The SF Giants 2022 MLB Draft class has put their pen onto paper and like what I have said before, any draft class' quality should not be evaluated until a couple of years from now. Also, any draft class' quality should not be determined by where they ranked in any top 500 draft prospects rankings but by what is written in the scouting report and the tools that each prospect has that will help them progress through the Minor Leagues to become Major League talents.
SF Giants 2022 draft class talk and more with Prospects Live's Joe Doyle
With that said, I had an opportunity to chat with Prospects Live's director for MLB Draft Joe Doyle about the Giants' 2022 MLB Draft and talk about other important topics such as the team's pitching preference even with a draft class that has strong hitting depth, preference for pitchers with relief looks but has good metrics and more.
This is the cleaned-up transcribed version of my interview with Joe and if you want to catch the audio version where I sounded like a guy who literally woke up 30 minutes before the talk started, you can catch it on my Patreon here!
Wrenzie: Good morning, afternoon, evening everyone. I'm Wrenzie from Around The Foghorn and I have a very special guest here. You know guys I don't do podcasts very much so my guest is a very special one here. Here we have is Joe Doyle. In case you don't know him he's the man in Prospects Live. I mean they have a lot of guys out there like my friend Bran Recca but Joe is the one who calls the there. So how are you doing today, Joe?
Joe: I'm good, man. That's quite an introduction. I wouldn't be much of anything without my guys at Prospects Live. They're the ones pulling the levers, I'm just the one hitting publish.
W: Oh yeah. I mean I brought you here because of the 2022 Draft class for the Giants and I would like to know more about them as well. You have published, I mean, you clicked on the Publish button on the final mock draft and pretty much nailed the Reggie Crawford pick for the Giants. So I would like to discuss about that, because it's very interesting because the chatters were swirling that they are going to take college bats early that's because the farm system was perceived to have that as a weakness due to their hitting prospects kind of stalled aside from Marco Luciano and other folks. What made you think that Reggie Crawford was their pick based on your latest mock draft and what do you think about his potential had he not undergone Tommy John surgery?
J: Yeah. Before the draft, I had some pretty good intel that the Giants were very, very interested in Reggie Crawford. And honestly, he checks every box that the team has previously coveted. He's, he's a leader. He is a he's an ad great makeup guy. Everyone likes him. The pure stuff is incredible. But I mean, we're talking about a guy that, you know, he was ranked in, you know, (MLB) Pipeline had like 80. I think we had him like 34, 35. We're talking about a guy that if you didn't get hurt, could have gone in the top 10 picks and he had, he had other teams that were calling on him in the top 15 picks this past year, and nobody was quite offering him what he was looking for at that spot. So the Giants got a really good player, they got a really good person. And they got, you know, most, a lot of scouts, a lot of scouts that saw him at the United States collegiate national team. The summer before in Cary, North Carolina said he was the best college arm there. And that included, you know, a lot of guys around him. They got drafted before him and after him. So I think Reggie Crawford is obviously there's some risks with with the injury and coming back. But if he ends up being a starter that throws 99 or more from the left side, and you get that at the end of the first round. I really don't think you can question the pic at all.
W: Oh, yeah, I mean, yeah, now since when I said two-way player, so I think they're going to dabble with him hitting while he's recovering from the elbow injury. So do you think that he actually has a two-way potential? Like I say reach them as they reach the high minors like Double-A or Triple-A, even the majors? Maybe you think there's legitimate two-way potential there?
J: You know, I don't really have an opinion on it at this point. He, you know, he ran a strikeout rate close to 23, 24% in 2021 at the University of Connecticut as a 20-year-old and I think strikeout rate is something that I really like to pay attention to in the college ranks just because I think it says a lot about whether or not a guy can hit and you know, you're just gonna see tougher and tougher stuff. It's a big bat, man. I mean, he's a super aggressive hitter. Not really a guy that looks for walks whatsoever, but there's massive power. It's a left-handed stick. I think Reggie like a lot of players in Major League Baseball and amateur baseball and guys who get drafted as two-way guys, I think you just kind of let them try to be a two-way player until they prove that they can't do it, or their health begins to fail like you know, you've seen what's happened to Brendan McKay in Tampa Bay.
