Casey Schmitt

Why most of Giants' reported MLB draft contracts are under slot value

Why most of Giants' reported MLB draft contracts are under slot value

With last month's MLB draft being shortened to just five rounds, front offices had to get creative to try and get the most bang for their buck. On Thursday we got a better idea of what the Giants' plan was with their league-high seven selections. 

The Giants announced that three additional picks had signed Thursday, and according to MLB.com's Jim Callis, two of them came in well under the slot value for their selection. 

The Giants also have signed second-rounder Casey Schmitt, although it's unclear what his bonus was. On Wednesday, first-round pick Patrick Bailey signed, and he also reportedly came in under the slot value of the 13th pick. 

The Giants had $9,231,800 to spend on their seven selections and thus far have announced the signing of four of them. If you add up the savings of the known bonuses, they're about $1.1 million under slot. Where is that being made up? With a local player, who was viewed by many in the industry as too tough to sign.

De La Salle left-hander Kyle Harrison went in the third round in part because it was thought it would be hard to get him out of a commitment to UCLA. Harrison was picked 85th overall by the Giants and, while they haven't announced a deal yet, he reportedly will sign for $2.5 million, which was the slot value for the 28th pick in the first round. 

That figure, if it ends up being his signing number, is nearly $1.8 million more than the slot value for Harrison's pick, and the Giants had to get to that amount by making cuts elsewhere. It's a strategy that was clear during the draft, as some of their other picks were viewed as slight reaches by opposing scouts. 

[RELATED: How Giants highest-paid player in 2020 isn't with team]

It's a gamble, but a worthwhile one. If the Giants are right about Harrison, they've added a first-round talent to their organization and potentially have filled a future hole in their rotation. In order to make the numbers work, they simply used some of their other picks on players who might have gone slightly higher than they expected and would sign for a lesser number. 

While the Giants have not yet announced that Harrison deal, they are confident that all seven of their selections will sign. 

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Could Giants second-round draft pick Casey Schmitt be a two-way MLB player?

Could Giants second-round draft pick Casey Schmitt be a two-way MLB player?

For most of the last decade, the Giants had two marquee players who viewed themselves as two-way contributors. Madison Bumgarner successfully lobbied his way into 14 pinch-hit appearances for Bruce Bochy (he was remarkably helpful, too, reaching base in half of them), but first baseman Brandon Belt has thus far been foiled in his plans to one day take the mound. 

The game is changing, though, and those conversations no longer happen just behind closed doors. Shohei Ohtani of the Angels is the most notable example, and the Giants once chased him with the very clear plan of letting him be an ace and a key part of their lineup. The Rays' Brendan McKay is one of the top pitching prospects in the game and was drafted as a two-way player who ultimately could also DH or play first base later in his career. The Padres' Jake Cronenworth is a middle infielder who successfully added relief pitching last year in Triple-A and could do both at the big league level.

It raised eyebrows, then, when the Giants took Casey Schmitt in the second round Thursday. He is a potential big league starter at third base, but in college he was also a lockdown closer, with a low 90s fastball and a splitter. He had six saves in a shortened junior season. 

Schmitt was on prospect lists -- he was No. 37 overall, per Baseball-America -- as a third baseman/right-handed pitcher, but the Giants for now will focus on the hitting side. 

"Look, Casey is a really athletic guy who obviously excelled on the mound and at the plate," Giants scouting director Michael Holmes said. "We really like him and we really like his bat and we really like his ability at third base, so when we drafted him we see him as a third baseman. But if you ask him he would probably beg us to do both. I'll let player development iron those details out, but it was definitely his bat that attracted us to him."

That player development machine will soon get involved, and Farhan Zaidi is the leader of it. Zaidi is well-known for coveting versatility, and there's nothing that adds more of that to your roster than a player who can go both ways. Schmitt showed that in the Cape Cod League last summer, hitting two home runs and then pitching a scoreless ninth in the final game of the championship series. But Zaidi also tapped the brakes on any initial two-way talk, noting that, for now, it's just a good backup plan.

"I know that from a scouting standpoint we just really love the bat, we love the defense at third base. When you see a guy as an everyday player like that, that's where most of our interest in the player came from," he said. "But to Holmesy's point, you've got more and more guys who have two-way ability the way rosters are being used, and with the expanded roster we'll see where the rules go. That could become an even more valuable trait for players. 

"We've got some time to sort through it. Our focus will be to develop him as a position player, but we wouldn't rule out pitching at some point."

The Giants selected seven players in total in the draft, and a couple of later picks also came with some questions about their professional roles. Compensation pick Jimmy Glowenke is a shortstop but some scouts think he'll have to move to second. Holmes said the Giants actually see him as someone who can handle second, short and third. 

"That versatility to be able to move around, it certainly was attractive about him," Holmes said, "But I do believe that he can go out and handle shortstop."

[RELATED: How Giants see catchers Bailey, Bart coexisting one day]

Fifth-rounder R.J. Dabovich was a reliever at Arizona State with a fastball that runs into the upper 90s, but he certainly would have much more long-term value if that velocity could play as a starter. The Giants will see if that's possible. The initial plan when minor league baseball returns is for Dabovich to get his innings count up.

"We think there's starter ability with him," Holmes said. 

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Everything Giants fans should know about Day 2 picks in 2020 MLB Draft

Everything Giants fans should know about Day 2 picks in 2020 MLB Draft

By the third round of the 2020 MLB Draft on Thursday, even the analysts on MLB Network were surprised by some of the picks. They scrambled to text sources and find out more about players who might have made just a couple of appearances this spring before the coronavirus shut the sports world down. 

