2012 First Half Review: The Starters

Since there’s no baseball today or tomorrow, I figure I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a stab at a first half review. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll divide it into three segments: the starters, the offense, and the bullpen. Without further ado…

Matt Cain

Oh, Matt Cain. Where to begin? Right as the offseason was drawing to a close, the Giants signed Cain to a rather massive long-term extension, tying up roughly $150M in him through 2018. I was pleased with the deal, but as I noted, pitchers tend to a) get worse with age, and b) get injured. Cain has done neither those of things. In fact, at age 27, Cain is currently performing better than he ever has.

He’s struck out one in four hitters that have come to bat against him, which is far and away the best strikeout rate of his career. And while the strikeouts have gone up, the walks have actually gone the other direction. Of the 473 batters he’s faced this season, only 23 have drawn an unintentional walk. Put the two together, and Cain’s tallied nearly five strikeouts for every walk; that’s significantly higher than his previous best (2.9 K/BB in 2010), and it’s more than double his career rate (2.4 K/BB). Cain has also tossed quite a few memorable games this season, including one particular game that solidified his place in the history books.

Put simply, Cain has been nothing short of spectacular thus far, and his performance even earned him the nod as the National League starter for this year’s all-star game — a role which he, unsurprisingly, handled well, tossing two scoreless innings to set the pace for the NL.

Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner has pitched, well, as expected. He’s been great. The strikeouts disappeared for a while at the beginning of the season; through the first eight starts, he had only recorded 30 strikeouts. Then he proceeded to strike out ten Brewers in his next start and from that point forward, he was himself (he’s got 69 strikeouts over his previous nine starts). Overall, Bumgarner’s seasonal strikeout rate has slightly dipped, but he’s also shaved off a few walks. His control, of course, has been remarkably consistent this season; in all but one start, he’s allowed two walks or fewer.

In other words, Madison Bumgarner has been Madison Bumgarner. Halfway through the season, he’s at 2.0 fWAR and 1.5 rWAR — although with that last start in Washington in which he allowed three home runs, his numbers sort of took a beating. Anyway, he’s still 22 years old, and he still never ceases to amaze me. Of particular note was that recent one-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds, a team that had feasted on left-handed pitching all season long.

Ryan Vogelsong

Before 2011, Ryan Vogelsong was somewhere on the list of the top 100 worst pitchers of all time. 315 career innings pitched, 217 runs allowed. Then he made his first major-league appearance in five years, and went on to have an all-star season, finishing out the year with a 2.71 ERA. He entered this year at age 34, with a minimal track record of success; given how good he had been in 2011, the expectation of “solid fourth starter” seemed reasonable, but Vogelsong was anything but a sure thing.

To say he’s exceeded expectations would be an understatement. Through 16 starts (110.2 innings), Vogelsong has actually managed to post a lower ERA (2.36) than he had in 2011 (his FIP, 3.72, while less incredible, is still good). The term “consistent” is often bandied about meaninglessly when discussing baseball players, but I can’t seem to avoid it in writing about Vogelsong. He’s epitomized consistency this season. Here are his innings pitched by start this season: 6.1, 7, 6, 7, 7.1, 7, 7, 6.1, 7, 7, 7.2, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7. Fifteen of those were quality starts.

Vogelsong takes the mound every fifth day for the Giants, so we’re just supposed to accept it as reality at this point. But he still makes no sense to me. In 2010, he was released by two organizations. Now he’s got the third best ERA- among qualified starters over the past season and a half. There he is on a pitching leaderboard, right between Clayton Kershaw and Roy Halladay. It’s absolutely crazy.

Barry Zito

I expected the worst out of Barry Zito this season. He was downright awful in 2011, even by Zito standards, having surrendered 35 runs in 53.2 innings. And his peripherals were no more promising, as his 5.60 FIP had marked a new career-worst. With Zito another year older, coming off a dreadful season, I figured he’d reached the end of his effectiveness.

