“Speaking for my staff,” scouting director Michael Holmes said Thursday, “we’re really excited about how the past two days went, and we look forward to these guys wearing Giants uniforms.”
It does not make them unique — the wait continues for anyone, in any league, to express some regret — but the Giants are happy.
After about three months of sheltering in place, Zoom meetings, video poring, checking and double-checking, idea bouncing, past-draft reviewing and studying from afar, the MLB draft has come and gone, the Giants winding up with six college prospects and a local one out of high school.
Following Wednesday’s first round in which catcher Patrick Bailey was the No. 13 pick, the Giants grabbed a battery mate of his at North Carolina, Nick Swiney, with their third pick. The second pick was spent on San Diego State’s Casey Schmitt, who pushes Farhan Zaidi’s desire for flexibility to almost parodic levels, having been a slugging third baseman and pitcher in college.
Jimmy Glowenke, a shortstop from Dallas Baptist, is another zone-disciplined hitter. The Giants then finished with a run on pitchers: Kyle Harrison, a De La Salle lefty whom they will have to lure away from a UCLA commitment, R.J. Dabovich, a righty starter/reliever who was teammates with Hunter Bishop at Arizona State, and Ryan Murphy, a righty out of La Moyne, which is in Syracuse, N.Y., but of course you knew that.
The Giants held a Zoom news conference Thursday night after the draft completed but before the mad rush for the undrafted players begins. (They can start talking to the unfortunate ones who slipped out of the five rounds at 6 a.m. Sunday.) Here were Holmes’ thoughts before he hopefully got some sleep.
Casey Schmitt, 3B, San Diego State
A trend from this draft is how much knowledge about players was picked up from past looks. Holmes said yes, they saw him at San Diego State, but the two-way player caught their eye last summer in the Cape Cod League, too.
They saw an above-average third baseman with a “possibly double-plus” arm, with “top-of-the-scale type throwing and defense.” And someone whose bat they feel has a lot more power in it.
Schmitt hit six college home runs while closing 23 games. The Giants said they view him as a position player but are not ruling out his pitching in the future.
“We see him as a strong, physical, athletic player who can really control the zone,” Holmes said. “Right now he’s a real line-drive, gap-to-gap guy, but we think the power is really going to come on as he continues to mature, not only physically but also as a hitter. He’s a guy that we’re extremely excited about.”
Nick Swiney, LHP, NC State
In, say, three years, could Swiney be on the mound, pitching to Bailey behind the plate, with former NC State infielder Will Wilson at shorstop? And what the hell, how about Greensboro native Jaylin Davis in right?
The NC State (and just North Carolina) pipeline is on display, Holmes having lived in North Carolina and quite familiar with the Wolfpack. Swiney, a 21-year-old, was the compensation pick granted through letting North Carolina native Madison Bumgarner walk in free agency.
Swiney didn’t become a full-time starter until this abbreviated season and impressed in a tiny sample size (4-0, 1.29 ERA).
“We’ve seen him with a plus changeup, we’ve seen him with a plus breaking ball,” Holmes said. “And we think there’s velocity in there — his fastball characteristics will play in all quadrants of the strike zone. And he’s got a competitive edge to him that we think he’s going to be a real vital starting piece for us for a long time to come.”
Jimmy Glowenke, IF, Dallas Baptist
The college shortstop was another Cape Cod League product, having slashed .296/.342/.385 in 39 games in Massachusetts last summer.
Holmes mentioned Glowenke’s control of the strike zone — another desired trait of this administration — as the 21-year-old walked 67 times in his college career, compared with 76 strikeouts.
Another thing they like? Versatility. Holmes said while they think he can stay at shortstop, they’ve seen him hold his own at second and third, too.
Glowenke “makes extremely good swing decisions,” Holmes said. “Defensively, he’s a really solid infielder. He DH’d some this year, battled a little bit of an arm injury, but he was well on his way to being healthy when the season was shut down. He’s going to be a really offensive infielder, a guy that can stay on the dirt, and certainly be very productive on the offensive side.”
Kyle Harrison, LHP, De La Salle
The run on college players, who are more likely to take big-league offers, may be because of the Giants’ desire for the Danville native. He’s committed to UCLA and may have to be overwhelmed.
“We’re expecting to get a deal done with Kyle,” Zaidi said. “Obviously nothing finalized yet, but that’s our expectation.”
As long as they can clear that hurdle, they picked up one of the higher-upside arms in the draft, whose junior season was marked by a 10-0 record and 1.26 ERA.
“He’s a guy that we’ve really seen his development over the last, we’ll call it eight-to-10 months,” Holmes said. “We’ve seen his velocity improve, we’ve seen his breaking ball improve, and he’s always been able to command the baseball to both sides of the plate. It’s more of a three-quarter to lower-three-quarter slot with a little bit of a cross-body look, so it’s a very deceptive delivery. Hitters have a tough time seeing the baseball.
“But this kid is a smart kid on the mound. He’s got tremendous feel, he’s got good stuff. And he definitely is a really competitive kid that we had a chance to know really well, visiting with him and his family and had a definite comfort with him.”
R.J. Dabovich, RHP, Arizona State
The NC State connection is there, as is the local one. Add Arizona State to Giants scouts’ choice destination.
Dabovich joins Bishop in the system with the Giants not entirely certain if he’ll end up a starter or reliever yet, Dabovich closing effectively for the Sun Devils this year. After a total of 64 2/3 college innings, San Francisco just wants him on a mound to let his arm dictate the path.
“We think there’s starter ability with him,” Holmes said. “… He’s got the ability to run his fastball up into the upper 90s, and he complements it with a really good secondary mix. But the best way to describe him is he’s just got a real power mix. And he’s able to find the strike zone with it. I think the one thing that describes him really well, too, is just his competitive nature on the field, and on the mound. This guy really gets after it.
“He’s a guy that we’ve been really drawn to not just this year but in years past. Obviously, seeing a lot of Hunter last year at Arizona State, we were able to start a little bit of history with Dabovich. He’s certainly a guy we’re really excited about.”
Ryan Murphy, RHP, Le Moyne
It wasn’t the Cape Cod League that drew Giants eyes but last summer’s New England Collegiate League, in which Murphy posted a 2.25 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 48 innings.
Le Moyne, in Upstate New York, is Division-II; he’ll be another project for a team that loves projects, someone who is “only scratching the surface with his potential.”
“It’s a three-pitch mix, it’s a ton of strikes,” Holmes said. “He’s got the ability to get to 92 [mph], but the thing that he does really well is he really changes speeds, he really locates his fastball, and he’s very effective with his mix.”