My knee-jerk and shallow review of the Giants 2012 draft

Last week, when I wrote my fanpost about the affects of the ne CBA rules on this year's draft I neglected to mention, or even imagine that one of the benefits would be that it would allow people like me to post reviews of a team's entire draft after only seeing who their team drafted during the first 2 days. As we all should know by now, the slot limit for every pick after the 10th round is $100K. Any amount over $100K that is paid as a bonus to any draftee in those rounds must be subtracted from a team's total cap limit for the first 10 rounds. That means the team's ability to sign their premium players chosen in the first 5 rounds could be hindered. Since neither the Giants, nor any other team, is likely to be able to find and draft a talented and impactful prospect in tomorrow's rounds 16 through 40 that will be willing to sign for $100K or less there really is no reason to wait to make an initial judgment on how the Giants entire draft went.

I'm not normally a pessimistic or cynical person. Those on this site that are familiar with my comments and fanposts can attest to the fact that I often am way too optimistic when it comes to writing about and assessing Giants' prospects and draftees. That being said, I have to say that this year's draft was really horrible and almost embarrassing for me to think about. It was so mediocre and uninspiring that it actually seems to have sucked some of the goodness and light out of the world. Seriously, I'm even beginning to think that all of the inventiveness and imagination that the Giants showed us in last year's draft (Crick, Susac, Oropesa, Bandilla, Osich, Blackburn, Delgado, Diaz, Otero, Law, and Hill) was done mainly for the purpose of setting us fans up for the bitter disappointment that they would dish out to us this year.

When you look at how they drafted only college pitchers with 7 of their first 8 picks and then seemed to hurriedly try to overcorrect that bias by drafting only position players (only 1 being a HS player) with each of their 7 final picks today, it almost seems like every bad caricature you've seen or heard about a disfunctional war room. It doesn't seem possible to me to square John Barr's protestations that they weren't reacting to the farm system's dearth of starting pitching prospects that might be able to help out the major leage team in the next 2 seasons by going all-in on college pitchers in the first 8 rounds. Then it almost seems as if somebody like Sabes or Baer walked into the war room at around the mid-point of today's draft and told them that they might want to take some hitters just to be on the safe side.

I actually could live with the seemingly bizarre bifurcation of the pitchers vs. hitters selection process if the pitchers and hitters that they drafted today didn't almost all seem to be lacking upside and unimaginative picks. Of the 15 guys that the Giants drafted in the first 2 days, I'm only really excited about the long-term prospects of 5 of them (Stratton, Agosta, Johnson, McCall and Hollick). And 1 of the 5 that I'm excited about is the HS hitter (Shilo McCall) they drafted in the 9th round that I highly doubt the Giants will be able to sign unless they're willing to pay the new penalties for going over their overall cap limit. It's not as if I don't think that Williamson, Okert, Encinosa and Rojas are mere org-filler that the Giants took to save money. Those 4 guys do seem to have some good upside and promise for the future. However, and this is the main key to my disappointment in the draft, the number of high-upside and exciting guys that were still on the board when the Giants drafted the first 3 of those 4 prospects (Rojas in the 15th round wasn't disappointing) is what really sticks in my craw.

Why did the Giants pass up all those younger prospects with high upsides? Why did they seem so in love with not just college players, but older college players. They actually drafted a guy in the 12th round that was born in 1989! Why do something like that when any money that you save under the slot when signing draftees after the 10th round can't be used to allow you to sign a top 10 round draftee for more money? Look, I would be fine with the Giants drafting so many seeming org fillers in the first 10 rounds if I saw that it was part of their plan to take the money they saved when signing those guys and using it to pay some hard-to-sign and high-upside kid that they had drafted elsewhere in the first 10 rounds, but I don't see that strategy being played out by the Giants. The one and only guy that they drafted in the first 10 rounds that might fall under such a plan is the HS hitter, Shilo McCall. But, if they were so in love with him then why not just draft him 2 to 3 rounds sooner when his slot would have allowed them to pay him $150K to $180K without having to worry about paying any penalties?

I'll leave you all on a positive note by saying, "How about that "Flying Canadian" Tyler Hollick that the Giants snagged out of an obscure Arizona in the 14th round!!??"
The dude hit .475 and had an OBP of .605!!!
He also stole 61 bases in only 47 games (averaging 1.3 stolen bases per game) at a 91% success rate!!!
Did the Giants just find our own poor man's version of the Reds' uber-speedster Billy Hamilton?