So I, you know, if it gets to the point where it's just too much to ask, then I think you take the bat out of his hands for what he can do with on the bump so I don't mind it. I think he's got a shot. But I'm generally in the camp that I tend to I tend to bet against guys that are going to try and do a two-way, a two-way future. I'll let me say this though. I do like the fact that the Giants drafted him as a two-way player because not everyone comes back from Tommy John surgery the same. If he's a lefty, that who never gets that never gets that velocity back. And the command just isn't there as a starter, you do have the left-handed power-hitting first-base type of player with big exit velocities. And again, an 80-grade makeup whose been through adversity who can probably find a career at the plate. So there's just there's multiple ways to succeed here. And I do like that approach.
W: Yeah, that's very interesting, because I mean, the Giants really need athleticism in pretty much both on both the Major League and the Minor League (level), and they're getting like a physically fit (dude). I mean, before the injury, he is as physically fit as anyone that I've ever seen from a college standpoint, so it's very interesting that they got Reggie Crawford. And he signed him for an under slot too. So, I mean, they gave that under-slot. I mean, they gave most of it for Carson Whisenhunt who was seemingly like a faller, because of the PED suspension. I mean, in the article he said that he had supplements that he didn't know have PEDs in them. So that's why he got suspended.
J: Right. Right. Right. Right. Yeah, he definitely didn't know that they were in. I always buy that *chuckles*.
W: *chuckles* Yeah, and he went to the Cape Cod League where he was kind of mixed in his performance. But I think he showed that he's capable. He's still a very, very interesting pitching prospect. So I mean, I haven't seen him that much last year in East Carolina. So what do you think about the selection with Whisenhunt? I think many people think it's a steal of a pick given the pedigree, and where he was selected, and what what kind of what kind of money he was given. So what do you think with Whisenhunt as a pitcher?
J: I mean, I think Whisenhunt could have gone in the top 20 picks had he pitched all season and shown the stuff that we saw in 2021. My concern and this is, you know, it's not really fair to Carson Whisenhunt. But my concern is, he was so rusty, he was so rusty on the cape that, you know, he was 92 to 93, 91 to 93. I think he touched 94. The secondaries weren't sharp, but you know, he showed the ability to throw him for strikes. Pitched multiple innings, so you know, the arm was loose. I just think that's, that's gonna be a pick that's impossible to judge until you kind of, you know, look at this at the end of say, 2023, 2024, see how he's performing. I mean, he was just, like, this is not to like shoot him down as a prospect, but he was so bad on the Cape and the stuff didn't take a step forward like many were anticipating it would had he pitched for East Carolina. Like there was a lot of guys that thought he was going to be 93 to 95, and he wasn't that on the Cape. Now, granted, it was cold. So I do think that kind of should be brought into the equation.
But I mean, listen, man, he's a, he's a big, tall physical prototype lefty with a really good changeup and a feel for a slider/cutter, a fastball that's been up to 94-95. If you have that player, if it's an above-average fastball, and it's a solid average changeup, and an average slider, he's got the makings of being a very good number four starter in the big leagues. But he's going to have to recapture some of that polish and some of that pure stuff that he lost during all that downtime. Now, do I think it was worth the overpay? Again, that's to be determined. $1.8, $1.9 million is a lot of money. And I'll tell you what, though, the Giants, I know a lot of folks in this in the Giants scouting department, they're all great people, and they really, really know what they're doing and they've shown the ability to develop pitching over the last couple of years, so I would feel pretty good about Carson Whisenhunt and where he's going to be here for pretty soon.
W: Yeah, I mean, we talked about pitching but because I've seen based from a lot of (publications) throughout this month that the strength of the draft classes it's more on the bats, like both high school and college bats and a clear weakness at the top is the college pitching. I mean, there are there's a lot of question marks on the top-end guys in the pitching (side) but there's still good depth. But based on the organization's talent pool this year or the performance of the prospects in the Giants organization this year, they have their first six picks are pitchers, which is very interesting because they have a middle infield issue right now in the organization, especially the lower levels. I mean, they signed guys off the streets just to fill out their organizational depth issues. And especially the guys that they're picked are not very, they haven't really had that most decorated of pitching careers in college but they seemingly have very interesting stuff like they have interesting metrics.
And what do you think about the pitchers, in general, getting selected early on, because they have that metric that makes you feel that they are safer to draft than hitters? Because you know about hitters, it's just pretty much impossible to have a metric that determines how good a hitter will be. And while for pitchers, it's easily determinable their stuff, because of all of that technology that surrounds pitchers nowadays. What do you think about that notion that pictures are definitely getting bumped higher on the draft board than hitters because of that, especially in the mid-rounds?