In his debut, he pitched a four-hit no-walk shutout — in Coors Field, no less. And it was on that day that I ate crow. Zito went on to pitch two solid months to begin the season, in fact. Through May, he had a 3.41 ERA in ten starts. Then he crumbled. He ended up finishing out the first half with a 4.01 ERA, though the peripherals tell a different story. Zito has struck out just 12.7% of the hitters he’s faced, and his walk rate (11.1%) is also quite poor; not to mention, he’s got a 0.80 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his last six starts. If you go by FIP (5.05), Zito has been replacement level material thus far.

So despite the fact that his 4.01 ERA has come as a pleasant surprise, I can’t help but continue to have the same concerns about Zito that I had coming into this season.

Tim Lincecum

And we close it out on an especially miserable note, with Tim Lincecum. He allowed 66 earned runs in 2011. He’s allowed 69 earned runs in 2012 …through 18 starts. I had hope that after dominating the Los Angeles Dodgers to carry the Giants into first place, he had finally started to turn things around. That he did not. Lincecum closed out the first half with disastrous starts in Pittsburgh and Washington, and here we are now: Lincecum, halfway through the season, has the worst qualified ERA in the majors. This isn’t August 2010. He’s ventured deep into this mess of a season, and he has yet to return to form.

Over at Baseball Nation, Jeff Sullivan recently took an in-depth look at Lincecum’s season. Lincecum has been Lincecum with the bases empty, which seems like a good sign. I’m not sure what the root cause of his struggles are; his command disappears when runners reach base — is it mental? Mechanical? At this point, I have no idea what to expect from Lincecum. He’s an enigma. I’m almost at a loss for words. I’m cautiously optimistic that he’ll find his groove eventually, but we’re dangerously close to Brad Penny starting games for the San Francisco Giants.

Catching Up: Gustavo Cabrera, Natanael Javier, Brad Penny

It’s been a week since I posted here, so let’s catch up on what I missed…

The Giants signed Gustavo Cabrera and Nathaniel Javier

The Giants dabbled in the international market this week, signing a pair of Dominican prospects: Gustavo Cabrera and Natanael Javier. Cabrera, an ultra-athletic 16-year-old centerfielder, signed for $1.3M. His bat is the “main question mark,” according to Baseball America, but he still came out at #5 on their rankings of the top 20 international prospects for July 2nd and #1 on Jonathan Mayo’s rankings. Perfect Game has a write-up on Cabrera from April, which includes this tid-bit:

One PG scout remarked after seeing Cabrera for four days, “I haven’t been to Japan (or anywhere else) but I suspect that this is the best 16-year old baseball player on the planet.”

The Giants also signed 16-year-old third baseman Natanael Javier for $475K, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America.

Jonathan Mayo (#11):

The big third baseman is considered a solid all-around player and is projected to hit for average and power in the future.

Perfect Game:

Javier has easy, low maintenance hitting mechanics, with a smooth right handed swing with plus bat speed. He’s the type who one can project to hit for both high average and big power in the future. He’s a prototype third baseman in his build and in his defensive tools as well.

The Giants purchased Brad Penny‘s contract from Fresno

About a week ago, the Giants purchased Brad Penny’s contract from Triple-A Fresno. In corresponding moves, they placed Shane Loux on the 15-day DL (neck), and moved Eric Surkamp to the 60-day DL (elbow).

Penny, 34, was a mainstay in Detroit’s starting rotation last season, and his performance was nothing short of dreadful. He tallied only 74 strikeouts through 181.2 innings, and finished the season at an FIP of 5.02; at this point in his career, he doesn’t seem very capable of generating whiffs, and suffice it to say, I’m not comfortable with the idea of Penny pitching in important situations. That said, he’s looked okay so far (granted, he’s faced a grand total of 11 batters). He is one year removed from a solid stint with the Cardinals, and I don’t think it’s out of the question that he could put up those kinds of numbers (15.1% K%, 3.9% BB%, 3.40 FIP) with the Giants this season — relying on precise control for success.

