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Article:Giants Find Value In Day 2 Of Draft

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After grabbing the top prep arm in the draft, and a couple of power bats on day one of 2009 MLB Amateur draft, the Giants entered day two looking for the best possible value they could find. They grabbed one of the best closers from the collegiate level over the last few years, a high school power arm that could develop into another hard-throwing, elite starting pitching prospect and a few big bats that could inject the organization with some pop.

With their first pick in day two, the Giants took RHP Jason Stoffel, a hard-throwing closer out of Arizona. Stoffel was considered a possible first-round pick coming [1] into the year, but he wasn't as effective this year as he was the last few which was why he fell to the Giants in the fourth. Stoffel throws 91-94 MPH with good command and a decent, hard curveball. He's pitched in some big games and chaotic atmosphere's over his years at Arizona and he's shined in those situations, which should translate well into late relief in the major leagues. He's the highest profile reliever that the Giants have drafted in while and he very well could be up in the Giants pen by early 2010. He doesn't have the most athletic build, but a lot of closers don't. He's got a quick, compact, Eric Gagne-type delivery to the plate and generates plenty of zip on his pitches. Hopefully he turns out to be a good one, because the Giants could have grabbed highly-touted lefty, Chris Dwyer with that pick as well as one of the top power hitters from the SEC, Kent Matthes. Here are a few video clips I found of the former Arizona closer: Video 1, Video 2

A few picks later, the Giants took another power arm, this one of the starting variety. The Giants grabbed Mathew Graham, a potential top-3 round pick, at number 177 in the sixth round. Graham doesn't have the most polished mechanics out there yet, but he's got that Texas-sized arm and big time heater. In fact, scouts refer to him as an "all-arm" type of thrower who stays around 94-95 mph, but could up that a bit once he solidifies his mechanics and learns more about using his whole body on the mound. Now, I'm not going to sugar coat it, he's a project, and we can't be expecting Tim Alderson and Madison Bumgarner success off the bat from Graham. He's going to have to be brought along slower, as he's got a ways to go. He doesn't really have a pitch that he's comfortable with outside of his fastball. A lot of people feel he'd do himself good by going to school for another year or two to polish his mechanics. Here's a video in which you can get a good idea of just how much upper-body he puts into his throws. However, the Giants really believe in his arm though, and they've had a lot of success developing power arms, so he did land with the right organization.

Other Notables from Day 2: [2]

Round 5: Brandon Belt, 1B, Texas: The lanky first-basemen from University of Texas has the same type game as a young J.T. Snow. He's got a smooth left-handed stroke that produces decent pop (8 HR, .574 SLG% in '09) and a solid average (.340). As good as his bat is, scouts preach that his defense is way above average at first base and is just as valuable as his bat. Do note that he was signed on to Texas to pitch and didn't become a full-time first basemen right away. He's definitely got some upside and a ton of athletic ability. I really think he's going to be something in a few years. Scouting Video

Round 7: Nick Liles, 2B, West Carolina: Liles is a solid hitting second basemen out of Western Carolina. He's got soft hands and decent feet and should be able to handle second base at the big league level. In 2009, he hit .367 with 22 doubles. I haven't seen much of him, but his plate approach resembles Kevin Frandsen's a little bit. Check out the Scouting video though and you can see what a sweet, consistent swing the 6 foot, 165 pounder has. Scouting Video

Round 17: Jonathan Walsh, C-OF Texas (HS): Walsh could end up being a risky pick, becuase he's another guy who could go to school for a few years and catapult himself into the drafts top rounds. He was considered a top high school catching prospect coming into the year, but doesn't really have the quickness to stay back there. If the Giants can sign him, they'll likely move him to left field. He's a switch hitter with a chance at plus power and average. He moves well for his size as well which could lead to the move to the outfield. Scouting Video

GIANTS NOTES: The Giants bats exploded on Tuesday night in Arizona, as they put up 9 runs and punched out 17 base hits on the night to help Matt Cain win his 8th ballgame of the year. Pablo Sandoval led the charge by going 4-5, including a mammoth home run to right, a shot that looked like it came off the bat of Barry Bonds. Juan Uribe also left the yard and contributed 3 knocks. It's no surprise that Uribe and Sandoval led the offensive charge. They're leading the other regulars in batting average as Sandoval's is now at .313 and Uribe's up at .311. Juan Uribe has totally stepped up his game since taking over at third base when Sandoval moved to first just a couple weeks back. He's hitting .350 since taking over on a regular basis May 27th, and the Giants are 9-4 in games he starts at third over that period.

Trevor Cole The Giants Baseball Blog- A San Francisco Giants Blog and Fan Website


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