Giants use more modern approach in Draft

Giants use more modern approach in Draft

SAN FRANCISCO -- John Barr cited spin rates. He mentioned exit velocity. That's right: The scouting director of the San Francisco Giants, an organization widely considered to remain rooted in bygone forms of player evaluation, spoke with casual familiarity about modern metrics.

"Just because I have white hair doesn't mean I'm old-school," Barr jokingly said Wednesday after the MLB Draft concluded.

San Francisco selected 18 right-handed pitchers, six left-handed pitchers, three catchers, six infielders and seven outfielders during the three-day talent grab.

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And the Giants did so while employing every tool available to them -- including metrics.

"It came down to using more and more information, because you have more information that is available to you now, and we did it well," Barr said. "We digested it well. There were a lot of people involved, from the IT department to our scouts. It was definitely an organizational Draft."

The truth is, the Giants have increasingly relied on contemporary methods of player evaluation for years. And with this Draft, they maintained a different reputation: Being willing to take a risk.

San Francisco selected high schoolers, whose futures usually are more volatile than collegians, with its first three picks: outfielder Heliot Ramos, the highest-drafted player out of Puerto Rico (19th overall) since Carlos Correa was taken first overall by Houston in 2012; third baseman Jacob Gonzalez, who's bigger than his father, former All-Star outfielder Luis Gonzalez; and left-hander Seth Corry, Gatorade's Player of the Year in Utah.

The last time the Giants chose high schoolers with their first three picks was 2007, when they took left-hander Madison Bumgarner, right-hander Tim Alderson, outfielder Wendell Fairley and infielder Nick Noonan with their top four selections.

Barr said that drafting prospects "who were young, athletic and projectable was a key for us."

That trio of Ramos, Gonzalez and Corry comprised half of the six high schoolers the Giants drafted. They spent their other 34 selections on college players, including fourth-round pick Garrett Cave and fifth-rounder Jason Bahr, right-handers who the Giants believe can ultimately supplement the Major League starting rotation.

At times, the Giants appeared as if they were trying to live up to their nickname in replenishing their pitching. Cave and Bahr are both listed as 6-foot-4. Other pitchers they drafted in the top 10 rounds included 6-foot-7 Logan Harasta, 6-foot-6 John Gavin and 6-foot-5 Aaron Phillips.

From their 13th choice, 6-foot-4 right-hander Tyler Schimpf, to their last of 40 selections, 6-foot-8 right-hander Liam Jenkins, the Giants drafted 10 pitchers standing 6-foot-4 or taller.

"It just so happened those were the ones that were there," Barr said.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.