It doesn’t seem like Eric Surkamp has been discussed much at all this year, but it sure is a shame that he’s been out this season. I had anticipated that Surkamp might play an important role with the Giants team this season.

The Giants are in second place

Well, it was fun while it lasted, eh? After losing four of their last five, the Giants have fallen back into second place. Of course, they’re only half a game out of first, and the Dodgers don’t exactly have a strong grip on the divison right now. Los Angeles will close out the first half with a four-game set in Arizona and, if I’m not mistaken, they’ll have to do it without Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. In other words, the Giants have a pretty good shot at moving back into first place before the all-star break.

Madison Bumgarner Extends Giants’ Scoreless Streak to 36 Innings

It’s rather surprising, but coming into tonight, Madison Bumgarner had never thrown a complete game. 67 starts, most of them good, and yet none of ‘em lasted nine innings. He had pitched into the ninth inning on a couple occasions, but never a complete game. In any event, his first career complete game finally came tonight, and he was really as good as ever. Miguel “how is he still in baseball?” Cairo started at second base instead of Brandon Phillips, but this was nevertheless a dangerous lineup — one that has done a lot of damage against southpaws this season. The Reds, you see, have a 117 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season, which is the best in all of baseball.

And Bumgarner held them to one hit, a single, through nine innings. He only needed to face 29 batters to record 27 outs. Joey Votto, the best hitter on the planet, went 0 for 3  – as did hitters four through seven. The final line: 9 IP, 8 K, 2 BB, 1 H, 0 R. After performances like these, it’s fun to go look at that contract extension. And then to remember that Bumgarner is still only 22 years old.

The Kansas City Royals have this left-handed starting pitching prospect named Mike Montgomery. I admittedly don’t know much about him, but he’s made Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list three years running, so he’s supposed to be pretty good. Interestingly enough, he pitched tonight. He’s struggled at Triple-A the past couple seasons, and tonight was no exception: he lasted 1.1 innings, allowing 11 runs (four earned). Mike Montgomery was born on July 1, 1989, exactly one month before Madison Bumgarner was born.

Anyway, thanks to another brilliant performance from Bumgarner, the Giants have now held their opponents scoreless for 36 consecutive innings. Four straight shutouts. The Giants had never done that before, and it hasn’t been accomplished by any team in nearly two decades. It’s easy to take this pitching staff for granted, but they’re still magnificent. Over the last four years, no team has been better than the Giants at run prevention. It’s been a great run, and they certainly aren’t showing signs of slowing down…

As for the offense, they continue to be competent. Johnny Cueto has been the best starter in the majors over the past couple seasons, if you go by ERA-. The Giants didn’t light him up or anything, but they roughed him up for a few runs, and he was out of the game by the seventh inning. So that was pretty exciting to see. I had a lot of concern about the Giants’ offense coming into the season. I wasn’t sure how Buster Posey would hit after missing most of 2011; I didn’t know if Melky Cabrera was a one-hit wonder; I didn’t know if the Giants would find a way to get Brandon Belt into the lineup on a regular basis, and furthermore, I didn’t know if he’d finally adjust to the majors; and the middle infield just looked like a black hole of sub-mediocrity. Anyway, I’m feeling a lot better about this team’s ability to hit baseballs, especially in comparison to how I felt this offseason.

The Dodgers lost today, so the Giants now have sole possession of first place. The offense has looked fine. The pitching has looked untouchable. And with Matt Cain going up against the Reds tomorrow night, the Giants have a chance of recording their fifth-straight shutout — which would tie a major-league record. In other words, things are rolling.

The Giants Are Tied For First Place

Tim Lincecum‘s last start went fairly well; the first inning was quite a mess, but he got through it, and managed to hold the A’s scoreless for 5.1 innings. In light of the season he’s had to date, this was a nice sign of progress, and the hope was that he’d build on it today. He did.

