This week’s batch of mock drafts all brand the Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart a San Francisco Giant after next Monday’s draft. All of that is based on their industry insiders telling them the Giants are “connected” to him. They’ve scouted him heavily, of course, and the conjecture by sites like Sporting News shed some light on why that might be:
... current starter Buster Posey isn’t getting any younger and a move to first base could happen in a few years’ time, lining up perfectly with when the Giants could expect Bart to be ready for a call to the big leagues.
Jim Callis over at MLB.com also has the Giants taking Bart #2, but his blurb for the team reads as being at odds with what we might actually know about the Giants this year and beyond:
2. Giants: Joey Bart, C, Georgia Tech
Mize and Bart, easily the best catcher available, likely will go 1-2 or 2-1. If San Francisco decides to take a deep discount to save extra money for later picks, it could cut a deal with California high school right-hander Cole Winn.
Yes, I’m about to make a leap here using psychology that might not be entirely based on the evidence available to me, and I know far less than the industry-connected people writing up these mock drafts; however, it seems to me that the Giants are in a position where they can’t draft a high school player because their “window” is more or less now and by the time a high schooler of any position can contribute, the fanbase will have been so alienated by the profound amount of losing and the end of the Warriors’ dynasty that they’ll have migrated to esports, permanently, lost forever.
So, if an insider-type like Callis is just making idle speculation, we can make the leap that Sporting News and Baseball America are as well. Sure, the Giants might just take the best available player on the board, but that best player on the board is certainly up for debate, and it reads as though these mock drafts are slotting in at #2 who they believe to be the second best available player and not who they believe the Giants believe to be the second best player available (this is all assuming Casey Mize is the first overall pick).
It’s never a good idea to assume that the Giants agree with industry consensus. They very often don’t. That’s partly why they were able to draft so well and succeed as an organization from 2006-2016: they basically do their own thing. But these drafts are basically saying that the face of the franchise is old and since the industry believes the second best player in the draft is a catcher, of course the Giants are going to take Bart.
Do the mock draft people think Buster Posey’s a fading star so they’re boosting Joey Bart’s profile a because they believe the Giants should take him? Do they think the Giants are so desperate to have an All-Star catcher front their organization that they’re fanning the flames around the player to make it happen?
One minor, yet important, difference here is that in 2008, Buster Posey was considered the best amateur hitter in the nation who just so happened to play catcher. There’s not the same consensus in this year’s crop, though there seems to be a split between Wichita State’s 3B Alec Bohm and middle infielder Nick Madrigal of Oregon State. If the Giants are looking to draft a capable hitter who can contribute right away, Bart doesn’t jump out as the strongest choice.
Over at Minor Lines, Roger and Kevin have said that the Giants aren’t as secretive as they used to be in terms of prospects and personnel, and we know from his public comments in the offseason that Bobby Evans has been a lot more open about the team’s thought process, so, it’s very possible the orange and black smoke is a Giants fire.
But we do know the Giants need top of the rotation starting pitching and they need it fast. We do know the Giants will need great hitters who aren’t just “great hitters for their position”. We do know the Giants like to overreach on picks to save money down the draft. This last bit of strategy is unlikely to change given that Sabean and a lot of familiar faces are still making decisions about the draft. How the new personnel shape the responses to those first two sentences will tell us a lot more about how the organization will work going forward.
What do you think? Will the Giants go along with what the industry says they should do? Will they forge their own path as they’ve usually done? Do you believe whatever player they get they will try to fast-track to the major leagues by 2020 at the very latest? Do you think this player will be a huge bust? Do you think this article was: 1) rambling, pointless 2) really stupid, extraordinarily pointless 3) a strong reminder that you’ve wasted a chunk of your day reading a stupid, rambling, extraordinarily pointless article?