Giants play catchup in Draft
Position players big on first day, pitchers on second
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants continue to break tradition in the First-Year Player Draft.Long known for stocking up on pitching prospects, the club altered that strategy in 2004 by choosing outfielders Eddy Martinez-Esteve, John Bowker and Clay Timpner as their first three picks. That game plan continued Tuesday, with speedy University of Pittsburgh center fielder Ben Copeland tabbed No. 132 overall by San Francisco in the fourth round and five of the first seven selections being position players. Not that it was a "pick-nic." By the time their first choice rolled around, it was obvious most of the tastiest morsels had been tabbed. "We're kind of at the mercy of what everyone else does," said Dick Tidrow, vice president of player personnel. "It wasn't quite as simple as last year -- more difficult -- but we got some guys who can run and profile for their position." San Francisco had lost its first three picks to Florida, St. Louis and Cleveland for their offseason inkings of Armando Benitez, Mike Matheny and Omar Vizquel. That made getting choice, Grade A ballplayers tougher this draft -- the fourth round was the lowest ever for the Giants' first choice -- but Tidrow felt the club grabbed decent prospects when it could. Overall, the Giants drafted 29 pitchers, three catchers, eight infielders and eight outfielders with their 47 picks, 36 of them college players and 11 from the prep ranks. Nineteen hurlers were chosen Wednesday, the second day of the draft, which featured 32 selections by the Giants. They were lucky in one sense: The top three picks were already in their plans -- Copeland, Niagara right-handed pitcher Dan Griffin and their third choice, lefty hurler Kyle Cuthbertson from Lethbridge Community College in Alberta, Canada. "I think we'll always get good pitchers, but position players are a little more difficult -- you have to make the spots for them, especially in this draft," said Tidrow. "If we waited around much, teams have already picked many, many times, and the position players will fall off the board if we don't get over there." Fifth-round choice Griffin is a 6-foot-7, 225-pound hard thrower who will throw even harder as he climbs up the Minor League chain. "He's a real big kid but not rough," said Tidrow. As for the 5-foot-10 Cuthbertson, looks belie his strength. The 19-year-old sixth-rounder was 7-4 with a 2.68 ERA -- decent -- but limited opposing batters to a .162 average, striking out 96 over only 14 games. "He has a very clean arm," said Tidrow, meaning smooth delivery. "He has good secondary stuff already and high velocity with his fastball. The equipment is basically there." The seventh-round pick was outfielder Joe Dyche from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, the alma mater of four other Giants picks -- Jason Ellison in 2000, Marvin Benard in 1992, Keith Foulke in 1994 and Steve Decker in 1998. Dyche hit .500 with 70 runs, 11 homers and 56 RBIs -- plus 23 steals -- over 52 games. The eighth-rounder was University of Arkansas infielder Scotty Bridges, who hit .410 this year, while the Giants picked San Jose State infielder Anthony Contreras in the ninth round. He batted .373 his senior year. Closer to home, San Francisco nabbed University of San Francisco right-hand pitcher Nick Pereira in the 10th round. He went 10-3 with a 2.21 ERA on a staff that had the nation's sixth-best ERA in 2005. "He may be a power starter," said Tidrow. "He has life and a heavy fastball and did rather well in workouts here." A sleeper pick might be Troy State catcher Henry Gutierrez, selected in the 11th round, with Tidrow saying several catchers had already fallen, but the Giants thought he was the "best guy left standing. He's an offensive guy who can stand and throw." Former Giants second baseman Robby Thompson's son, Drew, a senior shortstop of Jupiter Community High in Tequesta, Fla., was tabbed by the Minnesota Twins as the 80th player overall. Will Venable of Princeton, son of ex-Giant Max Venable, who played 12 years in the Majors and lives in San Rafael, was chosen by San Diego in the seventh round. The Giants' picks, with Tidrow's comments noted: 132. Ben Copeland, OF, University of Pittsburgh: "All-around player, one of best left on the board. Has some pop. He'll follow Clay Timpner up the line." 162. Dan Griffin, RHP, Niagara (N.Y.) University: "Has upside with loose arm; a real big kid but not rough." 192 Kyle Cuthbertson, RHP Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) CC: "Very clean arm, has a definite upside and loose arm." 222. Joe Dyche, OF, Lewis-Clark (Idaho) State College: "Great swing with power. Kids coming from here are tough kids." 252. Scotty Bridges, IF, University of Arkansas 282. Anthony Contreras, IF, San Jose State (Calif.) University 312. Nick Pereira, RHP, University of San Francisco 342. Henry Gutierrez, C, Troy State (Ala.) University: "Best catcher left." 372. Joe Martinez, RHP, Boston College 402. Taylor Wilding, RHP, Cal Poly Pomona 432. Brian Anderson, RHP, Long Beach (Calif.) State 462. Alex Hinshaw, LHP, San Diego (Calif.) State 492. Buck Cody, LHP, University of Texas 522. Mark Minicozzi, IF, East Carolina University 552. Chad Wagler, RHP, Kent State (Ohio) University 582. Brandon Grabham, RHP, Grayson County (Texas) CC 612. Jonathan Gaston, OF, Borah (Boise, Idaho) HS 642. Robert Grace, RHP, College of the Desert (Calif.) 672. Taylor Creswell, OF, Deer Valley (Antioch, Calif.) HS 702. David Maroul, IF, University of Texas 732. James Simmons, OF, Vernon Regional (Texas) JC 762. Barry Gunther, C, University of Mississippi 792. Ivan Herrera-Rusova, RHP, Oasis Alternative (Toronto, Canada) HS 822. Johnny Monell, C, Christopher Columbus (Bronx, N.Y.) HS 852. Sergo Romo, RHP, Mesa State (Colo.) College 882. Angel Nicolas, IF, Miami (Fla.) Killian HS 912. Erik Meyer, RHP, Eastern Washington University 942. Wayne Foltin, RHP, UNLV 972. Damon Brewer, LHP, Lake City (Fla.) CC 1,002. Chris Todd, IF, Coastal Carolina University 1,032. Matt Long, RHP, Miami University (Ohio) 1,062. Antoan Richardson, OF, Vanderbilt University 1,092. Thomas Neal, OF, Poway (San Diego, Calif.) HS 1,122. David Newton, RHP, West Valley (Calif.) JC 1,152. Ben Nieto, LHP, Riverside (Calif.) CC 1,181. Melvin Blackmon, LHP, Temecula Valley (Calif.) HS 1,210. Kurt Lipton, OF, Pine Crest (Boca Raton, Fla.) HS 1,239. Bo Merrell, IF, Perryton (Texas) HS 1,268. Anthony Snow, RHP, Edmonds (Wash.) CC 1,297. Christopher Stanton, IF, Virginia Tech 1,326. Reggie Fuller, LHP, Diablo Valley (Calif.) College 1,355. Eric Dworkis, RHP, University of California-Berkeley 1,384. Jared Cranston, LHP, Seward (Kansas) County CC 1,413. George Snyder, RHP, Chaffey (Calif.) JC 1,441. Adam Ortiz-Jusino, RHP, Brookdale (N.J.) JC 1,495. Justin Robertson, RHP, Nipomo (Calif.) HS
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.