J: Well, I don't think, I mean, part of it is data. Part of it is, you know, the ability to qualify and quantify what a pitcher can do through technology. But I think, inherently for 50 years, pitchers have always been preferred in a draft over hitters because, frankly, and I think the industry kind of understands this, if a pitcher has stuff, pitchers are way, way, WAY easier to develop than any hitter. I mean, it doesn't matter, you could find me the most polished hitter on Earth, Spencer Torkelson, perfect example. Could not miss. That is a can't-miss bat. Hard to develop him, he's struggling. Jarred Kelenic, you know, never failed. He never failed. He hit over .330 everywhere he went. Now, he's failing.
That's not really the case with pitchers when pitchers are succeeding at the Double-A level, it's kind of hard to find a pitcher that succeeds at the Double-A level and doesn't find some success at the big league level. So I think in general, as a philosophy drafting you know, polished arms with stuff is always going to be a preferred method and process over drafting, you know, hitters in those middle rounds that have question marks I look at what the Giants did. William Kempner. I watched him pitch three times live this year. I went to his games three times. He's not going to be a starter. I would be stunned if he's a starter. He got paid like a starter, but I don't I don't personally see it. But man, William Kempner, he could be a high leverage, closer, shut it down, end of the game, lock it down. I mean, the guy has been up to 101 with a low launch (angle), it eats at the top of the zone, and it tunnels off a cutter/slider that is really tough to hit. I do think Kempner needs to add a pitcher with some depth, you know, tumbling changeup, would go really well off of his arm slot or just a breaking ball that kind of he can spike because right now he's left to right. He's not really north-south and I think that would help him but Kemper was an awesome pick. He's gonna have value. Might not be a starter, but late in games, you need that sort of arm.
Spencer Miles, great data. Solid performer, up and down. But great frame, great changeup. He's gonna be a good pitcher, Liam Simon, up to 97-98 only used in relief because of command issues. But a lot of people think this is the type of clay and the type of operation on the bump that can turn into a starting pitcher. So Liam Simon is another guy like I look at that and I think what can the Giants player development do with that sort of pure talent? So I'm excited to see what happens there. And you go down the list like I was big on John Bertrand. I was big on Tyler Vogel. I liked both those players. And even the position players that they drafted like Tanner O'Tremba crushed it in the Pac 12. This year. He had good data and Wade Meckler. I watched Wade Meckler three or four times this year. That guy's a big leaguer. That guy is the type of player who plays seven or eight years (in the big leagues). He plays second base shortstop left field, right field. I don't know if you know who Sam Haggerty is in Seattle. He's Sam Haggerty. Like, like he can play anywhere, he can really run, he doesn't strike out, and he's just a gritty guy. So I thought that I thought the Giants did really well. I don't know if they have like the most upside in their draft, but I think they drafted like the potential for seven or eight big leaguers here.
W: Yeah, it's interesting that you comp Meckler like that because you know the Giants typically draft like high power, don't care if you're striking out-kind of position players in the first two days. Like, let's say Hunter Bishop. Let's say Patrick Bailey when he was in this draft-eligible year. They're always prioritizing big tools, and Meckler is more of that. Yeah, that gritty grind the, you know, he does everything.
J: He's a dirtbag. He's a dirtbag. I like to I like to call guys that. That grit their way up the ladder, making contact, running the base as well high IQ, high instincts, versatility, like he's just a dirtbag. He'll always come into the clubhouse at the end of the game with a filthy jersey. And those guys, you know, he might be up and down for the first three or four years of his career. He might be, you know, shuttled back and forth between AAA and the big leagues, but that guy is going to play in Major League Baseball until he's 30 or 31 years old. And he's going to provide value as the last man off the bench for, you know, if it's not the Giants, it'll be for someone. I mean, getting that sort of player, you're not looking for a star in the seventh round. You're looking for a big leaguer and I, I promise you they drafted one in Wade Meckler.
W: Yeah, it's very interesting. And, you know, going, going back to that concept of pitchers like you mentioned with William Kempner, he's probably not going to be a starter. Spencer Miles, probably not going to be a starter. Liam Simon, probably not going to be a starter because of the control issues. Hayden Birdsong, I'm not really sure, but based on the video that I've seen, it's probably going to be a bullpen guy. We've seen that trend of the Giants not really selecting legitimate or like, they haven't really gone have success as a starter in the college level, and we have also seen that in their organizational philosophies this year that they're not really pushing guy. They're limiting the pitch Council guys, or, like they're limiting the innings of guys.
