The San Francisco Giants hold the second overall pick in Monday’s MLB Draft, their highest since they selected Will Clark at No. 2 in 1985.
While we’re on the subject, let’s take a look at the Giants’ recent draft history, and how their first-round picks (not including compensatory selections) have faired over the last 10 years (2008-2017).
C Buster Posey (2008, No. 5 overall pick)
Save the best for first. Posey is easily the Giants top draft pick over the past decade, and a likely Hall of Famer even if he were to retire today. It took Posey just one season to make his way up to the big league club after three stellar seasons at Florida State, and two years to catch every postseason inning for the 2010 World Championship team. Posey also won NL Rookie of the Year that season, and two years later, was named the NL MVP en route to his second World Series title.
At just 31 years old, Posey is already a five-time All-Star, three-time World Series champion, and the greatest catcher in Giants history.
RHP Zach Wheeler (2009, No. 6 overall pick)
Drafted out of high school, Wheeler was traded after two decent years in low-A ball, as part of a mid-season “win-now” move by the Giants, in exchange for Mets slugger Carlos Beltran. The move didn’t exactly work out for San Francisco, who failed to make the playoffs in 2011, and saw Beltran sign with the Cardinals that offseason.
By 2012, Wheeler was considered the top prospect in the Mets organization, and made his debut in 2013, where he posted a 3.42 ERA in 17 starts. Wheeler was similarly effective in 2014, but missed all of 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The right-hander hasn’t been the same since, posting a 5.21 ERA last year and getting off to a rocky start this season, with a 5.14 ERA in 10 starts. Wheeler is still young at age 28, but only time will tell if he can ever reach his first-round potential again.
CF Gary Brown (2010, No. 24 overall pick)
A Cal State Fullerton prospect, Brown proved to be a huge bust, not making it to the big league club until 2014, and being waived shortly after. Brown ultimately retired in 2017, after toiling for three years in the Cardinals and Angels minor league systems. A decent player at the low-A level, Brown was never able to produce consistently in Triple-A, posting a .682 OPS in three seasons.
2B Joe Panik (2011, No. 29 overall pick)
The second of the two everyday players on this list, Panik was one of the top shortstops in the nation when the Giants drafted him out of St. John’s University in 2011. By 2014, Panik was the starting second baseman on a World Series winning team, and a Rookie of the Year candidate. The next season — his first as a full-time starter — Panik made the NL All-Star team, and in 2016, won the NL Gold Glove at second base.
Panik has fallen back to Earth since his All-Star appearance in 2015, and got off to another average start to the 2018 season, before getting injured. At 27 years old, Panik is under team control until 2021, and his production the next few seasons will ultimately determine what the Giants decide to do with him long term.
RHP Chris Stratton (2012, No. 20 overall pick)
Stratton finally made his way into the Giants’ rotation this season after looking impressive in 10 starts in 2017. Before that, Stratton spent five up and down seasons in the minor leagues, leading many to question whether or not he would ever live up to his first-round billing.
Those questions sill persist, as Stratton has been inconsistent in 2018, posting a 4.50 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 12 starts thus far. Though Stratton has shown flashes — his last start being a prime example — Stratton hasn’t dominated at any level of professional ball, and it’s hard to see him as anything more than a middle of the rotation starter at this point.
SS/3B Christian Arroyo (2013, No. 25 overall pick)
Touted as the team’s top prospect for a handful of years, Arroyo looked like he was going to live up to the hype when he was finally called up last season, hitting two home runs in his first five major league games. The sheen wore off quickly, however, with Arroyo’s batting average plummeting to .192 before he was sent back down to the minors 34 games in. A broken hand promptly ended his season a month later.
The injury also effectively ended Arroyo’s tenure in San Francisco. The infielder was traded with three other players to the Tampa Bay Rays for Evan Longoria last offseason. The former Top 100 prospect is currently acting as the Rays’ starting third baseman, filling in for the injured Matt Duffy, another former Giant. Arroyo was struggling mightily before his call up, but has looked solid in his first 11 starts of the season, posting a slash line of .313/.421/.438.
Though Arroyo is yet to show he can be an everyday player at the major league level, at 23 years old he still has the time, and the potential, to become the player the Giants organization once believed he would be.
RHP Tyler Beede (2014, No. 14 overall pick)
Beede falls into a similar category as Arroyo: A former top 100 prospect who hasn’t looked all that impressive in the limited time he’s seen at the big league level. Beede has had one great season since being drafted by San Francisco in 2014, posting a 2.81 ERA in 24 starts with Double-A Richmond in 2016.
Since then, Beede has struggled both at Triple-A Sacramento, and during two rough starts with the major league club where he allowed seven runs in 7.2 innings. Beede was quickly sent back down after that second start, and he hasn’t been much better in Sacramento, posting a 5.60 ERA in eight starts.
Beede is certainly not progressing at the rate the Giants would’ve hoped, and seems to be regressing at a time when he should be making the leap.
At 25 it’s still too early to call Beede a bust, but that moment is fast approaching.
RHP Phil Bickford (2015, No. 18 overall pick)
Bickford lasted just two seasons in the Giants organization before being included in a trade to the Brewers in exchange for reliever Will Smith. Things haven’t exactly gone smoothly for Bickford since then.
The right-hander pitched just 17 innings in rookie ball last season due to a 50-game suspension for violating the MLB drug policy and a broken hand. Bickford, 22, has actually looked fairly decent in low-A ball, posting a combined 2.71 ERA in three seasons, but has yet to reach any level higher than that.
1B Chris Shaw (2015, No. 31 overall pick)
Drafted as a junior out of Boston Collage, Shaw has looked at times like he could be the Giants’ power hitting first baseman of the future. In his first four seasons with the club, Shaw has hit the ball well at every level of the minors, posting a .857 OPS while launching 67 home runs in 344 games.
The Giants have yet to call up the left-handed Shaw — who can also play left field — but if he continues to impress at Triple-A Sacramento, where he has a slash line of .267/.318/.555 with 10 home runs in 36 games this season, expect that to happen very soon.
CF Heliot Ramos (2017, No. 19 overall pick)
The most recent Giants draft pick is the only one currently featured on Baseball America’s Top 100 Minor League Prospects. Drafted out of high school in Puerto Rico, Ramos was the Most Valuable Player of the 2016 Under Armour All-American Game, a showcase of high school seniors that was held at Wrigley Field.
A potential five-tool player, Ramos turned heads around the league when he dominated the Arizona Fall League in 2017, posting a slash line of .348/.404/.645 with 6 home runs in 35 games. It was reported that a number of teams were only willing to trade with the Giants last offseason if Ramos was included in the deal, halting a number of potential offers.
Ramos hasn’t been nearly as good this season with Single-A Augusta, but at 18-years old, the sky is still the limit for the most exciting prospect in the organization.
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