1.20 - Chris Stratton: RHP, Miss. State Univ. (6'3", 200) DOB=8/22/90
Ranked the #18 overall prospect by BA. Long and lean frame. He has a relatively clean delivery with medium effort that he repeats very well. His FB sits comfortably in the 90-92 mph range, with some late movement, and can touch 94 when he lets loose. He usually gets a good downward plane on the FB and will throw it on both corners and will elevate it up in the zone. His #1 weapon is his slider, which has excellent late downward break and also has above average horizontal break. Hitters have a very difficult time differentiating his slider from his FB. Stratton does a great job of varying the velocity that he throws the slider at (from 80 to 85 mph) so it can be a tight, late-breaking power pitch or he can slow it down and use it almost like a changeup. Stratton had his coming-out party on March 16th when he struck out 17 LSU batters while only allowing 4 hits, 2 BBs and 1 earned run in 8.2 innings. His coach let him throw 137 pitches and did ride him hard during the regular season and into the first round of the playoffs, so whichever team drafts him can't expect many more innings out of him in 2012, even if he signs early. Good thing he's such an advanced pitcher who should easily be able to start out in A+ ball when the 2013 season opens. I wouldn't be surprised if he were pitching in AA before the 2013 season ends or if he makes his major league debut as early as August of 2014. He was named to the 2011 SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2011. Pitched for league champion Harwich in the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2011 - ending up with a 1-1 record, and a 2.18 ER. One red flag is that his birthdate actually puts him in the senior year of college so he's very old for a junior.
2012: IP=95.2, K=115, K/9=10.8, BB=19, BB/9=1.8, K/BB=6.1, H/9=6.9, WHIP=.96, BABIP=.301, BAA=.210

2.84 - Martin Agosta: RHP, St. Mary’s College (6’1", 180) DOB=4/7/91
Ranked #106 overall prospect by BA. Sacramento native. Good kid. Not a ton of upside. Pretty much rated a future 50 (out of 80) in every category except control which should be in the 50-55 range. If he can put on some muscle he might be able to have more upside. He has an above-average FB that sits 90-92 and can touch 95, a very good changeup (which probably is what got him drafted this high), and a very good cut-FB that he uses in place of a slider. His breaking ball is average at best. Perfect Game ranked him as the #8 overall prospect in the Cal Ripken Summer League back in September of 2011. Bottom line, Agosta’s a late-bloomer with good pitchability and the possibility of gaining more velocity and power if he can add some muscle to his skinny frame. Should be a quick and easy sign at #84 overall, Giants might even save $$$ under the cap.
2012: IP=103.1, K=95, K/9=8.3, BB=27, BB/9=2.4, K/BB=3.6, H/9=7.5, WHIP=1.10, BABIP=.319, BAA=.236
St. Mary’s bio page:
VID2: Q & A – Agosta makes women weak in the knees:

3.115 - Johnathan (Mac) Williamson: RF, RHH, Wake Forest Univ. (6'4" 240) DOB=7/15/90
Ranked the #226 overall prospect by BA. Williamson is a year older than his college class, because he redshirted his freshman year. He came to Wake as a pitcher, but they converted him to the OF after his redshirt year to better utilize his power, speed and athleticism. Williamson has a plus arm, above average speed for his size and fringe-plus power. He hit 12 HRs in 2011 (with the new dead BBCOR bats) and already has 14 HRs this year. He can even play some CF in a pinch. His big drawback is the lack of consistent contact at the plate, but even there you do get the somewhat mitigating factor that he shows good patience and the ability to work a BB (his OBP the past 3 seasons - .348, .368, .391). I think that he would be a good gamble after the 3rd round as it's hard to find his much-needed power/speed/arm combo in a college outfielder. Williamson was drafted in the 46th round of the 2011 draft by the Red Sox.
2012: .288/.401/.603/1.004, AB=184, ISOp=.315, 1B=29, 2B=7, 3B=0, HR=17, BB=23 (10.4%), K=40 (18%), wOBA=.428

