Monday, June 6, 2011

Giants Select SS Joe Panik at No. 29 and RHP Kyle Crick at No. 49

Sorry this is late, but I had some commitments tonight and I couldn't get to the post until now. Good thing I did though, as it gave me some time to reflect on the picks.

Joe Panik, SS, St. John's University (NY)

For some reasons, St. John has been really active in my life these past five months. A girl I dated had parents who went to St. John's, St. John's quickly became my favorite team in College Basketball because of their hard-nosed play and Steve Lavin, Gonzaga played St. John's in the NCAA Tourney and the Zags played their best basketball game of the year, and now the Giants used their 29th pick on the Red Storm infielder. Wow...if I didn't turn down St. John's out of high school (it was one of four colleges I was considering), I would be really stoked to be a Johnnie alum right now.

Anyways, back on the subject, well...from a statistical standpoint, Panik looks very good. He showed very good strike zone recognition in college, as he posted BB/K ratios of 1.81, 2.24 and 1.83 in his three years with the Johnnies. Furthermore, he put up averages of .332, .374 and .398 in his three collegiate seasons. The most surprising aspect of Panik's game was his pop for a middle infielder, as he posted slugging percentages of .513, .621 and .642 and hit a total of 25 home runs in 640 at-bats.

However, the big question about Panik is how he can do against better competition and how his power and hitting will translate when he starts hitting with wood bats. Panik played a year in the Cape Cod in 2010, and while he did well at the plate (he hit .276 with a .384 OBP in 145 at-bats), his power didn't translate as he posted a slugging percentage of .372 and only had 10 extra bases hits (eight doubles and two home runs).

In terms of his defense, he had garnered good reports from scouts, though he doesn't seem to be rated as highly as Brandon Crawford or Ehire Adrianza when they broke into professional ball. Here's is what Matt Grabusky said about Panik in his scouting report on MLB Draft

"In the field, Panik has good range and soft hands.  His arm is average, which leads some to see his future at second base. Whether he remains at short or slides over to second, Panik has the ability to be a high on base guy and solid fielder at the next level."

A lot of experts still felt though the Giants reached with Panik at 29, and that they could have gotten him at their slot in the supplemental round, or even perhaps as late as the second round. Keith Law on his twitter called Panik a "reach" and that he was a "utility" type. I would wait and see how he does when he makes the transition to the Northwest League this year before I would give him such a "label", but I do feel like the Giants could have gotten a higher ceiling high school arm at No. 29 (Henry Owens for example) and then got Panik at No. 49 in the supplemental round.

Of course, this has been a trend for the Giants recently in drafts (e.g. "reaching for players in the first round"), but it's a strategy that's paid off. Last year, Gary Brown was a projected supplemental/second round pick, and he went in the Giants' first round slot. Safe to say, he's made the pick pay off as evidenced by his performance in San Jose this year. Hopefully the same can be true for Panik.

Kyle Crick, RHP, Sherman HS (TX)

Crick is a projectable power arm that fits the characteristics of former Giants HS draft picks: he's big (225 pounds), he's tall (six-foot, three-inches), and he throws gas, though he has to do some work on his secondary stuff. Thankfully, considering Crick's age, the Giants have the time to be patient with him, and he could be a nice project that could develop well in the Giants system. Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler are prime examples of physically gifted HS pitchers that succeeded in the Giants system, and there's no reason to think that Crick can join that club if he stays healthy.

Crick according to John Klima of Baseball Beginnings earned an OFP grade of 54 in his scouting report. The best aspect of Crick's repertoire, according Klima, is his fastball, which was graded a 50 out of 65. His slider was his next best pitch, which was graded a 40 out of 55 and his change and split were graded a decent 30 out of 50. Crick's control still needs some work (Klima graded his control a 30 out of 50), but it's obvious that he has a good tool set and some nice potential as a pitcher.

Furthermore, Klima was encouraged by his mechanics and delivery, noting that his delivery was good and that his "arm smooth through back, body sometimes out in front of arm, arm catches up, gets extension and balanced landings." Here's what Klima said about his strengths as a pitcher:

"FB 89-93, comfortable 90-92, hard downhill with tail, heavy ball. Can reach back for a little more and elevate when needed. SL 81-83 with hard bite, go-to weapon. Hard and late. Split 81 with hard drop. Straight CHG 80-81, assume those weren’t flat sliders, secondary SL 72-73 with drop."

