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San Francisco Giants: Grading the 2000 MLB draft class

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 4: Lance Niekro #28 of the SF Giants hits the game winning two run double in the 8th inning against the Colorado Rockies on August 4, 2005 at SBC Park in San Francisco, California. Niekro was the coach of recent Giants draft pick Vaun Brown. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 4: Lance Niekro #28 of the SF Giants hits the game winning two run double in the 8th inning against the Colorado Rockies on August 4, 2005 at SBC Park in San Francisco, California. Niekro was the coach of recent Giants draft pick Vaun Brown. (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. First up, the 2000 draft class.

The San Francisco Giants had the No. 21 pick in the 2000 draft after going 86-76 to finish second in the NL West the previous season.

The team had 50 total selections and wound up signing 32 of the players that were picked.

The highest unsigned selection was catcher Justin Knoedler in the 13th round. He was drafted again the following year in the fifth round and successfully signed him.

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

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

First Pick: RHP Boof Bonser, Gibbs HS (Fla.)—1st round, 21st overall

After an inauspicious pro debut, Boof Bonser dominated Single-A hitters in 2001, going 16-4 with a 2.49 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 178 strikeouts in 134 innings.

That vaulted him to No. 29 on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list heading into the 2002 season, and while he fell off the list the following year, he was still a highly-regarded prospect when the Giants sent him to the Minnesota Twins in the ill-fated A.J. Pierzynski trade prior to the 2004 season.

He wound up posting a 5.18 ERA in 416.2 MLB innings with the Twins, Red Sox and A’s, last appearing in the majors in 2010.

Passed On: RHP Adam Wainwright (29th overall)

Best Pick: 1B Lance Niekro, Florida Southern College—2nd round, 61st overall

The nephew of famed knuckleballers Phil and Joe Niekro, Lance Niekro made his way to the majors as a slugging first baseman.

After a brief five-game debut in 2003, he stepped into a significant role in 2005, hitting .252/.295/.460 with 16 doubles, 12 home runs and 46 RBI in 302 plate appearances. That performance was good for 0.6 WAR.

He spent parts of the 2006 and 2007 season on the MLB roster in a smaller role, before he signed with the Houston Astros in free agency prior to the 2008 campaign. He did not appear in the majors with any team other than the Giants.

The fact that Niekro was the most successful member of this draft class speaks volumes to what a weak haul this was for the Giants.

Best Late-Round Pick: OF Jason Ellison, Lewis-Clark State College—22nd round, 661st overall

Speedster Jason Ellison made his MLB debut in 2003 and appeared in 131 games during the 2005 season, hitting .264/.316/.361 with 24 extra-base hits and 14 steals in 386 plate appearances.

That was by far his most extensive action in the big leagues, but getting anything out of a 22nd-round pick is generally considered a win.

Others Who Reached the Majors

  • LHP Eric Threets—7th round, 211th overall
  • OF Adam Shabala—10th round, 301st overall
  • LHP Brian Burress—31st round, 931st overall
  • C Trey Lunsford—33rd round, 991st overall

No one from this group made much of an impact with the Giants. Threets had a decent run out of the Chicago White Sox bullpen and Burress made 106 appearances in six MLB seasons with a 5.75 ERA.

Final Thoughts/Grade

There’s no nice way to put it. This was a brutal draft by the Giants.

A squandered trade chip (Bonser) and a Quad-A first baseman (Niekro) are really all they had to show for 50 selections.

Grade: F

Next. Sell-off Series: Building a trade with the Minnesota Twins

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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