Friday, October 21, 2011

Down on the Farm: BA's Giants Draft Report Card

BA has posted their annual draft report cards. Here's some highlights from the Giants entry(these categories only compare Giants draftees to each other, not the entire draft):

Best Pure Hitter: Joe Panik. Not too much of a surprise here.

Best Power Hitter: Andrew Susac. Susac gets the nod over Ricky Oropesa because he has more "usable power." Ricky has more raw power but dissipates it with too many swings and misses. Neither has played an inning of professional baseball yet, so we'll see how it turns out. If Susac proves to be an even better power hitter than Ricky and can stay at catcher to boot, then the Giants have themselves a real nice prospect.

Fastest Runner: Kentrell Hill and Travious Relaford.

Best Defensive Player: Joe Panik. Reliable SS with good hands. Kelby Tomlinson and Christian Otero have better pure tools but they rated Panik as a better all around defender at SS. I have to say I'm a bit skeptical of this. Hope it's true.

Best Fastball: Kyle Crick, Chris Marlowe, Ray Black, Bryce Bandilla, Josh Osich. 5 drafted pitchers who can reach 97 MPH! Crick and Marlowe were the only ones of this group to get into professional games. Crick had mixed results with 8 K's and 8 BB's in 7 IP. Marlowe had 5 K's and 1 BB in 3 IP.

Best Secondary Pitch: Marlowe with an 84 MPH hard breaking ball.

Best Professional Debut: Joe Panik. Not too much mystery here. Shawn Payne and Clayton Blackburn also got mentions.

Best Athlete: Hill and Relaford again.

Best Late Round Pick: Blackburn

One Who Got Away: Tyler Leslie. Andrew Triggs stayed at USC to enroll in a Master's Degree program. I think the Giants have until the next draft to sign Triggs though as he was a senior draftee.

The Giants placed a couple of mentions in the national summary.

Best Pro Debut: Joe Panik led all draftees in the entire draft! How's that?

Best Pro Debut High School Draftee: Clayton Blackburn ranked #2! Gotta love that!

Best Late Round Pick At or Below Slot: Clayton Blackburn ranked #1! Again, gotta love it!


  1. My question on the Panik recognition as best pro-debut (not to take anything away from Panki's great perfomance) is how many of the selections ahead of Joe signed quickly and had any significan playing time this year?

    Maybe it's because I follow the kids a little more closely these days, but I REALLY like this draft class. Time will tell. But this just feels like an exceptional draft.

  2. triggs is a red shirt jr...he still has one more year of i think he goes back into the draft

    smart kid...get a start on the masters, try to move up in the draft again, and make sure there is a life after baseball

    was a good draft, because it was balanced and may have restocked the pitching

    giants also didnt overspend and i still think panik was a steal...i really think the scouts were wrong that the giants picked him too want a guy who will work hard and is motivated to get into the bigs as quickly as possible

    mlb may have to rethink the whole slot thing really doesnt work...and kept some kids from signing early

  3. I think that Panik was the second first round draftee to sign (forgot who was first).

    This is a great draft, I agree. The last couple of years, I've been compiling the various mock drafts from the top analysts (Sickel, BA, Perfect Game, Law, BP, various others), and in this draft we got five guys who were considered first round talents: Panik, Crick, Susac, Osich, Oropesa. Oropesa was more supplemental, but the other four were considered talented enough to be picked around where Panik was selected. Osich dropped because of his injury, Crick because there seemed to be a huge mass of similar talents, but I haven't heard anything on why Susac fell like he did, as far as he did. Ultimately, I think he is happy because he's a Giants fan and he sounds cocky enough to push his way to the majors as a catcher and move Posey to another position (Posey by then would probably be nearing his free agency years and ready to play at a safer position). Heck, he could probably share the starting position there with Susac, while also starting regularly elsewhere.

    There is a misconception on Panik, probably because he rose late. The major nationally known analysts that follow the draft didn't think much of Panik and thus thought he was an overdraft.

    However, John Sickels thought the pick was fine, slightly an overdraft, but he thought that if the Giants really liked him, he likely would have been gone by Crick's pick, so he thought it was fine where he was selected.

    Also, Perfect Games' free mock drafter noted that Panik in his opinion was rising late, and that in their opinion, he was in the first tier of middle infielders (2B/SS), with Wong and that other guy (escapes me now), and said that it would not surprise him if Panik was drafted first and expected him to be drafted around where the other two are picked, which he was.

    The slots don't work and everyone knows it. It is suppose to be re-negotiated during the next CBA, could be deal breaker. Most agree that one way to fix the draft the way it currently is would be to move the signing date up much earlier, at least a month earlier, since there is no action happening in-between most of the time for the top prospects. At least by doing this they can sign soon enough to get in a month's worth of playing.

    Wow, five guys who can humm at 97 MPH? Now those are Tidrow Hosses!