For a supplemental pick, Crick has the tools and frame to be a very good pitcher. Of course, he's young, and he will take some time to develop, since he's a high school kid and not a high profile pitcher like some recent HS pitcher picks like Bumgarner and Wheeler (who were both Top-10 first round picks). That being said, there is a lot to like, and if he can develop his control and secondary stuff in the instructional league and low minors in his first couple of years, then Crick could be a high upside pick that could add to the shallow pitching depth in the Giants system.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

OTF MLB Draft "Eve" Preview

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.

OTF's 32 Most Interesting Prospects: No. 14, Heath Hembree, RHP

It's been a while since I added to the list. Mostly I have been busy with some work stuff, so that is why the posts have been so inconsistent as of late. However, I should have most of June to post, so I'll have free time to make two posts a day starting in a week.

Anyways, number 14 in the list is Heath Hembree, a power reliever who may have the best stuff out of any pitcher in the Giants minor league system. That being said, despite his power repertoire, Hembree is still a raw commodity of sorts, and there is some concern how he will fare as he moves up the Giants system because his pitch repertoire is so limited as of now.

Hembree originally started his career at South Carolina, but transferred to junior college after 2008 and then made the transition to the College of Charleston in 2010. In his only year in Charleston, he displayed amazing strikeout stuff, as he punched out 42 batters in 29 innings of work. However, despite his strong ability to strike guys out, he also had some control and command problems, as he posted an ERA of 6.52, a WHIP of 1.76, a BB/9 of 5.6 and a K/BB ratio of 2.3. Still though, despite the limited innings in college, scouts were impressed by his stuff and ability, as Baseball America said this in their profile of Hembree in their Prospect Handbook:

"Hembree was a draft curiosity as a seldom-used closer at the College of Charleston, with rumors in the scouting community that he could hit 100 mph. But he also walked 18 in 29 innings and didn't have much track record, and he missed his senior year of high school with a torn ACL he sustained in a football game."

Despite the questions, his size (6-foot, 4-inches and 205 pounds) and velocity prompted the Giants to take a waiver on him in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. In his debut season in Arizona, Hembree struck out 22 batters in 11 innings, and posted an ERA and WHIP of 0.82. What was even more surprising was Hembree's newfound control as he walked zero batters in his 11 innings of work (that's right ZERO).

Of course, 11 innings is such a short sample, but the strong performance in rookie ball suddenly garnered him some attention from prospect analysts everywhere. Baseball America ranked him as the 19th best prospect in the Giants system in their Prospect Handbook, the Minor League Baseball Analyst rated him as the 14th best Giants prospect, and John Sickels ranked him 17 in his Giants Top-20 list. Even ESPN prospect analyst and former Blue Jays front office member Keith Law said Hembree was the Giants' "sleeper" prospect in 2011. This is what Law said in his writeup about Hembree:

"Heath Hembree was a fifth round pick who barely pitched this Spring for College of Charleston, then dominated the Arizona League in his brief time there, striking out 22 of 41 batters without a walk. He hit 98 repeatedly in instructional league in September."

While there was some pressure on Hembree to perform this year with the influx of higher expectations, he has stepped it up and performed admirably this season in the Cal League. He is posting a 0.87 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in 20.2 innings of work. Furthermore, the strikeout stuff and solid control and command he displayed in Arizona is still evident in San Jose, as he has struck out 38 batters, walked only 9 and posted a K/BB ratio of 4.22. Hembree has been the Giants' go-to guy in the ninth, as he has accumulated 18 saves this year.

There is a lot to like about Hembree. He is a big, strong pitcher with a power fastball and a power slider (it was graded a four-plus by Rob Gordon in the Minor League Baseball Analyst 2011 annual). Furthermore, he knows how to make batters miss, he doesn't give up many hits (he has only a H/9 of 7.0 this year) and his control and command have been sterling thus far. The only concern I have is that I am concerned about his limited pitch repertoire. He's a two-pitch pitcher for the most part, though there have been reports that he has added a changeup to his arsenal. (Apparently in instructional league the Giants asked him to pitch his changeup 90 percent of the time, and according to Baseball America, it wasn't a "wasted effort.") However, one has to wonder how a two-pitch pitcher will do as he advances in the Giants system. Double-A will be a very telling sign of how he'll project as a pitcher, though considering how limited his experience is on the mound in the past few years, I doubt we'll see Hembree earn a promotion to Richmond this season. He'll probably transition to the Eastern League sometime next year, simply because I'm sure the Giants brass wants to see how he can pitch over a full season at one level.

