By: Dawson Wright
Yesterday was MLB’s annual Rule 5 Draft, and surprisingly, the Giants made two selections. The first one being left-handed reliever Travis Bergen from the Blue Jays, and the other being Andrew (Drew) Ferguson from the Astros.
Bergen was a great pick, and can be very useful in the Giants pen, especially if they decided to trade Will Smith, who the Cardinals have been pressing hard for. However, I really want to focus in on the Giants 2nd round pick, Drew Ferguson. Unfortunately for Drew, he was never able to make it to a stacked major league roster in Houston, as even with injuries the Astros had players they could call up in front of him.
Ferguson is twenty-six years of age, and still has a lot of promise left. I saw Drew play for most of the season last year in AAA (until he was injured mid-season by a hit by pitch, then returned later in the season)., and he is a really good all-around player. He has great defense, above-average speed, decent power, and most important, he gets on base.
Throughout his professional career, Ferguson has never had an OBP below .300 except for a few times in winter and fall leagues. Last season in Triple A, Ferguson had an OBP of .436, which was a career high. And the Giants could use some help in the baserunner front.
Last season, the Giants had a team OBP of .300, which was 28th in the league (just edging out San Diego and Baltimore). This has caused for a lot of giants stans to call for the signing of Bryce Harper to a $4,000,000,000 lifetime contract. As exciting as seeing Bryce Harper in a Giants uniform would be, it would be the equivalent of taking one step forward, and two steps back.
Maybe the $4,000,000,000 lifetime contract was a bit of an exaggeration, but Bryce Harper’s value is still very high, without being able to show consistency. Yes, Bryce Harper can improve the Giants OPS and OBP, which were both major problems last season, but at what cost? Harper will likely go for around 10 years, and he might need more “security” since his agent Scott Boras has said that Harper will be looking at the farm systems of each team (which will be factored into his decision). The Giants have one of the worst farm systems in the league. Ramos and Bart seems to be the only sources of life coming out of the Giants farm system right now. Harper would need a lot of...convincing ($$$) to even take a glance at being locked into a long-term contract with a team that has a farm system like that.
When Farhan Zaidi took over the Giants, he understood what situation the Giants are in. Aging players and bad contracts, which sounds like the has-been all-star team. Zaidi knows how massive contracts can be harmful in the long run, and he knows the movement that baseball is in. Advanced stats and the increased presence of bullpens. And he even somehow convinced Bruce Bochy to use the opener, which I didn’t even think was possible.
With the Giants farm system and payroll being as toxic as it is right now, it is really better for them to trust in Zaidi. Acquire young and talented players from other teams to help build the farm system, and cut some payroll if possible. This is the new era of Giants baseball, and it is going to be Fergalicious.
Side note: If you didn’t get that last part, Drew Ferguson's walk up song last year was Fergalicious, and I used to call him “Fergie”. So Drew if you are reading this, we need Fergalicious back as your walk up song. Because it’d be Fergalic….I can’t help myself.
Dawson Wright is the Senior Baseball Writer and Reporter for The Dugout, and covers the San Francisco Giants and Major League Baseball.