Following the five-round 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft, MiLB.com takes an organization-by-organization look at each pick with help from team scouting executives.
The more, the merrier. Or at least that was the case for the Giants in this year's MLB Draft.
San Francisco entered with seven picks, tied with the Cardinals for the most selections. Although a far cry from the usual 40 or so from previous seasons, director of amateur scouting Michael Holmes was pleased with the organization's diligence and outcome, especially considering the obstacles and limitations around Draft preparedness due to the pandemic.
With the majority of high school and college seasons cut short or canceled entirely, a drastically different approach was needed from scouting departments, which were suddenly forced to evaluate potential draftees based more on projection and less on direct exposure. For the Giants' scouting staff, that meant relying heavily on work from early on in the year, which Holmes credits as a huge advantage for the organization.
"Our guys in our staff deserve all the credit for the way they approached this," Holmes said. "We were able to continue our work and build up to the Draft in a way where we felt really prepared. It allowed us as a staff to dive back into conversation and really break down these guys, maybe even a bit more than we've been able to in the past."
Ultimately, the Giants didn't stray too far off course from their recent Draft history and had a unique advantage in owning five of the first 85 picks. They elected once more to lean toward college-level talent than high school, with six of their seven selections coming from college. They also drafted from programs with which they had familiarity from years past. Still, as general manager Farhan Zaidi can often do, San Francisco also mixed in an element of surprise -- this one coming right out of the gate with their first-round pick.
First Round: Patrick Bailey (No. 13 overall)
If you raised your eyebrows when the Giants took a catcher with their first pick, you're not alone. San Francisco surprised many with the selection of Bailey, mainly because the team already has pegged their catcher of the future in No. 14 overall prospect and 2018 first-rounder Joey Bart. Still, for Holmes the reasons were simple: You draft the best available talent, and you can never have too many catchers.
"We don't look at it as a bad thing to have two of the very best," Holmes said. "I actually think it creates opportunity when they get to the Major League level for our manager to have some flexibility ... depending how the game moves forward with the expansion of rosters and possibly the universal designated hitter. There will be plenty of opportunities for both Joey and Patrick."
In Bailey, San Francisco holds a switch-hitting, hit-for-power backstop with advanced defensive metrics and an innate ability to command pitching staffs. The 21-year-old hit .296/.466/.685 and slugged six homers (including three grand slams) through 17 games in his shortened junior season at North Carolina State. He was ranked as the top catching prospect coming into the Draft and No. 17 overall, per MLB.com.
"We think he has the ability to plus-throw and plus-catch behind the plate, but his leadership skills really stand out," Holmes said. "He quarterbacks the team on the defensive side, and his ability to handle and run a pitching staff is really advanced for a 21-year-old. We've had the chance to see his bat really develop, and there's power from both sides of the plate."
While Bart will likely remain San Francisco's top prospect, expect to see Bailey slide in closely behind. Either way, having two prolific catchers waiting behind Buster Posey is a good spot to be in.
Second Round: Casey Schmitt (No. 49 overall)
San Francisco kicked off Day 2 of the Draft opting for versatility. A two-way player out of San Diego State, the 21-year-old shined at the hot corner while also doubling as the Aztecs' closer in 2020. Over his three collegiate seasons, Schmitt posted a collective average of .295, while holding a 2.48 ERA and racking up 23 saves. In his shortened junior campaign, the San Diego native compiled a .323/.386/.452 line, barreling four doubles and two triples in 16 games. He also posted a 3.75 ERA to go with six saves.
Regardless of his allure at multiple position, though, the Giants will push Schmitt as primarily a third baseman.
"He's going to be a guy who profiles on the corner," Holmes said. "He has the ability to play third base, be a plus defender there with double-plus arm strength and has the bat that we think is going to develop into a run-producing, middle-of-the-order type of player."
San Francisco's current top-30 prospect list is comprised mainly of pitchers and outfielders, so the addition of Schmitt at third will help bolster a crew that currently includes Luis Toribio (No. 7) and Sean Roby (No. 24) at the hot corner.
Second Round, Compensation: Nick Swiney (No. 67 overall)
The Giants were given back-to-back compensatory picks after losing Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith to free agency. Ironically enough, in the pick they received for Bumgarner, San Francisco went with ... another left-handed pitcher from North Carolina.
