Anyone who follows the SF Giants knows that the draft not been kind to them in recent years. But, just how bad have the results been with their top picks? You might want to look away.
SF Giants have dreadful streak going with recent 1st round picks
Jay Cuda of Stathead published a chart on Friday showing the combined Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of every team's first round picks since 2015:
Hey, at least the Giants are not in last place! They are barely in positive WAR territory if you take the combined WAR of all of their first round picks since 2015. In fairness, some of those picks have yet to reach the majors, so an appropriate cutoff might be 2018 or 2019.
Typically, the price of winning is picking later in each round. The Giants' previous competitive window closed after the 2016 season, meaning that they have been picking earlier in each round starting in 2018 and beyond. Of course, they also had a best record in baseball in 2021, so they had the last pick in the first round in 2022.
Since 2015, the Giants have had four first round picks reach the majors including Chris Shaw (2015), Phil Bickford (2015), Heliot Ramos (2017), and Joey Bart (2018). They have produced a combined 0.2 WAR, which is just a hair above replacement level. This is to say that the Giants have struggled mightily in the first round of the draft. That should come as no surprise.
Joe Panik was the last impactful first round pick that the Giants have selected and that was way back in 2011! This is not to say that either Ramos or Bart will not develop into impactful players. It is still very earlier in their respective careers.
This is a trend that needs to change and change right away. Unfortunately, it may not happen as quickly as some might expect. Since the new regime has taken over, they have selected Hunter Bishop (2019), Patrick Bailey (2020), Will Bednar (2021) and Reggie Crawford (2022).
Bishop and Bailey have struggled, at times, to hit against pitching in the lower levels, whereas Bednar missed most of last year due to an injury. Crawford missed the entire 2022 college season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. He is expected to be ready by the start of the 2023 season.
The Bishop pick, in particular, might be a tough selection to digest. Toronto Blue Jays starter Alex Manoah was selected one pick after Bishop and he has quickly emerged as one of the top young pitchers in baseball.
As a whole, the Giants have grown stale due in part to the fact that they have not drafted well in recent years. That issue is compounded by the fact that it is hard to recruit free agents when the roster does not inspire a ton of excitement.
There was a time when the Giants were probably the best team when it came to first round picks. If you go back 15 years, there was not a team in baseball that hit more on top picks than the Giants with selections like Tim Lincecum (2006), Madison Bumgarner (2007), Buster Posey (2008), and Zack Wheeler (2009). It is time for the Giants to get back to those roots.