But they could be good!
Day 3 of the 2021 MLB Draft is in the books, which means the entire MLB Draft is in the books. Hooray! Now we can stop googling names we’ve never heard of before, and start making grand proclamations about the future of players we only just learned about.
I love it. Genuinely. This is not sarcasm, and me saying “this is not sarcasm” is not sarcasm, either.
Here’s what the final day — which consisted of Rounds 11 through 20 — looked like for the Giants:
R11, No. 326: OF (LHH) Donovan McIntyre, Marian Catholic High School (IL)
R12, No. 356: RHP Landen Roupp, UNC Wilmington
R13, No. 386: OF (LHH) Jared Dupere, Northeastern
R14, No. 416: RHP Tyler Myrick, Florida International
R15, No. 446: OF/SS (SH) Brooks Baldwin, UNC Wilmington
R16, No. 476: LHP Julian Bosnic, South Carolina
R17, No. 506: RHP Brett Standlee, Oklahoma State
R18, No. 536: RHP and OF/1B (RHH) Hunter Dula, Wingate
R19, No. 566: INF (RHH) Irvin Murr, Winter Springs High School (FL)
R20, No. 596: SS (RHH) Vance Honeycutt, Salisbury High School (NC)
Here’s the breakdown of the Giants 20 total picks, counting Dula as a pitcher, since that seems to be the skillset that led to him being drafted:
Right-handed pitchers: 10
Left-handed pitchers: 4
Position players: 6
Right-handed hitters: 3
Left-handed hitters: 2
Switch hitters: 1
College players: 16
Prep players: 4
The Giants didn’t go as pitcher-heavy on Day 3 as on the first days, with just five of their 10 selections being pitchers, as opposed to nine hurlers through the first 10 rounds. But 14 out of 20 selections being pitchers is quite a lot, and it’s hard to know what led the Giants to go that route.
Here are a few potential reasons:
- Randomness. It very well could be that the Giants were just taking the best players on their board at each slot, and that happened to be pitchers more often than not. Remember, in Farhan Zaidi’s first draft with the team, in 2019 — when the Giants farm had holes at literally every position — they didn’t draft a pitcher until the eighth round. We know the front office values talent more than anything else, and it’s not wild to think that variance just led to more good pitchers than position players being available.
- Balance. GM Scott Harris has talked openly about wanting to increase the pitching in the farm, which is lagging a bit behind the position players. I don’t think that’s a reason for drafting a pitcher in the first round, or even the second or third, but it very well could be the reason for targeting five pitchers on Day 3, despite having loaded up on them in the first two days.
- Safety. There’s been a lot of talk in the Minor Leagues this year about how pitchers have an advantage after last year’s canceled season. The reason is fairly simple: hitters rely on timing more than pitchers do, which means they would be hurt more by going a full year without facing live pitching. Pitchers, on the other hand, are focused almost entirely on what they’re doing before the batter is even involved, and thus shouldn’t have been impacted as much. That should also be true at the college and prep levels. It may mean that some of the Giants 14 pitching selections had slightly better numbers than they would have had in a normal year, but scouts probably felt more comfortable that what they saw with pitchers in 2021 was accurate, whereas assessing hitters was probably a bit more of a crapshoot. Similarly, pitchers might be easier to sign this year, since they have less reason to think they could see their stats improve next year. If this is the reason, the Giants aren’t alone … the Los Angeles Angels used all 20 of their picks on pitchers.
To that last point, the Giants only targeted two college hitters in the draft, and both of them were players who showed dramatic improvement this season, despite the curveballs (literal and metaphorical) that were thrown at them.
We’ll have to wait and see how much this influx of pitchers evens out the farm. When Fangraphs ranked the Giants farm system at the beginning of the season, they listed 40 prospects as having a future value of 35+ or higher. Of those 40, 18 were pitchers and 22 were hitters — and one of the hitters has since been traded. So it’s not too lopsided from a wide angle lens.
It’s with the top-end talent where the Giants lack pitchers, with just one of their top five prospects, three of their top 10, and four of their top 15 being pitchers. It remains to be seen how much this draft class can help that.
Either way, we’ve got many more pitchers to watch, in an organization that has shown a recent ability to get the absolute most out of arms.
It’s a fun time to watch the farm.