Like, let's say, Kyle Harrison. He is only pitched three innings in his first couple of starts ever since he went to the Futures Game. But before that, he was only stretched at around 90 pitches or somewhat this year. We've seen a lot of guys, especially in the San Jose/Eugene level that they're not really extended into a certain point around six anymore. So I've seen only Mason Black or Keaton Winn, the most recent example of them stretching guys into the sixth inning or into the third (time) of the order. Is this trend going to be a norm in the near future with if you think about it, or if this just what they would like to operate or some sort?
J: Well, it's actually a practice. It's an operation. It's a practice that a lot of teams are employing right now and there's a couple of reasons why they do it. One is a lot of teams follow a pitch count up the ladder religiously. It's a three-year plan, if you want to read about it, specifically, I don't remember the name of the book, but there's a specific book that kind of notates that every three months, you add five to 10 pitches to a player's repertoire and by the time that they turned 22 If it's a high school draftee, they should be up to 105-110 pitches. So that's kind of where you're at with Kyle Harrison. But the other part of it is the way that the Minor Leagues are set up now. Teams have so many players that they don't want to give up on as starting pitcher prospects. There's only so many innings to go around so there's a lot of piggybacking that goes around in Minor League ball and I think that's kind of what you're seeing, especially with these 19 and 20-year-old pitchers, there's just, there's no rush. I think a lot of teams would just prefer to have them go four and two-thirds or five and then turn it over to a guy that also needs to get two or three innings that night. And then you know there's just not a lot of pure relievers at the minor league level for certain organizations, and you kind of turn that over in the eighth or ninth inning to a reliever. So it's all about getting guys with starter potential innings and that comes by way of piggybacking, but also following the process of never overextending a guy, no matter if they've got a no-hitter going at 85 pitches. It's just, it's a process and it's a great way to keep guys healthy.
W: Oh, yeah, That makes a lot of sense. And I mean, it's just a worry in the Giants fanbase that follow their prospects pretty heavily like I do, because this just based on what I've seen that they only, I mean, they only have guys who have like a two-pitch mix or pitchers who trot it out on the mound and have at least three usable pitches are pretty rare to find the Giants organization these days, especially on the lower levels. But I know that they have something planned for them and what they want to prioritize in every pitcher. So it's pretty interesting that you brought up the notion that there's so there's only so many or there's only so little innings they want to prioritize.
So, yeah, I want to go to the third day of the draft now because I honestly still have to go study these players that they have selected. I mean, it's pretty disappointing to see that Ethan Long didn't sign with the Giants because Brian Recca is pretty high on the guy. But I think the signed pretty interesting picture here in Sam Bower and Tyler Vogel Who do you think are the guys that had the potential to become legitimate sleepers and to break out next year like Landen Roupp, who was a 12th-round pick last year, and he was doing very, very well in both San Jose and Eugene this year, and Trevor McDonald, which in a way was an 11th round pick but he was signed with a day two bonus, but he's also doing very well this year in San Jose? So who are the guys that you think could exceed their potential and could be a guy to follow in the organization, not just as a prospect, but could potentially be a top 30 prospect if things go well?
J: So I'm actually not terribly high on the pitchers that, that they drafted in the 11th through 20th round, but I do like some of the infielders that they selected. I mean, Justin, like, it's hard to avoid the Justin Bench narrative with the bloodlines, and you know, how the Giants have gone for that in the past so it's impossible not to pay attention to Justin bench. And he was never a huge performer at Ole Miss, but you just kind of wait and see what you've got there. Like, Yastrzemski wasn't a great prospect and it clicked for him. So you know, I'm interested to see what happens there.
I think Tanner O'Tremba is the best pick of the bunch. I think Tanner O'Tremba could be a, you know, ranked 20th to 30th type outfielder for the Giants with a little bit of hit, a little bit of power. It was kind of hard to project that with Oracle park but you know, it's a big bat. He really impressed against some of the best arms in the country at the Round Rock Classic earlier in the season, and he never really slowed down for Arizona against any team in the Pac 12 so I'd be watching Tanner O'Tremba and kind of seeing what he can make of his career.
