SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Krook remembers thousands of cameras flashing as Barry Bonds strode to the batter's box at AT&T Park, pursuing the Major League single-season home run record in 2001.Krook sensed the excitement and reached a conclusion: Playing baseball must be a heck of a lot of fun."That's kind
SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Krook remembers thousands of cameras flashing as Barry Bonds strode to the batter's box at AT&T Park, pursuing the Major League single-season home run record in 2001.
Krook sensed the excitement and reached a conclusion: Playing baseball must be a heck of a lot of fun.
"That's kind of when I started to fall in love with not just the Giants, but with baseball," Krook said.
:: Complete 2016 Draft coverage ::
• Giants focus on lefty pitchers on Draft Day 2
Krook's passion led him to the brink of realizing a dream Friday, as the Giants selected the University of Oregon left-hander in the fourth round of the 2016 Draft. A native of San Mateo who grew up in Hillsborough and graduated from San Francisco's St. Ignatius High School, Krook couldn't contain his joy after he learned the Giants had plucked him from the crop of prospects.
"To get drafted by anyone is an honor, but to get drafted by the team that I grew up watching my whole life is very exciting," said Krook, whose parents had Giants season tickets.
Krook excited the Giants with his performance this year as a Draft-eligible sophomore. He struck out 68 batters in 53 2/3 innings and limited opponents to a .194 batting average, obscuring his 5.03 ERA. He's a power pitcher, with a fastball that consistently travels in the low-90 mph range. Krook complements that delivery with a slider and curveball.
Statistics could not measure Krook's most significant accomplishment. He stayed healthy, having undergone Tommy John surgery in 2014 after starting eight games for Oregon as a freshman. The Marlins selected Krook 35th overall out of high school, but cooled on him after post-Draft physical examinations revealed a labral tear.
"I was kind of nervous to see how my arm would feel this year physically," Krook said, "and so I guess the biggest thing is that my arm has felt great. I think it's bounced back exceptionally well and my velocity's back, my stuff is back."
The Giants agreed. Krook walked 49 batters, averaging nearly one per inning. But the Giants have succeeded in harnessing the control of various pitchers through the years, relying on player personnel director Dick Tidrow to tinker with their mechanics, with assistance from the organization's wealth of pitching coaches.
"He's someone we think has a high upside," Giants scouting director John Barr said. "We think it would be great to be able to have Dick and our staff work with him and guide him along the way."
Krook agreed he could benefit from implementing "a few small mechanical things, a few mental adjustments." Also, once he would become a regular at Spring Training, he might benefit from close-range viewing of left-hander Madison Bumgarner, the Giants ace whom Krook said he has studied frequently in recent years.
Krook, 21, didn't rule out returning to Oregon. He indicated he wants to discuss his options with his advisor, Adam Karon of Sosnick Cobbe & Karon, as well as Giants officials and Oregon coaches.
"Obviously, pro baseball is something I'd love to play," Krook said. "Especially for the Giants. That would be awesome."
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.