Thursday, June 07, 2012

2012 Draft: Heavy on the Arms... Again

The Giants again went heavy with pitchers again in the draft, as has been their pattern throughout Sabean's tenure as Giants GM.  The difference this year is the predominance of college arms vs. high school arms.

Go to the MLB Draft Tracker on-line, click on Team and select Giants, to see all the players the Giants selected in the 2012 draft.  Players with some additional content are the players with more potential than other, the more content, the higher the potential.  These are the players with Full Scouting Reports:  Chris Stratton and Martin Agosta. There are the players with player comments in the tracker:  Steven Okert and Stephen Johnson.  These are the players with Scouting Video:  Shilo McCall, Matthew Duffy, Nolan Long, and Tyler Ferguson.

The MLB had an article focusing on the Giants focus on college pitchers in this draft.
Of the 40 players the Giants selected, only five of them were high school players -- four of whom were selected in rounds 37-40. The Giants selected more pitchers (21) than position players (19), including 14 on the third and final day of the Draft on Wednesday.
Stratton and several other Giants pitching draftees were noted for their velocity and power pitching, though Giants scouting director John Barr said that was not the team's intention coming into the Draft. 
"We weren't leaning towards that way," Barr said Monday after the Giants selected Stratton. "Are we always mindful of it? I think we're mindful of trying to add value to the organization." 
Of the 21 pitchers selected, 19 were college pitchers, including potential future starters Stratton, St. Mary's Martin Agosta (second round) and Creighton's Ty Blach (fifth), as well as relievers Steven Okert from Oklahoma (third), St. Edwards' Stephen Johnson (sixth) and Miami's Eduardo Encinosa (seventh). 
The lone high school player selected in the first 36 rounds of the Draft was outfielder Shilo McCall (ninth round) out of Piedra Vista High School in New Mexico. McCall is committed to playing college baseball for Arkansas in the fall, but has said he intends to sign with the Giants and turn professional.
Alex Pavlovic of the Merc blogged on the various earlier round draft picks.  Some key tidbits:
STEVEN OKERT, LHP, OKLAHOMA: The 6-foot-3 lefty had five saves and a 2.78 ERA this season. According to the scouting report, he “has been lights out (as a closer) and is one of the main reasons Oklahoma has done so well this year. In pro ball, he will definitely come out of the bullpen and could make it to the Majors quickly.” 
TYLER BLACH, LHP, CREIGHTON: Blach, a 6-foot-1 southpaw, was selected 178th overall and is Creighton’s highest draft pick in 13 years. He was 6-6 in 21 starts and had a 2.76 ERA. According to his Creighton profile, Blach had a 4.2 GPA in high school and was a financial analysis major in college. 
STEPHEN JOHNSON, RHP, ST. EDWARD’S UNIVERSITY: The closer was selected 208th. He was a first-team Division II All-American after putting up a 1.45 ERA and compiling 18 saves. In 43 1/3 innings this season, Johnson struck out 74. According to reports, Johnson’s fastball touches TRIPLE digits, but he struggles with command sometimes. 
EDUARDO ENCINOSA, RHP, MIAMI: Went 3-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 24 appearances, all out of them out of the bullpen. He’s listed at 6-5, 242. 
JOSEPH KURRASCH, LHP, PENN STATE: The junior was selected 268th overall. He grew up in San Juan Capistrano and his Penn State profile lists him as a Giants fan, so he’s off to a good start. Also, he lists cholula hot sauce as his favorite food – another plus. On the mound he went 4-2 with a 2.05 ERA in 16 games, 11 of which were starts. 
SHILO MCCALL, CF, PIEDRA VISTA HIGH SCHOOL (NEW MEXICO):McCall is committed to Arkansas but said he plans to turn pro. “The first thing I did was go buy a Giants hat for me and my family,” McCall told The Daily Times in Famington. “Phase one of my dream is complete. Phase two is working like hell to get to the Giants.” 
TREVOR BROWN, C, UCLA: The Giants’ 10th-round pick hit .322 for UCLA this year. He has played third base, second base, first base and catcher in his two seasons at UCLA and has played shortstop in the past. As you know, the Giants have had success with athletic catchers.
BA noted all the Giants players who were ranked in the BA 500 list.  The Giants were near the bottom of the list, but that is not a big surprise:  in a prior study, I looked at where players were selected by the Giants compared to his rank in BA's Top draftees list, and found that the Giants typically drafted players at least a round or more before where BA had ranked him.  Here are the players drafted:
Giants (10): Chris Stratton (18), Stephen Johnson (63), Martin Agosta (106), Steven Okert (152), Ty Blach (194), Ryan Tella (201), Mac Williamson (236), E.J. Encinosa (322), Mason McVay (356), Trevor Brown (475).
These are there overall pick for these players: Chris Stratton (20; 2 picks ahead), Stephen Johnson (208; 145 picks after, or roughly 5 rounds later), Martin Agosta (84; 22 ahead, or roughly 1 round ahead), Steven Okert (148; 4 ahead), Ty Blach (178; 16 ahead), Ryan Tella (358; 157 after, or roughly 5 rounds after), Mac Williamson (115; 121 ahead, or 4 rounds ahead), E.J. Encinosa (238; 84 ahead, or roughly 3 rounds ahead), Mason McVay (808; or 452 after, or roughly 15 rounds after), Trevor Brown (328; 147 ahead, or roughly 5 rounds ahead).