But you know, there are a lot of scouts that like Thomas Cabello and Andrew Kachel in Southern California. We'll see. I wasn't a huge fan. I thought they were kind of fringy guys with a bunch of 40-grade tools smattered about their scouting report, but there were enough people vying for their services on day three that I think those two could be steals as well. I'm not huge on Bower or Vogel, I know that there are some folks at Prospects Live that swear by Tyler Vogel and Jacksonville has pumped out some pretty damn impressive arms over the last three years. So for a JUCO or D2 school, Jacksonville is kind of at the cutting edge of data and technology and making sure guys kind of understand the what and why with their stuff. So in that regard, I would say Vogel is really probably a long ways ahead of some of these other pitchers that, you know, haven't been acclimated to how data works and what you're trying to achieve. So I don't know, maybe, maybe Vogel turns into a really impressive relief option with big stuff. But my guy on day three would definitely be O'Tremba.
W: I mean, if the Giants get like, just even one interesting guy in day three, that will be amazing. That'll be amazing, especially if it's a position player, because of the current issues that they having in positions players developing their bats. I want to talk about you at Prospects Live you see guys much more than I do because you guys look at the big picture, you look at the top prospects of the other organizations for this season. What do you think of the Giants system as a whole for this season I mean, as we kind of, as we kind of wrap it up here in this podcast? What do you think where or I should not say what but where do you think are the Giants as a farm system is at the moment compared to other 29 teams in baseball?
J: You know, I've been blown away by what they've been able to squeeze out of Marco Luciano, Luis Matos, and Heliot Ramos. I know those three guys have slowed down a little bit from their, you know, massive trajectories from two years ago, but I still like all of them a lot. And Kyle Harrison is a top 50 prospect in baseball and people are really sleeping on that kid. You just don't see that out of a lefty. So, you know, I will say the top six guys in that organization are are really impressive. I've always been a big Nick Swiney and RJ Dabovich guy those two were draft crushes of mine in previous drafts. I think they're going to be really good big leaguers. I think they're probably going to be relievers but they've got really nasty stuff. Dabovich which is obviously a reliever. You know, when I look at the Giants it's it's a team that I think is clearly at the middle of the road. I think it's kind of kind of top heavy, in my opinion, and some of the guys down their list that have fallen off a little bit. you know guys like Corry, guys like Will Wilson, guys like Sean Hjelle. I think those guys have they have a ways to get back to the prospect pedigree that they that they once did.
I like the way it's built, man. I like that their pitcher-centric, and I like that they've got some some athleticism and power in the outfield coming. So we'll see what happens. I think this draft, they did well, and they definitely stacked on to an already impressive crop of pitchers. So, in my opinion, the way that you build a farm system is on the mound. I think you always draft on the mound and unless you fall in love with a position player, you draft on the mound, and I think the I think the Giants have done a really good job of stockpiling a lot of good arms and they should be in a good position to compete for a long time with those arms or you know, trade those off for big league ready pieces right away.
W: It's an interesting point of view from the outside looking in of where the Giants are as an organization because as a guy who follow the Giants heavily, heavily. I also think that the Giants are in kind of the middle of the road. They haven't really stepped it up or they've taken one step forward but they also taken a step back. So it's just an interesting perspective on where they are at the moment as well as a farm system. So as soon as we wrap it up, Joe, I know you just trotted out the 2023 top 150 prospects in prospect club, I know you still have a lot more in the drafts. So what are the pieces that we would expect from your team at Prospects Live in the future?
J: We've got some pretty good stuff coming next week. We're gonna post our first kinda "why are we doing this?" mock draft for 2023. It's just a fun exercise. Obviously, it doesn't hold any weight whatsoever but always fun to kind of project out how it could play out and kind of take that initial look at where standings are, where teams will be picking if the season were to end right now. So, we'll push that out. That will be out next week but we did just have our top 150 prospects for the 2023 draft come out last week as well as our top 100 high school and top 100 college players just came out. Besides that, we're going to continue talking about the 2022 draft and usually the fall is when we start really pushing out the MLB Draft interviews when we get 30, 40, 50 of these draft prospects for 2023 to talk ball with us and preview their 2023 seasons and what they hope to achieve before next July.
W: That would be awesome to read, Joe. Thank you very much for the time. I mean, we've had a couple of issues with the scheduling and all because of the 2023 draft stuff but it's so nice that we have finally talked about the Giants draft and just in general, it's just a fun time. I had a lot of fun. So, where are they going to catch your content, Joe? It's time to promote yourself.
J: I'm excited for 2023, man. 2022 was a very, very, very long cycle. It was, it felt like it was 13 and a half months so turning the page felt great. And just talking about new names, researching new names. Yeah, that 2022 class had gotten a little stale and little crusty for us, so it's good to turn the page.
W: Yeah, it dragged a little bit too long for me as well. This has been Wrenzie from Around The Foghorn and I'll catch you next time.