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Draft Review - San Francisco Giants

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Here’s my pick-by-pick analysis of the San Francisco Giants’ 2009 draft, keeping in mind talent, draft value, and signability. The number before each player is the round in which they were picked, and their overall pick number is listed. Here’s the picks:

1. Zack Wheeler, RHP, East Paulding HS (GA), #6 overall, 6’3’’/180: This wasn’t unexpected at all, as Wheeler had been seen by Giants’ GM Brian Sabean weeks before the draft. Wheeler had the most helium of any of the top prep pitchers over the course of the season, as he started running his fastball up and showed excellent potential. He hasn’t signed yet, but I expect him to reach a deal sometime on the deadline day. DOB: 5/30/90. Commitment: Kennesaw State.

2. Tommy Joseph, C, Horizon HS (AZ), #55 overall, 6’1’’/215: I had some people criticize my next-to-last mock draft, because I left Joseph out of the three round mock altogether. I even had a few people say it was idiotic for Joseph to be left out of the first round, as he was a lock. However, I felt a subtle shift in his stock late in the season, as teams were always sure of his bat, but became more apprehensive about his glove. I see first base in his future, as his mechanics behind the plate just aren’t those of a catcher in today’s game. He could easily improve greatly and prove me wrong, but I just don’t see the skills. He does have the tools, however, as his arm is quite strong. He hasn’t signed, but I expect him to agree shortly before Wheeler. DOB: 7/16/91. Commitment: Arizona.

3. Chris Dominguez, 3B, Louisville, #86 overall, 6’5’’/235: I love this pick for the Giants, as Dominguez is one of those rare college third basemen that could turn out to be a starter at that position in the big leagues. He has enormous tools, and you have to start with the raw power. He’s got enough strength to hit 30 homers a year if he improves his approach, though that’s tough, as he struggles with pitch recognition. His arm is also a plus, and he can handle third with it in the long-run, though, as with most third base prospects, he needs reps in order to become consistent. He’s still raw, despite having been a 5th round pick last year by the Rockies as a draft-eligible sophomore, but he’s got enormous potential. This wrapped up a great first day for the Giants. Dominguez signed quickly, and after a quick .306/.375/.528 run through the AZL in 36 ABs, he’s 8-for-21 (.381) with Salem-Keizer in the Northwest League. DOB: 11/22/86. Signing bonus: $411,300.

4. Jason Stoffel, RHP, Arizona, #117 overall, 6’2’’/220: Stoffel was one of those rare cases in which I firmly believe he was the subject of pitching abuse, though he was a reliever in college. The Wildcats used him early and often, and he threw over 50 innings over a three month span, equivalent to over 100 innings in relief over a six month Major League season. No manager in the Majors would subject such a high-end arm like Stoffel’s to that kind of use. However, it happened, and as a result, Stoffel’s pure stuff was down, as was his command, and I personally speculated a few times that Stoffel might be having arm troubles. He fell this far as a result of the diminished results, and the Giants might have gotten a steal. He signed already, but has yet to be assigned to a roster. DOB: 9/15/88. Signing bonus: $254,700.

5. Brandon Belt, 1B, Texas, #147 overall, 6’5’’/210: This was a surprising overdraft to me, as I loved what the Giants had done with their first four picks. However, Belt, despite blessed with exceptional size and good natural power, lacks the performance numbers or tools to be drafted this high. Since being drafted in the 11th round in both 2006 and 2007 (Red Sox and Braves), Belt has been a huge disappointment, with relatively weak hitting, making him going this high a big surprise. He’s got good tools at first, and with mechanical adjustments, he might become a more powerful hitter, but it’s just not likely. He hasn’t signed yet. DOB: 4/20/88.

6. Matt Graham, RHP, Oak Ridge HS (TX), #177 overall, 6’4’’/225: I’m still trying to figure out what to expect from Graham, who I had as a first round lock for this class a couple years ago. He completely lost his top-shelf stuff over a year ago, and despite some claims that he’s back, I just haven’t heard the big positives I was hearing back then. He’s still raw, and though he’s gotten his fastball back to an extent, his command is just not what it was. Was he hurt? I don’t know. All I know is that the Giants got a first round talent in the sixth round here, but he might be expensive to sign. This was somewhere near where I expected Graham to go, though I heard different projections even during the beginning of draft week. Great, but risky, pick. If he doesn’t sign, he’ll be draft-eligible again after his sophomore season in college in 2011. DOB: 5/1/90. Commitment: North Carolina.

