Cove Chatter 100 Honorable Mention: The Draftees

These are 2013 draft picks who didn’t make the top 50. The Giants were mocked by many in the baseball media for their selection of Christian Arroyo in the 1st round of this year’s draft… that ended pretty quickly once Arroyo took the field. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve read one national review that was complementary of the Giants draft (although there aren’t many reviews to begin with, admittedly). If I remember right, Keith Law even said that he’d place this Giants’ class among the bottom of MLB. I think he’s way off base, as were the sneers about the Arroyo pick. If you look closely at the following 10 players (who aren’t even among the headliners of the class), and consider where they were selected, I think you’ll find there’s some real value here. The Giants know were very intentional with this group, which has seriously grown on me over the past few months. Keep these names in mind, because I think you’ll see a couple of them turn some heads next season.

PS: If you have a little extra time, I’d encourage you to click on some of the links… some are video (if I could find any), some just articles, but I think they’re all worthwhile.

Eugene Escalante | C, 22 yo, 5-10, 185, BR, TR | 2013 Draft – 15 | (A-) 39 G, 151 PA, .300/.777, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 11 BB, 34 K

He goes by Geno, and he’s my sleeper from the 2013 draft. D2 defensive player of the year at Mount Olive College, where he hit .399 and had a 46-game hitting streak during his final two collegiate seasons. NorCal kid from Fairfield was drafted out of high school. Attended and played at Cal State Fullerton for a year before transferring to Chipola JC, where he played one season as well. He’ll have to compete for time within the organization with Ross, but it sounds like their defensive abilities may be pretty even, and I’d give a slight edge to Escalante with the bat at this point. Here’s the thing I love about this guy: I couldn’t tell you if he’s offensive or defensive-minded at the moment… maybe he’s both! A D1 talent who slipped because he played D2 ball? I really like the pick.

Escalante Link:

Pat Young | RHP, 21 yo, 6-5, 200 | 2013 Draft – 13 | (AZL, A-) 10 G, 9 GS, 44.1 IP, 1.22 ERA, 30 H, 10 BB, 32 K

Villanova righty had an impressive professional debut this summer with Salem-Keizer. Earned a spot in San Jose’s playoff rotation, and may wind up there again next spring. Features a low-90’s fastball and an odd delivery from his 6-foot-5 frame.

Young Video:

Brandon Bednar | SS, 21 yo, 6-4, 185, BR, TR | 2013 Draft – 7 | (A-, AZL) 51 G, 230 PA, .270/.737, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 11 SB, 15 BB, 28 K

Tall, versatile middle-infielder was a star at Florida Gulf Coast. Displayed a nice bit of power at the plate for Salem-Keizer this summer. Could become a super-utility type of player.

Bednar FGCU Profile:

Christian Jones | LHP, 22 yo, 6-3, 210 | 2013 Draft – 18 | (R, A-) 15 G, 19 IP, 2.84 ERA, 17 H, 4 BB, 18 K

Oregon lefty had solid draft stock in 2012 before having TJ surgery. Could be a nice steal from the 18th round this summer.

Jones Video:

Ty Ross | C, 21 yo, 6-1, 200, BR, TR | 2013 Draft – 12 | (A-, AZL) 34 G, 130 PA, .237/.655, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 12 BB, 22 K

Drafted as a junior out of LSU this summer. Has solid skills behind the dish, as well as some pop in his bat. Saw his average drop to .211 at LSU last year, so he seems to profile more as a Jackson Williams type.

Ross Article:

Nick Jones | LHP, 22 yo, 6-6, 215 | 2013 Draft – 14 | (AZL) 17 G, 18.2 IP, 1.93 ERA, 9 H, 9 BB, 18 K

Tall lefty was JUCO All-American and a stud two-way player at Chattahoochie Valley CC. He led his club in almost every offensive category, and was also the team’s closer. The Giants liked him better on the mound. Videos show him bringing a couple different arm slots, including some sidearm funk. With his size, he could be another southpaw sleeper to follow from this class.

