Mock draft season is in the air. On Monday, MLB Pipeline released a new mock draft, predicting that the SF Giants would take one of the top lefties available.
SF Giants: MLB Pipeline Predicts Left-Handed Hurler
Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis have San Francisco taking pitching prospect Jordan Wicks out of Kansas State University with the 14th overall pick. Wicks is in the midst of a strong junior season that will likely result in him being taken in the first round of the draft in July.
The prospect gurus feel that the Giants will buck a recent trend in selecting position players in the first round by going for one of the better lefties available. The 21-year-old has registered a 3.08 ERA, 1.222 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, and a strong 4.00 SO/W ratio across 172.2 innings in three college seasons. Furthermore, he has worked exclusively out of the starting rotation, making 29 starts since his collegiate career began in 2019.
The 2021 season has been another solid year for Wicks as he has posted a 3.48 ERA with 84 strikeouts and 19 walks across 62 frames. The Giants target pitchers who can command their arsenal in the strike zone and Wicks has demonstrated that trait since he arrived at Kansas State University.
The left-handed hurler flashes a mid-90’s fastball that he pairs with a slider and a changeup that MLB.Com believes is the best in the draft:
"Wicks has the best changeup in the Draft, a low-80s weapon with tumble and depth that he sells with deceptive arm speed, earning plus-plus grades from some evaluators. He sets it up with a fastball that has added about 5 mph since high school, now sitting at 90-93 mph and hitting 95 with high spin rates that give it riding action. He has improved his low-80s slider to the point where it’s now a solid offering, and he also can morph it into a harder cutter and mix in an upper-70s curveball"
There is safe upside with this type of profile. A good changeup mixed with a quality fastball can take pitchers a long way and that ceiling rises with the development of a third pitch. Below is a video of Wicks during a start from last summer:
The young lefty shows an easy, repeatable delivery that enables him to consistently hit the strike zone. His right foot and front side work together to create some deception in his delivery and he does well to not let it alter his release point.
A lot can happen between now and when the draft takes place in three months. The names that will be connected to the Giants should give us an idea of who will be available when they are on the clock with the 14th overall pick. In the meantime, it does seem like the mock drafts expect the Giants to target a pitcher this year.