BA notes on other picks, from their draft blog:
The fourth round saw a run on several pitchers who project best in the bullpen, starting with San Jose State righthander Zach Jones (Twins) to Xavier converted righthander Seth Willoughby (Rockies), Oklahoma lefthander Steven Okert (Giants), Utah righthander Tyler Wagner (Brewers) and Faulkner (Ala.) righthander Corey Black (Yankees).
Giants Thoughts

The players to be followed are the ones who had scouting reports of some sort or at least scouting videos.  Also, the players who are among the BA 500.

But frankly, after the first round, the odds are very against any of them ever even making the majors, let alone be useful, let alone be a good player.  The odds of most of these picks being a good player is significantly under 1%.

9th Round Example of Bad Probability

Let's take a look at the 9th round, from 1990-1999.  That's still seems low to most people, plus it was the one where Shilo was selected (nothing against him).  The numbers are bleak.

In those 10 years, there were 285 players drafted.  Unfortunately, I cannot tell who was signed and who wasn't, so I counted all of them; thus there could be some over counting.  Still won't matter.

In those 10 years, only 59 of them even made the majors.  Thats' 20.7%.  I then looked at players who had at least 162 games if position player, 30 games if pitcher, or essentially one year's worth of play.  Only 27 qualified there, 9.5% of picks.  Now lets look at those over 4.5 WAR:  only 9 of them, or 3.2%.  There are only 6 of them with over 9.0 WAR, or 2.1%.  My standard for a good player is 18.0 WAR and there were only 5 of them or 1.8%.

In other words, it will take approximately 57 years of selecting the #9 pick, on average, to find one good player, roughly 32 years to find at least a moderately good player (that's > 4.5 WAR).  It would take 5 years of these picks just to find a player who even makes the majors, 11 years to find a player who plays more than a year of baseball for you.

And it just gets worse with each round after that.

Bad But Not Automatic

Don't mean to be a downer on the draft, nor did I mean to discourage any draft pick that far back in the draft, though I know this might.  I just see so many people throwing themselves off the Golden Gate Bridge right now over the Giants draft, particularly for what they did after the first few rounds.  This, to me, is equivalent to obsessing over the Giants 25th player on the roster and declaring Sabean to be an idiot for his choices there.

The silver lining for the guys who are selected in the later rounds is that they all have talents that made them valuable enough for a baseball team to select them.  The key is that they need to apply themselves to their new profession and find a way to improve themselves despite the odds.  Bend the ear of any coach, at any time, to absorb information about baseball.  Get their advice and counsel.  Be a young man, but don't let it interfere with your prime objective:  making the majors.

And there have been many players drafted later.  Nolan Ryan was selected in the 12th.  And Albert Pujols was selected in the 13th.  And the most famous is Mike Piazza, so bad that he was selected as a favor for Lasorda in the 62nd round.

Giving Your Best

So there is talent back there.  I believe the difference is that some players make the most of their opportunity.  Not all of these players will make it, but as the saying goes, if you gave your all on the field, there is no more that you can ask of yourself, no matter the results.  You did your best.

But some are not being all that they can be.  Some will party out late a lot.  Some will abuse something.  Some will just drift through, not giving their all.  Some will not take advantage of the coaches, or worse, not even listen to the coaches.  Some will not run out every grounder.  Some will be half-hearted sliding into second base on the front end of a double play.

And a lot of them will do all that the right way and still not make it.  Still, if that player did all that he could do and left it all on the field, he will have nothing to be ashamed of.  He gave it his best.  That is all he can ask of himself.  It just wasn't meant to be.


