It’s that time of year again!  So, let’s not waste any time.  Here’s some write-ups about the bottom of my Top 10 San Francisco Giants Prospects list for 2016!

10. Ray Black, RP, A+

Velocity can not be taught.  It sure can be hard to keep healthy, though.

Ray Black missed two full seasons after being a 7th round pick in 2011.  As a 25-year old in San Jose, he pitched like a man among boys, but his age was not the advantage.  He can hit 103 MPH regularly, and going to San Jose or Arizona Fall League games he pitched would be as much fun to watch the amused responses from scouts and their radar guns.  But, he’s had a ton of injuries.  He had Tommy John surgery in high school, a meniscus injury in college, a broken hand from getting mugged, and most notably, a torn labrum that cost him two minor league seasons.  Believe it or not, he’d never hit 100 before the torn labrum, a very serious injury few pitchers comes back from.  He came back stronger than ever.

With his velocity, it’s easy to talk about Ray Black as a closer candidate.  But as enchanting as the fastball is, and as nicely as it pairs with a mid-80’s slider that must look like a knuckleball, he has work to do.  Black struck out two batters an inning in San Jose, but walked one an inning.  Right now, contact isn’t a problem for him, but as he moves higher, the old rule that a major leaguer can hit any fastball may catch up to him.  He’ll have to not give away free baserunners the same way.  Black should move to AA for 2016, and that puts him within range of the majors at any point.

9. Aramis Garcia, C, A+

The Giants are keeping catchers developing in their system, although the future of Buster Posey as the backstop is safe for now.  Aramis Garcia has more work to do behind the plate than in front of it, but he showed some of his offensive ability this season.  He has a quick swing and has developed a pull-hitting approach that helped him to 15 home runs in 83 games in a tough hitter’s league and ballpark in Augusta.

What will be more interesting to follow will be Garcia’s abilities behind the plate, improving his defense and play calling.  The good news is that he got good grades on that in scouting reports after the season ended.  He had a tough time in 20 games at San Jose after a late-season callup.  He’ll get another chance in 2016 at San Jose, and it should be interesting to see how his power does in that league.

8. Sam Coonrod, SP, A

The 2015 minor league season had its ups and downs in the Giants’ system, but one of the biggest ups was the emergence of Sam Coonrod in Augusta.  The 5th round pick from 2014 showed mid-90’s velocity and dominated in the South Atlantic League.  He got some mid-season buzz as being voted by SAL managers as the Best Pitching Prospect, but he still remains under the radar overall.

Coonrod needs to develop his third pitch.  His fastball is legitimate and his slider needs some consistency but projects as a plus pitch, but his lack of a changeup will hurt him at higher levels.  The good news is that Baseball America noted that he has a great work ethic, to the point the coaches sometimes need to rein him in so he doesn’t work too hard.  That bodes well for him to get that changeup under control.  If he does that, he’ll be a Top 5 prospect.