Wednesday, June 01, 2011

2011 Giants Draft: Mock Drafts 2.0

After the second mock draft, a couple of names rise up beyond the Giants, based on the mocks:  Cory Spangenberg and CJ Cron, two position players I was hoping the Giants were considering.

Players who were selected by the Giants in the mocks include Robert Stephenson (2), Josh Osich (1), Joe Ross (1).  Other names who still might fall to the Giants include the following prospects (BA Top 200 ranking in parens):
  • OF Josh Bell (15):  apparently he has notified all baseball teams that he intends to go to college, will take a lot of money apparently to sign, unless like Brave's Jason Heyward, wants to fall to certain team.  He goes to high school in Dallas, Texas, so maybe a Texas team might pick him.
  • LHP Daniel Norris (16):  high schooler who appears to be available to the Giants in a lot of mocks.  Great K/BB (113:29 or 3.9; 62 IP, so high walks).
  • C Blake Swihart (17):  bonus demands is pushing him back in the draft, but with the CBA expiring and the possibility that a cap will be placed on rookie bonuses, resulting in a uniform slot system, I think that a normal bonus should get prospects to sign now vs. later.
  • SS Levi Michael (22): most mocks have him picked before Giants pick.
  • LHP Tyler Anderson (24):  some say one of top college LHP, just don't get feeling Giants would be interested in him.
  • RHP Robert Stephenson (25):  apparently the Giants are tied to him in pre-draft rumors, but a lot of mocks have him going before the Giants pick.
  • 2B Kolton Wong (27):  dearth of top position prospects have boosted him in some mocks, probably will not be around when Giants pick
  • C Austin Hedges (28):  most mocks have him available when the Giants select, he and Swihart might be attractive because of what happened to Posey.  
  • C Andrew Susac (30):  most mocks have him gone by the time the Giants pick, but he's considered good offensively and defensively, which might be why he's going higher.
  • LHP Matt Purke (32):  high bonus demands will push back, maybe with Giants supplementary pick?
  • LHP Henry Owens (33):  high schooler who has been tied to Giants in some mocks, great K/BB (114:25 or 4.6; 77 IP)
  • OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (34):  haven't really heard anything about him to think Giants might select, not a lot of power or speed.  
  • RHP Tyler Beede (35): nobody has tied to Giants but great high school stats, 89 K's in 44 IP, only 6 walks, great K/BB of 14.8, 1.2 BB/9, 18.2 K/9.  
  • Joe Ross (36):  some have tied to Giants
  • OF Brandon Nimmo (37):  most have him going a few picks after the Giants, 
  • Josh Osich  (42):  some have tied to Giants, but not sure why
Giants Thoughts

For the draft, you should always go for BPA:  Best Player Available.  If course, it is very debatable who exactly is the best player available.  Nobody thought that Gary Brown was that player when the Giants selected him, but he has had a great start to his pro career.  A lot of people didn't think much of Madison Bumgarner selection either, and there were some (a large contingent, in fact, at MCC) who adamantly thought that the Giants should have selected Justin Smoak instead of Buster Posey. 

Generally, the Giants select players that get people scratching their heads.  I once researched the Giants picks, comparing with which pick they used to select the player and where the player was ranked in Baseball America's Top 200, and the Giants generally selected prospects in the draft that were not expected to be drafted until at least a round if not more back.  Even Matt Cain was considered a bit of an overdraft (which is the term used when a prospect is selected way before others think he should have been drafted).  That is why they got the reputation for overdrafting, which, as the theory goes, mean that you did that in order to sign the prospect to a lower bonus, but in my study of bonuses the Giants paid, I found that the Giants generally were right in range with other teams, and, in particular, paid more than other teams for their top picks. 

That is, all that was generally true during the Dick Tidrow era; I'm not as sure about how John Barr's drafts have been relative to the BA draft ranking.  I should go check that out one day.

In addition, more players, it seem, each year is asking for crazy demands in order to push themselves back in the draft to better teams (which usually have more money too).  Buster Posey's $12M rumor was the biggest I had heard about (Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg don't count as they were clearly once in generation type talents) but I recall that a couple of players were asking for $10-20M in this draft.

