If you’ve been avoiding baseball news for the last week — and I certainly don’t blame you if you have been — then you missed the San Francisco Giants adding seven players in the 2020 MLB Draft. You also missed a whole bunch of crap that, trust me, you don’t want to be informed about.
So let’s stick to the draft stuff.
The Giants added players in each of the five rounds, plus two players in the compensation round, as a kind gesture from the league following the departures of Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith. Those picks ended up being 13, 49, 67, 68, 85, 114, and 144.
What can we expect from those picks? Realistically, basically nothing. Even a mid-first round pick is overwhelmingly likely to be a near replacement-level player or worse. Unlike in many sports and leagues, MLB talent doesn’t come from where you expect it, because you don’t really expect it anywhere. Instead you just hope for it. And occasionally you’re rewarded, often in the form of a first round pick, and occasionally in the form of a much later pick.
If you look at the average outcome of the Giants seven slots — even at 13 — you’ll be underwhelmed. But if you look at the best outcome at those slots? Well, suddenly things get more interesting.
So let’s look at the 20 drafts before this one, and find the best player selected at each of the Giants slots. This is a slightly silly endeavor, because many star players (including Brandon Belt!) were drafted even after the Giants final spot, reinforcing the notion that it’s all a crapshoot. But hey, it’s fun and potentially even interesting.
All stats via Fangraphs.
Who the Giants selected: North Carolina State C Patrick Bailey
The best pick from the last 20 years: LHP Chris Sale, 2010
Sale’s career: 10+ years in MLB, still active, 31 years old
Sale’s career WAR: 44.5 and counting
Sale’s peak WAR: 7.6
Honorable mention: Trea Turner (26 years old, 14.3 WAR and counting) Aaron Hill (13-year career, 21.0 WAR)
Who the Giants selected: San Diego State 3B/RHP Casey Schmitt
The best pick from the last 20 years: RHP Chris Tillman, 2006
Tillman’s career: 10 years in MLB
Tillman’s career WAR: 9.2
Tillman’s peak WAR: 2.5
Honorable mention: Jesse Winker (26 years old, 2.3 WAR and counting, 50 FV), Xavier Nady (12-year career, 3.5 WAR), Sean Reid-Foley (24 years old, 0.1 WAR and counting, 45 FV)
Who the Giants selected: North Carolina State LHP Nick Swiney
The best pick from the last 20 years: RHP Jordan Zimmermann, 2007
Zimmermann’s career: 11+ years in MLB, still active, 34 years old
Zimmermann’s career WAR: 25.4
Zimmermann’s peak WAR: 5.4
Honorable mention: Kurt Suzuki (36 years old, 10.0 WAR and counting), Chad Qualls (14-year career, 5.6 WAR)
Who the Giants selected: Dallas Baptist SS Jimmy Glowenke
The best pick from the last 20 years: LHP Jason Vargas, 2004
Vargas’ career: 14+ years in MLB, still active, 37 years old
Vargas’ career WAR: 17.5
Vargas’ peak WAR: 3.3
Honorable mention: Drew Smyly (31 years old, 8.4 WAR and counting), Chris Snyder (10-year career, 7.4 WAR), Daulton Varsho (23 years old, AA, 50 FV)
Who the Giants selected: De La Salle LHP Kyle Harrison
The best pick from the last 20 years: LHP Alex Wood, 2012
Woods’ career: 7+ years in MLB, still active, 29 years old
Woods’ career WAR: 13.6
Woods’ peak WAR: 3.1
Honorable mention: Tyler O’Neill (24 years old, 1.5 WAR and counting, 50 FV), Zach Britton (32 years old, 9.8 WAR and counting), Nick Ahmed (30 years old, 4.3 WAR and counting)
Who the Giants selected: Arizona State RHP R.J. Dabovich
The best pick from the last 20 years: RHP Jonathan Papelbon, 2003
Papelbon’s career: 12 years in MLB
Papelbon’s career WAR: 19.4
Papelbon’s peak WAR: 3.1
Honorable mention: Joey Lucchesi (27 years old, 3.1 WAR and counting, 50 FV), Jeff Keppinger (9-year career, 3.8 WAR), Justin Maxwell (7-year career, 3.1 WAR)
Who the Giants selected: Le Moyne RHP Ryan Murphy
The best pick from the last 20 years: LHP Justin Wilson, 2008
Wilson’s career: 8+ years in MLB, still active, 32 years old
Wilson’s career WAR: 5.4
Wilson’s peak WAR: 1.5
Honorable mention: Lane Thomas (24 years old, 0.7 WAR and counting, 40+ FV)
Well there you have that. Let that fill you with excitement, or pop the bubble of excitement that you had. Your choice.