We’re drawing close to the draft, which takes place on June 10 and 11. The shift from 50 rounds to 5 — a response to the coronavirus pandemic — will have a huge and unfortunate impact on the draft this year, but for mock purposes not much has changed. Mocks typically only cover the first round, and that won’t be all that much different this year, although teams and scouts will have less info and footage to work with (and teams who have furloughed or laid off scouts will have fewer brains in the room).
As we get closer to the actual day, mock drafts typically start to narrow their focus and get a little more accurate. The latest crop of mocks is starting to point towards the San Francisco Giants selecting prep catcher Tyler Soderstrom.
I’ve made my thoughts on the draft clear a few times, but to repeat: I am firmly in favor of taking the best player available rather than drafting from need. The fact that the Giants have a franchise catcher in Buster Posey, with a highly-touted prospect waiting in the wings shouldn’t keep the team from drafting another catcher with a high pick, if that’s the best player.
The odds of the 13th pick in a draft even making the majors as a productive player are already slim. The odds of them doing that at the position they were drafted at, for the team that drafted them are a fair bit slimmer still. And in baseball’s long history, I can think of zero times when having too many good players was a problem.
Position aside, Soderstrom would be a sentimental pick since his father, Steve, was chosen 6th overall by the Giants in the 1993 MLB Draft (a draft that produced just one All-Star in the top ten picks, but that All-Star was Alex Rodriguez). Steve didn’t have a successful MLB career, but he did retire undefeated, going 2-0 in 13.2 innings for the 1996 Giants.
Anyway, onto the mocks. Click on the player’s name to see that mock draft. Click here for Fangraphs’ big board.
Carlos Collazo, Baseball America
Like a few teams mentioned above, the Giants have been linked to Soderstrom, who’s probably more power over hit at the moment but has plenty of upside even if he doesn’t stick behind the plate. He also performed at an exceptional level over the summer. Soderstrom’s name has been talked about enough that he should be off the board at some point among the first 15-17 picks.
Fangraphs ranking: 21
Fangraphs FV: 45
Like I said, gaining steam. This time of year, a lot of that steam comes from intel.
Kiley McDaniel, ESPN+
The Giants sound open-minded when it comes to demographics. There’s buzz that Soderstrom will go in the middle of the round, and this is one of the rumored landing spots, along with Colorado at No. 9.
It’s starting to feel like the Giants will take Soderstrom if he’s available at 13. That’s a notable “if,” though.
Eric Longenhagen, Fangraphs
There are some teams that are apprehensive about drafting Howard, whose high school team only practiced a few times before the pandemic shut down youth athletics nationwide. A different cut of the industry thinks what we all saw last summer (Howard hit well on the showcase circuit) was sufficient to have him on the board pretty strong, around the top 10. I fall into the latter camp.
The Giants seem to be kicking the tires on several higher upside high schoolers (Pennsylvania high school righty Nick Bitsko, NorCal catcher Tyler Soderstrom) and they took a player with a truncated track record last year in Hunter Bishop.
Fangraphs ranking: 11
Fangraphs FV: 45+
Ahh, we’ve finally broken away from Soderstrom, but even so, he gets a mention in Longenhagen’s write up. Fangraphs seems lower on Soderstrom than most, with the catcher sitting at 21 on both their big board and mock draft.
I’ve made my preference known with players like Howard: Take the high-upside players who would likely be ranked higher if people could actually be watching them play.
Joe Tansey, Bleacher Report
Fangraphs ranking: 20
Fangraphs FV: 45
It seems that in this draft, with the coronavirus keeping players from playing games or doing showcases, that no picks are more controversial or uncertain than prep pitchers. Though prep pitchers already elicit a wide range of opinions.
In conclusion, the Giants are absolutely either going to draft Tyler Soderstrom or someone else. Book it.