Friday, June 5, 2015

Scouting the 2015 Draft: Dr B's Giants Draft Board

By popular request, and just for fun, I am going to post my own wish list for who I want to see the Giants draft in the early rounds.  I am not going to do my usual posting of complete vital signs and stat lines as those can be easily found on other sites.  I would direct you to Cove Chatter, Kiley McDaniel's stuff on Fangraphs, Minor League Ball, and Baseball America, all linked to the left.

This is a strange draft year that in my opinion is not nearly as bad as some have made it out to be.  It is definitely extremely weak in the top 5 picks which is where most draft observers take their overall opinion of the draft from.  It is somewhat weak in the top 10.  There is excellent value in bottom 2/3's of the first round and all the way into the early 2'nd round.

I don't know if it's because of the epidemic of TJ surgery, but teams seem to be fleeing from HS pitching.  HS hitting appears to be dropping too as teams seem to be in extreme risk avoidance mode.  This is contributing to the perception of weakness at the top of the draft and creating value later on, IMO.  The Dansby Swansons, Chris Bregmans, Andrew Benintendis and Ian Happs are fine players who will probably have fine MLB careers, but the highest ceiling in this draft, and IMO it isn't close, belongs to a 6'7" HS LHP named Justin Hooper who is currently being ranked in the 30's or later due to a perception of risk and rumored bonus demands.  The second highest ceiling belongs to another HS pitcher, Mike Nikorak who had some mid-season helium but then dropped a bit due to inconsistent velocity.  I say don't worry about inconstency, he's going to be great!  So those two HS pitchers are #1 and #2 on my Giants draft board and would be even if they had the #1 overall pick!  Here is my complete list for the first round #18:

1.  Justin Hooper, LHP, HS.  Big, 6'7" LHP's who can throw a baseball 97 MPH are a rare commodity to begin with, so the tools to be a future ace pitcher are clearly there.  To me, great players step it up in big games.  The clincher for me was a matchup against another highly ranked HS pitcher named Joe Demers.  Hooper dominated!  That's what aces do.  He has the tools, stuff and temperament to be an ace.  He is likely to be available at #18.  The Giants should draft him.  He is reportedly demanding a minimum bonus of $4 M which the Giants could not do at #18 without penalties.  I think they can go 5% over their overall bonus pool without losing future draft picks.  Add about $400 K to the $2.3 slot bonus.  Put it on the table and dare him to walk away.  The worst that can happen is he goes to college while the Giants get two first round picks in a stronger draft in 2016.  Hooper would be taking a huge risk to walk away from $2.7 M.

2.  Mike Nikorak, RHP, HS.  More conventionally build RHP at 6'5" with a solid frame but lots of room to fill out.  He might be a better pitcher than Hooper right now, but with a hair lower ceiling and he doesn't have Hooper's left-handedness.

3.  Ian Happ, 2B, OF, College.  Happ probably has the best hit tool in the draft with some power projection.  The rap on him is he doesn't play an elite position.  He's also a switch-hitter who starred in the Cape Cod League.  All of that is in the Giants wheelhouse, but he is currently being projected to go in the top 12-14 on most draft boards so probably won't be available for the Giants to pick.

4.  Cornelius Randolph, SS/2B, HS.  If you concentrate on his front foot on videos of his swing, he has the exact same inside toe turn/leg lock as Joe Panik.  His defensive profile matches up too.  He's bigger than Panik and may have a bit more power potential.  Giants are rumored to be in on him.  He is one of the younger members of the draft class and won't turn 18 until after the draft.

5.  Nick Plummer, OF, HS.  The Giants have also been tied to Nick Plummer, who probably has the top tools of any position player in the draft, but is old for a HS draftee at 18.8 yrs.  May be in play at #31.

6.  Donnie Everett, RHP, HS.  Matt Cain clone out of Tennessee who has a big body and throws hard. Secondary stuff is lagging a bit.  I might rank him #3 here but similar HS pitchers will be available in the Compensation round which reduces the urgency to reach for him here.

7.  James Kaprielian, RHP, College.  A run on college pitching is projected just ahead of the Giants.  Kaprielian may well go in that run.  I personally like the HS pitchers better, but Kaprielian might be the most complete college pitcher in the draft and could be MLB ready within a year.

8.  Cody Ponce, RHP, College.  Ponce is a huge RHP with a big fastball from a small program, Cal Poly Pomona.  He might have the highest ceiling of any college pitcher in the draft, but has obvious questions about strength of competition.  Could be an option at #31 too.


We will now move on down to the Compensaton Round, #31 where the HS pitchers who are being pushed down by the risk avoidance in Round 1 rule the roost.  Of course, players on my first round board who fall would also be strong considerations here.

