Giants see big league potential in Draft haul

San Francisco's picks lean toward college pitchers, though not by design

Giants see big league potential in Draft haul

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants scouting director John Barr cited examples from the club's present roster to illustrate the 2015 MLB Draft's potential future value.

"Last night, we watched a guy throw a no-hitter who would have been taken on the third day of the Draft under today's premises," Barr said, referring to 12th-round pick Chris Heston. Barr also brought up the possibility this year's Draft haul could ultimately feature players who compare favorably to the likes of first baseman Brandon Belt (a fifth-round selection), shortstop Brandon Crawford (fourth round) and third baseman Matt Duffy (18th round).

"For us as a staff, there's big leaguers up there [on the selection board]," Barr added. "Hopefully they'll be able to help the Giants down the line."

• Giants Draft Tracker: See every pick

Widely considered to favor experienced prospects, the Giants used 19 of their 41 picks on college pitchers. That group included first-round selection Phil Bickford, a right-hander from College of Southern Nevada.

This marked the third time in four years that the Giants used their top selection on a college pitcher. The previous two were right-handers Chris Stratton from Mississippi State (2012) and Tyler Beede from Vanderbilt University (2014).

San Francisco also drafted 14 college position players, five high school position players and three high school pitchers. Put in other terms, the Giants selected 15 right-handed pitchers, seven left-handed pitchers, 10 infielders, five outfielders and four catchers.

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Possessing three of the first 61 picks due to losing third baseman Pablo Sandoval to Boston in free agency, the Giants used that windfall to take Bickford, a hard thrower; Boston College first baseman Chris Shaw, regarded as one of the few Draft-eligible players with legitimate power; and University of Miami left-hander Andrew Suarez, who has been likened to 20-game winner Gio Gonzalez.

Barr insisted the Giants didn't reach this combination by design. They simply took the best players available when their turn arrived in each of the 40 rounds. For example, the Giants' current pitching rotation could be regarded as aging, with only Madison Bumgarner and Heston younger than 30. But Barr indicated the preponderance of pitchers the Giants drafted had nothing to do with what's happening at the big league level.

"You can't draft out of need," Barr said. "You have to draft with the best pool of players the Draft can give you."

Barr credited San Francisco's scouts for following many of the organization's selections essentially since last year's Draft. Foul weather throughout much of the country, Barr said, wiped out significant portions of many interscholastic playing schedules, forcing scouts to place greater emphasis on summer league performances. As an example, Barr mentioned Shaw, who excelled in the highly competitive Cape Cod League last year.

"I was pleased with the overall effort," Barr said. "The work we did last summer was beneficial to us."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.