3rd round (87th overall): Lakewood Ranch HS (Fla.) CF Grant McCray—Slot: $689,300
4th round (116th overall): Louisville SS Tyler Fitzgerald—Slot: $497,500
5th round (146th overall): Orange Lutheran HS (Calif.) 1B Garrett Frechette—$371,600
To start off Day 2 of the draft, the San Francisco Giants continued balancing riskier-upside prospects with safer ones.
McCray is the son of Rodney McCray, a journeyman who played in 67 big league games from 1990-1992. You might not recognize Rodney by name, but his greatest play you probably will.
The younger McCray was a pop-up prospect over the past year with a projectable, athletic 6’1” frame that allows scouts to dream on above-average to plus tools across the board. McCray is still very raw. He started at quarterback in high school and ran track, so there is perhaps greater potential with added reps.
His athleticism and current 60-grade speed play in center field and he has a smooth left-handed swing that could develop power as he bulks up. While he doesn’t have the power projection of current Giants prospect P.J. Hilson, they are similar projects that player development will get to work with.
The signing bonus on the McCray pick will be an interesting one to watch. McCray ranked #221 on Baseball America’s board and that seems around consensus, which would make him a pretty sizable reach by the San Francisco Giants in the third round. Perhaps the Giants will agree to a bonus closer to $500,000 to reallocate money elsewhere.
With that said, reading too much into rankings is easy to do. At this point in the draft, the difference between the player ranked 80th and 300th is smaller than the difference between the 1st and 20th prospect on most boards. McCray is a Florida State commit and that should give him plenty of leverage to get close to slot money.
Fitzgerald doesn’t have any standout tool but consistently grades with 45s/50s across the board. He took a big step forward with the bat this year and it will be interesting to see if the Giants explore a swing change to tap into more of his power.
FanGraphs Prospects was very high on Fitzgerald, ranking him #75 on their board and saying he was a “streaky-hitting shortstop” who has “everyday tools.” They weren’t the only big fans of the pick. Perfect Game’s national scouting supervisor, Brian Sakowski, saw “everyday upside”
This draft class was stacked at the shortstop position both at the college and high school levels and Fitzgerald was probably an earlier round talent that fell because of the depth. His defense is solid across the board at short, albeit without a plus-arm or plus-range he’ll need to maintain strong instincts to stick.
Fitzgerald has a contact oriented approach, striking out in less than 16 percent of his plate appearances as a sophomore and junior. He began driving the ball better his junior year. After posting a middling .264/.344/.378 line as a sophomore, Fitzgerald took a step forward at the Cape Cod League and carried his success into this spring.
Even if Fitzgerald fails to become an everyday player, his profile gives him a high floor as a utility player. There’s no reason to expect Fitzgerald to be a difficult sign and he should receive a signing bonus around $500,000.
Frechette is one of the more interesting prospects in the draft to me. He has a really smooth left-handed swing and with a 6’3”,195-pound frame scouts see plus-power potential.
He transferred to a more prestigious high school to receive more exposure, but dealt with a hamstring issue, broken hamate bone, and contracted mono. When he returned, he had no power and only managed three extra-base hits in 24 games.
If he is able to regain muscle mass, he has plenty of frame to project. He’s athletic for his size and might be able to handle a corner outfield spot.
It’s easy to dream that a player like Frechette could turn into Cody Bellinger if everything clicks, but the truth is he’s a far cry from what Bellinger was as a prep prospect.
His move to a prestigious high school even with a San Diego State commit suggest he wanted to go pro and this selection seems right around where most had him pegged. I’d expect to see a slot bonus.