With a chance to get the Giants into first place in the NL West, Lincecum put together what was undoubtedly his best start of the season. His command was a little shaky, particularly earlier in the game, but he ultimately only walked two hitters. More importantly, he shut the Dodgers down for seven innings, tallying eight strikeouts in the process. It was far and away his best outing of the season — and, in fact, his only scoreless start thus far. He’s now tossed 12.1 consecutive scoreless innings, and it’s clear that he’s starting to turn things around. Now, it’s worth noting that the improvement has come against some pretty terrible lineups. The Athletics’ offense is one of the worst in the majors, and today’s Dodgers lineup was devoid of Matt Kemp and — aside from one plate appearance — Andre Ethier. Half the guys in their lineup had sub-.350 slugging percentages. Nevertheless, Lincecum certainly looked like a pitcher that’s turned things around.

And the Giants lineup, well, they got the job done. Buster Posey reached base a few times, Brandon Crawford collected three hits, Angel Pagan drew a bases-loaded walk….all in all, it was enough. They did blow a few opportunities. After leadoff hits in the first and second innings, they couldn’t score. Pablo Sandoval struck out with the bases loaded in the third. Brandon Crawford led off the sixth inning with a triple, and the hitters behind him failed to knock him in. In total, the Giants had ten hits, three walks, and only three runs to show for it.

But it was enough.

And so the Giants won 3-0. They shut the Dodgers out for the third game in a row — the first time they’ve ever shut the Dodgers out for all three games of a three-game series; and they’re now tied for first place in the NL West. It’s hard to believe, but they’ve caught up to a team that at one point had the best record in baseball and a seemingly insurmountable lead in their division.

First place. An NL-best 43 wins. And Timmy is finally pitching well. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m feeling pretty good about this team right now…

Brandon Belt Has Arrived

Over the past six games, Brandon Belt has put together a modest little hitting streak, during which time he’s collected eight hits — three of them homers — and drawn four walks. Not to mention, he’s only struck out in three of his 24 plate appearances. It’s only six games, but his performance over the last week has been enough to bring his overall seasonal line to .250/.364/.412, good for a 112 wRC+. While that perhaps still falls short of some of the lofty expectations we all had for Belt coming into this season — the power numbers in particular are disappointing — he’s been as good, overall, as we should have reasonably expected.

First of all, his 112 wRC+ is pretty solid compared to what other first basemen have done this season. National League first basemen, as a whole, have a 103 wRC+ for the 2012 season (.251/.328/.430). In terms of total offensive value, Belt has been better than guys like Albert Pujols, Freddie Freeman, Carlos Pena, Adrian Gonzalez, and Kevin Youkilis, to name a few (also, he’s tied with Mark Teixeira at a 112 wRC+).

And overall, Fangraphs (fWAR) has Belt’s 2012 production valued at 0.8 WAR over 165 PA. It’s important to be cautious in citing WAR over such small samples, but Belt’s fielding value (+1.3 UZR) is well within reason; in other words, he’s not just benefiting from some fluky defensive metrics here. If Belt could simply maintain his established level of production for 2012 over 600 plate appearances, he’d be a ~3 WAR player. (Of course, Belt likely won’t reach the 600-PA mark.) I’m certain that if I were told at the beginning of the season that Belt would perform at a 3-WAR pace, I’d have happily taken it.

It’s also worth noting that Baseball-Reference (rWAR) has Belt at 1.1 WAR, which translates to 4 WAR over 600 plate appearances. That’s especially impressive when you consider that Baseball Reference’s WAR doesn’t give players the same replacement level boost that Fangraphs does. Put on the same scale as Fangraphs’ implementation of WAR, Belt’s 1.1 rWAR translates to something like 4.7 WAR over 600 plate appearances. (Though in this case, the defensive value prorated over a full season is generous).

