Giants

MLB mock draft 2020: Tyler Soderstrom top Giants candidate at No. 13

MLB mock draft 2020: Tyler Soderstrom top Giants candidate at No. 13

As the calendar flips and we somehow have entered June, the 2020 MLB Draft now is less than two weeks away. Before we know it, high school and college players will hear their names called in this shortened five-round draft. 

The Giants are on the clock with the No. 13 overall pick, and have seven picks in five rounds. In his first draft as San Francisco's president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi went with a college bat in the first round. After taking Hunter Bishop No. 10 in 2019, the Giants could be looking at a different route this year. 

With seasons cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, teams could go college heavy at the top of the draft and trust previous scouting reports. Sitting in the top half of the first round, the Giants find themselves in an interesting spot. Will they go college or high school? Hitter or pitcher?

We looked at five recent mock drafts from expert outlets. Tyler Soderstrom of Turlock High School was the choice for the Giants in three out of five mock drafts. Let's look at Soderstrom, the two others mocked to San Francisco and who else is connected to the Giants.

Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock High School

First things first, don't pay too much attention to Soderstrom's position. For one, he's being drafted because of bat. And second, Soderstrom also split time at third base and has the atleticism to play a corner outfield spot. 

The bat can be special. He has a powerful left-handed swing that projects to play at the next level. The prep star also has plenty of experience with a wood bat, playing for Team USA and throughout the showcase circuit. 

Prior to the high school season being shut down, Soderstrom was hitting .357 as a senior. In 28 games as a junior, he hit .450 with four homers and 12 doubles. It also isn't too surprising that he posted a video of himself taking ground balls at third base on Sunday. 

Zaidi values position flexibility and Soderstrom certainly fits the bill with a lot of upside at the plate. Soderstrom was mocked to the Giants in ESPN, The Athletic and Baseball America's most recent mock drafts. 

Soderstrom already has a connection to the Giants, too. His father, Steve, was selected by the Giants with the No. 6 pick in the 1993 draft.

Ed Howard, SS, Mount Carmel High School

Scouts will have to rely on their previous reports on Howard before the draft. His high school season never got off the ground this year and the team only practiced a few times before the pandemic. 

FanGraphs has the Giants taking Howard, which is higher than any of the other major outlets. He hit well over the summer and has an impressive high school track record before canceled senior year. Howard hit .396 with six homers, 20 doubles and 16 stolen bases between his sophomore and junior seasons.

Howard is seen as the top high school shortstop and it always makes sense to draft up the middle and bet on the development of a great athlete.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma

The Giants last took a pitcher in the first round when they added Tyler Beede in 2014 and then Phil Bickford in 2015. MLB.com's Jim Callis has them going back to that thinking by picking Cavalli out of Oklahoma. 

Cavalli, 6-4 and 218 pounds, pitched in four games before the season came to an end. The big right-hander has a plus fastball and slider, and went 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA this year. He had a 3.28 ERA over 12 starts as a sophomore. 

Cavalli also is a Team USA alum and former two-way player. His control improved this year as he focused solely on pitching.

[RELATED: Could Luciano make Giants' roster? Zaidi considering that]

The others

The Giants also have been connected to high school pitchers Mick Abel and Nick Bitsko, both whom are hard-throwing righties. Garrett Crochet out of Tennessee, who can hit 100 mph, could be in play as well. 

If the Giants are looking for a toolsy outfielder like Bishop, Garrett Mitchell of UCLA fits the bill. 

It's never easy honing in on who are the top targets for teams in the MLB draft, especially at No. 13. The closer we get, however, the better the consensus should be.

Giants scrimmage notes: Johnny Cueto named Opening Day starter again

Giants scrimmage notes: Johnny Cueto named Opening Day starter again

The last thing Giants manager Gabe Kapler did before the coronavirus shut down the sport was name Johnny Cueto his Opening Day starter. Four months later, that remains the case. 

After Cueto got past 60 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday, Kapler said he had a long conversation with the right-hander and Cueto will start against the Dodgers next Thursday in a nationally-televised game. 

Cueto, of course, had already made this official:

That was some of the news of the day. Here's more from the five-inning game at Oracle Park between Team Black and Team Orange, along with some updates from Kapler: 

--- The highlight of the game was Alex Dickerson's bomb to right off Shaun Anderson:

--- Tyler Heineman put a bunt down and also stole third for the second time in a week. He continues to make an impression in the battle for the starting catcher job, and Kapler has spent a fair amount of time after workouts talking about the little things Heineman does well. 

--- Triples Alley is six feet shorter, but it's still an easy triple for Steven Duggar. He lined one out there with two runners on and cruised into third standing up even though Joe McCarthy got to the ball pretty quickly. Two runs scored. 

