The 196th pick feels like a good stopping point (it’s almost 200 picks into the draft, after all), and so this post ends our brief trip down MLB Draft memory lane. The Giants have certainly had their share of startling and breakthrough successes, but also heaps of forgettable names — as every team does. It depends on your perspective, too. The draft is either a quantity over quality situation or vice versa. With such a high draft position this season, we’d like to think the Giants will manage the feat of combining quality with quantity, and given how unpredictable prospects can be, we can’t say that won’t happen.
For reference, this year’s #196 will be in the 7th round.
Best Giants seventh rounders:
For some reason, the only player poster I had on my wall growing up was Mike Aldrete’s. I’m pretty sure I had the Bash Brothers and Pacific Sock Exchange posters up, too, but neither of them lasted as long as Aldrete’s. It might’ve been the placement in my room — I just didn’t look at it all the time, so it escaped all the room changes that happened as I grew up — but it always struck me as odd that his was the only poster I had. After all, Will Clark was my favorite player at the time.
So, even though I can’t tell you why I had Mike Aldrete’s poster up in my room all those years — I can’t find it anywhere online, but I remember it had an orange border — I can tell you that I did have Mike Aldrete’s poster on my bedroom wall from ages 7-13; and, at some point between the ages of 7-13, I thought, for a moment, that he was Mario Andretti, or at least had quit baseball to become a race car driver.
Was it an autographed poster? Hmm. Maybe.
The Giants drafted him in 1983, and even though he’s gone on to coach for two teams that go out of their ways to dump on the Giants, the Cardinals and the A’s, he remains their most successful 7th round draft pick in team history, accumulating 8.8 wins above average, 6.4 of that with the Giants from 1986-1988. He’s a Bay Area kid (Stanford grad) and was expected to be the left fielder of the future. It didn’t quit work out that way and I’d be hard-pressed to recall any specific memories about his playing days, but he did manage to be on my wall in poster form for many, many years.
There was no formative adolescent experience in my bedroom (lol me), so I’ll never be able to use “Mike Aldrete Poster” as the title of a short story or TV episode I’ll write based on that experience, but I’m pretty sure that if I live long enough to forget most of my life, one of the things I won’t forget is that poster.
Besides Aldrete, there was Gary Thomasson. He was similar to Aldrete in that he was a left-handed left fielder/first baseman. He played in 604 games for the Giants from 1972-1977 and in 1,910 plate appearances had an OPS+ of exactly 100. So... perfectly average in every way.
His career WAR is 6.9. He played 6 of 9 seasons with the Giants. He was drafted in 1969.
Who have the Giants taken with the 196th pick?
They’ve had the 196th pick one other time in their history, and that was in 2001, when it was actually a 6th round pick. They used it to select RHP David Cash out of Cal. He was a reliever who did not make it to the big leagues.
Who is the best 196th pick in major league history?
Tim Wallach (38.5 WAR career) was drafted by the Angels in 1978, but he didn’t sign with them and instead went 10th overall the following year to the Montreal Expos. For those who are too young to know about the Expos, allow me to explain: the Washington Nationals went through a super-duper Canadian phase before they grew up and started working for the federal government.
Wallach had 2,085 hits across a 17-year career. He is now Don Mattingly’s bench coach in Miami.
Who have the Giants taken in the seventh round recently?
The last three players the Giants have drafted in the 7th round to make it to the big leagues all had positive WAR. You will be stunned when I list them, so, just prepare yourself.
Sitting down... or otherwise prepared?
Erick Threets (drafted in 2000; 0.5 WAR)...
Pat Misch (drafted in 2003; 0.5 WAR)...
The Brett Pill.
The man who homered off of Clayton Kershaw, despite MLB’s best efforts to scrub it from existence. The same Brett Pill who started The Belt Wars.
He was drafted in 2006 and registered 0.6 wins above replacement, but he was so much more. He was the all or nothing hitter who got all of Clayton Kershaw once. He was seemingly the first Giant to let the other Giants know that Clayton Kershaw could be beaten.
He also inspired so much discussion and fan noise that it feels like a hazy dream that defies belief. But it actually happened. For many years, lots of people — perhaps thousands — of Giants fans thought the first baseman of the future as not Brandon Belt but Brett Pill.
Who knows if the Giants will grab the next Brett Pill in the 7th round. Like I said before, it’s a miracle when any of these guys graduate to the big leagues. If the Giants do draft someone who helps the big league team, then it will have been a successful pick, regardless of the performance heights. Making it to the majors is just that difficult. But that’s the beauty of the gamble: you never know what might happen.
In the meantime, here’s a Brett Pill highlight video to finish off your weekend.