7. Nick Liles, 2B, Western Carolina, #207 overall, 6’0’’/165: I was very encouraged by Liles after a good summer on the Cape last year, but was utterly disappointed when I heard he was switching to center field part-way through the spring. Apparently he just hasn’t gotten comfortable being an infielder, though his body isn’t really geared for anything else. The Giants decided to draft him as a second baseman, hoping that with repetitions, he could become solid at that spot. Liles does have the ability to hit for average, and his speed is close to above-average, as well. Don’t expect a lot of homers out of him, but he’s not punchless, either. I expected him to go as early as the 5th or as late as the 9th, so this was a solid draft position. He signed quickly, but has had sporadic playing time in the AZL, where he’s hitting .323/.333/.355 through 31 ABs. DOB: 7/23/87. Signing bonus: $120,000.

8. Gus Benusa, OF, Riverview HS (PA), #237 overall, 5’11’’/180: I’ve heard mixed opinions on Benusa, with one person telling me that Benusa has the tools to be a Major League center fielder, but with another telling me they’d be surprised if he made it to AA. Having lived in the state of Pennsylvania this past spring, all I can tell you is that the buzz was there. I don’t necessarily believe in his tools, but he’s worth an eighth-round risk considering how much he dominated competition with a respectable pro package. He may not succeed due to his below-average pedigree for baseball, but I don’t necessarily disagree with this pick. He’ll be interesting to watch, as he signed quickly, but has also received fairly sporadic playing time in the AZL like Liles. He’s hitting .308/.400/.308 in 26 ABs. DOB: 1/30/91. Signing bonus: $125,000.

9. Evan Crawford, OF, Indiana, #267 overall, 6’2’’/175: Crawford’s another one of those players that draws differing opinions in the eyes of scouts. Seeing a theme here? The Giants decided that Crawford’s toolset, which features plus speed and decent range for a new center fielder, was worth the six figure risk. I expected Crawford to go somewhere in this range, so I don’t necessarily think this is a bad pick, but the refinement level for Crawford is quite low. He doesn’t turn 21 until next month, though, so he’s got time to improve. He signed quickly and is hitting .286/.318/.310 in 42 ABs in the AZL. DOB: 8/5/88. Signing bonus: $110,000.

10. Jeremy Toole, RHP, BYU, #297 overall, 6’4’’/235: I like this pick from a pure talent perspective, and I think this may be a tenth-round bargain, as well. However, I don’t think Toole will be a starter. On the contrary, I think Toole has the potential to be a power closer, though he’d likely serve as Brian Wilson’s setup man in the current Giants bullpen. Toole has what can be an overpowering fastball, though his arm strength seemed to falter with a starter’s workload for a second straight season, the first being at a JUCO in Texas. He was drafted out of high school by Kansas City in the 41st round in 2006, so you know the natural talent is there, just not the refinement quite yet. He’ll probably start for awhile in the minors, but that’s probably not his long-term destination. He signed quickly, and he’s thrown 10 strong innings with Salem-Keiser, though with some command problems. DOB: 6/17/88. Signing bonus: $80,000.

11. John Eshleman, SS, Mount San Jacinto JC (CA), #327 overall, 6’0’’/180: I followed Eshleman this season mainly as a result of following Drew Madrigal, his teammate, very closely. I quickly realized that Eshleman had good pro ability, though his tools aren’t overwhelming. He wasn’t a full-time shortstop, so I thought his long-term position might be center field. He’s got the potential to hit for average, and he’s got decent speed, though I don’t have a report on his defense at short. I assume he needs to become more consistent there. He signed quickly and is hitting .304/.467/.391 in 23 ABs with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 4/8/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.

12. Chris Heston, RHP, East Carolina, #357 overall, 6’4’’/185: This was Heston’s third time being drafted, as most recently he was picked by the Nationals in the 29th round a year ago out of Seminole CC in Florida. A starter at ECU, Heston showed solid command, but really lacked quality pro stuff. He probably profiles best as a middle reliever as a pro, though he might be able to become a command setup man if his stuff grows, as he’s got a solid pro body. He signed quickly, but has been hit around a little in 8 innings in the AZL. DOB: 4/10/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

