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The Prospect (And Pre-Draft!) Roundup

Are you ready for the MLB Draft! Are you tired of reading about the mock drafts? Come read this anyway!

Prospect Roundup Cover Image Kevin J. Cunningham

Let’s talk the 2017 MLB Draft! I’m sure you’re tired of all the coverage it’s been given, but let’s face it, with the season the big league team is having, the MLB Draft represents hope.

The struggles the Giants faced, after the 2002 National League championship team, one symbol was the giving away of draft picks to free agent signings that never panned out. The lack of young talent was a big part of those struggles.

The World Series champions…such a big part of those teams were the homegrown talent. From Lincecum, Posey and Bumgarner to Panik and Duffy, that was the cornerstone of those teams, and the dressing.

This draft won’t fix this team right away. Maybe they’ll just lead to trades, like 2015 top pick Phil Bickford. Who knows. But at least, for this week, we get to talk about hope.

And funny funny names. Don’t forget that.

Giant’s Draft History

Let’s look at what the Giants have done in recent years.

Trends - College or High School?

2007 stands out from recent Giants the draft history. Other than 2007, the first round picks the Giants have had since 2006 were 9 college players, 3 high school players, and one junior college player. However, in 2007, the Giants had 6 picks between the first round and supplemental first round. 5 of those were high schoolers. One could likely have a statue someday outside AT&T Park (Bumgarner). The next two picks (#22 Tim Alderson and #29 Wendell Fairley) never made the majors. The remaining players all made the majors, but only one has a positive WAR, Jackson Williams, with a 0.1 WAR. He was the college player.

The 2007 draft could have truly restocked the system with high profile prospects. And although Charlie Culberson was important in that he was traded for Marco Scutaro, 4 out of 6 players not making it is a high rate of non-success. While the Giants have not been afraid to take high schoolers since then, the percentage certainly leans in favor of college players.

Trends - Position Players or Pitchers?

Starting in 2008, the Giants have been balanced between pitchers and position players. 5 pitchers and 6 position players. All the pitchers have been right-handed. Among position players, there has been a favor towards players from up the middle: One catcher (Guess Who), two shortstops, and a center fielder. There’s also a third baseman and a first baseman (Chris Shaw), although the latter seems to be shifting positions to a corner outfielder.

What Do the Mock Drafts Predict?

I spent way too long reading mock drafts the past few weeks. More than you. Mock Drafts are usually bull-phooey, but hell, let’s take a look at what they said.

D.L. Hall (Baseball America 2.0, Jonathan Mayo) - High School LHP, BA: #16; MLB: #14; ESPN: #8 - Hall is considered one of the highest ceiling pitchers in the draft, but he hasn’t been talked about much in the high picks because of inconsistency this spring and, perhaps, some gamesmanship. His fastball ranges in the low-to-mid 90’s and his has a curve that could become a top pitch. He certainly fits a type and role the Giants like, but whether or not he lasts to #19 overall is a big if.

Evan White (Jim Callis thrice, Keith Law 2.0, FantasyPros) - Kentucky 1B/OF, BA: #12; MLB #18; ESPN #33 - White is an unusual first baseman, in that he is an excellent defensive first baseman whose future is probably at first despite some who want him to go to the outfield. He’s a plus hitter, particularly for average, though his power is questionable. He’s also dealt with some injury issues that could scare teams away. He’s the most commonly named player that the Giants have been connected to, but mock drafts have him anywhere from #12 overall to out of the first round. Jim Callis of picked the Giants to take White three times in three mock drafts.

Logan Warmoth (John Sickels, Baseball America 3.5) - North Carolina SS, BA: #19; MLB #27; ESPN: #7 - Grant’s favoritism aside, Warmoth is an interesting fit for the Giants. Warmoth has pull power but can hit line drives to the whole field, and is a high-floor safe big leaguer by most accounts. That certainly sounds familiar to Giants fans. Warmoth has a great arm, and most expect him to stay as a middle infielder, whether at short or second base.

Clarke Schmidt (Baseball America 3.0) - South Carolina RHP, BA: #32; MLB: #49; ESPN: #74 - Schmidt is a good power pitcher with an excellent two-seamer and a slider that works as a strikeout pitch. However, Schmidt is also currently recovering from Tommy John surgery in late April. That leaves his draft status quite up in the air. He’s only shown up in three of the nine mock drafts scouted so far.

