Saturday, May 28, 2016

Scouting the 2016 Draft: Second Round Options

As a Giants fan, it's been difficult to gear up for the 2016 draft with the Giants not picking until the second round, #59 overall having lost their first rounder when they signed Jeff Samardzija.  Now, if you consider that Jeff Samardzija was their first round draft pick and they signed him for a $90 M bonus, hey, I'll take that deal any day!  In my book, the Giants have already earned an A grade for this draft with that pick!

What makes the Samardzija signing even more savvy is this appears to be an extremely weak draft, particularly in the first round.  Not only is there no consensus #1, there is no consensus top 5 or even top 10.  While I have to confess to not following this draft as closely as I have in past years, John Manuel of BA confirmed my suspicions in his recent chat where he said the strength of this draft is not in picks 1-10 or even 1-20.  The strength of this draft is in picks 25-75.  In other words, the Giants have a great chance to get first round value at #59 without having to pay first round bonus money.  Of course, they don't have that first round money to try to sign a HS prospect or two away from college in the later rounds, but again, I'd rather have Samardzjia.  On top of that, the Giants have an excellent, if not exceptional record in the past several years of finding talent in rounds 2-10, so this draft is setting up for them like a hanging slider in the middle of the strike zone.

So, who might the Giants be looking at for #59?  The Giants don't have any glaring organizational needs as their farm system is currently quite balanced between position players and pitchers with the position players fairly well distributed and the system fairly well balanced between the higher and lower levels, older college draftees and younger HS draftees and international signees. So, the Giants are in a great position to simply take the best player available.   The Giants have several fairly easily recognizable tendencies in their recent drafts:

1.  Starting pitching and up-the-middle talent in the first round.

2.  Power hitters in rounds 2-5.

3.  College players from major programs in major conferences in rounds 1-5.

4.  College relievers with power arms in rounds 4-10.

5. College prospects with a history of being highly ranked out of HS whose stock has dropped for a variety of reasons in rounds 1-5.

6.  Strong performers in wood bat summer leagues such as the Cape Cod League.

The strength, or at least depth, of this draft seems to be in college OF's with names like Kyle Lewis and Corey Ray projected to go in the top 5 overall picks with several others sprinkled through the first round.  On the other hand, Keith Law, for what it's worth, has said in multiple Klawchats that he does not see ANY first round OF talents in this draft!  There are several college OF's who are comparable to the projected first rounders who may well be available at #59 and even #89 where they pick in round 3.  I think that is where the Giants are going to go at #59 although there is a smattering of college pitchers and middle IF's who could be in play there.  I don't see them going HS at #59 since they don't have any first round money to play with this year.  With all that said, here are some specific names, including 1 name who I am going to peg as my projected Giants second round pick:

Jameson Fisher, 1B, Southeastern Louisiana.  6'2", 200 lbs. B-L, T-R.  .443/.570/.716, 10 HR, 15 SB, 47 BB, 26 K's, 183 AB.  Fisher is the statistically top hitter in all of NCAA D1 Baseball.  As you can see, he's fast enough to steal a base.  Downsides would be (lack of) strength of competition, relative lack of power and he's probably already a 1B defensively at best.  Most draft rankings and mock drafts have him in the #60-70 range.

Heath Quinn, OF, Samford.  6'3", 220 lbs.  B-R, T-R.  .350 BA with 19 HR, 41 BB, 48 K's in 217 AB.  Power hitting corner OF.  BA has him ranked in the 40's but others have him in the mid 50-70 range and one mock draft I saw had him going to the Giants at #59.

Anfernee Grier, OF, Auburn.  6'1", 180 lbs.  B-R, T-R.  .366/.457/.576, 12 HR, 19 SB, 19 BB, 35 K's, 243 AB.  He's a Covechatter fave.  Very toolsy, can play CF, major college program.  Has hit well this year, but there are questions about whether the bat translates to the pros.  Big problem is he may not be on the board at #59.  I have seen him mocked as high as the mid 30's or even late first round, but other rankings have him in the mid-50's which puts him within reasonable range for the Giants to have a shot at him.

