Jimmy Glowenke

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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Giants drafting Jimmy Glowenke No. 68 was 'real reach,' Keith Law says

Giants drafting Jimmy Glowenke No. 68 was 'real reach,' Keith Law says

The Giants entered the 2020 MLB Draft tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the most picks (seven) in this year's shortened, five-round draft.

Thanks to the Giants handing Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith qualifying offers before they chose other teams in free agency, San Francisco had two extra selections at No. 67 and No. 68. The Giants used their Bumgarner compensation pick on North Carolina State left-handed pitcher Nick Swiney, 55 picks after taking his college catcher, Patrick Bailey, with the 13th pick in the draft. 

The Giants then used their Smith compensation pick on Dallas Baptist shortstop Jimmy Glowneke. And The Athletic's Keith Law isn't a big fan

"Jimmy Glowenke (2A) was a real reach at No. 68, as he’s coming off elbow surgery and didn’t even play the field this spring," Law said. "Even when healthy, he’s a well-below-average runner who isn’t going to stay at short and is mostly just a singles hitter." 

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Glowenke had offseason arm surgery and served as Dallas Baptist's DH in 13 games before the season was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. He was hitting .415 with one home run as a junior, and hit .340 with 17 homers in his college career. 

But Glowenke also only is listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds. Most evaluators believe he will have to be a second baseman at the next level. 

Law also believes the Glowenke pick might have been to save money for Kyle Harrison, their third-round pick. Harrison was the Giants' only high school draft pick. He dominated at De La Salle High School in Concord. 

[RELATED: What Zaidi said to Bart after Giants drafted catcher Bailey]

Glowenke might have been a reach, but if it means the Giants can sign Harrison, it makes much more sense.

There's no arguing Glowenke proved himself at the plate in college. Now, he'll have to do the same as a pro with his bat and with his glove.

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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