The last time the Giants drafted a player from Mississippi State in the first round of the draft, it worked out pretty well for them.
The Giants had J.T. Snow on hand for the draft Monday, but maybe another former first baseman in the organization had some influence in their first-round pick … i.e. Will Clark.
The Giants selected right-handed pitcher Chris Stratton from Mississippi State with the No. 20 overall pick.
With high school players going off the board left and right on Monday, the Giants went with the college route as their farm system is getting a little thin on starting pitchers who can help the team soon at the big-league level.
Stratton is a 22-year-old junior at MSU. He’s 6-3, 198 pounds with a fastball that clocks in the 91-95 mph range and a plus slider.
He was only 10-10 with a 5.25 ERA in his first two seasons with the Bulldogs, but he did have 152 strikeouts in 154.1 innings.
But he put it all together in the 2012 season, going 11-2 with 2.38 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 109.2 innings.
Stratton has drawn comparisons to Kansas City’s Aaron Crow or Arizona’s Daniel Hudson.
He’s from Tupelo, Miss., where he was coached in summer ball by Kirk Presley, a former first-round pick by the Mets in 1993. Presley? Tupelo? Yes, Kirk Presley was The King’s second cousin.
Contrasted to last year, when some felt the Giants reached in taking shortstop Joe Panik late in the first round, Stratton was projected as a potential top-10 pick by some.
So when he fell to 20th, the Giants were quick to snatch him up.
Stratton was the Giants lone pick Monday, as they did not pick up any sandwich picks from free agents lost last offseason.
The Giants followed a familiar path with their first-day picks in the first-year player draft on Monday, selecting a mature bat and a young arm.
The Giants selected St. John’s shortstop Joe Panik with the 29th overall pick on Monday. Panik, a left-handed hitter, hit .398 with 10 home runs and 53 RBI and had a .477 on-base percentage for the Red Storm this season. And there’s a lot to like about Panik.
He’s a contact hitter. The Giants need more of them.
He walks more than he strikes out (44 BB to 24 K). The Giants REALLY need more guys like that.
Panik can play both middle infield positions, but the Giants project him as a shortstop for now, even though they just called up rookie Brandon Crawford to play shortstop.
The selection of Panik followed a Giants trend of drafting hitters who can contribute quickly. The Giants recently have gone into the college ranks in recent years to select OF Gary Brown (Cal State Fullerton) and OF Jarrett Parker (Virginia) in 2010, 3B Chris Dominguez (Louisville) and 1B Brandon Belt (Texas) in 2009 and C Buster Posey (Florida State), 3B Connor Gillaspie (Wichita State) and Crawford (UCLA) in 2008.
While the Giants say they like Panik as a shortstop, it might not be a stretch to see him playing second base and hitting second in the order in 2013 when Freddy Sanchez’s contract expires. Charlie Culberson, a first-round pick in 2007 and currently at Double-A Richmond, also is a possibility at 2B.
With 49th overall selection, the Giants picked Kyle Crick, a hard-throwing high school pitcher from Texas. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder was clocked with a 95 mph fastball. He’s signed to play baseball with TCU, so it will be interesting to see if the Giants can sign him.
Crick follows out high school pitchers the Giants have recently drafted like Zack Wheeler (2009), Madison Bumgarner (2007) and Tim Alderson (2007).