The 2016 MLB Draft will begin this Thursday, and the San Francisco Giants site reports that just because San Francisco is far from the top of the draft order does not mean the team is putting any less consideration into its draft planning.
Many Giants fans may reflect on the team’s recent performance and think they need pitching. The performances delivered by starters Matt Cain and Jake Peavy this season have been shaky. The two — especially Cain — have pulled it together somewhat in the past month, but for a while, San Francisco fans were at a loss for what the team should do without any backup starters on the bench.
Just in case one of their starters injures himself, the Giants should draft themselves some insurance and go with young arms in the 2016 MLB draft, right?
Actually, no. San Francisco, although its bullpen may be relatively shallow right now, has plenty of pitching prospects in the pipeline that will be ready for the bigs in a couple of years or, in some cases, even sooner than that. We’re looking at you, Tyler Beede.
In fact, the Giants site states that San Francisco will be looking most fervently for hitting when the 2016 MLB draft commences this Thursday, as the Giants management predicts that is what the team will need most several years down the line. More specifically, a power-hitting leadoff batter tops San Francisco’s wishlist.
San Francisco Giants general manager Bobby Evans elaborates on his reasoning.
“You don’t want to draft for what the Major League club needs today, because what the Major League club needs today may not be what the Major League club needs three years from now, when that player’s ready to help.”
Unfortunately, Evans continues, the Giants will not be able to touch the draft’s hottest names. This is because San Francisco will not get a chance to choose anyone until the draft’s 59th overall pick; the Giants gave their first round draft pick to the Chicago White sox over the offseason in order to obtain starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija. Although it turned out to be a great decision, it meant the 2016 MLB draft would be hard on the San Francisco franchise.
Evans says that since San Francisco’s first 2016 MLB draft pick will be so late, it is proving more difficult to do pre-draft research. After all, any player he looks at might be gone by the time it’s the Giants’ turn to pick.
“We still try to see everybody, but you don’t cover guys as far or as deep who you know aren’t probably going to be there,” he explains.
Another limiting factor is that, due to stipulations laid out by the MLB’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (the stipulations are explained on the page), the Giants can only spend $3.5 million on their first 10 draft picks.
“This certainly limits our financial flexibility,” Evans says.
The obstacles the Giants face in the 2016 MLB Draft do not mean they are abandoning hope, however. On the contrary, in fact. They have to study the prospects even more carefully in order to find unsung sleeper talents rather than the ones every team would love to get its collective hands on.
San Francisco fans can have faith in the organization to draft well; they have been doing an incredible job of drafting during the past decade. MLB.com reports that 15 of the players on the Giants roster are former San Francisco draft picks, and they include superstars like Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey.
And just to give you an idea of how long it might take drafted players to grow into the big leagues, here is a list of the Giants’ first picks in MLB drafts over the last five years.
2015: Phil Bickford, RHP, Augusta GreenJackets (San Francisco’s Class A Affiliate)
2014: Tyler Beede, RHP, Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco’s AA Affiliate)
2013: Christian Arroyo, SS, Richmond Flying Squirrels
2012: Chris Stratton, RHP, San Francisco Giants
2011: Joe Panik, 2B, San Francisco Giants
Who will be the next name added to that list? You can find out by streaming the first round of the 2016 MLB draft on MLB.com this Thursday or by watching it on MLB’s TV network.
[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]