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San Francisco Giants: Grading the 2001 MLB draft class

SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 9: Noah Lowry #51 of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the Interleague game against the Kansas City Royals at SBC Park on June 9, 2005 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 9: Noah Lowry #51 of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the Interleague game against the Kansas City Royals at SBC Park on June 9, 2005 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
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In the days leading up to the 2019 MLB Draft, we’ll be taking a look back at every San Francisco Giants draft since 2000. Next up, the 2001 draft class.

The San Francisco Giants had the No. 21 pick in the 2001 draft after going 97-65 to win the NL West title during the previous season.

The team had 52 total selections and wound up signing 32 of the players that were picked.

The highest unsigned selection was right-hander T.J. Large in the ninth round. He settled for being a 46th round pick by the Boston Red Sox in 2005. Whoops.

Of the 32 players that signed, only eight ended up reaching the majors.

Here’s a closer look at a few notable selections:

First Pick: RHP Brad Hennessey, Youngstown State—1st round, 21st overall

The Giants held the No. 30 overall pick in the 2001 draft but were also awarded the No. 21 pick when free agent Ellis Burks signed with the Cleveland Indians.

With the 21st pick, they snagged college right-hander Brad Hennessey and by the 2004 season, he was in the majors.

After serving mostly as a starter his first three seasons in the big leagues and posting a 4.54 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 40 starts and 22 relief appearances, he made the full-time move to the bullpen in 2007.

His first year working exclusively as a reliever ended up being the best of his career.

After Armando Benitez was traded to the Florida Marlins at the beginning of June, he took over as the team’s closer, saving 19 games while posting a 3.42 ERA in 69 total appearances.

Unfortunately, he struggled mightily in a contract year in 2008, and he didn’t pitch in the majors again after signing with the Baltimore Orioles in free agency.

Passed On: SS Bobby Crosby (25th overall), RHP Jeremy Bonderman (26th overall), 3B David Wright (38th overall)

Best Pick: LHP Noah Lowry, Pepperdine—1st round, 30th overall

The Giants best pick in 2001 was their own first-round selection.

They used it to grab left-hander Noah Lowry, who despite never ranking as a top-tier prospect during his time in the minors, made a splash upon joining the MLB rotation in 2004.

He made 14 starts and two relief appearances as a rookie, going 6-0 with a 3.82 ERA in 92.0 innings to solidify his spot on the staff going forward.

The following year would be his best in the majors. In 33 starts, he was 13-13 with a 3.78 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 172 strikeouts in 204.2 innings for a 4.0 WAR season.

Lowry spent two more seasons in the rotation, going a combined 40-31 with a 4.03 ERA in 100 starts and six relief appearances for 9.3 WAR during his time in San Francisco.

Unfortunately, arm issues and thoracic outlet syndrome derailed his career after 2007 and his age-26 campaign ended up being his last in the majors. His run was a short one, but it was impressive nonetheless.

Best Late-Round Pick: RHP Scott Munter, Butler County CC—47th round, 1,411th overall

Any contribution from a player taken in the 47th round qualifies as a shock. Heck, there’s not even 47 rounds in the draft anymore.

Munter made 45 appearances out of the Giants bullpen in 2005, posting a 2.56 ERA while tallying 12 holds. He was roughed up to the tune of a 7.29 ERA in 39 appearances over the next two seasons, but he was an 0.8 WAR player as a rookie, and that’s worth a tip of the cap.

Others Who Reached the Majors

  • OF Todd Linden—1st round, 41st overall
  • RHP Jesse Foppert—2nd round, 74th overall
  • C Justin Knoedler—5th round, 166th overall
  • LHP Jason Waddell—8th round, 256th overall
  • C Steve Holm—17th round, 526th overall

The Giants packaged Foppert with catcher Yorvit Torrealba to acquire Randy Winn from the Seattle Mariners at the 2005 trade deadline. Other than that, not much of note here.

Final Thoughts/Grade:

There was no star in this class, but the San Francisco Giants did get two pitchers who spent multiple seasons in the MLB rotation. In the crapshoot that is the MLB draft, that’s at least something.

Grade: D+

Next. Grading the 2000 MLB draft class

We’ll be running through every San Francisco Giants draft class since 2000 leading up to the 2019 MLB Draft on June 3rd, so be sure to check back here for more.

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