Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Your 2011 Giants: Giants Draft Pick #86 Andrew Susac

Honestly, I was not planning on posting anything on the following picks, but the Andrew Susac pick was so exciting to me, I had to.  Susac was a potential late first round pick and would have fit in anywhere in the supplemental first round as well.  To get him at the back of the second round is a great coup for the Giants, like getting two first round draft picks.

Here is what Jonathan Mayo has on him (go to #35):

The draft-eligible sophomore was a good high school catching prospect in Northern California two years ago, but teams stayed away (the Phillies took a shot in the 16th round) because of his strong commitment to Oregon St.
Now, Susac is mentioned frequently near the top of the catching list in this year's class, though there are differing opinions about his skill set. Teams that will consider him highly see the potential for him to be an everyday catcher.
He does have average raw power, mostly to the pull side, with more gap power to other fields. That could mean 15-20 homers annually, if he can make enough contact to tap into that power, something some have concerns about. He's a bit of a guess hitter and uses a big leg lift in his swing.
Susac is stocky, but not physical and muscular -- kind of like a Gregg Zaun-type. Behind the plate, he has a solid average arm and will flash a plus now and again. His hands can be a little stiff, but he's made some good improvement in his receiving skills. A broken left hamate bone forced him out of action this spring, and it remains to be seen how that will impact his Draft status.

Looks like his hamate bone injury pushed him back, along with the question about him catching in the future.

Perfect Game has a nice scouting profile from their 50 in 50 series:


Bats-Throws:        R-R
Height/Weight:     6-1/190
Hometown:           Roseville, Calif.
Prev. Drafted:      Phillies ’09 (16)
Birthdate:            March 22, 1990

SCOUTING PROFILE: Susac is draft-eligible as a sophomore because he turned 21 in March. Even though he has much less experience in college than most of his peers, Susac has clearly established himself as the best all-round catching prospect in the 2011 college class with his combination of a strong, durable frame, natural athleticism, solid catch-and-throw skills and improving offensive tools.
Not only did Susac arrive at Oregon State at 19, but he ended up sharing the catching duties with Parker Berberet as a freshman. He pressed at the plate under the weight of heightened expectations, and hit a modest .260-2-13. Susac clearly won the Beavers starting job this spring, but was forced to turn the catching duties back over to Berberet on April 11, when he had surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his left hand and faced the prospects of sitting out the rest of the 2011 college season. 
Until his untimely injury, sustained while swinging a bat, Susac was enjoying a breakout campaign at the plate for the Beavers, hitting a team-high .364 in 26 games. Even as he missed his next 16 games, he still stood among team leaders in homers (4), RBIs (25) and walks (21) in early May. Susac had made significant strides in all areas of his game this spring, but his improvement at the plate was especially noteworthy, and west-coast cross-checkers had quickly identified he and Utah’s C.J. Cron as the best college bats in that part of the country for this year’s draft. With his combination of superior raw arm strength and power, Susac had separated himself from all other catchers and it’s unclear how much his injury will impact his draft status.  He was initially projected to go off the board in the latter half of the first round. 
Though his college career has been comprised to a degree as both a freshman and sophomore—first by inconsistent production, second by injury—Susac made significant headway in summer ball the last two years. As a graduating high-school senior in 2009, he stepped in as the regular catcher for Corvallis of the West Coast League, and stood out for the advanced way that he handled the league’s most-talented pitching staff. 
The case had already been made that Susac was among the top defenders in the spring in a very deep group of elite prep catchers in the 2009 draft class, and he graded out above-average in every area playing against college talent in the WCL. He was an unusually polished receiver for his age with soft hands, quick feet, compact release and throwing stroke that produced tag throws in the 1.85-second area consistently. Susac was a little overmatched at the plate for Corvallis as he batted just .209 with two homers, but scouts weren’t overly concerned and quickly pointed to his solid track record as a hitter at the prep level. At Jesuit High in northern California, Susac had nine Division-I signees as teammates, and yet topped the team in average (.455), homers (7) and RBIs (31). Susac was taken in the 16th round of the 2009 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, and unquestionably would have gone considerably higher had he not emphatically told scouts that he was intent on playing that summer in the West Coast League, and ultimately attending Oregon State. The Phillies monitored him closely all summer and made a belated, though concerted run at him, offering him a reported $850,000, but Susac stuck to his guns and went unsigned. 
Last summer in the Cape Cod League, Susac reaffirmed his standing as a catcher with significant offensive potential as he hit. 290-5-15 for Falmouth and led the league with a .500 slugging average. 
While Susac does virtually everything well on both sides of the ball, he still needs to shore up subtle aspects of his game. His superior arm strength is considered his best weapon on defense, while his receiving skills are his weakest. Susac has excellent raw bat speed and the ball explodes off his bat with authority when he squares it up, but he still needs to refine a somewhat unconventional approach to hitting. He has a hip-glide to his front side that occasionally leaves him looking off balance at point of contact. Susac is solidly put-together and has a physical presence on the field with his strength and stature. His only obvious drawback is his lack of speed.
Projected Draft Position: Late first round/compensation round.

