Now class, what's the significance of the 29th pick that has lived in infamy for a number of Giants fans? Bueller? Bueller?
Michael Tucker Experience
Yes, it was the Michael Tucker signing that the Giants flipped their draft pick, the 29th of the 2004 draft, in order to sign Tucker. People bemoan the loss of that draft pick, but this shows how you cannot judge transactions immediately in all cases. In this case, they lost the draft pick, but then they got a player back to replace that draft pick.
Today, we have Kelvin Pichardo, who we got in trade for Tucker. He is with San Jose this year, doing pretty well as a 21 year old: 25.0 IP, 23 H, 1 HR, 10 BB, 39 K. Batting against him, .242/.306/.337/.642, BABIP .400 (so he should do better, he's suffering from bad luck), WHIP 1.32, 3.6 BB/9, 14.0 K/9, 3.9 K/BB, 0.36 HR/9, 5% HR/FB. And that is in a hitters league.
Meanwhile, the Royals drafted Matthew Campbell, who is already out of baseball. Over the next 10 picks, the only players to have made the majors are J.P. Howell and Zach Jackson, neither of whom have done well.
Eric Hurley, the next pick after Campbell, was doing OK (i.e. not well enough for majors) until something clicked in 2006 at age 20 in AA, and he boosted his status greatly, he was #2 on Rangers top 30 list by Baseball America. Howell is struggling in the Tampa Bay farm system, not even on the top 30 list. Jackson is #16 Brewers (traded by Toronto) but hasn't done well at all in upper levels. Next was Justin Orenduff, he is #14 on Dodgers, but coming off injuries, and his ceiling is back-of-the-rotation starter at best.
Tyler Lumsden, 34th pick, was traded to Royals in 2006, after missing all of 2005, he's #5 on Royals. Matthew Fox is not on anyone's BA Top 30 list. Danny Putnam is #16 on A's, he struggled in AA last season and got send back down to A-ball. Jonathan Poterson, Yankee's pick at 37, is not on their Top 30 list.
Giovany Gonzalez is probably the best of the 10 picks after the 29th pick, he has already been traded by the ChiSox to Phillies and then ChiSox got him back in another trade. He's #3 on ChiSox. Lastly, Jay Rainville is #16 on Twins prospect list.
Now unless a player is somewhere in top 2 to 4 of a team's top prospect list, I've found that they don't normally amount to much, there is not that much talent below that, except for relievers. So among the picks examined above, while Pichardo does not rank at all in the Giants prospect list, at least they got a player who is doing well in the minors and he's still very young, only 21 years old this year. Of the players drafted after our pick, Hurley and Gonzalez looks like they will make something of themselves, but the rest are not really that much better than Pichardo and a couple are already out of baseball.
It just goes to show that even in that "low" a pick, the odds of finding a good player is very low, it is 3 years later and no one has made the majors to stay among this group, no one has even done well at AAA before this season, let alone made the majors to stay. Hurley looks like he is finally figuring out something, but now he has to prove it wasn't a fluke by doing well this season in AAA. Only Gonzalez seems like a prospect who will make something of himself.
There is not a lot of information out on him, even MLB.com was not prepared with a scouting report on him. His BA information was provided on MCC and since it was probably not legal, I won't copy it here, but since the cat is out of the bag, I'll give some highlights:
- his "tools are unquestioned";
- he can hit for average and plus power;
- his quick lefty stroke allows him to pull the ball out of the park;
- plus runner;
- solid-average arm/defense, perfect for CF;
- just scratching surface of potential, could develop into mold of Carl Crawford;
- also noted his problem with law (dropped) and that he is a 19 year old father;
- mystery to scouts because he also played football and didn't play in any showcases.
Sounds pretty good, eh?
I also recall that in the ESPN show on the draft, Keith Law or another analyst noted that Fairley has top 10-15 talent, but fell to the end of the 1st round because of other issues.
I'm a Giant NowThere was also a link to a conference call (horrible, by the way, did my best to transcribe but notes are sloppy) on either MLB.com or sfgiants.com, and I will summarize in another post but will put Fairley's info here first.
- Tidrow noted that Fairley has "5 tool, power, speed, CF".
- Sabean noted that Fairley has speed, raw power, really can run, throw, has 5 tools now but need to develop them now. In his Thursday KNBR show, Sabean noted that he likes Fairley's bat, he has a high ceiling, and just needs to grow into his tools. Unlike Bumgarner or Alderson, both of whom Sabean (and Tidrow) has said could move fast and make the majors in as little as two years, there has been no timetable on how long Fairley will take.
- Fairley was interviewed: while he played two sports, baseball was his main sport, his best sport. I found him to be fairly humble and polite, called one reporter, "sir" and replied "no sir" to another. Someone asked him about the comparison to Carl Crawford and (again very fuzzy with lots of background noise, like I noted, OK for first try at making into event, but execution was poor) he demurred, noting that he just came out of high school. When someone asked him what skill he needs to work on, he noted that hitting for power is one area but then quickly noted that there is always room for improvement.
- Thought I would end on a good note: when asked if he would sign or need time to decide, he had a great answer: "I'm a Giant now." Get that kid a Giants uniform now!
Overall, he sounds like a great pick. I don't know how bad that hazing incident that got him in trouble with the law was, but he sounded like a nice humble guy who realizes that he has a lot to learn but is willing to work hard to learn it. I'll chalk that problem up to youthful indiscretion, when you don't know any better when you are a teenager (or know better but do it anyway). I really liked the way he talked in the interview, no red flags were raised, he sounded like a nice guy looking to start his professional career, knows he has a lot to do, but willing to do what it takes. Perhaps being a father already gave him that motivation.
He sounds like the best position prospect that we have had in ages (well, at least before Villalona; won't they make a nice pair of call-ups in 4-6 years, or less?) and he helps makes up for the fact that we passed up a few premier position talents in Dominguez, Heyward, and Mills, particularly Heyward since I've seen a number of descriptions of him being remniscent of Willie McCovey. He's noted as a Top 10-15 pick by talent so he's equivalent enough to them to satisfy me - and I do like Bumgarner and Alderson and the fact that Sabean and Tidrow both noted that they are on the fast track and could advance to the majors in as short as 2 years, so despite them not being college players, they could provide return to the Giants in perhaps even a shorter timeframe, few prospects make the majors in 6 years, let alone 2 years. And there's no way the Giants would have gotten anyone as good as Bumgarner in the 29th pick had they selected any of those three hitters.