Well…that was unexpected.

The San Francisco Giants selected high school shortstop Christian Arroyo with their first round pick of the MLB draft, #25 overall.  And there was a collective WTF from everyone around when it happened.

Seriously, it was a WTF.  Even the MLB Network commentators, who are bullish on everybody, had a collective ambivalence and confusion.

Somewhere, the only one enjoying this is Al Davis.  RIP

Then the Giants came around the 2nd round, and picked up Ryder Jones, another high school shortstop who’s more likely a third baseman with big power.  But he was wayyy down the draft boards.

Maybe the guy in charge of drafting, Jim Barr, is just trolling everybody at this point.

You can see my thoughts on Arroyo and Jones on other pages, but the debate coming out of today is going to be less about the players themselves, and more about the positioning.

Basically, the argument goes like this:

Pro-Giants Management: The Giants know what they’re doing better than fans/pundits/everybody else.

Anti-Giants Management: It doesn’t matter if they’re right about how good the players are…the Giants could have gotten them later.

And here is the crux about ratings.  It’s all about perceived value.  Will a player you like last until the next round?  If you listen to the Giants management, that’s not an issue.  But then, I don’t listen to what the Giants’ management says after a draft.  That’s just silly to do.

Basically, at this point, it doesn’t matter how good Arroyo or Jones turn out to be.  The detractors will always point to their belief that the Giants could’ve gotten the same player plus another first round pick.  They’ll point to Andrew Susac, a guy who in 2011 the Giants seemed to like in the first round, but ended up getting 57 picks later in the second round.  However, that working out is no guarantee.

What will cloud this further is the reports of what the motivation behind this pick really was.  The pick didn’t come out of nowhere, exactly.  A couple of weeks ago, reports came out about the Giants and Arroyo.

ANALYSIS: This pick was subject to the juiciest rumor at the Florida high school All-Star Game in Sebring: Florida prep SS Christian Arroyo going to the Giants at this pick for a discount and eventually being converted to catcher.


In the new draft era, it’s not a bad idea to try and save big bucks on your slot in the first round and spread it around the later rounds to buy out higher ceiling picks…

Or, not.

So, either he’s cheap and/or the Giants have a pre-pick deal, or he’ll be expensive to buy out of his college commitment.  Which is it?  Well, for the record, the Giants say they hadn’t talked to him at all before drafting him, and despite my statement above, that probably means a pre-draft deal didn’t happen.  If he’s going to be expensive, an overdraft makes little sense unless the Giants see something that many, many others don’t.

And then in the second round, they make an even bigger perceived overdraft on a…very mechanically unsound player who is committed to one of the most expensive schools to buy anyone out of: Stanford.

There’s a theory that if the Giants view one or the other as unsignable, they could let them go, and get another pick next year (either #26 or #65 overall, respectively).  That takes the slot bonus out of this year’s pool (basically, they don’t get to spend as much), but they’ll get an extra pick in a deeper draft.  That’s possible with these players, but we won’t know for a month.

We truly may never know at all.

So, there you go folks, that’s your first high school hitter taken in the first round by the Giants since Tony Torcato.  It’s the first time that the Giants have taken two high school hitters in their first two picks since 1974.  It’s the third position player taken in the first round in the last four years.

But it’s going to be the same ol’ detractors complaining about the Giants’ draft strategy, all over again.

And that draft strategy appears to be, simply, that they don’t give a f—.