Thursday, June 07, 2007

Giants 2007 Draft: A Bonanza of Picks

I am not smart enough to know exactly what the Giants are going to do. However, I have read enough about their intentions that I think I can say some things for certain and make certain educated guesses.

First, a lot of analysts think the company line: Giants are cheap, draft-pick adverse, and have a man-crush on Lewis-Clark State baseball players. While that last one appears to be true, I think I have shown in my posts before that the Giants have generally not been cheap (except for 2003) and that they were not being draft-pick adverse, but rather made a choice on where to better spend their money that year. In addition, Sabean said last year and this year that signability and money will not factor into their selection, they will pick the best player available for them to pick. They will not skip over players as some mock drafts had them do, they will pick the best player available and pay them appropriately, though after long drawn negotiations.

The analysts also think the Giants are pitching crazy, and some had them selecting pitchers with all three first round picks. While that has been true and probably will be true going forward, a few of them are way off when they think the Giants will waste the #10 pick on Casey Weathers, a reliever. I think the Giants have shown, with their handling of Tim Lincecum, they know that starting pitchers are worth way more than a reliever, and that they are not going to spend $2M (going rate for #10 draft picks) on a reliever.

My Thoughts on the Draft

As I noted, I have seen a number of mock drafts and while I don't agree with what a lot of them selected for the Giants, what they say makes sense for the other teams picking ahead of the Giants. Plus, there is a uniformity across the various guesses that I think I can say some things about the Giants draft, like I did last year.

Position players I would keep an eye out for are Matt Wieters, Jason Heyward, Beau Mills, Matt Dominguez, Matt LaPorta, Kevin Ahrens, and Michael Burgess.
  • Matt Wieters: A Boras client looking for Teixiera money ($9M plus major league contract), I've seen a number of mock drafts having him fall out of the first round. No way that's going to happen, if he is there at #10, I believe the Giants will pick him. Switch hitting college catcher, very good defense despite his size, with power, plus apparently he's a good closer too. Most assessments I've read about him is that he's the best college bat plus is among the top 5 in the whole draft, and that is why some mock drafts have him being picked around the 3-5 picks. He's like the Lincecum of this draft for us, unbelievable good performance in college, and yet teams passed on him, allowing the Giants to get him (Lincecum). Believe it, to steal a line from a cartoon my son watches, Naruto. :^)
  • Jason Heyward: A high school, toolsy, power-hitting corner OF, probably RF, I've seen him described as a young McCovey (DrB for those who know him from MCC), he's one of the top high school hitters. I've seen him go anywhere from 7-15 in mock drafts so he could be available at the Giants #10 pick but should be gone by #22. Could be picked if Wieters not available.
  • Beau Mills: Homerun hitting wonder from Lewis-Clark State, hence why a number of drafts have the Giants picking him. I can see the Giants picking him with the #22 or #29 pick (probably won't last much further though), but he can only really play 1B, maybe at that, seems like another EME type, so I don't think the Giants will pick him at #10.
  • Matt Dominguez: Good hitting high school 3B who can play good to great defense there. He should be available at the #10 spot, but it would be a stretch for him to make it to #22. I think he could be picked #10 if Wieters and Heyward are not available.
  • Matt LaPorta: Another Boras client, most drafts I've seen had him falling out of the first round, but he's probably up there with Wieters and Mills in terms of hitting and hitting for power. However, he really wants a lot of money so he's falling, probably out of the first round according to some. He's also a defensive liability who can only play 1B if he makes the majors, like Mills. I can see the Giants picking him with the #22 or #29 pick as well as Mills, but not both. It really depends on whether Mills get picked by someone else or not.
  • Julio Borbon: I saw one draft pick him for the Giants. CF leadoff type with a little power but plus speed, he's one of the top college OF in the draft. He has the speed that Sabean has been liking for a while now (Sanders, Burriss, Richardson, etc.). It seems like we have a lot of this type already in our system, like Copeland, Sanders. I don't think the Giants would pick him but he's probably available at the Giants #29 pick
  • Kevin Ahrens: I saw one draft pick him for the Giants. Switch-hitting high school SS with power (though 3B is probably his future, he seems to profile there according to analysts), he's one of the better high school bats available in the draft from what I gather from the comments. He should be available for either the #22 or #29 picks, maybe even our #32 pick.
  • Matt Burgess: OF that caught my eye in one of the mock drafts, has a lot of power. He is probably available at picks #22 and #29, if others above are not available.
I have seen a number of pitchers associated with the Giants: Andrew Brackman, Jarrod Parker, Josh Smoker, Casey Weathers, and Aaron Poreda.
  • Andrew Brackman: He's tall and has command problems. Some seem very high on him, but to me he's too chancy to pick at #10, though some think he'll be picked that high or better. And he definitely won't last to #22.
  • Jarrod Parker: Apparently has drawn comparisons to Tim Lincecum. If he can last to #22, the Giants could pick him there, but #10 is too high to pick him.
  • Josh Smoker: A strikeout artist, he seems to be slotted after the Giants #10 pick and before their #22. They could take him at #22 or #29 but he could be gone too.
  • Casey Weathers: A closer that one analyst says the Giants are very interested in. But he won't be picked with the first pick of the round. And it doesn't seem like he will last to #22.
  • Aaron Poreda: A USF student, like Foppert, the lefty starter can throw hard. He will probably fall down to the supplemental picks range, so the Giants could probably pick him anytime at or after the #29 pick
Data From My Draft Study

So now, what does this mean for the Giants six picks in the first 51 overall picks: 10, 22, 29, 31, 43, 51? From my study, with odds based on data collected:
  • for the 10th pick: the odds of picking a good player is 22%. To get an idea of the amount of talent available, and to smooth out the data, for picks 5 to 15, the odds of picking a good player is 14% (19% for useful player).
  • for the 22nd pick: the odds of picking a good player is 10%. To get an idea of the amount of talent available, and to smooth out the data, for picks 17 to 27, the odds of picking a good player is 8% (20% for useful player).