  4. And, oh, I need to read up on Blackburn, his name showed up a lot (or DrB could maybe profile him for us, hint hint, nudge nudge, nowottamean? :^)

  5. Drb, thanks for posting this.. Wow, 5 pitchers who can reach 97 MPH! My question is before this draft, how many other Giants minor league pitchers can reach 97 MPH? I can only think of Heath Hembree. It sounds like they addressed a need in their organization drafting those power arms.. I'm not concerned with Crick because I've read he's only been pitching for 1 year.. If I remember correctly, didn't Blackburn turn down a scholarship from Oklahoma to sign with the Giants?

  6. I know Seth Rosin and Edward Concepcion were throwing gas in Augusta, I think in the 94-96 MPH range. I have to believe when a source like BA uses the phrase "can reach 97 MPH" they mean that these guys all did it at least once. I frankly doubt that it means they sit there. Maybe the relievers when they are relieving and not having to pace themselves. Still, the demonstrated ability to "reach" 97 is nothing to scoff at.

    I don't know too much about Blackburn. I think he's pretty advanced for a high schooler with 4 solid pitches. His bread and butter is a hard sinker that goes 92-94 MPH and induces a lot of GB's.

    Good points that the pro debut rankings are colored by the late signings, but still, I think Panik was an inspired pick. With Crick in the supplemental first round, the Giants got the same pitcher they would have gotten at #29 because the HS pitching was so deep this year, except they not only got the pitcher they got Panik to boot! Nicely played!

    They pretty much did the same thing with Susac and Ricky. They were looking at Ricky for round 2, but when Susac fell to them, they grabbed him and ended up with Ricky in round 3 anyway. Also nicely done!

    We'll see if their medical reports on Osich were right. I read somewhere that they kept waiting on Osich because they were waiting on a last second medical report that finally came in after the draft had already started! Osich had serious helium a month before the draft and was indeed hitting 97 MPH with a deadly changeup. He had a sudden drop in velocity down the stretch which is ominous in a pitcher coming off TJ. Apparently the last second medical report was positive and he just had a tired arm or something. If that's true, the Giants got yet another first round talent all the way down in the 7'th round! Even if the medicals weren't so good, the 7'th round is a fine place to gamble on a talent like Osich.

  7. Watching the draft on MLB network was pure comedy - Selig butchering Panik's name, the analysts scrambling around because nobody was expecting the pick, the Giants draft cam looking very pleased with themselves, it was great.

    Just one ranking among many, and it wasn't adjusted a couple weeks before the draft, but MLB's Mayo had Susak #35, Oropesa #46 and Osich #50. Susak fell partly because of the broken hammate bone. Osich is very intriguing. Sure its college ball, but a no-hitter while matched up against Trevor Bauer is still big time. He could seriously be the steal of the draft, much as Wilson was after the Tommy John. Saw a video of Susac, Oropesa and Crick being interviewed, loved their cockiness, especially Ricky's.

    The Giants stated they were after the HS pitchers - most likely Ross and Stephenson. Panik seems like a great plan B. He signed 2nd overall in the 1st round after Cory Spangenberg (who SD might have reached for a bit).

    I agree the accolade should be taken with a grain of salt, but its also great he came out of the box raking. You have instant comparisons with middle infielders: Spangenberg, Kelton Wong and Michael Levi (drafted right after Panik) so we'll see how it turns out.

    Draft seemed like a nice complement of Barr's college hitters and Tidrows power arms. Having these 3 guys drop to us was pretty sweet.

  8. Just a F/U on Blackburn. I looked up his Perfect Game profile. The highest they clocked his FB in HS was 90 MPH. Don't know if the Giants made a tweak or two and added a few MPH's or if i'm just dreaming. You can find a short video of Blackburn making some comments after pitching a 1-0 shutout as well as him throwing a pitch or two. He sure does look a lot like Matt Cain out there.

  9. I smile uncontrollably when I hear Matt Cain. :)

  10. Regarding the issue of "overdrafting" a player, does anyone else remember that about a week before the 2009 draft, there was a couple of reports that the player the Giants really want is Mike Trout, but he would be a way over draft at #6. The Giants ended up taking Wheeler at #6, and the Angels took Trout at the "appropriate place" of #25. I don't think anyone would take Wheeler over Trout at this point. I have complete faith in the Giant's scouting/amateur draft department.

  11. I loved seeing this. I have to say, that given where they were picking and their # of picks, the Giants absolutely nailed this draft.

    Particularly loved that Panik got the best pro debut overall, and was voted our best defender, esp. b/c Susac is supposed to be a great defensive catcher and Kelby Tomlinson won an award for going the whole season without committing an error (or something like that). I think all the 'he will have to move to 2B' stuff was overblown to justify the knee-jerk 'he was an overdraft' reaction by pundits. Turns out he's a good short stop, and his bat is no slouch even if he ends up with only average power (I've heard projections that he could/should have HR totals in the teens in the pros, maybe nearing up to 20. I think 15-20 was where I remember reading what his power might project at the major-league level.)

