Friday, May 27, 2011

2011 Giants Draft: Initial Scout's Mock Drafts

Some might remember that I was going to post some of my latest analysis on the draft, but I turn around and the calendar already says that the 2011 draft is happening soon.  So change in plans.

The Giants this season have the 29th and 49th picks in this year's amateur draft.  That is a result of having one of the best records in the majors, as well as replacement picks for some teams got for not signing their picks, and thus pushing the Giants even further back in the draft.  And, of course, Juan Uribe's bolting for the D-gers gave us the 49th pick (Thanks Juan and Ned!).

For this post, I compiled the mock drafts that are out (and one was actually a talent ranking - BP) to get an idea of who might be available to the Giants when they pick 29th (only Sickels looked at the supplemental first round):



Giants Thoughts

Two of them have the Giants selecting RHP Robert Stephanson and the others have him going higher than 29th, so he might not reach the Giants, depending on the scenario, seems about as good as a coin flip.  One (Piliere) noted that the Giants like Stephanson but that he probably won't make it to them.  He is considered among the elite high school hurlers, or just behind, with high potential and a power arm.  Jim Callis in BA's Draft Chat on 5/25 noted, "Stephenson could fit in the bottom half of the first round or the top of the sandwich round.  He has worked at 93-95 mph for much of the spring and still has projection remaining."

Other amateurs selected include RHP Joe Ross (this is the one where Piliere made his comment), RHP John Stilson (solid college reliever who did well as starter this season, sure first rounder), and LHP Henry Owen ("fits Giants mold and slots well here talent-wise plus home state kid," though I would note he's a SoCal prospect, not NorCal like the Giants).  Ross most probably would be available when the Giants pick, Stilson probably not (Callis noted he would be a dynamic closer), and Owens probably would be available.

Now, the Giants often picked a prospect that did not show up on the radar of mock drafts for recent seasons, in particular Tim Lincecum in 2006 and Gary Brown in 2010.  Which is not a knock against the mock drafts, but more to note that with the multitude of permutations that can happen by the time the Giants pick, particularly in the second half of the first round, it is very extremely hard to tell who can fall to a team, let alone figure out who they might pick.  All you need is one off the wall pick early on that causes the dominoes to fall wildly different than first imagined.

Still, I find mock drafts very interesting, particularly the ones just before the draft, when there is a mass bubbling of rumors and leaks, which gives a much better idea of what is happening for the roughly first ten picks of the draft overall.  It was via such a mock draft that I even thought of the possibility that Tim Lincecum might fall to us (it also gave me the thought that maybe Matt Weiters would fall to us the following season, but the Orioles screwed that up when their penny-pinching owner suddenly opened up his purse and deigned to deal with Scott Boras, so it's not perfect).

So besides the prospects above who were actually selected for the Giants in the mock draft, the following are others who might fall to the Giants that I thought I would point out:
  • C Blake Swihart:  Massive price tag, so probably drop; better high school hitter; combo offense and defense, one thinks can handle C, but probably ends up elsewhere to expedite the bat; would want Swihart if building a team long term, he's athletic enough to pull it off and has the bat to be a major contributor elsewhere if he has to move; unlikely to fall to Giants.
  • OF Brian Goodwin:  Athlete, 5-tool, fast/power, slots well late first round; probably falls to Giants.
  • SS Levi Michael:  College MI in short supply, might eventually end at 2B, not a lock to stay at SS, talented, can help soon, polish, gamemanship; probably won't fall to Giants.
  • LHP Josh Osich:  Rising into first round, just no-hit UCLA; probably available when Giants pick.
  • 3B Cory Spangenberg:  Pure bat, line drive approach, best junior college player, outstanding bat speed, well above average speed, but not good defender in the infield, scouts say probably move to CF as pro, only gap power with low ten's homers, he'll probably end up in OF somewhere; could fall to Giants but probably not.
  • LHP Matt Purke:  Wants $4M+, most seem to think he'll fall beyond first round due to price tag, plus if his stuff doesn't bounce back down the stretch or his signability seems impossible, not worth first round pick; likely available when Giants pick but pricey.  
  • LHP Andrew Chaplin:  Strong, nice college arm, but not top tier, power arm whose future role is uncertain; likely available when Giants pick.
  • RHP Michael Kelly:  Projectable with 92-95 MPH, high-upside; likely available when Giants pick.
  • OF Jackie Bradley Jr.:  Injury to wrist but first round talent, should not fall past 35, lot better than he showed, and he could be a nice value pick toward the bottom of the first round; likely available when Giants pick.
  • OF Josh Bell:  Toolsy, legit switch-hitter, very easy to fall in love with his bat, more than enough to handle corner OF, huge upside, loads of power, controls strike zone, might need big $ as he has committed to Texas, but good enough for 11th pick; should reach Giants.
  • RHP Alex Meyer:  Excellent upside, mid-90's, with top of 98, plus plus slider, but very inconsistent, might be in second tier of college pitchers; unlikely to fall to the Giants.
  • 2B Kolten Wong:  Advanced college hitter who can run, good baserunning, won't take long to reach majors, rumored Rockies want him at 20, works count well with gap power, no platoon, he has good hitting and on-base skills to go with solid speed; might be gone by Giants pick.
  • LHP Tyler Anderson:  Quintessential college lefty:  outstanding command, expected quick path to majors; live-armed lefty, one of the more successful college players this season; might fall to Giants but probably drafted earlier.
  • RHP Dillon Howard:  Projectable righty high schooler; likely available when Giants pick.
  • C Anthony Susac:  Has pop, first rounder; probably available when the Giants pick.
  • OF Brandon Nimmo:  Serious tools, big bucks, though, to get him to not go to Arkansas, which he signed with, worth middle first round pick; likely available when Giants pick.
  • 1B CJ Cron:  Outstanding advanced college hitter who can move quickly, signable and very talented, can hit anywhere, whichever team takes Cron in the first round, and it will happen, is thinking he can become a righthanded-hitting Hafner in his prime, similar toolset; Callis noted that the top 3 college hitters, for power and average, are Anthony Rendon, C.J. Cron, and Alex Dickerson (believe in Dickerson more than other BA writers); might fall to Giants, 50/50.
Prep players likely to fall to mid-rounds and could still get a first round bonus include Blake Swihart, Austin Hedges, Brandon Nimmo, and Charlie Tilson.

Don't have any solid idea yet who the Giants might pick, but all the speculation is that there are a lot of good amateurs who normally would be drafted higher who will fall back in this draft, plus that there is an abundance of pitchers, leading to the thought that the Giants would refill their depleted farm system by going for pitchers with both picks.

But I still think they go for offense, as they have in recent seasons, particularly college bats.  That would mean prospects like C Blake Swihart, OF Brian Goodwin (Giants loves toolsy players), OF Jackie Bradley Jr, OF Josh Bell, C Anthony Susac, OF Brandon Nimmo, OF Alex Dickerson, and SS Trevor Story.

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