Thinking about the Giants draft, they have been on a pretty good streak with their first round picks, particularly their top pick, in recent years:  Gary Brown, Zack Wheeler, Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum.  Of course, there was Tim Alderson and Wendell Fairley too.  But since John Barr joined team management, the Giants have had better luck drafting in the following rounds, Jarrett Parker, Brandon Crawford, Conor Gillaspie, Roger Kieschnick, among others.


  1. I agree with the basic principle of using an impending FA pitcher like Sanchez to leverage more young talent. I just don't see Sabes doing that as long as the Giants are in contention. That is going to be THE key issue as the young Giants starters approach free agency. How Sabes handles it will be the biggest test of his tenure as GM. I have no idea how it will turn out. His history suggests he will place the priority on winning now which may not be the best way to handle it. Maybe Bowtie Neuks has instilled a slightly more long range philosophy?

  2. There was a small piece of interesting insight into how the Giants set up for the draft over on They have an 800 player draft board ranked in order and take the top player at each draft slot. John Barr made the comment that he is very sure that at least one of the players ranked in their top 15 will drop to them. That can mean one of two things: 1. The Giants are willing to pay over slot for a player who drops to them due to signability issues. 2. The Giants have at least one player ranked in their to 15 who no one else likes that much. Intriguing!

    One more thought: One characteristic of the John Barr era is the Giants using rounds 2-4 to take college players who were ranked near the top of in pre-season rankings but whose stock dropped after poor junior seasons. Brandon Crawford was one such pick and Jarrett Parker another. Here's a name in a similar situation this year: Zach Cone of Georgia.

  3. Thank you for your excellent comments, DrB, I appreciate them.

    I generally agree about Sabean's MO, but a change for him was last year's trade of Bengie Molina to clear way for Posey.

    Admittedly, nobody of Posey's stature is sitting ready in the minors right now, but I can see Surkamp and potentially Wheeler reaching that level by the end of the season, freeing Sabean to trade Sanchez in the off-season, at the latest.

    Also, the Giants have been pretty confident about the players they have control over (and thus know a lot about), and should Vogelsong convince the team that he's ready to produce consistently like this, at least for the rest of this season, plus they believe that Surkamp/Wheeler would be ready by mid-2012 at latest, then once Zito is back, they could potentially trade Sanchez at that point, to clear space for this transition and to gain cheap prospects for production in 2-4 years. They have traded players before to clear spots for younger players before.

    Your point about winning this season does resonate with me, and that is why I am now thinking that they would have to make the determination that Vogelsong has the stuff to take over for Sanchez before taking the next step of kicking tires and seeing what they might get for Dirty on the trade market.

    One key thing I would point out about Bowtie's regime is that he asked that Sabean bring to him good baseball deals and let Bowtie worry about the finances. And that is one thing I think people forget when I'm talking about trading Sanchez, is that they won't make the move unless it makes baseball sense. Which implies that they have made the determination that they can reasonably replace Dirty's production while also getting prospects that will help the future.

    And that is a key, I think, point to this whole discussion. The Giants, unlike the image they are portrayed as, have been focused on the post-Bonds era to a greater degree than generally thought. If they really wanted to win with Bonds, they could have traded Cain to pick up somebody in 2004 to improve their chances to win it all that season.

    If they really wanted to win during the losing years, they could have traded away more of their promising players percolating upward, like Dirty as well as Cain, to get a player who could have helped that specific season or two.

    Instead, they have held to their "Keep List" philosophy, where they held onto the players that they wanted to keep. That is why the team is so farm-system-centric and not so much free agent signings.

    And with Surkamp and Wheeler looking like they could be ready sometime in 2012, they could open a spot for them by trading Sanchez, but only if it made baseball sense, meaning, to me, that they can still get into the playoffs this season with projected personnel and performance, plus get young prospects to fuel future growth.

