Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Further Sabean Comments on Draft

As I had noted in the post on reversed draft style, Sabean's interview was on sfgiants.com also. There was additional info provided there that the Shea column didn't cover or cover as well:
  • "We're comfortable we'll get a real good pick, with talent first, and not worry about signability," said Sabean. "There are a lot of pitching choices, but it starts with the first pick, which sets in motion what the other teams will do."
  • Positions players probably won't be on the Giants' initial agenda. "Quite frankly, there doesn't seem to be as many impact players available as pitchers," said Sabean.
  • Three standout pitchers who could be available for the Giants at No. 10 include right-hander Daniel Bard from the University of North Carolina, right-hander Greg Reynolds of Stanford and high school right-hander Kyle Drabek (son of Doug) of The Woodlands, in Texas. Bard showed well in the Cape Cod competition, but the Giants have also been high on Drabek.
  • What direction Sabean decides to go depends on who the Kansas City Royals select with the initial choice, followed by the Colorado Rockies and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. "Kansas City has been looking at one of three pitchers and everybody else has been waiting," said Sabean. "A position player may or may not be favorable to us at that pick. But it remains to be seen."
  • It's estimated that once Barry Bonds leaves the Giants -- he's owed $18 million this season, the final year of a $90 million deal -- the club will have more financial flexibility and will perhaps invest more heavily into the draft. How the team will fare on the international front is difficult to foresee. "It's a different ball of wax -- it's a high-level game," said Sabean, noting million-dollar players can be in the middle of the pack.

This seems to be shaded differently than what Shea reported. He noted the Giants were looking towards position players but the interview on sfgiants.com clearly notes that it will all depend on what happens before they pick and makes it clear that getting an impact position player is probably not going to happen, it would take the teams ahead of them passing on the few impact position players available.

Like Shea reported, this account of Sabean's interview notes that talent comes first, signability will not be a factor. Other potential picks mentioned here vs. Shea are Daniel Bard and Greg Reynolds, both college arms. No position players are mentioned on sfgiants.com. Sabean says that it will all depend on what the others draft ahead of them (typical of Sabean to state the obvious, he normally does not give much good info, you have to read between the line).

The depth of the draft just got better Wednesday, as reported by Baseball America, as three players who could go first round were unable to come to agreement with their drafting team from last year. Players who returned into the draft are Luke Hochevar (SP, candidate to be drafted #1, 2nd best SP in draft, fell to Dodgers at #40), Pedro Beato (SP, Mets), and Bryan Morris (SP, Devil Rays). Hochevar has a high 90's fastball and mid-80's slider and a plus curveball. Both Beato and Morris are draft-and-follows who wanted first round money but the teams were not willing to pay that for them. Beato has fully recovered from Tommy John surgery to throw a sinker that goes as high as mid-90's, a mid-80's slider, and a changeup, with a classic pitcher's build. Morris has a power curveball and low 90's fastball with late life, plus also played CF. But could use improvement with mechanics and command. If Hochevar falls to the Giants pick position, the Giants could consider him, he is a potential Top 5 pick talent, Boras or not.

There is also a link to a mock draft done by MILB.com staff at the link above. For the Giants #10 pick, Kyle Drabek is mentioned again, first time seriously talked about for a team to pick for the draft, because of personal makeup, character issues becoming huge factors, despite having the best pure stuff in the draft. Matt Scherzer and Brooks Brown (Georgia) were also mentioned but the former's problem is signability (Boras) and the latter is too high to draft him but good arm. But Scherzer has electric stuff though questions on durability.

He didn't mentioned Tim Lincecum as a possible Giants pick, but apparently he has a rubber arm, unusual delivery and was a name that continually came up among the nine picks before the Giants. However, he's slotted as a potential closer because of his size (smallish, around 6', freak of nature delivery and body) and rubber arm. He's a big strikeout pitcher, nasty slider, high 90's fastball, so I don't know why the Giants wouldn't consider him, some view Lincecum as one of the top pitchers in the draft and some of the mock drafts have him falling to the Giants.

The analyst thinks the Giants will select Daniel Bard, RHP out of North Carolina. He is "maddingly inconsistent" but has "unbelievable stuff, electric stuff". With a 6' 5" body, he has recognizable skills and tools that needs refinement, but the team that drafts him need to feel they can work with him and if they can succeed and get him to be consistent, he can be a front-line starter. In addition, he noted that Dick Tidrow, the Giants head of player development and scouting, likes big pitchers.

There's almost no perhaps in terms of investing in the draft. Someone in the 10th pick range could cost from $2-4M, more than the $1-1.5M the Giants have been passing on with the draft picks that they punted. More if they got a Boras client with champagne dreams. And as noted above, many players' contracts end this season which will free up money for additional spending on the farm system.

I think the Giants should go with high schooler Kyle Drabek. He supposedly has the best pure stuff. In addition, he is so good that if he were drafted as a position player, he would rival the best high school position players in this draft. However, he is considered a better prospect as a pitcher. And, again, the analyst noted that Drabek has the best pure stuff. This reduces the risk of player development because if he doesn't pan out as a pitcher - which I assume they can figure out by age 20-21 - then they can try him out in the middle infield (he was a shortstop) and see if he can do something there since he was that good a position player. Most mock drafts I've seen has him falling to the Giants.

However, Lincecum is considered highly as well and, while some drafts have him picked before the Giants, some have him falling to the Giants. If it was between the two I would be torn between the two because Lincecum is a junior in college already and the analyst thinks that he could potentially come up and relief pitch by the end of this season. And I love the strikeout pitchers and Lincecum is among the leaders I believe. Given that Valdez is still struggling with the closer role and we're not sure whether Accardo and Wilson would be able to fill the closer role, plus the amount of big money closers get in contracts, it might be worth picking Lincecum to add another potential closer into the mix, our bullpen could be plus for the next 5-6 years with Accardo, Wilson, Valdez, and Lincecum manning the setup and closer roles. And if the need to start comes up, Wilson, Lincecum, and Sanchez would be candidates over the next 2-4 years if need be.

Lastly, it wouldn't surprise me if Sabean throws all the prognostication out the window and pick someone who will have all the pundits scratching their head wondering why they picked him. He has done that before and, while he doesn't necessarily has to do it this time, he is not afraid of thinking and doing differently. However, he did say that he's looking talent first so that seems to preclude thinking too much out of the box.

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