Anyway, it obviously remains to be seen how Belt will perform over the rest of the season, but that’s beside the point. I think it’s safe to say that he’s been good this season, and that there’s little reason to be disappointed with his overall production. For all the concern about his playing time, Brett Pill is in Triple-A right now and Aubrey Huff is on the DL, so that shouldn’t be much of a problem going forward. What the Giants have on their hands right now is a 24-year-old first baseman with strong defensive skills and a .335 wOBA in a year in which National League first baseman have collectively posted a .328 wOBA. While I’m still holding out hope that he’ll increase the power production as the season progresses and eventually climb up to a .350 wOBA (as projected by ZiPS), Brandon Belt has arrived.

Matt Cain Throws Perfect Game

Matt Cain threw a perfect game tonight. I watched the game on television from start to finish and after it was all over, I had trouble collecting my thoughts. I was bombarded with all sorts of emotions — excitement, bliss, relief, disbelief…This was an event of such rarity and significance.

As the game progressed, the anticipation grew exponentially. More nervousness, anxiety, excitement. By the seventh inning, every pitch had me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath.

I say this having watched no other perfect game from start to finish, but I can’t imagine a more nerve-wracking perfect game. Cain was so dominant tonight that it was almost his undoing, odd as it sounds. Nobody was reaching base, but since Cain was racking up the strikeouts — 14, to be exact, he also had a pretty high pitch count going. Through seven innings, Cain was already over 100 pitches on the night, averaging 4.9 pitches per plate appearance. I can’t remember exactly how many times he ran the count full, but every time it happened, I feared it would all end.

That wasn’t it, either. There was the ball Chris Snyder crushed into left field — I figured there was no chance that wouldn’t leave the yard. There was the magnificent diving catch Gregor Blanco made in the seventh inning to preserve the perfect game; even as Blanco was chasing that ball down and going in for the dive, I figured it was all over. It got to the point where even the routine grounders were moments of intense anxiety.

But Cain did it. With a little luck, a little help from his defense, and a whole lot of Matt Cain-ness, he retired 27 Houston Astros in order. And yes, they’re the Houston Astros, a 26-36 team, but they’ve also managed to put up league-average numbers against right-handed pitching this season – it wasn’t exactly an easy offense to tackle.

Anyway, I’m still trying to digest all of this. There’s an article up at the ESPN SweetSpot blog posing the following questionDid Matt Cain throw greatest game ever? That’s the kind of territory we’re in right now. That’s the kind of performance we all just witnessed. Matt Cain, ladies and gentlemen. Matt Cain.

On Clay Hensley’s Splits and George Kontos’ Chances to Stick Around

Last night during the game, Jon Miller and Duane Kuiper were talking about Clay Hensley‘s season. Specifically, they were talking about the fact that Hensley to this point has been better against left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters. Looking over Hensley’s career, he actually has been slightly better against southpaws than righties. Which means that in the Giants bullpen three pitchers are better against lefties (Affeldt, Hensley, Lopez) and two others, due to their role, likely won’t be used specifically due to matchups (Casilla as the closer, Loux as the long reliever). That leaves two relievers who will likely be matched up against tough righties, Sergio Romo and George Kontos.

This could end up being very good for Kontos as his scouting report indicates that a middle relief ROOGY-type role could suit him well.

Kontos profiles as a middle reliever in the long-term because of two glaring flaws. For one, he’s always had trouble against left-handed batters because he lacks a changeup. The tagged him for a .281/.345/.484 batting line with six homers in 142 plate appearances in Triple-A this year, and he’s shown a similar split throughout his minor league career. On the bright side, he does crush righties.

If Kontos can end up being similar to Ramon Ramirez, a pitcher who was known for his platoon splits and had a similar home run rate in the minors than Kontos, then he could turn out to be a very valuable piece to the Giants bullpen this year.

