Friday, June 20, 2008

2009 Draft Pick

Jonathan Mayo of MiLB.com is an analyst I like to read for draft information, particularly leading up to the draft, because it was he who turned me on to Tim Lincecum in that draft. He actually had the first 8 picks pegged - the week before - but then swapped in Crow for Matusz for the Orioles, which dominoed to other picks, obviously. Still, he publishes profiles on each of the top prospects and that is of good value as well.

The other day he posted information on high school players to keep an eye on for the 2009 draft (and one for the 2011 draft; darn!). He spoke to a scout at the underclassmen showcase at the Urban Youth Academy, which is a baseball academy for (duh!) urban youths. This is probably to counter the trend of there being few African American players in the game today (this concern was brought up last season, if I remember right, because Fred Lewis was one of the few and about how shameful that is given Jackie Robinson).

The A List

These were the top players there, all pitchers:
  • Tyler Matzek, LHP: Polished, fastball 89-91 mph, plus curve and changeup
  • Beau Wright, LHP: Fastball 89-91 with a hammer. He struck out all five batters he faced and made them look bad in the process.
  • Matt Hobgood, RHP: Big-bodies at 6-4, 240, with a power sinker at 91-94 mph to go along with a curve, slider and changeup
The Giants, if they were go for a pitcher, would like Wright with his hammer and Hobgood with a power sinker at 91-94 mph.

The B List

There are some position players here:
  • Cameron Garfield, C
  • James Needy, RHP: Didn't pitch well, but has been seen better and has a live arm and a 6-foot-6 frame
  • Tanner Rust, C: A switch-hitting catcher. Is something.
  • Jacob Marisnick, OF: Compared to Hunter Pence. A little raw, but with plenty of tools.
If we wanted to be cute, it would be neat to have a battery of Clayton Tanner and Tanner Rust, but with the selection and presumed signing of Buster Posey (it would be a huge upset if he doesn't sign), that cuts out half of these prospects, leaving Jacob Marisnick OF. We could use a Hunter Pence type hitter.

The A+ List

Unfortunately, this guy is not eligible until 2011 for the draft, and unless all our pitchers' arms fall off, we should be doing better in 2010 and thus not be drafting so high, but I thought I would throw out his name for your future drafting pleasure: Bryce Harper. The scout he spoke with said that Bryce would have been the best high school player in the 2008 draft. WOW! I wonder if he is related to a former major leaguer, I'm aware of a few Harper's.

Giants Thoughts

The Giants are currently tied with two other teams (Rockies and Royals) for 4th worse record in the majors: only the Mariners, Nats, and 'Dres are worse, and really, the 'Dres are just half a game "ahead" of us for the 3rd spot, the Reds are only a game and a half back, and the Indians and Astros are only half game back of the Reds. Heck, even the top two worse teams are only a couple of games "ahead" of the Giants, so there are really 10 teams "battling" for the first five picks overall currently.

My draft study suggested that the population of talent is at its peak in the top five picks overall and drops rapidly from there (and really, it drops rapidly from the 1st to 5th pick as well). Inexplicable drafting and signability issues make some obvious talents available past the top 5, like when Stephen Drew fell to the D-backs and Rick Porcello fell to the Tigers, but it would be foolhardy to expect that one will fall to you in a middle to back of the first round pick.

For the moment, at least at this showcase, there was not any really interesting prospects from the perspective of a Top 5 pick. Too bad Harper wasn't older, sounds like a perfect type of player the Giants should pick in 2009, grabbing someone with high potential. Then again, if the rumors are correct that the Giants have or will sign that Carribean prospect who reminds scouts of Vlad Guererro for $2.5M, he's basically the same - for our purposes - as Harper being available in 2009.

I think the team is shaping up nicely, as I'll cover in an upcoming post, and could be competing for a division by 2010, so adding high potential players who might bust but could be really good is the right thing to do going forward. These players will supplement and hopefully add to the core going forward. And the pitching looks better and better every season, even with a disappointment like Lowry going down.

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