  • for the 29th pick: the odds of picking a good player is 6%. To get an idea of the amount of talent available, and to smooth out the data, for picks 25 to 34, the odds of picking a good player is 9% (17% for useful player).

  • for the 32nd pick: the odds of picking a good player is 0%; teams were unlucky before. To get an idea of the amount of talent available, and to smooth out the data, for picks 28 to 37, the odds of picking a good player is 4% (14% for useful player).

  • for the 43rd pick: the odds of picking a good player is 6%. To get an idea of the amount of talent available, and to smooth out the data, for picks 39 to 48, the odds of picking a good player is 3% (14% for useful player).

  • for the 51st pick: the odds of picking a good player is 0%. To get an idea of the amount of talent available, and to smooth out the data, for picks 17 to 27, the odds of picking a good player is 4% (14% for useful player).

As one can see, the odds are against picking anyone good, even with the first pick, the 10th overall. Hopefully they can beat the odds again like last year with Lincecum. Particularly if we can pick up some position prospects with those picks.


  1. My thoughts:

    > Jason Heyward
    From what I understand, he's pretty raw. He's got great tools and has pretty good pop, but the knock on him is that his plate approach is bad, bad, bad. Supposedly he doesn't use his lower body in his swing, which will cause problems at any professional level. If there is any truth to that, then he becomes quite the project, as you're re-teaching him his entire swing mechanics. Will that reduce his ability to make contact? Will it reduce his power? Will it spring injuries? Thats too much of a risk to take at #10.

    > Beau Mills
    I don't disagree with much except for the comparison to EME. If I'm not mistaken, Mills is/was a third baseman. A third baseman that can't play first? Especially with one to three years of playing/learning the position in the minors? I doubt it. I think he's the favorite (at #10) among many fans, including myself.

    > Matt LaPorta
    It would be awesome if he fell to #22. If that were the case, I think the Giants would take him, too. Sign-ability aside, he would make for an awesome prospect. As for a potential positional clash between him and Mills? I think LaPorta also played catcher previously, no? In anycase, positional issues amongst prospects could always be sorted out in the minors. Who's to say both will succeed at the same time? Talent and ability should come to the forefront in the selection process.

    Someone I don't see you mentioning is Mike Moustakas. Is that because it's pretty much a given he's not going to last until #10?

  2. Thanks for your comments sfgfan!

    I've heard about Heyward's problems too but his upside is so high (or so it seems to me from comments I've read) that I think it would be worth it, a la it was worth taking Villalona for $2M when he's only 16.

    About Mills, I've read numerous reports that, while he may be a 3B in college, he's probably moving to 1B but some see DH as his eventual position. That's EME to me in a nutshell. I guess the good news is that he's willing to work at it, whereas EME appears to be indifferent, so I would have to agree with you there. But that's what was behind my comment about EME, that people are seeing both as DH-worthy.

    A number of drafts I've seen had LaPorta falling to the Yankees after us, or not picked in the first round at all, so I kind of expect him to be available at #22.

    I agree for the most part, draft for talent first, but if you have someone positionally close to another prospect (as in Mills and LaPorta) and you see another prospect not quite a LaPorta (just for supposition, I don't know that there will be at #22), but in the ballpark, then I think you have to at least think about it. If it's another corner spot, then maybe not, while if its up the middle, then I think you have to give it some consideration, assuming again that they are close but LaPorta is better.

    Yeah, all the drafts I've seen has Moustakas (and Vitters and Price) picked before we get there, I mainly wanted to cover the players that I thought we might have a chance of selecting.

    But since we'are on the subject, even if Moustakas, Vitters, or Price were available at 10, I think we still have to go with Wieters (rhymes with Vitters? :^) if he is available (probably not if any of those three falls to us). It's catcher, a premium position, he switch hits, he hits well, he hits for power, he apparently plays great defense, just read he's a once in a generation type of defensive catcher.

    And apparently he knows it and wants to be paid accordingly. I would have no problem with that.

  3. Here's the latest guesses by MLB analyst:

    Has Wieters picked with #10. But Orioles appear to be the spot, #5, where we might lose Wieters.

    Mills, Dominquez, Heyward gone by 22 unfortunately, but LaPorta is available. The writer is pushing pitchers, but I have to assume the Giants are still selecting based on best talent available for #22 and #29, so LaPorta could go #22 I think, most assessments I've seen list him as 3rd best college hitter.

  4. Oh, should also noted Washington #6 might be a problem area too.



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