Giants select big-hitting catcher in Draft
Posey kicks off run of position players taken by San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO -- John Barr, the Giants' scouting director, knows something about evaluating catchers. Formerly a Dodgers scouting supervisor, Barr was instrumental in Los Angeles' selection of Russell Martin, who has developed into one of the Major Leagues' premier catchers.So it was meaningful when Barr exulted after the Giants took Buster Posey with the fifth overall selection in Thursday's First-Year Player Draft. The Giants need hitters. The Giants need catchers. They believe that Posey, a junior at Florida State University, can bolster both areas. "When you're trying to build a winning team and continue, this is the type of player that we think can help us achieve that goal," Barr said. The Giants hadn't used their first-round pick on a position player since 1998, when they selected infielder Tony Torcato. They proceeded to take three more position players in a row: Wichita State third baseman Conor Gillaspie, supplemental round, 37th overall; Texas Tech outfielder Roger Kieschnick (cousin of ex-big leaguer Brooks Kieschnick), third round (82nd); and UCLA shortstop Brandon Crawford, fourth round (117th). San Francisco concluded the Draft's first day by selecting Cal State-Northridge right-hander Edwin Quirarte in the fifth round (147th) and North Carolina State left-hander Eric Surkamp in the sixth round (171st). This marked the first year since 1989 that the Giants took position players with their first four picks. That year's haul consisted of outfielder Steve Hosey (24 games with the Giants in 1992-93), infielder Clay Bellinger (183 games with the Yankees and Angels from 1999-2002), outfielder Jason McFarlin (five Minor League seasons) and catcher-first baseman Mike Grahovac (three Minor League seasons). Barr and general manager Brian Sabean insisted that this emphasis on position players wasn't by design. Each amateur taken, they said, was the highest-ranked player on the Giants' listings when the organization was on the clock. "It was a hitter's year," Sabean said. Barr initially noticed Posey, 21, when he was a junior at Lee County (Ga.) High School. "He was in our consideration for this selection since the day I accepted this position," said Barr, who joined Sabean's staff last offseason. The only player the Giants ranked higher on their Draft board was Vanderbilt third baseman Pedro Alvarez, whom Pittsburgh took second overall. This reflected the urgency San Francisco felt regarding catching. Bengie Molina's contract expires after the 2009 season, when he'll be 35, and Pablo Sandoval, who's batting .370 at Class A San Jose but is unpolished defensively, is the only semblance of a catching prospect in the Minor Leagues.
Giants' top five selections
|5.||C||Buster Posey||Florida St U|
|37.||3B||Conor Gillaspie||Wichita St U|
|82.||RF||Roger Kieschnick||Texas Tech U|
|117.||SS||Brandon Crawford||UC Los Angeles|
|147.||RHP||Edwin Quirarte||Cal St Northridge|
|Complete Giants Draft results >|
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.