Griffin Canning (The Sporting News) - UCLA RHP, BA: #26, MLB: #17; ESPN: #23 - Canning has been one of college’s strikeout leaders with a four-pitch selection that is very mature. His fastball sits between 90-94, and he has excellent command with it. He has used a curveball as his out pitch mostly this year, although Baseball America says he’s used a changeup in that role in the past. If there is a major concern, it is that he has been used heavily in college. He doesn’t have a high ceiling (mid-rotation starter), but he has a very high floor among scouts.

Pavin Smith (Baseball America 4.0) - Virginia 1B, BA: #15; MLB: #8; ESPN: #12 - Some scouts think that Smith is the best pure hitter in the draft. His left-handed swing drives to all fields, and he is remarkably able to avoid strikeouts. He has 13 home runs to 12 strikeouts this year, with 38 walks. He is a solid defender at first base, where he is probably limited to playing. That 1B position is probably the biggest knock on Smith, though his bat is more than enough for him to succeed. But even the one mock draft that put Pavin at the Giants spot thinks there’s a good chance he’ll not last this long.

While mock drafts have named those guys, the summaries often mention other players that could be seen at those spots. Here are those names.

Luis Campusano-Bracero - Cross Creek HS (GA) C, BA: #42; MLB: #64; ESPN: #38 - Campusano-Bracero was one of the most oft-mentioned names in comments about the Giants’ pick, and also tellingly was mentioned as being connected to the Giants by David Lee, Augusta sportswriter and former GreenJackets beat writer. That said, most people think Campusano-Bracero is a 2nd round talent, with only one mock draft having him in the first round (and then, it’s in the compensatory picks). But would he make it all the way to #58? The Giants have shown a willingness to chase those they like that they won’t think will be their by the next pick.

Trevor Rogers - Carlsbad HS (NM) LHP, BA: #31; MLB: #25; ESPN: #15 - Rogers was one of the most prized preps after the summer leagues with a mid-90’s fastball, but as his fastball slipped to the low-90’s so did the hype. He has a pitcher’s body with a good slider, and is working on the curve and changeup. His body and motion has similarities to Bumgarner, he’s a cousin of Cody Ross, and it’s possible he could slip to the Giants at 19.

Nick Pratto - Huntington Beach HS (CA) 1B, BA: #24; MLB: #13; ESPN: #13 - Pratto had the walkoff hit of the 2011 Little League World Series, and has done well since. He’s got good pitch recognition and has begun to develop the power to work with it. He could be a good defender at first base. However, he’s very often projected to go to the Yankees at #14 overall.

Brian Miller - North Carolina OF, BA: #45; MLB: #59; ESPN: #32 - Miller started his career as a first basemean and right fielder, but moved to center, where he has the speed and improved reads to be good, though his arm is lacking. He has a good approach at the plate and a line drive bat but not great power. His skills have been compared to Denard Span. He also has that Cape Cod track record the Giants like. He has table-setter potential, but may be a high draft at #19. However, since he likely would be gone by #59, the Giants could reach.

Bubba Thompson - McGill-Toolen Catholic HS (AL) OF, BA: #25; MLB: #26; ESPN: #25 - A successful high school quarterback who was courted by football programs, Thompson has committed to Alabama for baseball only (and is expected to sign). Thompson is an excellent athlete with great speed, although he’s still learning center field. He does have a strong arm out there, though. His athleticism has him probably destined for the late first round.

Sam Carlson - Burnsville (MN) RHP, BA: #21; MLB: #15; ESPN: #17 - Carlson has been a riser on draft boards with a strong spring, and a fastball velocity that has moved to the mid-90’s. He also has a plus changeup and a slider-ish breaking pitch. He works with a lower arm slot and has some deception in his motion. He is projected by most to go in the late first round, although it wouldn’t be too high to see the Giants take him.

Brent Rooker - Mississippi State OF/1B, BA: #46; MLB: #50; ESPN: #91 - Rooker is a bit older than some teams would like (he turns 22 in November), but he has has an explosive year that has him rocketing up draft charts. He made adjustments that has him striking out less and hitting for power numbers in the strong SEC conference. There’s some doubts about his ability to play the outfield (Particularly from Keith Law), but he has decent speed to play there. One mock draft had the Giants at #19 as the starting point for him at the draft), but most have him as a late first round to second round pick.

Jordon Adell - Ballard HS (KY) OF, BA: #7; MLB: #21; ESPN: #50 - Here is Mr. Raw Talent of the draft. He’s got power, he’s had a great arm (note the past tense)…he’s a 5-tool talent. But he has tremendous inconsistency at the plate and defensively, and his arm strength has disappeared at times (He’s a 2-way player, so when he stops that may help him as a pro). Most mock drafts have him taken in the 9-12 range, however. He’s also likely to require a big bonus to sign.