Hembree is still relatively young, as he is only 22 years old and just a year removed from college. That bodes well in his favor, and allows the Giants to stay patient with Hembree and develop him as a pitcher. They don't need to rush him, and that will only result in good things for Hembree as he continues to gain more professional pitching experience.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Farm Watch: Runzler Starting, Verdugo Sizzling, Peguero Debuts, Willoughby Steady, and DSL Begins

So for this edition of the Farm Watch, I add a new wrinkle as I will recap the week's worth of Dominican Summer League games as well. I don't know what I'm going to do with the headlines when the Arizona Rookie League and Short-Season begin, but I guess I'll deal with that bridge when I come to it.

Fresno Grizzlies, 23-33 going into June 4th
  • The big story in Fresno was the promotion of Santiago Casilla and the demotion of Dan Runzler. However, while the demotion wasn't a story in itself, the subplot of Runzler being a starting pitcher with the Grizzlies was what grabbed everyone's attention. Runzler moved up quickly in the Giants system as a reliever, for in 2009, he went from Augusta all the way to the Big Leagues after dominating in the late innings in every stop in the farm system. However, the Giants are concerned about his pitch repertoire and how he has kind of plateaued a bit since his impressive callup in 2009. Runzler has only made two starts prior to this year (both rehab appearances where he only went a couple of innings) as the Giants have taken it easy with him, evidenced by the Grizzlies held him to a 40-pitch limit. He only faced eight batters on June 3rd. He walked three, but struck out two and didn't allow a hit in the limited work. The Giants are hoping Runzler can have similar success like Ryan Verdugo, who transitioned to a starter this year after being primarily used as a reliever in his minor league career.
  • Marc Kroon was put in a dilemma recently, as he had an opportunity to opt out of his contract on June 1st if he didn't make the Giants roster by this time. Kroon apparently had an offer from a Japanese team (he pitched for the Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama Bay Stars in Japan), and considering he isn't on the 40-man roster, Kroon's opportunity to break into the Giants bullpen seems bleak. However, he decided to stay with the Grizzlies, with the hope that he could get a callup later in the year. The stay has paid off, as he has a 2.08 ERA in his last 10 appearances, with nine strikeouts in 8.2 IP.
  • With Brandon Belt gone, Thomas Neal has picked up the slack offensively for the Grizzlies. He has continued his hot hitting, as he his currently posting an OPS of 1.013 in 83 plate appearances. Neal is an athletic, toolsy outfielder who was rated the seventh best prospect in the Giants system going into 2011 according to Baseball America. Right now, he seems to be destined to stay in Fresno until the rosters expand in September, but Neal is on the right track and is an enticing player who could bring some value to the Giants roster in the near future.

Richmond Flying Squirrels, 25-29 going into June 4th
  •  The Flying Squirrels offense is continuing to struggle to score runs. How bad are they? Justin Christian, a 31-year-old journeyman outfielder is leading the team in OPS at .680. Yeah. That's some major offensive struggles. On a positive note, Christian is a nice story, as he provides a "Crash Davis-esque" presence to this Richmond roster. He went undrafted out of Southeast Missouri State and ended up playing in the Frontier League (an independent baseball league) for two years before he broke into the Minor Leagues. Christian has bounced around quite a bit in his professional career, as he has played in every level in the Yankees minor league system since 2004, and he had a brief stint with the Norfolk Tides, the Orioles' Triple-A club in 2009. Christian's at-best scenario at this point would be a callup to Fresno, but his numbers aren't exactly suggesting a promotion anytime soon.
  • Remember when I said Verdugo was coming off one of his best performances of the year when he struck out 10 in 6.1 IP on May 23rd? Well, Verdugo topped that with an eight-inning, 10 strikeout performance on June 2nd. Unlike the May 23rd start though, Verdugo showed exceptional control and command as he only allowed one walk and one hit in the win. Eric Surkamp is getting all the attention in Richmond this season, but Verdugo may have the higher ceiling. He has better stuff than Surkamp, and if he can continue to show the command he showed on June 2nd, then he can certainly close that gap between himself and Surkamp soon.
  • The one guy I have paid attention to closely over the past couple of years is Sharlon Schoop. Schoop made some headlines in 2009 when he played considerable innings for the Netherlands team in the World Baseball Classic (remember, the Netherlands upset the favored Dominican Republic twice). Schoop has always had an interesting tool set as a prospect and he's capable of playing multiple positions in the field, but he just hasn't put it together at the plate. Last year, he showed flashes of progress in the Eastern League, as he hit .273 with a .673 OPS in a 199 plate appearances with the Flying Squirrels. However, he has taken a tremendous step back this year, as he is hitting only .159 with a .427 OPS in 69 plate appearances. Schoop has some talent, but it often goes unrealized, and it is unlikely that he'll ever be a serious prospect in the Giants system.

