San Francisco Giants Draft Preview, Part III: Tanner Scheppers

If you really want to save some time, you can just bookmark the following passage:

Drafty Draftnovich has a lot of talent, and I'm especially impressed with _baseball-related skill_. A lot of people are worried about _possibly overblown concern_, but I think he'd be a good fit for the Giants in this draft, and I'd like to have him. If the Giants pick Draftnovic, I'd be _adjective_.

There you go. When you talk about potential, every one of these amateur prospects can be analogous to Kirby Puckett with more power, Mike Mussina from the left side, or Barry Larkin without a graham cracker body if you set the dream-o-meter to full tilt. That's what makes the draft so danged fun for the pie-in-the-sky types like myself. You realists aren't as impressed, but you're also the type to walk out of Star Wars muttering, "There's no sound in space." Let us have our fun.

That written, there are always a couple of players in every draft that I just don't want to see go to the Giants for whatever reason. The throw-yourself-down-the-stairs player, if you will. It's unfair to single out one poster, of course, as we've all made similar comments about something that didn't pan out, but the whole stairs thing really had a ring to it.

This year's draft has a definite TYDTS player for me. From a scouting report at Prospect Insider:

Before his shoulder tweaked out on him in late April, ending his season, (Tanner) Scheppers was among the top few pitchers in the 2008 draft class. He went...

No. Just no. Nein. Mah nguh. Oxi. Nyet. Bu. No. Just no. The sixth pick is for a high schooler; the sixth pick is for a collegiate star; the sixth pick might even be for a player in the independent leagues. The sixth pick is for position players; the sixth pick is for pitchers. If the fastball is lively enough, and the control is otherworldly, you might even talk me into saying the sixth pick is for college closers.

The sixth pick is not for pitchers who already have a history of shoulder injuries. Just no.

Late in the draft? Take a chance. I love that strategy. The Giants drafted Brian Wilson -- who was once mentioned as a top-of-the-first-round kind of draft prospect - in the 24th round, knowing he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. I'd guess the Giants offered a little chunk of change and the chance to rehab with the backing of an MLB organization. It worked out well for both parties.

Sixth pick? No. Just no. Scheppers might have the best non-Strasburg stuff in the draft. He might project to be an absolute monster, with a hopping fastball and off-the-table curve. But he's already had shoulder wonkiness. Even if he had elbow problems, I could almost see taking a chance. The shoulder is just such a nebulous part of the pitcher's body. The elbow isn't exactly easy to patch up, but you can replace ligaments a hell of a lot easier than you can labrums. I don't even know what a labrum is, but I know that shoulder surgeries are the one-handed-bra-snap of the orthopedic surgeon's world -- even with a lot of practice, sometimes the results just aren't there.

Chris Carpenter had a shoulder injury, went away for a while, and then came back to win a Cy Young. It isn't a death sentence, and I hope Scheppers stays healthy. I'll pull for the guy, so long as he doesn't go to a division rival, even if Fresno State can kiss my Spartan backside. In a sense, I'm taking a similar stance to risk vs. reward that Dave Cameron of USS Mariner did when he wrote:

I’m not a big Lincecum guy, obviously. Just too many risks. I’m not a proponent of trying to hit a lottery ticket with a top pick. It’s (more) important to get a good player when you have a high pick.

Yeah, that comment might not have aged especially well, but I think the larger point stands. And we're not talking about funky mechanics or iffy control, we're talking about a pitcher who missed last year's College World Series because of a barking shoulder.

No. Just no.

Well, maybe.

But probably no. Most likely no. Just no.

MLB.com 2009 Draft Report
MLB.com 2008 Draft Report
Brewerfan.net - Profile: Tanner Scheppers
Redsminorleagues.com profile
Story about Scheppers possibly being linked to the Mariners
Fresno State profile
For some reason, Scheppers doesn't have anything up on YouTube, so here's the ubiquitous Ninja Cat

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