SAN FRANCISCO -- The 2020 MLB Draft will look markedly different than past iterations.
With the sport at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Draft will be conducted remotely and feature only five rounds instead of the usual 40. Despite its truncated structure, the Draft will still represent a major opportunity for the Giants to infuse their budding farm system with a wave of premier talent that could help accelerate the club’s current rebuild.
San Francisco holds four of the top 68 selections, including a pair of compensation picks between the second and third rounds for losing left-handers Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith to free agency this offseason. The Giants will make seven selections in all, tied with the Cardinals for the most of any club.
This year will mark the Giants’ second Draft under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and amateur scouting director Michael Holmes. They used their 2019 first-round Draft pick on Arizona State outfielder Hunter Bishop, who is now ranked the club’s No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline.
Day 1 of the 2020 Draft airs tonight on MLB Network and ESPN at 4 p.m. PT, and includes the first 37 picks. Day 2 begins at 2 p.m. PT on Thursday on MLB Network and ESPN2, and spans the remainder of the 160 picks.
Comprehensive coverage will be available on MLB.com and MLB Pipeline, which will simulcast MLB Network’s broadcast. Go to MLB.com/Draft to see when teams pick, the Top 200 Prospects list, mock drafts from analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, scouting video and more. And follow @MLBDraft and @MLBDraftTracker on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying and to get each pick as it’s made.
Here’s how the Draft is shaping up for the Giants, whose first selection is the 13th overall pick:
State of the system
The Giants haven’t drafted and developed an All-Star since Joe Panik in 2011, or produced a homegrown international one since Pablo Sandoval in 2003, but their farm system is trending in the right direction and is now ranked the 10th-best in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. The Giants saw tremendous gains throughout their Minor League system last year, with five players cracking MLB Pipeline’s list of Top 100 prospects: catcher Joey Bart (No. 14 overall), shortstop Marco Luciano (No. 35), outfielder Heliot Ramos (No. 65), Bishop (No. 71) and left-hander Seth Corry (No. 99).
What they’re saying
“I think we're all really excited about the 2020 Draft class,” Holmes said in April. “I think it provides a lot of depth in a lot of different areas. I think that there's quality players all throughout the Draft. I don't think it's a situation where it's top heavy, or there's a certain position that stands out more than another. I think there's a nice balance to this Draft class throughout, and I think there's tremendous depth. It's a class that I know that our group has been really excited about ever since the beginning of last summer.”
Whom might they take?
In his most recent mock draft, Callis predicted the Giants would use their top pick on Oklahoma right-hander Cade Cavalli. San Francisco has also been linked to high-upside prep players, including Turlock (Calif.) High School catcher Tyler Soderstrom and Jesuit High School (Ore.) right-hander Mick Abel.
Each team gets an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of its selections in the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. With a five-round Draft in 2020, all signing bonuses of drafted players will apply toward the bonus pool total.
This year, the Giants have a pool of $9,231,800 to spend, including $4,197,300 to spend on their first selection.
For 2020, there is a $20,000 limit on bonuses for non-drafted free agents. There is no limit to the number of undrafted players teams may sign, but they cannot go over $20,000 per player. These bonuses do not count toward the pool total.
Zaidi said the Giants will canvass the Northern California region as part of their recruitment strategy for non-drafted players this year.
“We’re casting a wide net. We’re certainly going to target the most talented players around the country,” Zaidi told KNBR last week. “But we definitely want to have an emphasis on local players. That’s been something we’ve tried to do over the last couple of years anyway. And I think in this market, you’ve got a better chance of getting to the finish line with a guy that has grown up a fan of your team and probably wants to put on that uniform.”
First base appears sparse for the Giants, with 2019 second-round pick Logan Wyatt the lone first baseman on the club’s list of Top 30 Prospects. San Francisco could also use an influx of upper-level pitching, particularly from the left side, as well as more depth at third base and catcher.
Aside from 2017, when they used their first two picks on high school players, the Giants have leaned toward the college ranks at the top end of their recent Drafts. They have used their top pick on a position player in four consecutive years, drafting outfielders with three of those selections.
The recent top picks
2019: Hunter Bishop, OF
2018: Joey Bart, C
2017: Heliot Ramos, OF
2016: Bryan Reynolds, OF (Traded to the Pirates in exchange for Andrew McCutchen)
2015: Phil Bickford, RHP (Traded to the Brewers in exchange for Will Smith)