San Jose Giants,  38-17 going into June 4th
  • In addition to Pablo Sandoval making his San Jose return in a rehab stint, Francisco Peguero made his anticipated 2011 debut in a rehab stint of his own. Peguero is one of the Giants' top outfielder prospects, as he was rated the fourth best prospect in the Giants system according to Baseball America. In his first two games in 2011, Peguero has five hits in 10 at-bats. He also has three strikeouts, but if Peguero can continue to hit in this rehab stint, it will only be a matter of time before he makes the transition to the Eastern League. Last year, Peguero hit .329 with a .846 OPS in 538 plate appearances with San Jose. He also tallied 10 home runs, 16 triples, 19 doubles and 40 stolen bases. In terms of skill, he is a five-tool caliber player who is still relatively young (he's only 23). That being said, his plate approach will have to improve, as he only posted a BB/K ratio of 0.20 a year ago. Peguero doesn't strikeout very much (17.3 percent strikeout rate), but the walk rate is going to have to improve somewhat (3.3 percent last year) if he wants to continue to transition his Cal League success to the Eastern League and eventually Major League level.
  • Ryan Cavan is starting to show that he should be a prospect of note. He is not an elite prospect by any means (he was a 16th round pick in the 2009 draft), but he is quietly having a very good year as the second baseman for the SJ Giants. He is hitting .277 with an OPS of .809 and he has has six home runs, 37 RBI and seven stolen bases on eight attempts. Cavan may be benefiting from the hitter-friendly Cal League, but he did hit .283 with an .803 OPS and added 17 home runs and 79 RBI in 608 plate appearances for the Green Jackets. Thus, Cavan is a nice middle-infielder prospect who could give Charlie Culberson and Nick Noonan a run for their money. Of course, one has to see how he does in the Eastern League first. If he shows progress in Richmond either this year or next season, Cavan could be on the fast track real quick.
  • Zach Wheeler is the Giants' most dynamic pitcher, but Craig Westcott has been the most solid, as he is 7-0 with a 2.40 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 60 IP. Westcott is old for the Cal League (he's 25 years old), and he doesn't have intimidating strikeout stuff (he only has a strikeout rate of 4.5). That being said, he displays good control (1.6 walk rate) and solid command (2.73 K/BB ratio), and has definitely been a boost to this Giants team that is positioned for another Cal League title.

 Augusta Green Jackets, 23-32 going into June 4th
  • Carlos Willoughby is older than most high-profile Latin American prospects (he's 22 years old and he's only been playing in the states since last year), and he doesn't possess a lot of pop (he only has a slugging percentage of .353). However, he is a solid contact hitter who has displayed a good plate approach and plenty of speed and efficiency on the basepaths. This year he is hitting .284 with a .379 OBP and .733 OPS, and he has 23 stolen bases on 28 attempts. Willoughby's tool set reminds me of Eugenio Velez, but unlike Velez, his strike zone recognition is very good. His ability to draw a walk and get on base should make up for his lack of power, and hopefully, Willoughby will continue to progress as he moves up the Giants system.
  • Adam Duvall is a big bopper. He doesn't hit for high average (his minor league average in two years is .245), and he doesn't draw walks (only 36 walks in 456 career plate appearances). However, Duvall has tremendous raw power, as he has hit 12 home runs and posted a .476 slugging percentage in 239 plate appearances this year in the Sally. Defensively, Duvall has struggled a bit at the hot corner, as he has a fielding percentage of .899 and a RF/G of 2.84. That being said, Duvall's power tool set is enticing, and could make him a bit of a sleeper prospect.
  • After giving up seven runs and five hits in a May 2nd appearance, Edward Concepcion has finally regained himself over the past month. His ERA is down to 4.23, and his strikeout rate is up to 10.1 percent. The walks are still an issue (6.8 BB/9), and he still gives up a lot of hits (9.8 H/9), but Concepcion at least has showed that he is capable of bouncing back after a rough stretch. I'm not sure if he'll be a decent prospect, especially considering he's 23 and still in Single-A. However, I like his stuff and his ability to strike batters out.

