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The 2008 draft - Who Fits?


BA's earliest comments on the 2008 draft class aren't very encouraging. The Giants have the #5 pick, their highest pick since 1997, Sabean's first draft in which he took Jason Grilli #4 overall. Baseball America has quoted a Scouting Director in the AL, who clearly doesn't think highly of the class. The implication is that the upper echelon of the class isn't that good, and that the Top 10 picks won't get good value. However, the comments also seem to have a angle towards the likely signing prices, which were obviously a hot topic after this season's deadline.

However, there are still an intriguing group of hitters that should at least match last year's draft (which, admittingly, was also weak). The College draft class is loaded more with hitters, while the high school class has a mix of hitters and pitchers. So who's worth noting?

Here's 14 players that could be in the mix this draft. At least 10 will be available for the Giants.

Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Vanderbilt - As of the end of the season, Alvarez seems to be the universal top talent available. He's a polished hitter with power and patience, and is a plus fielder with plus intangibles. Which all means he probably won't last until #5, unless either A) Someone else, or more than one, emerge as top talents, B) He gets injured, or C) He demands too much. But Tampa Bay, who has the first ever consecutive #1 overall picks, is likely to take the teammate of last year's top overall pick David Price.
Why he fits the Giants: Third base prospect with power, who can move through a system correctly? How does this not work for the Giants?
Why he doesn't fit: He'll probably be long gone, or will cost a lot. I'm not so sure the latter is enough to stop the Giant from taking him, but the former clearly will.

Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina - Behind Alvarez, it gets muddy. Two hitters are currently there, and Smoak is the better known. Smoak is a fluid first baseman defensively in addition to being an excellent switch-hitter. As a freshman, he was named the top prospect in the Cape Cod League in 2006. This year, he batted .315/.434/.631 with 22 home runs. He does have some contact holes, but as an entire toolset, he's looking like J.T. Snow.
Why he fits: He's another polished power hitting corner infielder, and he also fits the defense priority the Giants like.
Why he doesn't: Good shot to be gone before #5. Contact issues are putting off some, enough to more or less ignore him.

Yonder Alonso, 1B, Miami - Alonso is comparable to Smoak in terms of overall talent. Ranked the #2 prospect off the Cape Cod League by BA, Alonso has the better overall bat and just as good power potential as Smoak. The downside is that his conditioning is poor, and some may not think he can stay in good enough shape to be at first. But with his bat, does anyone care?
Why he fits: The Giants have done quite a bit of drafting from Florida. And hey, power hitting college corner infielder.
Why he doesn't: If the Giants do want defense, it'd probably be good not to go with a liability at the position that touches the ball on at least 40% of defensive plays.

Tim Beckham, SS, Griffin HS (GA) - Beckham has been rising as one of the country's top prep players. He's a legitimate five tool player, with speed and power potential. He's a great athlete and loves the game, giving up basketball to go with baseball.
Why he fits: The Giants love their middle infielders, and Beckham is an excellent looking talent, even if he moves to third later.
Why he doesn't: Didn't the Giants just draft TWO first round high school shortstops? And Beckham will take time to make the majors, and the Giants shouldn't be looking for projects.

Tim Melville, 3B/RHP, Wentzville Holt HS (MO) - Melville is a two way guy, but will probably stick as a pitcher. His fastball is mid-90's, and he is more polished than most high school pitchers with his secondary pitches. Even with missing most of his sophomore (1996) season due to injury, he's currently considered the top high school pitcher. Oh yea, he can hit for average and power, too.
Why he fits: Melville is a quality arm that will move quickly, and has the polish to contribute quickly.
Why he doesn't: Because drafting a high school pitcher is inviting fan mutiny, no matter how good he is.