13. Shawn Sanford, RHP, South Florida, #387 overall, 6’0’’/210: A 43rd round pick out of high school by the Rangers in 2006, Sanford has been on the scouting stage for awhile, despite not having a prototypical pro body. He split time this spring as both a late-inning reliever and a starter, finishing the season as a starter. However, like Heston, Sanford probably profiles best as a reliever in pro ball, though Sanford’s body is less projectable. Sanford is young, not turning 21 until the very end of the season this year, so he’s got that slight advantage over many juniors just drafted. He signed quickly and has thrown 7 dominating shutout innings in the AZL in relief. DOB: 8/28/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

14. B.J. Salsbury, RHP, Mount San Jacinto JC (CA), #417 overall, 6’2’’/185: While I was drawn to Salsbury’s teammate Eshleman as a result of Drew Madrigal, I always had some interest in Salsbury, as he was drafted by the Rangers in the 37th round out of high school in 2007. I thought Eshleman and Salsbury would be flip-flopped in terms of draft position, but that’s not how it happened. Salsbury was a starter at Mount San Jacinto, and he was borderline abused there, throwing 111 innings at the age of 19. He’s got decent stuff, but I’d worry about the workload. He signed quickly, and he’s had mixed results through 16.1 innings in the AZL. DOB: 10/22/89. Signing bonus: Unknown.

15. Kyle Vazquez, RHP, Franklin Pierce (NH), #447 overall, 6’3’’175: Vazquez was a starter at Franklin Pierce this spring, and like Salsbury, I’m afraid he was slightly abused, which marks a trend in this draft for the Giants. He threw a 10 inning shutout in early May, a game which included 15 strikeouts. That obviously shows some solid stuff, but I didn’t really expect him to go this high. He signed quickly, but has been hit hard in 5.1 innings with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 6/29/88. Signing bonus: Unknown.

16. Ryan Cavan, SS, UC Santa Barbara, #477 overall, 5’10’’180: Cavan was a transfer to UC Santa Barbara from Chapman University, and he sat out a year as a result, making him a 22 year old junior in 2009. He showed good plate discipline in college, as well as a decent ability to hit for average, though he lacks power and speed. A third baseman in college, Cavan was drafted as a shortstop, and I wonder if he has the range for the position. He signed quickly and is hitting .270/.368/.446 in 74 ABs with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 6/28/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

17. Chris Gloor, LHP, Quinnipiac, #507 overall, 6’6’’/255: A towering figure, Gloor was a solid prospect a couple of years ago until he came out throwing lifeless fastballs last spring. He was drafted by the Tigers in the 39th round a year ago as a result. He regained some of his status this spring, but not all of it. However, I thought his size and signability would push him into the top twelve rounds. He fell here, and the Giants got a steal in all categories. Great pick. He signed quickly and is dominating the Northwest League as a reliever. DOB: 3/7/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

18. Jonathan Walsh, OF, Coppell HS (TX), #537 overall, 6’2’’/208: I was one of those who were not surprised when the Giants called Walsh’s name as an outfielder on day two of the draft. As someone on my "most disappointing" list this spring, Walsh showed little of the potential he has with the glove behind the plate as a catcher, regularly struggling to reach even average pop times. His offense also struggled under the spotlight, and though he has enormous potential with the bat, too, it just wasn’t there. Whether it’s Draftitis or a larger problem, Walsh was just not on his game this spring. He still should have gone in the top ten rounds, and he’s not going to be signable in this range. This marks the beginning of the unsignable and organizational player run for the Giants in this draft. DOB: 11/14/90. Commitment: Texas.

19. Jason Walls, RHP, Troy, #567 overall, 6’5’’/205: I was pretty high on Walls coming into the draft, as I placed him on my sleeper list and shadow drafted him in the 15th round. He’s got a good fastball that was described to me as full of life and a slider that was described to me as late-inning material. Put those two together and we have a late-inning reliever on our hands. However, Walls also has command problems and a windup that might lead to injuries, so teams naturally shied away from his pro body and natural stuff. Long-term relievers with command problems aren’t incredibly desirable. There’s a good chance Walls heads back to school for his senior year, as he’s yet to sign. DOB: 2/22/88.

20. Mitch Mormann, RHP, Des Moines Area CC (IA), #597 overall, 6’6’’/220: I think the Giants were reading off my draft list on day two, as I also popped Mormann in addition to Walls, Mormann being picked by me in the 18th round. However, I was surprised when I was able to do so as late as I did. Mormann’s got a top of the line fastball and great pro size, though his offspeed stuff needs major work. He’s also got a strong LSU commitment, one which I wouldn’t be surprised to see him follow through with. He’s still learning to pitch with his tall body, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him blossom into something special. Great pick for talent and draft position here, but he might hold out for good money, knowing he could get a lot more looks next year in Baton Rouge. DOB: 3/17/89. Commitment: LSU.