  1. From reading blog fulminations about to the draft, I think the objections fit with your diagnosis as to why some players fail: for lack of appropriate trying. The bloggers believe that the Giants did not work to find the high-risk, high-ceiling young players who had the best chance of being a Pujols or Piazza; but rather that they contented themselves with picking up players who one could safely predict would end up as organizational filler. This is as much or more a problem of attitude as it is one of strategy; and attitude pretty soon begins to affect strategy.

    Whether the criticism is valid, I have no idea. I suspect it's misguided, and that the Giants, like other teams, are being cautious till they see how the new CBA plays out. But that doesn't mean that it's foolish.

  2. I've been a vocal critic of this draft. It may well turn out to be a tempest in a teapot. The Giants may have been laying on the side, checking things out for the year. Definitely a conservative approach, no denying that.

    It may be another ripple on the pond though, a sign of where the ownership group is directing its resources. Same old story, you have to have a lottery ticket to win the lottery. We'll see the final tally once the signings come in, but I would be surprised if they spend more than 300K on the backend of the draft. As teams are announcing 100K signings now for high end talent in the 11-40 rounds, that will be a stark contrast to the Giants.

    What I see now is Sabean losing interest in the farm system as he is being told to direct his financials elsewhere. A similar thing has already happened on the international front. The Giants were 19th in spending last year, and I suspect it will drop further.

    I'll root for the guys drafted like I do all Giants prospects, but this is night and day different from last year. I miss Bow Tie Bob big time right now.

    1. Total nickname failure. Bow Tie Bill. Come on, man!

      Also, check the 2010 spending:

      The amount of investment in international development and the draft is a drop in the bucket. Watching the Giants cheap out (again) is a bummer. The CBA will lock it down a bit for the Rangers and other aggressive teams, which will help the Giants more conservative approach. High profile busts happen, but you have to get back on the horse and try again. Having a Miguel Sano or a Jurickson Profar would do a lot to our system. Yes, Pablo Sandoval has been a boon. Hector Sanchez looks great. I know all the characters. I want the Giants to compete on all fronts. I see some punting going on. I hope I'm dead wrong, but I doubt it.

    2. Sickels liked 6 of our top 7 picks, calling them "excellent value". He thinks Stratton could be a steal and he likes Stephen Johnson's upside.

      As I noted in FLA-Giants knee-jerk post, I can understand the angst over not going crazy and finding a bunch of prospects with upside. But I'm not going to get myself in a tizzy over it either. The success rate is not very good back there in the draft. And Sabean and gang tends to find some nice surprises back there to keep the prospect hounds interested, lets give them a chance first, before giving them both barrels.

      I would be more worried about the Giants backing off of the international free agent front. I think that was an area where the Giants were lacking and they need to keep the steady drumbeat of money flowing into that so that when a good player does step out from the crowd, they can step up and win him over. As an active participant, they would engender more interest on the part of prospects to sign with them in the future, instead of being viewed as a team that is just dabbling around or dipping their toes in, they won't be viewed seriously.

      According to BA (thanks for links), they were 19th in 2011 with $1.8M and 27th in 2010 with $0.85M. And that was with Bow Tie around still, both years. I'm OK if the Giants are somewhere in the Top 20. The median was $2.2M in 2011, so the Giants were short four $100K bonus prospects or two $200K. Not something to really worry about or to get angry about. If they were 27th every year, then I would be more on the war path about that.

    3. Also, haven't mentioned this anywhere yet, but I wonder if the Giants might be able to find some free agents amateurs to pick off since there was 10 less rounds. They seem to regularly sign guys even after the draft. They got Accardo, I believe, like that before.

    4. And one of the Dunning/Dunnington guys as well. I think Dunnington, but I'll just guess and not look it up. Sure, the free agent amateur and the cast-off minor league deal has been a nice source of talent. And I totally appreciate that. I have been trying to give the Gints credit for that at every turn.

      That's right - even with Bow Tie the budget has gone south. This was maybe as a reaction to AnVil and RafRod, I can understand that a bit. But if you go to Texas' system ( has pictures! and Mayo's reviews) you see how they've become a powerhouse by hitting on international picks as well as draft picks. I am beginning to view the draft as one leg, the international signing as the second and the third leg of the tripod would be the cast-offs. Now Texas has struck gold twice with Hamilton and Cruz, a very enviable position with power being at an all time low lately, but they are hitting on all 3.

      The Giants are in on this - the failed pitcher who goes to Japan route is a nice one that both Texas and the Giants have hit on.

      I see them backing off big time on the international market. It looks to me like its back to pitching in the draft, and the scraps. This won't get us a dominant team. And its one step removed from using the farm as a trading post again for major league fill ins I might add.... If we're going to look back on history.

