A year after using nine of their first 10 draft picks on pitchers, the San Francisco Giants got right back to it in the first two days of the 2022 MLB Draft.
I wrote about each of the Giants first five picks — all of whom were pitchers.
The first round saw the drafting of two-way player Reggie Crawford, a lefty and first baseman from Uconn.
The second round yielded lefty Carson Whisenhunt from East Carolina.
In the third round it was righty William Kempner from Gonzaga. Turns out they don’t just play basketball there.
The fourth round belonged to Spencer Miles, a right-hander from Missouri.
And rounding out the first five rounds was Liam Simon, a righty from Notre Dame.
And then the final five rounds of day two — Tuesday will bring 10 more rounds — fired off very quickly. And while the Giants made their first — and second! — position player picks of the draft (excluding the aforementioned two-way play of Crawford), they stayed heavy on the college arms, drafting three more, to bring their two-day total to eight.
Here are the five additional players the Giants drafted:
Round 6 — RHP Hayden Birdsong, Eastern Illinois
2022 stats: 45.2 innings, 3.35 ERA, 1.226 WHIP, 66 strikeouts, 21 walks
Back again at @Normal_Baseball tonight. Hayden Birdsong @EIU_Baseball off to a strong start, sitting 89-90 with some sink and a average CH. 3 up, 3 down with 2 SO in the first @d1baseball pic.twitter.com/CVrNLU1pWX— David Seifert (@DSeifertD1PBR) July 11, 2020
Birdsong instantly becomes one of the best-named prospects in the Giants organization. The Giants will hope he can clean up some of the control, but the strikeout stuff is most certainly there. Playing in the independent Northwoods League in 2022, Birdsong had 31 strikeouts in 17.2 innings.
Round 7 — C Zach Morgan, Fresno State
2022 stats: 253 plate appearances, .381/.454/.592, 1.046 OPS, 8 home runs, 25 walks, 17 strikeouts
B5 | Stand up double hit to right field for Zach Morgan— Fresno State Baseball (@FresnoStateBSB) March 12, 2020
Fresno State 5 | Pacific 3#GoDogs | #PrideOfTheValley pic.twitter.com/UFq6jnPAOw
No, your eyes did not deceive you. In 253 plate appearances last year, Morgan struck out just 17 times.
Morgan doesn’t fit the catcher prototype. He doesn’t have a ton of power, but he makes contact time and time again. Can that play at the next level? Every year, a plethora of college players with sky-high batting averages find out that it’s a lot harder to get hits against professional pitchers. But every year another plethora of them keep it going in the pros (everyone say hi to last year’s 10th-round pick, Vaun Brown).
From a development standpoint, it’s probably easier to increase power than to increase contact, so the Giants are likely quite excited. Plus, he’s a semi-local kid, having been born and raised in Stockton.
Round 8 — OF Wade Meckler, Oregon State
2022 stats: 328 plate appearances, .347/.456/.478, .933 OPS, 2 home runs, 53 walks, 49 strikeouts
Wade Meckler is just peppering the alleys.#GoBeavs pic.twitter.com/NFyTNnv3md— Oregon State Baseball (@BeaverBaseball) April 23, 2022
Well, the Giants certainly have a type. They only drafted two position players in the first 10 picks, and both players had more walks than strikeouts in the 2022 season. Can Meckler keep drawing walks (he had a 16.2% walk rate last year) and limiting strikeouts in the Minor Leagues? If so, he could be a very exciting player. Like Morgan, Meckler isn’t a big power hitter, but that’s less of a concern at his size and position. And the Giants have shown the ability to bring surprising pop out of smaller players (looking at you, Mike Yastrzemski).
Round 9 — LHP Jack Choate, Assumption College
2022 stats: 70.1 innings, 2.43 ERA, 1.009 WHIP, 127 strikeouts, 35 walks
Bravehearts starting pitcher Jack Choate of Assumption via Westboro High records the second of his three Ks in the second inning against Westfield @tgsports @GoAssumptionU @WestboroRangers @WooBaseball pic.twitter.com/UQS3taik9d— Rich Garven (@RichGarvenTG) May 26, 2021
The most important thing about the Giants drafting Choate is that we all get to learn that “Assumption College” is a real thing. Choate was an absolute strikeout artist there, and also has been in his two stints in independent leagues.
Round 10 — LHP John Bertrand, Notre Dame
2022 stats: 109 innings, 2.81 ERA, 1.083 WHIP, 111 strikeouts, 21 walks
The Giants drafted teammates from the Notre Dame rotation, which is all kinds of fun. Keep your eye on Bertrand ... he doesn’t have the high ceiling that many of the players the Giants drafted do, but he could be in San Francisco really soon.
Bertrand was a five-year college player, spending three years at Furman before transferring to Notre Dame for the last two years. He turned 24 in February, so he’s significantly older than the average draft pick.
But as a result, he’s much more ready than the average pick. His body is more developed, and he doesn’t deal with the control issues that plague many pitchers in the draft. Over the last three years, he’s walked just 47 batters in 225.2 innings, while striking out 202 hitters (he struggled to find his strikeouts in his first year at Notre Dame, before upping the number in 2022). If he adapts well to professional baseball, he could be in the Giants bullpen as early as next season.
And those are your first 10 picks, Giants fans. Stay connected to our draft tracker for Wednesday’s action.