Zaidi explains underwhelming season for Giants' farm system


The Giants' farm system had been on the rise the past few seasons before seemingly taking a step backward in 2022. 

San Francisco still has an abundance of exciting, young talent throughout all levels of the system, but down seasons and injuries have played a role in a less exciting outlook moving forward. 

Giants president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi, joined The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on the latest episode of "The TK Show" podcast, where he discussed what he believes played a role in the disappointing season developmentally.

"I have kind of conversations with other people in baseball, other front office people with other organizations," Zaidi said. "There's definitely a feeling that the pandemic year and losing a minor league season has created an uneven development path. There's still plenty of success stories in the minor leagues and to the extent that we feel, or there's a collective feel that we don't have enough of those success stories, that's something we should assess. Overall we feel good about the talent stock, had some guys have really good seasons and really advance."

Former top prospect Joey Bart currently is making an impact at the major league level and even another top prospect, Heliot Ramos, made a brief appearance with the major league squad earlier this season. Other than those two and top pitching prospect Kyle Harrison who is surging through the system, Zaidi doesn't believe that other top prospects such as shortstop Marco Luciano, outfielder Luis Matos and others in lower levels of the system will be having much of an impact even next season. 

"I think it's a mix of things as it always is," Zaidi added. "We feel good about the overall talent stock. Kyle Haines and our player development group do a terrific job and I think the big challenge for us, and we talked about this some on the day of the deadline, is our best prospects are still -- maybe other than Kyle Harrison [Heliot] Ramos whose already in Triple-A -- we have a group of guys in [High-A] Eugene who might see Double-A to end the season, but it might not be realistic to count on them to be big factors in 2023. So we may not have that infusion of talent next year, it might be another year away; that's going to have to factor into our offseason plan."

In a division with the arch-rival Los Angeles Dodgers, who consistently can maintain a juggernaut of a farm system year in and year out, it's hard not to compare and contrast the Giants' up-an-coming system with that of the Dodgers, who always seem to find new ways to acquire young minor league talent. 

"One of the things that the Dodgers have done extremely well is create multiple in-roads into their talent pipeline," Zaidi explained. "They've done really well internationally, they've done really well in the draft by never having high picks in the draft or a lot of cap room. And then I think they've been really smart with some of their trades. You go back and look at the trade they made in the 2018-2019 offseason. Which was a little bit after I left there, actually. They traded Alex Wood and Yasiel Puig to the Reds and got Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs, who were big prospects part of the [Max] Scherzer and [Trea] Turner deal.

"Kind of re-generating that way, in a lot of ways that's the type of deal that a rebuilding club makes, veterans on the last year of their deals, make a trade and get young prospects and being able to reallocate them. They've done a better job than we have in the last few years in terms of reinforcing their talent pipeline. We really like our farm system, but major league payroll aside and major league record aside, we have to go toe-to-toe with them in terms of talent acquisition. We do have to get better in that area."

RELATED: What we learned as unlucky Webb, Giants' offense fall to Tigers

Since Zaidi was hired in November 2018, the Giants' system has improved drastically. Despite the underwhelming season in 2022, San Francisco still has plenty to look forward to in the future, with a handful of exciting prospects still finding their way into Top 100 lists throughout the game. 

For now, though, the Giants -- and many other teams around the league -- will continue to make up for the time they lost during the 2020 season. 

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