Day 2 of the 2023 draft for the San Francisco Giants was very different from the past two seasons.  In 2022 and 2021, the Giants heavily favored pitching, notoriously in 2021 drafting just one hitter, and him in the 10th round (Vaun Brown).  2023 did not go that way.

The drafted a number of position players among their seven Day 2 picks, with five in rounds 3-through-7, and they picked up a wide range of interesting players.  They picked up two shortstops, a second baseman, a third baseman, a catcher, an outfielder, and two pitchers.  Almost all the players picked up came from 4-year universities, with one junior college player breaking the mold.

The picks, in order, are:

  • 3rd Rd. – Cole Foster, SS, Auburn University
  • 4th Rd. – Maui Ahuna, SS, University of Tennessee
  • 5th Rd. – Quinn McDaniel, 2B, University of Maine
  • 6th Rd. – Luke Shliger, C, University of Maryland
  • 7th Rd. – Scott Bandura, OF, Princeton
  • 8th Rd. – Josh Bostick, RHP, Grayson College (CC)
  • 9th Rd. – Charlie Szykowny, 3B, University of Illinois Chicago
  • 10th Rd. Ryan Vanderhei, RHP, TCU

The 2023 draft will continue on Tuesday, with rounds 11-20 to be completed, beginning at 11 am, PT.

3rd Rd. – Cole Foster

The first pick of Day 2 was Cole Foster, a switch-hitting shortstop from Auburn, taken with the #85 pick.  Foster made a name for himself especially in the College World Series in 2022, where he had achievements like hitting home runs from each side of the plate in one game, and played ill to the point that he was forced out of one game, and hit the bases-clearing double to save Auburn in an elimination game against Stanford.  Foster was ranked #95 by MLB Pipeline, and #124 by Baseball America.

Foster is a big guy for a shortstop, listed at 6’1” and 193 lbs, and hit .336/.429/.570 with 13 home runs, 13 doubles, and struck out 19% of the time and walked 11.4% of the time.  He’s a better hitter as a right-handed hitter, but gets better power as a lefty, although overall his hit and power tools are both average at best.  He definitely has some problems with whiffs, chasing sliders and high fastballs.  His strength is in his defense, where he has the tools that should be enough to stick at shortstop long-term.  He has experience all over the infield and in center field too, which probably is something that the Giants like.

4th Rd. – Maui Ahuna

In the 4th round, the Giants took another shortstop with Tennessee’s Maui Ahuna.  The Hilo, Hawaii, native established himself as one of Division-I’s best defensive shortstop, and was ranked pretty highly, at #48 by MLB Pipeline and #72 by Baseball America, but slid to the Giants at #117 because of questions about his bat.  

In his junior season at Tennessee, Ahuna hit .312/.425/.537, but also struck out 77 time to 37 walks in 247 plate appearances, a 31.2% strikeout rate.  In his sophomore season, Ahuna played for Kansas, where he hit .396/.479/.624 in a weaker Big 12 conference.  Ahuna played through some minor adversity in Tennessee, dealing with being declared ineligible to start the season due to some issues with the paperwork on his transfer, but got to start playing a little after a week into the season.  While he has some concerns with his offense, he has the tools to hit for double-digit power and speed he hasn’t worked into his game.  His father was a college baseball player for the University of Hawaii, so the Giants will be banking that he has the baseball IQ to do well enough for his defense to carry him.

5th Rd. – Quinn McDaniel

In the 5th round, the Giants took University of Maine second baseman Quinn McDaniel.  McDaniel emerged in his junior season as a team leader, batting .354/.435/.688 with 14 doubles, a triple, and 16 home runs, as well as picking up 56 stolen bases.

McDaniel’s most notable change was increasing his patience at the plate, not swinging much as he walked 60 times to 44 strikeouts.  When he does swing, though, he has a pretty unorthodox swing that will likely need to be overhauled.  He doesn’t have pure raw power, but he does have speed, and if he continues to get on base with a lot of walks, he could turn into a base-stealing threat and disruptor on the basepaths.  His infield defense will likely limit him to second base, although he’s rangy enough to play in the outfield.  He needs to improve his hands to stick on the infield.

