In the 6th round, the Giants broke from their pattern, and picked up their first high school pick of the draft.
With the 166th pick in the draft, the Giants took Patrick Hilson (he goes by P.J.), an outfielder from Nettleton Senior High School in Arkansas. He is a speedy center fielder type, highlighted by his 70 grade speed. He’s committed to Alabama.
While his speed is his standout tool, the switch-hitting Hilson has good batspeed and that makes some scouts think he can drive the ball. He is very raw, but Baseball America suggests that he could eventually hit 10-15 home runs a season. He also has a very good arm to help him in center field, as he can pitch up to 93 MPH off the mound. If he goes to college, he’d likely be a two-way player for the Crimson Tide.
Hilson says in an interview that he prefers hitting, “because I really try to smack the crap out of the ball.”
In 2017, he had a .352/.425/.625 batting line with 10 doubles, 4 triples and 2 home runs, with 15 walks against 11 strikeouts (the number of at-bats were not listed). He also had 14 stolen bases.
There’s not out there on high schoolers these days, but here’s a Grand Slam he hit in the 2nd game of a doubleheader last season.
You can also see some video of him and an interview at this link.
The bottom line is that this is another fielding-first center fielder with batting upside, a very common Giants pick.