1.  Beau Burrows, RHP, HS.  A bit on the small side, but has great command of a mid-high 90's FB with top spin rates which correlate with pitch movement and swing through potential.  He should be available at #31 and would be at the top of my wish list for the Giants here.

2.  Nolan Watson, RHP, HS.  Serious helium.  Some talk of the Giants taking him at #18.  I hope they don't do that, but would trust their judgement when it comes to pitching evaluation.  He would make a fine choice here at #31.

3.  Austin Smith, RHP, HS.  Big RHP with a big FB and oodles of projection in his body.

4.  Luken Baker, RHP/OF/1B, HS.  Big 2-way player who I think is a pitcher.  Bonus demands are scaring teams away.

5.  Kevin Newman, SS, College.  Great hit tool, but limited power.  Iffy to stay at SS.

6.  Demi Orimiloye, OF/1B, HS.  HS slugger who may have the best power potential in the entire draft.  Questions about future ability to make contact.

7.  Mike Kingery, 2B, College.  Newman's teammate and DP partner at Arizona.  Huge college BA and a candidate for the Golden Spikes Award.


Round 2 #61:

1.  Riley Ferrell, RHP, College.  College Closer with a big fastball.  Reminds me a bit of Troy Percival for some reason.

2.  Mikey White, SS/2B, College.  Covechatter loves him and that's good enough for me.  Round 2 pick on Minor League Ball Community Mock Draft.

3.  Donnie Dewees, OF, College.  Small program in Florida, but nice tools and great junior year performance.

4.  Blake Trahan, SS, College.  Giants love to draft Louisiana-Lafayette players.  

5.  Kyle Cody, RHP, College.  Big RHP with a big FB.  Stamina issues might keep him in the bullpen.

6.  Josh Staumont, RHP, College.  NAIA pitcher with a big fastball, reportedly up to 101 MPH.  Not a bad risk in round 2.


Round 3 #91?

1.  Mark Mathias, SS/2B, College.  Numbers look every bit as impressive as Newman/Kingery/White out of an underrated college team and league.

2.  David Thompson, 3B, College.  A personal fave.  One of the top power hitters coming out of college in this draft.  3B not a premium position, but probably should be.

3.  Skye Bolt, OF, College.  Giants love to draft fallen stars and Bolt certainly fits that bill.

4.  Gio Brusa, OF, College.  Another high ceiling college hitter whose stock has taken a hit.  I really like the risk/benefit for a guy like him in round 3.

5.  Thomas Eshleman, RHP, College.  Pitchability college guy with impeccable command and an underrated fastball.  Would be a very nice pickup if he falls this far.


Round 4 #121?

Very hard to project past Round 2, but a couple of names that come to mind for Round 4:

Jose Vizcaino, Jr.  SS/3B, College.  Jose's kid, so there is a Giants connection.  Has the size, pedigree and nice looking numbers for Santa Clara.

Garrett Cleavenger, LHP, College.  Lefty college closer out of Oregon.  Huge stuff with big K ratios.  We know the Giants can never get enough lefty relievers in their system.


  1. Nice draft board! Nice rundown of possible names available at each pick, aligns with what I've been seeing on other mocks.

    I agree with you about Mr. Hooper! I was wondering what I was missing regarding a LHP who throws 97 MPH. To add to your kitty, the Giants in the past has gone the cheap senior route with a pick in the high single digits before (if memory serves), and that would add another $100K-200K they could use in the bonus, plus isn't another loophole teams do is give the player money to cover his college costs, should he ever go, and I don't remember the exact amount, but that's another $100-200K as well, for a total around $300K, pushing your number now to a cool $3M. That would be hard to pass up, I agree.

    Even without the high bonus demand, which I view as a ploy to get to the team he wants (he's probably telling the team or teams he want, something different; and, if I remember right, Posey also had rumors of a high bonus too), none of the rankings I've seen so far as him as high as our first pick: has him 31st, Kiley 58th, Garrioch 21st (likes Kolby Allard as more polished LHP who also hits 97 MPH), BA 39th. So he feels good as one of the frequent Giants overdraft situations.

    Nikorak looks pretty good too, in terms of talent that might fall back to the Giants first pick. An early mock had him 6th, but most recent mocks and rankings puts him 15-27th, so he could make it to us. Common comment is that being NE, don't play that much, so he's a mystery to some. He also hits 97 MPH according to Garrioch. I have been circling around his name as well.

    According to BA, picks 95th, 126th, the +30 after that.

  2. Oh, forgot to mention another 97 MPH hurler tied to the Giants, Ashe Russell, who looks like he should be available #31, though some mocks have him picked in late 20's.