      I could be totally wrong, and I'm definitely getting a bit hyperbolic at the moment. I don't see the Giants making a bold move for Josh Hamilton or trading for David Wright though. Do you see them making a bold move?

    5. The Giants are still active in the international market. Since the Villalona/Rodriquez signings, they have clearly swtched to a strategy of signing multiple players in the $100-400 K range. They have Galindo and Mejia to show for it in the lower minors now. I still think Leo Fuentes has a chance to be an impact player. They have several signees from that range on the DSL team.

      Watch the Giants sign some higher profile players now that the Rangers and Yankees won't be able to throw around multiple $2-4 M deals every year. Some of that talent will now filter down and be less expensive than the recent past.

      Please, no trades or huge $$$ signings of David Wright or Josh Hamilton! They are both injury time bombs waiting to go off. I'll take Sabean's much maligned trades for Melky and Pagan as well as his dumpster dives for the likes of Blanco, Vogey and Arias to fill in the openings for one of the best young homegrown cores in baseball.

    6. The difference is that Colby actually did well in Japan while Vogie sucked everywhere until the Giants got him.

      It is almost like he was mentally down that the Giants gave up on him, but once they got him back, there was nothing holding him back anymore.

      I don't see why you think they are backing off. They upped their spending $1M in 2011 over 2010 (memory), that doesn't seem like backing down. Seems more like the Giants didn't find anyone worth investing in. And nobody has figured that system out yet, I don't think, else we would see a lot of the big money guys make it to the majors, not be major busts.

      I don't want the Giants to make a bold move. Besides which, nobody is taking Brown or Panik in a bold move trade. And Crick and Blackburn aren't highly recognized yet to yield a bold move.

      Besides, I don't think the Giants need a bold move. You seem to think the Giants are last in the division or something. They have one of the best records in the majors. And now they are adding back Sandoval and hopefully Big Time Jimmy Tim returns soon. They don't need a bold move, they just need more of the same.

    7. You know, OGC, I've had the same thought about Vogelsong. It really does seem like the trade was something he never got over. It was like he had to get back to the Giants so he could prove something both to them and to himself in order to exorcise that demon. I would sure love to see an in-depth interview of that transpired in his life and his mind all those years. I can't help thinking it would make a darn good book and movie.

      The other thing I've wondered about is whether he consulted some concentration guru over there. Kind of like the Karate Kid or something like that. That would make a great movie script too.


    Sickels thoughts on the Giants draft, he thinks Stratton could be a steal:

    San Francisco Giants: College pitching is the theme here. Nabbing Mississippi State ace Chris Stratton at 20th overall in the first round could be one of the steals of the draft, while Martin Agosta (RHP, 2nd round, St. Mary's), Steve Okert (LHP, 4th round, Oklahoma), Ty Blach (LHP, 5th round, Creighton), Stephen Johnson (RHP, 6th round, St. Edward's), and E.J. Encinosa (RHP, 7th round, Miami) are all excellent values in those slots, with Johnson's upside standing out in particular. There isn't much hitting, with Wake Forest OF Mac Williamson (3rd round) the main hope. He's got a lot of power and draws walks, but also strikes out quite a bit. Sleeper: OF Tyler Hollick (14th round, Chandler-Gilbert CC) who has tools including very impressive running speed and a good track record of hitting.

  4. "This, to me, is equivalent to obsessing over the 25'th man on the roster and declaring Sabean an idiot for his choices there."

    I'll give you a standing handclap for that one, OGC. Couldn't have said it better myself. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. Sheesh!!

    I'll add one more thought. There is a conventional wisdom out there that HS players automatically have a higher ceiling than college players. I am not aware of any evidence for that being true. Also, the Giants have done as well as anybody at finding useful talent in the later rounds of the draft. Romo, J Sanchez and Brian Wilson come to mind and they were all college draftees.

    If the Giants produce just 1 good major leaguer out of rounds 16-40, they will be above average for any given draft. Looking through the list, I see quite a few projectable players who could blossom with a tweak here and there.

    IMO, this complete freakout over the Giants Day 3 draft is a perfect example of how the internet tends to foster a groupthink mentality. One vocal person who the crowd regards as being knowledgeable makes an impassioned declaration and then next thing you know an entire website community has bought in and starts spreading it to other websites. Fla-Giant's rant over on Minor League Ball after Sickels said some good things about the Giants draft was downright embarrassing. I'm not sure what his problem is, but he has completely flipped his lid on this topic.

    Fortunately there are knowledgeable experts out there like Keith Law and John Sickels who are usually critical of the Giants who are voices of reason in this case.

