Giants 2020 MLB Draft Preview: San Francisco Seeks Help On The Corners
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
Also of note:
2019 RECORD: 77-85
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: The system is slowly improving thanks to recent first-round picks Heliot Ramos and Joey Bart and a renewed commitment to international scouting that yielded teen sensation Marco Luciano. The franchise is still working to add depth, but it has improved with recent sell-off trades and creative deals to “buy” prospects like Will Wilson.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: OF Bryan Reynolds (second round, 2016). Reynolds nearly became the first National League rookie to win a batting title last season and emerged as a capable defender at all three outfield positions. Unfortunately for the Giants, that all happened with the Pirates. The Giants traded Reynolds to Pittsburgh as part of the package for Andrew McCutchen in 2018.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: RHP Phil Bickford (first round, 2015). Bickford tested positive for marijuana before the 2015 draft in what turned out to be a warning sign of things to come. He tested positive for drugs twice more before the end of 2016, earning a 50-game suspension on his second offense, and has struggled to progress since. Bickford has yet to pitch above high Class A in five seasons and was moved to the bullpen two years ago. The good news for the Giants is they got out before things went south. The Giants traded Bickford to the Brewers as part of the package for Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): Outfield. Ramos, 2019 first-round pick Hunter Bishop, trade acquisition Jaylin Davis and international signees Alexander Canario, Luis Matos and Jairo Pomares give the Giants a solid group of outfield prospects spread through all levels of the minors. Surprise 2019 breakout Mike Yastrzemski and shrewd trade acquisition Alex Dickerson give the Giants a pair of impact hitters in the corners, a welcome development after years of nearly zero offensive production from their outfielders.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): Corner infield. The Giants have an heir apparent to Buster Posey (Bart) and potentially Brandon Crawford (Luciano), but they are short on potential long-term replacements for Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria at first base and third base, respectively. Top third base prospects Luis Toribio and Jacob Gonzalez have yet to play above low Class A, while top first base prospect Logan Wyatt was only drafted last year. The Giants have time to find replacements—Belt is signed through 2021 and Longoria through 2022—but there aren’t many candidates currently in the Giants system.
DRAFT TRENDS: Scouting director Michael Holmes has been involved recently in selecting toolsy outfielders with questions about their hitting ability. The Giants drafted Bishop last year in Holmes’ first draft, and the A’s took Kyler Murray in 2018 and Austin Beck in 2017 with Holmes as their assistant scouting director.