The San Francisco Giants have drafted the next Bryce Harper, the next Clayton Kershaw, and the next Madison Bumgarner. Well, probably not. It’s hard to see what exactly will come of these picks. Because the Giants have had so many late round picks succeed in the past few years, it becomes incredibly difficult to project their ceilings. For every late round bust, the Giants have pulled a diamond out of the latter rounds. For every Gary Brown, there is a Matt Duffy; for every Buster Posey, there is a Nick Vander Tuig.
Thanks to the signing of RFA Jeff Samardzija, the Giants lost their first round draft pick. They didn’t get their first pick until after fifty-eight other players had come off the board. While it’s too early to tell, the likelihood that any of these guys turn into the next Harper is next to nothing. So what are these players ceilings, and how can you expect them to develop over the next couple of years? Let’s look at the Giants first five draft selections.
Giants 2016 Draft Review
Round 2, Pick 59 Overall: Bryan Reynolds, CF, Vanderbilt University
The switch-hitting outfielder from Vanderbilt University was selected in the second round as the Giants first pick of the 2016 draft. In his three seasons at Vanderbilt, Reynolds appeared in 206 games. His college slash line was .329/.413/.508/.921. He drove in 160 runs in his three years at Vanderbilt, combined with a successful stolen base percentage of 75% (39 steals). He did strike out a lot in his first two years, but improved his plate discipline in his third season. His K/BB ratio went from 2.16 to a solid 1.18. He also picked up nearly the same amount of walks (49) he did in his first two seasons combined (54).
Last summer, he played for the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod League, regarded as one of the most competitive summer leagues for college players. In twenty-one games, he posted a .346 average, good for second on the team, and led the team in OBP (.459). The biggest knock against him is his arm strength, which is relatively below average. As an above average fielder, with a below average arm, it’s likely that the Giants make him switch over to left field.
Bottom Line: If he reaches his full potential, he could end up being a Denard Span or Angel Pagan. His plate discipline, on base percentage, and hitting approach make him the perfect candidate to be a leadoff hitter. The Giants have never really produced a true power bat of their own, and so don’t expect them to start trying just yet. Reynolds won’t be that guy, but Giants fans should hope he turns out better than Brown.
Round 3, Pick 95 Overall: Heath Quinn, RF, Samford University
The Giants sent a clear message with their first two picks: they like their organizational pitching depth. Knowing they have fewer position players at the top of their prospect rankings than pitchers, the Giants made a clear attempt this draft to even that out. Taking another outfielder, this time a power hitter, signaled their intent to develop position players from within the organization. Heath Quinn is a 6’2″ right fielder from Samford. He hit forty-four home runs in his three years at Samford, and drove in a total of 181 runs. While he did struggle with strikeouts, his plate discipline improved this season; his K/BB ratio shifted from 2.10 to 1.25.
Like Reynolds, he spent the summer of 2015 playing in the Cape Cod League. He finished second on the team in batting average (.317), but did not display the same type of power he did while at Samford. Some of that can be chalked up to the competition level in the CCL. He is tabbed as a slightly above average fielder, with a slightly above average outfield arm. He won’t blow you away with speed, but that just isn’t really a necessary trait of his game.
The Bottom Line: Quinn projects as a future middle-of-the-lineup player if all goes well. He can hit for average, and does have home run power. However, his fielding and arm strength may have to jump another level for him to become an everyday player for the Giants.
Round 4, Pick 125 Overall: Matt Krook, LHP, University of Oregon
Krook is an interesting prospect, and the Giants are really taking a big chance on him. Krook is a San Francisco native who was drafted 35th overall by the Miami Marlins in 2013. He elected to go to Oregon and really improve his craft. After his stellar freshman year, Krook had to undergo Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2015 season with Oregon.
He was able to get throwing in time to grab a spot in the Cape Cod League for the 2015 summer. His poor performances in the CCL and the 2016 College Baseball season can be chalked up to how much time he had to take off over the last couple years. Without Tommy John surgery, Krook could’ve been a top-five pick in this year’s draft. He is more of a project for the Giants organization, and that’s something they are willing to gamble on.
The Bottom Line: Krook is going to be in the minors for a few years, and doesn’t really display the same type of promise as guys like Tyler Beede and Phil Bickford. He also could very well elect to finish his final season at Oregon and work his way into the earlier rounds. However, Krook’s Bay Area roots should lead to him taking the Giants offer and beginning his professional career. However, he is going to be a major project. Still, it’s not every draft a team can grab someone who has top-five pick potential in the fourth round.
Round 5, Pick 155 Overall: Ryan Howard, SS, University of Missouri
Ok, get all the tired jokes about the Giants signing him to a $175 million dollar extension out of the way now. This guy is much smaller, much more athletic, and probably about as good of a hitter at the moment as the Philadelphia Phillies Ryan Howard. The only differences? Size, ethnicity, and the ability to mash home runs. They actually both hail from the state of Missouri, with their hometowns only about forty minutes apart. That’s about where the similarities end.
This Howard is an average hitter with exceptional plate discipline. His plate approach reminds one of Joe Panik, a former shortstop himself. Yet Howard is the opposite of a guy like Panik. He isn’t very fleet footed, which gives him a smaller range at short or even second. However, he does have a cannon for an arm, which could suit him in a move to third base. The Giants have moved their shortstops to other positions in the past to cover up certain physical limitations. It also helps to have the best defensive shortstop in all of baseball, a.k.a. Brandon Crawford, in the lineup every day. This forces guys to learn a new position if they want playing time. Howard’s biggest question mark is his bat. While he can hit for a good average with a high on base percentage, he doesn’t really have much of a power threat attatched, much like Panik.
The Bottom Line: The Giants are actually stacked throughout the organization when it comes to infield prospects, so the pick came as a bit of a surprise. However, they took Howard in the 31st round in the 2015 draft, but he turned them down to earn a higher draft position and ultimately, more money. Ryder Jones and Christian Arroyo are major position blocks for him to overcome if he wants to be a left side infielder. Clearly, though, the Giants liked him a lot, or they wouldn’t have drafted him two years in a row.
Round 6, Pick 185 Overall: Gio Brusa, LF, University of the Pacific
Brusa is an interesting player. He doesn’t have the consistent numbers throughout his college career like Reynolds and Quinn do, but he has shown steady improvement, capped off by a fantastic 2015 summer in the Cape Cod League, and his senior season. Brusa was drafted in the 23rd round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015 but, after playing only half a season due to injury, elected to stay for his senior year to impress scouts a little more. Brusa upped his game in 2016 and hit for a slash line of .337/.418/.618/1.032. As his production shot up, so did his draft stock. His fielding is average at best, but his ability as a hitter is definitely intriguing.
The Bottom Line: He’s reminiscent of someone like Adam Duvall or Brett Pill. While they can mash home runs here and there, they just aren’t complete ball players. He’s listed as a switch hitter, but is a much better hitter from the right side. He only hit one career home run from the left side. If he mashes home runs in the minors, he could become a great trade piece. He’d need a lot of work to make the Big Leagues, though.
Other Draft Notes
- The Giants did not select a player out of high school until the thirteenth round
- Even then, they only selected three high-schoolers
- Jason Heyward‘s younger brother, Jacob Heyward, was drafted in the 18th round from the University of Miami
- Out of their thirty-six college players selected, twelve were not Division 1 players, and only four of the non D-1 players were Community College draftees.
Sources: Viva El Birdos, The Baseball Cube, Fueled By Sports.com, MLB Draft Countdown, MLB.com