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2012 MLB Draft: Giants Select Chris Stratton, RHP, in First Round

The Giants are currently relevant because they do one thing better than most other major-league teams: draft players in the first round. With that in mind, I'll sit back and wait for Chris Stratton to blow our minds.

It's not like I know what he's all about, so I'll just liberally borrow quotes from others.

First, you have dem stats.

And then the scouting. From Fla-Giant's FanPost:

Ranked the #18 overall prospect by BA in their mid-May posting. Long and lean frame. He has a relatively clean delivery with medium effort that he repeats very well. His FB sits comfortably in the 90-92 mph range, with some late movement, and can touch 94 when he lets loose. He usually gets a good downward plane on the FB and will throw it on both corners and will elevate it up in the zone. His #1 weapon is his slider, which has excellent late downward break and also has above average horizontal break. Hitters have a very difficult time differentiating his slider from his FB.

John Sickels

Dominant this spring on the strength of his low-90s fastball and a plus slider, Stratton went 11-2 with a 2.38 ERA, with a 127/25 K/BB in 110 innings. He also has a solid curveball and change-up, plus an easy, relatively stress-free delivery that gets the most from his 6-3, 200-pound body. He won’t need much minor-league development time.

One scout described Stratton’s slider to me as the best breaking pitch he had seen all season, whether in the high-school or college ranks.There are no holes in Stratton’s statistical performance, and with four pitches at his disposal, he’s well-prepared for pro ball. He could be one of the first 2012 draftees to reach the major leagues, projecting as a number-three starter, or perhaps even a number two. Stratton represents excellent value at this point in the draft, and he thrived against solid competition in college.

Bullpen Banter:

Chris Stratton cruised through his 8 inning complete game, showing three good pitches and pitchability. However, he did not show me a real knock out pitch, and that leaves him behind the elite college starters in this class.

Stratton has the chance to have an exciting four-pitch mix, all coming from the kind of ideal pitching frame scouts love. He throws a sneaky fastball, up to 94 mph with ease and with good movement. His slider is the better of his two breaking balls, a strikeout pitch with good rotation and bite. His curve is a notch behind, but it has the chance to be Major League average with a slurvy break to it.

His changeup, also a future average offering, has some sink. He has above-average control, throwing all four pitches for strikes and showing an understanding of how to use his stuff well. Stratton has been a very consistent performer since moving into the rotation and his combination of size, stuff and pitchability have him moving into first night of the Draft conversations.

Baseball America:

Stratton excelled this spring for the Bulldogs and edged out LSU's Kevin Gausman, the No. 4 overall pick tonight, as Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year. His stuff isn't quite as firm, with a fastball that usually sits 92-93 mph but touches the mid-90s. His breaking stuff sets him apart; he throws both a slider and a curveball, and both can be above-average, with the slider getting higher grades.

While he doesn't have a 70 pitch, Stratton has lots of 55s and 60s as well as a fairly fresh arm. He fits right in for vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow, who has overseen the Giants' pitcher development for 16 years.

Baseball Prospectus

20. Chris Stratton, RHP, Mississippi State
Who he is: A polished pitcher with a three-pitch mix, with his low 90s fastball, slider and changeup all earning average-to-plus grades and playing up due to his ability to locate. He's seen as an is-what-he-is type without much projection, and at nearly 22 years old, his age is an issue.

Draft skinny: Stratton is a safe pick who could go higher than this ranking to a college-focused team, likely not outside the 15-20 range.

Sounds good with me. I would have preferred Marcus Stroman, just like I preferred Kyle Drabek to Tim Lincecum, Beau Mills to Madison Bumgarner, and Justin Smoak to Buster Posey.