Giants farm director identifies two prospects who could be sleepers


It's a lot of fun to go through top 100 prospect lists, but scouts and talent evaluators that work in front offices will tell you they don't pay much attention to them.

They would generally rank their players differently, and often you'll see highly-ranked prospects traded because a team doesn't feel the same way about the player as Baseball America or MLB Pipeline. 

Years ago, Giants officials would insist that Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik were underrated by prospect lists. They were right. Last spring, you could find Giants people talking about how 22-year-old Logan Webb should have been a top 100 prospect. 

It's an imperfect science, so it's best to go to the evaluators who know these players best. On a KNBR podcast this week, director of player development Kyle Haines was asked to give a pitcher and hitter who will be heard from down the line but might not be household names for Giants fans. 

"I've got a lot of them," Haines said. "Being the guy who is with these guys every day there are so many guys I want to speak up for, because I see their hard work."

Haines settled on two in particular. From a position player standpoint, he chose outfielder Luis Matos, an outfielder signed out of Venezuela for $750,000 in 2018. The 18-year-old tends to get listed in the back end of the organization's top 10, but he's a player team officials are starting to whisper about a lot.

"I'm a big fan of his," Haines said. "He does a lot of things really well. I think he's a center fielder. He doesn't have that Billy Hamilton speed by any means but he's got enough speed to play center and he seems to just learn things really quickly and takes a lot of pride in his work. At a young age you see how he handles himself differently than most kids his age. He can hit, he can hit for power, he can hit a double, he can steal a base, he can play center field. He's not going to hit the ball to the moon like Alexander Canario is but he does everything really well."

Matos has a .367 average and seven homers in 60 career professional games. He can hit. Seriously, just take a moment and watch this teenager square up baseballs:

There's a reason the Giants are so excited about Matos, who was part of the same international class as top prospect Marco Luciano. 

[RELATED: Giants to carry four top prospects on Taxi squad]

From a pitching standpoint, Haines chose a right-hander who came over in the Sam Dyson trade with the Twins last year. Kai-Wei Teng is just 21 and has a 2.28 ERA in the minors. He has 135 strikeouts and has allowed just one homer in 122 1/3 professional innings. Haines said he anticipates Teng sticking as a starter.

"He's a guy that probably not a lot of people know about that we really like," Haines said. "I think he could be even a quick mover, who knows. I think we're probably higher on him than most in the industry are."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

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