Jones Video:

Garrett Hughes | LHP, 22, 6-9, 230 | 2013 Draft – 19 | (AZL) 9 G, 7.2 IP, 4.70 ERA, 8 H, 8 BB, 7 K

The Giants took a number of tall pitchers in this year’s draft, none taller than 6-foot-9 Hughes. The giant Stanford lefty features a fastball that runs 88-91 with a curve and changeup, and has been on the MLB radar since his high school days in southern California. He seems to be strictly a reliever, but could be pretty nasty on lefties with his downhill movement.

Hughes Article:

Nick Gonzalez | LHP, 21 yo, 6-4, 220 | 2013 Draft – 24 | (AZL) 7 G, 17.1 IP, 1.04 ERA, 6 H, 3 BB, 17 K

Impressive debut for the 21 year-old lefty from South Florida, allowing only 9 baserunners in 17 IP in the Arizona League. It’s not much of a sample size, but he’s got the perfect frame for a power lefty. He’s an intriguing player, and it’s quite possible the Giants got a steal for a pick that late in the draft.

Gonzalez USF:

Tyler Rogers | RHP, 22 yo, 6-5, 187 | 2013 Draft – 10 | (A-, AZL) 20 G, 27.1 IP, 2.30 ERA, 22 H, 12 BB, 31 K

Senior sign from Austin Peay in the 10th round of the draft. He’s a tall, lanky submariner. He tied the NCAA D1 single-season record with 23 saves this year, working a 1.63 ERA for the season. In the Giants world, we call this guy a gamer. He’ll have to stretch that $7.5K signing bonus and work twice as hard if he wants to make it to the top.

Rogers Video:

Blake Miller | SS, 23 yo, 6-3, 195, BR, TR | 2013 Draft – 25 | (A-,AZL) 41 G, 161 PA, .281/.800, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 3 SB, 19 BB, 31 K

25th round pick from D2 Western Oregon. Began college career at Sac State.  Was the GNAC MVP, West Region Hitter of the Year, and started all 54 games for WOU in 2013. He posted solid offensive numbers in Salem-Keizer (his hometown) this summer after being drafted. Talent can come from anywhere, and the Giants have had their eye on D2 grinders the past couple years. As a former GNAC athlete, I’ll be rooting for him big time.

Miller Article:

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Geno Escalante

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Arroyo Named MVP

Giants’ 2013 first round pick Christian Arroyo was named MVP of the Arizona Rookie League today. 2nd round pick Ryder Jones, catcher Fernando Pujadas and 21 year-old lefty Luis Ysla were also named to the AZL All-Star team, while Giants’ skipper Nestor Rojas took Manager of the Year. The Giants, led primarily by young 2013 draft picks, finished first in the regular season standings at 41-14 this summer. They earned a bye into the AZL semi-finals, which will be played tomorrow. I don’t know exactly how rookie league playoffs are formatted, but having a bye certainly doesn’t hurt.

If I’m Arroyo, I accept that MVP award with a hearty “F-You” to the draft scouts who called me the biggest reach of the first round. That “reach” logged a .326/.388/.511 line with 2 HR, 18 2B and 39 RBI in 45 games this summer while manning shortstop for the first-place Giants. According to MiLB.com, his OPS (.898), doubles and RBI were best in the AZL this year. He also tied the league lead in slugging. If you want to read the brief article, you can find it here.

We know the Giants have plenty of pitching depth in the lower levels of the system. But I don’t think many people realize the Giants are also starting to build a nice base of position player talent as well, although many of those guys are very far off. We can hope that Jones and Arroyo, the gems of this year’s draft, continue to push each other (if they are assigned to the same level next year). The same goes for international babies Gustavo Cabrera and Nat Javier, college bats Tyler Horan, Brandon Bednar and Brian Ragira, as well as 2013 high school draftees like Jonah Arenado and John Riley.

The Giants may have gambled on some of these guys, but I think Arroyo’s play this summer shut a lot of people up, and hopefully showed some “experts” that Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean and crew may know a thing or two about scouting talent. Keep those bats coming, fella’s.