The MLB draft is one of the few periods of hope for an organization that was out of contention before June began. Marc Delucchi completes our draft coverage by running down every pick, looking at their signability, and identifying what type of impact they can make immediately and down the road for the San Francisco Giants.
It’s been a full-court press of draft coverage over the past week here on Around the Foghorn. We reviewed each of the San Francisco Giants draft classes over the last decade, gave a three-part draft preview, and have written stories on the Giants’ first-round pick, second-round pick, and Day 2 selections.
Still, while most of the brightest prospects were selected in the first 10 rounds, plenty of talent remains on the final day of the draft. Furthermore, the complex MLB draft rules can make where a player is selected deceiving.
This draft is even more intriguing for fans because it is the first under the new front office. Rookie president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has held onto much of the previous scouting staff, including former amateur scouting director John Barr, but brought Michael Holmes over from the Oakland Athletics to make the final decisions. With a new staff of decision-makers, the draft gives fans another opportunity to try and decipher their preferences.
Most sports fans think of the NBA and NFL drafts as equivalent to the MLB draft. They aren’t. There are a number of significant differences. First of all, as most fans are aware, players drafted in the MLB draft—even in the first few rounds—are likely at least 2-4 years away from being ready for big league action.
The best draft prospects still require years of development and so teams do not take need at the big-league level into account to the same degree as in other leagues. Also, since organizations have numerous minor league teams, many of the players—especially those selected on Day 3 of the draft—are being selected to fill out those rosters to make sure players don’t have to play through injuries.
However, the most significant differences involve leverage and financial flexibility. Players selected in the NFL and NBA draft have to declare for the draft. By doing so, they forfeit their eligibility to play collegiate sports again. The MLB draft doesn’t require players to do that and also allows players from high school and junior college to become professionals.
Finally, every selection in the NBA and NFL draft is bound by a stringent collective bargaining agreement that gives teams no flexibility to offer players more money, even if they were willing to. MLB picks in all rounds are assigned values, but teams are allowed to go over or under the recommended values as long as they are willing to face some consequences for overages.
For example, if a team has a second-round pick with a recommended slot value of $1.5 million and a 10th-round pick with a recommended slot value of $150,000, nothing prohibits a team from giving their 10th round selection the $1.5 million bonus and their second-round selection a $150,000 bonus. That particular swap wouldn’t make much strategic sense, but J.J. Cooper details how the Mets manipulated their pools to try and grab another top talent this week and another piece by Billy Strampfl from 2016 goes into the rules in great detail.
These rules have a big impact on how to view the Giants draft, especially their last 10 picks. A number of players taken by the San Francisco Giants on Day 3 rank among the 250 best prospects available, but almost all will either be honoring commitments to college or returning to school in the case of college players with remaining eligibility.
With all of that accounted for, let’s dive into our full rundown of this 2019 draft class: