In last month’s draft, the San Francisco Giants selected Stanford‘s Brian Ragira in the fourth round. Ragira, the first college position player the Giants took this year, is an athletic hitter who makes great contact, having hit .320 for Stanford during his third and final season. He played first base for Stanford and will be stationed there for now with the Giants, though some believe that he is better suited for a corner outfield spot.
The 21-year-old Texas native is off to a hot start as a pro, recently moving up to the short-season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes after hitting .357 in 28 at-bats with the Giants’ rookie club. We got a chance to talk to Ragira and get his thoughts on his college career and his future outlook as a pro.
Q: What would you say is the asset that helps you out most in your quest to be a major-league player?
BR: I think if you talk to anybody, I think the Giants picked me for my bat. I think I can hit for average, you know, I’ve got power that hopefully I’ll be able to tap into more as I develop as a professional, but first and foremost, I think it’s just my bat and my ability to fire balls up.
Q: On the other end of that, is there any one specific area of your game that you are really focusing on improving as you ascend through the minor leagues?
BR: Well, everybody wants to be an all-around player, so defensively just trying to find a home, wherever they put me, just trying to really focus in on the defensive side of whatever position that is. So first base for now, just working on good footwork, being smoother around the bag and that sort of stuff, so I’ll focus on everything, but I’ll definitely focus on defense.
Q: There were quite a few evaluators who were projecting you as a possible first-rounder, but then you ended up being taken in round four by the Giants. Were there any external issues or signability concerns that you think might have caused you to drop?
BR: I don’t know, you hear a lot of different things from scouts and those people about where you can go, and you know, there are only thirty picks in the first round, and I can guarantee you that more people than that feel that they’re a first rounder around the country… so I was pretty happy with where I went, and especially with the awesome organization I went to, so everything looks good on that front.
Q: Did you get a chance to watch or follow the Giants much during your time at Stanford?
BR: Yeah, you know coming from Texas, people were all about the Rangers, but to move to the Bay Area, especially the time I did, in 2010, that was definitely really exciting to support the Giants, especially with them winning the two World Series while I was in the area. So it was nice to be picked up by the Giants. A bunch of my friends from the Bay Area are big fans and realize I went to their team.
Q: Lastly, you got the opportunity to play with the first overall pick, Mark Appel. What was it like to play alongside him, and what expectations do you have for his major-league career?
BR: Oh, Mark… you know he’s a great pitcher, everybody hears about that, but he’s a great guy, he’s real strong in his devotion and his beliefs, a real nice down-to-earth guy, but when he gets on the mound, he’s all business. He’s got a lot of things going for him on the mound: great fastball, great slider, great change. Personally, I’d expect him to get up pretty quick, in the next year or so and just keep doing what he’s always done: be a great pitcher, smart pitcher and just a good guy overall. I’m hoping the best.