    1. It allows the prospect hounds to dream more, seems to me, I totally agree that there are no studies showing the efficacy of HS over college. If they had some specific examples, then I might give them more credit on this point, but this general queasiness over the draft is much ado about nothing, to me.

      Good to hear Law like the draft, he hasn't been so complimentary in past couple of drafts, though I liked them.

    2. DrB, I have 2 suggestions if you are so offended by these "Groupthink freakouts": 1. You can exercise your democratic right not to read MCC. 2. You can go find your user name and login and participate. That way you can straighten out any groupthink arguments right away with the truth.

      You both have a habit of changing what is being discussed. When the comparison is what the Giants are doing relative to other teams in baseball, you move the discussion to the bad success rate of late draft picks. Two different subjects.

      The fact is, that thread "knee-jerk" was where the prospect hounds decided to discuss the third day of picks. It wasn't favorable, but calling it a "group think" exercise is just inaccurate. There were a lot of different opinions. It was also done in real time. It was critical of the Giants. My question to you two gents is this: why do you feel the need to be so offended by prospect hounds having a critical discussion? I have a different view of the draft than Fla-Giants original post, but I still enjoyed participating in the discussion. I was critical of parts of the draft, again, is this a crime? Why care so much about criticism?

      Nobody at MCC has done a full review yet. I'll throw something up, you'll most likely be pleased with it if you read it. I would ask for a little understanding that conversations can be had about a third day of the draft, or the 25th man on the roster, at some point in time. That thread, WAS THAT TIME. You guys are making the mountain out of the molehill. If it offends you enough to post about it here and at WTGCTT, maybe it'd be better to just not bother with it.

    3. Well, it's not just MCC. Fla-Giant really laid an egg over on Minor League Ball when he went on a similar rant in response somewhat favorable comments about some of the Giants picks by Sickels, who often is not that complimentary of the Giants.

      Now, don't get me wrong. I am not saying Sickels was effusive in his praise of the Giants draft, but he did have some nice things to say about some of their picks and to have Fla-Giant, as a Giants fan, come along and lay waste to their whole draft like that was embarrassing. Yes, he has the right to his opinion, but he is wrong and way off the deep end with it. I mean, he might as well take his Lunatic Fringe Membership card, blow it up to poster size and just carry it around with him!

      I happen to not be interested in being a member of MCC or Minor League Ball right now, but they are part of the universe of public media, so I see nothing wrong with commenting on them in other places. Just trying to make sure there is another point of view from Giants fans out there that maybe this draft wasn't, in fact, the worst of all time.

      I look forward to your review which I expect to be excellent.

    4. I don't see how I'm changing the subject. You guys are upset about the draft. I'm explaining how my draft study shows that the odds are so bad back there that it is not worthwhile to worry to such extents over something that most likely will not happen, which is finding a good player.

      Let's take Hepatitis. The odds are very good that people with that can get treated and survive. Doctors are not very worried when you have Hepatitis.

      At least, they weren't worried when my father died. And I found out later that the odds of him dying was around 3%, so I understand why the doctors were not worried, because the odds were such that worrying was not worth the trouble. Still, I wish they would have worried a lot more given the negative results.

      But in the Giants case, if they maybe missed out on one prospect or another in those rounds, well, it won't be the first time, it won't be the last time, and it won't kill the team or the farm system either, unlike Hepatitis. So I don't see why I should worry about this one draft.

      And the odds totally relate to how the Giants do relative to other teams. When the odds of success is so low, we have no way of telling until 3-6 years later whether the team making such great efforts to improve their luck in the draft is actually successful or just shuffling the deck chairs on another Titanic of a draft. And that is what most teams, particularly competitive teams fighting for the playoffs experience. There is no way to fully evaluate this draft right now, at least to the extent of complaining so vehemently about it.

      In addition, because of the time lag, we don't know right away how good the draft really is or how it would turn out. The 2009 draft looked good with Wheeler but the key prospect turned out to be Belt.

      And the fact is that I was discussing the third day of the draft. You guys just didn't like my message. I said getting upset - and FLA-Giants was upset, that is what a knee-jerk reaction is - over what happens in this part of the draft is energy wasted for the most part. Instead, celebrate the first round pick, we got a steal.

      Just like people didn't like my message over the past few years that the Giants were going to be one of the top teams in the majors for a number of years, that our pitching would be our star, not just one player, that everything was fine, no need to get too upset over things, the Giants are truly a good team, enjoy the games.

      And I have. While other people turn their stomachs into knots over keeping Burris over Fontenot, for example.

      I don't really enjoy watching people worry so much though. That really bothers me and I've tried over the years to bring them peace but few wanted to listen to me.

