This 2023 draft is considered to be one of the more talent-packed drafts in recent years, and with the Giants right at the mid-way mark of the first round, there’s likely to be a lot of talent available.
There’s going to be a lot of drama and talk at the top of the draft, with Louisiana State teammates outfielder Dylan Crews and pitcher Paul Skenes competing for the top pick and likely to go 1-2 in either order. But the mid-tier of the draft is packed with a lot of names and drama as well. There’s an interesting hole in the pitching tiers as well, which has left the middle of the first round packed with hitters, and especially shortstops. Well, uh, “shortstops”, as they all play there now but for most, there’s questions about staying there.
For the Giants, that could work. They have gone pitching heavy recently, having made all of their first nine picks in 2021 pitchers, and just about all of their first six in 2022 pitchers as well (with the asterisk being two-way player Reggie Crawford, but most think he’ll only be a pitcher in the bigs). And, truthfully, there’s been a lot of disappointments with that strategy so far, and a weakness in the lower levels when it comes to hitters. So, going with a first-round hitter would bring some balance to the system.
That doesn’t mean this list is all hitters, but there’s definitely a very visible trend towards hitters in this list.
With that, journalists from all over have picked up on which scouts have been focusing on what players in this draft. With that in mind, here’s a list of the players that have been commonly connected with the Giants. I would wager that the Giants’ first round pick will come out of this list.
Names associated with the Giants
Walker Martin, SS, Eaton HS (CO)
Ranks: MLB – #30; BA – #33
One of the most commonly connected names with the Giants is high school shortstop Walker Martin out of Colorado. His 20 home runs were the most in the country, although his power is considered average with the ability to maybe get to above-average…the total is partially because of, you know, Colorado. However, he has at least five average tools, with a good chance of his hit tool and his speed being somewhat above average. Will he stick at shortstop? There are some questions here, but it sounds like about an even chance that he’s a third baseman down the road. Still, a young, lefty, all-around prospect is a good player. He’s committed to Arkansas. There is too much smoke around Martin’s name to not consider him one of the Giants’ top candidates.
Tommy Troy, SS, Stanford
Ranks: MLB – #17; BA – #12
Another all-around player, Troy ticks a lot of the boxes for what we know a Zaidi-led Giants team likes: Great Cape Cod performance, defensive versatility, low strikeout numbers, more contact-oriented than power, a high baseball IQ, and strong Bay Area ties with Stanford and coming out of Los Gatos. The biggest questions around Troy come around his size, as he stands just 5’10”, and his defensive future, as many feels he’s a second baseman long-term. However, the Giants would probably see him as a plug-and-play type of guy, and so he fits very well. Nearly every major publication and mock draft at least mentions Troy as a possibility for the Giants, and it’s easy to see why. It could be that the only thing that stops him from being a Giant is being drafted higher.
Jacob Gonzalez, SS, Mississippi
Ranks: MLB – #18; BA – #8
Deja vu? Speaking of guys who might be gone before the Giants’ pick is Mississippi shortstop Gonzalez. Playing for the former MCWS champions, Gonzalez has displayed plus skill for both making contact and hitting with power. He keeps consistent high walk rates and low strikeout rates. He’s almost certainly not a shortstop long term, but he can handle third. However, he has been climbing in the mock drafts. If he’s still around, he could be the second Jacob Gonzalez drafted in the top few rounds by the Giants in the last decade (but this one isn’t related to Luis Gonzalez).
Enrique Bradfield Jr., OF, Vanderbilt
Ranks: MLB – #21; BA – #17
If you want speed and defense, Enrique Bradfield is your guy. He’s got speed graded in the 70-80 range by scouts (as high as it gets) and is an excellent defender with great routes and can cover a lot of ground, although his arm is average at best. Unlike many speed-and-defense types, Bradfield has good contact skills to get the ball in play and let his speed change games. He has notably below-average power, but that’s not what his game is built for. The big scouting reports compare him to Kenny Lofton and Juan Pierre. With Oracle Park’s huge outfield (and the other big NL West outfields), having a center fielder like Bradfield who can take triples away from opponents would be a huge asset.