Aaron Crow, RHP, Missouri - Crow has seen his fastball shoot up from the mid-80s to the mid-90's in the past three years. He won the Cape Cod League ERA title and was the top prospect via BA. He's a smart pitcher, and has good secondary pitches. The only knock is questioned durability, since he's small. Sound familiar?
Why he fits: Crow is a mature arm that will move quickly and contribute quickly.
Why he doesn't: See above, but substitute college. Plus, this guy is a great safe pick (calling Pittsburgh Pirates), and the Giants don't need safe.

Brett Wallace, 1B/3B, Arizona State - Wallace is a bit of a stealth prospect, being ignored so far by most. Don't know why. He's batting .404/.484/.687 with 16 home runs. He won the Pac-10 Triple Crown and was the Pac-10 Player of the Year. He's a left handed hitter and a solid defender. And he's from Northern California originally, from Sonoma California.
Why he fits: Bay Area native power hitting corner infielder? Nice. Plus, if he's underrated, he might not be a bonus demander.
Why he doesn't: Something is keeping BA from talking about him. And he's an A's fan.

Isaac Galloway, OF, Los Osas HA (CA) - The ultimate athlete prospect. He's got speed and power, and is an excellent defender. He earned a ton of respect playing on an injured ankle in the Aflac All-American Classic, even stealing a base. Has great makeup to go with his tools. Could be this draft's Jason Heyward.
Why he fits: Galloway has all the talent in the world, and could have as high a ceiling as any prep talent in the draft.
Why he doesn't: The Giants already drafted Wendell Fairley.

Harold Martinez, SS/3B, Braddock HS (FL) - Martinez is an excellent all-around player, whom PGCrosschecker is comparing to Alex Rodriguez. He's got more developed power than peers like Galloway, but has speed to match. He could play anywhere in the infield, and is probable to be at either short or third, and has the range and arm to stick there.
Why he fits: Who doesn't want a possible Alex Rodriguez?
Why he doesn't: Nick Noonan and Charlie Culberson would lower his impact in the system.

Luke Greinke, P/OF, Auburn - Luke Grienke is another two-way player, but this one had the honor of being BA's top summer league player. Greinke led his summer league in hitting as well as pitching, but will stick as pitcher. His 90 mph fastball, however, doesn't scream Top 5 pick.
Why he fits: Hey, maybe he might be a hitter down the road after all.
Why he doesn't: Another safe pick, a low ceiling pitcher. Plus, he's the brother of current Royals pitcher Zack. He might go there, after the Royals have splurged recently in drafts.

Ike Davis, OF/LHP, Arizona State - Davis is another name not getting a lot of play as a draft prospect, possibly from being in the Pac-10. A former Pac-10 Freshman of the year, Davis has power and is an excellent defender in the outfield already, after having just switched there from first.
Why he fits: After drafting a lot of outfielders in the past, the lower levels don't have many.
Why he doesn't: He's a probable overdraft at #5. He's also more Ben Copeland than a true power hitter.

Christian Friedrich, LHP, Eastern Kentucky - His scouting report reads a lot like Barry Zito. Solid fastball sitting right around 90 MPH, and a killer curveball. His biggest need is to get better control of his fastball. But he can get a lot of K's and is a legitimate starter.
Why he fits: The Giants do love pitchers. This guy has some potential still to go.
Why he doesn't: His scouting report reads a lot like Barry Zito.

Kyle Russell, OF, Texas - A 2007 draftee in the 4th round to St. Louis, he didn't sign and is back. Russell is one of those great potential but little delivery (yet) guys. He set Texas' single-season home run record as a sophomore, though. Good athlete, though he isn't as fast as some might like. Great power, but contact questions.
Why he fits: Who doesn't love athletic projects in the outfield?
Why he doesn't: He has one significant flaw: he has contact problems. Even if he does well this year, he has a long way to go to overcome them.

Michael Palazzone, RHP, Lassiter HS (GA) - His upside is an excellent fastball in the low-90's already and further projection, and a good vertical curve. The downside is that he's coming off rotator cuff issues in 2007, and that never predicts well.
Why he fits: If he proves he's healthy, he could compete with Melville for top high school pitcher.
Why he doesn't: High school [sign in to see URL] injury issues!

