Everything to know about Giants' 2020 Draft

June 12th, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants’ improving farm system bolstered its depth of talent this week with seven selections in the 2020 MLB Draft, but there will be other opportunities to bring promising prospects into the organization in the coming weeks.

With the Draft shortened to five rounds instead of the usual 40 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a significant pool of non-drafted players will now be eligible to sign with any Major League club beginning on Sunday at 6 a.m. PT.

The Giants hope to leverage local ties and preexisting relationships in the upcoming recruiting process, but they’re excited about the balance they achieved with their 2020 Draft class, which was headlined by first-round pick Patrick Bailey, a switch-hitting catcher out of North Carolina State. In the second round, San Francisco snagged San Diego State’s Casey Schmitt, a two-way player who is expected to be developed as a third baseman.

With the two compensation picks they received for losing Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith to free agency, the Giants selected Bailey’s college teammate, N.C. State left-hander Nick Swiney, and Dallas Baptist shortstop Jimmy Glowenke. They capped their prospect haul with a run on pitching, drafting De La Salle (Calif.) High School left-hander Kyle Harrison in the third round, Arizona State right-hander R.J. Dabovich in the fourth round and Le Moyne (N.Y.) College right-hander Ryan Murphy in the fifth round.

Now what?
The signing deadline this year is Aug. 1.

If a club exceeds its assigned pool, it faces a penalty. Teams that outspend their allotment by 0-5 percent pay a 75 percent tax on the overage. At higher thresholds, clubs lose future picks: a first-rounder and a 75 percent tax for surpassing their pool by more than 5 and up to 10 percent; a first- and a second-rounder and a 100 percent tax for more than 10 and up to 15 percent; and two first-rounders and a 100 percent tax for more than 15 percent.

In eight years with these rules, teams have exceeded their allotments a total of 149 times but never by more than 5 percent. Twenty-one of the 30 teams outspent their pools last year. This year, the Giants have a pool of $9,231,800 to spend, including $4,197,300 for their first selection (13th overall).

Harrison has a commitment to UCLA, but president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the Giants are expecting to get a deal done with the third-rounder.

Trend wrap
In their second Draft under Zaidi and scouting director Michael Holmes, the Giants once again demonstrated a preference for college players, who accounted for six of the club’s seven selections. Harrison, a local product who attended high school less than 30 miles away from Oracle Park, was the lone prep player drafted by the Giants this year.

Another theme for the Giants was familiarity, which became especially valuable after the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports leagues across the country in March. Holmes was previously based out of North Carolina and has known Bailey since high school, giving the Giants extra confidence that the 21-year-old backstop was the right choice for their top pick.

N.C. State has clearly received plenty of looks from San Francisco’s scouting department over the last two years, as the Giants also acquired 2019 first-round Draft pick Will Wilson from the Angels in December and added Swiney in the compensation round this year.

After tapping Arizona State outfielder Hunter Bishop with their first-round pick in 2019, the Giants also selected his former Sun Devils teammate, Dabovich, in the fourth round this year.

“Obviously, seeing a lot of Hunter last year at Arizona State, we were able to start a little bit of history with Dabovich,” Holmes said. “He’s certainly a guy we're really excited about.”

First-round fact
Bailey’s selection was a bit unexpected, as it came only two years after the Giants drafted Georgia Tech’s Joey Bart with the second overall pick of the 2018 Draft. Despite Bart’s standing as the club’s top catching prospect and successor to Buster Posey, the Giants stuck with the familiar axioms of taking the best available player on the board and stockpiling depth at a premium defensive position.

Zaidi said he envisions a scenario in which Bart and Bailey can coexist on the Giants’ roster in a few years, especially given the club’s emphasis on positional flexibility.

“I think when we look at what our ideal team and ideal roster looks like, the dream scenario is to have two catchers that can impact the game offensively and defensively,” Zaidi said. “If you're lucky enough to have that, there are going to be times when you want both guys in the lineup.

“Who knows what the future holds in terms of whether we go to a universal DH, but I think it's something that we want all of our catchers to do. [We want] all the guys in the system to be able to play a different position. We'll be going to the 26-man roster here, and I think it's possible that teams carry three catchers during major chunks of the season as well.”

Day 2 name to watch
MLB Pipeline ranked Harrison as the No. 63 prospect heading into the Draft, but the Giants were able to pick him up in the third round with the 85th overall pick. The 18-year-old lefty has touched 93 mph with his fastball and also throws a good slider and changeup.

“We've really seen his development over the last eight to 10 months,” Holmes said. “We've seen his velocity improve. We've seen his breaking ball improve. He's always been able to command the baseball on both sides of the plate. It's more of a three-quarter to low three-quarter slot with a little bit of a cross-body look, so it's a very deceptive delivery. Hitters have a tough time seeing the baseball. But this kid is smart on the mound. He's got tremendous feel. He's got good stuff. He definitely is a really competitive kid that we got a chance to know really well. Visiting with him and his family, we had a definite comfort with him.”

NDFA strategy
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 don’t have a target number for the amount of non-drafted players they’d like to sign, as their activity will largely be determined by the caliber of talent that is available.

“Obviously, we've got to work with [director] Kyle Haines and the player development group to make sure that we have opportunities for these guys,” Zaidi said. “That's going to be important for the players, too. To feel like once we get back to playing baseball, there are at-bats or innings for them.”

Zaidi said he’s already spoken with a few current Giants players about potentially helping with the recruiting process down the line. The Giants also showed their commitment to their homegrown talent earlier this week by pledging to pay their Minor League players through Sept. 7, which would have marked the end of the Minor League season.

The last word
“Overall, from our aspect, when we had the chance to make seven selections, we were really excited because it's more opportunity to put really talented players in our system and really add to the depth of what is already a really good system. Speaking for my staff, we're really excited about how the past two days went. We look forward to seeing these guys wearing Giants uniforms.” -- Holmes