  4. The way I see it, the decision regarding trading Sanchez involves how much the Giants want to win going forward.

    If they keep him, they are trying to win now, but risking a large decline once he leaves after the 2012 season, as we have no guarantee that Wheeler or Surkamp will make the jump to the majors at that point, nor that Vogelsong can provide similar production.

    However, they could make a professional determination that they can, at which point it becomes a less riskier decision to trade him to get prospects who will provide cheap production going forward 2-3 years hence.

    In other words, do the Giants want to strike while the iron is hot or do they want to build a dynasty that will last? If they were a iron striker, they could have made so many trades. For example, think Wheeler and/or Belt couldn't have allowed them to pick up another good bat late 2010 season to give them a push?

    So I have to think that they are looking for a dynasty now and that to me means you actively look to trade Sanchez but only if you can come to the decision that trading him makes baseball sense, trading some current production (and hoping someone can replace) while boosting the farm system for the long run.

    That's why I always use the Dan Haren trade as my example, the A's got a boatload of prospects that refilled their declining farm system that fell barren from so many years of playoff contention. As many noted this season, beyond Belt and Wheeler, most did not think the Giants have a very deep farm system (I disagreed, liking Brown, Noonan, Surkamp, Hembree, RafRod in the pre-season) and the way to refill that would be to engineer such a big trade.

    Again, we won't get something as big as A's got because Haren had a longer contract and possibility of resigning, but if we can get one good position prospect and one good pitching prospect for Dirty, ready to contribute in 1-2 years, plus a couple of mid-tier prospects, I think that would be a pretty good haul.

  5. Thanks for pointing out the article, that was pretty good. Here is the URL for those too lazy to go there:

    I too was drawn to his top 15 comment. I think both your first point about being willing to sign someone overslot and your second point about someone nobody likes as much holds.

    In the past, they have often drafted prospects earlier than what BA's Top 200 ranking would suggest. So that fits in with your second point.

    About the first point, that, to me, harkens to my comment above about Neukom telling Sabean to come to him with baseball deals and let him figure out the finances. They seem to have a bucket of prospect money available, as they have signed big money internationally before, and you can't really plan for that without setting aside money to do just that. Same to some degree with the draft.

    So assuming they have the money available anyway, they should be able to draft anyone they believe to be one of the top 15 prospects, per your first point.

  6. I was amazed by the 800 player draft board. I would love to see their player evaluation process and how they can formulate such a ranking. There is only so much discussion that can be done to do such a ranking, there has to be some mechanical way of speeding that up.

    And WOW, that means that they can select players off this board at least to the 25th round, give or take, which is half way through the draft, and probably are able to draft someone off that list to somewhere in the 30's round.

  7. Thanks for pointing out John Barr's MO of drafting former first rounders (mainly college guys, right?) who fell due to a poor season. I would add Roger Kieschnick and Conor Gillaspie too, and maybe Chris Dominguez and Jason Stoffel as well.

    Thanks for the tip on Zach Cone. I'm also wondering if the Giants will draft Andrew Barbosa one more time in the draft, I recall that they reportedly drafted him a number of times already (OK, 2006, 2007, 2010). He spurned us last season to pitch one more season, so he'll be stuck with the Giants if they draft him again, I can't imagine him being draftable again (maybe as free agent if he don't sign?).

  8. Great rundown. I'm excited for the draft and to see what will happen. I love the pitching in this draft and I'm hoping the Giants can get a good arm at the 29th slot. Another guy I like is Kolten Wong, but I'm not sure if Wong will be available. It seems like the Rays will take him, mainly because they have three picks in the first round.

    I was definitely intrigued by your Sanchez conversation with Dr. B. I agree a lot with your ideas about Sanchez. As much as I like him, I think he could produce a lot of value in a trade, and I think the Giants could bolster their farm system (though like you said, I don't think it's as bad as some people think). I think with a Sanchez trade, with the combination of this talent-heavy draft, would do a lot of good for the Giants' future. However, the whole "win now" argument does put Sabean in a tough situation, and a Sanchez trade could infuriate some fans, though in reality, Sanchez really is one of the best trading chips the Giants currently have.



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