DSL Giants, 5-1 going into June 4th
  • Top Latin American signee Adalberto Mejia is off to a very good start in the DSL. A tall 18-year-old lefty, Mejia has only allowed six hits and one run in 11 IP. He has showed dominant stuff (10 strikeouts) as well as excellent control (only one walk) in his first two professional starts. It's early in the year of course, but considering he was the Opening Day starter for the DSL Giants, it's obvious that the Giants organization has a lot of confidence and hope in the pitching prospect. So far, he has not disappointed.
  • Alberto Robles is off to a sizzling start at the plate for the DSL Giants. He is hitting .348 with an .879 OPS in 27 plate appearances. He also has showed good speed (three stolen bases), though he will have to improve his jumps (he has gotten caught three times). With four walks and only three strikeouts, Robles has displayed a good plate approach early this year, and hopefully, the 20-year-old can parlay this hot start into a solid 2011 campaign.
  • The DSL Giants are 5-1 this year and have looked impressive to begin the year, especially on the pitching end. They are only allowing 1.67 R/G and they have a team ERA of 1.07, both best in the DSL. They will have to improve the hitting, as their 4.50 R/G is in the middle of the pack, but it is a small sample, and there is still plenty of games to be played in South Boca Chica for the Gigantes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

OTF MLB Draft Peek: Tyler Anderson, LHP, and Matt Purke, LHP

I will get back to the prospect list countdown at some point, but all the latest developments with the draft have me hooked. I think this week will definitely be draft-centered, with maybe a farm update here and there.

Anyways, I'm going to take a look at two left-handed college pitchers who are rumored to go in the mid-to-late first round: Tyler Anderson out of Oregon and Matt Purke out of Texas Christian.

Tyler Anderson, LHP, University of Oregon

At six-foot, four-inches and 215 pounds, lefty Tyler Anderson is an interesting prospect who doesn't have intimidating stuff, but may be polished enough for the Giants to take in the 29th slot in the first round. Anderson has a very tall, lanky frame, and he has shown good command and ability to strike batters out in his collegiate career.

Anderson is coming off a very solid sophomore year in 2010 and an even better junior season in 2011. Last season, in addition to being voted team MVP and to the Pac-10 first team, he went 7-5 with a 2.98 ERA, and struck out 105 batters in 102.2 IP while only allowing 33 walks (good for a K/BB ratio of 3.18). This season, his ERA improved to 2.17, his W-L record jumped to 8-3, and he struck out 114 batters in 107.2 IP while only walking 35 (his K/BB raito was 3.26). Anderson isn't just a pitcher with a nice frame and good tools, but he has proven himself at the collegiate level, a nice sign that he is very capable of being a solid starting pitcher at the professional level.

John Klima of Baseball Beginnings was high on Anderson, projecting that he could develop into a No. 1 or No. 2 starter at the Major League level. Here is what he said about Anderson's abilities in his scouting report:

"Complete confidence in plus change-up with sink, deception and feel, 81-83, thrown as straight change and also with sink any time in count. FB 88-92, comfortable 91, downhill life, natural sink, not afraid to challenge RHH, CHG makes FB play up. OK slider for third look, enough tilt, uses to change eye level for FB, 76-77. Aggressive up-tempo strike thrower with a little quirk in the back leading to a smooth, easy arm action across top, throws across the body and creates deception. Above-average FB and CHG control."

Anderson doesn't have a lot more room to grow, which is pretty typical for a pitcher coming out of college. However, the grades on him so far are pretty positive. MLB Draft Insider rated his fastball, slider and command/control a 55 with 55 potential (in the case of his command/control, they graded it a 55-plus). His changeup earned a 45 grade with 50 potential, and his mechanics earned a 55 grade, both currently and in terms of potential. As you can see, Anderson has all the right tools as of now, and thus, has the potential to be moved quickly in the Giants system if drafted in the 29th slot.

The only real question with Anderson may be his mechanics. When you watch him on tape, his mechanics and delivery look funky, as he moves extremely quickly, almost as if he's rushing to pitch. One has to wonder how much he'll be able to keep his uncanny pitching motion when he makes the transition to professional ball. That being said, Tim Lincecum was able to keep his unusual mechanics and motion when he transitioned to the minors, and it was obvious that it didn't hurt his development. So, considering his success with his current mechanics and pitching motion in college, Anderson's mechanics may be overblown, and it is unlikely the Giants will mess with them unless he struggles immensely in the transition to professional ball.

