Tomorrow is it. The Rule 4 draft. After numerous player profiles on this blog, we'll finally see the draft take place and see who the Giants will take at the No. 29 pick. Here is some brief notes before tomorrow's big day.
High school arms the Giants could take in the first round: Robert Stephenson, RHP; Henry Owens, LHP; Joe Ross, RHP; Jorge Lopez, RHP; Hawtin Buchanan, RHP; Dillon Howard, RHP; Jose Fernandez, RHP.
Stephenson may be the best pitcher of the bunch, but all the consensus with the mock drafts seem to have him going in the 15-20 range. He would be a steal at No. 29. Owens is a bit of a reach as well, but it seems more plausible for the Giants to land him, as he seems to be going more in the 24-30 range in a lot of mock drafts. The same seems to be true with Howard and Fernandez, who are going in the 25-33 range. Ross is probably the most likely high school pitcher to be selected by the Giants simply because his talent fits well at the slot, and his Bay Area ties make him an enticing option. However, there are some reports circulating that his stock is rising and he could be taken sooner. As for Lopez and Buchanan, they're intriguing pitching talents, but the Giants would probably be overdrafting if they took them in the first round at No. 29. I expect them to be supplemental or second-round material.
College arms the Giants could take in the first round: Tyler Anderson, LHP; Josh Osich, LHP; Alex Meyer, RHP; Matt Purke, LHP; Andrew Chafin, LHP.
I previewed Meyer in my first draft profile, but his stock has boosted considerably since my writeup. He seems to be a borderline Top-10 pick now and most likely could go in the 10-15 range. He underwhelmed in college, but his tools and size are promising. Anderson and Osich are polished pitchers from Oregon and Oregon State, respectively, but they don't have as much ceiling or upside as some of the other arms in this draft, especially the high school ones. Purke is a stay-away who's stock has tumbled because of injuries and egregious signing bonus demands. Chafin is another nice pitcher with good tools and solid stuff, but he has gone through some minor injury issues that has hurt his stock. He's probably not worth it either considering the promising high school arms available in this draft.
Positional talent that the Giants could take in the first round: C.J. Cron, 1B; Brian Goodwin, OF; Jason Esposito, SS/3B; Andrew Susac, C; Kolten Wong, 2B; Brandon Nimmo, OF; Cory Spangenberg 3B.
Cron has as nice power tool set and he was impressive this year at the plate for Utah. However, he is expected to go higher and there is some good depth at the first base position in the Giants system. Goodwin seems to be the most enticing pick out of positional players, simply because he has an impressive tool set with marginal power. However, the Giants took Gary Brown last year, and the minor league outfield depth is loaded as it is. The same could be true for Nimmo, who is younger than Goodwin, but has impressed scouts lately. Esposito looks like a nice player, but he looks to be more supplemental round material. Wouldn't be a bad pickup for the Giants if they could get him in the supplemental or second round. Susac is getting a lot of wind lately with the Buster Posey injury, and he could be a very real possibility should he still be available at No. 29. Wong and Spangenberg are both good talents, though Wong is the more proven commodity. However, they look like they could go earlier, as mock drafts have them in the 20-28 range. Wong would be worth a pick on if available. Spangenberg? I'm not so sure, but he does have an interesting tool set.
What Giants fans should expect this draft
Brian Sabean mentioned this on KNBR, but the pitching depth in this draft is deep, and the Giants do need to stock the system with guys moving up (e.g. Madison Bumgarner), being traded away (e.g. Tim Alderson and Scott Barnes) or fizzling out (e.g. Henry Sosa, Waldis Joaquin) in the last few seasons. I would say there is a 70 percent chance the Giants take a pitcher in the first round of this draft, simply because the talent is deep and they could get a lot of return or a steal they wouldn't get any other year at the 29th pick. I would say it's 50-50 over the remaining 30 percent, with either Goodwin or Susac going in the 29th slot if the Giants don't take a pitcher. I personally like Susac more, but Goodwin has a bunch of tools and could move up quickly ala Brown-style.
Either way, Sabean has had a tendency to surprise Giants fans in the past when it comes to draft picks. Even Bumgarner and Brown were considered "over-drafted" players at the time, and yet they have seemed to pan out just fine. Hence, I wouldn't be shocked if somebody totally off the radar was picked at No. 29. That being said, Sabean and his team have showed great skill in terms of developing talent out of the draft in the past five years, so I am confident that Sabean can continue this trend in the 2011 draft.