Major League Baseball's annual First-Year Player Draft, where the 30 MLB teams select top amateur players from around the country (and Canada and Puerto Rico) as their future hopes of contending for a World Series championship, begins today as part of the All-Star festivities in Los Angeles.
Thanks to their MLB-best (and franchise-record) 107-55 mark in 2021, the SF Giants are relegated to the last pick in each round of the draft, including the first. They'll still get a shot at some good talent, but the top of the first round is where most of the potential stars are taken.
Unlike the NFL and NBA amateur drafts, the MLB draft is annually much harder to predict. Teams typically don't go for current need like in the other top leagues; because of the grind of the minor leagues, they'll often go for the player they see as the best available future talent, or take someone who will accept less of a bonus in a higher draft spot so they can try to convince players who were more likely to go to college to take a higher bonus later in the draft (see: 2020 draft, Kyle Harrison, who just pitched in the Futures Game yesterday).
With the 30th pick of the first round, the Giants are sure to have a wide array of players they can pick, from players they like more than other teams to those who have fallen because of injuries or bonus demands. It will likely be completely unknown who they'll take until just minutes before their pick, but plenty of prospect prognosticators have nonetheless taken shots at how the first round might shake out, including who could be the next star in Orange and Black.
Following is a compilation of who many of the most-notable experts and publications think San Francisco takes in the first round. Longtime industry prospect and draft evaluators such as MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, Baseball America's Carlos Collazo, Fangraphs' Eric Longenhagen, ESPN's Kiley McDaniel, The Athletic's Keith Law and Joe Doyle of Prospects Live are among the many who put together a final mock draft in the last day or so. For free in-depth scouting reports on these players an many others, check out the draft board from Mason McRae.
MLB Pipeline - Callis: Oklahoma SS Peyton Graham; Mayo: Nevada HS LHP Robby Snelling
Callis and Mayo do their own mocks separately and then release them together. Callis thinks the Giants won't try to go to big for a player who falls to them because they have one of the smallest bonus pools to work with, and Graham represents a safe college bat who won't demand a larger bonus. Snelling has been a trendy choice for the Giants throughout draft season, and Mayo simply says he likes the southpaw's upside.
Baseball America (possible $ paywall): Oregon State OF Jacob Melton
BA had Snelling mocked to the Bay previously but bumped him up a few spots in this version. Melton isn't a guarantee to go in the first round, but the big lefty hit for power and showed off speed but has some swing-and-miss issues. He sounds a lot like the Giants' first-rounder in 2019, Hunter Bishop, who has just started to get regular playing time in the minors after dealing with injury issues.
Fangraphs: Florida OF Sterlin Thompson
Longenhagen doesn't say much about the pick, other than Thompson having the "most stable hit tool" of remaining college outfielders. Thompson is a rare player with a couple years of college eligibility left, so he'll have leverage to return to school and see if he can improve his slot next year if he doesn't receive a bonus offer he likes.
ESPN ($ paywall): UConn LHP Reggie Crawford
A previous version of McDaniel's mock draft had Cal OF Dylan Beavers as San Francisco's selection, but here it's an intriguing southpaw (and possible two-way player) in Crawford. No big explanation here, but Snelling goes just before the Giants to Tampa Bay, so Crawford is possibly the best left-handed pitcher remaining available. A big lefty who recently announced a transfer to Tennessee, Crawford has thrown just eight innings in college - none in 2022 - because of the pandemic in 2020 and then recent Tommy John surgery. He can hit triple-digits with promising secondary offerings, played for Team USA last summer and has been mentioned as having outstanding makeup. At the plate he launched 13 homers in 51 games in college in 2021.
The Athletic ($ paywall): Tennessee OF Jordan Beck
Law acknowledges not much is known at this spot in the draft, but that other teams think the Giants will take a "toolsy" college hitter who they can work with. Beck didn't put up great numbers in college (career .284 hitter with nearly twice as many strikeouts as walks), but he has power and above-average speed and might be able to play center field in pro ball.
Prospects Live: LHP Crawford
We have our first agreement between mocks, with Crawford being Doyle's thought for the #30 overall as well because the Giants aren't afraid to draft risk with "immense upside", and he "oozes" makeup, which the Giants love.
Again, no one will really know who the next Giants first-rounder will be until the pick is announced. The draft begins Sunday evening at 4 pm Pacific time, but the Giants won't pick for an hour or two. Sunday's first round will be televised on ESPN and MLB Network, and the draft will continue Monday then conclude Tuesday.