Madison Bumgarner: Super-Excellent

In the past couple years, I’ve written thousands upon thousands of words in appreciation and admiration of the accomplishments of Madison Bumgarner. He’s good. Unfortunately, I’ve just about run out of ways to say that. I suppose I could dig through a thesaurus and pick out every word I haven’t yet exhausted.

Bumgarner’s having a shipshape season. What a super-excellent start that was. 

I’m not all that good with words though, as you can see. Frankly, the numbers tell a better story than I could:

  • Madison Bumgarner had a 2.67 FIP last season.
  • Madison Bumgarner struck out 12, and allowed zero walks in 7.2 innings tonight.
  • When Madison Bumgarner walked four opposing hitters in his last outing — which isn’t an absurdly high walk total, that was the first time he had allowed that many walks in a start since April of 2011.

I could go on and on. I want to. I probably will, eventually. But for the time being, I’m sure I’ve made my point.

The most important stat, something I’ve stressed again and again throughout the existence of this blog, is this one:

  • He’s 22 years old.

He’s done some great things. But in that context, “great” just doesn’t do him justice.

Tonight’s game was classic Bumgarner. Pinpoint control, weak groundouts, decent right-handed hitters swinging and missing at that slider over and over again. And as if his pitching wasn’t enough, Bumgarner belted a home run off Bud Norris in the third inning of tonight’s game. A home run at AT&T Park. That’s something that none of the Giants’ hitters could manage to do over the last month. Only one to go before Bumgarner ties James Loney!

As a National League pitcher, Bumgarner will be getting at-bats for a long time. And though nobody really pays much attention to what pitchers do with the bat, it kind of matters — especially over a long period of time. That Bumgarner has established himself as an above-average hitter is icing on the cake. It’s a modest impact — maybe an extra 10% of value at most — but it all adds up.

Basically, what I’m trying to get at here is that Bumgarner is good.

And the best part? That magnificent contract. Man, what a steal that is. If you’re ever feeling low, mull over those contract details — that’ll surely cheer you up. It’s truly a sight to behold. Roughly $70M to hang onto Bumgarner until he hits 30. I mean, wow.

The Giants and Home Runs

Earlier today, Buster Olney tweeted this interesting tidbit:

On May 14th, Gregor Blanco hit a solo shot off of Christian Friedrich. Nearly a month has passed, and the Giants have yet to hit another home run at home. It has not only historic from a team standpoint — as their current drought is an SF-era franchise record, but it’s very close to tying a modern MLB record. Since 1961, only two teams — the ’83 Indians and the ’76 Royals — have had longer home run droughts at their respective home ballparks. The Giants are just one homerless game away from joining them.

At home, no team has fewer home runs than the San Francisco Giants; no team is even close. The Giants have six, five of which have been solo homers. For reference, here’s the entire list:

That’s it. The next worst are the Padres and Mariners, who are tied at 14 — which is still more than twice as many as the Giants have. There are 26 players with more home runs at their respective home ballparks than the entire San Francisco Giants team. Giancarlo Stanton, who has had all of 14 plate appearances in San Francisco this season, is tied with Pablo Sandoval for the major-league lead in “home runs at AT&T Park.”

Obviously, the home runs (or lack thereof) have been a problem. The Giants rank 29th in all of baseball at 35 home runs. (The Padres — also owners of the worst record in the majors, have the fewest in all of baseball, with 34). Additionally, San Francisco’s isolated power (ISO) of .120 puts them dead-last in the majors.

This offense was never going to mash, but the power production has still been surprisingly bad. Brandon Belt and Aubrey Huff, the two of whom have combined for one home run in 212 plate appearances, have been the main culprits. An improvement from those two, paired with the return of Pablo Sandoval, should be enough to change the Giants’ home run woes from “hilariously bad” to just plain “bad.”  And while I don’t anticipate a dramatic improvement in this category, that probably won’t stop the Giants from remaining in contention this season. Even with the lack of homers, the Giants have managed an 89 wRC+ on the season; mediocre as it is, that’s a significant improvement over last season (83). (It’s also worth noting that the Dodgers, at a major-league best 39 wins, rank 28th in home runs.)

