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SF Giants 2018 Draft Preview - 3 Weeks Left

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A big part of the Giants’ offseason strategy was “Don’t give up a draft pick.”  What kind of player will that get them?

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  v Colorado Rockies
Trevor Story was the #45 overall pick once. Who will the Giants take? (Also, our photo partners don’t get pictures of college baseball talent, so I have to put a Rockie on the cover...)
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Trying to predict the first round of an MLB draft is hard. Trying to predict the second round or beyond? Crazy.

Eh, we’re crazy. We’re all crazy. Just deal with it and move on.

Much of the Giants’ strategy in the offseason was to not give away a draft pick by signing one of the free agents who would demand draft pick compensation. This year, the draft pick that would have been lost would have been their second round pick, #45 overall. Second round picks can still be very valuable. Trevor Story and Jed Lowrie were #45 overall picks. Joey Votto was a #44. Scott Rolen and Jimmy Rollins were #46 picks.

So, who could the Giants find at #45 overall this year? Here are 8 possibilities I think the Giants are considering.

Nander de Sedas - SS, Monteverde Academy (FL)

Remember when he was in the discussion at #2? A poor spring has him moving down draft boards, and he might still be signable in the 2nd round rather than going to FSU. He’s raw, but has hit and power tools and could stay at shortstop, though his lack of speed might make him a third baseman.

Will Banfield - C, Brookwood HS (GA)

Banfield has the highest defensive ceiling of any catcher in the draft, but he still has solid potential with the bat despite a poor offensive spring. That poor spring might get him down to a second round level. But he checks off every other box already, with good receiving and framing skills, a 70 arm, and the leadership one wants from a catcher. He could be as good as a Buster Posey replacement as a team could reasonably find.

Kris Bubic, LHP, Stanford

With a fastball that can fluctuate between high-80’s and mid 90’s, Bubic has his strikeout pitch in his changeup. He has the same arm slot with the change as with the fastball, and the better his fastball velocity is up, the change is even more killer. He’s got a growing curve as well, and a strong performance in the Cape Cod League last summer.

Sean Hjelle, RHP, Kentucky

At 6’11”, Hjelle would be tied for the tallest major leaguer ever if he makes it. His fastball is in the low 90’s, but he obviously works with such a downward plane it’s tough to hit. He has a slow knuckle-curve as his best pitch, but has a slider and change in his mix at well. He could still add strength, but he works off of angles and movement for success.

Jordyn Adams - OF, Green Hope HS (NC)

Also committed as a football player with UNC, there’s questions about his signability, but the right team might be able to get him. He’s a wide receiver, so his 75 run tool makes him a natural center fielder. He’s shown a very good hit tool with his hand-eye coordination, and has a lot to work with if a team can get him to focus on baseball.

Lenny Torres Jr. - RHP, Beacon HS (NY)

A true NYC product, the high schooler is a young draftee (he turns 18 in October) and can already sit around 93, and touch 96-97. He works mostly off his fastball, but has a slider and changeup that could be developed. He’s committed to St. John’s, and there’s debate of whether he’s a starter or reliever, but that decision will have to do with how well the team that drafts him develops him.

Owen White - RHP, Carson HS (NC)

White was a QB prospect, but he dropped football to focus on baseball (and plays basketball as well). He has four pitches that should be solid or better, including a fastball that can sit 93-95, but fluctuates. He also has a high spin rate on his fastball. He’s got good athleticism, and should develop well as a pro, if he signs.

Joe Gray - OF, Hattiesburg HS (MS)

Gray gets the “Toolsy” description, with power and a strong arm headlining his tools. He’s got excellent bat speed, though he predictably struggles with strikeouts at times. He’s a very good fielder and can fit in either center or right field, particularly with his arm strength. A team will have to develop him, but he’s got home run potential (literally and metaphorically)

Recent Updates and Mock Drafts

(remember to click on bold text as those are usually links)

  • Baseball America released its latest mock draft, but before I give you that update, check out this paragraph:

There is no clear No. 2 player in this class right now, and the second player on one preference list may be 10th on someone else’s board. That kind of uncertainty will likely lead to plenty of deal-making. As one agent put it, the top 10 will be filled with players making below-slot deals, finding the best landing spot they can in a draft where teams may not be completely sold on anyone.

Deal-making, to have money to try and lure “unsignable” high schoolers later is an interesting idea, but will it happen in practice? Who knows.

Anyways, onto the actual Mock Draft, and it has the Giants picking catcher Joey Bart. Other names the Giants have been connected with: Bohm at #3, Singer at #5, Liberatore at #7, McClanahan at #9, Stewart at #15(!).

  • Baseball America has also updated it’s Draft Rankings (as opposed to the mock draft). It puts Liberatore at #2, Singer at #4, Bohm at #6 and Bart at #7. There’s a lot of good info, if you’re a subscriber.
  • 2080 Baseball also did their first mock draft of the season. They took the Giants in a different direction, with high school OF Jarred Kelenic as their pick. 2080 does not try to get inside info or anything like that, they say they are focused more on overall talent and what they know as organizational preferences, which as we said last week, is hard to judge with the Giants.

Roger, however, might agree with this one:

  • PrepBaseballReport recently updated their Draft Prospect Rankings. It’s an…interesting list, and it might be worth pointing out they only just now put Mize at #1. I don’t know if that’s a recommendation for or against this list…probably the latter, but here it is.
  • KNBR posted a podcast with Larry Krueger talking to JJ Cooper from Baseball America. This gets to be a bit more Giants-specific than BA’s normal stuff, so you might like listening to it. It does talk more about the idea of saving money for later picks, and hitters versus pitchers. They mention a few names, but Cooper mentions a lot of the high-schoolers (especially RHPs) are not looking good at #2 and might be there later. You also get to hear Larry Krueger talk about how the Giants were looking not to sacrifice the #2 overall pick from signing free agents, because Larry Krueger is still horrible at knowing stuff.
  • Bless You Boys (SB Nation’s Tiger site) has a look at Brady Singer and how his value has fallen…but not much.
  • Lone Star Ball (SB Nation’s Ranger site) has a preview of Carter Stewart.
  • Calvin Murray’s son, Kyler Murray, is in line to be the starting QB of Oklahoma. He’s also a center fielder ranked in the 30s-40s by most rankings. What will be his sport choice?
  • A quickie twitter scouting report on Ethan Hankins, who is not in the mix for #2 overall, but is starting to look like he might be there in the second round...or maybe not, if he keeps pitching like this.
  • Not about the 2018 draft, but ESPN just “re-drafted” the 2008 draft first round. If you want to complain about Giants drafts, this is a good counter argument. Buster Posey OBVIOUSLY is now the #1 pick overall. But ESPN’s #2 overall pick in the redraft? The Giants 4th round pick, Brandon Crawford. Very, very nice, G-men.