The Giants were listening, and they responded in a big way.
For an organization that has plenty of exciting hitting prospects, San Francisco's farm system has been lacking pitching.
After selecting College World Series MVP Will Bednar with the No. 14 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft, the Giants selected another pitcher in round two. And another in the third. And another in rounds four, five, six, seven, eight and nine.
That's right, the Giants drafted nine straight pitchers in the first two days of this year's draft. Why so many?
“We’re super excited about what we were able to do," Giants Director of Amateur Scouting Michael Holmes told reporters after the draft. "To be honest with you, yeah, we went on a nice little run of pitching there. I wouldn’t say it was primarily our focus when we started the day, it just started to kind of play out that way.
"We felt like one of the depths of this year’s draft was the pitching market. Although there were a lot of position players that we had extensive talks about and we were in play in different parts of today’s draft, it really kind of fell by the way of the pitcher. We’re really excited about the group of arms and the one position player (outfielder Vaun Brown) at the end that we were able to add.”
Last year's draft was shortened to just five rounds due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With more picks at their disposal to draft pitching this time around, the Giants circled back on some of the arms they were interested in last year.
The Giants' second-round pick, left-handed pitcher Matt Mikulski, was a player the organization had a history with, nearly drafting him in 2020.
“He’s definitely a guy who we really liked a lot last year and we talked about him fitting in the five-round draft that occurred," Holmes explained. "So it’s a guy that we had history with. The thing that Matt [Mikulski] was able to do was really take advantage of the COVID time, the time off from playing last spring and summer and he really made some changes to his delivery and his arm action and we really saw his stuff tick up, especially the velocity.”
Mikulski, along with some of the other pitchers the Giants drafted this year, took advantage of the year off, which really impressed the scouting department.
“It tells us a lot about the individual," Holmes said. "There’s two ways to handle that type of situation, and for a lot of these guys they handled it the correct way. They took the time to get bigger, to get stronger, to identify areas of their game that they need to improve. Those guys that took advantage of it, it showed on the field this spring and the beginning of this summer leading up to the draft.”
Of the nine pitchers the Giants drafted, only one of them was a high-school arm. Right-hander Eric Silva has committed to UCLA, but Holmes and the Giants are confident they will be able to work out a deal with their fourth-round pick.
“We feel really confident about getting something done and putting him into a Giants uniform," Holmes said.
The Giants' farm system needed to add arms, and boy, did they do just that.
There haven't been many homegrown pitchers that have established themselves within the Giants' starting rotation since the likes of Madison Bumgarner. With nine arms added in 2021, there's a good chance at least one of them will leave their mark on the organization.