4.148 - Steven Okert: LHP, Univ. of Oklahoma (6'2", 210) DOB=7/9/91
Okert transferred to Oklahoma last fall after graduating from a Texas JuCo in 2011. He did start 5 games for Oklahoma in the early part of this season, but he didn't shine in that role. He was moved to the pen in March and then he took over the closer's role from Damien Magnifico around the end of April. Since becoming the closer, Okert has really excelled and become one of the 2 or 3 main reasons why Oklahoma made it into postseason play and then won the first round Charlotte regional by the skin of it's teeth. As a reliever, he has a lot of stamina and has almost always gone more than 2 innings in his relief appearances. In looking at his stats and reading reports on him, I see that he does struggle with his control (bb/9=3.9) and he has been fairly easy to hit (H/9=7.4). On the positive side, he has noticeably improved in both of those areas of his game since becoming the full-time closer. I think that the Giants drafted him this high with the idea that he has the stamina to become a starter and if they can smooth out the rough edges in his mechanics and teach him to throw an above-average changeup then he can be a successful starter in the Giants system in the future. He was drafted out his JuCo by the Brewers in the 43rd round of the 2010 draft, and in the 33rd round of the 2011 draft.
2012: G=28, IP=80, K=74, K/9=8.3, BB=35, BB/9=3.9, K/BB=2.1, H/9=7.4, WHIP=1.26, BABIP=.295, BAA=.231

5.178 - Ty Blach: LHP, Creighton Univ., NE (6'1", 200) DOB=10/20/90
Blach is a pitcher that is trying to learn more finesse to match the slightly below-average velocity of his stuff. His FB normally sits in the 88-90 mph range, but he can move it up to 91 or 92 on occasion, but not for sustained periods. His FB does show some nice late run and he has an above-average changeup. His curve is average at best and I've seen it described as having "sloppy" tendencies in 2 reports. IMO, a team that drafts him would wisely try to move him off the curve and replace it with a slider. Blach saved his best games for the final portion of his junior season, throwing four complete games in the 2nd half of the season, including a one-hit shut out in the MVC Tournament opener against Indiana State 2 weeks ago and his 8.0 innings of work (R=3, H=7, K=6, BB=0) at UCLA in the opening game of the 2012 Los Angeles Regional just 3 days before the draft. Nobody can say for sure, but I bet those last 2 performances of his college career sealed the deal for the Giants to take him in the 5th round of the draft after a lackluster 1st half of the season had seen him dropping almost out of the top 10 rounds on many boards. Blach did a good job of improving how hittable his pitches were this season (dropping his H/9 by 1.3) and he improved his control a bit to drop his WHIP to just a hair above 1.00, but it came at the expense of his swing-through stuff (his K/9 dropped by a full 2.6 - down to only 6.2). One other sour note on Blach - he's quite old for his college class and could have been a junior last year.
2012: GS=21, IP=120.1, K=83, K/9=6.2, BB=28, BB/9=2.1, K/BB=3, H/9=7, WHIP=1.01, BABIP=.261, BAA=.219
VID1: Post-game Q & A (May 2011):
VID2: Post-game Q & A (May 2012):

6.208 - Stephen Johnson: RHP, St. Edward's Univ., TX (6'4", 205) DOB=2/21/91
I like his good pitcher's frame - still has some projection in it - but not the mechanics. He has seen his max FB velocity jump over the triple digits threshold on several occasions this spring after being sent back to the bullpen. His upside is certainly exciting to contemplate, and it reminds me a bit of what I was hearing about Heath Hembree right after we drafted him in the 5th round of 2010. However, I worry that his mechanics make him an injury just waiting to happen. As fast as he's able to throw, he doesn't generate a lot of his power from the lower part of his body and relies mainly on his fairly violent arm and shoulder motion to generate his velocity. His arm often seems to get ahead of his body and he can be seen to be throwing across his forward momentum line. The Giants really should make some major changes in his mechanics if they want him to remain healthy and throwing bullets for years to come. Besides that, he also needs to learn a delivery that he can repeat and a secondary pitch that he can rely on - preferably a slider and a changeup, although only 1 will likely due for the first several years of his career.
2012: G=29, IP=29, K=39, K/9=12.1, BB=17, BB/9=5.3, K/BB=2.3, H/9=3.7, WHIP=1.00, BABIP=.214, BAA=.126
VID1: Live game (Aug 2011) -
VID2: Warmups from mound (July 2011) -

