With the draft's imbalance of pitching and hitting talent and the recent Tommy John surgeries of a few top pitchers (including Eastern Carolina's Jeff Hoffman), there's nothing definite about the first round of the draft. Giants scouting director John Barr's statement that the team could go for either a hitter or a pitcher in the first round adds further confusion to the Giants' plans early in the draft.
With that being said, there are a few options who stand out for the Giants, and while we can't say for sure who will land in San Francisco in the first round, there's a good chance one of these three players will be holding a Giants uniform on draft day.
Zimmer, a 6'5" lefty-hitting, righty-throwing outfielder from the University of San Francisco, is one of the top overall position players in the draft, and he's a good fit for the Giants for a number of reasons.
The most obvious connection is that Zimmer has played in San Francisco at USF for the past three years, and he achieved a lot of success there. He hit .368 with 21 stolen bases while playing all 54 games during his senior year, which included a 19-game hitting streak. He also comes from a line of athletic talent that includes his older brother, Kyle, who was drafted fifth overall in 2012.
ESPN's Keith Law wrote in his latest mock draft (subscription required) that the Giants have been connected to Zimmer, and given the team's lack of outfield prospects—two in its top 20, according to MLB.com—and the USF connection, the fit makes plenty of sense.
Though the Giants won't say whether they'll go with a hitter or pitcher to open the draft, the safe bet is to assume they'll go after the latter.
For one, they've had tons of success drafting starters in the first round—Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner—and they also drafted a hitter last year, which would make a second consecutive pitcher-free first round all the more unlikely for a team that prides itself on homegrown pitching talent.
It's somewhat of a shot in the dark to make any type of prediction here because the first 13 picks will dictate whom the Giants select, but in terms of best fit and someone who could realistically fall to San Francisco at this spot, Vanderbilt's Tyler Beede makes a lot of sense.
The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Beede in the 2011 MLB draft, but he turned them down in favor of pitching three years at college. After a rocky first season, the 6'4" right-hander put it all together during his sophomore year, posting a 14-1 record with a 2.32 ERA and just 64 hits allowed in 101 innings. He hasn't found the same success this year (8-7, 3.20 ERA), but the tools are there, and so is the potential.
Beede generally sits in the low 90s, but he can reach back for a little extra and reach the high 90s if needed. He's also a big guy, which speaks well for his durability, and his changeup features a big speed difference from his fastball, making it a tough pitch to hit—if Beede can control it.
Holmes is perhaps the most popular pick for the Giants in the first round, with Law projecting him to land with the Giants in all three versions of his mock draft.
One of Holmes' biggest draws is his already-developed repertoire. He has a strong fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s but can also reach the upper levels, and his power curveball often touches the mid-80s.
Holmes is also very similar in many respects to Tim Lincecum, in the sense that both can ratchet up the velocity despite lacking the frame typically seen from high-velocity pitchers. The move worked out for the Giants the first time, as they got two Cy Young seasons and World Series victories out of it.
Given Holmes' high upside and his impressive arsenal of pitches, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Giants go after him on Thursday.
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