SF Giants 2021 MLB draft grades
Round 5 (146th): Rohan Handa, LHP, Yale
Round 6 (176th): Seth Lonsway, LHP, Ohio State
Round 7 (206th): Nick Sinacola, RHP, Maine
Round 8 (236th): Ian Villers, RHP, California
When Yale canceled its baseball season this spring, Rohan Handa dedicated himself to working out, and all of a sudden, he transformed from a middle-of-the-pack Ivy League starter to a legitimate pro prospect. He’s started touching 98 mph with a wipeout slider in the mid-80s. He has made five starts in the Northeast Collegiate League and struck out 25, walked eight, and recorded a 1.06 ERA. It’s hard to know what to make of such a massive popup prospect, but at this point in the draft, the Giants are betting on some captivating upside. Handa also is the fourth Indian-American player to be selected in the MLB draft.
Seth Lonsway has been a draft prospect since his senior year in high school back in 2017. Back then, he was an intriguing lefty with a projectable fastball and a potential plus curveball who faced questions about his control. Four years later, the scouting report is basically the same. He consistently racked up strikeouts at Ohio State but also racked up walks. He could move quickly as a reliever if he finds even 35-grade command, but he has the arsenal to stick in a rotation if he can find a way to throw strikes more consistently.
Lonsway and Handa both come with a significant amount of risk but are two of my favorite picks in this class.
Nick Sinacola put up huge numbers without standout stuff at Maine. He’ll likely sign for a significantly below-slot deal as well. He struck out nearly 16 batters per nine innings and averaged nearly 6.2 innings a start. He walked just 23 batters over 79.1 innings and recorded a 2.04 ERA.
Selected as the American East conference pitcher of the year, Sinacola relies on a high-80s fastball that has touched 93 mph but mostly works from 88-92 mph. However, as Giants fans may be accustomed to, Sinacola actually threw his slider, which works in the low-80s, more than his fastball. He’s shown a splitter, but it’s far from a usable big-league pitch at this point. Sinacola is a hard player to project since he probably lacks the velocity to end up in the bullpen but seems like a fringey candidate to start.
Ian Villers is easily the biggest player selected by the Giants in this year’s draft. Listed at 6’6”-245, Villers still looks like he has room to fill out. Nonetheless, primarily a reliever over his career at Cal, Villers is one of the easier selections to project to the back of the bullpen.
He has never racked up the strikeouts most would expect from a premium college reliever, striking 36 in 38 innings this season. However, he did show significantly improved command of the strike zone in 2021 (11 walks) after struggling with that in the past. His fastball velocity has oscillated between 90-97 mph, but it can sit around 96 mph at its best. Unlike most relief prospects, Villers also has three average potential MLB offspeed pitches in a changeup, curveball, and slider. None stand out at the moment, but it is a unique toolset in a college reliever. He’s actually been stretched out a bit at the Cape Cod League this summer. It would not be a complete surprise if the Giants gave him a chance to develop through longer, more abbreviated, outings.