Draft Report: Sam Coonrod, College Pitcher

Asked which current Major League pitcher his style most resembles, Sam Coonrod gave an answer sure to pique the interest of Giants fans.

Brian Wilson.

Yes, that Brian Wilson, the eccentric former relief pitcher for the Giants who's now public enemy No. 1 as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

So is that strictly an on-the-mound comparison or does that encompass off-the-field persona, too?

"I think I'm a pretty normal guy, but a lot of people tell me I'm not," Coonrod said while laughing. "People tell me I'm a little off the wall, so I don't know.

"I just say what's on my mind; that's just how I roll. It catches some people off guard sometimes when I say what I think."

The Giants, meanwhile think they may have found the next bright young arm to come through the organization. San Francisco selected Coonrod in the fifth round of Friday's 2014 First-Year Player Draft; he was one of five pitchers taken in the first 10 rounds by the Giants.

In 48 career appearances (40 starts) at Southern Illinois, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound righty is 8-17 with a 3.85 ERA. This past season, Coonrod's junior campaign, was easily his best at the collegiate ranks. He started 15 games and posted just a 2-6 record, but had a 2.87 ERA in 84 2/3 innings, striking out 77 while surrendering 70 hits, 47 walks and a trio of home runs.

Born in St. Louis, Coonrod was raised a Cardinals fan. His dad played college baseball at McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill., where he was a pitcher and a shortstop.

It was Dad's guidance that led Coonrod to baseball at a young age. It's Dad's genes he credits with his abilities.

"I definitely got my arm from him," Coonrod said.

And a powerful arm it is. From MLB.com's scouting report on Coonrod:

"Pro teams have been waiting to get their hands on Coonrod's live arm since he hit 98 mph as a freshman at Southern Illinois. They've also spent three years trying to figure him out, because his results haven't matched his upside. He was winless through his first 10 starts this spring, dropping his college record to 6-16. Coonrod touched 98 mph again as a reliever in the Cape Cod League last summer, but he has spent most of 2014 working at 89-93. His slider has regressed as well after showing potential as a plus pitch in the past. His feel for his changeup is erratic, as is his control and command.

"At his best, Coonrod can display two above-average pitches and a solid third offering. Because he doesn't do so with consistency, he could wind up in the bullpen as a pro."

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

Giants finish Day 2 of Draft by picking left-hander

2014 Draft: MLB.com looks at the Giants' picks

With their 10th-round pick (298th overall) Friday in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, the Giants selected left-hander pitcher Mathew Gage from Siena (N.Y.) College.

In 46 appearances (37 starts) during his three years at Siena, the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder posted a 3.99 ERA in 248 innings. He finished his collegiate career with a record of 11-16, allowing 259 hits and 95 walks while striking out 212.

Statistically, Gage regressed from his sophomore season of 2013 to his junior campaign this last season. His ERA spiked from 3.42 to 4.50 and his WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) increased from 1.29 to 1.42.

He finished the season on a high personal note, though.

Gage allowed six hits in nine innings, throwing 129 pitches and striking out five in a no-decision in Siena's opening game of the NCAA Tournament's Fort Worth Regional last week. He went pitch-for-pitch with TCU's Brandon Finnegan, a first-round selection by the Kansas City Royals on Thursday, fanned 12 in 7 1/3 innings. TCU won on a walk-off in the 11th inning.

Gage is the fifth pitcher taken by the Giants, but the first of the left-handed variety.

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

Giants take two-way player Davis in third round

2014 Draft: Giants draft RF Dylan Davis No. 87

Shortly after her son's cellphone rang on Friday morning, Diana Davis had tears running down her face.

Her son Dylan had just been taken by the Giants with their third-round pick (87th overall) in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. Given the circumstances, a mother's tears are to be expected.

These tears, however, left a 15-year trail.

When Diana was diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years ago, there were no guarantees she'd ever see her son swing more than the softball bats he'd take hacks with during his father's recreational softball games.

