Giants lean toward lefties on Day 2
Club picks five southpaws with first seven selections
SAN FRANCISCO -- With their opening pick of the second day of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, the Giants set in motion an early trend.
They chose a left-handed pitcher in the seventh round (207), Aaron King from Surry Community College in North Carolina. Then in the next round, they took another lefty. Then another.
After San Francisco filled positional needs with four of its six first-day picks, the club opened Day 2 by drafting pitchers with its first six selections, four of them southpaws -- King, Scott Barnes (St. John's), Ryan Verdugo (Louisiana State) and Ari Ronick (Portland).
But John Barr, one of San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean's top advisers, said the lefties were taken for their potential to play in the Majors, not necessarily for need on the big league level.
"Once you get the position players that you want, you might as well grab every lefty you can," Barr said. "You never know what you can get with them.
"It just so happened that as we got down our list, we just hit on left-handed pitchers. They were our highest ranking players."
Yet it was one of the right-handers the Giants chose, prep star Ryan O'Sullivan of Valhalla (Calif.) High in the 10th round (297), who might grab the most headlines. A 2007 Aflac All-American who is committed to play at San Diego State in 2009, O'Sullivan is considered a "pitchability" prospect with Major League talent -- similar to his brother, Sean, who's in the Angels organization.
In his senior year at Valhalla, O'Sullivan had a 2.09 ERA in 67 innings while holding his opposition to a .253 batting average.
Giants' top five selections
|5.||C||Buster Posey||Florida St U|
|37.||3B||Conor Gillaspie||Wichita St U|
|82.||RF||Roger Kieschnick||Texas Tech U|
|117.||SS||Brandon Crawford||UC Los Angeles|
|147.||RHP||Edwin Quirarte||Cal St Northridge|
|Complete Giants Draft results >|
"We know that Ryan is a guy who is committed to going to school, but our scout, Brad Cameron, really liked him," Barr said. "Did we know it could be a difficult sign? Sure.
"But Brad was on the phone saying, 'Please take this guy, I know he wants to go to school, but I'd love to at least offer him what the Giants have.'
"That's some of the passion that goes on in the Draft room."
Barr said he and other Giants scouts and advisers rank all the players whom they deem to be potential selections. He said they watched video and spoke about every prospect individually at least once in the months preceding the Draft.
"All along we were selecting the player who we thought was the highest ranking guy on our list," Barr said.
The Giants didn't take their first positional player on Friday until the 13th round, when they grabbed center fielder Juan Perez (387) from Western Oklahoma State.
In all, the Giants took pitchers with 20 of their 44 second-day picks, including six left-handers. Like most teams, they focused mainly on collegiate players, going the high school route just nine times -- seven of those nine selections came in the last 11 rounds.
Most high school players drafted in the later rounds are difficult to sign, Barr said, so on the second day most clubs lean toward college players who are more likely to go pro.
No position was filled much more prevalently than another: Five second basemen were taken, along with four center fielders, first basemen and shortstops, and three third basemen.
Barr said he thinks many of the players the Giants chose could be on the fast-track to the Majors, but that he doesn't "put a timetable on the guys, because they all progress and move at their own pace."
David Biderman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.