SF Giants news: Mock draft introduces Ed Howard to the mix
By Jeff Young
Experts are divided on SF Giants mock draft picks
The MLB draft is less than two weeks away, and we are getting clarity on who may be available when the San Francisco Giants are on the clock.
ESPN and FanGraphs both released mock drafts on Wednesday, and each one has a differing opinion as to who the Giants might take.
This is not surprising, especially since there have only been bits and pieces of information to chew on that connects teams to any one prospect.
The Giants hold the 13th overall pick in next month’s draft and are poised to add to a farm system that is heading in the right direction.
SF Giants mock draft pick: Tyler Soderstrom
Kiley McDaniel of ESPN (subscription required) speculates that the Giants will be taking Turlock High School star Tyler Soderstrom:
Though this is just a mock draft, there appears to be more than just smoke. Keith Law of The Athletic (subscription required) also is predicting that the Giants will be taking the prep catching prospect.
Law added some more gas to the fire:
"“The two names that came up with the Giants were [Soderstrom] and Garrett Crochet from the University of Tennessee — college pitcher who throws extremely hard, maybe the hardest-throwing starter in the draft class,"
In Law’s mock draft, there seems to be more substance than we have seen with many of the mock drafts published recently. McDaniel seems to agree on this front.
On the surface, drafting another catcher would be an odd choice. After all, San Francisco already has catching prospect Joey Bart tabbed to be the heir apparent to Buster Posey. In addition to this, history is not favorable for teams drafting catchers out of high school.
With that being said, the Giants would be drafting Soderstrom for his bat. He is listed as a catcher, but his blocking and game-calling abilities need further development. On the other hand, the 18-year-old possess a strong arm, records solid pop times, and controls the running game well.
Soderstrom, the son of former Giants pitching prospect Steve Soderstrom, has an athletic, 6-foot-2 frame that could handle third base or a corner outfield spot.
In the batter’s box, the left-handed bat has an advanced feel for hitting as he carries above-average hit and power tools.
There is no doubt that Soderstrom is one of the best prep bats in this year’s draft class, and he makes a lot of sense for the Giants at no. 13. He is a local high school product, has a Giants bloodline, and if he could stick at third base, he fills an area with relatively little depth throughout the organization.
SF Giants mock draft pick: Ed Howard
However, Eric Logenhagen of FanGraphs published his mock draft and predicts that the Giants will be taking Mount Carmel High School shortstop Ed Howard.
Logenhagen mentions that San Francisco appears to be circling in on several high school prospects in the first round including Howard as well as Soderstrom.
There have been plenty of mock drafts released to date, but none have connected Howard to the Giants. Many mock drafts have the shortstop falling to the latter half of the first round.
Howard, who is one of my favorite potential targets for the Giants, possesses a high baseball IQ and does just about everything well on the baseball field.
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi seeks versatile players on defense, and while Howard should have no problem handling all four infield positions, he will likely be able to stick at shortstop as well.
Unlike Soderstrom, Howard’s glove is a bit ahead of his bat. James Weisser of Prospects 1500 believes that the right-handed bat has star potential if his offensive game continues to mature:
"“Howard is a good hitter but he will need to continue to improve as a hitter in order to reach his full potential. He’s not a bad hitter by any means, he’s just a better fielder than hitter at this point. He has shown the ability to improve at the dish which is something I saw him do from the time he was at the 2019 Under Armour All-American Game until watching him practice with Mount Carmel High School in late February before COVID-19 unfortunately ended high school baseball in Illinois. I think if Howard continues to improve as a hitter he could be a very special talent that could one day be an All-Star caliber shortstop capable of posting plenty of 20+ HR, 20+ SB seasons.”"
The Mount Carmel High School product has a short, compact swing that is currently geared more for gap-to-gap power than home run power:
I am a little less optimistic that he will be able to tap into that 20-homerun potential, especially at Oracle Park. Though, with his athletic frame, he could leg out plenty of extra-base hits.
The prep shortstop will likely be available to the Giants when they are ready to pick, but I believe he will fall to the latter half of the first round.
If these recent mock drafts are any indication, the Giants appear to be zoning in on high school talent such as Soderstrom and Howard. Either one would be an excellent pick.
Despite MLB shortening the draft, the Giants have an advantage by holding seven picks and a $9.2 million bonus pool that they could use to sway either prospect away from his college commitment. Despite the unique circumstances, this remains a very important draft for San Francisco in their rebuild.