Giants

How Giants' top five picks from 2019 MLB Draft played in first season

How Giants' top five picks from 2019 MLB Draft played in first season

The Giants continued a trend this year in the 2019 MLB Draft. For the fifth straight year, San Francisco picked a hitter over a pitcher with their top draft pick. 

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi had a clear plan this year: Find some big bats. A pitcher's name wasn't called by the Giants until the eighth round this year. 

With offense on the Giants' mind, here's how the team's top five picks performed in their first crack of the minor leagues this year. 

Hunter Bishop, OF, No. 10 overall 

Bishop put up huge numbers as a junior at Arizona State, batting .342 with 22 home runs. The 6-foot-5 center fielder joined the Giants' Arizona Rookie League team over a month after his college season ended and showed a bit of rust but still hit .250 with one homer and three doubles.

He hit .250 with one homer in seven games playing in the AZL before he was promoted to Class A Short Season Salem-Keizer. Bishop spent 25 games with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and hit just .224 with three homers and nine RBI. While those aren't huge numbers, they don't tell the whole story. 

Bishop showed he could swing and miss plenty of times while swinging for the fences at ASU, but he also has a great eye at the plate. Bishop ended his first season in the minors with a .438 on-base percentage and had just one more strikeout (39) than walk (38) this year. 

[RELATED: Four Giants on MLB Pipeline's final Top 100 prospects list]

The Giants' top pick is a former high school football star and great athlete. The speed-power combination is there, and he clearly has a solid approach at the plate. 

Logan Wyatt, 1B, No. 51 overall 

After a long junior season at the University of Louisville, Wyatt also only spent seven games in the AZL before joining Salem-Keizer.

Wyatt had an impressive enough showing with the Volcanoes that he spent his final 19 games in Class A Augusta. Before his promotion, though, he hit .284 with two homers and 10 walks to just nine strikeouts for Salem-Keizer. In Augusta, Wyatt's batting average dropped to .233, but he had a .368 on-base percentage. 

Though Wyatt doesn't have big power numbers there, many believe he could have the ability to one day be a 20-homer hitter. What he always has had, however, is a keen eye. The big left-hander ranked third in NCAA Division-I both years he was a starter. 

Zaidi loves players that value the ability to get on base, and Wyatt fits the mold.

Grant McCray, OF, No. 87

McCray was a three-sport athlete in high school and committed to play baseball at Florida State before the Giants drafted him in the third round. Right away, his speed jumps off the page. 

The 18-year-old stole 17 bases in the AZL, but also was caught stealing 13 times. That number can come down with coaching and more reps down the road. 

McCray already is 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds with plenty of room to grow. He hit .270 with one homer, two triples, five doubles and a .714 OPS in the Rookie League. 

Tyler Fitzgerald, SS, No. 116 overall

The Giants went with two Louisville Cardinals in their first four picks. Fitzgerald was their fourth-round pick and fits the mold of a classic college shortstop. 

While he doesn't have one tool that jumps off the page, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound shortstop is solid across the board. He showed more pop his junior year, though, hitting seven homers while raising his slugging percentage 145 points. 

Fitzgerald had a short stint in the AZL and spent the majority of his season between Salem-Keizer and Augusta. Between three levels, he hit .276 with one homer, two triples, 15 doubles and a .753 OPS. 

Garrett Frechette, 1B, No. 146 overall 

Frechette is a really intriguing prospect. The high school draft pick out of Southern California was sidelined during his senior year with mononucleosis, but reportedly launched balls into the water at Oracle Park during a pre-draft workout. 

He's a 6-foot-3, 200-pound left-hander with raw power. He hasn't hit a homer in the minors yet, though. Frechette spent 39 games in the AZL and hit .290 while knocking seven doubles and two triples. 

Before the illness and a hamate bone injury, Frechette was considered a top 10 high school player in California. He has a ways to go, but the talent is there.

Farhan Zaidi says Giants keeping options open in pursuit of new closer

zaidiap.jpg
AP

Farhan Zaidi says Giants keeping options open in pursuit of new closer

The Giants lost an All-Star early in free agency when closer Will Smith signed with his hometown Atlanta Braves last week.

Smith's departure left a clear void in San Francisco's bullpen, as he tied for fifth in MLB with a career-high 31 saves in 2019. Replacing Smith is a clear priority for Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, but he told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on Tuesday that he is in no rush to name a new closer.

"We've got some time to figure that out," Zaidi said on "The TK Show" podcast. "I don't think we need to decide that before Thanksgiving here, but one of the benefits for us of having made some of the trades we made at the deadline is it gave us the opportunity to see some of the younger relievers in our organization. Guys like Tyler Rogers, Jandel Gustave and Sam Coonrod. [These are guys] that could work their way into the picture and work their way into late-inning [situations] in 2020."

Rogers, Gustave and Coonrod were bright spots as rookies last season. None of the trio pitched more than 30 innings, but each showed potential pitching out of the bullpen in August and September. Rogers pitched the fewest innings of the three (17 2/3), but was worth nearly a win above replacement in his appearances, according to Baseball Reference's metrics.

[RELATED: Former Giants hitting coach Powell takes job in Japan]

No matter which of the three emerges, the Giants are going to have a different look in the late innings next season. That could include a free-agent acquisition as well, according to Zaidi.

"Our closer may be in the organization right now," Zaidi continued. "We're going to continue to shop around and see what options are out there, but we at least like the depth that we have in our group of relievers."

Former Giants hitting coach Alonzo Powell takes new job in Japan

Former Giants hitting coach Alonzo Powell takes new job in Japan

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Farhan Zaidi and the rest of the front office started the search for a new manager, the coaching staff was given time to look for new jobs. Hitting coach Alonso Powell ended up across the ocean, but his new job will still be a familiar one. 

Powell will join the staff of the Chunichi Dragons, a Japanese team based in Nagoya. He played for the Dragons for six seasons, hitting .355 in one of them and won three straight batting titles while starring in Nagoya from 1992-97. Powell is reportedly already working with the team:

The Giants had kept quiet about Powell's status, but they are expected to have nearly a completely new staff under Gabe Kapler, who was hired last week. Ron Wotus will return as third base coach, but he was the only holdover to attend Kapler's press conference. 

Bullpen coach Matt Herges has already joined the Arizona Diamondbacks as pitching coach and former bench coach Hensley Meulens has been offered a job by the Marlins. Meulens was also thought to be a candidate for the Mets bench coach job, and he has not officially been announced as a staff member for the Marlins. It's unclear where pitching coach Curt Young, assistant hitting coach Rick Schu, and first base coach Jose Alguacil currently stand.

[RELATED: Harris details meaningful trip to Wrigley bleachers

Powell, a Bay Area native, came to the Giants after the 2017 season with the task of getting an aging lineup to hit for more power. There were success stories, and Powell was popular within the organization, but he was unable to squeeze much more out of a veteran group. Powell came from Houston and brought some new methods to the Giants, and they're expected to go even further in that direction. The addition of Kapler, along with former Cubs executive Scott Harris, indicates the Giants will dive even deeper into analytics.