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2017 MLB mock draft: Baseball America has Giants taking injured college right-hander

Clarke Schmidt underwent Tommy John surgery in April, but that’s the only reason the Giants would have a shot at drafting him.

We’re just a couple weeks away from the 2017 MLB Draft, or as I like to call it, “the week in the middle of the year when bad teams can feel good.” The Giants just might be a bad team. This is how we can all feel good.

While the Giants made the postseason last year and don’t have a super-high pick, they managed to keep their first-rounder in the offseason, and when other teams lost theirs, they slid up just a little bit, to #19. It’s harder to find the Poseys and Lincecums of the world with the 19th pick, but it’s also easier to nab a highly regarded prospect who tumbles unexpectedly. The Giants should have options.

With their third mock draft, Baseball America is projecting the Giants to take South Carolina right-hander Clarke Schmidt, who was described like this in an older article:

Most scouts envision Schmidt as a potential middle-of-the-rotation starter. He pitches in the mid-90s with his four-seam fastball and has reached 96 mph this season. Schmidt has shown a plus slider at his best and he flashes feel for an upper 80s changeup.

That all sounds great, except there’s a catch. That older article was from last month, and it had to do with Schmidt needing Tommy John surgery. This isn’t a red flag. This is a visit to the red flag factory to meet with the foreman, Markus de Redflag.

We’ve been through this before, though! Back in 2014, the Giants were linked to Jeff Hoffman, who was in a similar situation. My thoughts at the time:

So I'm in. Call it the Giolito gambit. If the Giants really think Hoffman is the best pitcher in the draft (or the best pitcher available to them), I won't freak out too much with this pick. There are some people who prefer to get that pesky ligament surgery out of the way. It's like the pitching version of a chicken pox party! Get it over with and enjoy the rest of your life, that's what I say.

Cut to three years later, and Hoffman is still a highly regarded prospect for the Rockies. He’s still an enigma, though, so I wouldn’t exactly call the pick a perfect example of a successful gamble. Not yet. And the other classic example of a team drafting without fear of Tommy John rehab is the Nationals with Lucas Giolito. For a while, that looked brilliant, except he’s struggling mightily in the upper minors right now.

At the same time, Hoffman was valuable enough to get Troy Tulowitzki for the Blue Jays, and Giolito was valuable enough to get Adam Eaton on the Diamondbacks. Their value doesn’t have to be measured in career WAR.

But, well, it would be nice if the Giants drafted a player who could actually succeed in the majors. Going back through articles like this from 2014 and 2015, though, it’s not like the non-injured players the Giants were projected to pick in different mock drafts are all All-Stars now, either. Mike Nikorak isn’t doing much. Grant Holmes is very much a young pitcher, for better or worse. Derek Hill’s career-best OPS is .669, and he’s been injured to start this season. And you don’t remember any of those names anyway, except for maybe Holmes, because he’s on the A’s and has a sweet first name.

Still, I’d be more interested in a pitcher with an intact elbow. Or a hitter. Heck, even this mock draft mentions the Giants taking a high-school catcher:

Another option could be split-camp Georgia prep catcher Luis Campusano, though most teams see him more in the supplemental to second-round range.

I cannot express just how Giants the phrase “most teams see him more in the supplemental to second-round range” is. Excited that the Giants are picking 19th instead of 28th? Well, about that ...

You can watch video of Schmidt at the top of this page, and he is most certainly a live-armed pitch person. When it comes to the first-round pick in a season that’s already disappointing, I’m not wild about the added risk. I want someone who tears up the Northwest League and makes me feel better about the future. More uncertainty makes me itch.

(Though he does have a “store brand Joe Panik” look about him, which the Giants seem to like.)