Giants hope top prospect Matos can bounce back in fall league originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have one of the best prospect combinations in the minors in shortstop Marco Luciano and left-hander Kyle Harrison, but six months ago, a lot of internal and external evaluators thought they would finish 2022 with a three-headed monster.
Outfielder Luis Matos opened a lot of eyes in 2021 and started to shoot up top 100 lists, and there were some who had seen both him and Luciano and felt they were just about on equal footing. It has been a disappointing season for Matos, but the Giants are hoping a run in the Arizona Fall League can get their No. 3 prospect back on track.
Matos was announced Friday as one of eight Giants prospects who will play in the fall league, a short-season league in the Phoenix area that features some of the game’s best prospects. The list also includes 2021 first-rounder Will Bednar and 2022 second-rounder Carson Whisenhunt.
Matos right now is considered to be the best of the bunch, and he remains No. 3 on MLB Pipeline’s Giants list behind only Luciano and Harrison. The Giants still have very high hopes for the 20-year-old center fielder, who has a .636 OPS for High-A Eugene a year after he became the first San Jose Giant to win league MVP honors.
“I know it hasn’t been the easiest year for Luis. Part of that is somewhat injury-related, some of it is just I don’t think he performed his best this year,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “There are some adjustments to make and I’m glad he’s going to get a chance. He’s going 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. A disappointing season could be washed away by a good performance in the fall league.”
The Giants have been a bit puzzled by Matos’ season because the underlying metrics they have are generally positive, but the results haven’t been there. It didn’t help that he missed over a month with a quad strain.
Bednar also battled a minor injury this year and has innings to make up after making just 12 starts for San Jose in his first full professional season. He had a 4.19 ERA but struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings.
Bednar is one of four Giants pitching prospects headed to the fall league, along with Hunter Dula, Tyler Myrick and Whisenhunt, who was taken in the second round earlier this summer and struck out 14 of the 30 batters he faced across two levels.
Dula is an 18th-round pick in 2021 who made 35 relief appearances in Low-A this season before a late-season promotion to High-A. Myrick, taken in the 14th round last year, also pitched in relief in Low-A and High-A this season.
The Giants also are sending two catchers, Adrian Sugastey and Andy Thomas. Sugastey is just 19, spent this entire season in Low-A, and he is considered to be one of the most underrated prospects in the system by some rival evaluators. Thomas, 24, was picked up in the Curt Casali-Matt Boyd trade with the Seattle Mariners at the deadline.
The final member of the class is first baseman Logan Wyatt, a former second-rounder who was limited to just 29 games this year because of injuries.