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Talking draft with Christopher Crawford

Division Series - Washington Nationals v San Francisco Giants - Game Three Photo by Pool/Getty Images

On Monday night, the Giants will make their highest selection in the draft since they plucked Will Clark out of Mississippi St. in 1985. Even team officials are pointing at this draft as a crucial opportunity to refill a system that has been thinned out pretty severely. It’s probably not an overstatement to say that careers may be defined by what the team does over the next three days. And all they need to do is find another Will Clark (or even Matt Williams or Madison Bumgarner!). No pressure. Do I have your attention? It’s something of a big deal!

So what better time to welcome back our old friend, Christopher Crawford. Christopher has been scouting prospects since before most of us were born, and has written about baseball for nearly everybody. He’s currently writing for NBC/Rotoworld, while blessing us all with the worst puns of all time on his twitter feed, which you should definitely follow.

McCovey Chronicles

So Christopher! Thanks for joining us Welcome back to our annual exercise of discussing exactly the player the Giants are going to draft! You may remember this from such previous editions as our discussing Heliot Ramos in 2017, and Christopher pointing at Heath Quinn as a likely target for the Giants with their first or second pick in 2016.

This year should be easier, what with the #2 overall pick and all. So let’s ask the million dollar question: Who’s it going to be at #2?

Christopher Crawford
I think it’s going to be Cole Winn, assuming Casey Mize doesn’t go with the first pick. If Mize does get passed over for Joey Bart or whomever the Tigers decide to play the signing game, then I think the GIants will jump all over it and take the player who is easily the best player in the draft.

McCovey Chronicles
That surprises me, to be honest. There’s an awful lot of data over the past 15 years or so that says HS pitchers taken at the top of the draft are an incredibly risky profile. What is it about Winn that makes him stand out enough to justify that risk?

Christopher Crawford
I think it’s a mistake, personally. Winn is an interesting player, but this would pretty clearly -- to me -- be someone you could get below slot and then go for high-profile guys at 45. That’s not to say Winn isn’t good -- potential for two swing-and-miss pitches, good pitching frame, repeats his delivery well -- but I’d prefer to go with someone like Swaggerty, Bohm, etc.

McCovey Chronicles
If some weird voodoo happened and Casey Mize didn’t get the call from Detroit, is he the no-brainer pick for the Giants?

Christopher Crawford:
I don’t think it’s a no-brainer, per se, but it sure would be surprising to see him not go in the first two selections. He’s just head and shoulders above the rest of this class. He should be the first pick. There shouldn’t be this much debate.

McCovey Chronicles
How do you personally line up the college top bats group of Bohm, Bart, Madrigal, Swaggarty, and India. Do any of those guys not belong in a top 5 discussion?

Christopher Crawford:
I have the order Swaggarty, Bohm, Madrigal, Bart, India. In my personal opinion, Bart and India aren’t top five picks. That’s not to say they don’t offer value; I just think there’s issues with both that make them not worthy of that high of a selection.

McCovey Chronicles
There has been word on the virtual street that the Giants are not interested in Nick Madrigal, who others see as one of the best hitters and players in the draft. Are you hearing this too and if so, do you have any insight as to why the supposed antipathy?

Christopher Crawford
I haven’t heard that specifically with the Giants. I have heard some teams are much more enamored with Madrigal, and I get it to a point. There’s some risk here; he’s not playing shortstop, and the hit tool is going to have to maximize. He’s just such a smart player -- and I think the hit tool will maximize -- that I would love to have him in my organization.

McCovey Chronicles
My pet theory is that in a pitching heavy draft, grab the bat you like at the top and then wait for the depth of arms to work in your favor in Round 2. That’s a long wait for the Giants as their second pick doesn’t come until 45. What kind of arms should be available at that point who might look like great value picks in a couple of years.

Christopher Crawford
It’s really tough to say, because there are so many arms that have similar ratings at this point. J.T. Ginn has a lot of effort in the delivery and needs a third pitch, but the fastball/slider combo is impressive. Owen White has as complete of arsenal as any pitcher on the prep side, and while he doesn’t have huge upside, his floor is very impressive. Gunnar Hoglund, Jaden Hill, and Lyon Richardson all would be solid value here as well.

McCovey Chronicles
Three specific HS I’m interested in at the 2nd round are RHP J.T. Ginn and Jayson Schroeder, and SS Xavier Edwards. How well do you think that trio stacks up against some of their peers who are being discussed at the higher ends of the draft?

Christopher Crawford
We talked about Ginn earlier, but I am a fan. I think he’d be excellent value t to get in round two or three, probably round two. Schroeder gets really mixed reviews. He certainly has the frame you’re looking for, but the stuff outside of the fastball is pretty average. Edwards is one of the best defenders at the position, but some questions about the bat, and he might be a very tough sign as a Vanderbilt commit. They’re all solid, but Ginn is the get there.

McCovey Chronicles
There’s no great reason to ask about him, as he’s almost certainly not going to be around at 45, but what’s your take on Jordyn Adams? And where do you think he would go in the draft based on talent only, if the signability factor weren’t so high with him?

Christopher Crawford
Adams is one of the more volatile prospects to me. The athleticism is really impressive; he’s at the top of the scales with his speed and he can go get the baseball in the outfield. My question is if he can hit. There’s a lot to iron out with the swing, and he’s shown a great deal of inconsistency. He’s right around the top 50 for me, but he’s really divisive. I think he probably goes on Day 1.

McCovey Chronicles
In a similar vein, one of personal faves in this draft (as he was coming out of HS) is Kyler Murray. And it’s not just because he’s a legacy Giant! (which he is). On talent where does Murray fit in this draft? Is he signable? Where will he end up going off the board?

Christopher Crawford
Very tough to say. In terms of talent, he’s a first-rounder; probably the back-half. The chance to be the starting quarterback at Oklahoma, however, means that isn’t going to happen. I think someone will take a chance on Murray on Day 3 and hope they can work some stuff out, but my guess is he’s on the gridiron for the Sooners in 2018.

McCovey Chronicles
Do you have any sleeper favorites for the 3-6 round areas?

Christopher Crawford
He might go a bit earlier than this, but I’m a big fan of Jonathan Stiever. Two plus pitches, pounds the strike zone with those two and a solid change. He’d be solid value in that area, to be sure. Gage Ganning is another one; there’s no real standout tool here, but there’s no real weakness. A high-floor outfielder is always good.

McCovey Chronicles
Are there any HS bats who are both signable and worth signing in that area?

Christopher Crawford
I think someone like Blaze Alexander might fit that bill. Should stick at short, cannon for an arm, could move him to the mound if he doesn’t hit. Charles Mack might be tough to sign, but he’d be an interesting risk in round 3 or 4 because of his plus power from the left side

McCovey Chronicles
Do you have any personal cheeseballs for Days 2 and 3 that you’ll be excited to see come off the board and believe in?

Christopher Crawford
Always. Bryce Montes De Oca is massive (6’7/255) and he has two swing-and-miss pitches. He doesn’t know where those pitches are going, but, we’ve seen the Giants take this type of profile before. Cal Raleigh is one of the most underrated prospects in this draft to me; he’s smart, he can stay behind the plate (in my opinion) and he’s performed. Why he doesn’t get more top 100 talk, I don’t understand. And finally, Jake Mangum has seen his stock fall, but I like him. There’s no power, but he can fly, and he could move quickly through his system if he hits just enough. I think he just might.


Many thanks to Christopher Crawford for annually taking the time to do this for us. Can’t wait to see what happens, both with the pick Monday night — and the twitter reactions! Find us a Thrill, Giants!