    Even better was that he got the nod for best pro debut over Kolten Wong, who also signed early and was picked higher, not to mention that many of us would have been thrilled if he had fallen to our pick at #29. Even better, Wong doesn't have any shot of playing short, while Panik would have to be moved off the position.

    Also love the attention Blackburn has received as a result of his truly DOMINATING performance in the AZL as an 18 year old. I'm thrilled that his scouting reports match up with his results in terms of good velocity, 4 good pitches he throws for strikes, and a frame that still has some projection left. Noting that he was the best late round pick at or below slot goes to confirm what we'd all been hoping: that the Giants scored getting him in the 13th round.

  12. Pan, thanks for the enthusiastic response. Yeah, I'm pretty stoked by the BA report myself. The Giants were able to load up on 5 arms who have hit 97 MPH and that doesn't even count Blackburn who might turn out to be the best of the bunch.


    It seems like pretty much every pitcher the Giants draft bears some resemblance to Matt Cain. I bet Tidrow and Sabes hold him up as the prototype of what they are looking for in every pitcher they scout.

  13. Yes, DrB, that is why a lot of the experts thought the Giants would pick Daniel Bard instead of Lincecum when given the choice.

    I just like smiling a lot when Matt Cain is mentioned. :^) He's the first, in my mind, of this new generation of competitive Giants, and you always have a soft spot for the first.

    The Giants actually overdrafted frequently over the past 10 years or so of BA prospect rankings that they made available. I analyzed a few years back where the Giants picked a player and where BA had the player ranked on their list, and the Giants regularly selected prospects who were not expected to be drafted at least half a round, if not more than one round later.

    Of course, that was quite different when they were selecting with a top 10 pick (Lincecum, Bumgarner, Posey, and Wheeler were picked around where they were ranked, or not very far from it), these applied more to late first round and later picks.

    I think that it was not a rumor about the Giants selecting Trout, but rather a draft expert projecting that the Giants might select Trout because they showed some interest in him pre-draft. But the Giants also showed a lot of interest in Wheeler as well, sending Sabean there to see him. And the mocks had Wheeler being selected before the Giants pick, and the Pirates surprised with the Sanchez selection.

    Hard to know who the Giants would have selected instead if Wheeler was not available. Given what Wheeler did in the minors - high K, high GB - he might still be the better pick than Trout in the long run, early comparisons of Trout were with Rowand. But he sure has great minor league stats so far! Projections I saw were that he would only have average power, but that is not what he did in his early jump to the majors with Angels.

    Now, one thought I had was punting the pick in that draft by not signing the guy we draft, and getting the 6th pick in 2010. There were a number of good picks in that range - Michael Choice, Chris Sale, Yasmani Grandal, Deck McGuire, Matt Harvey, Barret Loux - so that could have been an OK strategy, in hindsight, as Wheeler, while nice, did not really break out while in our system.

    And unlike the mocking final sentence, I do have complete trust in the Giants scouting department. I don't know why people don't get the magnitude of this statement: the Giants have one of the best rotations in a generation. If that does not generate trust in a scouting department, I don't know what would. Are they perfect? No, but neither are any other team's scouting department.

    The Angels picked Randal Grichuk before Trout in the same draft!

    Any team you want to praise for a great pick in any particular draft, I can find a lot of counter-examples that show they passing on a prospect who was really good.

    The more important thing to look at is how their team is constructed, how many of them are homegrown players. The Giants have a lot of homegrown players on their teams. They are maligned for all the free agent signings and getting vets - and based on results, rightfully so - but they also have a core group of homegrown players who are very young and very good. There are not many (any?) teams who can match up with Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Sanchez, plus Wilson and Romo, then also have Sandoval, Posey, and Belt. Schierholtz is OK too, you are not going to have stars at every starting position, complementary averagish players like Schierholtz are necessary too.

  14. OGC:

    Just to be clear, that last statement was not intended to mock. I do have complete faith in the Giants' scouting/drafting department, especially since that are clearly going with what they think is right rather than going with the pundits.

  15. OGC,

    Agree that Wheeler could still turn out to be a better pick than Trout. Trout didn't exactly tear it up in his MLB debut, but he is still awfully young. I saw him put on an astounding performance in the Cal League playoffs in 2010, but then again, I was pretty impressed by Wheeler when I saw him early in 2011. Best pitching performance by a Giants prospect I've seen, and I've seen Cain, Lincecum and Merkin Valdez. Missed MadBum when he was a prospect.

  16. Sorry I misunderstood, my apologies anon.

    Yes, the Giants do go their own way.