For the San Francisco Giants and their fans, one need stood above the others in Thursday's MLB Draft: offense.
More specifically: power from the corners of the outfield and infield, on which the Giants with the exception of the soon-to-retire Mr. Bonds have been embarrassingly short for quite some time.
On Thursday, the Giants were blessed with one top-10 pick, three in the first round, and six in the first 51 selections.
And so what did they do?
Never ones to disappoint, Brian Sabean and Co. selected high school pitchers with their first two picks.
I mean no disrespect to Madison Bumgarner and Timothy Alderson I'm sure they're great. But the Giants are pretty flush with arms in both the minors and the bigs, thanks to their decade-long strategy of drafting pitchers, pitchers, and...pitchers!
Not that I'm complaining, necessarily. I know many teams would love to have a loaded rotation with some electric young arms, along with a solid group of guys in the bullpen and minor leagues. But given the Giants' historical inability to draft and develop position players, you'd think they'd try to turn the tide a little.
Especially with Beau Mills on the board.
Mills, a first baseman out of Lewis-Clark State, was still available when the Giants picked at number ten. His big bat had Giants fanboys salivating in the lead-up to the draft...and would have been a perfect long-term fit for the Giants' anemic offense.
Now, though, the lunatic fringe has more to rail about...and the Giants are still looking for answers when it comes to homegrown position players.
Sure, they followed up the Bumgarner and Alderson picks by selecting four straight position players (a speedy center fielder, two shortstops, and a catcher). But grabbing Mills would have made a statement would have proven that the Giants really are thinking offense, and really are dedicated to their mantra "younger and healthier."
Casual baseball fans who've made it this far may be thinking, "You're making this big a deal about the baseball draft? Doesn't it take, like, five years for teams to have anything to show for their draft picks?"
True, most baseball draft picks take years to mature into Major League players and those are just the ones lucky enough to actually make it to the Show.
Then again, this year's rookie sensation/savior in San Francisco, Tim Lincecum, is just a year removed from being selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2006 draft, so getting near-term help isn't out of the question.
And for a team that has spent years relying on Bonds' superhuman feats, there's a time to start thinking about offense in the draft, and then there's a time to start thinking about offense in the draft.
Mills may stink. He may fail to hit professional pitching. He may flounder around in the minors for years before getting a cup of coffee in which he hits .193 in 55 at-bats with 22 strike outs and only two extra base hits...before getting banished to the Northern League for the rest of his professional career.
That said, his prospects for making an impact on the Major League level in this decade are infinitely better than those of Madison Bumgarner.
In an organization desperate for young offense, power offense, any offense that's about the best you could ask for.
Update: For a more reasoned view of the Giants' draft, check out this analysis from El Lefty Malo. - DN
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