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Giants' Draft haul heavy on college pitchers

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 2012 First-Year Player Draft for the Giants began with Monday's selection of Mississippi State's Chris Stratton with their first-round pick (20th overall), and by Wednesday's end, the Giants had stocked up on plenty more college pitchers.

Of the 40 players the Giants selected, only five of them were high school players -- four of whom were selected in rounds 37-40. The Giants selected more pitchers (21) than position players (19), including 14 on the third and final day of the Draft on Wednesday.

Stratton and several other Giants pitching draftees were noted for their velocity and power pitching, though Giants scouting director John Barr said that was not the team's intention coming into the Draft.

"We weren't leaning towards that way," Barr said Monday after the Giants selected Stratton. "Are we always mindful of it? I think we're mindful of trying to add value to the organization."

Of the 21 pitchers selected, 19 were college pitchers, including potential future starters Stratton, St. Mary's Martin Agosta (second round) and Creighton's Ty Blach (fifth), as well as relievers Steven Okert from Oklahoma (third), St. Edwards' Stephen Johnson (sixth) and Miami's Eduardo Encinosa (seventh).

Previously, the Giants had only spent one first-round selection on a pitcher since 2007 -- Zack Wheeler in 2009, who was traded to the Mets for Carlos Beltran last season. But Giants fans won't be quick to forget that three other past first-round picks -- Madison Bumgarner (2007), Tim Lincecum (2006) and Matt Cain (2002) -- have paid major dividends for the rotation.

"Our board was mixed," Barr said of the selection of Stratton. "We had both high school and college, both position [players] and [pitchers]. Had he not been there, whether or not it would have been a pitcher or not, I don't know. It might have very well been a position player."

The lone high school player selected in the first 36 rounds of the Draft was outfielder Shilo McCall (ninth round) out of Piedra Vista High School in New Mexico. McCall is committed to playing college baseball for Arkansas in the fall, but has said he intends to sign with the Giants and turn professional.

This year's Draft results are reminiscent of the Giants' 2010 Draft, when the team used 16 of its first 17 picks on college players.

"There were a couple situations where we could have gone either way," Barr said Tuesday about taking a player from either college or high school, briefly mentioning signability as a factor when evaluating players. "We're always looking to take the best player we possibly can."

Aside from their now abundant pitching prospects, the Giants added a power-hitting outfielder in Wake Forest's Johnathon "Mac" Williamson in the third round, as well as versatile catcher/infielder Trevor Brown out of UCLA in the 10th and the speedy Tyler Hollick of Chandler-Gilbert Community College in the 14th.

San Francisco Giants