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06/03/10 1:59 PM ET

Draft Preview: 24 could be lucky for Giants

Cain a previous gem picked late in first round

SAN FRANCISCO -- This Draft will be a little different for the Giants. They hope it gets to be a habit.

Unlike the previous four Drafts, when poor finishes enabled San Francisco to make a top-10 selection, the Giants must wait until the 24th pick to take their turn, due to their 88-74 finish a year ago. Then again, given the fact that the legendary Willie Mays wore No. 24 for the Giants, maybe this is a good omen. History bodes well for the Giants, who selected All-Star right-hander Matt Cain at roughly the same spot in 2002 (25th overall.)

Draft Central

MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft from June 7-9 on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, beginning with the Draft preview show at 3 p.m. PT.

MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, John Hart, Peter Gammons and Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis on Monday's broadcast.

Coverage for rounds 2-50 will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live. Rounds 2-30 will be streamed Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m. PT, and rounds 31-50 will be streamed Wednesday, starting at 9 a.m. PT. Host Pete McCarthy will be joined by Mayo and former general manager Jim Duquette.

Here's a glance at what the Giants have in store as the Draft approaches:

In about 50 words
Despite their position in the first round, the Giants feel confident that they can obtain a productive player or pitcher with their No. 1 choice. "I truly believe that it won't be the 24th[-best] guy," Giants scouting director John Barr said. "Maybe he'll be in the top 10 or our top 10."

The scoop
Because of the perceived volatility of picks after the top four or five, the Giants will be ready for anything. "Realistically, the guys who are talked about being taken at 10, we may end up taking at 24," Barr said. "I don't think it's set who's going to be taken in the top 15."

Year Player Current team
2009 Zack Wheeler Augusta (A)
2008 Buster Posey San Francisco
2007 Madison Bumgarner Fresno (AAA)
2006 Tim Lincecum San Francisco
2005 None  
First-round buzz
The general feeling is that the Giants, who have selected pitchers with eight of their last nine first-round picks, will go in the other direction and take a hitter this time. Possibilities include outfielder Brian Ragira from Martin (Texas) High School, third baseman/right-hander Kaleb Cowart from Cook County (Ga.) High, outfielder/right-hander Brett Eibner from Arkansas and third baseman Nick Castellanos from Archbishop McCarthy High School in Davie, Fla.

Shopping list
Conventional wisdom indicates that the Giants will seek hitters they can develop, since Major League free agents are unlikely or unwilling to want to play half their games at spacious AT&T Park. But history has proven that the Giants try to replenish their pitching as much as possible every year.

Trend watch
There's no telling what the Giants will do with their picks. They seem to have no particular bias in favor of college or high school players. Example: Of their last four No. 1 picks, two were from college (Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey) and two came from high school (Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler).

Recent Draft History

Rising fast
In his first 52 games with high-Class A San Jose this year, first baseman Brandon Belt hit .366 with a .472 on-base percentage and a 1.032 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). Belt was the Giants' No. 5 selection last year out of the University of Texas.

Cinderella story
Right-hander Daryl Maday, a 30th-round choice in 2006, went 7-1 with a 1.68 ERA in his first 10 starts for Double-A Richmond.

In The Show
Left-hander Dan Runzler, a ninth-round pick in 2007, has become a bullpen mainstay. And catcher-first baseman Posey, San Francisco's No. 1 pick (fifth overall) in 2008, has made his much-anticipated arrival in the Majors.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.