I didn't want a quick fix in the draft; I just wanted hitters who could help the big league club right away.
It made sense to draft a guy like Beau Mills or Matt Wieters -- a high-ceiling hitter who could be close to the majors. The Giants didn't get a chance to take Wieters, but they passed on Mills. They passed on a lot of college hitters. The Giants drafted like a team with a great offense already in place.
But drafting based on need is just goofy. The MLB draft isn't a place to find instant gratification. You get all worked up about the draft -- visions of Mark Teixeira and Will Clark dance in your head -- and then the first pick is some dude from high school in Tennessee.
"Hmm. A high school pitcher. I thought the Giants had moved away from that strategy, and it doesn't really work all that well in general."
"Yah, what's up with that? I can understand taking a HS pitcher when it's something special like Beckett, but someone projected to go in the sandwich/second round with your first round pick whose HS pitcher status makes him have a low prob. of success to begin with?"
That's an actual internet conversation on the Giants newsgroup after the 2002 draft. The criticisms didn't hold up. Do you need me to tell you the draft is a crapshoot? Heck no. Do you need me to tell you that sure things aren't always so sure, and sometimes risks pay off? Double heck no. But some of y'all need a paper bag and some morphine.
The Giants could have used a college hitter with the potential to make a quick impact. In Kevin Goldstein's list of the top 50 draft prospects, 11 were college hitters. Of those, two were taken before the Giants picked, leaving nine from which to choose. If Beau Mills didn't bob the Giants' apple -- and he must not have -- the rest all had question marks. Huge question marks. Of course they did; it's a freaking amateur baseball draft. It wasn't a draft filled with elite college hitters. It was Mills or bust, and if the team didn't love Mills, how could you really fault them for going with what they know?
Most of the elite hitters were from high school. If the Giants had taken every high school hitter they'd drafted and signed since 1980 and sat them all at a typewriter right after they were drafted, maybe they would have cranked out Hamlet. It would have been more productive for everyone involved. In 1983, the Giants drafted Pete Incaviglia and Barry Bonds out of high school, but neither player signed. Since that draft, here are the high school hitters who were drafted and made the majors: Trevor Wilson. Charlie Hayes. Royce Clayton. Adam Hyzdu. Marcus Jensen. Greg Norton. J.D. Drew. Toby Hall. Mike Caruso. Tony Torcato. Travis Ishikawa. Total All-Star appearances: 1 (Clayton, St. Louis, 1997). Drew, Norton, and Hall didn't sign. Wilson became a pitcher. The jury is still out on Ishikawa, but, uh, yeah.
Chili Davis was drafted in 1977. He was the last high school hitter drafted and signed by the Giants to make an All-Star appearance as a Giant. Ye gods. They should have taken more high school pitchers. Maybe we should send a black corsage to the families of Wendell Fairley, Nick Noonan, and Charles Culberson.
Madison Bumgarner: He doesn't have a great breaking ball, but that's because his dad wouldn't let him until about a year ago. That's kind of cool, kind of scary. Just about any high school pitcher taken in the first round has a great upside.
Timothy Alderson: He's the anti-Colt Griffin (a 100-MPH-throwing freak of nature who couldn't, you know, pitch.) Crazy delivery, crazy-good command. If you haven't seen the video at the MLB site, check it out. He's walked nine hitters since last year. That's two starts for any non-Morris on the Giants.
Wendell Fairley: He has a video at that same link, and danged if he doesn't look like the greatest athlete to ever live. That doesn't mean he can play baseball, but yeeeeesh.
The other three: No idea.
I like the first two picks, I'm very intrigued with Fairley, and I'm a little annoyed with the signability picks. That's all. Don't hate this franchise because of this draft. Not yet. Hate this franchise for tearing your heart out in the present, not the future.