The Giants had the 18th pick of the 2015 MLB Draft because they didn't sign Max Scherzer, James Shields, or Nelson Cruz. We'll see if that was a mistake in an even year to be determined, but for now the Giants have used the pick on 19-year-old college righty Phil Bickford.
Bickford was the 10th-overall pick in 2013 for the Toronto Blue Jays, but he didn't sign. That happened two years after the Blue Jays drafted Tyler Beede, the Giants' first-round pick last year. The Giants have a type. This is an amusing strategy.
Bickford was pitching at Cal-State Fullerton last year, but he transferred to JC of Southern Nevada before this season so he would be eligible for the draft. There is a report out that he tested positive for marijuana before the draft, which if you see the picture attached to the story I just linked to ... hey, that's kind of amusing. But I'm not exactly an authoritarian, so your mileage may vary.
Bickford hasn't consistently reached the 93-96 mph velocity he showed working in a relief role last summer in the Cape, more frequently sitting in the low 90s albeit with late sinking life. His power breaking ball flashed plus last summer but has remained inconsistent this spring, and his changeup remains in its nascent stages.
And from Chris Crawford of Baseball Prospectus:
This spring, Bickford’s fastball wasn’t a plus offering, usually sitting 90-92 mph and occasionally dropping to the high 80’s. This summer however, Bickford was back to throwing gas, hitting 98 on some scouts guns and comfortably sitting 93-95.
Change: This is easily the weakest of Bickford’s three offerings, and right now, I don’t think it’s a good enough pitch for me to project him as a starter.
Back when I started this, it was impossible to find video for the first five pick. Now when you search YouTube, there are 50 different options. Here's a couple:
Congratulations, Phil Bickford! Welcome to the Giants. Be the next Buster Posey. Or Joe Panik. Or Matt Cain. Maybe the Brandon of your choice. Really, there are a lot of paths to success, here.