So by now, we've all heard most of the names who are widely considered to be possibilities to go to the Giants at No. 6 in the draft. Some of us are still holding out for a miracle (Dustin Ackley/Aaron Crow), others have settled on the high upside bats (Grant Green/Donovan Tate), and still others would be perfectly content if the Giants plucked another high upside starter from the high school ranks.
Well, in a draft like this, without the star power college bats, that, say, last year had (God what I wouldn't give for a shot at a Justin Smoak or Brett Wallace at #6 this year), any of those seem like it could be an interesting selection, and quite valid. Basically, with so little certainty this year, it would be difficult to picture a selection that was so far out of left field that it actually sent many fans off the deep end, ranting and raving about the ineptitude about Brian Sabean. Matzek? Ok. Tate? Let's hope they're able to develop him. Strasburg? OMGWHTFBBQ!
But lately, I've been thinking of one selection that WOULD probably piss a lot of people here off. And it seems like I'm not the only one. Check out the notes for the Giants on Jonathan Mayo's recent mock draft.
That Drew Storen mention? Yeah, that's the guy who's got me thinking.
Storen, for those who don't know, has been Stanford's lights out closer for the past two seasons. He's a draft eligible sophomore largely expected to be the first reliever off the board, somewhere in the late first round. He's got electric stuff and tremendous control-- outside of one or two rough outings, he was nothing short of spectacular for the Cardinal this season. In 42.2 IP, he recorded 66 strikeouts and just eight walks. And that was against top-notch competition. Aside from the usual Pac-10 slate, Storen did very well against Vanderbilt and Texas in the non-conference schedule. In short, it sure looks like he's got everything it would take to be a top-notch major league reliever.
But here's where I sort of start to get interested... because other than the fact that relief pitching is what he did in college, I have to wonder if there's any reason Storen couldn't be viewed as a prospect to start, and be damn good at it, at the ML level. In full disclosure, I'm a Stanford student and somewhat of a homer. I've met Storen once or twice, but really he's more a friend of a friend. But the rumors have it that part of the reason he's been so eager to leave school early (even before he cemented his status as a first round talent) was that he WANTS to start. Indeed, prior to the start of this season, I really thought that's where he should be, personally. And I kinda wonder if Stanford's season might've gone differently if he had. I know of no reason why he couldn't start, and sort of feel like when a guy is so obviously the best pitcher on your staff, you need to give him that chance. But that's never something that Stanford did.
So, anyway, I wanted to throw this out there as an idea: say the Giants drafted Storen, but with the notion to give him a shot as a starter. If that failed, he could, theoretically, always return to the bullpen and be a top closing prospect (I feel like he's got that kind of mentality where a little failure as a starter role wouldn't crush his confidence as a reliever). Grant posted a little earlier that there is no such thing as a safe pitching prospect, because, well, TINSTAAP. And that's a valid point. But so far as it goes, I have to believe that a pitcher with Storen's numbers against top competition and raw stuff make him about as safe as pitching prospect gets-- as a reliever at least. Add in the possible upside of ace stuff as a starter, and, well, I think maybe you get the picture. I'm starting to become intrigued by the possibility of shocking the baseball world and drafting Storen at sixth. He's got that great combination of possibly a really high ceiling, coupled with a solid floor as well. Worst case scenario, he's a very good bullpen arm or flames out (as is a possibility with any pitcher). Best case? Front of the rotation star.
I'm definitely intrigued. Not sold (far from it), but intrigued at least. What do you think of Storen? Is there a prospect out there who you think might be a good fit for the Giants at six that isn't getting much attention as a possibility at that spot?