We haven’t seen any 6th rounders drafted by any team after 2014 make it to the big leagues, so here’s a spot where we (and the Giants) shouldn’t look for quick help. It absolutely must be noted that the Giants drafted Steven Duggar in this round of the 2015 draft, and that’s important because he and the Giants do expect him to help at some point next season or beyond.
Furthermore, the 6th round in the Sabean era has not gone particularly well for our favorite baseball team. 6 of the 21 picks made by his regime have reached the majors and combined for a -5.0 WAR.
So, with that said, here we go...
Best Giants sixth rounders:
It’s that guy in the picture. Joe Nathan was drafted in 1995 as a starter before redefining himself as a closer for the Twins after they acquired him in the A.J. Pierzynski/Francisco Liriano trade. Grant wrote a 10-year retrospective on that deal, and I think it’s safe to say that the shock of that move has long since passed. You can definitely look at it as one of those moves where the acquiring team turned the player into something perhaps the trading team could not have foreseen or was simply incapable of doing themselves, and a team with Robb Nen on the roster probably wasn’t as interested in surveying what they had to remake a guy.
Don’t forget about John Burkett, though. He wound up with 19.1 wins above replacement for his career, and he won 22 games for the Giants in 1993, which is deceptive because his ERA+ was 107. To me, he represents the quintessential Giants pitcher of my lifetime: an average innings eater with major league quality stuff and the “street smarts” to gut out six innings. I like that he became a stronger starter in the backend of his career when he joined Atlanta, because that was during their run when they acquired savvy veteran starters who weren’t hobbled entirely by injury. Whatever collective unconscious phrase Leo Mazzone whispered to his pitchers to make them harness their genetic talents to their fullest, Burkett heard it and his body reacted accordingly, but I do love that one of the more name-able pitchers in recent Giants pitching was simply perfectly average.
Who have the Giants taken with the 166th pick?
Scott Wolff (1971), George Torassa (1977), Justin Knoedler (2001).
Knoedler is one of the aforementioned -5 WAR guys of the Sabean era and in my quick look of the archives, he doesn’t seem to have made much of a ripple on this site, other than being mentioned alongside other names. That’s a remarkable run of being mentioned but never a focus.
It’s sort of how the “K” in his name is silent: there’s just something about him that’s forgettable. As my esteemed colleague, Doug Bruzzone, reminds me: you totally can hear the K in his name. Another reminder that I am an idiot.
Scott Wolff, for reference, had nothing to do with Fox’s Party of Five TV show nor the movie Go. George Torassa shows up in a Google search as a chef in Napa Valley. At least, that’s what he was doing last century.
Who is the best 166th pick in major league history?
Wade Boggs. 3,010 hits in his career. No matter how great his baseball accomplishments, however, he can’t shake the story of the time he drank 64 beers on a cross country flight.
Look! Here he is on Pardon the Interruption, denying the story.
Here is a popular show pushing that legend.
And here he is on Cheers (can’t embed)! For the kids, Cheers is a TV show that made The Good Place’s Ted Danson a star.
Who have the Giants taken in the sixth round recently?
Right, so, back to those Sabean era pics. Besides Knoedler and Duggar, this is the spot where the Billy Sadlers of the world have joined the organization. Literally, Billy Sadler in 2003, but also Kevin Joseph before that. Jesse English (drafted in 2002, claimed by the Nats in 2008), Ryan Rohlinger (2006), Eric Surkamp (2008), Mike Kickham (2010) all followed. But the most recent notable of this bunch is our old friend Josh Osich (2011).
Anytime a player reaches the major leagues, that draft pick has to be considered a success. The statistical value of that success might not always be significant, but when you consider the sheer volume of failure associated with the game of baseball, it makes more sense for organizations to limit the grading to “pass/fail”. As Doug and I have said throughout this series, the Giants simply need to pass these early rounds.