Who Will The Giants Take? - A Checklist

Let’s be honest: Predicting who a team will take at a position like #19 overall is heavily dependent on the other 18 picks, and I just don’t know enough to tell you who every other team will take. But, after 15 years of paying close attention to the Giants and their drafting habits, I have an inkling of the kind of player the Giants might take.

So here’s what you get: A list of 10 players. There are 9 players I’ll name that I think are all but sure to be gone by the time the Giants draft. This list will be 10 players I think the Giants are seriously considering, and who they will consider taking. I highly doubt all of them will make to #19. I’d be surprised if more than four did. So, as players get picked, cross off the names. Whomever is left highest is my prediction for the Giants to take.

The 9-Surely-Gone: Hunter Greene, Brendan McKay, Kyle Wright, MacKenzie Gore, Royce Lewis, Adam Haseley, Pavin Smith, Jeren Kendall, Jordon Adell.

My Prediction List:

  1. Trevor Rogers
  2. Nick Pratto
  3. Austin Beck
  4. Evan White
  5. Logan Warmoth
  6. Jake Burger
  7. Drew Waters
  8. David Peterson
  9. Brian Miller
  10. Luis Campusano-Bracero

So, print it out, cross out names as they get drafted, and let’s see how I do. Just be warned, the last time I did a list similar to this and I was right, it was Gary Brown. So maybe hope I’m wrong.

The Sideshows of the Draft

One of the interesting things in the drafts is often watching the players who unexpectedly take a bit of a dip in the draft. They can be exciting to follow, to see if they reach the team you’re rooting for, a talent a bit higher than the spot might have been expected to warrant. So, here are the ones to look at:

Day 1 - J.B. Bukauskas

One start won’t unravel a Top 10 prospect from being a Day 1 draft pick, but boy, when you have it in the NCAA Regional, a week before Draft Day, and you’re already considered undersized…Yeah, it hurts. Bukauskas was a sure-thing Top 15 pick, but now, it’s possible he might fall a bit. He won’t miss Day 1, but he might fall into the 20’s. Someone could get a deal with him.

Day 1-2 - Seth Romero

The most interesting draft day tumbles come from those guys with with attitude issues, because who wants to be teammates with someone like that? Someone they have to support and back? Well, one player was straight kicked off his team in May. University of Houston kicked Seth Romero off the team after a rumored fight with teammates. Romero had been an early pick to go in the teens. Later mock drafts put him in the 20’s, and a couple left him off the first round altogether. There were rumors Romero could move to relieving to be a fast-track to the majors. But he could fall, and it might be interesting to see which team might take the chance on him.

Day 2-3 - Luke Heimlich

A week ago, Luke Heimlich was running a great spring on one of college baseball’s top systems to a possible late first round pick, or a more likely second round.placement. And then the Oregonian did a background check. Now, who knows. I won’t get into any discussion of opinions on this, but it’s undeniable that Heimlich’s conviction on sexual molestation of a minor has had a huge effect on where he might land. The Cubs have publicly said they have removed Heimlich from their board, and other teams have anonymously said similar things. Heimlich could easily fall out of Day 2, and the potential is there he may not be drafted at all. What happens to him, drafted or not, will likely prompt discussions about far more than baseball.

The Dominican Summer League Begins

Oh, yeah, outside the draft, the minor leagues kept playing. We’ll talk more about the players next week, but here’s the early names to note from the DSL.

Anyesber Sivira, SS - The 17-year old Venezuelan has been the best early hitter for the Giants squad. He didn’t get a start until the team’s fourth game, but he’s batting .357 with a .500 OBP. While he hasn’t picked up an extra-base hit yet, he’s been the DSL team’s most consistent hitter.

Norwith Gudino, RHP - The 21-year old is one of the DSL team’s veteran leaders, in his third year on the team, and he showed it with a strong first start. He went 4.2 IP, tied for the longest outing on the team, and was one of the two DSL starters without allowing a run.

Francis Pena, RHP - Like Gudino, Pena did started his season with a scoreless start, but Pena struck out 6, showing a dominant side. The 20-year old is in his first year as a pro, and will be interesting to follow.

Orleny Quiroz, LHP - Quiroz is another third year player with the DSL team, but so far he’s been in a relief role. He’s opened some box score eyes with 11 strikeouts in 5 innings, with just one walk, but the 23-year old might as well be a generation older than much of the league.

