Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Giants Other 2009 Draftees: First Day

This draft is different in that only three rounds were done the first day. The Giants only had two other picks (did not pick up any free agent compensation picks), the 55th and the 86th.

Giants Select C Thomas Joseph With 55th Pick

The Giants 2nd round pick, the 55th pick overall, was Tommy Joseph, high school catcher. According to the MLB description, he is quite the offensive find, though positionally he's a question mark at the moment:
In a deep class of prep catchers, Joseph hasn't gotten a ton of love, though his bat has been making more than enough noise. He's got serious offensive ability with light-tower raw power. He's more of a question mark behind the plate. He's got an above-average arm, but this was the first season he's caught and he lacks overall quickness. His bat likely will play anywhere, but if a team feels he can catch, he could sneak into the first couple of rounds.

So basically he's another EME, Pablo Sandoval, or Jesus Guzman, defensively challenged and looking for a place to play. According to the description above, this means that the Giants think that he could be a catcher, but with Posey looking to hold that position for the long-term future, I have to think that he's going to play 1B or perhaps LF, he has a great arm but no speed to mention, so 1B appears to be his best position to play.
His strengths:
Excellent bat with plenty of power, both now and in the future. Above-average arm could play behind the plate.
And that seems to be his key pluses, his ability to hit and his power:
Joseph destroys below-average pitching and really turns it up a notch against better competition. He can use the entire field. Has light-tower power to the pull side and shows it off in workouts. He should have plenty of power to all fields.
But his main weakness is his inexperience behind the plate:
This year is the first he's caught full-time after DH-ing and playing first base for most of his high school career. He does have some work to do defensively. Because he hasn't spent much time behind the plate, it left some to wonder if he can stay back there, especially considering his size (6'1"; 210 lbs) and lack of quickness.

Here is an interesting sidenote: he was a former teammate of Tim Alderson. I guess that is when the Giants found him and got interested in him.

The Giants just missed on a couple of players I thought they might draft. SS Mychal Givens, who had been linked to the Giants in a few of the rumors I had read, was selected just before Joseph, with the 54th pick. I was also hoping that they might select 1B Richard Poythress, but he was grabbed with the 51st pick, who has a lot of power too, and would have been closer to the majors since he's a junior in college.

In addition, Tanner Scheppers almost fell to us, he was selected with the 44th pick. Another who I saw some speculate that perhaps the Giants might select, was CF Kentrail Davis, who was selected with the 39th pick. And the one I was hoping to fall to us, but he got selected around where people were guessing, was Matt Davidson, selected with the 35th pick by Arizona.

Giants Select 3B Christopher Dominguez With 86th Pick

The MLB has nothing on him, other than that he is a senior with the University of Louisville. My research yielded that he repeated as Big East Player of the Year in 2009, only the second player in Big East history to repeat. He led his team, Louisville U, to its best record in school history, 40-14, capturing the Big East regular season title for the first time (I like this!). He finished the season with 21 HR, 75 RBI, and 17 SB, leading his team in each category, and he led the Big East in Total Bases with 158 and was second in HR, RBI and SLG, which was .721, and he hit .345/.441/.696/1.137 in total, regular season and playoffs. However, with 23 errors, I'm not sure if 3B is in his future.

Here is some personal info from his sport bio at school:
Born 11/22/86 in Los Angeles to Lazaro and Maria Dominguez. He is considering business as his major. Has one brother, Lazaro Jr. Would like to play pro ball after college. His family is his greatest influence on him. Major League, Cinderella Man and Men of Honor are his favorite movies. Likes to watch Baseball Tonight and Cribs on the tube. His favorite athletes are Bruce Lee and A-Rod. Mariners, Marlins and Yankees are his favorite teams.
I guess he will now have a new favorite team, the Giants.

He was highly touted by Baseball America when he came out of high school, as they rated him the top prep 3B and #11 overall prospect. And he was named as one of the 30 semifinalists for the 2009 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award (but did not make the final 5).

Like Joseph, he has special power, "light tower power" according to one site that I read.
OK, he did have a draft report on him FROM LAST SEASON, as apparently his star dimmed between the seasons, despite how well he did this season. It confirms that he got "plus raw power" but "has been very inconsistent with his overall hitting ability." According to this report, he moves pretty well in the infield and should be fine fielding at 3B, including having a plus arm. His strengths are his plus raw power and arm strength, but his weakness is that, while he's capable of doing a lot of things well, he does few of them consistently. His summary:
One of the bigger enigmas in the Draft class, Dominguez is eligible as a sophomore after red-shirting his freshman year back in 2006. Healthy now, he's been an impact player at the college level this season, but his performance has been extremely inconsistent. He'll look outclassed one moment and in a league of his own the next, leaving many a scout to scratch his head. Still, his size, strength, athleticism and potential all should pique someone's interest early enough.

Giants Thoughts

Like most prospects not drafted at the top of the draft, both are a work in progress with their main positives being their raw power and their arms. Looks like the Giants are trying to stock up with some potential middle lineup guys with these two picks.

