7th Round (206th overall): Armani Smith, OF, UC Santa Barbara
While Dilan Rosario is my favorite pick by the San Francisco Giants on Day 2, Smith is easily the most exciting.
He has plus-plus raw power that “some evaluators grade as an 80,” according to Baseball America, though his incredible bat speed didn’t lead to much in the way of production in his first two seasons at UCSB.
This year, he made some adjustments and hit .325/.395/.636 with 11 home runs in the pitching-oriented Big West Conference.
Smith looks like he belongs on a football field with a 6’3”, 215-pound frame, and in many ways, he profiles as a similar prospect to first-round pick Hunter Bishop.
Obviously, Smith isn’t the same athlete and is further behind in his development, but both have big tools that they struggled to tap into until their junior seasons, and both have the power to put up big numbers. Even at Oracle Park.
8th Round (236th overall): Caleb Kilian, RHP, Texas Tech
Kilian projects to be a backend starter with a durable frame and advanced stuff.
At this point in the draft, acquiring anyone able to contribute at the big league level is a boon, and Kilian was probably the safest starter still available.
The 6’4” righty moved into the Texas Tech rotation last season after the team was depleted by injuries. He held his own and has been in the rotation ever since.
His low-90s fastball is quite straight, but he knows how to work it off 50-grade curveballs and changeups. Pitchability is Kilian’s game and as a 22-year-old redshirt junior, he’ll likely start his pro career at High-A.
His numbers at Texas Tech aren’t overly impressive (13 GS, 71.2 IP, 7.3 K/9, 2.0 BB/9), but Giants brass hopes his command will allow him to become a back-of-the-rotation starter.
9th Round (266th overall) Simon Whiteman, SS, Yale
10th Round (296th overall) Jeff Houghtby, SS, San Diego
These last two picks are both senior sign shortstops that will likely agree to below-slot signing bonuses.
It will be interesting to see how the Giants use that projected savings since none of the high school players they selected on Day 2 figure to receive much more than slot value. Perhaps they’ll be able to land some interesting above-slot targets on Day 3.
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With that said, Whiteman and Houghtby add some welcome depth at shortstop where the Giants system was sorely lacking, even after the additions of Fitzgerald and Rosario.
Both have one carrying tool that gives them interesting utility potential with a chance for a bit more.
Whiteman’s calling card is his speed. As a senior at Yale, the Rhodes Scholarship nominee was a perfect 34-for-34 on stolen base attempts. He also consistently put the ball in play while showing the defensive potential to stick at shortstop.
Houghtby is a great defensive shortstop who didn’t hit much over his first three seasons at San Diego. As a senior, he tallied a career-high 12 doubles and five home runs while posting a .341/.438/.512 batting line and recording more walks (23) than strikeouts (21). His glove puts less pressure on his bat, but he will need to hold onto some of those senior year improvements to become a relevant prospect.
Time will tell if any of these prospects develop into MLB contributors for the San Francisco Giants.