San Francisco Giants 2022 MLB Draft Report Card
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Best Pure Hitter: The Giants spent each of their first six picks and top seven bonuses on pitchers during the 2022 class, but OF Wade Meckler (8) is the best pure hitter in the class. He slashed .347/.456/.478 in 66 games with Oregon State during the spring, with more walks (53) than strikeouts (49) and continued to hit in pro ball. Meckler got 12 games in the Arizona Complex League and 11 games in the Low-A California League and hit .367/.500/.544 between both levels—again with more walks (20) than strikeouts (16).
Best Power Hitter: LHP/1B Reggie Crawford (1) was viewed by amateur scouts as having more upside on the mound than at the plate, but the hulking, 6-foot-4, 235-pound slugger also brings well above-average raw power to the batter’s box. After recovering from Tommy John surgery and not pitching during the spring with Connecticut, Crawford made his pro debut as a hitter and played six games of rookie ball. Crawford managed max exit velocities of 104 mph in this small sample, but in his last full season with Connecticut in 2021, he hit 13 home runs and 11 doubles in 51 games.
Fastest Runner: Meckler (8) was a 65-grade runner in the draft and had his best season on the base paths as a junior, when he went 12-for-16 in stolen base attempts. He has the range for center field, but his arm strength could limit him to left if he doesn’t stick up the middle or plays with a superior defender who pushes him off the position. Meckler played 13 games in left and 11 in center during his pro debut.
Best Defensive Player: C Zach Morgan (7) was the first hitter-only San Francisco selected in the 2022 draft and was a finalist for the Buster Posey national catcher of the year award during the spring with Fresno State. Scouts viewed him as a solid defender with above-average arm strength at the position, and he threw out 42% of basestealers during his redshirt junior season.
Best Fastball: RHP William Kempner (3) throws from a low release point, but touched 99-100 mph during the spring with Gonzaga and averaged 95 mph during his nine-inning pro debut this summer in the Arizona Complex League and California League. The pitch has sinking life and arm-side run. Crawford (1) would be a good candidate for this category as well despite not having thrown since the summer of 2021. When healthy, Crawford’s mid-90s fastball from the left side was viewed as one of the best pitches in the entire draft class.
Best Secondary Pitch: LHP Carson Whisenhunt (2) had the best changeup in the college draft class and used the pitch as his primary secondary offering during a 16-inning Cape Cod League stint. He throws the pitch in the low-to-mid 80s, and this summer saw an eight-inch separation in induced vertical break between the changeup and his four-seam fastball. Whisenhunt has always shown impressive command of the pitch and generated whiffs at a 59% rate with it during the 2021 season with East Carolina. While Whisenhunt only threw 7.2 innings in his pro debut this summer, he continued to miss bats with the pitch and struck out 14 while walking just one.
Best Pro Debut: While Meckler (8) was old for both levels he played at, his well above-average wRC+ in both leagues (149 in the ACL, 214 in the CALL) makes him a strong candidate. Another name to mention here is RHP Hayden Birdsong (6), who struck out 47.9% (23-of-48) of the batters he faced in 11.2 combined innings in the ACL and CALL. Birdsong averaged 93-94 mph on his fastball and showed good carry with the pitch.
Best Athlete: Crawford’s (1) aptitude on both sides of the baseball would make him a good candidate for this category, but San Francisco scouts were impressed with the athleticism of SS Justin Bench (17), who played all over the diamond for Mississippi during his collegiate career, but logged just one game at third base during his 2022 pro debut.
Most Intriguing Background: It is difficult not to go with Crawford (1) for this category. He blew up during the summer showcase circuit in 2021 thanks to his performance with Team USA, but with only eight total innings on his collegiate pitching resume, was one of the biggest wild cards in the class. He’s an ultra high-risk, high-reward prospect when viewed exclusively as a pitcher, and his two-way ability makes him all the more fascinating and creates more avenues for potential success.
Closest To The Majors: Whisenhunt (2) was viewed as the sort of safe, pitchability college lefthander that players like LHP Nick Lodolo and LHP Jordan Wicks were tagged as in previous draft classes. His strong foundation of strike throwing and an easy plus changeup should allow him to start and have success against righthanded hitters and his pro debut is an encouraging follow-up to a disappointing spring.
Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): OF Matt Higgins (NDFA) always posted huge numbers at Bellarmine and is a career .372/.463/.657 hitter with 45 home runs and nearly as many walks (104) as strikeouts (110) with the program. He exploded for 22 home runs and 20 doubles during the 2022 season and his pro debut in a 10-game sample was loud as well. Sure, he was 22 years old and more than two years older than the average hitter, but a .344/.450/.531 line with impressive underlying exit velocities is plenty encouraging for a player signed after 20 rounds.
The One Who Got Away: 1B Tanner Thach (18) was the first player the Giants selected and didn’t sign. He hit .478/.612/.1.054 with his Perquimans High (Hertford, N.C.) team this spring, while leading the club with 12 home runs. Thach is now a 6-foot-4, 220-pound infielder with UNC Wilmington.