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San Francisco Giants: Grading the 2009 MLB draft class

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 12: Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants watches the ball after hitting a double in the bottom of the eighteenth inning against the Colorado Rockies to the at Oracle Park on April 12, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 12: Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants watches the ball after hitting a double in the bottom of the eighteenth inning against the Colorado Rockies to the at Oracle Park on April 12, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/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 2009 draft class.

The San Francisco Giants had the No. 6 pick in the 2009 draft after going 72-90 to finish fourth in the NL West standings the previous season.

The team had 50 total selections and wound up signing 35 of the players that were picked.

The highest unsigned selection was outfielder Jonathan Walsh in the 18th round. He attended the University of Texas and ended up going in the 11th round of the 2012 draft.

Of the 35 players that signed, only seven ended up reaching the majors.

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

First Pick: RHP Zack Wheeler, East Paulding HS (Ga.)—1st round, 6th overall

After going No. 6 overall in the 2009 draft, right-hander Zack Wheeler entered the 2010 season as the No. 3 prospect in the San Francisco Giants system and the No. 49 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America.

The following season, he climbed to No. 2 on the organizational list and stayed near the middle of the top 100 pack at No. 55 overall. Then the Giants made the ill-fated decision to send him to the New York Mets for outfielder Carlos Beltran at the 2011 trade deadline.

While injuries have sidetracked him more than once, he has still developed into a solid MLB starter, posting a 3.81 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 106 starts at the MLB level.

The 28-year-old is a free agent at the end of the season and he stands to cash in this winter, provided he maintains a clean bill of health.

To the Giants credit, Beltran hit .323/.369/.551 with 20 extra-base hits in 179 plate appearances in his role as a rental bat. The Giants failed to make the postseason, though, and he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in free agency.

Passed On: LHP Mike Minor (7th overall), RHP Mike Leake (8th overall), CF A.J. Pollock (17th overall), CF Mike Trout (25th overall)

Best Pick: 1B Brandon Belt, Texas—5th round, 147th overall

Brandon Belt began his pro career at High-A San Jose in 2010.

That year, he hit an impressive .352/.455/.620 with 43 doubles, 10 triples, 23 home runs and 112 RBI in 595 plate appearances over three minor league levels, closing out the season in Triple-A.

That vaulted him to No. 1 on the organizational prospect list and to No. 23 on the Baseball America Top 100 list heading into the 2011 season.

After a solid debut in 2011, he took over as the team’s starting first baseman in 2012 and he remains in that role today after signing a five-year, $72.8 million extension at the start of the 2016 season.

He has never had prototypical home run power at the first base position with a career-high of 18 homers. His on-base skills, gap power and plus defense have made him an extremely valuable player nonetheless.

The 31-year-old has been worth 22.9 WAR in nine MLB seasons and he was an All-Star in 2016.

Best Late-Round Pick: RHP Chris Heston, East Carolina—12th round, 357th overall

Chris Heston had a terrific season with the Giants in 2015, going 12-11 with a 3.95 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 141 strikeouts in 177.2 innings over 31 starts.

He also threw a no-hitter against the New York Mets on June 9, 2015.

Others Who Reached the Majors

  • C Tommy Joseph—2nd round, 55th overall
  • 3B Chris Dominguez—3rd round, 86th overall
  • RHP Jake Dunning—33rd round, 987th overall
  • OF Ryan Lollis—37th round, 1,107th overall

The Giants used catcher Tommy Joseph as part of the trade package to acquire Hunter Pence from the Philadelphia Phillies at the 2012 trade deadline.

Final Thoughts/Grade

The San Francisco Giants landed a core player in Brandon Belt. Had they made a playoff run with Carlos Beltran at the center of the lineup, the Zack Wheeler trade might be looked at differently. Still, getting Belt and a pair of solid trade chips is enough to make this a “B+” draft.

Grade: B+

Next. Grading the 2008 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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