With the amateur draft less than a month away, it’s about time for the bi-monthly debate regarding the Giants’ drafting philosophy. Currently, the philosophy is pitchers, pitchers, and more pitchers. The Giants have a new front-office crew in place, so maybe they'll bring a different perspective. But it's possible that they’ve already drank the organizational Kool-Aid. If they have, that only means one thing: A big pitcher will come bursting through the walls of the Giants front office on draft day. Ohh yeah!
I’m pretty sure that joke doesn’t work, but it was worth a shot.
The scuttlebutt from Baseball America is that this draft has a clear top four. Two of the top four – Aaron Crow and Brian Matusz – are pitchers. Tampa Bay might consider going out of the top four for the first overall pick, as they’re rumored to be hot for Buster Posey. I’d be thrilled with Posey just for the "Arrested Development"-related jokes, but that’s a post for another time.
If the Giants get a chance to draft Crow or Matusz, should they do it?
The Giants know pitching. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Brad Hennessey, and Noah Lowry were all first round picks, with all except Lincecum coming from the bottom half of the first round. Scoff at the Lowrennessy tandem if you must, but a lot of teams wish their first-rounders had as successful of a run. I trust the Giants’ ability to evaluate amateur pitchers more than any other team in the league.
The Giants no hitting. In a draft with a gaggle of sweet-hitting first basemen, catchers who can hit, and a pair of offensive-minded shortstops, can the Giants pass up an opportunity to pick from the best of the bunch?
There are more pros and cons, of course, but they’re basically variants on the same theme. What might make me come down on the con side, though, is that the Giants have had luck picking pitchers after the first round. Kevin Correia, Pat Misch, Jonathan Sanchez, Billy Sadler, and Brian Wilson are just the examples from the current roster. It might make more sense to go for offense with the fifth pick and hope for repeated success in the later rounds.
But if the Giants see either Crow or Matusz as a special talent – a Lincecum-type top-of-the-rotation guy – I won’t complain if they draft one of them. The organization has a pretty sweet track record when it comes to first-round pitching; they aren’t the Pirates, for instance. If the Giants draft either Crow or Matusz because they’re the "safe" pick – the kind of pitcher that should advance quickly but never dominate – then I will complain until I alienate every last reader of this site. I’ll never really know what the front office really thinks, so I should probably complain before the draft starts just to make sure.
Pitchers v. hitters. The debate still has a couple of weeks before being driven right into the ground. Have at it.