      But I'm used to that, I've been overly sensitive about others since I was young and people just never understood that about me.

      But I've learned what I have control over and what I don't, I've been very fortunate to have good teachers over the years and they helped me mold me into what I am today.

      Regarding posting there, I was basically invited to by you when you noted on DrB's that Fla-Giants openly asked for me to participate. I just didn't see anything I could add to until now.

      Now, I just kind of regret opening my mouth. Not one person even bothered to consider my alternative view, that the Giants were trying to save money in case Stratton wanted the moon. That, to me, is the #1 imperative, getting him signed.

      And while I have no idea whether that is the Giants intent, I don't think any of the evidence provided on that thread proved to me that the Giants were being cheap. They just don't know what the Giants are going to do with the money they might save.

    5. Don't regret opening your mouth. I did consider your alternative view, if you're talking about Stratton. I said you may well be right. I happen to believe he'll be slot or just barely under slot. We'll see what happens.

      If you want, check out my draft review. I think I'm pretty fair about it. Most teams took shots at HS talent in the 15-30 range. The Giants did not. Again, this is not the end of the world, but I spent a lot of time researching the draft, and I've compared what other teams have done. The Giants have not kept pace. Now they can change up next year, and this is a blip. You can also dismiss it as unimportant due to draft position and the talent available at the 11-40.

      Let me change the dialogue for a second. Its not quite the same thing as free agents in the Dominican where you need to have steady money flowing to show commitment to the market. But agents talk, teams talk, and hell, the players talk the most. They know which teams are stingy and which teams let it flow. The Giants drafted the least number of HS players in baseball this year. I think this is not taking a balanced approach.

      We'll know more as the money rolls in. One thing I try to emphasize for fairness is that the Giants had the 26th budget, and you can only squeeze so much. And I don't expect them to max out those 100K 11-40 slots more than a few times. However, it appears they only have 2 possible 100K payouts 11-40, and that looks light to me. Again, my standards are different, I am taking a hard approach to this. If you don't agree with that, I respect that. But I do maintain, you need to have your ticket to hit the number. Laying off won't cut it. I do like their early selections, and their 11-15 is better than most gave credit for. I do think they drafted too many pitchers, and I noted the players I liked more in my review. Sure, I'm an amateur, but I did the research on it.

    6. Yes, you did, but you are ultimately a good guy, open to alternatives. I don't find that much there. Though I liked conversing with Nirva, seems to at least try to discuss things with me and consider my view, and more importantly, brings up other interesting points.

      I'll take some of the onus, maybe I come on too strong, but I thought that is part of the conceit with debate, pushing strongly for your point.

      What I'm realizing now, after thinking about it overnight, is that I'm probably stepping on toes with what I am saying. Basically, I'm saying that prospecting is a wasted effort and thus I'm insulting the people there.

      And while I guess I'm not far off from that, that is not really my view. I think you all are exceptional well informed viewers of prospects. I think baseball teams also have similarly exceptionally well informed scouts.

      Yet, clearly, even scouts cannot determine who will make it. I mean, if they did, the Pujols and Piazza examples would never happen, they would have been the first one picked and then every player after that would go lock step. When you are that far back in the draft, it is not even art over science at that point, it is looking in haystacks for the needle.

      So it's nice and fun to debate who is better than whom, I think, but to say that Sabean and the Giants are being cheap just because they disagreed with the public, seems to be jumping the gun greatly. Maybe as the signings unfold, we'll see more, but right now, we are not really sure what their strategy ultimately is.

      Maybe some of the seniors looked more interesting, particularly for the money. Maybe the Giants were afraid that high schoolers would not sign with them for $100K. With minimal leeway on their budget and a first round pick that, unlike most other picks in this first round, could get more than slot, they had less to play with. Maybe they were similarly afraid that juniors would ignore them too at $100K.

      At least any good ones.

      Seniors, however, are pretty much forced to accept whatever the Giants offer.

      And at some point, I would think that seniors would be more developed than juniors. Just because they are juniors or high schoolers does not make them better automatically than a senior. Potential really is not worth that much that far back in the draft.

    7. And the big focus of the discussion is about passing on BA ranked players who were still on the board. Maybe that is why they fell that far, there is wide disagreement on what potential they possess. BA is not the final word on who is a good prospect, though basically it is for fans. They do get their rankings wrong and often, else teams would just rely on their rankings strictly.

      And I love BA, don't get me wrong, their service is valuable, I buy their book every year, I relied on their Top 20 rankings to help with my keeper league draft.

      But it's like economists. They do valuable work, but they can't even agree with each other on what the forecast is for the economy next quarter, let alone long-term.

