The MLB draft is a mere five weeks away, and a recent mock draft has the San Francisco Giants slated to select high school outfielder Austin Hendrick with the 13th overall pick.
Despite the expectation of an abbreviated draft, the San Francisco Giants are poised to bolster their farm system with five picks in the first three rounds.
In his first year in charge, team president Farhan Zaidi made no secrets about his desire to inject position player talent back into the farm system. So, the Giants selected a position player in nine of the first 10 rounds in 2019.
This year, a handful of mock drafts have the Giants all over the board in who they might take. This is to be expected as scouts are unable to evaluate players in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so there are no details being leaked as to where teams are sending their top scouts.
Still, it is likely that the Giants will lean heavily on position player talent yet again. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.Com did a mock draft of the first round and predicted that the Giants would take prep star Austin Hendrick out of West Alleghany High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Hendrick is one of the top prep bats in the draft and is known for his athletic ability and in-game power.
In a way, he sounds very similar to last year’s first round pick Hunter Bishop as Zaidi might be starting to show that he has a type. Similar to Bishop, Hendrick has plenty of power with questionable contact skills that the Giants coaching and development staff would need to further refine.
Despite his potential upside, the 19-year-old has some red flags as Mayo describes:
"“See Hendrick, the Pittsburgh-area high school standout, on one day, and a scout might walk away thinking they just saw the best hitter in the 2020 Draft class. See him on another, and that scout might walk away worrying about the prep outfielder’s swing. He stood out at the start of Major League Baseball’s PDP League and was the only hitter to homer more than once, but he struggled down the stretch there and with Team USA in international competition."
If there is any validity to this mock draft, then Hendrick is exactly the type of prospect the Giants should be targeting in the first round. He is, by no means, a safe pick. There is plenty of variability in the player he could become, which is a trait that bears some risk.
Though, as a high school player, there is still a steep development curve remaining. Drafting Hendrick could be a nice litmus test for the robustness of the organization’s approach to coaching and development under Zaidi.
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While still a raw player in many facets of the game, the Giants need to show that they can offer the right environment for a prospect to grow.
In the latter years of the Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans regime, the Giants struggled, to put it nicely, to develop prospects.
This would be an opportunity for Zaidi to prove the ship is heading in the right direction. Though, they should not use a first-round pick just to prove a point, but rather because they believe Hendrick is the best player available.
There is no denying that the left-handed bat has a picturesque swing:
Since teams are evaluating draft prospects virtually, it is anyone’s guess what teams will select which players.
Despite the fact that this could be a shortened draft, it remains one of the most important drafts in recent memory. For a team that is in the midst of a rebuild, San Francisco needs to capitalize on its first five picks.
It is normally the first-round pick that leads the way for any draft haul, and Hendrick should be an appealing target, if available, for the Giants as they continue to rebuild a farm system that is beginning to swell with talent.