Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Scouting the Draft: Random Thoughts

The annual MLB First Year Player Draft starts tonight with the first 2 rounds.  Including supplemental round and compensation picks, the first 73 players will be chosen tomorrow.  Rounds 3-10 will be on Friday and rounds 11-40 on Saturday.  

Experts consensus has a top tier of 3 college players:  RHP Mark Appel, RHP Johnathan Gray and 3B Kris Bryant.  While these 3 players are all excellent prospects, all 3 have their warts too.  Appel is a senior at Stanford and has somtimes failed to pitch up to his scouting reports.  Gray kind of burst onto the scene this year.  Bryant has tremendous power, but has struggled to make contact at times.  

IMO, there is a second tier of draft prospects that goes 4 deep: HS OF Clint Frazier, HS OF Austin Meadows, College 3B Colin Moran, HS RHP Kohl Stewart.  I am personally not convinced that the talent after pick 7 is substantially better or more likely to succeed in the pros than players who will be available all the way into Round 3!  

All the experts seem to think that Houston will take either Appel or Gray at #1 due to the fact that the top tier talent dovetails nicely with organizational need for pitching.  I'm not so sure.  Last year, Houston pointedly took Carlos Correa, a first round talent, but not considered top tier, and signed him to an underslot deal which was still very lucrative for the player and distributed the money they saved on the bonus to lower picks which enabled them to take tougher to sign high school talent in later top 10 rounds.  While the jury is still out on how that turns out for the Astros, all signs point to them being quite pleased with themselves for pulling off that strategy.  I think they will do that again this year.

The draft slotting system puts tremendous pressure on teams at the top of the draft to pay close to their slot bonus. Given the flatness of the talent curve in this year's draft, being in that position may not be where you want to be.  If the Giants can get a player approximately equal in talent to the #10 pick at #25, that is a nice chunk of change they have saved on bonus money with no loss of return on the draft.

John Barr confirms the relative parity of the talent pool by saying he thinks there could be as many as 8-10 players that the Giants consider first round talents available for them to choose at #25.  This makes predicting who they might take akin to finding a needle in the proverbial haystack.

This draft appears to be much stronger and deeper on the pitching side.  I'd break it down this way:  College Pitching- B+.  HS Pitching- B.  HS Hitters- C+.  College Hitters D.  The college pitchers get a half letter grade higher due to the presence of Appel and Gray at the top.  After that, the HS arms might even have a slight edge because the talent runs a bit deeper on the HS side.  While there are a few interesting college hitters scattered around, they tend to be few and far between.  I think pretty much everybody agrees this is a terrible year for college hitters.

You would think that the Giants would draft pitching in the first round since that is their tendency and that is the strength of the draft.  Again, I'm not so sure.  The Giants like to cut against the grain.  They may well decide to reach for a hitter at #25 thinking they can get first round pitching talent in round 2 or even round 3 whereas if they took a pitcher at #25, there won't be any good hitters left in rounds 2 and 3.  We'll see.

Chris Haft of seems to think they are particularly interested in HS SS Oscar Mercado, HS C Nick Ciuffo and college OF-RHP Michael Lorenzen.  Another rumor out there has them drafting HS SS Christian Arroyo and signing him to an underslot bonus.  If this is true, it would imply that they will also go after HS talent in subsequent rounds and want extra money sign it.  Last year, the Giants stuck almost exclusively to college talent that they knew they could sign for near slot money.  It is possible that after seeing how easy it was for teams to sign HS players down to around $500 K, it has emboldened them to go after HS players this year, especially since the talent pool at the HS level seems deeper.

If you are interested in names of players who BA ranks at the Giants picks.  Here they are:

#25  Phil Bickford, HS RHP
#64  Rowdy Tellez, HS OF
#101 Mason Smith, HS OF
#132 Brandon Thomas college OF(Sr).
#162 Jamie Westbrook, HS 2B
#192 Ryan Cordell, college OF.

Shankbone and a couple of other guys ran the Giants community mock draft over at Minor League Ball.  That mock draft lasted 4 rounds.  Their picks were:

#25  Rob Kaminsky, HS LHP.
#64  Trey Masek, College RHP
#101 Mason Smith, HS OF
#132 Daniel Palka, College OF.

I think this is a very realistic mock draft and one the Giants could well end up following.  Kaminsky is a smallish LHP who has strong stuff with very advanced command for a HS pitcher.  He could be a fast mover out of HS a la Madison Bumgarner.  Masek is a college pitcher who again has great pitchability.  Smith is kind of a sleeper HS prospect out of Idaho with some helium while Palka is a college masher straight out of the John Barr mold.

So, who do I think the Giants will take in Round 1?  I have no idea.  The field is wide open.  I think there may well be some fire behind the smoke of the Arroyo rumors.  The Giants love their up-the-middle position players almost as much as they love pitching.  There are enough SS rumors connected to the Giants that I have a strong feeling that is where they may be looking.  One name I can't shake, if he is still on the board when the Giants pick at #25, is JC SS Tim Anderson who looks like he has all the upside in the world and can stick at the position.


  1. Tim Anderson also caught my attention too while reading through all the draft articles. He was going to be my wish/guess but then it seemed like he started rising and I do not think he would be available at our pick any more.

  2. Great concise analysis of the biggest draft in pro sports. I don't have anything to add. I agree the Giants tendencies are pretty impossible to predict. So the experts mock them pitchers for the most part because of the blazing success in that field. The longest shot is HS hitters. I think this Arroyo rumor makes more sense as a 2nd rounder, to save maybe 200K to be able to do it again in the next couple of rounds.

