The SF Giants might not wait until the offseason to land a two-way star. Fangraphs published its first mock draft ahead of the July 9 MLB draft and the Giants are slated to select first baseman and pitcher Bryce Eldridge out of Madison High School in Virginia.
Latest Fangraphs mock draft has SF Giants taking two-way star
I have not spent nearly enough time on the 2023 draft so far, so we will try to make up for that in the coming days. This should be an important draft for the Giants as they hold the No. 16 pick as well as the No. 52 and No 69. picks.
The No. 16 and No. 52 picks are normal picks that they received based on the reverse order of their record in 2022. However, the No. 69 pick is a compensatory pick since the Giants issued a qualifying offer to Carlos Rodón, but he signed with the New York Yankees for a six-year, $162 million deal.
Surprisingly, the Chicago White Sox did not issue the left-handed hurler a qualifying offer after a strong 2021 campaign in which he finished sixth in the AL Cy Young voting with a 2.37 ERA across 24 starts. Rodón had dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career, so the White Sox were reluctant to make the type of investment that comes with potentially accepting a qualifying offer.
Chicago's loss is the Giants' gain as they get a compensatory pick. Before they receive that compensatory pick, they are slated to pick in the middle of the first round. Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs published his mock draft on Thursday and has the Giants selecting two-way star Bryce Eldridge. Longenhagen speculates that recent history could support San Francisco's motivation to add another two-way start:
"Eldridge wants to try to play both ways and the Giants have recently proven willing to experiment with this with Reggie Crawford. There are scouts who think they’re also attached to Colorado high school shortstop Walker Martin, though that might be rich at this pick."- Eric Longenhagen
Eldridge along with Walker Martin are some of the names connected to the Giants. San Francisco has not selected a prep prospect in the first round since Heliot Ramos in 2017.
If I had to guess, I would expect that trend to continue. The Giants do like to target underslot players in the first round, so that they can spread the money elsewhere throughout the draft. Underslot players in the middle of the first round typically come out of college If they pursue that strategy, infielders Jacob Gonzalez (University of Mississippi), Matt Shaw (University of Maryland), and Tommy Troy (Stanford University) are all potential targets.
Both Gonzalez and Troy are local to California. The Giants have made a concerted effort to target local players in recent drafts and that should continue in 2023. A lot can change between now and Sunday, but the Giants should be able to add several quality prospects to the organization before the draft is over.