The Giants selected a power arm and a power bat in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft on Monday.
The Giants used the 18th overall selection on Phil Bickford, a right-handed pitcher out of the College of Southern Nevada. With the 31st pick, which they received as compensation for losing Pablo Sandoval in free agency, they selected first baseman Chris Shaw out of Boston College.
Bickford, a 19-year-old listed at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, showed a fastball from 93-to-98 miles per hour in the Cape Cod League last summer, according to MLB.com. Giants assistant general manager of scouting John Barr said the team began scouting Bickford when he was in high school and has continued to watch him since.
The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Bickford out of Oaks Christian High School in the first round in 2013, but he did not come to terms with Toronto. Bickford played one season for Cal State Fullerton, then transferred to College of Southern Nevada in order to be eligible for this year’s draft.
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"We saw him in high school and identified him in high school and liked the arm," Barr said. "Liked the player, he had size, he has a quick arm."
Barr said the Giants watched Bickford pitch multiple this spring "and he’s up to 97 with his fastball, will show you an occasional plus slider." In 16 starts for College of Southern Nevada, Bickford went 9-1 with a 1.45 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 86 2/3 innings. While some have suggested Bickford could have a quicker path to the majors as a reliever, Barr said the Giants look at Bickford as a starter.
Barr said the Giants are confident they’ll be able to sign Bickford and will wait after that process is finished and Bickford reports to their minor-league facility to determine his workload the rest of this season. On Monday, Baseball America reported that Bickford tested positive for marijuana in a pre-draft drug test. Barr declined to address that report specifically, but said the Giants got positive reviews of Bickford from their area scout.
"We feel good about not only his ability, but the makeup to fulfill his ability," Barr said.
Shaw, listed at 6-foot-3 and 248 pounds, also stood out in the Cape Cod League last year and remained on the Giants’ radar despite suffering a broken hamate bone this spring that caused him to miss about four weeks of the college season. Shaw still batted .319 with 11 home runs for Boston College.
Barr said that Shaw, who also has a hockey background, "showed a lot of power but yet a disciplined approach at the plate," and that Shaw is "a guy that we think has a legitimate chance of hitting in the middle of the lineup."
The Giants were scheduled to make one more pick Monday night in the second round of the Draft, which resumes with Rounds 3-10 on Tuesday.
"Good day for us today, very excited, very happy to be able to get two players that we think can help us down the line," Barr said. "To be able to get a power arm and a power bat with our first two picks, we’re pretty excited about it. The room is pretty happy."