21. Zach Wasserman, 1B, Lake Shore HS (MI), #627 overall, 6’6’’/225: Wasserman has already announced he will honor his college commitment. That makes this pick kind of worthless, doesn’t it? DOB: 8/30/90. Commitment: Louisville.

22. Drew Biery, 3B, Kansas State, #657 overall, 6’0’’/205: Biery was a college senior that best profiles as an organizational utility infielder. He doesn’t have pro size or pro tools, and he’s already 23. As expected, he signed quickly and is doing well in the Northwest League, hitting .363/.416/.425 in 80 ABs. DOB: 5/14/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

23. Adam Champion, LHP, Arkansas-Little Rock, #687 overall, 6’7’’/220: Unlike Biery, Champion does have pro size, but he lacked the results to merit a high pick. I did think Champion might be picked in the top 30 rounds as a tall college junior with decent stuff, but I also think he’s a LOOGY in the long-run. It’s looked to me like Champion will return for his senior year. DOB: 9/22/87.

24. Alex Burg, C, Washington State, #717 overall, 6’0’’/190: Burg was only a part-time catcher as a senior, and he had a knee injury during the year at that. Likely drafted as an easy sign, Burg has actually yet to sign with the Giants, a surprising move. He doesn’t have any leverage for holding out. DOB: 8/9/87.

25. Taylor Rogers, RHP, Tulane, #747 overall, 6’4’’/200: It’s amazing how many big-bodied arms a team can find in the later rounds of a draft. A midweek fill-in starter and reliever at Tulane, Rogers doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but there’s always hope in a body like his. He’s already 22 despite having been a junior this year. He signed quickly and has been hit hard with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 6/5/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

26. Luis Munoz, OF, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, #777 overall, 6’0’’/165: I don’t have anything to add except the fact that I couldn’t even find a college commitment for Munoz, meaning I don’t have any real information on him. He signed already, but is hitting poorly in the AZL. DOB: 10/10/91.Signing bonus: Unknown.

27. Kyle Mach, 3B, Missouri, #807 overall, 5’11’’/191: College senior was the leading hitter on a disappointing Mizzou squad. No power, not much potential for average, but he doesn’t strike out or walk much at all. No speed. Organizational infielder. He signed quickly and is hitting .213/.278/.319 through 47 ABs in the AZL. DOB: 11/8/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

28. Jamaine Cotton, RHP, Western Oklahoma State JC, #837 overall, 6’1’’/175: JUCO freshman that I don’t expect to sign, still being 18 years old. Could be a top twenty rounder next year, if not in the top ten. Decent command as a starter as a freshman. Has not signed. DOB: 9/27/90. Commitment: None.

29. Luke Demko, RHP, Rhode Island, #867 overall, 6’7’’/260: Tall college senior (also large in general) had success as closer this spring. Command needs work, but has decent stuff, though nothing special. He signed but hasn’t been assigned to a roster yet. DOB: 6/26/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

30. Craig Westcott, RHP, Belhaven (MS), #897 overall, 6’4’’/225: Westcott was a dominating pitcher at Belhaven, though it was as a 23 year old senior. He threw 90 innings over 17 starts, striking out 124 while allowing roughly a .200 batting average against him. That’s obviously great success, and I thought someone might take him in the teens as an interesting senior sign. He’s got good size, but marginal pro stuff. He signed quickly, and he’s dominated the AZL in 8 innings of relief. Nice pick. DOB: 3/1/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

31. Diego Seastrunk, C, Rice, #927 overall, 5’9’’/210: Seastrunk should have gone much higher as Rice’s starting catcher. An infielder in previous seasons, Seastrunk transitioned fairly well to catching, and I’m guessing he fell this far as a result of his desire to return to Rice for his senior season. He’s got the tools all-around to be a decent backup catcher at the Major League level with enough repetitions. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 1/11/88.

32. Luke Anders, 1B, Texas A&M, #957 overall, 6’6’’/225: I thought Anders might go 15 rounds higher after going in the 16th round to the Yankees a year ago as a junior. Like Brandon Belt, Anders is a tall college first baseman without a long history of success at the college level. He’s got some pop, though it probably doesn’t translate to the pro game. He’ll probably strike out a lot, but this is actually good value this far down, as Anders might have enough in his body to make it to the high minors, possibly into a bench role on an NL team. He signed quickly and is hitting .266/.351/.500 in 64 ABs with Salem-Keizer, a promising start. DOB: 10/2/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

33. Jake Dunning, RHP, Indiana, #987 overall, 6’4’’/188: Dunning was actually Indiana’s starting shortstop, and he only threw 7 innings in relief this spring. A college junior, he’ll likely return to school for his senior year to improve his stock. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 8/12/88.

