The Giants were counting on this year's amateur draft to help replenish their farm system, so it certainly hurt when MLB cut it to five rounds. But in the big picture, the Giants could still end up coming out way ahead compared to most of their competitors.
Because Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith signed elsewhere, the Giants have two additional shots in the first 68 selections, and that gives them a slight leg up. They also should be better positioned than most to take advantage of a quirk that will be harmful to prospects.
After the draft, organizations can sign undrafted prospects for up to $20,000. That's nothing compared to traditional bonuses, but plenty of players might still choose to go that route, taking a little spending money and the opportunity to start chasing a big league career a year earlier.
It's essentially free agency for prospects, and that could benefit a team that plays in a desirable market, with a new minor league facility being built in a great city (Scottsdale), and a commitment to increase pay for minor leaguers.
The Giants will have a lot to sell, and during his weekly appearance on KNBR, manager Gabe Kapler was asked what he might tell an amateur trying to choose between the Giants and another organization. There are three things he will emphasize.
"If I'm talking to a young player and talking about the opportunity to play in San Francisco, I'm going to talk about Michael Holmes, our amateur scouting director, his process and how thorough he is," Kapler said. "If we're approaching a player it's because we think he's really, really good. Michael is a star. The next thing I'm going to talk about is Kyle Haines, our director of player development, who is equally as productive, equally as thoughtful as (Holmes) is. When Michael has identified you as talented enough to play for the San Francisco Giants, that player is inserted into our player development system that's set up to get the most out of that player because of the system and environment that Kyle has created. I think that's super-enticing as well.
"Finally, I'd say our coaching staff is positioned to develop talent as good as any team in baseball. As they graduate from our player development system to the major leagues, they're going to continue that development, and our expectation is they're going to continue to get better on our watch.
"We feel like this is overall the best place to be right now, is San Francisco, with incredible amounts of opportunity."
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That last part could be key. While the Giants have a rapidly-improving farm system, they still have pretty much a blank slate at the big league level. Say you're a starting pitcher in college who was just on the outside of that five-round draft and you want to turn pro. The Giants don't have any long-term money committed to their rotation and few marquee pitching prospects. They can offer that pitcher the opportunity to really compete for a rotation spot in two or three years.
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The same is true for just about every position, other than catcher, where Joey Bart looms as the likely starter for most of the next decade. Most of the talent in the system is at the low levels and wouldn't have a huge head start on 2020 draftees.
San Francisco is a nice landing spot for any amateur who believes his talent will get him to the big leagues, and Kapler will make it clear that the rebuilt organization can help every step of the way.