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Carter Williams, OF, North Carolina Central
The first signing by the Giants, and the only signing on the first day by the team.
Williams is a primarily a left fielder from NCC of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. He was one of the team’s top hitters, batting .316/.422/.368 in his senior year (9 games). His Junior season, he hit .328/.394/.475, with 23 walks and 21 strikeouts, and was 14-for-14 in stealing bases. He also hit .353/.441/.400 in the wood bat summer league in the New England Collegiate League.
Williams didn’t tap into much power in college, but he was a good contact hitter with doubles power. He set career records at the school for hits (208) and doubles (43), and his 41 stolen bases are fifth most in school history, with the sixth best stolen base percentage (.872) in school history. He hasn’t been caught stealing since his sophomore year.
Williams fits the draft trend of the Giants, looking for players who have solid strike zone control, though Williams puts the ball in play more often than either taking walks or striking out. He’s probably limited to left field as a pro, which is going to put some onus on him developing his power better to become an everyday starter. But for a Senior sign, he’s got some good tools to work on to try and develop that skill.
Ty Weber, RHP, Illinois
Weber was one of the rocks of the Illinois rotation for his career, spending his last two seasons as one of the weekend starters on the team. In his short time in 2020, he had a 1.31 ERA in four starts, throwing 20 2/3 innings, striking out 15 and walking only 2. He was holding batters to a .131 batting average. In his last full season, he had a 3.28 ERA in 79.2 innings, with 46 strikeouts and 32 walks, and a .220 batting average against (tenth in the big ten).
His fastball has been reported between the high-80’s and mid-90’s, and he has four pitches with a curve, slider, and changeup. But he hasn’t been a dominating pitcher, and he does not have an out pitch, leading to the less than impressive strikeout numbers, although hitters did not seem to be able to square him up well. He was not ranked in any of the pre-draft rankings.
Weber was previously drafted by the Reds in the 34th round of 2016.
Tyler Forner, OF, Camas HS (WI)
It’s a bit of a surprise to see any high school players taking the $20,000 signing bonus and starting pro careers right away, but Forner is one of five high schoolers signing UDFA contracts (so far) this spring. But Forner has been focused on going pro right away, with an April interview with him stating he “had several Division I college baseball offers and plenty of interest, but he made it clear he had his mind set on a jump straight into the pro ranks.” Forner’s family lived in San Mateo when he was in preschool, and they come back to the bay area regularly.
There’s not a lot of scouting to report on Forner. In addition to playing baseball, Forner was an all-state Linebacker, and his high school Camas won the Wisconsin state championship. GPT on twitter reports he has plus speed, a contact-oriented swing, and an unsurprisingly strong frame for being a linebacker.
Wil Jensen, RHP, Pepperdine
Let’s start off with one very unusual fact about Jensen: He was ranked #235 on BA’s top 500 prospects for the draft. That’s not bad value coming as an undrafted free agent.
Jensen works mostly with a sinking fastball in the low-mid 90’s, and works off his slider with possibilities of other offspeed pitches coming up to support him. He came off of Tommy John surgery in 2018 to have a 2.19 ERA in 24.2 innings as a senior before the season ended early.
There are some questions about his ability to stick as a starter, but good sinkerballers have room for relief as well. The key for him will be to sharpening an out pitch for him, although he does well relying on his defense for outs.
Brett Auerbach, 3B/C, Alabama
Well, you want versatility? Farhan found a player who truly fits that description. For Alabama, Auerbach played catcher, third base…and center field. Wow. Auerbach was a Senior discovery, after he had a pedestrian .270/.364/.341 Junior season at Alabama, he hit .388/.506/.642 in 17 games of his shortened Senior year, and had some eye-opening numbers. For instance, he led Alabama in steals with 12 on 14 attempts (Remember, this is a part-time catcher), and collected 17 walks while striking out just eight times in 86 plate appearances.
Not bad for a kid who became a catcher in high school because in his tryouts, he tried on catcher gear out of curiosity, and a coach said “Oh, you catch?”. Auerbach replied “I guess, sure.” Auerbach has a lot to prove, but he instantly becomes the dream player we think Zaidi would like to have, being able to fit in all over the field, bringing plate discipline, and even being able to spell the regular catchers when needed.
Robert Emery, C, University of San Francisco
The Giants got a local kid to help fill out the the backstop position. Emery was a St. Ignatius graduate out of high school. He started his college career at Darmouth before transferring to USF. He was going to transfer again to Arkansas for next year (his sixth college season!) before this reported signing. Emery knew current Arkansas coach Matt Hobbs when he was young and Hobbs was at USF, who recruited him for that potential transfer. Emery turns 24 in October.
Emery was leading USF with his .381 batting average in this shortened season. Overall in 2020, he hit .381/.451/.540 in 17 games, with 4 doubles and 2 home runs in 63 at-bats, with 7 walks against 12 strikeouts. In 2019 (His first full season), he hit .320/.386/.479 in 54 games with 16 doubles and 5 home runs. He also had a perfect fielding percentage in both 2019 and 2020, and was on the Buster Posey Award Watch List for both seasons.
It’s worth noting that Emery earned a Master’s degree at USF in Entrepreneurship, and was planning to pursue a second Master’s in Operational Management at Arkansas.