    The only thing you didn't spell out is the exact slot values. Here they are:
    1/25: $1,866,500
    2/64: $872,100
    3/101: $510,600
    4/132: $378,600
    5/162: $283,500
    6/192: $212,300
    7/222: $161,500
    8/252: $150,900
    9/282: $140,900
    10/312: $135,300

    Don't forget the Giants have limited flexibility! I made that mistake last year. They don't have a lot of room to go chasing a ton of HS players, and by the 6th round you are out of the Top 200 in baseball/200K slot region, and you are basically taking flyers at that point. How many time the teams decide to go 100K and over depends on their evaluation of overall talent. Just don't forget the Giants have the 5th worst draft pool and poor draft position... the result of being winners!

    I'd expect maybe 2-3 picks like Blackburn or Relaford this year. Blackburn was 150K to land his talents in the teens, Relaford was a JC 100K sign in the 40s.

    I agree on Anderson, and I would not mind the Giants reaching for Hunter Dozier at all. I'm curious how much helium Riley Unroe has, and Kaminsky has widely varying rankings. I think he's a steal if he gets popped at the 25.

    1. Oh yeah, that too: yes, great concise analysis!

      I noticed Unroe in the rankings because one mock had him in the first round (though more the supplemental if I recall right) yet most of the rankings had him far back in the high two digits instead. So that is a lot of helium!

      It is interesting comparing mocks and ranks. For example, Alex Gonzalez, RHP, is ranked 19th on BA 500. BA did not list him in Mock 1, 17th Mock 2, 15th Mock 3. Garrioch has him 66. SI did not include him in either of their mocks so far. Mayo skipped him in his first mock, but had him 20th in his second one and he ranked him 31st in his Top 100. Perfect Games appear to have the Giants pick him in a mock.

      Oh, and Unroe, BA mocked him 30th pick in Mock 3, while ranking him 53rd. Mayo has 92nd, but Garrioch has him 23rd.

      Dozier is ranked 39th by BA, 46th by Mayo, 95th by Garrioch. So that would fit in with Giants draft MO. What is the good word on Dozier? I have not seen much on him.

      Kaminsky is not as bad in the wide rankings. Most mocks actually have him going 32nd, which I think is the Yankees pick. BA ranks him 21st, though all of the mocks have him going later. Mayo ranks 38th. Garrioch ranks 15th! SI actually mocked himm 32nd in first, but he was not on their second mock. Mayo also mocked 32nd as well. But Perfect Games appear to mock him 13th pick. So it does look like a steal at our pick, much like Stratton falling to us in the last draft.

  3. This is a nice profile on Anderson - not much video on him:

    I would love for the Giants to have that opportunity. Don't think it'll happen though.

    OGC - Dozier is a smaller conference masher, so competition is a knock. He has a plus arm, former HS QB. He can maybe stick in the middle, most likely 2B, definitely play 3B and has hit the hell out of the ball this year. BA put a Jeff Kent comp on him, so you know I'm buying that stock.

    Kaminsky is indeed a narrower spread, but way up the ladder. A lot of people think he's the best prep lefty and maybe the best lefty period. I will be pretty psyched if he is there and the Giants get a shot. Sickels just mocked him to the Dodgers fwiw, I could see that happening. For me, he looks special.

    Unroe reportedly has at least a 1.4MM price tag. That isn't a problem at the 25. He, Dozier, Demerritte - and my white whale Phil Ervin - will not be there at 64. There are some interesting guys to choose from, somebody will be there.

  4. There was an interview with Barr during the broadcast of the Gints getting Dickey'd yesterday. This year they have 835 guys on their board. (1200 overall to be drafted). I suppose once they run out of picks they'll go for draft and follow HS games. Maybe next year MLB will cut the draft to 30 rounds...

    Also, Will Clark wants Mississippi players. Hope he's leading the charge on Tim Anderson if he drops!

  5. Gotta love BaseballAmerica. If we walked away from this draft with Bickford, Tellez, and Mason Smith, I'd consider that a huge success. Make it so, gentlemen! : )

  6. interesting

    giants take an hs kid in the first

    they gotta be positive he is gonna sign

    why is the org hot for the ss position? i thought they like craw


    1. Bacci,

      A HS SS will take at least 3-4 years minimum to reach the big leagues. This has nothing to do with Brandon Crawford and is everything about organizational depth going into the future.

  7. So, Tim Anderson was indeed off the board and the Arroyo rumors prove to be true. What will be interesting is if this portends more HS draftees in subsequent rounds or not.

  8. Who was the last HS bat the G's took in the first round? Hyzdu?

    1. Wasn't it Nick Noonan or Wendell Fairley in 2007 with their 3'rd pick of the first round?

    2. And they follow it up with another HS bat.

      I am totally shocked. I was expecting them to go pitching, which is their norm, and instead, they go 2 HS bats at the top. Shocking.

    3. Yup! I said the Giants like to cut across the grain, and boy, did they ever this year!

    4. Let's just hope this turns out better than the Noonan/Culberson/Fairley triumvirate.

    5. You are absolutely right. Although, there were so many picks that year, that I don't really count that draft. I should have been more specific in my statement. I meant a HS bat with their first, first rounder.

      Do we have reports on Arroyo and Jones?

    6. They went for signability in '07 because of the 13 picks they had in the first round, so it is hard to compare. Arroyo was legitimately forecast in this range. IIRC, Nnonan, Culby, Fairly and Williams were all rather long reaches.

  9. Ryder Jones was the NC Gatorade HS player of the year. These guys both have some good hardware. BA has Jones near 200, BLF as well, but P/G has him at 139. I read about him a little but didn't concentrate on him. Interesting pick.

    Between Florida and Stanford these don't seem like easy draft deals. I think the Giants might be shaving 100-200K at the most, not some huge underslot.