I like both picks. Both have plus power, and look like they have a chance to develop and maybe make something out of themselves. As my draft study showed, the odds of such prospects becoming good players is slim - less than 5% of the picks studied made it - but their raw plus power is a strength that is missing from our farm system for the most part, a crying shame given the Giants history with Roger Connor, Mel Ott, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Jeff Kent, and Barry Bonds. The main power guys in our system right now are Roger Kieschnick and Angel Villalona, though Bowker has been blasting them out in AAA this season.


  1. The San Jose Mercury had some additional info on them:

    Joseph: He hit .494 with 15 home runs and 36 RBI in 27 games this year.

    Another source (can't remember which, noted that he and Alderson were teammates for two years. But, unlike what someone on noted, since he just started catching, he never caught Alderson.

    Dominguez: Was rated the biggest power threat in the draft by Baseball America. He has led three leagues in home runs, including the Cape Cod League last summer. The reason he fell so far (and clearly, then, this is a huge concern) is that there are questions about his ability to make consistent contact. That's OK, we can use a swing and miss guy, guys like that (for example, Ryan Howard) can contribute a lot of performance with the power they generate in the cleanup spot.

  2. Baseball America had an interview with Joseph:

    They noted his strong arm and power: "Joseph has a great arm and offers big-time raw power, ranking 70 on the 20-80 scale."

    Very nice, he talked about his close relationship with Alderson, good human interest story. According to this interview, he did catch him in high school, so it appears that he only started catching full-time last season, but had caught, on and off, prior to that, and so I was wrong on that.

  3. Baseball America had something on Dominguez too:

    Here is what they said about him, unfortunately for those of us looking for position prospects:

    The Giants get some raw power at 86 overall with Louisville 3B Chris Dominguez, who spurned the Rockies last year as a fifth-round pick. Dominguez has improved every year, making better contact, striking out less and bringing his tremendous power to the fore. But scouts still have doubts about his long swing, his defense at third base and his agility. In fact, many scouts want him on the mound. Dick Tidrow is still with the Giants . . . hmmmm . . .

    If the Giants wanted him as a pitcher, he would have been announced as a pitcher, so this would only happen after the Giants had given up on trying him at 3B or some other position. I like that he has improved every year, making better contact, so that gives me hope that he can continue to develop. And, we need power hitters, not another pitcher.

  4. Some additional tidbit on Joseph, addendum to the above, regarding his defense: Joseph has 70 power on the 20-80 scale and has a plus arm, though he needs some work behind the plate.

    Nothing new but good to note.

  5. Baseball Analysts wrote something on Joseph:

    Fifteen homers in 77 at-bats is impressive, and Joseph has the type of power that is rare coming from a premium defensive position. He has the arm to stay behind the dish, but this was his first year primarily donning the tools of ignorance having previously played first base and DH. It shows behind the plate as he has a lot of work to do with receiving, blocking and, obviously, game calling (since managers mostly call the pitches). As a catcher, his size hinders his quickness, and he’s far from fleet of foot running the bases. He's already starting to get thick in the lower half. His bat will play, but the difference between him becoming a Major Leaguer and a star is whether he can remain a catcher. Joseph is committed to Arizona. (Posted by Jeremy Greenhouse and Marc Hulet)

  6. All good info Martin, thanks.

  7. I think I remember reading a scouting report a while back describing Thomas Neal as having light tower power also. Guess thats not much to go on though.

  8. Sandoval "defensively challenged"?
    I can only remember one error when playing 3B, and that was questionable. He seems to be doing a heck of a job at 1B too.

  9. That's why they are called prospects and not sure things.

    Basically, for the vast majority of the prospects who are selected, up to and often including the first pick, it is a shot in the dark, a crapshoot. Sure, the odds are better the higher up you pick, but even the top picks are not sure things, still even worse than coin flip odds in terms of finding a good starting player (based on the results of my draft study). Neal was what, a late round pick (OK, research, 36th round), and the odds for those guys are extremely low, definitely below 1% for becoming a star, which you would be if you have tower light power and developed that skill.

    And that's the key, every prospect from the first pick to the last always has some development that they need to do before making it in the majors, they are not like Lincecum who appears to have been ready for the majors when he started, it was just that you don't know and most players need some time. And even Lincecum was not fully developed, he had that one month when he started where he was totally lost and being battered around. Only, he figured it out and in spades for the rest of the league.

    When you are selecting prospects so far back in the draft, as Neal was, you are looking for something, anything, that the team might develop. In any prospect's case, there will be a key skill or two, but if other things don't develop, he won't do well. Also, skills are very raw for 18 year olds, like Neal was when he was drafted, and take longer to develop.

    So, often, power don't show up immediately (unless you are a higher draftee like Jason Heyward), hence Neal's difficulties early on. In addition, he was injured for most of 2007, so that held him back as well.

    But his AB/HR has risen, it was 44 AB/HR his first season, 39 his second (but few AB), 33 his third season, and 21 this season. His power has been coming in, slowly but surely, and now at age 21, it is blooming, though it should be noted that both he's in a hitter's league now and he is also striking out a ton. Most prospects don't make the majors until their mid-20's, only the best do so in their early 20's, so Neal still has time expected to develop. It is just that when someone is drafted at age 18, it will seem like forever for him to develop when it is just part of the package.

  10. Neal just got selected to start in the Class-A All-Star game.



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