San Francisco Giants 2019 Draft Review

AT&T Park - image via Wikimedia Commons

The MLB Draft is hard draft to peg out of the 3 other major sports. Unlike the NFL, NBA or NHL, players will most likely need additional time to develop. It’s very rare for a team to draft a player and bring him straight up to the majors. While it does happen in rare cases, Mike Leake (drafted in 2009) made his MLB debut in 2010 without any minor league experience, its a very unconventional thought. It’s safe to say, 99% of the players drafted in this years draft will more than likely spend time at the minor league level developing their craft.

From a positional perspective, catchers will take the longest time to develop at the lower levels because of the ability to call a game. Most colleges and players drafted out of high school rarely call their own game and this is something that takes the longest to develop for a catcher. Framing is also another skill that will slow the development process down for catchers. Hitters that are considered “more advanced” will take some time to get adjusted to the speed of the game and are then typically rushed a little faster through the system until an organization feels they’re challenged at a specific level. Relief pitchers seem to be the players who are rushed through the systems a little quicker than any other position, but with the rash history of injuries to pitchers, it’s likely we won’t see many of them ever pitch for our favorite team. The percentage of players drafted that reach the MLB is such a small amount, try to not get too attached to a player recently drafted.

While looking at the Giants off-season and in-season moves, Zaidi’s plan is starting to appear in front of our eyes. Wanting to place his hands on the entire roster and improve the overall health of the organization, Zaidi seems to be interested in acquiring players who have common skill sets which includes intelligence on the field and off the field, strong mental makeup and leadership. Time will tell what Zaidi and his group are able to do with the players they drafted and sign in the future, but it’s clear, Zaidi is willing to acquire impact players.

The 2019 draft class can be broken down into several interesting pieces:

4-Year College: 26

Junior College: 2

High School: 12

OF: 9

IF: 15

C: 1

RHP: 14

LHP: 1

These numbers at first glace will more than likely mean little to the majority of readers, but what stood out to me was the amount of HS players drafted, including the players drafted in the later rounds. Zaidi and his group spent 4 of their first 11 picks on HS players and didn’t draft another HS prospect until round 25 where they ended up drafting 8 out of the next 16 picks. Not too sure I quite grasp the overall intention of this draft strategy as most of these kids are likely heading to their respected colleges and will not sign. Possibly saving face and gaining personal interest from a player that is drafted the first time by a team, may help the Giants in the long run, but it’s unlikely that will play into a decision of a player later in free agency. While it was considered a weak draft class by many experts, removing key draft spots for players who are not likely to sign instead of drafting players who can fill out organizational depth or maybe finding a diamond in the dirt, is, in my opinion, lapse in judgement. Again, time will tell what comes of this draft class, but below I will highlight a few players who peaked my interest and possibly will impact the Giants in the future.

Round 1, pick #10:
Hunter Bishop, OF, Arizona State University
WOW! First and foremost, I was thrilled the Giants were able to draft the hometown kid and a guy who grew up loving the Giants. Bishop was considered a guy who could go as early as 7 and ultimately fell to the Giants at 10. Bishop, brother to Braden Bishop, is considered one of the better power bats in this years class. While Hunter has shown the tendency to swing and miss, his bat could eventually fill a huge hole in the Giants OF. If Hunter can make the necessary adjustments once he’s officially taking MiLB At-Bats, his power should play big time and eventually help him make his debut in 2022. He slots right behind Heliot Ramos at #3 in my top 50 ranking.

Round 2, pick #51:
Logan Wyatt, 1b, Louisville University
I was initially shocked at this pick with the thought they would head a different route other than drafting a 1B. However, I spent more time digging into Wyatt and how he could eventually fill a role for the Giants in the future. I found a unique stat that opened my eyes with Logan at Louisville as he showed solid plate discipline the last two years while posting a 126:75 BB:K ratio in 120 games. While has shown more hit than power, as he continues to develop, he should be able to tap into more HR game power in the future. With the move to draft Joey Bart as the future catcher in 2018 and eventually moving Buster Posey to 1B, it’ll be interesting to see where Wyatt slots in the future, some scouts think its possible he could play some LF.

Round 3, pick #87
Grant McCray, OF, Lakewood Ranch HS (FL)
Grant McCray is the son of Rodney McCray who many Giants fans and baseball fans should remember when Rodney made an amazing catch as he crashed through the outfield wall. In case you have never seen the video, or just really like watching it like myself, here it is:

Grant has shown similar athleticism but as far as we know, he hasn’t ran through any walls. Grant came on a little later in the process but he’s a well known prospect who is known for speed and the ability to play defense, he should continue to add power to his swing and impact the game with more than just speed as he matures. There is some risk to McCray but he should be a fun one to watch develop over the next couple years.

Round 6, pick #176
Dilan Rosario, SS, Colegio Marista HS (PR)
Dilan is considered a glove first SS at the current moment with the potential to add more with the stick as he continues to develop. Not likely to generate 15 plus HR’s but with his ability to defend, he likely will be a utility piece as he moves up the ladder. Someone to keep an eye on to see how he swings it and if he can force the Giants to keep him strictly at SS.

Round 8, pick #236
Caleb Kilian, RHP, Texas Tech University
Kilian produced a 7-0 record in Big 12 conference play in 2019 and provided support to their rotation the last two seasons as the staff Ace. In his 3 year career at Texas Tech, Kilian was able to produce better numbers each year as he continued to develop into the ace of their staff. In 2019, Kilian ended with an 80:19 K:BB ratio in 89.1 IP. The first pitcher drafted in the 2019 class for the Giants, I would anticipate Caleb to move slow but he has the chance to stick in the rotation.

Round 13, pick #386
Harrison Freed, OF, Butler University
Freed had an outstanding year for Butler in 2019, leading the Big East with 17 HR’s and setting the school record for hits in a single season. Harrison is a guy I am interested in seeing how he develops moving forward as he attempts to prove that this previous season wasn’t a shot in the pan type season. In his first two years at Butler, Freed only managed to hit 6 HR’s.

Round 18, pick #536
Cole Waites, RHP, University of West Alabama
I really like this pick of Waites as he could be a guy who’s crossfire arm-action could play up against multiple hitters with the potential to be a high leverage RP for the Giants in the future. With the new rule change of having to face multiple hitters, Waites could be a guy that provides enough swing and miss stuff to make a living at the highest level. Cole was able to rack up a whopping 282 K’s in 197 career IP.

My name is Paul Aiton and I’ll be covering the San Francisco Giants prospects. I grew up in Yorktown, Virginia until 2014, where I’ve since been traveling the country the last few years in attempt to chase a dream, working in professional baseball. I played 3 years in college, one season at New River CC and another two at Averett University after a shoulder injury derailed my dreams of playing professionally. Since then, I’ve gone on to coach high school and collegiate baseball. I also worked with Inside Edge Baseball for 5 years while working in their advanced scouting department. Outside of baseball I like to spend my mornings either on a golf course or taking my puppy Ace on hikes through Arizona. You can follow me @Paul_8en on Twitter. I’m always available to talk about Giants prospects, anything fantasy related or baseball!

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