Thursday, June 05, 2008

Draft Day is Here!

Best time of year! Well, at least for this season...

The Giants hopes for the future rests squarely on who we pick 5th overall today. As I noted previously, it looks like Posey might be the pick the Giants go for, but a few sites have been sharing the rumor that Posey is demanding a huge ($12M) bonus, possibly bogus to fall down to the team(s) he prefers, but still, if you are not one of the teams he's interested in, do you take that risk and do you meet his demands?

Here is a nice report of it at Saber-Scouting; they also mocked draft into the supplemental and projected the Giants taking David Cooper, 1B from U.C. Berkeley.

Andrew Baggarley, at his blog, ExtraBaggs, reported that the Giants in some last-minute scouting, brought in some local college players for a scouting combine at AT&T the other day, but Cooper was not noted then. The players named: C Charlie Cutler (Cal), INF Josh Satin, maybe LHP Craig Bennignson (Cal), a "few Fresno States, a USC" and a huge first baseman from Southern A&M named Edwin Anderson, who looks like right-handed Ryan Howard, according to Baggarly. In addition, he reported that Keith Law of ESPN.com says that the Giants are leaning toward Georgia SS Gordon Beckham.

However, Law's latest (this morning) mock draft have the Giants selecting Buster Posey.

The Hardball Times has a nice compilation of a wide variety of commentary and analysis on the top picks who the Giants might pick here. The author has his own blog where he has analyzed a number of players here.

Giants Thoughts

It seems like the Giants most probably will be selecting from this group of prospects: Posey, Skipworth, G.Beckham, Smoak, and Alonso. I've changed my mind. As nice as Posey is as a prospect, the outlandish money demand turns me off a bit, as far as to his makeup and motivations (though reportedly, according to Saber-Scouting's report above, Madison Bumgarner tried to do the same thing to get more from a bigger pocket team but that the Giants didn't fall for or yield to that, and reportedly Smoak has some perceived high bonus demands). Plus, most accounts says that his high-end is that he hits around 15 homers per year and now one of the links provided by the Hardball Times' author notes that he's an ideal #2 hitter.

G.Beckham is another name showing up a lot in draft projections. THT's author notes for him that if you want an offensive minded SS who should be ready for the majors quickly, then Gordon is who you want, but if you are looking for upside and a potential star, you have to keep searching.

We all know who the Giants need: middle of the lineup hitter. Skipworth is a catcher, and I haven't seen any comparison to Johnny Bench and Alonso, for most comparisons I've seen, is considered below Smoak and good for 20-30 homers per year, which is great for us, but Smoak has the potential for 30-40 homers per year. Add to that most describe Smoak as excellent defensively at 1B and Smoak looks like the best guy for the Giants to select out of the probables. The THT author rates his potential to be pretty good, between an average regular to above average regular/borderline All-Star.

However, as noted previously, the Giants aren't the only one looking for such a player. Both the Royals (most say Hosmer pick) and Orioles (most say Matusz pick) are reportedly looking at Smoak as well. So he might not be available then.

In a worse case scenario, T.Beckham (probable Ray's pick), Alvarez (probable Pirate's pick), Smoak (possible Royal's or Oriole's pick), and Posey (possible Oriole's), which would leave us Eric Hosmer, Yonder Alonso, and Brett Wallace (local kid who can play 1B and 3B) as the corner middle of lineup types available. Wallace sounds nice plus is local, but he would be a huge overdraft at #5, most I've seen has him listed around the 10-20th pick range; however, the Chron noted him as a possibility so I included him here today (but he's an A's fan so there's that too) and I've noted Alonso's shortcoming relative to Smoak (in fact, some mocks had Wallace above Alonso).

Which leaves Eric Hosmer, Boras client. But PG Crosschecker had an article on him titled "Eric Hosmer - A Special Hitter" which makes the case that Hosmer compares favorably with any of the top high school hitters from the past 20 years, which includ A-Rod, Josh Hamilton, Delmon Young, a pretty good group to be compared with. It also notes that he is good defensively as well.

So here is my thinking just before the draft:
  • Doubtful that they will be there, but if Alvarez or T.Beckham are available, the Giants will have to select them. The THT author thinks T.Beckham can be an All-Star and at worse an average regular, with a mid-level chance of being average at SS.
  • Wild-card possibilities are Smoak and Hosmer, both could go ahead of us or reportedly slide way past us. Hosmer, however, is tied strongly to the Royals in most rumors I've read, so I think he'll be gone (but you never know when a team tries to cross up the public), whereas most have Smoak being selected by the Giants or afterward. They are probably the best the Giants can expect to do in this draft and Smoak is the pick I would see the Giants make.
  • But if Hosmer if available too, I think the Giants would have to go with Hosmer, as he is a difference maker though further away than Smoak theoretically is, as some have said. Except that these people forget that some high school talents can make the majors by age 20, so that is not necessarily true. If some experts think that Hosmer is comparable to the best high school players in the last 20 years, you have to take a chance on him. But that's also why it looks like the Royals might go that route too, as they are looking for a 1B of the future. One factor that helps Hosmer fall to us is that the Royals probably think with their talent level, that they should be competitive soon, and thus may go for the college bat since he's probably closer to the majors than a high schooler.

Posey is the next tier to me. I really wanted Weiters last year and to pay about double his bonus for a player who, while good, is not as good as Weiters is, just doesn't seem right. Still that's not a major factor but just a irksome point. If the guys I listed above are gone, that means that we pick among a group of Posey, G.Beckham, Alonso, Wallace, and Skipworth.

While Posey looks good, is he worth paying $7-9M (again just rumors, he might "only" want half that) more than G.Beckham, Skipworth, Alonso, or Wallace? I don't think so, not for a catcher who is not a difference maker but "just" a great addition to any team. The price tag just cinched it for me, but I should have realized yesterday that he's no difference maker and that's something the Giant's John Barr stated as a thing that they are looking for. And that fits in with their selection of Tim Lincecum previously, then Madison Bumgarner last year, they look like difference makers.

This grouping is a tough pick for me, but I would lean toward Brett Wallace based on the reports that Jonathan May put out on MiLB.com here. He thinks Wallace is one of the best hitters in college and could hit .300 with 25 homers and high OBP, and he thinks Wallace would be fine at 1B, though as I mentioned, he played 3B as well in college so perhaps he could do that in the majors too. I'm not sure why all the mocks have him dropping so low in the draft (though one prospect rating, not draft projection, had him as 10th overall). Yonder Alonso would probably be just as fine a pick, and most rankings have him above Wallace, but his fielding appears to be below Wallace, and thus why I lean towards Wallace.

Posey and Beckham would be nice additions to any team but won't be a difference maker, in my mind, for the Giants, whereas Wallace and Alonso would be, particularly if Wallace could stay at 3B, but that is no sure thing and seems not probable. Then again, the A's had Mark McGwire at 3B to start his career, so you never know.

Final Note: just got news that the Rays have officially announced Tim Beckham as their pick, so that most probably means the Pirates select Alvarez, I think their new regime will lose whatever honeymoon period and benefit of the doubt that their fans are giving them if they select otherwise. That leaves KC as the wild-card now: Hosmer, Posey, or someone else?

1 comment:

  1. Here is Baseball America's final mock draft: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/mock-draft/2008/266271.html

    They have the Giants selecting Smoak, but list Hosmer as someone they covet.

    The only way Hosmer falls to us is if Alvarez falls to KC, meaning the Pirates would have to throw everyone off by selecting Posey, he's probably the only player they can select without their fans rioting over passing over Alvarez. But given the new money demand, most probably not.

    ReplyDelete

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