For as detailed as the coverage was, there were picks in the fourth and fifth round who didn't have photos or video available as they were talked about. That's the reality most years with the baseball draft, but this year it was ramped up because teams had so little time to form a consensus on who the top couple hundred prospects were. 

There were 160 players drafted over the last two days and the Giants walked away with seven of them, tied for a league-high. They took catcher Patrick Bailey in the first round Wednesday and then followed that up with three college pitchers, a local high school pitcher, a college shortstop and a college third baseman.

The plan is for all of them to reach Oracle Park, but that'll take years. You can start to learn about them now, though. Courtesy of scouting director Michael Holmes, here's what you need to know about the six newest Giants.

No. 49: 3B/RHP Casey Schmitt

A two-way player from San Diego State, Schmitt is a good defensive third baseman who had a .323/.386/.452 slash line in the shortened season, along with six saves. He has a very strong arm at third, and that showed on the mound. The Giants might allow him to pitch at some point, but the focus right now is on his bat.

Holmes: "We look at Casey as a plus defensive third baseman with a plus, possible double-plus arm. He can really throw. Top-of-the-scale type throwing arm and defense. We see him as a strong, physical, athletic player who can really control the zone. Right now he's a real line drive gap-to-gap guy but we think the power is going to come on as he continues to mature, not only physically but also as a hitter. He's a guy that we're extremely excited about."

No. 67: LHP Nick Swiney 

Taken with the pick the Giants got for losing Madison Bumgarner, Swiney is a starter from North Carolina State who pitched to Bailey earlier this spring, so the Giants saw him quite often. They also heavily scouted NC State teammate Will Wilson last year. Swiney was 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA this season after moving from the bullpen to rotation. Some scouts think Swiney has more upside as a reliever because the fastball played up to 95 mph, but the Giants think the velocity will bump up over time. 

Holmes: "He moved into that starting role at NC State this year and really flourished. The great thing about him is he's not only left-handed, but we've seen him with a plus changeup, we've seen him with a plus breaking ball, and we think there's velocity in there. His fastball characteristics will play in all quadrants of the strike zone and he's got a competitive edge to him. We think he's going to be a real vital starting piece for us for a long time to come." 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

No. 68: SS Jimmy Glowenke 

The Dallas Baptist University shortstop was taken with the pick the Giants got when Will Smith signed with the Atlanta Braves. Glowenke had elbow surgery last fall and had to DH this spring, but he was close to being healthy when the season shut down. Glowenke can play three infield spots, and while some analysts view him as a second baseman long-term, the Giants think he can stick at short. 

Holmes: "Jimmy has been a constant performer at Dallas Baptist since the day he walked on campus. He can impact the baseball, he can drive the ball to all fields. Another guy who controls the zone really well and makes extremely good swing decisions. Defensively he's a really solid infielder ... he's going to be a really offensive infielder, a guy who can stay on the dirt and certainly be really productive on the offensive side."

No. 85: LHP Kyle Harrison

A year after they took De La Salle/UCSB product Armani Smith, the Giants scooped up another star from the Concord prep sports power. Harrison is an 18-year-old lefty with big upside, and on the draft broadcast he said he models his game after Chris Sale. "I'm looking to throw a dirty slider like him some day," he said. He has a fastball from a low slot that touches 93 and a good breaking ball. Harrison pitched for the USA Baseball 18-and-under team and is a UCLA commit, but president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the Giants are confident they will get the third-rounder signed. 

Holmes: "He pitched a lot of quality innings (for Team USA). He's a guy that we've really seen his development over the last eight to 10 months. We've seen his velocity improve, we've seen his breaking ball improve. He's been able to command the baseball to both sides of the plate. It's more of a three-quarter to low three-quarter slot with a little bit of a cross-body look so it's a very deceptive delivery. Hitters have a tough time seeing the baseball. This kid is a smart kid on the mound, he's got tremendous feel, he's got good stuff, and he definitely is a really competitive kid that we got a chance to know really well. Visiting with him and his family, we had a definite comfort with him."

[RELATED: How Giants see catchers Bailey, Bart coexisting one day]

No. 114: RHP R.J. Dabovich

A teammate of Hunter Bishop at Arizona State, Dabovich is a right-handed reliever with a fastball that touches 97 mph. The Giants saw plenty of him last year while scouting Bishop, their first-round pick. Dabovich has been used in multiple roles and the Giants will give him a chance to start, at least early in his career. Their goal for him will be to get his innings up as soon as he hits pro ball. 

Holmes: "He's got the ability to run his fastball up into the upper 90s and he complements it with a really good secondary mix. But the best way to describe him is he's just got a real power mix and he's able to find the strike zone with it. I think the one thing that describes him really well too is just his competitive nature on the field and on the mound. This guy really gets after it and he's a guy that we've been drawn to, not just this year but in years past."

No. 144: RHP Ryan Murphy

A right-handed starter from small Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., the fifth-rounder is said to have a good three-pitch mix and a propensity for throwing strikes. His fastball is 91-92, but he commands it well.  

Holmes: "The thing that he does well is he really changes speeds, he really locates his fastball. He's very effective with his mix. He's a guy that our area scout Ray Callari has been on for a while and we got a chance to do a little work on him, even in a shortened season, which was great for us, especially for a northeast kid at a northeast school that battles a little bit of a colder climate. With the ability to see him a couple times before the shutdown, we really think that he's only scratching the surface with his potential."