Barr's second draft nets bats and arms
SAN FRANCISCO The Giants hired John Barr as their scouting director because he knew how to spot a major league bat. But Barr knows a quality arm when he sees it, too.
After an initial draft class that went heavy on college hitters, Barr's follow-up effort in 2009 had better balance. Georgia high school righthander Zack Wheeler was the signature piece, signing for a $3.3 million bonus as the 10th overall pick.
Wheeler wasn't Barr's only high-ceiling prep pitcher, though. The Giants also netted righthander Matthew Graham, who fell to the sixth round because he was considered a tough sign. The Giants offered $500,000—roughly four times the slot value for the round—and tempted Graham away from North Carolina.
"We were considering him higher and decided to let him slide," Barr said. "When it came to our pick (in the sixth round), we felt he was by far the best player on the board."
Graham is a broad-shouldered, physical presence at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, and was throwing 95 mph in instructional league before he caught the flu. His fastball has natural sink and he'll start his pro career with two other pitches: a breaking ball with slurvy action and an inconsistent changeup.
"He's got a chance to be a winner," Barr said. "He's bright and has excellent makeup. He was going to an excellent school, but he wanted to start his career."
Graham has a lot to learn. He doesn't repeat his high-effort, three-quarters delivery, so perhaps it's not surprising that his velocity was all over the board during his senior season at Oak Ridge High in Spring, Texas.
Barr wasn't deterred. That's because he can spot talent in the coaching ranks, too.
"(Vice president) Dick Tidrow and our development side is exceptional," Barr said. "Every kid goes at his own pace. (Pitching coordinator) Bert Bradley will be working with him. We feel really comfortable knowing those guys will be walking with them every step of the way. So we'll get them big league pitchers whenever we see them."
• The Giants hired former big leaguer Russ Morman, who spent the last two seasons as the hitting coach for Triple-A Pawtucket in the Red Sox organization, to join the staff at Double-A Richmond.
• Ken Joyce will replace hitting coach Hensley Meulens at Triple-A Fresno. Joyce coached hitters for Triple-A Las Vegas in the Blue Jays organization last season. Las Vegas led the Pacific Coast League with a .290 average and .457 slugging percentage.