      I agree that the difference is something interesting to note and monitor. Maybe we'll find that their strategy was better a month from now, a year from now. We are not in the position to really know right now.

      But as DrB noted, Fla-Giants ripped them a new one in the Minor League Ball's NL West review. And while in MCC he said that Sickels is nice first and harder later, he didn't mention that in the other thread.

      No strategic reason to draft seniors? How about they simply thought that they were the better players?

      It could be a fractal pattern that emerges a picture, but it could just be a blip, as you note.

    8. Here's something I haven't dared bring up on MCC, maybe we can discuss it here: while other teams were giving up their chance to draft good players by drafting seniors, couldn't the Giants be picking up these good players that other teams ignored? Maybe there was a bumper crop of relievers? Maybe the other positions were dried out and left good relievers out there? I didn't observe who was available, maybe you can shed some light.

      Honestly, I don't see how the Giants not drafting high school players could affect how high schoolers view the team. The Giants rarely underpaid previously. I suspect that they will be close to slot for most of their signings under this CBA, if not exact. Would a high schooler really not sign with the Giants when being offered slot by the Giants?

      And the whole stingy meme about the Giants. Even during the Magowan era, the Giants overpaid their top draft picks regularly and were right in the range for the overall draft pick bonus for the others. There was only one season (don't recall exactly, could have been Linden's draft) where they paid significantly under slot to draft picks. Otherwise, my research found that they were either at or above slot.

      And that, ultimately, is what the drafted prospects will worry about. Not that they were cheap and punted draft picks, but that they paid good money to draft picks when they had them.

      To me, worrying about rounds 11-40 is like worrying about the pennies, like an accountant would. At some point, you will drive yourself crazy worrying about the small details.

      I'm saying don't sweat the small details. And mainly because that worry and extra energy spent on that will probably go for naught. If I thought it would lead you guys to discovering the next Pujols for the Giants, I would say, have at it.

      Are you guaranteeing me that every other team that did the moves that you all approve of will find that good player, every year, that we all are looking for? Do you have a rate of return for all this extra strategy that other teams are employing under the new CBA? For ultimately, as a business, they have to answer to some sort of ROI, not a touchy-feely "it's better because they did something and the Giants didn't".

      I have no problem with a hard approach, if I thought it would yield something. Frankly, I don't think it will.

      But I like surprises. Life surprises. Maybe Team A will score big with this strategy of drafting in rounds 11-40. But if I had to bet my life, I would say no.

      I guess what would greatly help me see what you all mean is if you can give me at least a couple of examples of how a team outsmarted everyone else and the players that they picked up later that they can then sign and stole them.

    9. I have been scratching my head re. why the Giants drafted two HS players in rounds 37 and 40 who are quite clearly going to school. I thought of the good will angle in terms of re-drafting them 3 years down the road, but that really doesn't make a whole lot of sense with the way the draft is structured. The idea of doing it earlier in the draft makes even less sense.

      They could have been just punting the picks. I can see an argument for not paying $100 K to every late round pick as it would all add up to $2.5 M for a pool of players you might get one useful MLB player out of.

      It's also possible that they genuinely just too flyers on the last 4 picks. If just one of them signs, its a little frosting on draft cake. If not, well, you really aren't expecting much out of those slots anyway.

    10. OGC - I know its not intentional on your part, but yes, you are weighing in saying "no big deal" to a bunch of guys who have taken the time towards prospectin'. I don't know if anybody is bent out of shape, and everybody should be a big boy about it, but if you are surprised your "no big deal" or alternative version of what the Giants are doing isn't getting traction in the thread, I think the enjoyment of prospect watching is a big part of that.

      I can't guarantee any success, but I can guarantee a lack of success if you take your name out of the hat. I can only point out so many things, and then its time to move on. The Padres, Mets, Yankees all drafted multiple HS players between the rounds 10-25. The Doyers, D-backs and Rockies weren't as prolific, but beat the Giants soundly as well. The lack of a balanced approach stands out, big time.

      I hinted that the Giants were being contrarian in the 6-10 rounds in my draft review. I'm ok with that, other teams are grabbing signability picks, go grab the low hanging fruit. They did just that with our 6 round pick Johnson. However, the 7 & 8 picks didn't look so hot. And in a draft class where the strength is in the HS ranks, especially the pitching, the Giants lack of participation stands out. How many relievers do we need? There were some nice cheap college hitters passed on. We'll know more once the actual $#s are revealed.