The similarities don't end there. Swiney is also a product of NC State and was a teammate of both Bailey and 10th-ranked prospect Will Wilson. The Giants have long shown an affinity for familiarity, and this was no exception.
Emphasizing his three-pitch mix (fastball, changeup, curve), Holmes noted Swiney's nature of attacking hitters and locating quadrants in the zone.
"[Swiney's] a very competitive kid who's not afraid of contact," he said. "He definitely profiles for us as a lefty starter with a unique look who has the ability to miss bats."
Swiney recorded a 1.29 ERA to go with a 0.68 WHIP over 28 innings this season for the Wolfpack. Additionally, he held opposing hitters to a .144 average, posting a strikeout-per-nine rate of 13.5.
Second Round, Compensation: Jimmy Glowenke (No. 68 overall)
A shortstop out of Dallas Baptist University, Glowenke walloped a .415 average over 13 games. That offensive tear came on the heels of a 2019 campaign in which the 21-year-old posted a .328/.429/.467 line with 16 doubles while scoring 53 times. Marco Luciano (MLB.com's No. 35 overall prospect), the 18-year-old phenom, has the top spot at shortstop all but locked up, but with some improvement in his speed, Glowenke could help complement the middle infield along with Wilson and Mauricio Dubon (No. 11).
Round 3: Kyle Harrison (No. 85 overall)
The lone high school pick for San Francisco, Harrison is a left-hander from powerhouse De La Salle High School in Concord, California -- a mere 30 miles from Oracle Park. The Giants have tended to stray from high school pitching in recent years, but Holmes cited the southpaw's high ceiling and proximity as two primary factors for why Harrison was selected.
"As a high school arm, we think he's really advanced for his age," Holmes said. "We've seen his fastball velocity tick up over the last 10 to 12 months, and he's always had a feel for a changeup and breaking ball. From his arm side, he's really tough on left-handed hitters -- and he's got the ability to locate all his stuff for strikes."
In 2019, Harrison went 10-0 with a 1.26 ERA. The 6-foot-2 former UCLA commit has reportedly agreed to a $2.5 million signing bonus with the Giants.
"It's a unique pick just for the fact that you're talking about a high school lefty who's got some polish to him, but also has some more upside to him," Holmes said. "We're just extremely happy to have him."
Fourth Round: R.J. Dabovich (No. 114 overall)
Familiarity struck another chord for the Giants' sixth selection when they took Dabovich -- a right-hander out of Arizona State --and a former teammate of 2019 first-round pick Hunter Bishop. Named the Sun Devils closer at the beginning of the 2020 season, the 6-foot-3 hurler nailed down a 0.77 ERA, limiting opposing hitters to a meager .081 average.
"He's a big fastball velocity guy, up into the upper 90s," Holmes said. "He complements that with a solid secondary mix in the ability to miss bats. He's always struck guys out."
That indeed. In 11 2/3 innings this year, Dabovich whiffed 17 hitters.
"We were really excited about putting his type of talent into the system, especially in the fourth round," Holmes said.
Fifth Round: Ryan Murphy (No. 144 overall)
With their seventh and final selection, the Giants went with a right-hander out of Le Moyne College, a Division ll program in Syracuse, New York. Murphy -- the first D-II player selected by any team in this Draft -- recorded four starts in his limited season for the Dolphins. He fared well, going 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA, and flexed his durability in recording two complete games. Most notably, Murphy struck out 36 batters and walked just four. His 9.0 strikeout-to-walk-ratio ranks 14th in the nation.
Overall Outlook: This isn't the underperforming Giants farm system you may remember from just a few years ago. San Francisco has worked hard in turning the tides of their Minor League circuit, going from a bottom-of-the-pack organization to sitting just outside the top 10 systems, per MiLB.com. The adage "you can never have too much pitching" rang true for the Giants in the 2020 Draft, as they used over half of their selections on arms.
San Francisco's selections are further proof of an ever-evolving blueprint of the future, where guys like Bailey and Schmitt are sure to fit in quickly. With the previous decade including three World Series trophies, the Giants know they have their work cut out for them to recapture those recent glory days. They'll hope this continues to position them down that path.