  3. I would probably also consider Mr. Covechatter's round 2 pick Joe McCarthy in Round 2 or 3 as well. He went back surgery last January and it took a hit on his stock with a triple slash line of .225/.365/.298 but the good news is that 17/15 BB:K ratio which signifies he got a good eye at the plate. I saw videos of him last year when he's fully healthy and I like what I see on him. He got an slightly open stance with good balance then when he's ready to swing, he closes his stance with a simple slight inside toe turn. His swing path is direct and it seems like he's vying for line drives and not for homers in his at bats and he is more of a upper body hitter that relies on his hands and torso rather than his legs. His body should allow him to have average or more power depending if he put more loft into his swing but he got an above-average hit tool and the Giants love the hit tool really well. He got more speed than what you might think in his body type which can result in a good defender in the future and he can steal 15-20 bags in the future plus he got an average arm suitable at the corner OF spots. Optimistically, I compare him to Bradley Zimmer with less power if he's fully healthy.

    My grades of him are Hit 55 | Power 50+ | Speed 55+ | Field 55 | Arm 50

    I'm so excited for the draft and who will be the new Giants prospects (if they sign)!


  4. Hey Dr. B and others, I was just curious what the likely slots for Alonzo Jones are now, what with the hamate injury and the Vandy commit. If his hit tool shows at all, that speed is unreal. I definitely have visions of him patrolling CF and hitting doubles and triples in the gaps at AT&T.

    Is he in play at #31 at all, sliding due to the injury and college commitment? Hooper/Jones seems like an exciting, high ceiling tandem to me.

    1. I absolutely love Alonzo Jones. Were it not for the injury, I would have him in the mix for #18. As it is, his Vandy commit is reportedly quite firm. With the injury, I doubt anyone will take him high enough to offer a bonus large enough to get him to turn pro. Maybe the Astros or D'Backs who have very large bonus pools to play with?

  5. Have you checked out Antonio Santillan? He looks to have a pretty live arm that may be in play in round 3 or later. Lastly, does Nikorak's fastball look awfully straight to you from the videos on

    1. To be honest, I don't pay much attention to HS kids who project to get drafted later than round 2 as I figure most of them will go to college. Santillan may get drafted as high as the compensation round. I took a quick look at his video. He looks like a decent prospect but not much outstanding in that brief look

      1. Nikorak looks like he has some arm side run on the FB.

      2. FB movement can be taught.

    2. Thanks your hard work leading up to the draft

  6. John Sickels mock draft from yesterday has Nikorak off the board at #18 with the Giants taking Ashe Russell. Not quite as excited about him as Nikorak but awfully tough to separate them. Russell would be a fine pick as would Donny Everett or of course Hooper.

  7. Thanks for the plug DrB. Haven't heard much on Hooper since the bonus demand rumors came out. I'm in your camp though. Offer him the 2 and a half million and see what happens. Is a Bay Area kid really going to turn down that kind of offer from the defending champions? There are times in life when you have to show a little cockiness... I think this is one of those times for the Giants.

    Mikey White... just looks, sounds and feels like a Giant. He's getting all kinds of pre-draft helium though, so I'm not sure if they'll have a chance to take him outside the 1st round. Here's a snippet from his Baseball America report (ranked #67 in the class)...

    "Scouts look at White as more than the sum of his parts, thanks to his incredible makeup, work ethic and understanding of the game. He has a long track record of performance that dates back to his days with USA Baseball's 18U national team and stretches through two of the premier college leagues' Cape Cod and the SEC."

    1. The Giants guys on went Hooper, Watson and White with the Giants first 3 picks so we have a quite a groupthink thing going, huh? Big safety valve for the Giants is if he doesn't sign, they get two first round picks in what most experts are saying will be a stronger draft in 2016. It's not punting the pick to 2016 because they would be happy to sign Hooper for slot this year, but if he doesn't go for it, all they've lost is a year of development for 1 prospect which seems to be a pretty minimal risk to me.

    2. Well, in fairness, only 4 people were really involved in the Giants war room for that community mock draft... Shankbone and I made up half of the team. But the goal of the group was to strive for realism with our Giants draft, and we all seemed to really like the same players.

      I have to say, I love the mix of players that we drafted. Hooper and Watson would make a great high upside lefty-righty combo (although I'm toying with the idea of the Giants nabbing the top two Bay Area arms in the class, going Hooper then Joe DeMers. I'd be pretty excited about that.) But the other two college guys we selected besides Mikey White are guys that I am very impressed with. Tanner Rainey is a monster two-way player at a small school. He reminds me of AJ Reed, the Kentucky stud who is now crushing balls in the minors. Rainey is a pitcher first though. Paul DeJong is a jack of all trades type who catches and plays all over the diamond... and he can hit... and he can hit for power!

      Whether the Giants will really target two prep pitchers at the top is hard to say, but it makes just as much sense as anything else. If that's the route they go, however, I don't envision another prep pick until at least the 12-15 round range (where they usually end up grabbing a Puerto Rican kid or two).