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Giants tap Bickford as highest draft pick

With the 18th-overall pick in the MLB Draft, the San Francisco Giants selected Phil Bickford, a floppy-haired, right handed pitcher from California with a pretty mean fastball (four and two seam), a cool slider and what scouts call a developing change-up.

Bickford also tested positive for marijuana in a pre-draft drug test just a few days ago.

He’s Tim Lincecum 2.0. He’s blond Timmy. At least, at very first glance; Bickford, unlike Timmy, is a power pitcher.

Bickford strong point, it seems, is his improving fastball. According to snippets from scouting reports, he’s managed to get it up to 98 mph, and sits in the mid-90s range. His breaking balls are ‘above average,’ his slider hits between the high 70s to low 80s. And his change-up, according Chris Crawford of Baseball Prospectus, is his weakest pitch.

The 19-year-old’s got a lot of room for growth and starter potential.

Luckily, Bickford could take his first steps into the MiLB abyss with a Giants organization that has some good experience developing its pitchers.

He was drafted out of high school 10th overall by the Blue Jays, but decided not to sign with the team. He went on to play for Cal State Fullerton, then transferred to Southern Nevada Junior College before the 2015 draft.

In 2015 with Southern Nevada, he won nine games, lost one and toted a 1.45 ERA. He struck out 166. At Fullerton the year before, a NCAA Division I school, he won six and lost three with a 2.13 ERA.

The Giants are building up a young pitching core, a necessary step given the aging rotation that stands. They already have Tyler Beede, last year’s first-round draft pick who also declined a contract with Toronto in 2011, pitching in Richmond.Beede looked solid in is debut, giving up no runs on two hits in seven innings.

Free agent Pablo Sandoval‘s dismissal of the Giants’ qualifying offer in the offseason guaranteed San Francisco a 31st overall compensation pick.

They took first baseman Chris Shaw out of Boston College. Shaw batted .319 and hit a team-leading 11 home runs. The junior is a power guy with a power swing, he’s 6-foot-3, 248 pounds and can play first or in the outfield.

And that’s day one. The Giants picked up some young talent that will have plenty of time to develop in the minors.

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