In the meantime, the Giants will face off against Bud Norris at AT&T Park tomorrow. We’ll see if they can avoid tying that record.

2012 MLB Draft Review: Giants Draft Review

The 2012 MLB Draft concluded today, finishing the 16th through 40th rounds. With no compensation picks, the Giants had 40 selections in the draft and after taking Mississippi State right-hander Chris Stratton in the first round, here’s who they took the rest of the way…

2.84 Martin Agosta-RHP-St. Mary’s

The Giants stayed local and took Agosta, a Sacramento native, from the Moraga school. Agosta has an advanced feel for pitching and his stuff has ticked up since his freshman year. While he hasn’t been overwhelmingly dominant (8.27 K/9) , he’s posted solid results and was expected to be drafted around this pick. He should have a chance to start and has upside as a back of the rotation starter, but he could shift to the bullpen where his stuff would play up.

3.115 Mac Williamson-OF-Wake Forest

The only position player taken by the Giants in the first eight rounds, Williamson has some similarities to 2009 3rd round pick Chris Dominguez, in that they were both red shirt juniors with a strong arm, big raw power, but a propensity to swing and miss. Williamson though, has better speed than Dominguez as he spent some time in CF for the Demon Deacons this spring, but profiles in RF. Williamson also has a patient approach at the plate and is not afraid to take a walk.

4.148 Steven Okert-LHP-Oklahoma

Okert was part of an Oklahoma bullpen that also featured flame thrower Damien Magnifico. He is a left-handed power arm who also spent time in the rotation and does have some similarities to last year’s 4th round pick Bryce Bandilla. Okert hasn’t gotten a huge amount of K’s, and has had control issues but he has the hard throwing profile that the Giants have taken in these rounds in recent years.

5.178 Ty Blach-LHP-Creighton

Blach is a very good college pitcher, posting a 2.69 ERA for Creighton. However, he seems to lack overpowering stuff as he only recorded 83 strikeouts in 120 and 1/3 innings.

6.208 Stephen Johnson-RHP-St. Edwards

Johnson is a power reliever who was a good value pick here as he had been mentioned earlier in the spring as possibly being as high as a 2nd round pick. He’ll need to polish his control but he has a live arm.

7.238 Eduardo Encinosa-RHP-Miami (FL)

Encinosa shifted to the bullpen this year and had a good spring for the Hurricanes. He struck out 39 batters in 29 innings without allowing a HR. While he did walk too many he is another good value for this spot.

Other players of note:

9.298 Shilo McCall-OF-HS (New Mexico)

McCall was the first high school player selected by the Giants, and he reportedly already has a deal in place to sign.

11.358 Ryan Tella-OF-Auburn

Tella is a CF who made the all 2nd team SEC. He was a draft eligible sophomore.

12.388 Jeremy Sy-SS-Louisiana-Monroe

Sy was the first of three players selected from Louisiana-Monroe (Randy Ziegler-LHP, 19th rd, Joey Rapp-1B/OF, 28th round).

14.448 Tyler Hollick-OF-Chandler-Gibert CC

Hollick was drafted from an Arizona JC. He stole over 60 bases this year, and is likely the fastest player the Giants selected in this draft.

16.508 Ian Gardeck-RHP-Alabama

Gardeck was a JC transfer who was picked in the 8th round by the White Sox last year. This year he fell 8 rounds and threw just 12 and 1/3 innings for the Tide. This is another nice value pick, gambling that Gardeck still has good arm strength.

37.1138 Drew Jackson-SS-HS (CA)

Jackson is the brother of the Cubs’ Brett. I imagine he would likely be the target for an overslot deal if the Giants find room in their budget.

All in all, while I don’t think this was a bad draft, it definitely seemed to be floor heavy and does not feature a ton of upside.