Draft is on my mind today. I’m mostly concerned with this year’s draft, though if you’re in the in the mood to think about Arturo McDowell today, I’ve got you covered.
There have been a lot of flying-car kind of stories over the past couple of years, which a term that describes a guy zipping around in a flying car and thinking, "Boy, I’d really like to go back in time and blow people’s minds with my flying car." Obviously, the Giants won the World Series. That’s a flying-car story. Ryan Vogelsong has the best ERA on the staff in 2011. The Giants signed the 2002 American League MVP, and they only had to commit to one year to get him. Unthinkable.
But other than that wacky World Series thing, here’s the most unbelievable of them all: I completely trust the Giants front office to draft well.
Now, this is a long overdue post. It should have been written after Madison Bumgarner’s first major-league win. The Giants drafted a high-school lefty in a draft when they needed, needed, needed someone who could replace Lance Niekro, and there was a lot of wailing and moaning. Bumgarner won Game Four the same night Beau Mills decided to go Prestige in Black Ops. Symmetry!
The last five first-round picks:
2010 - Gary Brown
2009 - Zack Wheeler
2008 - Buster Posey
2007 - Madison Bumgarner
2006 - Tim Lincecum
Yeah, that will work. The two guys who haven’t won a championship are top prospects. It’s an impressive streak -- historic, even. It used to be that the Giants’ player development conveyer belt was broken. The team had Bonds and Kent, and they would supplement that with free agent after free agent after trade after free agent. The homegrown contributions to the ‘90s/’00s run were exclusively on the pitching mound, and that includes Dante Powell’s throw. When the Giants would draft a guy in the first round, you’d get excited, run to Baseball America, and read a scouting report like this:
Strengths: A true 80 runner. Blazing speed. Should be a plus, plus fielder in center with experience.
Weaknesses: Has never played baseball before. Hasn’t watched a game. When shown a baseball for the first time, he licked it to see if it was food. Once played "Bases Loaded" because he heard there were fights, but he couldn’t navigate past the title screen. Was the treasurer for his high school’s "I Am Not A Baseball Player Club," which met on Wednesday’s in Mr. Fordham’s room at lunch. Isn’t really good at baseball yet.
And you’d shake your head because the Giants couldn’t develop anyone, and it’s like they didn’t even try.
This post should have come last year. When the Giants drafted Gary Brown, I was almost ready to trust them. I was turned off by his walk rate in college, but I made a case that maybe the walks were the wrong thing to focus on. Yay! Then I listed ten players I would have rather the Giants had drafted. Boo!
So this year, I’m all in. If the Giants draft a one-legged knuckleballer, welcome aboard. If the Giants draft Colin Kaepernick in the hopes that he’ll be a two-sport star, fine. The Giants have earned our trust 100% when it comes to the amateur draft. Mail that back to 2000, and watch heads explode. They were expecting the flying car, but a solid record of developmental success? That’s some sci-fi stuff, there.