The best and worst drafts in Giants history

Jason O. Watson

Bonus: Silly names and factoids.

The MLB Draft starts on June 5, and the Giants have their highest first-round pick in five years, so I have draft on the brain. This means it's a great time to remind everyone of the all-time Giants draft name team:

C - Giuseppe Chiaramonte

1B - Turtle Zaun

2B - Van Fixico

3B - James Snoots

SS - Monico Corral

OF - Sylvester Love

OF - Reuben Smiley

OF - Wynter Phoenix

P - Boof Bonser

P - Kavonski Chatman

P - Everhard Griffiths

P - Harlan Highfill

P - Skip Pitlock

This leaves off Windy Currie, Horace Speed (4 SB, 5 CS career), and Dick Binder, who didn't make it because his name was actually Rich, but we'll allow him an honorable mention.

It's also a great time for a collection of draft factlets and trivia. I don't know why I'm such a dork about this stuff, but I can't help it.

The ones who got away

Davey Lopes, eighth round, 1967
Alvin Davis, eighth round, 1978
Barry Bonds, second round, 1982
Pete Incaviglia, 10th round, 1982
Mike Myers, 4th round, 1990
J.D. Drew, 20th round, 1994
Toby Hall, 24th round, 1995
Brad Lidge, 42nd round, 1995
Doug Fister, 49th round, 2003

If the Giants sign Lopes, the Dodgers don't win three pennants in the '70s.

If the Giants sign Barry Bonds, they win the World Series in '87 and '89.

If the Giants sign J.D. Drew, they win the World Series in '00, '02, and '03.

If the Giants sign Doug Fister, they lose Game 2 in 2012 and the Tigers bounce back to take the series.

I wish there were a Wikipedia for alternate histories. I'd spend allll day on that thing.

The worst draft in Giants history

That would be the 1980 draft, in which nine players reached the majors (that's good!) and they combined for a cumulative -4.1 WAR (that's bad!). The top player in the draft had a 0.1 mark in 180 career at-bats.

Special consideration goes to the 1998 draft, when the Giants had five first-round picks because of compensation for Roberto Hernandez and Wilson Alvarez. In retrospect, that was a marvelously deft move by Brian Sabean -- trade away the farm in a season you know you're going to contend, and get extra first-rounders when the new players leave as free agents. Except the problem was the Giants biffed each and every first-round pick. Though I guess Tony Torcato does have a career .298 batting average ...

The best draft in Giants history

Technically, it would be '82, the year they drafted Barry Bonds. But when it comes to draftees who actually signed, the 1985 draft had Will Clark, Jeff Brantley, Trevor Wilson, and Dennis Cook, all of whom enjoyed long major league careers.

This draft has a precarious hold on the spot, because Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford were both drafted in 2008. It's probably prudent (and less jinxy) to keep '85 up there. Unless you go by championships. Then it's, uh, settled.

Best draft in Giants history (names)

Look at this bunch from 1988:

Rueben Smiley
Turtle Zaun
Longobardo Garcia
Moose Adams

Additional factoids

  • Twelve 50th-rounders have made the majors in draft history. Two of them are Marvin Benard and Edwards Guzman.
  • Jack Clark was drafted as a pitcher and made the majors when he was 19 as an outfielder.
  • The least valuable draft pick in Giants history was Johnny LeMaster, who was worth -5 wins, though he played much worse than that.
  • There was a player named Mike Stanton available when the Giants picked with the compensation pick they had for Mike Stanton, and they didn't take Mike Stanton.
  • Yeah, I know I've mentioned that 60 times. Bugger off.
  • In terms of raw WAR, here's the top-10 list of Giants first-rounders:
    1. Will Clark (56)
    2. Matt Williams (46)
    3. Matt Cain (33)
    4. Gary Matthews (30)
    5. Tim Lincecum (23)
    6. Royce Clayton (20)
    7. Buster Posey (19)
    8. Madison Bumgarner (13)
    9. Terry Mulholland (11)
    10. Mike Remlinger (11)
  • The next five: Noah Lowry, Scott Garrelts, Jason Grilli, and Jerome Williams. It's hard to find baseball players, y'all.
  • The highest Giants first rounder to never make the majors was Matt White at #7, which makes for some juicy schadenfreude.

If you have factlets, please share. I'm fresh out.

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