With their first selection in the 2013 MLB amateur draft, the San Francisco Giants selected high-school shortstop Christian Arroyo. This is the second time in three years that the Giants have used their first pick on a shortstop, having taken Joe Panik No. 29 in the 2011 draft. This is the first time the Giants have taken a high school player with their first pick since drafting Zach Wheeler No. 6 in the 2009 draft.
I am by no means a draft expert, not having heard of a single player the Giants have drafted. ESPN’s Keith Law is, however, and discussed the Giants’ first pick on his Behind the Dish podcast Friday:
Of all the 33 players selected in the first round, the Giants took the one I had rated the lowest coming into the draft — Christian Arroyo, a high school shortstop from Florida. (He’s) got a chance to hit for above-average power, not a shortstop in the long-term. A lot of people I talk to thought he was a second baseman and there’s a strong bias against taking high school second basemen, including guys who just project out as second basemen because their track record is very poor. College second basemen fair a little bit better, but high school second basemen, it’s just not a good track record. Better than high school catchers but that’s not saying a whole lot. I had him ranked 99th they took him 25th. They probably could have gotten him with their next pick, but it’s also more the opportunity cost. So many better players available for them at that first pick.
The Giants already have a shortstop who projects as a second basemen in Joe Panik, the aforementioned first pick in 2011. Being a high school player, Arroyo is more of a project than Panik. There are many developments that can occur between now and the four or five years it will take Arroyo reach the first level of his potential. With above-average power and a 6-1, 185 lb. frame, it isn’t ludicrous to think that he could be moved to a corner outfield spot over the next half decade. Hey, the Giants tried Brett Pill at second base in Fresno two years ago. Clearly, anything can happen.
Law continued to pick apart the Giants’ draft strategy when mentioning their second pick, high school third basemen Ryder Jones from North Carolina:
Then the Giants turn around in the second round to the player from North Carolina who’s committed to Stanford, whose considered a tough sign. He is, even on merit, not ranked in my top 100. I spoke to clubs that didn’t even get him cross-checked they rated him so low. And saw the commitment and saw that he wasn’t worth the time and effort to have additional scouts beyond the area scout go in and see the player. So I was a little bit shocked by how their first round (I’m sure he means first two) went down.
This is where things get discouraging. The Giants haven’t been particularly good at drafting position players until recently (Crawford, Belt, Posey come to mind), but none of those guys were drafted out of high school. Dating back to 2005, the only successes the Giants have had drafting a high school position player in the first five rounds are Nick Noonan and Tommy Joseph.
Noonan is currently a bench player on the big-league roster, which is a success story for any high school draftee. Joseph was sent to the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade and is widely considered a top 5 prospect in their system. This is not enough of a sample size or in-depth analysis to consider the Giants first two picks immediate busts or reaches, but it isn’t a good sign when your front office is so far out of line with the scouting departments of 29 other teams. Unless you’re the A’s. The Giants are not the A’s.
Here’s the Giants picks for the first eight rounds. Let the Googling begin!
Round 1, pick 25: Christian Arroyo, SS, Hernando HS, FL
Round 2, pick 64: Ryder Jones, 3B, Watauga HS, NC
Round 3, pick 101: Chase Johnson, RHP, San Luis Obispo
-Mike Krukow went to SLO. Remember that in five years when he refuses to bash a start where Johnson leaves in the second inning.
Round 4, pick 132: Brian Ragira, 1B, Stanford
Round 5, pick 162: Daniel Slania, RHP, Notre Dame
-Ragira and Slania sound like Rudyard Kipling characters
Round 6, pick 192: Nick Vander Tuig, RHP, UCLA
-The Giants front office is very impressed with what their seeing from Dodger’s rookie Yasiel Puig. Wait, Tuig isn’t Cuban. Snap.
Round 7, pick 222: Brandon Bednar, SS, Florida Gulf Coast
Round 8, pick 252: Tyler Horan, LF, Virginia Tech