34. Brandon Kirby, OF, Lake Wales HS (FL), #1017 overall, 6’0’’/185: I knew of Kirby’s town mate (not teammate) Kyle Andre of Frostproof HS, but I had no information on Kirby. I doubt he signs, but any draftee is a name to watch in the JUCO ranks. He hasn’t signed as of yet. DOB: 12/10/90. Commitment: South Florida CC.

35. Brandon Graves, LHP, Valdosta State (GA), #1047 overall, 6’1’’/190: I have to say I was much more on Graves’ teammates at Valdosta State than Graves himself. He was an Appalachian State transfer after starting at Tallahassee CC (FL). He had most of his success in the bullpen. Maybe there’s a future LOOGY in there. He signed quickly, and he’s had some ups and downs with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 8/7/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

36. Ryan Scoma, OF, UC Davis, #1077 overall, 6’2’’/195: College senior outfielder with normal limited upside. Was at College of San Mateo before UC Davis. Very limited in tools. Signed quickly and is hitting .262/.295/.286 in 42 ABs in the AZL. DOB: 9/12/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

37. Ryan Lollis, OF, Missouri, #1107 overall, 6’2’’/185: Lollis was a 20th rounder of the Tigers a year ago as a junior, but he returned to Mizzou, where he had a disappointing season. Has good speed, and I thought he might go 15 rounds higher simply for that. He’s got a little more potential than your normal 37th round outfielder. He signed quickly and is hitting .307/.316/.453 in 75 ABs with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 12/16/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

38. A.J. Proszek, RHP, Gonzaga, #1137 overall, 6’5’’/260: Senior pitcher with a big body. Nothing much to add here. Signed quickly, but was been hit very hard in 5 innings in the AZL. DOB: 4/17/87. Signing bonus: Unknown.

39. Kyle Henson, C, Ole Miss, #1167 overall, 5’10’’/195: Senior catcher with Ole Miss. Very limited upside in terms of tools and skills. Signed quickly and is hitting .276/.323/.448 in 29 ABs with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 12/7/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

40. Jonathan White, OF, Vanderbilt, #1197 overall, 6’2’’/198: 23 year old senior was drafted in 2007 by the Braves in the 24th round. His game relies on huge speed, but he’s simply not a refined ballplayer. Poor plate discipline and lack of hitting skills. He signed quickly and is hitting .341/.388/.500 in 44 ABs in the AZL. DOB: 6/16/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

41. Gary Moran, RHP, Sonoma State (CA), #1227 overall, 6’8’’/265: Has a big body and not much else as a 24 year old senior pitcher. Signed quickly and hasn’t allowed a run in 5.2 innings of relief with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 5/21/85. Signing bonus: Unknown.

42. Nick Schwaner, 3B, New Orleans, #1257 overall, 6’1’’/215: I thought Schwaner would go as much as 30 rounds higher as a solid college third baseman with solid hitting skills, but with a poor glove. He slipped this far, and he’ll likely return to school for his senior year. DOB: 2/27/88.

43. Matt Jansen, LHP, Purdue, #1287 overall, 6’2’’/210: 22 year old college junior with LOOGY potential. Still has a year of eligibility, so he might return to Purdue with the hopes of moving up twenty rounds. He hasn’t signed. DOB: 5/25/87.

44. Joe Lewis, 1B, Pittsburg HS (CA), #1317 overall, 6’5’’/205: Big, big kid. Still can’t find a college commitment for him, but his pure body size is encouraging. He hasn’t signed, and I’d expect he’d go to school. He was the quarterback on the school football team, too, and he was apparently pretty good. DOB: 9/17/90. Commitment: Unknown.

45. Kyle Kramp, RHP, Westfield HS (IN), #1347 overall, 6’4’’/195: Kramp’s teammate Kevin Plawecki got much more attention, but Kramp does have pro size. He’s got a decent college commitment, so I don’t expect him to sign. DOB: 12/23/90. Commitment: Butler.

