General Manager Brian Sabean said the club wouldn't limit itself to cheap,signable players when the draft begins June 7. The Giants plan to be aggressive, even if the player they like happens to be a Scott Boras client or a top high school player who plans to leverage his college scholarship.This was the strategy that the Giants espoused last year and which I had been expecting them to follow again this year. So it is good to know, rather than to wonder.
The paper reported that the picks the Giants have this year early - 3 in first round, picks 10, 22, 29, and 3 in supplemental first round, picks 32, 43, 51 - signed for a total of $6.975M in last year's draft. This far exceeded what the Giants have spent in any draft before according to the report.
I would note here that with the $2.1M spent to sign Villalona last year (was not counted by reporter since not part of the draft) and $2.0M to sign Lincecum, the Giants still spent around $6.3M last year, so it would not be a huge leap to spend that much on bonuses this year versus last. Plus they overpaid Lincecum $200,000 over what one might expect based on the bonuses that had been paid already at the time of his signing, though toeing the line with the amount paid in 2005 for the #10 pick, so the Giants are not shy in giving out more money to keep the talent happy. Within reason, of course.
Giants Have Not Been Cheap, Just Different
The article also noted that the last time the Giants had multiple first-round picks was in 2001, when they selected Brad Hennessey with the 21st pick and Noah Lowry with the 30th pick. The picks were criticized at the time because neither were hard throwers plus the picks were viewed as financially motivated, the article added.
But as I showed in my post here, the Giants did not underpay them relative to the bonuses paid to the players selected right after them. For Hennessey, he got 11% more than the 5 picks right after him. For Lowry, he got 16% more than the 5 picks right after him. The Giants might have selected players that observers thought should have been picked lower but they weren't paying them like that. Their bonuses were in line with what the prospects picked afterward were getting.
Some critics of the Giants think the Giants are being cheap because they often select players were the critics are surprised that the player was picked so high, or was just surprised by the name itself, like Nate Schierholtz, when he was selected. I also did another study (sorry, can't find easily) where I examined how players were ranked pre-draft, and then comparing them to where the Giants picked them in the draft. In general, most of the picks, covering the first 3-5 rounds, were selected before where they were ranked, which can't be helped sometimes because your next pick often comes around in another 30 picks, but there were a lot of picks where the Giants selected the prospect more than 30 picks ahead of where they were ranked pre-draft.
While the Giants clearly march to their own drummer in terms of drafting (as noted already, Nate Schierholtz pick drew a lot of "huhs" and head scratching, though perhaps not today), and go their own way in terms of talent drafted, their bonuses still hew to the going market rates given other picks and are rarely under the bonuses paid to propects selected after them.
So the Giants have not been cheap with their talent, for the most part, but rather has followed a different path with their drafting strategy than the prevailing opinions, much like how Bill Walsh used to do all his scouting separate from the Combine and would surprise people with his draft picks. I think the Giants' rebuilt pitching staff, with mostly farm system developed players, shows the efficacy of his strategy thus far.