Is it just me or does it feel kind of dead around here (I'm a fine one to talk)? How about a bit of early-season draft talk to liven things up?
It's the first day of Spring (!) and there are only 11 more weeks until Day 1 of the June draft. This year I wanted to post my early-season watch list of prospects that I like for the Giants (and that I think will be available to them in June), so that folks can pick out 1 or many guys that they like and have the luxury of following their progress as college and high school play heats up and the draft comes closer and closer to reality. I also wanted to get some input from others on prospects that I'm missing out on. I think it will be more fun for everybody who wants to be involved in the process, rather than just having me and 1 or 2 other posters dumpiing a list of names on the site several days before the June draft.
I'll start by looking backwards. If you've been following the draft history of John Barr since he took over the Giants draft reins prior to the 2008 season (when Sabes started taking a step back from the draft), you realize that the odds are incredibly high that the Giants will draft a college player with their first round pick next June. You also should know that the odds are pretty high that said college player will have played in the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2012. Finally, you'll realize that the odds are pretty good that each of the Giants 5 picks in the first 5 rounds of the draft will also be a college guy that played in the CCL or for Team USA in 2012.
To refresh everbody's memories, here are the stats for the 26 picks that the Giants have used in rounds 1 through 5 under the John Barr draft regime (2008-12):
23 = # of college players taken (10 pitchers + 13 position players)
2 = # of high school pitchers taken (Zack Wheeler + Kyle Crick))
1 = # of high school position players taken (Tommy Joseph)
The perplexing thing about this marked preference for college players is that Barr has, so far, been very successful (when compared to league averages) with the 3 high school kids that he drafted in the first 2 rounds. Zack Wheeler looks to be on track to make his MLB debut with the Mets sometime during 2013 and is almost universally projected to be at least a good #3/#4 starter for the next 5-10 years. Tommy Joseph has improved his defense and game-calling so much that he projects to be able to at least hook on as a backup catcher with some team in the majors even if his bat never goes beyond the Eli Whiteside level. Finally, Kyle Crick only has 1 full season of pro ball under his belt, but the FB and stamina that he displayed in that 1 season have many evaluators thinking that he's easily one of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. By comparison, of the 23 college players the Giants drafted, only Buster, Crawdaddy, and BBelt have exceeded the level of success of the 3 high school draftees that I just reviewed. Of course, former first-rounders Gary Brown (rated as a top-50 prospect by most evaluators just 11 months ago), Joe Panik and Chris Stratton still have plenty of time to prove they can be impact players in the majors, and former 5th-rounder Heath Hembree appears poised to make a contribution to the SF bullpen in the near future that would be above and beyond what one would normally expect from a 5th-round pick. In addition, 2012 college draftees Mac Williamson and Martin Agosta showed some decent promise during short-season ball in 2012 - though they were old for their leagues.
As for the Cape Cod League/Team USA portion of Barr's draft tendencies, all 4 college players that Barr has drafted in the first round have played in the Cape Cod League the summer previous to being drafted. In addition, only 1 of the 3 college players that Barr has drafted in the 2nd round (Martin Agosta in 2012) did not play in the CCL at some point. When you get to rounds 3 through 5, the odds of Barr drafting a non-CCL/non-Team USA prospect becomes more of a 50/50 crapshoot.
With all of the above in mind, my educated guess for the names that likely sit at the top of the Giants' current 2013 draft board would be (in alphabetical order - not in order of preference - and I'm not including the names of any elite top-tier prospects that are almost certain to be long gone before the Giants pick at #26 (or #25) overall in the 1st round):
Chris Anderson (RHP)
Kris Bryant (3B/RF)
Jonathon Crawford (RHP)
Phil Ervin (CF)
Scott Frazier (RHP)
Marco Gonzales (LHP)
Conrad Gregor (1B/LF)
Ryon Healy (1B/3B)
Tyler Horan (LF/1B)
Jacoby Jones (CF/2B)
Mike Lorenzen (CF)
Trey Masek (RHP)
Colin Moran (3B)
DJ Peterson (1B/LF)
Brandon Trinkwon (SS)
Bobby Wahl (RHP)
Tom Windle (LHP)
Kevin Ziomek (LHP)
I don't think that Giants start to get really serious about mixing in HS prospects (read: HS pitchers) on their list until they get a more extensive chance to scout them during the 2013 high school season to see how they've grown and progressed since 2012. If you're hoping for the Giants to draft one of the exciting, high-upside high school position players in the first 2 or 3 rounds, my advice would be to not hold your breath.
As for my personal draft board, in the first comment of this thread I'm going to post my current list of prospects that I like for the Giants, and that I think will likely still be on the board when the Giants pick in the 1st round. Most of these guys are not prospects that I currently would like to see the Giants consider with their first pick. I do think that all but a few of them (who I specifically note) are guys that I think would be good targets for the Giants during the first 10 rounds. There's still a big probability that we'll see big movements up or down the draft lists by these guys between now and June - depending on how they play in the spring and whether or not they remain healthy - but I think the majority of these guys will still be looking good 2.5 months from now. Please note that I've broken my list into 2 separate groups - college prospects (including JuCo) and high school prospects. Please also note that I've listed the prospects in both groups in alphabetical order (to make it easier to search), so don't read anything into which names come before any other name. As we get towards the end of May I'll do one or more fanposts with my prospects listed in order of how I rate them for each round.
Bearing in mind that my dream scenario of the Giants magically going completely off the board and drafting Chris Andritsos, the Texas high school sophomore wundekind, with their first pick this June is probably not realistic, my current favorites (in order of preference) for the Giants 1st round pick (keep in mind that it's still very early and this list is likely to have major movement and several deletions and additions to it before I make my final draft board near the end of May):
Jacob Brentz: LHP, High School (Missouri)
Phil Ervin: CF, RHH, Samford Univ.
Chris Anderson: RHP, Univ. of Jacksonville
Trey Masek: RHP, Texas Tech Univ.
Mike Lorenzen: CF, RHH, Cal State - Fullerton
Stuart Turner: C, RHH, Univ. of Mississippi
Jonathon Crawford: RHP, Univ. Florida
Terry McClure: CF, RHH, High School (Georgia)
A.J. Puk: LHP, High School (Iowa)