Matt Shaw, SS, Maryland
Ranks: MLB – #16; BA – #13
Shaw is one of the names often mentioned with the Giants as a “This guy would also fit here” sort of a name. He’s a plus hitter with both contact skills and power, and an above average runner as well. Like many of the “shortstops” in this draft, Shaw is likely headed elsewhere defensively, but he can play second, third, and the corner outfield spots, which fits that versatility loved by Zaidi and Kapler. Shaw is an excellent hitter and might be a tick better overall than Tommy Troy, which is why there’s also a very good chance he’s taken in the 2-3 picks ahead of the Giants.
Bryce Eldridge, RHP/1B, Madison HS (Virginia)
Ranks: MLB – #23; BA – #22
When I see Eldridge connected with the Giants, I sometimes think it’s only because of the Giants picking Reggie Crawford in 2022. Eldridge is a two-way player, but like Crawford, some think he’ll eventually be a plus pitcher, where he has a 95-96 mph fastball and a good changeup. As a hitter, he’s got excellent raw power, but with strikeout risk and below-average speed, although some feel he has the athleticism to play left field as well. Still, at first base, he’s a nice target at 6’7” and good hands. Also like Crawford, he dealt with an injury this season, but as it was an ankle injury, there’s far less questions. Drafting Eldridge is definitely a play for upside with some risk, but I’m a little unsure the Giants would do that here.
Noble Meyer, RHP, Jesuit HS (Oregon)
Ranks: MLB – #8; BA – #9
After two straight drafts prioritizing pitchers, this draft has seen mostly position players linked to the Giants (tons of shortstop-ish guys), but Meyer is one of the pitchers that I’ve seen the Giants connected to. The Oregon-commit is 6’5” with a two-seam fastball that’s hitting the high 90’s, and a good mid-80’s slider that works laterally. By all accounts, Meyer is a player whose talent should see him drafted before #16, but prep right-handed pitchers sometimes slip, and the Giants should at least be informed on a top talent kid from a region they regularly draft from.
Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy (Massachusetts)
Ranks: MLB – #24; BA – #14
Let’s keep on the pitching talk. White is probably the top high school left-hander, a 6’6” kid with mid-90’s fastball with a low delivery profile, and he has a plus curve and changeup with a lot of growth potential and maybe a slider down the line. The curve also has that “high-spin rate” that’s all the rage these days. The Giants are definitely looking in on him. But the control is a risk factor, as with many pitchers of this profile. Also, he could be difficult to sign away from his Vanderbilt commitment. He could slip to the Giants…and maybe way past the Giants…if that signability is too big of a concern.
Jacob Wilson, SS, Grand Canyon
Ranks: MLB – #10; BA – #6
Kiley McDaniel of ESPN recently connected the Giants to Jacob Wilson, who is fairly unique among the shortstops listed among the Top 20 because he likely will actually stick at shortstop. The smooth fielder with a strong arm fits a more traditional shortstop profile with plus contact skills, making a ton of contact and being able to square up pitches that other hitters would miss. He’s lacking in power and has just average run skills. Still, an actual shortstop is hard to find in the draft, and although McDaniel picked him to slip, I don’t think he’ll be there at #16.
Hurston Waldrep, RHP, Florida
Ranks: MLB – #19; BA – #18
College pitching is interesting in this draft. Behind the top three (Paul Skenes, Rhett Lowder, Chase Dollander), there’s a pretty significant drop to the next tier of guys. Waldrep, however, got some helium with a great run in the NCAA tournament, with a mid-high 90’s fastball and three good secondaries, with his changeup being the best of the bunch. His control is the big issue, but with the showing at the tournament, and a huge gap in the pitching tiers, he might climb into right around the draft when the Giants pick.