Austin Slater was drafted by the defending champion Giants in the 8th round of the 2014 draft.
Originally drafted by the Dodgers while he was in high school, scouts described Slater as having all the tools. A 6.67 runner, a 91 rating for his infield skills, very good defensive actions, and great hitting. He was regarded as a five tool player.
During his final year at Stanford, Slater appeared in 59 games for the Cardinal. He'd finish the season with a .341 average, recording 40 RBI along the way. A natural infielder, Slater was converted to a center fielder during college, and has since returned to second base since turning pro.
He began peppering the field with hits almost immediately after joining the Giants. After spending just 60 games and batting .292 with their Class-A affiliate in San Jose, Slater has already graduated to AA ball playing with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Since his promotion, Slater has continued to shine. In 31 games with the Squirrels, he is batting .313. If you ever played any degree of advanced baseball, you know the style of play between the outfield and infield are miles apart. Slater's transition has hardly been noticed, as his fielding percentage currently sits at .976 with just 4 errors since joining the AA club. Some fans and players have commented his play mirrors that of All Star Joe Panik.
Brian Ragira carried a padded resume with him to the draft. In 2011, he was named to the Freshman All-American team by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. Simultaneously, he garnered Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors. The next season, he was an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. In 2013, Ragira led the Cardinal in home runs, RBI's, hits, and total bases.
Some scouts had listed Ragira as a top-five first baseman prospect. While that would mean he'd be a first round pick, the Giants tagged him in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.
Determined to carry the impressive statistics (which featured a career triple-slash-line of .324/.360/.463 at Stanford) with him to the bigs, Ragira got right to work in the Arizona Rookie League. There he would appear in seven games, and earn a promotion to the Low-A Salem Kaizer. He'd then go on to appear in 47 games for the Volcanoes. The following season, Ragira would find himself promoted to Class-A San Jose. With less than a half-season under his belt, surely this was a measure of faith baseball minds had in the prospect.
In 121 games, he would lead the team in home runs (20), RBI (82), and would be tied for second on the team in doubles (24).
This season, Ragira's stats have seemed to slow a bit. But that hasn't stopped scouts from dubbing him as a versatile athlete with a reasonable amount of speed. For a Giants farm system that is fairly short on hitting prospects, the words from Baseball America should be enlightening for the club:
His best tool is his righthanded power potential and he has pure hitting ability.
Ragira's struggles (if you wish to call them that), can be highlighted in his current middle average of .252, but he is still producing 40 RBI, .339 OBP, .415 SLG and a .754 OPS. He's even drawn 30 walks. So for a guy who has shown his ability to hit with some pop, and for a team that might actually be looking for a solid player to carry the middle of the lineup, Ragira could be just their man.