Giants’ 1st Round Selection in the 2012 MLB Draft: Chris Stratton

Today was one of my favorite days of the year — the first day of the MLB Draft. In my Draft Preview, I suggested that the Giants were likely to select either a high school pitcher or a college hitter. They did not, despite the 2nd and 3rd best college hitters (in my view) being available. There were also a lot of high school arms available. Yet for the first time under John Barr, and the first time since 2006, the Giants selected Chris Stratton from Mississippi State University. While I favored Duke RHP Marcus Stroman, I certainly have no qualms with the selection.

Stratton is a 21 year old RHP (he’ll be 22 in August) who should remain as a starter. This year, Stratton made 17 appearances and 12 starts, posting a 2.38 ERA, 127 strikeouts and 25 walks in 109 and 2/3 innings. Stratton has a good fastball, a slider, a change-up, and a curveball. While he doesn’t have top-of-the-rotation upside, he looks like he should be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter.

The biggest knock on Stratton is his age, as he is already 22. Still, he has solid polish and should move quickly. And with the signing deadline being moved up a month, Stratton could start his career earlier.

All in all, while this wasn’t the sexiest of picks, Stratton was good value and he provides starting pitching depth that could help the Giants fairly quickly. And given that his age likely takes away some of his leverage, the Giants could target a high-upside player like a Duane Underwood or Tanner Rahier tomorrow.

Lastly, if I were to re-do a Giants top 10 prospects list now, I’d probably slot Stratton in at #3 behind Gary Brown and Tommy Joseph.

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