7.238 - Eduardo (E.J.) Encinosa: RHP, Univ. of Miami, FL (6'5", 225) DOB=8/5/91
Encinosa is one of those pitcher that went to college with big expectations from the scouting community, but never really put things together during his 3 seasons at Miami. This year Miami moved him to the bullpen to be their closer and he responded with the best statistical season of his career. His peripherals were especially excellent - except for his BB-rate. He also had several high-profile blown saves against several of the better teams that he faced in the 2nd half of the season. I'm not sure if the Giants plan to keep him in the pen or want to try him back as a starter, but I believe that he'll eventually end up in the pen if he makes it through the long slog of the minor leagues. He was drafted out of HS by the Twins in the 23rd round of the 2009 draft
2012: G=29, IP=29, K=39, K/9=12.1, BB=17, BB/9=5.3, K/BB=2.3, H/9=3.7, WHIP=1.00, BABIP=.214, BAA=.126

8.268 - Joe Kurrasch: LHP, Penn State Univ. (6'1", 225) DOB=6/19/91
Kurrasch screams to me, "Future LOOGY, at best!" Unless he's jumped his velocity this year to where his FB is sitting comfortably in the low-90s, then there's nothing to see here. Move along, move along. Kurrasch played his freshman season of baseball for Cal-Berkeley (a total of 9 innings in relief), then sat out the 2011 season when he transferred to Penn State. 2012 was his junior season, but his first real experience as being an integral part of a college team. Here's what PerfectGame wrote about him back in 2009 when he was finishing up his college career:
"Joseph Kurrasch is a 2009 LHP/1B with a 6'1'', 220 lb. frame from San Juan Capistrano, CA who attends J Serra Catholic. Thick durable build, bigger frame, compact motion, gets closed at balance, falls to 3b side, some armside run FB, some tilt on SL, spots SL, 2 pitches for strikes, competes, good student."
2012: IP=87.2, K=78, K/9=8, BB=46, BB/9=4.7, K/BB=1.7, H/9=7, WHIP=1.30, BABIP=.296, BAA=.223
VID: A clip of him pitching from 3 years ago-

9.298 - Shilo McCall: RF, RHH, Piedra Vista HS, Farmington, NM (6'2", 215) DOB=6/2/94
We finally get another position player with exciting upside and athletic tools - 6 rounds after the first one. Unfortunately, I find it hard to believe that he could be bought out of his Univ. of Arkansas scholarship for only $125K. When I look at his swing and build I'm strongly reminded of another HS kid that the Giants drafted from a neighboring state back in 2009 - Tommy Joseph. McCall's got a similar look and swing to Joseph, but he's also a well above-average runner (6.6 60 yard) whereas Joseph was as slow as a turtle. McCall's swing features a short load that's quick to the ball and generates impressive power and bat speed while remaining balanced and smooth throughout the swing - and he doesn't resort to a big leg kick or long stride to generate his bat speed. McCall also has an above-average arm that plays in RF. He is a bit thick-looking in his lower-body at this age, so I wonder if he'll have to avoid getting too big and less athletic as he matures - signaling a worsening of his OF defense and forcing a move to LF or 1B. Here's's scouting report on McCall (I don't think that their view of his arm jibes with what I've seen and read - though he could use some mechanical tweaks to make his throws better):
"McCall is a 2012 OF with a 6-1 205 lb. frame from Farmington, NM who attends Piedra Vista HS. Thick, very strong
athletic build. 6.62 runner, quick first step, left field arm strength, can improve throwing fundamentals. Right handed
hitter, spread stance hitting, aggressive swing with very good bat speed, looks to pull, maintains balance well, upper
cut swing plate, gets extension out front, present power, can drive the ball hard. Nice speed/power combination. Very
good student."
VID1: BP & Drills -
VID2: Throwing, hitting & running -

10.328 - Trevor Brown: C/UT, RHH, UCLA (6'2", 195) DOB=11/15/91
Meh. Seems to me to be a much slower version of Emmanuel Burriss. He can play a lot of positions, but none of them real well, and he can barely hit himself out of a paper bag. I'm not sure what the Giants see in this guy, besides easy signability (even underslot), that would make them draft him this high. He seems to me to be a guy that would still be around when the Giants pick in the 20th round.
2012: .326/.379/.433/.811 in 215 ABs, ISOp=.107, wOBA=..363, 1B=54, 2B=12, 3B=1, HR=3, BB=14 (5.6%), K=31 (12.5%)