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10/1/2007, 12:09 am Link to this post   
 
Bhaakon Profile
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I don't think the Giants care about the PR ramifications of drafting a pitcher. I'd bet that 80% of the ticket-buying fans don't follow the draft closely enough to care.

Then again, that's the same 80% who have already stopped showing up to games since 756, and will continue to stay home as the lowing seasons drag on.

Last edited by Bhaakon, 10/1/2007, 12:57 am
10/1/2007, 12:31 am Link to this post   
 
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I like Alonso as a potential 1B, from what I saw of him with UM this past year, he can flat out smack the ball. If he were on the board, I wouldn't complain if he was taken at 5.

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10/1/2007, 12:39 am Link to this post   
 
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No Brian Matusz from USD. That lefty is nasty and racks up a ton of K's. He is not a guy that i would want the giants to target, but that is only cause i want a hitter with some thump instead

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10/1/2007, 1:21 am Link to this post   
 
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What makes you certain that "Tampa Bay, who has the first ever consecutive #1 overall picks, ....takes the teammate of last year's top overall pick David Price."?

I mean the Rays have had good play from Iwamura at 3b and he will hold down the position until former #1 pick Longoria is ready. So why would the Rays draft Alvarez? My guess is that they will draft a pitcher not a hitter since that team really, really needs pitching.

Granted Alvarez probably will be drafted by another team before he gets to the Giants, but if it is true that he will demand a lot of cash, there is a chance he might fall to the Giants.

All I'm saying is that if he's still on the board at #5, then pay the kid whatever he wants to get him in the French Vanilla.

Just sayin'


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Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand.
Leo Durocher



10/1/2007, 7:57 am Link to this post   
 
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Re: …


quote:

KrukKuipandClint wrote:

No Brian Matusz from USD. That lefty is nasty and racks up a ton of K's. He is not a guy that i would want the giants to target, but that is only cause i want a hitter with some thump instead



I played against Matusz in high school. He played for St. Marys with Nick Evans from the Mets system, who's currently playing in Hawaii. They eliminated us from the state playoff in '04.

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10/1/2007, 8:41 am Link to this post   
 
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Re: …


quote:

22TheThrill wrote:

What makes you certain that "Tampa Bay, who has the first ever consecutive #1 overall picks, ....takes the teammate of last year's top overall pick David Price."?



First of all, I did say 'likely' in those dots you inserted.

I feel it's likely since Tampa has never drafted based on major league need, and after all, the last time they drafted first, they did take that top pitcher in the draft.

But perhaps the most important thing is that right now, there simply isn't a pitcher with the kind of talent, current production and ceiling that makes a truly worthwhile #1 pick. Right now (and granted, this may change), no pitcher comes close to the ceiling of Alvarez.

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10/1/2007, 11:12 am Link to this post   
 
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Okay I understand your logic now. The Rays probably will draft the best player on the board and if it's Alvarez then I guess they'd take him. Then again, for an organization that already has some good young position talent, at some point they will need to develop some pitching. One top pitching prospect isn't enough.

Still I like the Giants prospects of drafting a good hitter, even Alvarez with the 5th pick.
Just sayin'

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Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand.
Leo Durocher



10/1/2007, 11:28 am Link to this post   
 
BruteSentiment Profile
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I don't disagree there. There will be at least a few good hitters on the board. I think Smoak is a realistic guy to hope for, myself.

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10/1/2007, 1:04 pm Link to this post   
 
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Re: …


With the talk of re-evaluating the farm system, development and draft philosophy from Sabean's chat, I wonder if there is a chance they would consider lowering the payroll a small amount to free up more money for draft signings.


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"If the Pilgrims had landed in California the East Coast would still be wilderness"
10/1/2007, 11:08 pm Link to this post   
 


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