6th Rd. – Luke Shliger

The Giants’ 6th round pick also highlighted plate discipline, with Maryland catcher Luke Shliger.  He worked as both the team’s catcher and often their leadoff hitter, which is rare as heck for a catcher.  Shliger walked 69 times to striking out 56 times in 63 games (328 PA), as he worked on a high-profile team with teammate and first round pick Matt Shaw.  Sliger picked up 24 doubles and 11 home runs, and even had 14 steals in 18 attempts.

Shliger has a ton of baseball IQ, saying in interviews that he uses what he learns behind the plate about how an umpire calls the zone at the plate to help him with his hitting.  Long-term, there’s questions about him being able to hit for power or run, but his hit tool could be enough to carry him as a catcher.  The other questions would be about his size, as he’s listed at just 5’9”, and there questions about his body’s ability to handle the rigors of being a catcher everyday.

7th Rd. – Scott Bandura

Scott Bandura, a Princeton outfielder that the Giants took in the 7th round, has had a lot of baseball experience growing up.  He missed most of his 2022 sophomore season, but was a Princeton leader in 2023, hitting .363/.454/.665 with 13 doubles, three triples, and 12 home runs, plus 15 steals in 17 attempts.  He had 31 walks to 36 strikeouts on the season.  He’s got a great frame that could fill out with development, and had exit velocities up to 110 mph.  He hasn’t faced a lot of good competition, though, in the Ivy League.  Bandura feels like a sleeper in this draft.

Bandura has grown up around the game.  His father, Steve Bandura, worked for the Philadelphia Parks and Rec. department and coached in and organized Philadelphia’s urban sports programs.  In 2012, he submitted a report to MLB about reversing the decline of African-Americans in baseball.  The younger Bandura played for his father, and his little league team, the Taney Dragons, made it to the Little League World Series, and Bandura served as the catcher for the famous Mo’ne Davis, one of the only girls playing with the boys (and dominating). 

Bandura represents the third Ivy League player the Giants have drafted under Farhan Zaidi.  Bandura comes from Princeton, but in 2021 they drafted Rohan Handa from Yale, and in 2019 they drafted Simon Whiteman, also from Yale.

8th Rd. – Josh Bostick

In the 8th round, the Giants went to the community college well, drafting 21-year old Josh Bostick out of Grayson College in Texas.  At Grayson, Bostick had a 2.52 ERA with 103 K to 28 walks in 60.2 innings in 11 games, starting ten of them.  He also had a great showing in the Cape, where he had a 3.00 ERA in 18.0 innings, with 21 strikeouts to nine walks.

Bostick has touched as high as 97, but currently sits his fastball in the low 90’s as a starter and has good life.  He matches that with a slider that has a ton of movement that sits in the low-80’s.  At 6’4”, there’s still some power projection left in his arm.  He’s still working on his third pitch.  With that, he has the feel of a reliever, where he can live on two pitches, and have better velocity in short stints, but regardless, is a project of a prospect with a lot of upside.  Bostick is in his third year of junior college, unusually old for a JC player, and that may put pressure on him to sign and not transfer to a 4-year school.

9th Rd. – Charlie Szykowny

In the 9th round, the Giants took third baseman Charlie Szykowny from the University of Illinois in Chicago.  Szykowny hit .335/.426/.655 as a 5th year senior, collecting 11 doubles, three triples and 16 home runs, with 21 walks to 34 strikeouts.  Szykowny turned 23 at the end of June, as a 5th-year senior who got an extra year of eligibility thanks to the pandemic.

As a 4th-year senior, he played for the University of Wisconsin Stout (Division-III) team, and served as the team captain, where he set the team’s single season home run record with 18, and RBI record with 55, and tied the school’s career record with ten triples, hitting four in 2022 alone.  Upon transferring to Division-I UIC, he won the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year award.

10th Rd. – Ryan Vanderhei

With their final pick of Day 2, the Giants took RHP Ryan Vanderhei out of TCU.  It was a rough season for him, as he struggled to a 6.75 ERA and losing his spot as the Friday night starter throughout the season, and ended this season with an unspecified injury.  The 6’6” pitcher has a high release and natural sinking action, and can touch 99 with his fastball, though as a starter he sat closer to the low-90s.  He has a lot of work to do to get his secondaries up to snuff, so he’s a bit of a raw pitcher with great natural tools, and a lot of work to do to clean it up.