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--- Joey Bart had a hard single to right in his first at-bat, but his most impressive feat came two pitches earlier. On the first pitch he saw from hard-throwing righty Rico Garcia, Bart smacked a liner to right that bounced off the bricks where the Alaska Airlines suite is located in foul territory down the line. He was about 10 feet away from an opposite-field double off the archway, which is a pretty solid feat for a right-hander at Oracle Park. 

Bart has as strong an opposite-field approach as you'll see from a young hitter, and he's not afraid of the ballpark, which generally favors right-handers who pull the ball. When he's up here, you're going to see a few of those rare right-handed-homers into the arcade. 

That's the future. Here's the present, and his single:

--- The news is all good on the health front. Brandon Belt was out of his walking boot and took some swings. Tony Watson threw a second live BP session and Kapler said he's "progressing towards being ready for us" next week against the Dodgers. Jarlin Garcia, who has been on the IL for undisclosed reasons, should be back in camp tomorrow. Garcia was having a huge spring and would be a key lefty in the bullpen if ready. There is nothing new on Billy Hamilton, though. 

--- The Giants added outfielder Jose Siri to their player pool. The 24-year-old is a former Reds prospect the Giants picked up earlier this year, in part because hitting coach Donnie Ecker -- formerly with the Reds -- liked his potential. "He was a guy with a high ceiling for the Reds and a prospect there with tools and athleticism and power," Kapler said. 

[RELATED: As Puig signs with Braves, Giants stay focused on next wave]

--- Every day there's a new thing you notice about a park with no fans. Today the media could clearly make out the conversations on the infield, which were all happening in Spanish for Team Orange. Wilmer Flores (Venezuela), Donovan Solano (Colombia) and Mauricio Dubon (Honduras) were at first, second and third, with Cueto (Dominican Republic) pitching to Chad Tromp (Aruba). Evan Longoria was at third, but seemed to be following along. It was pretty cool to watch.

Kapler mentioned earlier this week that one advantage Tromp has over the other catchers is his ability to more easily communicate with the team's Spanish-speaking pitchers. Cueto was followed on the mound by Wandy Peralta, who is also from the Dominican Republic. 

Giants forgoing Yasiel Puig sweepstakes has team focusing on next wave

Giants forgoing Yasiel Puig sweepstakes has team focusing on next wave

A few minutes after word leaked that Yasiel Puig will sign with the Braves, a hitting group took the field at Oracle Park that showed exactly why he wasn't necessary in San Francisco this year. 

Mike Yastrzemski took his swings with Darin Ruf, who has been a camp revelation and is being counted on to fill the role of right-handed masher in the lineup this season. Yastrzemski, though, is the one who really is indicative of why the Giants are keeping it in-house as the season approaches. 

The Giants did something simple with Yastrzemski last year. They gave him a chance. 

Yastrzemski, 107 games and 21 homers later, might now be Farhan Zaidi's best big leaguer, and the hope with the front office is that the 2019 discovery is just the start. 

Yastrzemski is likely to be an everyday player for Gabe Kapler, and the Giants are hopeful that Jaylin Davis, 26, joins him. Mauricio Dubon, 25, looks headed for a meaty role in the outfield, too, and 27-year-old Austin Slater is going to get another look. The staff also likes Joe McCarthy, a 26-year-old who was acquired at the deadline last year and boasts a .376 OBP in the minors. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Much of the attention over the last two weeks has been on the younger kids, the Lucianos, Toribios and Canarios of the organization. But the Giants have a slightly older class of hitters, primarily outfielders, who are looking to prove they're part of the future, too, and they don't have a Triple-A season to get them ready. Every at-bat given to a free-agent outfielder is one taken away from Davis or Slater or maybe Dubon. 

Of course, the Giants aren't just here to develop players. They hope to compete this season, and Puig -- for all the headaches he brings -- is a proven right fielder. He is no longer, however, a proven star. Puig's OPS+ last year was a league-average 100 and he has just one three-WAR season since 2014. He was not going to be a game-changer for the Giants, and realistically, there's nobody out there who can change their fate too much now that Buster Posey has opted out. 

[RELATED: Fantasy baseball rankings for Giants, A's]

This season is what it is, but the Giants do honestly look headed for a much brighter future. The teenagers are coming fast, and Heliot Ramos and Hunter Bishop should arrive in the outfield in the next year or two. The hope is that when they do, Yastrzemski has company in the lineup, that a Davis or Dubon or Slater has locked down a permanent role. 

As the Giants proved last year, the only way to find those guys is to give them a shot, give them some "runway" to succeed or fail, as Zaidi has said many times in his two years here. That wasn't going to happen with another veteran joining the group nine days before the opener.