In one way, it's refreshing not to have the DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT hype shoved up our nose like we would if were were following the NFL. In another way, it's maddening to have to mine for draft information. Kind of want more hype, more talking heads, even if we're never going to see 95 percent of the draftees.
Chris Crawford helps with draft coverage at ESPN.com, and he also sells a draft guide with 150 scouting reports for $3.99. Three dollars and ninety-nine cents! You're basically stealing from him. You're taking his time and using it as the foam on your information latte, you spoiled brat. It's also a good book! Buy it!
Crawford was kind enough to answer a few Giants-related questions about the draft:
1. The Giants are often seen as an organization that can hone and refine raw arms, but can't do much with young bats. Is that accurate, or has the recent drafting and development of Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, and Buster Posey changed that perception a little?
Well,I think it's a little bit of both -- at least in terms of the process of the draft. Posey sort of fell into their laps (though you have to give them credit for pulling the trigger), but Crawford and Belt were far from heralded prospects that have developed into everyday players. They've had their uh-oh moments -- I was not a huge fan of the Gary Brown pick and the jury is still out on picks like Joe Panik and Jarrett Parker -- but I certainly wouldn't give them the "can't develop bats" label. They're just a lot better at developing arms.
2. Is there a pitcher in the draft, high school or college, who might be an especially good fit for AT&T Park, like Matt Cain has been for so many years? As in, a fly-ball pitcher who could use the extra space a little more than the typical pitcher?
The obvious guy is Gonzaga left-hander Marco Gonzales, if only because he usually sits in the high 80's and would enjoy friendly confines like that. It's tough to say with most pitchers, because the power arms generally are so dominant that they get ground-ball/pop-up's just based on pure stuff.
Basically you'd be looking for someone without much movement on the fastball but that can throw it by people, and i'd put Jacksonville right-hander Chris Anderson and Gonzales up there.
3. I've seen the Giants linked to Matt Krook in several mock drafts. Is he a possibility for the Giants at #25? What kind of description can you give us of him?
I think Krook will be around, and I think he'd be fine value if San Francisco were to pop him with that selection as well. If you had asked me in early March -- when he was consistently hitting 95 with one of the best curveballs in the draft -- then I would have told you there was no way, but he did see a drop in stuff as the season progressed.
The curve is sensational when it's on, probably the best breaking-ball by any left-handed pitcher in this year's class, and at 6-4, 190 he's going to fill out and add more consistent velocity. My main concerns with Krook are that he doesn't seem to have a great feel for pitching yet, and the delivery is a bit high effort for my taste. At his best, he's a No. 2, with a reliever floor.
4. I'm goofy for the prospects with a plus hit tool who get downgraded because they lack the athleticism or tools of most premium prospects. I'd show you my Joe Panik tattoo if you were answering these questions via Skype. Is there a prospect like that who might be around in the last half of the second round?
There's a few "bats going to have to carry them" prospects in this class, but I'm not sure how many of them will make it that late into the draft. One that could be around is Michigan outfielder Mike O'Neill, a plus-plus runner who has a solid swing and good bat speed, but a very weak arm and doesn't have the instincts to play center field. In the second round though, he'd be solid value as an offensive lottery ticket.
5. Have you wrapped your head around the new strategies that come with the revamped bonuses and spending limits? If so, what would you do if you were running the draft for a team drafting in the lower half of the first round? Cut a pre-draft deal for a reach and allocate the savings elsewhere, or go best player available always and forever?
Well, I hate having to wrap my head around on this, because I hate the new rules, but I still take a best player available approach to everything I do. I understand the thought process behind wanting to cut deals so that you can build quality and quantity, but in a draft that doesn't have a ton of depth -- as is the case this year -- is the perfect time to go hard for the high upside player and fill organizational holes later in the draft. If it was 2011, then ya, I'd consider doing the under-slot dance, but I'd rather just trust my scouts and player developments to find hidden gems on day two and three.
6. Give me the name of a player who might be around at #25 that you've taken a special liking to. As in, a player who would be near the top of your board if you were running the Giants' draft.
I don't like making guarantees, but if Billy McKinney became a Giant, I'm pretty sure you'd change your Joe Panik tattoo over to him post haste (though I'm not sure exactly how you change Panik to McKinney, I'll leave that to the experts). McKinney might have the best pure hit tool of any outfielder in this class, and he's going to hit for average and power at the next level.
The only reason McKinney isn't considered a top 10 candidate is that he can't run and he can't throw (I have 40 grades on both tools). That being said, if he gets through the 18-24 range and makes it to San Francisco, I would pull the trigger on him in a heartbeat.
Don't forget to check out the draft guide for $3.99!