Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thoughts on the Giants #5 Pick

Jonathan Mayo of MiLB.com is handicapping the draft again this season - it was he who turned me on to Lincecum, though he thought the Giants would pass him up and select Bard instead, if I remember right - and his two latest scenarios have the Giants either picking Tim Beckham or Buster Posey.

From all indications, Pedro Alvarez and Eric Hosmer are the ones expected to have a big enough money demand that they will probably fall from where they should be picked. Each are probably the top hitter of their respective class and both are represented by Scott Boras. Between the two Alvarez is clearly the better prospect right now, he is much much closer to the majors.

If Alvarez fell to us, it would be like Lincecum falling to us, a no-brainer in spite of the extra money. However, Mayo thinks that both the Pirates and Royals would pick him up if he fell to them, so there is almost no chance that he will fall to us. And looking at the Orioles, I think that they would want him too, they got Wieters last year and Mora has been progressively getting worse each season offensively. Mayo have them pegged to pick Brian Matusz, and that makes sense, their rotation is promising but needing help soon, they have the ageless Steve Trachsel in the rotation.

So that leaves the next tier of hitters to pick from (all indications is that the Giants are going to pick a position player) and that includes C Buster Posey, SS Tim Beckham, 1B Eric Hosmer, and 1B Justin Smoak, with C Kyle Skipworth, SS Gordon Beckham (no relation), 1B Yonder Alonso the next tier of hitters.

Most prior draft guesses had the Giants selecting Justin Smoak. But the rise of Posey, Beckham, and Hosmer now gives the Giants options.

Giants Thoughts

The Giants have basically said publicly that they went the wrong direction previously in getting so much pitching, and will draft a position player with their first pick. The future of Angel Villalona appears to be 1B so drafting a 1B would not make great sense as that could result in both reaching the majors at the same time and creating a McCovey-Cepeda redux. And yet you should never draft by need with a pick so high, you have to go for the most talented ones are.

Luckily, it is pretty much agreed that there is no one obvious player who stands above the rest other than Alvarez and there are still some questions on him and his ability to play 3B plus his ability to recover from his hamate bone injury. He most likely will not fall to us.

If it is a choice between Smoak, T. Beckham, and Posey, I will assume the Giants will pass on Smoak (due to Villalona and that neither can play another position well enough, so both needs to play 1B in the NL). Between Beckham and Posey, I think we should go for Beckham, even though he is a high school player who could take years to develop (if ever), because he is a 5-tool legitimate SS who can play good defense. Posey would still be a good pick, but we already have two catchers who are moving up the system in Jackson Williams and Pedro Sandoval. Either way though, the Giants could not go wrong.

Another reason to pass on Smoak is because the next layer of firstbasemen available in the draft would have been good enough to go much higher but the talent level was that much higher this season. Mayo noted on Allan Dykstra, that:
In another year, Dykstra might be a hot commodity as a college lefty power-hitting first baseman with advanced skills at the plate. But if there's one strength in this class, it's first basemen, and he's probably a half-step behind the elite players at the spot. An experiment at third didn't work, so Dykstra will probably have to wait -- albeit not too long -- until other first sackers go off the board.

So the Giants could fill a key premium position at either SS or C with the first pick and then still pick a 1B hitter comparable to with their Feliz pick. I am hoping for SS Tim Beckham but would be more than happy to take on C Buster Posey, or even Pedro Alvarez should he somehow fell to us. Then hopefully one of the top 1B-men falls to us in the start of the supplementary draft picks.

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