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The San Francisco Giants' 2008 draft could end up being one of the better ones in the club's last few decades. The Giants got two premium collegiate bats with their first two picks, then stole a few more potential first rounders with their 3rd and 4th choices. All the talk around draft day though surrounded NCAA Player of the Year and All-American catcher, Gerard "Buster" Posey out of Florida State. Posey was arguably the best all-around player in the draft and if it weren't for his high signing bonus demand ($12 million), some feel he would have been the number 1 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Rays. I have had a chance to watch Posey play a few games and watch some video on him and he looks as good, if not better than advertised. The day after getting picked 5th overall, he hit a majestic, 420+ foot shot against Wichita State in the NCAA Regionals. He kind of reminds of of the Derek Jeter of catchers as he looks like he can do everything well and is comfortable as a leader of a team. Scouts project him as a .300+ hitter in the bigs with exceptional defense, 15-20 home run power and a solid, clutch run-producer. He's second in college baseball in home runs and first in batting average, so I don't really understand the mediocre power numbers. In a perfect world, I would have loved to get a shot at Pedro Alvarez, but Posey and Justin Smoak were right there after Alvarez in my book. Another positive about Posey is how polished he is at and behind the plate already. He could be playing a major role with the team as early as 2009.
The Giants didn't stop with Posey as far as drafting hitters went on day 1. They also grabbed Bill Mueller-clone Connor Gillaspie with pick number 37 in the supplemental round. He's another advanced college bat that was projected to go as high is the middle first round, but apparently teams were a little concerned about his lack of power. Gillaspie won MVP of the Cape Cod league last summer so he seems like he's comfortable hitting with the wood bat as well. Scouts have him as a good bet to hit .300 in the bigs' with extra-base power. He's ranked as an average defender with a solid arm but is known as a hard-nosed, all-out player. He's another guy that could be making noise in San Francisco as early as the 2009 season. Gillaspie also has the flexibility to play second base and could end up there depending on what happens with Giants number 1 prospect Angel Villalona.
The Giants grabbed two more positional players and couple arms to round out the first day of drafting. They grabbed left-handed, power hitting right fielder, Roger Keischnik out of Texas Tech in round 3 and Bay Area native Brandon Crawford from UCLA. Keischnik is an interesting pick because of his power potential. He's got the raw power potential to hit 30+ homers a year in the major leagues if he can fine tune some hitches in his swing. He's also got some speed and a very strong arm in right field. Some scouts had him as a late first round possibility so for the Giants to nab him in the 3rd round is a very good pick. Crawford also was a guy that could have gone higher than he did. In fact, if Crawford would have entered last years draft, he probably would have went a little higher. A tough summer in the Cape Cod league destroyed some of his confidence and he hasn't been the same hitter since. His glove at this point is more pro-ready than his bat is, but the Giants are expecting him to rebound offensively. He's a big shortstop (6'2", 200 pounds) but is still fluid defensively. If he can fill out his offensive potential, he will end up being a steal in the 4th.
The only pitchers the Giants ended up grabbing on day 1 was right handed reliever Edwin Quirarte (Cal St. Northridge) and left-handed starter Erick Surkamp from North Carolina State. I don't know much about either of them but from the video. Quirarte looks like he's got a nice right-handed power arm and a compact motion. He throws between 92-95 with a good hard slider. He projects out to be a middle/late reliever. Surkamp is a big lefty (6'5") with a deceptive fastball and a plus curveball.
- More Draft Coverage To Come*
The Giants Baseball Blog-http://giantsbaseballblog.blogspot.com/