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Giants Draft Report Card

By Jim Callis

Best Pro Debut: Three players stood out in the short-season Northwest League: 3B Lance Niekro (2) hit .362-5-44 and won the batting title. RHP Jason Farmer (14), whose best pitch is his curveball, led the league with a 1.62 ERA. RHP Luke Anderson (8), who has a projectable fastball and a nasty splitter, topped the NWL with 12 saves. He also had a 1.45 ERA, 55 strikeouts in 31 innings and a .173 opponent batting average.

Best Athlete: OF Bryan Carter (42) has the speed and instincts for center and the arm for right. He’s also a better hitter than the Giants originally thought. OFs Jason Pekar (30) and Mark Walker (40) also offer a variety of tools, though they’re both raw.

Best Hitter: Niekro’s swing may be better suited for wood than aluminum. He nearly won the Cape Cod League triple crown in 1999, then added the NWL batting crown after ditching metal for good. His instincts are a tribute to his baseball bloodlines. He even has a knuckleball that would make his father Joe and uncle Phil proud.

Best Raw Power: Niekro. OF Danny Trumble (25) has big-time pop as well but isn’t nearly as polished.

Fastest Runner: OF Jason Ellison (22) and Carter are above-average runners with basestealing aptitude.

Best Defensive Player: Trey Lunsford (33) is an athletic catcher with very good catch-and-throw skills and a warrior mindset.

Best Fastball: RHP Boof Bonser (1) throws in the mid-90s and can blow the ball by hitters up in the strike zone but will require patience to develop. After taking Niekro in the second round, San Francisco loaded up on above-average arms in RHPs Brion Treadway (3), Kyle Gross (5) and Chad Ashlock (6) plus LHPs Ryan Hannaman (4) and Eric Threets (7).

Most Intriguing Background: In addition to Niekro’s notable bloodlines, Gross is the son of former big league third baseman Wayne Gross. SS Lou Colletti’s (48) father Nick is an assistant GM for the Giants, while C Nick Conte’s (49) dad Stan is the club’s trainer. Bonser goes to the top of any list of the best names in baseball.

Closest To The Majors: Niekro has a chance to start 2001 at Double-A.

Best Late-Round Pick: The Giants are optimistic about Trumble, Lunsford and Carter.

The One Who Got Away: C Justin Knoedler (13), who has some power, is attending Miami (Ohio).

Assessment: Several teams thought Bonser was a reach in the first round, but Niekro may have been a steal with the 61st overall pick. As usual, the Giants targeted pitching, though they like several of their late-round position players.

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