SAN FRANCISCO -- With a late first-round selection and the luxury of being able to spend more time evaluating their preferred prospects, Giants special assistant John Barr and his scouting staff had plenty of opportunities to see right-hander Kyle Crick on the mound.
Suffice it to say, they liked what they saw out of the burly Texan, so much that the Giants selected the high schooler with the 49th overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft on Monday, using the compensatory pick they received for losing free-agent infielder Juan Uribe to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"Very big, strong, physical -- what you picture to be those big Texas right-handers," Barr said. "We did a lot of work on him, and we were excited he was there for us at that sandwich pick."
CWS, DET, NYY and PHI did not have first-round selections.
Barr, vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow and the organization's area scout were all able to see Crick throw for Sherman High School, and they saw the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder's strong fastball and quickly improving cutter -- two pitches that helped the prototypical power right-hander fly up the Draft boards. Crick can consistently hit 95 mph on the radar gun, and while his curveball and changeup are still developing, his 88-90-mph slider has proven to be a plus pitch as well.
Barr said the Giants went through their usual Draft process, grouping players by which round they would likely go in and evaluating them from there. They stuck to their best-player-available philosphy, but one benefit of not having an early pick was that Barr, Tidrow and the area scouts could devote much greater focus to the players they liked. Crick fit that description, and the Giants liked his physical tools and blazing fastball.
Crick allowed one hit or fewer on five occasions as a senior in 2011, but still suffers occasional control problems, once walking six batters in a single game. But he dramatically improved his velocity over the past year from the high 80s to consistently in the low-to-mid 90s, erasing any doubts about his potential. The right-hander was 7-2 with a 1.11 ERA in 13 starts this spring, and he earned a tremendous amount of praise from Sherman High School coach Art Senato, who said his former pitcher hasn't even reached his full potential yet.
"He's got the most powerful arm I've ever coached," Senato told the Texas Herald Democrat. "He's got a lot of upside -- he's not a polished product at all. His changeup's going to be better, and he's got more velocity in his arm. He can get to 97 or 98 mph at some point."
Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft resumes at nine a.m. PT on Tuesday on MLB.com, where fans will receive exclusive coverage of Day 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Crick, named to the Rawlings Texas All-Region first team and chosen as the District 13-4A Pitcher of the Year, is currently committed to TCU, but Barr said signing him would present the same challenges every organization faces when trying to ink first-round prep talent.
"Every high school player that we're looking at in these rounds is always committed to somewhere, so we feel that it would be in his best interest, and hopefully in the organization's best interest, to be a Giant," Barr said. "He's currently committed to go to TCU, but we're hoping he decides that he wants to become a Giant."
Crick told the Herald Democrat that it would probably take a signing bonus worth more than a million dollars to draw him away from TCU, but his parents were handling the specifics regarding the financial side of things.
"There's a number out there," Crick said.
Adam Berry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.