Takeaways From The 2014 MLB Draft
So…the draft happened.
The way the Giants are playing, it’s unlikely they’ll have another high draft pick. So, while every draft matters, I don’t think anyone disagreed that, with the 14th pick this year, they had to hit.
I think they did.
Let’s take a look at recent Giants first round picks:
- 2009, #6 overall – Zack Wheeler – Very talented, but traded. Not having a terrible start to his pro career, and should be a major leaguer for a while.
- 2010, #24 – Gary Brown – Speedster had an impressive first couple of years, but has struggled more recently, and hasn’t been able to make the best use of his talents.
- 2011, #29 – Joe Panik – Panik isn’t a high-ceiling player, but he’s been solid and is having a good year in Fresno. He could be the team’s second baseman soon.
- 2012, #20 – Chris Stratton – Talented pitcher, but he hasn’t been the same since getting hit in the head by a ball in batting practice. He’s struggling in San Jose this year, but showing signs of who he was projected to be.
- 2013, #25 – Christian Arroyo – A rare high-school first round pick for the Giants, Arroyo had a good first half-season in the Arizona Rookie League, but was struggling at Augusta before suffering a sprained thumb in early May.
It’s hard to hit home runs with picks in the 20’s, but there are some talented players. Panik looks like he could be in the majors soon. Brown might find a role, but he doesn’t look like a starter anymore. Stratton has a lot of talent, but he hasn’t been able to put it together. The extenuating circumstance of getting hit will haunt him, but it is disconcerting considering the top Giants pick this year.
Tyler Beede is a very talented pitcher. There’s no doubt about that. He has some control problems, no doubting that either. Most people seem to think the Giants can fix them.
What was of interest to me is that the Giants took a player who generally was a good value at their pick level. Particularly Arroyo and Panik were players that a lot of people thought were over-drafted, although there was a wide range of opinions about Stratton as well. Beede has issues, but it’s pretty universally thought that he’s a high-upside guy that was going to be taken somewhere in the 10-20 range. And it followed with later picks that the Giants got guys that were among the higher-rated players available.
Now, projected value is good for little more than public perception, and it’s no proof of future success. But there is something reassuring about the Giants picking players other think were good, and it does mean, hopefully, that we don’t have to hear too much complaining in the next few years.
So, let’s look at some other things from the 2014 draft for the San Francisco Giants:
Where does Beede fit?
Beede quickly becomes a Top 5 prospect, Top 10 at the furthest, and joins a talented, if underperforming, group of pitching prospects.
That, of course, might mean the Giants will view some other pitching prospects as trade bait in waiting. With another pennant run pretty obviously in the future this year, Beede adds some depth and flexibility. Beede also helps push the line of promotions with another high-expectation guy that can be expected in about three years.
Expect Beede to join the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes for the time being.
Who is the most exciting of the other picks?
I really like Dylan Davis, the third round pick. Davis is a power hitter with quite the pedigree, coming out of Oregon State. He didn’t always perform with Oregon State, though a good year in the Cape Cod League (the premier wood-bat amateur league) helped. Davis also has a strong arm, but he could be a player that would be a left fielder of the future for this team if he can translate his raw power into game power.
What was the theme of the draft?
The Cape Cod League. The Giants picked a lot of players with strong Cape Cod seasons, highlighted by Davis, who won the 2012 CCL Home Run Derby. The scouting department seems to have good ties with someone who scouts the CCL, or trusts the performance, and it became a running joke in the first ten rounds among observers.
What position was picked the most?
Well, other than pitching…Catcher was an interesting spot. The Giants picked up Aramis Garcia in the second round, generally considered one of the top college catchers as a good all-around hitter. But the Giants took four players listed at catcher in six rounds late in the draft, three of whom were high schoolers and each had interesting notes: Tim Susnara from St. Francis High in Mountain View, Zach Taylor from Horizon HS in Scottsdale, where the Giants took Tim Alderson and Tommy Joseph from), and Benito Santiago (Yes, son of THAT Benito Santiago) from Coral Springs Christian Academy in Florida. The Giants probably won’t sign all three, though.
And that’s not all! 6th round pick Skyler Ewing was listed as a first baseman with power, but the Rice University player has experience at catching. Some expect him to move to catcher long-term, but that’s not assured.
What was the best name?
I’m sad to admit, I always want to see interesting names picked for no reason other than amusement. But the Giants didn’t disappoint.
Sam Coonrod, a pitcher drafted in the fifth round, has a great name, and might be a guy who develops as well. Coonrod has a mid-nineties fastball but also some delivery issues. He might be a future reliever.
But two others had names that made me smile. 9th rounder Stetson Woods, a high school pitcher from Madera, CA, has a great cowboy-style name along the lines of current prospect Clayton Blackburn. And there’s something that sounds like a fake, 1950’s movie starfish about 30th round first baseman Cliff Covington.
Bottom Line: Was this a good draft?
Well, the true review won’t be for years. And this draft doesn’t have a Buster Posey-level star that we can see. But Beede does look like he has the upside of being a star, and the rest of the top 10 have a lot of role-player types of candidates to keep an eye on. I like what I’ve seen.