Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2016 MLB Draft: Possible Strategies For The 59th Pick

The Giants are in their best shape in terms of farm system depth since the days when the Giants drafted Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, with top prospect Christian Arroyo leading the charge. The front office also squeezed out the most that they can in a pretty shallow draft class, drafting guys that doesn't just add top shelf talent but also overall depth as well. However, the Giants doesn't have that kind of luxury that they enjoyed last year with the compensation pick for Pablo Sandoval. Thanks to the outdated QO system and the signing of Jeff Samardzija, the Giants forfeited their first round pick in the process which is a bummer. Even with that, Sabes and company still has their work cut out for them as they have picks in rounds 2-40 to think about in June.

In this edition, I'm going to examine the possible future scenarios and draft strategies or preferences as well as including some names that have caught my attention but have not been included in my previous scouting reports.

Farm System Depth

Thanks to this wonderful post from Mr. ogc, you have seen how the Giants stacked up their farm system by hitting their first round draft picks in their last 5 years (Chris Stratton is still in the air though), providing good quality talent even though the consensus doesn't buy to some of the Giants picks. You can also see some telltale signs that the Giants still believe to the potential that some players have, ranking high in preseason but dipped down hard in the regular season. Over the past years, it's been a mixed bag of prospects in the first round, with a good mix of pitching and hitting prospects taken.

With 20 pitching prospects in the top 30 of MLB.com, the Giants lead baseball in that category but you can see in the top half of the prospect lists (and mine) that the Giants have equal number of hitters of pitchers in the top 10. That means that the other 5 hitters are scattered from 11-30 which could probably mean that the Giants fail at developing hitters, right? Wrong. I think that the system's depth is good enough to warranty a top 15-20 slot in baseball. 

Possible Draft Stretegies

Thanks to the consequences of signing the Shark, the Giants are not in a very good spot to add prospects with great impact on the team. If they didn't sign the Shark, the Giants will be in the 15-20s range right now and according to MLB.com and Baseball America's lists, the Giants could possibly be in range of some very good prospects like Daulton Jeffries, Nick Banks, and possibly my main boy in the draft, Mickey Moniak. With that said, I still think that the organization can add quite a good number of prospects that can help the big league team in the future with the 59th pick and ahead. 

Here are the possible draft strategies that I think for the 59th pick.

Finally solve the outfield issue by drafting an outfielder!

First and possibly the obvious strategy in the draft, drafting an outfielder. We all know the outfield situation and the chance of possibly grabbing a quality outfielder at the time of the draft. Within the range of the draft pick, there's a scarcity of outfielders because most of the prime-time outfielders available are at the top of the draft but there's one guy that can be within reach, Anfernee Grier of Auburn. His meteoric surge this season has me thinking that he's ranked very low in BA's list (#94). Cove Chatter really liked him and I can see why. I asked the Perfect Game staff regarding Grier and here's their take. (I am glad that I'm the first person that they replied!)

But the outfielder that I am very intrigued and is within the range of the Giants pick is Akil Baddoo, a high schooler from Georgia. He got a ceiling on par with Moniak and the guys. He got a very athletic 6'1"-195 lbs. frame with some room for more muscle in his strong frame. His swing is lightning quick with an innate bat to ball skill where he can inside out a pitch. His athleticism plays to his hit tool and he can translate his power well into games. His other tools are solid but it's the hit tool that will carry him, something that the Giants have done over and over again. The only thing that will scare a lot of teams to sign him is his commitment to Kentucky and I think it's a very strong commitment as he signed very early. But in my opinion, there's no doubt that his ceiling is first-round worthy.

Other outfielders that I see within the range are Nebraska's Ryan Boldt and Jake Fraley who are very similar in terms of style (both are outfielders with good speed and line-drive approach with below average arms) as well as Kep Brown with huge power potential but pretty bad hit tool.

Let's draft another pitcher!

True to Giants tradition, drafting a pitcher is also a pretty obvious option with the second round pick. You can never have too much pitching, right? But I think going towards pitching is a pretty bad option here. The Giants already have an arms supply of pitching moving towards the big league club in 2 to 3 years time and are ready to supplant the old guard of the rotation (Cain, Peavy) and with the Big 3 of Bumgarner, Cueto and Shark leading the rotation, there's not much room. But in pitching, you will never know what will happen in such a short timespan so drafting a pitcher is not much of a bad idea. 

The 58th prospect ranked by BA is Kentucky's Jack Brown but I don't exactly like him because of some command issues and the effort that he has in his delivery. I like Cole Ragans in this spot (you can see my scouting report of him here) for the long-term ceiling and Zac Gullen of North Carolina. His mechanics are good, he can command his fastball on both sides of the plate very well, a curveball with nice snap in it, a good changeup and a mini-slider. He got good feel for pitching and I like his athleticism on the mound. I think he'll fit the best to a team that needs a serviceable starter right away but if the Giants pull the trigger on him, I have no objections. Other pitchers that I like within range are Tyler Baum, Jon Duplantier, and Max Kranick.

In the end, I think drafting an outfielder in this spot is better than drafting a pitcher in number 59.

Why not draft another infield prospect?

This might be a bad idea especially with the infield already set as well as out top prospect is a middle infielder with a very good chance to be a good Major Leaguer in the long run. The catcher position also looks pretty set with Aramis Garcia progressing and Andrew Susac backing up Buster Posey. So, drafting a true infielder is a bad idea. An infielder that can be converted to an outfielder is an idea that should not be thrown away. 