Hitter of the Week - Ryder Jones

Ryder Jones has put together quite an interesting week of baseball. He earns this spot not just from the balls he’s hit, but those he hasn’t.

Jones had a system-leading 7 walks on the week, and that gives him the numbers to take the title for the week. Ryder had a .389 batting average (7-for-18), but had a .560 OBP with the 7 walks. Add in two doubles and a home run, for which Jones now has 12 doubles and 7 home runs in total on the year, and Jones has pushed his numbers up significantly this week.

On the season, Jones has a .288/.385/.519 line. With all the walks, he now has 22 against 38 strikeouts in 43 games. And he’s done it all while managing playing multiple positions. He spent a lot of time at third base this week, despite the return of Christian Arroyo and the presence of Jae-Gyun Hwang, and a little bit in right field with Chris Shaw at left.

Pitcher of the Week - Raffi Vizcaino

Vizcaino has barely been back, for the second time, and he has put on a show.

Vizcaino threw one relief appearance and one start, and he allowed no hits and just one walk in each, for 9 innings of no-hit ball. He might have given up an unearned run off of that one walk. Add in a system-high 12 strikeouts, and this decision was pretty damn easy to make.

Vizcaino made his season debut on May 20th, making a late start from extended spring training. He made one appearance, giving up four runs in two innings, on five hits and two walks, and then went onto the disabled list (though a few days later). That’s his only other appearance of the year. Last season was Vizcaino’s stateside debut, with a 4.34 ERA between Augusta and Salem-Keizer. He had 54 strikeouts and 24 walks in 58 innings.

Also, Roger and Conner Penfold were very excited about Vizcaino in Spring Training. Roger linked this tweet yesterday, but in case you missed it…

Saturday’s Lines

Saturday’s Boxes

AAA R H E AA (Game 1) R H E AA (Game 2) R H E
AAA R H E AA (Game 1) R H E AA (Game 2) R H E
Reno 2 6 1 Richmond 6 9 0 Richmond 3 7 1
Sacramento 5 8 1 Altoona 2 7 0 Altoona 2 5 2

Saturday’s Boxes, Continued

High-A R H E Low-A R H E DSL R H E
High-A R H E Low-A R H E DSL R H E
San Jose 2 7 0 Greenville 1 1 2 DSL Giants 1 5 1
Visalia 3 8 0 Augusta 7 8 2 DSL Padres 5 9 1

Saturday’s Notable Hitting Lines

SAC Orlando Calixte 2B 4 1 2 1 0 0 2 0 0 0.292
SAC Christian Arroyo SS 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.430
SAC Conor Gillaspie 3B 3 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.222
SAC Ryder Jones RF 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.288
SAC Chris Shaw LF 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0.254
SAC Jae-Gyun Hwang 1B 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.288
RIC-1 Myles Schroder RF 3 1 2 0 1 0 2 1 0 0.290
RIC-1 Miguel Gomez 2B 4 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 1 0.324
RIC-1 Ryan Lollis LF 3 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.233
RIC-1 Jeff Arnold C 3 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 1 0.170
RIC-2 Myles Schroder C 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.288
RIC-2 Jerry Sands 1B 3 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.357
RIC-2 Brandon Bednar 3B 3 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.273
RIC-2 Carlos Garcia 2B 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.237
SJ Ronnie Jebavy CF 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.300
SJ Ryan Howard SS 4 0 3 1 0 0 2 0 0 0.321
SJ Heath Quinn RF 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.315
SJ Gio Brusa LF 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.251
SJ Jalen Miller 2B 3 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 0.231
AUG Cristian Paulino CF 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.247
AUG Skyler Ewing C 2 1 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 0.216
AUG Sandro Fabian RF 4 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.239
AUG Jacob Heyward DH 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.238
AUG Brandon Van Horn SS 4 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.226
DSL Anyesber Sivira DH 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.357
DSL Omar Medina 1B 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 0.304
DSL Wascar De Leon 2B 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.286
DSL Franklin Labour LF 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.316