Fast-forward 15 years; Diana has been there for each step on Dylan's path to the Draft: For the beginning of Little League. For his trip to Guatemala as a member of the Team USA 14U team that won gold in 2007. For his trip to Taiwan two years later as a member of the gold-winning Team USA 16U squad. For his being named the best player in Washington during senior year. For his successful collegiate career.

And now for his drafting, the achievement of what Dylan called a lifelong goal.

"Looking back at that right now and seeing what she's been through, it's helped my experience being able to work and cherish what I'm able to do," he said on Friday. "She's really showed me and my dad just how you can do anything if you work hard enough for it."

Diana Davis' inspirational tale of defeating the disease has guided Dylan throughout his life. It helped save his Draft stock, too.

Davis' junior season at OSU didn't start according to plan. The outfielder, who'd mashed his way to first-team All Pac-12 honors as a sophomore, was mired in a slump. He wasn't supposed to struggle. His confidence plummeted with his batting average.

"I wasn't my normal self at the beginning of the season," he said. "I needed to feel like I was back in Little League, just having fun playing the game. It was about getting back to seeing the ball, hitting the ball and having fun with everything."

He turned to his mother for help and inspiration.

"I thought about [her battle with cancer] sometimes and about how she's been through a lot more than a lot of people have," he said. "She's been through a lot tougher stuff than what I'm doing, so I shouldn't be complaining and should just be working hard."

His midseason revival came full circle on Friday when the Giants called.

In 161 career games, Davis hit .297 with 15 homers and 155 RBIs and was 17-for-25 in stolen-base attempts. His sophomore season was his best at the plate; he hit .335 with five homers and 61 RBIs to go along with an on-base percentage of .379. The average dipped slightly this past season as a junior; he hit .290 but recorded career highs in home runs (seven) and RBIs (64).

In 26 innings pitched, Davis compiled a 3.12 ERA. He allowed 17 hits, walked 24 and struck out 24.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

Giants pick high school pitcher Webb in fourth round

Logan Webb had a pretty good Friday.

Before lunchtime, the right-hander from Rocklin High School, near Sacramento, was selected by the Giants with their fourth-round pick (118th overall) in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

On Friday night he walked across a stage to receive his diploma.

Not bad, huh?

Giants fans hope the same can one day be said about his career.

A Cal Poly signee, Webb (4-3) -- also his school's quarterback during the fall -- had a 0.49 ERA this season and recorded 73 strikeouts for the Thunder and was named the 2014 Sierra Foothill League MVP. He batted .337 with three home runs.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

Giants draft Rice's power-hitting Ewing

Draft Report: Skyler Ewing, College 1B/C

With their sixth-round pick (178th overall) Friday in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, the Giants selected first baseman Skyler Ewing from Rice University.

In 127 career games at Rice, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound first baseman hit .291 to go along with 13 homers and 71 RBIs. Last season, as a junior, was Ewing's best at the collegiate level. He hit for career highs in average (.335), home runs (nine) and RBIs (48). The Arlington, Texas, native also posted a career-high .403 on-base percentage, up from .347 as a sophomore in 2013.

From MLB.com's scouting report on Ewing:

"In a down year for position players in the state of Texas, Ewing intrigues scouts because he offers right-handed power potential and has a chance to become a catcher. After batting a combined .238 as a part-time player in his first two years at Rice, he won the Cape Cod League home run derby last summer and took a huge step forward as a junior. Ewing's strength always has been evident, and he finally found success at the plate this spring by shortening his swing and improving pitch recognition. He can crush the best of fastballs and while he still can struggle against offspeed pitches, he's making adjustments.

"Ewing hasn't caught regularly for the Owls, so it's hard to know whether he'll be able to stick behind the plate in pro ball. His marginal athleticism and slow release mitigate his arm strength, and he's a bit stiff as a receiver. Scouts laud his work ethic, which should help as he tries to make the transition to a full-time backstop."

So what was the difference last summer in the Cape Cod League for Ewing? According to a story from Prospects Insider, Ewing's success stemmed from a newfound approach at the plate.

"Just simplifying everything," Ewing told Prospects Insider. "The game of baseball can be pretty tough mentally, so you just have to simplify things and obviously work on the things you need to work on."

