2022 Draft Prospects The San Francisco Giants Could Target
College Position Players
Let's start with Arkansas's third baseman/outfielder Cayden Wallace. He checks off a lot of boxes with the draft tendencies the front office has. He is young for the class (will not turn 21 years old until after the draft), he plays a position of weakness in the depth chart which is in the dirt, a legitimate first-round talent at the moment (ranked in the 30s by the four sites listed above), a walk rate of around 10% in college and the Cape, a strikeout rate of over 20% in both college and the Cape but has hit a school freshman record-tying 14 homers which exhibits his power potential.
Wallace was a well-regarded prospect in his prep days but ended up committing to Arkansas and joining the loaded Razorbacks roster. He played in all the outfield spots last season but will play on third base in the upcoming season where his arm strength is a clean fit for the position. His ability to stick in the dirt is still yet unclear, but what is clear is that he has at least above-average raw power that he taps well in his compact right-handed swing. He has a solid feel for the strike zone, but he struggles to hit breaking balls. He is a safe pick in the late-first round.
Next up is Dylan Beavers from Cal. Beavers also checks off plenty of boxes in the Giants' bucket list. He's young for the class (will turn 21 after the draft), powerful (average exit velocity of over 92 MPH last year with 18 home runs and 11 doubles), a legitimate first-round talent (ranked in the 30s by Baseball America and in the 20s by MLB.com and Prospects Live).
He is an outfielder, though, so it's not a big need at the moment. The bonus is that he is studying in Cal; he is from California about three hours away from San Francisco, and the Giants have checked in on Beavers last season after they drafted Ian Villers from Cal last year where the front office loves to double tap on prospects from the same school as evidenced by Logan Wyatt and Tyler Fitzgerald (both from Louisville) in 2019 and Will Wilson, Patrick Bailey and Nick Swiney (from NC State) in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
As a prospect, Beavers makes plenty of hard contact with his lefty swing although he struggled to put on a show in the Cape and with Team USA last fall. He is a tall athlete, so there will be natural holes in his swing, but he takes his fair share of walks and he does not chase a lot for a guy with an aggressive approach. Even though his skill-set features at least five average tools with his power and arm strength at least above average, he is only considered a solid-average athlete at best.
The third and final main college position player is another infielder from a powerhouse program, LSU infielder Cade Doughty. Doughty once again checks a lot of boxes. He fills a hole in the infield depth either at second or third base and versatility is always a plus factor for the Giants even though it is not the utmost priority, has strong walk and strikeout rates in college (8.5% walk rate, 12.4% strikeout rate last year), and a borderline-first round talent (ranked in the 40s by Baseball America and Prospects Live, 30s in MLB.com), and while not under-21 at draft day, his 21.3 age is still pretty young for his class. What works to his favor, though, is that his numbers are against SEC competition, his versatility, and his plus makeup and leadership skills.
Doughty has a well-rounded profile with a short right-handed stroke, producing plenty of contact that masks his aggressive approach at the plate quite a bit. He can play all over the infield with the footwork and enough arm to play at third base and even at shortstop, although his average range might be a stretch in the position as he is not a liability. He's hit 13 homers for the Tigers last season but he's more of an average power hitter.
Other hitters that potentially be in the conversation include Tyler Locklear, Jace Grady, Eric Brown, and Jordan Sprinkle.
Locklear might not be a fit in terms of age (around 21.7 at draft day) and is not exactly highly regarded (only Prospects Live ranked him in the 40s) but he has the power production that the Giants often salivate on (16 homers and 12 doubles) and the peripherals last season with more walks than strikeouts. His strikeouts crept up at the Cape, but he still produced plenty of power. A first baseman, he has to continue to perform and there is actual second-round potential if he can.
Grady is someone who grew on me and was a standout performer in his sophomore season and the Cape. The switch-hitting outfielder is young for the class (just a month old after 21 on draft day) with a sublime contact-heavy approach where he posted almost the same number of walks as strikeouts. There's power on the left side although it's fringy at best at the moment. The Giants should have Grady on their radar as he was a freshman when 2020 second-rounder Jimmy Glowenke was in his junior year.
Brown and Sprinkle are pretty much surefire candidates to stick at shortstop. Brown has a unique batting stance, but he gets to his ready position on time and he can control the strike zone very well, despite his batting stance. He has fringy but surprising pop and he has plenty of bat speed to go along with it.
Sprinkle has better defensive tools than Brown but Brown has the better pop in his swing. With that said, Sprinkle has a clean bat path that should translate to a solid batting average but it's more contact than power at this point and he has an average raw power to tap onto.