Number 2: Ben Madison, RHP, Round 9
Madison is a complete unknown to most, and was to us. He turned heads when he was announced on draft day, thanks to the strikeout graphic that is absolutely unreal. The big righty comes from NAIA school, Central Baptist University in Conway, Ark.
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In his two years at CBU, he’s struck out 301 players in 176.2 innings, which is absolutely nuts. He has posted game highs of 18 strikeouts, but has walked seven on three separate occasions in just this season. The walk numbers are concerning of course. He’s also playing against relatively inferior competition. However, Madison has to be intriguing, and clearly he has something electric. To average just under two strikeouts an inning is pretty insane. And oh, by the way, he can rake.
The Giants are known for racking up their #pitcherswhorake, and Madison is one of them. He has three homers and a .272 career average at the plate. The guy is an all around athlete, and was a star basketball player at his high-school. An intriguing draft pick? Oh yes. I’m excited to see what he can do against much stiffer competition this fall.
Number 1: Blake Rivera, RHP, Round 4
Rivera was a Giants Re-Draft from last year. He chose not to sign with the Giants out of the 22nd round in 2017, but the fourth round price tag surely got his attention. Rivera comes from Wallace State CC in Alabama. He’s drawn comparisons to current star closer, Craig Kimbrel, a fellow Wallace State alum.
Rivera was recruited to go to Auburn and be a starter, but he’s now signed with the Giants. He has nasty fastball movement at the lower nineties speeds, but can crank it up to 95 or 96. He does have a decent feel for all three pitches, so the Giants could potentially stretch him out as a starter. But if they don’t, he could be great out of the bullpen. Rivera will be one to keep an eye on going forward, and is easily one of the best “later” draft picks to be excited about.
While we touched on some of the late draft picks, we’ve got plenty more to come on prospects, as well as the early draft picks for the Giants this season. They should be 100% excited about the potential and talent that they added to what has been a struggling system now on the rise.