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Giants focus on pitching in first 10 rounds of 2021 draft

/ by Dalton Johnson
Presented By Cadillac
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Farhan Zaidi

Going into the 2021 MLB Draft, it appeared the Giants had a type: College hitters, especially in the first round. 

Farhan Zaidi and the rest of the front office flipped the switch by taking Mississippi State right-hander Will Bednar with the No. 14 overall pick.

That was just the start to San Francisco's arms race, too. 

The Giants wound up picking nine straight pitchers before ending Day 2 with Florida Southern outfielder Vaun Brown in the 10th round. 

Monday started with the Giants adding Fordham left-hander Matt Mikulski, who led all of Division-I in strikeouts per nine innings at 16.3, with the No. 50 overall pick. After going undrafted in last year's five-round shortened event, Mikulski returned to Fordham this season and consistently sat in the mid to high-90s, even hitting 98 mph. The lefty has a bit of a funky delivery with a low release point and a wipeout slider. 

Mikulski went a perfect 9-0 with a 1.45 ERA over 11 starts this season. He struck out an absurd 124 batters in 68 1/3 innings, walked only 27 batters and had a 0.82 WHIP. 

Later in the day, the Giants also added the second-leading strikeouts per nine innings pitcher in Division-I baseball when they went with right-hander Nick Sinacola from Maine. Sinacola went 9-3 this season with a 2.04 ERA. His 139 strikeouts also were the second-most in D-I. 

Perhaps the most intriguing Giants pick of the day came in the fifth round. The Ivy League didn't even have a season this year, yet San Francisco might have found a gem in Yale lefty Rohan Handa. 

 

After starting just two games his first two college seasons, Handa worked on his own and joined the Mystic Schooners this summer in the New England Collegiate League, where he looked like a completely different pitcher. Handa went from throwing in the upper-80s last year for Yale to hitting 97 mph in the NECL with a filthy slider. He had a 0.53 ERA for Mystic and struck out 25 guys in 17 innings. 

That's impressive area scouting, pure and simple. 

Handa also became the fourth Indian-American pitcher drafted in the last three years. There weren't any taken in the MLB draft before 2019. 

The Giants stayed the course with college prospects on Day 2, adding just one high school prospect, right-hander Eric Silva out of JSerra Catholic High School in the fourth round. They also stayed the course in finding Bay Area talent, picking Cal righty Ian Villers in the eighth round. 

RELATED: Why Giants feel Bednar was right move with No. 14 draft pick

It's no secret the Giants came into the draft with a hitter-heavy farm system. They have two pitchers -- lefties Kyle Harrison and Seth Corry -- who are seen as top-10 prospects in their farm system. Both were drafted out of high school and neither one has reached Double-A yet. Zaidi knows how important pitching depth is, and has seen that firsthand at the major league level as the Giants compete for a championship this season. 

Now, he's building out depth at the lower levels and adding arms like Bednar who could be quick risers and help the big club in the near future.

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