Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Scouting the Giants' top draft picks
By Keith Law
Christian Arroyo, San Francisco's 2013 first round selection, impressed in the Arizona League.
I stopped by the Arizona League Giants' home game on Monday to see their top two picks from this June, first-rounder Christian Arroyo and second-rounder Ryder Jones, as well as a few lower-tier prospects.
Arroyo was the most impressive of the group, primarily for his swing and ability to put the bat on the ball. He squared up several pitches and also showed he could foul off a lot of pitches that were too tough to hit well. He's already rotating his hips when his front leg lands, but otherwise his swing is very simple and direct, with a small load and quick path to the ball. Arroyo also has a great follow-through for line-drive power. His actions at shortstop are fine as long as the ball is hit to him or to his left, but to his right, his first step isn't quick enough and he doesn't have the arm for the long throw from the hole.
I think he ends up at second base, but has a chance for a grade-60 bat or better, which would make him at least a solid regular. For Giants fans looking for a comparison, I like him more than I liked Joe Panik when the Giants took him at the end of the first round in 2011, viewing Panik then (and now) as a utility man at best, whereas Arroyo has a good chance to exceed that.
Jones is raw, more of a long-term lottery-ticket kind of play. It seems like it'll take a lot of work just for him to be able to hit. His lower half is very noisy, with his back leg almost fully collapsing through contact, while his front leg is never quite stable enough for him to drive off it. He loads deeply, creating a long path to the ball from that position. His recognition of pitches and locations wasn't good on Monday -- he swung through a couple of high fastballs and also pulled his hands in a few times as if he were expecting a pitch on the inner half, only to get something out over the plate.
While he didn't square anything up in this one game, I would imagine when he does get a hold of a pitch it takes off, as he's very strong and rotates his hips heavily. That, though, might make him a 4 bat/6 (or 7) power guy. He's very rough at third base, playing the position like an outfielder just converted to the infield. He whiffed on a routine grounder a little to his left by failing to move his feet into position and then failing to grab the ball cleanly with his glove. He generally reacted to groundballs like a player who's uncomfortable at that spot. He's a project.
Jonah Arenado is Nolan's younger brother, drafted by the Giants this year in the 16th round out of high school. He has pretty strong hands and a very short path to the ball. His hand-eye coordination didn't look great on Monday, and he's so short to the ball that it limits his ability to drive it. With a ball up that he could have whacked to the gap, he was more likely to foul it off or pop it up (slamming his bat on one pop-up in disgust with himself). This was the briefest look I got at any player, in terms of the number of swings I saw, so I'd rate my level of confidence in this assessment as pretty low. I mention him primarily, because his brother's in the majors, and he looks better than your average 16th-rounder.
The Giants started 21-year-old Venezuelan lefty Luis Ysla, who signed last year for just $7,500 as an older free agent and is making his pro debut this year. I think he's a big league reliever if he stays healthy, as he was 88-93 from a low slot and could sweep a slurvy breaking ball away from left-handed hitters, filling up the strike zone and doing all of this even though he might as well have been playing catch. With some work just to help him get his arm action more consistent and to use his legs a little more, he could become more than that, but he has a floor as a lefty specialist.