Saturday’s Notable Pitching Lines

SAC Roberto Gomez 4.2 2 2 1 3 3 0 5.12
SAC Kraig Sitton (W, 5-1) 1.1 3 0 0 0 1 0 3.66
SAC Tyler Rogers (H, 3) 2.0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2.15
SAC Steven Okert (S, 1) 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.08
RIC-1 Andrew Suarez (W, 4-4) 6.2 7 2 2 2 2 0 2.96
RIC-1 Carlos Alvarado (S, 2) 0.1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2.63
RIC-2 Collin Balester 4.0 2 1 0 1 2 0 2.70
RIC-2 Ryan Halstead (W, 1-0) 1.1 1 0 0 0 1 0 6.23
RIC-2 Tyler Cyr (S, 7) 1.0 2 1 1 1 1 0 1.99
SJ Jake McCasland (L, 2-6) 6.0 8 3 3 2 7 0 5.75
AUG Raffi Vizcaino (W, 1-0) 6.0 0 1 0 1 9 0 3.27
AUG Caleb Smith 2.0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0.00
AUG Nolan Riggs 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3.07
DSL Aneudy Acosta (L, 0-1) 1.1 2 3 2 2 1 0 14.73
DSL Jerson Severin 2.0 6 1 1 1 3 0 5.06
DSL Janly Fermin 1.0 1 1 1 3 2 1 8.10
  • Let’s start with the big one: Raffi Vizcaino leading the charge in a one-hitter with Augusta. Vizcaino, in his first start of the year, went six innings, giving up just a walk. That walk did turn into Greenville’s only run, thanks to a pair of errors, but Vizcaino was electric.
  • Although the bullpen kept the game intact, neither Caleb Smith nor Nolan Riggs were perfect. Smith walked three, and Riggs gave up Greenville’s only hit in the 9th. For Smith, he’s gotten a wild hair up his nose quite a bit this season. In 11 appearances, he’s walked three in an appearance five times.
  • The offense for Augusta was up to snuff today. Sandro Fabian put up his 12th double on the year, while Skyler Ewing and Brandon Van Horn each had their 6th.
  • In his day, Ewing picked up 3 RBI and 2 walks. Ewing now has 11 walks against 21 strikeouts in 28 games.
  • Orlando Calixte came back to Sacramento hitting, picking up two hits and his 8th Triple-A double of the season.
  • Conor Gillaspie returned to Sacramento for rehab, his first rehab game since June 4th in San Jose. He picked up his first extra-base hit of his 8 rehab games dating back to May.
  • Chris Shaw picked up his 6th double with Sacramento on the year. However, he’s been just 2-for-15 over his past four games.
  • Roberto Gomez picked up his third start, going 4.2 innings, his longest outing so far. Not enough for the win, but not a bad start.
  • Tyler Rogers’ up and down season continued with an up, giving up two baserunners in two innings.
  • With another scoreless inning, Steven Okert has given up just two earned runs in 6.2 IP.
  • In doubleheaders, Richmond finally solved the Miguel Gomez dilemma. Two of his last three hitless games have come in the second game of a doubleheader. This time, they sat him in the second game, after he hit a home run in Game 1.
  • Myles Schroder got a pair of hits in Game 1, with his third triple and a walk. He added another hit in Game 2.
  • Andrew Suarez evened his record with a solid game. He has allowed two earned runs in each of his last four games, each of them going between 6 and 7 innings of work.
  • Collin Balester picked up the relief-start in Game 2, going a season-high four innints and doing it well.
  • Reliever Tyler Cyr got the save, despite giving up his 1st run in his last 6 games.
  • Jalen Miller picked up a needed big game, getting his 11th double and third triple of the season. It was his second two-hit game in the last four.
  • Ryan Howard picked up 3 hits, with his 8th double of the year. He’s hitting .341 over his last 10 games.
  • Omar Medina was the only DSL Giant with a multi-hit game on Saturday. The 17-year old has picked up a hit in all but one of his 7 games played.

The Wrap-Up:

I haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet, and I know the movie’s got a bit of a social commentary and discussion going.

But let’s set that aside to admire the uniform the Memphis Redbirds wore on Superhero night, which has more than a nod to Wonder Woman’s famous uniform.

Well done, Memphis. Well done.

And, finally, I don’t know who this is that posted this on Reddit, but an anonymous minor league free agent pitcher posted a detailed warmup routine to a guy asking for help warming up for pitching.

Unfortunately the guy asking was actually in a kickball league, not baseball!

That said, the anonymous pitcher was gracious in his comments and responses to people’s questions. He sounds like a good guy. So, /u/tallguyjp, I’d like to offer you an invite to the San Francisco Giants organization. This is a team that values good guys, and to be honest, there’s opportunities here. So have your agent call up Bobby Evans. You can use me as a reference. I’m not saying it’ll help…but hey, you can.