While he is not a finesse guy by any means, Anderson's stuff doesn't pop out at you. In many ways, he is very similar to Eric Surkamp in the sense that his velocity doesn't wow you, but he still manages to strike guys out at a great rate. The one advantage Anderson does have over Surkamp is that Anderson's does have a better fastball, so that is something Anderson has going for him. That being said, his lack of "explosive" stuff, may deter the Giants from taking him, especially considering how deep this draft is in terms of pitching (Dr. B makes a note of this in his latest post which looks at left-handed pitchers in this draft).

There is a lot of pluses to Anderson as a potential draft pick. He's got a great frame, he knows how to pitch, he has displayed solid strikeout ability and he has played for a baseball coach who has a lot of experience in terms of producing good Major League players (George Horton used to coach at Cal State Fullerton). It is possible that Anderson will be off the list earlier, but if he's available, he could be a very enticing pick for the Giants at No. 29.

Matt Purke, LHP, Texas Christian University

Purke is probably the riskiest first round pick in this Rule 4 Draft. Purke was originally a first round pick by the Rangers in 2009, but he decided to go to TCU instead. After two years, his stock has taken a tumble, not because of his performances with the Horned Frogs, but because of health issues and the large signing bonus he is demanding if drafted.

In terms of what Purke has done in college, it's nothing short of amazing. His freshman year, he went 16-0 with a 3.02 ERA and had 142 strikeouts in 116.1 IP while only allowing 34 walks and 91 hits. The 14th overall pick by the Rangers the previous season, Purke lived up to his lofty hype his first season with the Horned Frogs, as he led them to the College World Series and was projected as a Top-10 pick when he was eligible for the 2011 draft.

However, this year proved to be difficult for Purke. He only made 10 starts and pitched 47.2 innings as he was diagnosed with shoulder bursitis in late April. Jonathan Mayo said this about Purke in a scouting update that examined Purke's "issues" in 2011.

"There’s been a lot of speculation about Purke and his prized left arm for much of the 2011 season. Some scouts felt something wasn’t quite right all season, and there were some people who questioned the validity of reports about a blister shutting Purke down in the early part of the season, thinking perhaps that it was a cover for the shoulder. Someone familiar with the situation assured Purke did indeed have a nasty blister and that his shoulder didn’t bother him until after he returned. It’s possible that the 10 days he had to take off from throwing to let the blister heal contributed to the shoulder issue he’s now dealing with."

After being diagnosed with bursitis, Purke was shut down until May 25th, when he made his return in the MWC Tourney against New Mexico. With his pitch counted limited, he threw four innings, and allowed four hits, one run, two walks while striking out four. While it wasn't a bad performance by any means, it definitely displayed that the arm issues still linger, and may hurt how he'll project as a pitcher in the minors. He is a tall, lanky pitcher who could fill out as a professional (he's six-foot, four inches and 180 pounds), he has some interesting tools, and his stuff prior to his injury (especially in high school) was of "Top-10 pick" caliber. That being said, it's obvious that he isn't the same pitcher he once was when he was the 14th overall pick in 2009. Here's what Klima said in his scouting report of Purke this year:

"Former first-rounder no longer overpowering. Violent, max-effort and slingy pusher, mid-to-low ¾, body in front of arm, leading and dropping elbow, front side flying open. Leads with elbow and drags arm to compensate, jeopardizing entire future. Arm does not work. Lacks consistent downhill plane and confident repetition of breaking stuff. Transformation from schoolboy flame thrower to ordinary average well underway. No longer a premium pick."

Another big issue with Purke is his signability. He burned some bridges with the Rangers after he turned down their six million dollar offer in 2009 (he wanted $7.5 million). Now, Purke is apparently asking for a four million dollar bonus if drafted. Of course, that was before his injury issues, but it goes without saying that the price tag for Purke will come high nonetheless. The Giants under Brian Sabean have been a bit stingy when it comes to signing bonuses with their picks. Until Buster Posey, Sabean really didn't sign guys over the slot suggestion, which usually resorted in them drafting guys in the first round who weren't first round talents (e.g. Wendell Fairley). That certainly will be the case with Purke if he falls to No. 29, and one has to wonder if Sabean will cave in to Purke's demands if the Giants draft him (logic says "no").

If Purke could recover from his injury problems, then he could be a very interesting prospect. He had such promise in high school and in his first year at TCU, that if taken slowly, perhaps Purke could regain the form that made him such a premium pick-candidate a year ago. But that's a huge risk, and with so many pitchers in this draft, the Giants can't afford to whiff on a "questionable" pick like Purke when there are much better and cheaper options available.