Wow, again, Perfect Game's profile convinces me that the Giants picked a great prospect!

Here is some additional information on Susac in Oregon, published in late May, so current:

Susac also seemed like a lock to be drafted in the first round midway through the 2011 season, when he led the Beavers in every major offensive category. With his combination of raw power and arm strength, he quickly asserted himself as the premier catcher in this year’s college class. But Susac then broke the hamate bone in his catching hand, forcing him to the sidelines for 20 games, and scouts say he hasn’t been quite the same player since he returned, either at the plate or in the field.
He still led the Beavers in batting (.348) and was in the top two on the team in homers (5) and RBIs (31) entering the final weekend of the regular season, but has struggled with timing issues since his return, especially against the superior pitching he has faced in the Pac-10. He also appeared to be babying his hand behind the plate.
Susac is far from a polished defensive catcher anyway as he has always had issues blocking balls in the dirt, with his tendency to box them instead. With concerns about his health and the deficiencies in his game, not to mention his highly-leveraged sophomore class standing and obvious huge price tag, teams were beginning to have second thoughts on the eve of the draft about even drafting Susac in the first round, and wondered if another year in college might not be in his best interests. His situation will bear watching closely.

Funny that one of the things he needs to work on is blocking balls in the dirt, which was one of Buster Posey's problems coming up.

Baseball Beginning's John Klima has a video and comments:

Andrew Susac is seen here taking some BP cuts in the summer of 2010. Obviously, he’s a good frame guy with some bat speed, but the only thing that would worry me from this look is the drop in his hands before he starts his swing. That can be a fatal flaw at any level if not addressed correctly.

Some cloud in the coffee here, but there are always issues with each and every prospect drafted, that's why the success rate of finding a good starter for even the first pick of the draft is under 50%.

So far the Giants are picking up very good prospects in this draft, much like they did in prior drafts, particularly under John Barr, where a number of good looking position players are selected, plus the occasional pitcher.  Then, once they get that out of their blood, they start picking up their pitching by the bushel, the Giants have drafted a lot more pitching than hitting in every draft, it seems, under Sabean et al.  That shows the team's focus on pitching, both the predominance in drafting pitchers with their first round picks previously, but also the imbalance focus on pitching throughout whole draft, where they select more pitchers than position players even though a typical roster is 12:13 pitchers:position on the major league roster.

I think the Giants will look good when the analysts talk about their draft.  While some may see Panik as an overdraft, getting Susac should help them get over that, plus, really, Panik's draft position depends on how much you believe in his intangibles, it seems.  Giants really like the intangibles.  Kyle Click was good too, and I think getting Ricky Oropesa was a nice upside pick with their third round pick (I might cover him later, we'll see).

4 comments:

  1. Also, Perfect Game published their Top 100 list and had Susac at #27: http://www.perfectgame.org/Articles/View.aspx?article=5824

    He was their second highest ranked catcher, behind Swihart, and highest ranked college catcher, noting:

    Best combination of power/arm strength of any college C in draft; broke hamate bone, defense needs work.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Enjoyed your post. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Really nice article on Susac on sfgiants.com: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110607&content_id=20171792&vkey=news_sf&c_id=sf&partnerId=rss_sf

    Apparently Susac has been a big Giants fan, so big that for a school essay in 8th grade, he wrote about how in 20 years he's going to be a Giants player and break all of Barry Bonds' records.

    I now cannot imagine that he won't sign with the Giants, but since he was expected to be a first rounder, he's probably going to fight for as big a bonus as he can get, so it will probably take to last minute and be maybe $200-300K above slot, which last year was $411,300. Parker got slightly above $200K extra, so I would think $600-750K would be about what Susac will get.

    Something that might get him signing faster: his buddy Josh Osich, his college teammate and batterymate, was drafted by the Giants with their 6th round pick.

    Though Osich might be harder to sign too, since he was expected to go in the first round, but he has little leverage right now being a senior. I have no idea why he fell so far, other than the consensus is that he's destined to be a reliever/closer, but he also just threw a no-hitter in April, so I am not sure why people feel that way.

    Since the Giants do not always do what others say, they might not convert him, at least not initially, as the Giants do try to remain flexible with some of their prospects. For example, Russ Ortiz was a closer all through college and minors, but then they made him a starter, whereas Rod Beck was a great starter in the minors, but got changed to reliever in the majors (well, his body type...). Also, more recently, Brian Wilson only relieved initially because he got TJS just before draft, but all the way up to making the major league roster, the Giants were not sure if he would be a starter or reliever.

    This same scenario might play out with Osich, going either way, depending on team need.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you Kelly, glad you liked it!

    I try my best.

    ReplyDelete

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