SF Giants Day 1 roundup of MLB draft

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

For the first time since Farhan Zaidi took over as president of baseball operations in November of 2018, the SF Giants have selected a high school player, Bryce Eldridge, in the first round. They followed that up with another high school player, Walker Martin, and they finished the night with pitcher Joe Whitman out of Kent State University.

SF Giants Day 1 roundup of MLB draft

The Giants went heavily in favor of pitching over the past two drafts. In 2021, they selected pitchers with nine of the first 10 picks. They followed that up with pitchers being selected in eight of the first 10 picks last year.

I expected them to shift back in favor of position players to begin this year. I was sort of right. They selected a two-way star in the first round of the draft followed by a middle infielder in Martin in the second round.

I also expected that they would go with a college player since they had done that in the first round in each of the last four drafts. Certain college players can be signed for underslot deals, so I expected the Giants to go with that in the first round to have extra bonus pool money to spread over the later picks. They drafted their first college player with their third pick of the night.

The Giants received a compensatory pick when Carlos Rodón rejected a qualifying offer and signed a massive deal with the New York Yankees this past winter. That was the No. 69 pick, which they used to add another lefty in Whitman.

That pick carries a slot value of just over $1 million. The Giants were rumored to have a handshake agreement with Martin prior to the draft and Eldridge's pick holds a slot value of $4.3 million. Given that Eldridge (University of Alabama) and Martin (University of Arkansas) have college commitments, they can use that as leverage in negotiations.

On the other hand, Whitman was considered one of the better left-handed pitchers in the draft. Whitman began his college career at Purdue University but transferred to Kent State University after the 2022 season.

That move paid dividends as he posted a 2.56 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 11.1 K/9, and a 3.45 SO/W ratio in 15 starts this past season. He does not have overpowering velocity and relies on a fastball-slider combination, but MLB.Com indicates that he will need to further develop his changeup to stick as a starter:

""Whitman's fastball operates at 91-94 mph and hits 96 with riding action, playing up a bit because he locates it well. His best offering is a low-80s slider that he commands even better than his fastball and features horizontal and vertical action. His low-80s changeup features some fade and sink but lags behind his other two pitches in terms of consistency because he hasn't used it much.""


It may not be fair to label him as a pitchability-over-stuff hurler because he does have a quality slider with both vertical and horizontal movement. However, given that he is a good strike thrower with a plus offering, it would not be surprising to see him move quickly through the lower minors.

The Giants have seemingly loaded up on left-handed pitching in recent drafts, led by young lefty Kyle Harrison. However, Carson Whisenhunt and Reggie Crawford are the next in line. Whitman may not be far behind.