46. Juan Martinez, SS, Oral Roberts, #1377 overall, 5’10’’/190: 22 year old junior infielder with limited pro skills. He signed quickly and is hitting .333/.383/.600 in 75 ABs with Salem-Keizer. DOB: 12/26/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

47. Michael Ness, RHP, Duke, #1407 overall, 6’4’’/210: Big college junior with a little more potential than your normal 47th rounder. I expected him to be a late-round follow, and I also think he’ll return to school for his senior year. DOB: 10/20/87.

48. Randolph Oduber, OF, Western Oklahoma State JC, #1437 overall, 6’3’’/186: I liked Oduber more than his teammate Cotton who was picked twenty rounds higher by the Giants. Oduber’s got solid pro tools, and I thought the only thing that held him back from being picked in the top 15 rounds was the fact that he was a JUCO freshman. He is 20 already, but he won’t sign since he went so far down. DOB: 3/18/89. Commitment: None.

49. Austin Goolsby, C, Embry-Riddle (FL), #1467 overall, 6’2’’/190: Junior catcher originally from the state of Texas. I’d expect he returns to school for his senior year, as he’s got good pro size behind the plate. DOB: 4/28/88.

50. Kaohi Downing, RHP, Point Loma Nazarene (CA), #1497 overall, 5’10’’/170: Wasn’t on my radar at all as a smallish 23 year old pitcher. He signed quickly, but is getting hit hard in the AZL. DOB: 5/7/86. Signing bonus: Unknown.

A quick scan can give an encouraging sign that the Giants have signed so many of their picks before the cutoff into the unsignable and organizational player section. They’ve already signed 13 of their first 17 picks, and I think they transitioned after that 17th round pick of Chris Gloor. I’d still expect they get all of those 17 picks under contract, as I don’t think any of them are unsignable. I’d expect Belt to be signed first, but Zack Wheeler, Tommy Joseph, and Matt Graham might go down to the deadline. The wild card in Matt Graham, as he might feel he can make himself back into first round material in college, therefore affecting his asking price. He’d be eligible again in just a couple of years after a run with North Carolina, so it’s not an unreasonable claim. The Giants have also only spent somewhere in the $1.2 million range for bonuses so far, though a tad below that. That leaves plenty of room for more signatures, as slot for Wheeler is somewhere around $2.3 million, for Joseph it’s around $650K, and for Belt it’s around $175K. Having spent $9.1 million, $7.4 million, and $4.4 million on the last three drafts, I’d expect that leaves plenty of room to sign at least Graham, if not more. Tommy Joseph might get somewhere in the neighborhood of $800K, though, so budget room will start to be restricted after they sign those players.

The talent level of this draft greatly impresses me. Wheeler, Joseph, Dominguez, and Stoffel have all been discussed as having first-round talent from time-to-time, as has Matt Graham, who was the top prep pitcher in his class for a time during his pre-junior year. They could potentially have the best top six players of any combination of six players in any team’s draft. That’s how high I am on this draft. I still have to wait to see how many players they get under contract, but I’m optimistic about that too, as they saved money in the right places in order to have plenty to sign the big players at the top. There is some risk in this draft, though, as Dominguez, Stoffel, Belt, and Graham have all been disappointments in one way or another over the last year or two, and they come with major flaws. However, the talent level is undoubtedly there.

Looking past those initial six players, I’m not incredibly impressed. Liles may have potential to become a Major League ballplayer, but he needs to shore up his defense to be worth much of anything. His bat could help him progress, though. Benusa’s got a lot of risk, though $125K isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things within the context of the draft. Crawford also has a lot of risk, and I’m not too high on him in general. I do like the Toole pick, though, and the fact that he was so cheap is very encouraging. I’d put him in the bullpen and watch him go. There’s a lot of arms in general in this draft that could end up being helpful bullpen arms, so that’s something to watch. They might have dipped into the abused category once too many times, but every pitcher comes with inherent risk anyway. I do like the Chris Gloor pick a lot for that position, but his ceiling probably isn’t as high as some prospect homers might have you think. If the Giants can get their early picks signed, and if they can add someone in the Walsh-Walls-Mormann run, this has to be an unqualified win for this draft team. I’m going to assume that either none or just one of those players there signs, limiting my grade a bit, but I’m still very, very high on this draft, and I think it’s going to be one of the best in the entire league, despite not having any extra picks. Signing day may change my grade, but I grade this draft well above the first five I graded, as this draft is clearly superior.


Note: If you have signing bonus information or other information you wish to share, feel free to comment or email me at texasrangersanalyst at gmail dot com.