275 average of a year earlier despite a 34-point drop in BABIP (.340 to .306), but he separated himself with a huge uptick in power production.

The Atlanta native ripped a career-high 27 homers among his 47 extra-base hits, drove in 82 runs and posted a 1.021 OPS for Sacramento. Villar's HR/FB ratio skyrocketed to 27.8 percent and he finished with a wRC+ of 148, the third time in four professional seasons he's eclipsed 140. The infielder more than held his own in his first taste of The Show too, slugging nine home runs and posting a .786 OPS in 52 games for the Giants.

Shortstop: Aeverson Arteaga

Marco Luciano gets much of the attention at shortstop and with good reason, but Arteaga is doing his best to shoehorn his name into the conversation. The 19-year-old spent the entire year with San Jose and was an offensive force, leading Giants farmhands in doubles (35), RBIs (84) and finishing third in extra-base hits (51). Overall, the Venezuela native hit .270/.345/.431 in 122 games.

"Making that jump from the [Arizona Complex League] is big," Haines said of San Francisco's fifth-ranked prospect. "And doing what he did at his age was very impressive. He was very consistent from Opening Day on and showed so many positives. He plays a strong shortstop and we feel he has the ability to stick there thanks to his athleticism. It's fun to think about his what lies ahead for him."

Outfield: Grant McCray

McCray's season began with an MVP-caliber performance in the California League and ended with him serving as a catalyst for the Northwest League-champion Emeralds. It was quite a performance from a player who entered 2022 having played 69 of his first 93 games in Rookie-level competition. The No. 4 Giants prospect tore up the Cal League with a .908 OPS, including 51 extra-base hits, 21 homers, 35 stolen bases and a 131 wRC+ in 106 games before his promotion to Eugene.

McCray's name was all over the organizational leaderboard, which he paced in total bases (251), hits (141), runs (104), walks (67), extra-base hits (55), and triples (nine). Defensively, the 22-year-old plays a smooth center field and has a strong and accurate arm, evidenced by his 11 assists.

"Man, what a year he had," Haines gushed. "He's always had a lot of potential and watching him put it all together was really something special. He plays a terrific center field, has great speed and is a sparkplug from the top of the order. We can talk all day about his tools, but it goes deeper than that too. He's got great intangibles and so much energy that is truly infectious."

Vaun Brown

From the ACL to Double-A in less than a year, and certainly deservedly so. Like McCray, Brown put his name all over the Giants' Minor League leaderboard, which he led in OBP (.437), slugging (.637), OPS (1.060) and stolen bases (44). San Francisco's No. 10 prospect opened the year with San Jose and earned a promotion to Eugene before finishing the year in Richmond. The 24-year-old batted .346, hit 23 homers and drove in 75 runs in 103 games, providing a lethal 1-2 punch with McCray during their time together.

"I think Brown has a little more raw power [than McCray], but obviously we're ecstatic to have two such players along similar trajectories," Haines said. "They're both exciting and talented players. It's been a treat to see them both come into their own."

Carter Williams

Williams doesn't get the attention or the accolades of McCray and Brown, but the 24-year-old put together an All-Star campaign in his own right. Although Williams did not begin his season until mid-May, he still collected 33 extra-base hits and drove in 61 runs in 80 games between San Jose and Eugene. The North Carolina native compiled a .336/.406/.525 slash line in 295 at-bats.

Right-handed starting pitcher: Mason Black

San Francisco couldn't have asked for much more from Black during his pro debut. The No. 11 Giants prospect was dominant for San Jose, posting a 1.57 ERA and striking out 44 in 34 1/3 innings in eight starts. Although his numbers with Eugene were less spectacular, all of Black's peripherals remained high, including a K/9 of 10.67.

The 22-year-old led the organization with a 3.21 ERA and finished with a 1.17 WHIP and 136 punchouts in 112 frames across 24 starts.

"Mason was a part of our group of dominant arms in San Jose, but to be honest, the league wasn't much of a challenge for him," Haines explained. "This was our first extensive look at him and we were obviously impressed. He really had a dominant year and showed an ability to handle things when he was challenged a bit more [with Eugene]."

Left-handed starting pitcher: Kyle Harrison

Harrison lived up to his billing as baseball's top left-handed pitching prospect with a truly dominant campaign for Eugene and Richmond. The 21-year-old finished second in the Minors with 186 strikeouts, limited opposing hitters to a .196 average and carved out a 2.71 ERA in 25 starts. Featuring a mid-90s heater and a strong slider, Harrison overpowers the opposition, which managed just 79 hits against him in 113 innings. Through his first two seasons, the native of San Jose, California, has 343 strikeouts in 211 2/3 frames, a K/9 of 14.6.

"I have a hard time believing there is a better southpaw prospect in the game," Haines said. "In some regards, the Minors might be a little too easy for him. We want to challenge him. He still makes mistakes, but because his stuff is so premium, he can get away with it. That's where we want to see him challenged and adapt. He definitely needs more development, but Kyle has all the ingredients to be one of the top of left-handed starters in baseball."

Reliever: Evan Gates

Gates was a rock out of the bullpen in 2022, which ended with him reaching Double-A after overpowering hitters Single-A and High-A. The 24-year-old finished with a 1.95 ERA, an 0.87 WHIP and was extremely difficult to hit, yielding just 29 safeties in 55 1/3 innings. Opponents batted only .153 against Gates, who never surrendered more than two runs in any of his 42 appearances.

Michael Avallone is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.