Giants go heavy on college middle infielders on Day 2

July 11th, 2023

The Giants used their top two picks of the 2023 MLB Draft on high school players, but they selected exclusively from the college ranks on Day 2, targeting a fresh crop of middle infielders in Rounds 3-10 on Monday.

Shortstops Cole Foster (third round, Auburn) and Maui Ahuna (fourth round, Tennessee) and second baseman Quinn McDaniel (fifth round, University of Maine) highlighted the Giants’ Day 2 haul, showcasing the club’s attempt to load up on athletic defenders up the middle.

San Francisco, which also selected shortstop Walker Martin out of Eaton (Co.) High School in the second round on Sunday, has selected middle infielders with four of its first six picks this year.

“Our approach is to take the best available player,” amateur scouting director Michael Holmes said. “We do like middle of the diamond players, and we put an emphasis on that in Draft. We like guys that stay in the middle of the field. It’s no coincidence that we had targeted some of these guys.”

The Giants rounded out Day 2 by selecting catcher Luke Shilger (sixth round, University of Maryland), outfielder Scott Bandura (seventh round, Princeton), right-hander Josh Bostick (eighth round, Grayson College), third baseman Charlie Szykowny (ninth round, University of Illinois at Chicago) and right-hander Ryan Vanderhei (10th round, TCU).

Ahuna, who was the 48th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline but ended up falling to the Giants at 117th overall, stood out as a particularly intriguing pick, as he struggled with some swing-and-miss tendencies but still hit .312 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs over 53 games with Tennessee this year. Despite his streakiness at the plate, Holmes said he’s confident the Giants will be able to get the most out of his left-handed swing once they bring him into the organization.

“First and foremost, when it comes to Maui, he easily could have been considered the best defensive shortstop in the entire Draft,” Holmes said. “We put a premium on defense in this organization. We think he’s an impactful defender, and we think we can help him out on the hitting side. He’s already a really good hitter. If we get his approach back to maybe what it was the year before and control the zone a little bit more, we think we’ve got an everyday player.”