San Francisco Giants 2011: 5 Draft Picks with the Highest Bust Potential
Brian Sabean and the San Francisco Giants took their fair share of risk/reward players in the 2011 MLB amateur draft.
The Giants favored pitchers early and often, sprinkling in position players with high upside.
But it's hard to tell whether the high upside justifies the top-10 pick.
Here are the five players most likely to flame out before they ever see big-league action.
5. RP Christopher Marlowe
Round Taken: 5
Reliever Chris Marlowe impressed last year when he logged 71 strikeouts and just 25 hits allowed in 41 innings.
The reason he fell to the fifth round was because he has trouble keeping the ball in the zone, as he also recorded 42 walks (including eight hit batsmen) and seven wild pitches.
Despite his strikeout stuff and ability to limit base hits, Marlowe recorded a 5.05 ERA—about three points higher than you'd like to see in a reliever.
His high ERA indicates that Marlowe could not simply rely on his strikeout stuff to get out of jams; a skill that big-league clubs want to see in their relievers.
Marlowe has a tough road ahead of him to contain his wild ways.
4. SS Jean Delgado
Round Taken: 8
Only 18 years old, Jean Delgado is a Puerto Rican shortstop who plays solid defense and is quick, but has limited power.
Delgado has all the right physical tools to be a successful shortstop: a good arm and light feet in the field and quick hands in the batter's box.
But the young shortstop has a long, inefficient swing and no power yet. Some scouts believe he will grow into his power, but chances are the 5'11", 150-pound Delgado doesn't have more than a 5-10 HR ceiling.
Because of his age and the complete rawness of his game, Delgado is a big risk/reward pick that stands a high chance of failure.
3. C Andrew Susac
Round Taken: 2
Many mock drafts had the San Francisco Giants selecting catcher Andrew Susac with their first-round pick.
The Giants passed him up then, and again at number 49 overall, before eventually selecting the Oregon State product at the end of the second round.
Although highly touted, Susac really isn't that special of a catcher. His defense is good and his arm is solid, but his .260/.387/.365 line is not stellar.
To put that in to perspective, Buster Posey hit .346 in his freshman year of college. In all fairness, Posey was one of the best catching prospects in baseball history. But, if Susac is going to be Posey's replacement, he's got a lot of ground to make up in the batting department.
2. 1B/3B Erfin "Ricky" Oropesa
Round Taken: 3
San Francisco's fourth pick, Ricky Oropesa, is one of the biggest risk/reward picks in the whole draft. Mocks had him going anywhere between the compensation round to the third, where he eventually was taken.
According to the MLB Draft guide, the 6'3", 225-pound corner infielder "has one of the most powerful lefthanded bats available" in the draft class.
Oropesa has hit .300 each of his three years in the Pac-10, but saw his home run total decline from 20 a year ago, to just seven this past year.
Many consider this numerical decline a result of USC's poor team play (25-31 record last year), and pitchers pitching around the slugger in favor of the much weaker supporting cast.
But Oropesa has always been a pure fastball hitter, and it is likely pitchers just started throwing him off-speed stuff.
Oropesa cannot really field well at all, making him best suited as a DH.
The USC product is not what you'd call an all-around player. He is a power hitter, but has already struggled to maintain his big numbers.
1. SP Joshua Osich
Round Taken: 6
Joshua Osich is a 6'3" southpaw who pitches primarily for the strikeout.
In 64 innings pitched last year, the lefty whiffed 79 batters, good for a stellar 11.1 K/9.
Unfortunately, he also walked 34 batters, meaning he also posted a solid, but not overwhelming, 2.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Osich had Tommy John surgery in 2007, and has already suffered a repercussion—his fastball dropped in velocity from 97 MPH to the 92-94 range, decreasing his ability to overpower hitters.
The Corvallis Gazette-Times reported recently that Osich was experiencing shoulder "fatigue" and might miss his next start, which is hardly a good sign for a pitcher with an injury history already.
Osich has lots of potential, but has a history of both wildness and injury—two things that individually can prove impossible to overcome.
The two together spells disaster for Osich and the Giants.