San Francisco Giants Draft Preview: Options at Pick 25
7 Possibilities at Pick 25
As the San Francisco Giants head into the Major League Baseball draft tonight, the team faces an important decision as to what to do with the 25th overall pick. With the team's minor league system being rather depleted at the moment, it would not be a surprise to see the team take a player at any position other than the middle infield, where they are armed with young players like Brandon Crawford and 2011 first rounder Joe Panik. The greatest need at the major league level is currently starting pitching, seeing as the rotation has a 4.98 ERA.
That being said, the team is stacked with starting potential at the lower levels of the minors. The most ideal situation would be for the team to take a college arm who is close to being major-league ready, and fast track them like the Baltimore Orioles did with Kevin Gausman and the St. Louis Cardinals did with Michael Wacha.
However, if they do not see that kind of potential in any available pitchers, it is certainly feasible that they could go for a position player. One need that stands out is at catcher, where the team needs to find a reliable alternative to Buster Posey, who could be moved to first base in the near future.
Also, it would not hurt to replenish the corner infield depth, with Pablo Sandoval being injury-prone and a free agent in 2015, and Brandon Belt being wildly inconsistent. It is also always smart to have depth in an outfield that has been introducing new faces for years. As the seconds keep ticking until the first pick, we examine some of the possibilities at pick no. 25.
Chris Anderson, RHP, Jacksonville University
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander probably provides the Giants their best shot at a developed college pitcher who can soar through the system and be ready to fill a major league vacancy sooner than later. His fastball has been clocked at speeds as high as 97 mph, and he has a complete repertoire that features a quality curveball, slider, and changeup. Anderson's velocity should allow him, at the very least, to be a nasty weapon out of the bullpen, although he definitely has the potential to be a powerful force in the rotation as well.
Nick Ciuffo, C, Lexington, S.C. (HS)
Ciuffo is an all-around catching threat, gaining acclaim from scouts for both his offensive and defensive skills. He has the potential to be an elite receiver at the major league level, with a cannon for an arm. Many scouts believe that his strong, projectable build will enable him to become a power-hitting force as well. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound catcher from South Carolina would fit rather perfectly into the Giants' plans, since if he followed a traditional minor league progression for a high school first-rounder, his estimated time of arrival would be 2018, by which point Buster Posey almost certainly will have moved to another position. While they have two catchers with reasonably high potential in their system in Hector Sanchez and Andrew Susac, each has their fair share of faults. The right-handed hitting Susac has improved at Double-A Richmond this year, but only hit .244 in A-Ball last year. Sanchez is chronically out of shape and has a nagging shoulder issue that could affect his catching future. Neither one of them will wow anyone on defense. To insure themselves from future catching issues, Ciuffo would be a very safe pick at 25.
Jonathon Crawford, RHP, University of Florida
Crawford's build, pitching style, and body language make him almost eerily similar to current Giant Chad Gaudin. While many would say that being like Gaudin creates a low ceiling for a first-rounder, Crawford looks to be one of the more reliable arms in this class. He has great velocity with his fastball ranging between 92 and 96 mph, and complements it with a superior slider and changeup. There are concerns about Crawford's durability since he throws so hard with a smaller-than-average body, but he, like Anderson, should at the very least provide a powerful bullpen arm for whatever team invests in him.
Matt Krook, LHP, San Francisco, CA (HS)
The local left-hander is a possibility for the Giants as they prepare to fill as many as three starting pitching vacancies this offseason. Krook has good velocity and a plus curveball, and has a chance to develop into a great starter as he matures. He is definitely a risky pick considering his inexperience and signability issues, however the Giants may be the team who Krook is most likely to sign with, considering that he is a San Francisco native.
Michael Lorenzen, CF, Cal State Fullerton
The Giants have a bit of a history with Fullerton, with names such as Gary Brown and Brett Pill coming to mind, so it would not be surprising if they dipped back into the school's talent pool once again and selected the solidly-built Lorenzen in the first round. Lorenzen is considered to be a major-league quality center fielder, and projects much like a right-handed hitting and throwing version of Toronto Blue Jays outfielderColby Rasmus. Like Rasmus, he has the potential to make great plays in the field and provide an excellent boost on the basepaths, but he may not be a very consistent hitter. He does, however, have a big body, which could turn him into a solid power hitter at the big league level under the direction of professional hitting and strength coaches. Taking Lorenzen would be a profession of the team's lack of faith in former first-rounder Brown, but it may be necessary as they formulate a contingency plan for Angel Pagan.
Oscar Mercado, SS, Tampa, FL (HS)
Mercado would seem to be a rather illogical fit with the Giants, who seem to have a steady double play combination for years to come in Crawford and Panik, and who drafted only one high school player in the entire draft last year. However, he has been linked to the Giants nonetheless. Mercado is considered an excellent defender who will be an asset on the basepaths and has the potential to be a very good major league hitter. He did not perform well in his senior year, hitting .286 with five extra-base-hits all season. Though it is arguably the area where they are best set for the not-so-distant future, the Giants may ultimately decide that with their lack of depth beyond Crawford and Panik, they are best served to select the 18-year-old Mercado and let him slowly develop into an everyday player.
Austin Wilson, OF, Stanford University
Wilson, a massive right fielder, would be a reliable successor for Hunter Pence, and his game seems to be very fitting to AT&T Park. His athleticism, speed, and strong arm would allow him to be a defensive weapon, and his ability to hit for both average and power makes him very similar to Pence, however he shares a negative quality with Pence in that he puts up huge strikeout numbers. Wilson could be a good fit for the Giants if they decide that 2012 third-rounder Mac Williamson's iffy production this season is not worthy of the “right fielder of the future” label he has currently been entrusted with.