More from the story: "Ewing was not drafted in 2011 out of high school, where he ranked as Texas' No. 93 prospect (high school or college) as a catcher at Arlington High School. But Rice has depth at catcher, so Ewing was moved to first base last season. Ewing found a groove during Conference USA play, hitting .298.

"I think his mechanics have gotten a whole lot better, he's more rhythmic at the plate," said Rice head coach Wayne Graham, noting Ewing was a top performer during fall ball. "He's got the experience he needed to become a good hitter."

Ewing is the first first baseman the Giants took in the 2014 Draft. They selected Aramis Garcia, a catcher from Florida International, Thursday in the second round.

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

Giants grab second outfielder in seventh round

With their seventh-round pick (208th overall) Friday in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, the Giants selected outfielder Seth Harrison from Louisiana-Lafayette.

In two seasons at ULL, Harrison hit .328 with 18 homers and 105 RBIs. He also was 25-for-32 in stolen-base attempts.

He also pitched in seven games in two years at ULL, but is not pursuing a future on the mound.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Harrison is the second outfielder the Giants took in the first seven rounds of the Draft. San Francisco selected Dylan Davis from Oregon State in the third round.

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

Stanford outfielder Slater drafted by Giants

Austin Slater hit .310 with 72 RBIs in 113 games at Stanford

With their eighth-round pick (238th overall) Friday in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, the Giants selected outfielder Austin Slater from Stanford.

Slater hit .310 to go along with five homers and 72 RBIs in 113 career games during three seasons at Stanford. Slater was originally picked as a high school shortstop by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 44th round of the 2011 Draft.

That end to high school, according to a story in the Stanford Daily, isn't what Slater had envisioned.

As a senior at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2011, Slater was considered the best prospect in the state by Prospect Wire. He was prepared to anchor the left side of the infield and lead Bolles to its third consecutive state championship as the team's captain.

Then Slater broke an ankle during a game of Frisbee with friends. The injury caused him to miss his senior season, and his Draft stock plummeted.

"You never see an injury like that happening," Slater told the paper. "I was just messing around with my friends, not even on the baseball field. It's always shocking when you injure yourself doing something kind of mundane, and it kind of changes your mentality about how you go about approaching regular activities."

From the Stanford Daily story: "Not only did the injury rob him of what could have been a spectacular senior season, but it also affected Slater's mentality moving forward as he came to Stanford, making Slater what he described as 'a little trigger-shy.'

"'I felt like my summer and the fall coming back after [the injury], I was kind of still feeling the effects mentally, not really feeling like I was at 100 percent, and not really sure what my body could do,' Slater recalled. 'I had a mental block, I guess, coming off that injury.'"

Fast forward to 2014: Slater's confidence was regained a long time ago and his Draft stock climbed. Three years later and 33 rounds earlier, Slater now belongs to the Giants, the Dodgers' archrival.

From MLB.com's scouting report on Slater:

"Although some may consider Slater a 'tweener' due to his lack of range to play center and lack of power to profile at a corner, Slater has an interesting mix of tools that could make him a valuable player. At the plate, he makes consistent hard contact and has good power to the gaps, though he sometimes gets himself into trouble by selling out for power. In the outfield, he gets good jumps and has a solid arm. He could be adequate in center as a last resort or be above-average in a corner. Slater's lack of a position may make him fly under the radar a bit, even if his ceiling is that of a productive fourth outfielder."

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.

Giants go large with 6-foot-8 Draft pick Woods

Draft Report: Stetson Woods

The Giants made their biggest pick thus far of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft in the ninth round.

Literally.

With their ninth-round pick (268th overall) Friday, the Giants selected right-handed Stetson Woods from Liberty High School in Madera, Calif.

The 6-foot-8, 200-pound righty is committed to play collegiately at Fresno State.

According to Perfect Game USA, a baseball scouting site, the fastest Woods' fastball has reached is 93 mph.

Woods is the fourth right-handed thrower selected by San Francisco in the Draft and the second player to be drafted from a California high school by the Giants.

The Draft concludes Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. PT.