On Wednesday I talked about the Giants history in the second round of the draft. Today: the Giants history in the third round of the draft. Which round will be next in this series? You’ll have to keep reading to find out!
Best Giants third rounders: Well, that all depends. Because the best third round pick the Giants have ever had in the June draft is actually Mike Benjamin, whose major league career was mostly unimpressive, other than a three day stretch in June 1995 when he collected 14 hits in three games, setting a modern day major league record, and tying Wee Willie Keeler for the all-time record.
But back in the day there were approximately 700 different drafts. Sure, there was always the June draft, but there was also the June secondary draft, and the August draft, and the August secondary draft, and there was the August legion draft, and ... you know what? This is getting off topic. The point is, the Giants had multiple impressive third round draft picks, but in different drafts.
The best overall player the Giants took in any third round was George Foster, who they took in the January draft in 1968. After just 54 major league games across three seasons, the Giants traded Foster to the Reds in mid-1971 in an absolute garbage deal for two players: Vern Geishert and Frank Duffy, who they then traded away with Gaylord Perry at the end of 1971 in another phenomenally garbage deal, so congratulations to Frank Duffy for being part of possibly the two worst trades in Giants history. Foster would go on to win two World Series and one MVP as an integral part of the Big Red Machine. He hit 347 homers in his career. Just 4 were with the Giants.
The other big Giants success story from a third round comes from the secondary phase of the 1970 June draft, when they took Jim Barr. Barr was a good pitcher for the Giants for several years, and a fantastic one from 1974 through 1976, a stretch over which his bWAR was 18. Barr’s career bWAR came out to 30.8, which is a very good major league career. Also, don’t confuse him with Giants scouting director John Barr, like I did until I did some more research.
Who have the Giants taken with the 80th pick? In 1975, the Giants took Garret Strong. Over three years, Strong played for Giants affiliates in Cedar Rapids, Fresno, and Waterbury, Connecticut before hanging up his cleats. Strong was a first baseman and outfielder whose cromulent bat couldn’t keep him in professional baseball. Or not! I’m really just basing that off his Baseball Reference page and assuming his story is the one a contextless web page tells.
Who is the best 80th pick in major league history? Curtis Granderson! Granderson’s had a fantastic career, making three All-Star teams and playing in two World Series. He’s not 100% sure about that whole moon landing business, but otherwise he’s been an admirable player on the field and an admirable person off it.
Granderson’s 80th pick throne is currently safe; there’s no one with even half of his bWAR total of 47.3. Longtime Dodgers catcher Steve Yeager is in second place on the list with 17.9, and the closest active player is Patrick Corbin, whose career bWAR total currently sits at 9.7.
Who have the Giants taken in the third round recently? It’s mostly been a group full of guys whose names you might mention to a Giants fan and hear in response, “Oh right, him.” Dan Ortmeier, John Bowker, Roger Kieschnick, and Chris Dominguez were all third round guys, and each of them certainly tried to play the outfield in the majors. Current third rounders in the system include Chase Johnson, Dylan Davis, Jalen Miller, Heath Quinn, and Seth Corry, all of whom have at least one very exciting tool, but also some glaring issues to work on.
But there is one more guy, and his picture is up at the top. That’s Mac Williamson, of course, who was a third round pick in 2012, and not even the might of those lists I just gave can keep me from the unrealistic expectations I have for him now that he’s changed his swing. Will the next Giants third round pick also be as good as my, frankly, childishly irrational hopes for Williamson? Only time will tell. But also yes.