The middle infielder that stands out the most for me within range is Gavin Lux. His defensive actions is some of the fastest and the best that I have ever seen from a HS infielder and will likely stay at the infield as a shortstop. Videos of his swinging are pretty confusing to choose which is his true swing as there are several variations of it but his best swing is the swing where it's more simple with just a leg kick and sound hands. I think his bat will determine where he'll place in the draft boards. Another one is Carlos Cortes. A multiple-position guy, I think he'll fit in the outfield with his strong arm and good hit tool and gap power for a compact body.

Time to draft another failed Toronto Blue Jays signee again!

If you are a Giants fan and you are also a conspiracy believer, this is your spot. The good news is that the Giants can pick another failed Blue Jays draftee this year after signing Tyler Beede and Phil Bickford in the past two years. 

First is Eric Lauer, a Blue Jays pitcher that failed to sign as a 17th round pick in 2013. He got a fluid delivery but will put a lot of stress in his arm if he increases the tempo of his delivery and is also arm-centric. His pretty sophisticated arm action where his left arm reaches way back which can cause control issues as proven by some of his starts this year. His fastball got some tail in the low-90s, good rainbow curve, and changeup and slider. Control is what holding him back. Another failed signee in 2013 is Sam Tewes, drafted in the 22nd round. He got a very good pitcher's frame with a mid-90s fastball, curveball, change and cutter and still room for better potential. 

Here's the bad news. Eric Lauer is projected to sign in the top 35 range so the Giants have a slim chance to draft and sign him and Tewes will undergo Tommy John surgery, thus redshirting him this season and the second-straight season that he'll miss the majority of the college baseball season. Tewes got a better potential to be signed by the Giants in the later rounds of the draft as a shot in the dark that can pay off big if his previous stuff will go back, kind of like Jordan Johnson.

Final Words

The Giants are in a pretty bad spot in terms of the draft as they have lesser picks in a better and deeper draft according to consensus. But it's not that bad of a tradeoff as the moves helped the big league club which is the big picture. In the end, I think the Giants will surprise us once again when the clock hits zero and hopefully, some of the guys that I mentioned above will be drafted. 

P.S. I really want for the Giants to take a shot at Akil Baddoo.


  1. I think there is real opportunity for a hard working organization like the Giants to gain a big competitive advantage in rounds 2-40 in the draft, which I also think the Giants have been doing for the past 5+ years.

    I know the odds of any individual prospect in those rounds is still very low, but let's say on average a team eventually graduates 1 contributing player per year from rounds 2-40(I'm not sure the average is even that good!). A team who averages 2 contributors per draft year ends up with a huge talent advantage. Yes, that is still only batting .050, but it's a whole lot better than batting .025!

    This is where I see the Giants being in great shape for the next decade. I've read that many teams are cutting back on their scouting staff preferring to do their scouting from stat sheets. Lots of scouts standing in the unemployment line while the Giants maintain a large cadre of scouts who still go and see the players in person and get to know them and their families.

    The Giants approach may not necessarily give you a big advantage in the first round, but I can see it easily yielding 1 or 3 extra contributing players each draft cycle. Over a 5 year or 10 year period, that ends up being an enormous talent advantage.

    1. The Giants just keeps on funneling very solid players that are taken pretty deep in the draft. The 2015 draft is the epitome of that as there are no wrong picks from rounds 1-9 so to speak. I hope John Barr and the crew can carry over that kind of strategy this year!

  2. Badoo-If he decides to go pro,that would be a nice pick,at #58.

    The kid I like is Mitchell Miller.I don't know if he's going to school or going pro.But,he looks like the kind of arm the Giants would like to draft.A lot of projection left.Good athleticism.

    1. I have watched a couple of vids of Mitchell Miller and I can see why you like him. The rail-thin body with tons of projection in it. He got a good feel for a three-pitch mix this early in his career and his curveball and change looks like above-average pitches. But there's some faults that I see. In his mechanics, he jacks his left elbow too high for my taste that's like Billy Wagner and that can be a problem in the future as he is more on top of his pitches rather than sidewinding it to ease the arm like Chris Sale. In his body, I think he'll be a pretty thin pitcher that will add a bit of muscle. He will likely make his fastball velocity be in the range of low-90s.

      That said, I think it's a good investment pick at 58 where the Giants can clean up his mechanics a bit if he ever gets drafted.

  3. The Giants scouted and contacted Marvin Malone Colby CC, Kansas, LH RT OF, with arm strength 94mph, Bat is tremendous. Sent him medical correspondence and offered signing bonus. If you want video, recent upload to YouTube with a walkoff and others. The Royals been hiding him since last spring and also made 4-6 th round signing money offer. D Backs may join race, his coach called good friend in Player Development. He played Legion in Wyoming, so not many sought him, he played Kris Knavenshue of Braves scout team in Colorado, and was 1st team all conference as freshman in Jayhawk conference.
    Under Armour Preseason All America in 2014, Wyoming Player of Year 2014

    1. I have tons of video starting with Baseball Factory through Under Armour up to this last week where Yanks, Giants, Mariners, Royals and Rangers scouted him against Top Lefty in Kansas , he doubled and Homered off him, offers came Monday morning.

    2. He signed NLI with Kansas St in September after personal workout. He couldn't go D1 out of HS cause he repeated Junior year, where he was offered full boat scholarship from New Mexico but they had to withdraw cause of Repeating Junior year

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    5. Very late reply, but thanks for the heads up! Would like to know more about him!