      The McGowan era has had a lot of conservative picks. Famously Tidrow wanted to draft CC Sabathia but they didn't want to meet bonus demands. Sure, they paid Ishikawa late, that was their foray into overpaying in the late rounds. I notice they didn't repeat that though. And hey, they're not the Yankees, I can understand not wanting to be at the top. But they trend towards the middle of the pack and down with spending. This is partly due to draft position but until recently teams could overpay whenever they wanted to. The Giants spending really is limited to the following: Posey, Wheeler, Timmy, RafRod, AnVil. There are a few million dollar babies further down. Not a great record of stretching out for blue chip talent. And I really don't want to bring it up, but the elephant in the room is of course the Michael Tucker years of 2004-5 and the complete cheaping out on the system.

      So it may not be a big deal, the 500K-1MM the Giants didn't throw into the hat to secure more talent. But I think there was some value, especially in the 10-25 rounds, and while I like some of the picks they did make, I think they could have done more. I don't think its an unreasonable position to take, that the Giants should have attempted 3-5 100K HS signings, preferably in pitching, their area of expertise. You disagree, and that's fine as well.

      DrB - I think every team was taking flyers early in the 30s, and the Giants finally decided to join the party. As you said in one of your posts, the back end of the draft is mainly for cheap minor league staffing. We'll have to see how many HS players sign in the 10-25 rounds, then we'll know more about how successful the strategy is. I doubt any team in MLB is seriously expecting a HS to sign in the 31-40.

      Also of note, John Barr posted up a inside the draft room piece. The Giants had 800 odd players on the board. At face value, that takes you to about the 25th round.

    11. Not sure why a HS player would be less likely to sign in the 30-40 range than 11-30, you can offer the same $100 K bonus to all of them.

      I think they plan on the 823 or so players on their draft board taking them to the end of the draft or close to it. I believe they have a pool of players on their list that they believe are not on anyone else's list and they can fill out the draft or come close to it with those. That is the same number they had on their draft board last year, so I don't believe that is a change in strategy.

      I think I'm much more enthusiastic about the draft and prospects than OGC, but I also try to be realistic about what the percentages are and not go ballistic if John Bowker is traded to Pittsburgh for Javier Lopez or if the last 6 picks of a 40 round draft appear to be virtual punts.

    12. A HS player's rep will have been contacted by MLB teams to gauge interest and the all important signability, early in the draft. If affirmed, that player will be snagged. So yes, a HS player drafted later on is less likely to sign. Let's not get obtuse here.

      I never considered John Bowker a major leaguer, and thus was not upset at all at the Sabean special trade.

      The last 6 picks are indeed punts. Nobody is going ballistic over that part, they just view it for what it is: too little too late.

    13. Just to be clear, I'm very enthusiastic about the draft and prospects. That's the future of the Giants.

      I am just resigned to the fact that the odds are stacked against most of them ever making it to the majors, let alone being a good player.

      I just don't have the time to follow the prospects as much as others, I'm glad to be able to follow DrB's site and learn so much.

      thanks for noting John Barr's article, very interesting. If the Giants list was matched by everyone, yeah, that is around 25 rounds.

  5. You were right Shankbone, Stratton just signed for slot, $1.85M

    1. Good stuff! The CBA seems to be getting draftees playing for their teams quick hopefully.

    2. So enough about this draft for a while. How bout Belt's 69.5% contact rate? Time to start kicking tires?

    3. And less than 20 minutes later, he goes yard. Finally. Hah.

    4. Yeah, you timed it just right. Hey, whatever works! :^)

    5. I hadn't looked at Belt's numbers in a while.

      Had I looked before his HR, as long as he's batting 7th, I'm OK with keeping him up, as long as he can keep his OBP relatively on the high side. In that spot, he's about league average offensively, which makes him good overall because of his defense. I noted this in the MCC thread about him batting 7th.

      At this point, he's up, and more importantly, we now have Blanco hitting well as our leadoff hitter, freeing Pagan to hit lower in the order, taking that duty from Belt. If we needed Belt to bat 6th, then I would at least kick the tires and see what's out there.

  6. SF Giants Rumors had this from BA Callis:

    “I’m surprised Stratton got to them at No. 20, and with guys struggling in their farm system, he could wind up ranking as their No. 1 prospect at the end of the summer. He has the potential for three plus pitches with good command...

    “Agosta can run his fastball up to 96 mph at times but usually works at 90-92. He’s not a real big guy, so he may wind up in the bullpen...

    “... so the arms obviously stand out. I like both lefties they got in the fourth and fifth rounds, Steven Okert and Ty Blach. The righty in the sixth round, Stephen Johnson, can hit 101 mph and pitches at 98. ... I can’t argue with the arms they got,” says Callis.

    Go there for full quote.



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