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Which prospects will Giants protect from Rule 5 draft?

Alexander Canario. Icon Sportswire / Contributor Getty Images

It wasn’t Klay Thompson going down hours before the draft, but the Giants, too, were dealt a relatively last-minute blow that clouded roster plans.

When Alexander Canario dislocated his shoulder early this month in Instructional League play, leading to a torn labrum that required surgery, their No. 7 prospect no longer was a shoo-in for protecting from the Rule 5 draft.

Farhan Zaidi said Wednesday Canario won’t be ready for the minor league opening (provided there is a minor leagues to open). Coming off left shoulder surgery, the 20-year-old could be out for months of the 2021 season. A team that drafts him in the Rule 5 draft could not simply stash him on an injured list, but must keep him 90 days on the active list to ensure it wouldn’t have to return Canario to the Giants.

So unless a tanking team is willing to make that roster sacrifice for a high-end prospect who hasn’t played above short-season ball, the Giants would be safe in not adding him to their 40-man roster this offseason.

San Francisco will have to submit its 40-man decisions on Friday, the players added to the group not eligible to be drafted. Canario’s is the most complicated decision, but several will have to be made for a roster that only has one empty spot.

If the Giants protect multiple players, there are candidates to be designated for assignment: Melvin Adon, Jordan Humphreys and Chris Shaw. There also are possible nontenders such as Trevor Gott, Daniel Robertson and Darin Ruf.

Here are several prospects they will be deciding upon who, if not protected, can be grabbed by other clubs in the draft, which will be Dec. 10. (A Rule 5 draft selection becomes that team’s property if he remains on the 25-man (26-? 28-?) roster the entire season.)

Canario, OF: Would another team stash him? Probably not. Would the Giants risk losing the third highest-ranked outfielder in their system (behind Heliot Ramos and Hunter Bishop)?

Tyler Cyr, RHP: Seeing which prospects got work in Sacramento this season in the pool is a nice tell of the ones the Giants feel strongest about. Cyr, a 2015 10th-round pick from Fremont, was in the mix all season though never debuted. He had a strong 2019 campaign, the righty reliever posting a 2.05 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 48 1/3 Double-A Richmond innings. The Giants need righty relief, though Cyr doesn’t have the upside that the next righty reliever has.

Camilo Doval, RHP: Doval not only was in the pool but was on the taxi squad at the end of the season. The high-octane righty hasn’t pitched above High-A San Jose, but he struck out 80 in 56 1/3 innings at that level in ’19. He has an upper-90s fastball and hard cutter that the Giants have raved about, the easiest Rule 5 decision the club has.

Sandro Fabian, OF: The 22-year-old outfielder’s stock has fallen after a rough 2018, when he batted .200 and struck out 107 times while drawing 26 walks in 112 San Jose games. Fabian is regarded for having a strong arm and good bat skills that helped position him as the system’s sixth-ranked prospect entering the 2018 season. But he hasn’t graduated past High-A yet and is unlikely to be added to the roster or drafted.

Ricardo Genoves, C: Relievers and catchers are prime Rule 5 material, as from the latter clubs can accept offense that isn’t major league-ready as long as he plays solid defense. Genoves, at 6-foot-2 and 254 pounds at 21 years old, looks the part of major league catcher. He was in major league spring training 1.0 with the Giants after reaching Class-A Augusta in 2019, where he slashed .292/.361/.446 in 19 games. Because of the Giants’ depth at the position — Joey Bart will step behind Buster Posey, with Chadwick Tromp still around and 2020 first-rounder Patrick Bailey maturing — he’s an unlikely add, but a possible candidate to be drafted.

Pat Ruotolo, RHP: A 27th-round pick in 2016, the 25-year-old has missed bats wherever he’s been placed (197 strikeouts in 135 2/3 minor leagues innings). With a low-to-mid-90s fastball, the UConn product doesn’t have the stuff that others in the system possess, but deception and a reported quality spin rate got him to Richmond in 2018 before injuries curtailed his 2019.

Gregory Santos, RHP: Santos, part of the return from the 2017 Eduardo Nunez trade, is rated as the club’s No. 17 prospect and, in terms of stuff, has one of the highest upsides. He has reportedly touched 98 mph as a minor league starter with a plus slider. He dealt with a shoulder injury in 2019 and made eight Class-A Augusta starts, finishing with a 2.86 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings.


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