Draft Reviews: San Francisco Giants

2008 Draft Slot: Fifth overall
Top Pick: Buster Posey, C, Florida State University
Best Pick: Buster Posey
Keep an Eye On: Brandon Crawford, SS, UCLA (4th round)
Notes: I’ve been on the Brandon Crawford bandwagon for a couple months now, and the reputation for having a good glove but no bat is starting to be shed. After a very good performance in A-ball, Crawford is already in double-A, although the strikeouts are starting to catch up to him. LHP Scott Barnes (St. John’s University) is another quality sleeper to keep an eye on. Supplemental first round pick Conor Gillaspie has already been in the Majors, but it was a contract stipulation, and it was not based on his production (He’s having a respectable, but unspectacular, season in ’09). Buster Posey, on the other hand, is knocking on the door for a promotion to double-A.

2007 Draft Slot: 10th overall
Top Pick: Madison Bumgarner, LHP, North Carolina high school
Best Pick: Madison Bumgarner
Worst Pick: Wendell Fairley, OF, Mississippi high school (Supplemental first round)
Notes: What is in the water in North Carolina…? Prospects just seem to come out of the woodwork, whether it’s through the prep or the college ranks. Madison Bumgarner, in less than two full years, has risen to double-A and is one of the Top 3 pitching prospects in all of baseball. The club’s other first-round pick, Tim Alderson, is another excellent pitching prospect, who was also taken out of high school and is also in double-A. With six choices before the second round, the club made a number of overdrafts to save money, rather than really reap the benefits of the once-in-a-decade (or more) opportunity to restock the system. Picks such as Wendell Fairley (29th overall), Jackson Williams (43rd) and Charlie Culberson (51st) were all picked well ahead of where many teams had them ranked going into the draft.

2006 Draft Slot: 10th overall
Top Pick: Tim Lincecum, RHP, University of Washington
Best Pick: Um, Tim Lincecum
Worst Pick: Mike McBryde, OF, Florida Atlantic (5th round)
Notes: Tim Lincecum is, as you likely know, already one of the best pitchers in the National League. The club lacked a second round pick thanks to its foray into the free agent market. Supplemental first round draft pick Emmanuel Burriss is contributing in the Majors right now. California prep pick Clayton Tanner (3rd round) is moving slowly, but the southpaw is having some solid pro results. Mike McBryde has not been a terrible pick, but he’s a tweener and is looking at a career as a triple-A outfielder and occasional injury fill-in at the MLB level… Not bad work if you can get it.

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2009 Draft Slot: Sixth overall
Draft Preference (2006-08): They take the best player available and do a great job of it
MLB Club Need: First base, Relief pitching
Organizational Need: Depth just about everywhere on the diamond
Organizational Strength: Pitching, although the depth is not there, Shortstop
Notes: The Giants organization has a very straight forward draft this season with no extra picks and no lost selections. The club will have the opportunity to take an impact player at No. 6, should it choose to. Everyone knows the organization needs quality hitting prospects but the best draftees available in this spot project to be pitchers. Prep right-hander Tyler Matzek is a name being associated with the Giants by most reputable mock drafts (Baseball America, ESPN, Baseball Prospectus).

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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7 years 2 months ago

Posey is never going to play double A. Once he gets 300 ABs in san jose, they’re going to move him to triple a fresno(no link, they’ve said so on local radio).

7 years 2 months ago

2008 — Crawford has improved his standing this year more than anyone else in the organization. Not even on BA’s top 30 Giants prospects list, he would now be comfortably in the top 10, perhaps as high as #5.

Posey will likely be the Giants’ starting catcher in 2010, especially with Bengie Molina eligible for free agency this winter.

Gillaspie has been somewhat disappointing both at bat and in the field (11 errors), but his K/BB ratio is strong. Only one homer, though, and an average in the .260’s.

#3 Giants pick Roger Kieschnick has been a pleasant surprise, hitting over .300 with decent power.

The Giants also signed a top Dominican prospect in outflelder Rafael Rodriguez.

2007 — Mad Bum is still only 19, but likely could fit in as the Giants’ fifth starter right now. Both he and Alderson should be knocking at the rotation door in 2010. Bumgarner features the fastball; Alderson, the curve.

#29 overall pick Fairley has been arguably the biggest disappointment in the organization, and #32 overall Nick Noonan has posted a poor K/BB ratio each of the past two seasons and recently saw his average this season drop to .240 in 2009. #43 overall Jackson Williams is a fine defensive catcher, has a bit of power, isn’t likely to hit for much average and is likely a backup catcher at best.

#52 overall Charlie Culberson has had problems keeping his hits above his errors and has been moved to third base, where his bad bat sticks out even more than at shortstop. If Fairley wasn’t the worst pick the Giants made in 2007, Culberson was.

2006 — Tim has become the e-Lincecum-ator, and Emmanuel Burriss could become the best defensive second baseman in the game — if he can hit well enough to stay in the starting lineup, which thus far hasn’t been too big a problem.

Tanner is a Bay Area kid who has made fairly consistent progress despite spending his second season in High A San Jose.

Domincan signee Angel Villalona is still only 18, but is playing first base and hitting for average and power at San Jose.

2009 — Having the #6 overall pick gives the Giants a shot at another player who can perhaps be an impact player in the upcoming decade. The Giants don’t pick again until #55. #55 has been a good number for the Giants, for obvious reasons dating back to 2005. They will likely take the best prospect available at #6 and then begin to load up with position players down the line. Of course, they ALWAYS seem to take a lot of pitchers.

2010 — Although the Giants are presently over .500, it is possible they will still have a high pick in 2010 if they fade. #10 overall might work out, since it brought them Lincecum and Bumgarner in the past.

If the Giants draft well in 2009 and 2010, they will have built an impressive nucleus for the next decade. They may have already drafted/signed half a dozen stars or superstars.

Stephen Fratus
Stephen Fratus
7 years 2 months ago

i just don’t see Fairley being the worst pick. Jackson Williams was the mistake. Fairley was a raw high upside pick mostly based on his bat speed and fielding ability. Philosophically an acceptable pick for the back of the first round. Same with Culberson. Jackson Williams was a bad pick simply because he has no real upside; there has never been any chance that he would be a starting big league catcher.

Nor could these picks really be called signability picks as the author of this article suggests. As far as I know all players were essentially signed for slot money. The Giants just happen to think for themselves which pays off sometimes (Lincecum) and fails others (Fairley).

7 years 2 months ago

People like to call many of the Giants picks overdrafts, and that’s fine because they do select many players earlier than other teams think, but to date, I have not seen many bonuses (other than in 2002 or 2003 if I remember right) that were below what the prevailing bonus slot for that area of the draft, so I don’t think it is accurate to parrot the prevailing thought without giving good evidence that they are actually doing this.

You may disagree vehemently with their selection of Williams and Culberson (and many Giants fans would agree with you), but I don’t recall their bonuses being out of line compared to the other draftees around them. Williams got slot and so did most guys around him. So did Culberson. So the Giants might have overdrafted them, but that was because they thought they were worth it, not because they were trying to save a few bucks, which, ultimately, they didn’t.

Overdraft does not mean that they did it to save money, there are teams who do that because they think they know better than the prevailing thought.

7 years 2 months ago

But really, what DID the Giants think Jackson Williams’ upside was? Did they they think he was going to be a starter or a backup? Did they actually think that he could hit at all….?

6 years 5 months ago

Not too sure how I found this blog but glad I did find it. Think I was looking for something else on google. Don’t know I agree 100% with what you say, but have bookmaked and will come back to read to see if you add any more posts. Good blog