Ryan Boldt, OF, Nebraska.  6'2", 220 lbs.  B-L, T-R.  .300/.353/.436, 5 HR, 19 SB, 19 BB, 35 K, 243 AB.  There are several reasons why I think Boldt might be THE guy for the Giants at #59:  Fast enough and athletic enough to play CF.  Major program in a major conference.  Major HS prospect pedigree.  Boldt was ranked as a top 20 prospect coming out of HS.  I think his stock dropped due to injury.  While his college career has been a success, he has not quite lived up to his HS and 2016 pre-season hype.  He is now ranked in the 55-70 range in most draft rankings and mock drafts.  He's a classic Giants target for rounds 2-5 and he's my projected Giants top pick in the 2016 draft at #59 overall.  One reason why the Giants may shy away:  So-so performance in the CCL.  Also, while he has light-tower BP power, it does not seem to translate into game-power.  One detailed scouting report I read said his LH swing gets verrrry long. He also has a significant injury history with a fractured left wrist at an early age which forced him to learn to throw RH, and a meniscal tear of a knee his senior year in HS.  I believe he has been mostly injury free in college.  Then again, if he didn't have these warts, he would be projecting in the top 10 of the draft!  The Giants may see his draftability dependent on their own perception of their ability to fix his swing and develop him as a hitter.

Jake Fraley, OF, LSU.  6'0", 188 lbs.  B-L, T-L.  .326/.411/.444, 3 HR, 26 SB, 34 BB, 31 K's, 239 AB.  Fraley is another toolsy OF from a major college program.  Giants may like his speed and reversed K/BB.

Luis Curbelo, SS, HS Puerto Rico.  6'3", 185 lbs.  B-R T-R.  Giants seem to like drafting Puerto Rican prospects, although they have not had a lot of success with them to date.  Puerto Rican kids are usually quite singable, so this is the one HS prospect I think they could decide to roll the dice on.

Bryson Brigman, SS, San Diego.  5'11", 180 lbs.  B-R, T-R.  .372/.428/.424, 0 HR, 17 SB, 16 BB, 16 K's.  Draft eligible sophomore which may impact his signability.  Hit .339 as a freshman, so he can hit.  He'd be a fairly classic Giants hit-tool first, up-the-middle draft pick in the mold of Christian Arroyo and Joe Panik.

Sean Murphy, C, Wright St.  6'3", 218 lbs.  B-R, T-R.  .270/.391/.505, 6 HR, 5 SB, 19 BB, 15 K's, 111 AB.  Great size.  The BA is not much to look at, but the peripheral numbers look great.  The Giants do love to draft catchers in the top 5 rounds!

There are several college pitchers who may interest the Giants for #59 including Mike Shawaryn of Maryland who recently tossed a 16 K game against Indiana in the Big 10 tournament and Corbin Burnes from local college, St Mary's.  There is always Kyle Funkhouser whose stock has recently ticked up a bit after hitting rock bottom early in the college season.  Funkhouser's advisor is Scott Boras who seems to be still angling for a bigger bonus than his talent and track record would justify.  There is Kyle Cody, a big hard thrower who didn't sign last year and who profiles more as a pro reliever, but the Giants may think they can fix.  I'm just not that enamored by the college pitching in this range of rankings, so I hope they don't go that direction, unless they have something really special up their sleeves that I am not seeing.

Sleeper Alert:  Lucas Erceg, 3B/RHP, Menlo College.  6'2", 200 lbs.  B-L, T-R.  Can hit for power.  Played at Cal for 2 years and hit 10 HR's his sophomore season before losing academic eligibility and transferring to the NAIA school.  He's ranked in the low 70's on most draft rankings.


  1. Love the option that you listed DrB! I just hope they still front-load their draft budget towards a HS OF as the HS OF crop that are round the Giants pick is good! Love Akil Baddoo. Impressive power-speed combo with some hit tool.

    1. Thanks Wrenzie, but I wouldn't hold my breath on the Giants frontloading their draft budget. They usually end up within $1-200 K of their slot bonuses. They have, on occasion, saved some $$ on the front end to give out a $500 K bonus late in the draft. It will be tough for them to do that this year because their total bonus pool is so small.

    2. Erceg is my boy! Saw him a lot when he was at Cal. A real gamer with lots of usable power