11.358 - Ryan Tella: CF, Auburn Univ. (6'0", 175) DOB=5/18/91
Tella is a draft-eligible sophomore who has 2 more years of eligibiltiy left at Auburn. He is an East Bay native who attended Irvington HS. After Hs he played one season for Ohlone College in 2011 (where he hit .430/.498/.700/.1.198 with 27-for-29 SBs and was named the JuCo "Player of the Year" for the entire state of California). Tella has a lean frame with some wirey strength. There doesn't seem to be much natural projection left in his frame, but he could add some needed strength by adding a intensive weight routine to his training regimen. I saw this guy play on TV against Florida twice in the past 4 weeks. I like his swing and he's patient at the plate, but he strikes out way too much for a guy that won't likely hit for power. In the field (and on the basepaths) Tella has a quick first step and takes good routes to the ball. He seems like a smart player who knows the angles and intricacies of the game. He was drafted by the Twins out of Ohlone JuCo in the 34th round of last year's draft.
2012: .360/.448/.508/.956 in 236 ABs, ISOp=.158, wOBA=.424, 1B=64, 2B=12, 3B=4, HR=5, BB=35 (12.4%), K=48 (17%), SB=17/21 (81%)

12.388 - Jeremy Sy: SS, RHH, Univ. of Louisiana-Monroe (5'11", 180) DOB=10/14/89
He's a senior, so he can be signed all the way up to the day before next year's draft.
2012: .329/.432/.500/.932 in 222 ABs, ISOp=.171, 1B=49, 2B=14, 3B=6, HR=4, BB=38 (14.2%), K=48 (18%), SB=14/18 (78%)

13.418 - Ryan Jones: 2B, RHH, Michigan St. Univ. (5'10", 170) DOB=9/8/90
Jones has shown a very good good hands and a steady defense throughout his 3 seasons as a starter at Michigan State. He has a total of only 21 errors in 165 games, while recording 486 assists and 291 putouts. In 508 career ABs, he's also shown an aptitude for hitting (.358 career BA) and for getting on base (.431 career OBP). Jones also played well enough in the Cape Cod League last summer to be named to the All-Star game played in Fenway Park at the end of the season.
2012: .352/.422/.471/.894 in 261 ABs, ISOp=.119, wOBA=.402, 1B=70, 2B=16, 3B=3, HR=3, BB=35 (11.5%), K=20 (6.6%)

14.448 - Tyler Hollick: OF, LHH (throws RH), Chandler-Gilbert JuCo, AZ (6'1", 190) DOB=9/16/92
Hollick is a Canadian (from Calgary) who has spent the past 2 springs playing at a JuCo in Arizona. Hollick's claim to fame is his speed, and ability to get on base. He parlayed that into an amazing 61 steals (in 67 attempts) and .605 OBP this season. He also hit .475. Averaging 1.3 stolen bases per game - with a 91% success rate - I wonder if we found our own lesser version of the Reds' Billy Hamilton? I also like it that Hollick is one of the youngest guys in his college class.
2012: .475/.605/.698/1.303 in 162 ABs, ISOp=.210, 1B=61, 2B=7, 3B=8, HR=1, BB=52 (23.4%), SB=61/67 (91%)

15.478 - Leonardo Rojas: C/LF, , Miami-Dade JuCo, FL (5'10", 180) DOB=6/11/90
I do like this pick for the value it provides in the 15th round. Rojas does have some power potential and upside. I don't know if he has a scholarship offer to play his junior year for some 4-year program. If he does he will likely be a difficult sign at $100K or less. Rojas was born in Venezuela, but played HS baseball in Florida. He just completed his sophomore season at the Mimi JuCo, so he wasn't on the same team that prodoced Derek Law, the Giants 9th round pick in the 2011 draft who is currently pitching in Augusta. From his BP video, I see a well-built and strong guy who doesn't have a lot of projection left in his frame. He's got strong wrists and hands and his swing is mechanically sound with a short path to the ball. He generates above-average bat speed without a big stride or long initial launch. On the negative side, apparently he's already 21 years old even though he just finished his sophomore season.
2012: .362/.401/.514/.915 in 185 ABs, ISOp=.152, 1B=51, 2B=7, 3B=6, HR=3, BB=8 (4%), K=??
VID: BP (May 2012) -

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