Additional thoughts on Giants picking early in draft
I had commented in my article (on Scout.com's Giants page) on the draft that the Giants are known for drafting ahead of scout's expectations, so I posited that punting a 1st round should not hurt them greatly.
But since you brought it up again and I found some data, I tried to analyze how "early" the Giants picked a player relative to Baseball America's ranking of the top 100/200/250 prospects. I posted my results on my blog.
With data from 2000 to 2004, I found that almost two-thirds of their applicable picks were early versus as expected (+/- 10 picks) or late (expected earlier) if the players who were not ranked were ranked 101/201/251. And depending on where the players would rank after the Top N ranking, anywhere from 25% to 54% of the picks were at least 3 rounds early. In any case, 50% of the Giants picks were at least 1 round (30 picks) earlier than the player was ranked in the BA ranking. Not quite overwhelmingly early but a large percentage is drafted earlier than scouts would expect, based on the BA ranking.
And examining only their first round picks, all 4 were early, on average 39 picks early. 3 picks were at least 1 round ahead, including one pick that was 2 rounds ahead. The other pick was about a half a round early and was the only one of the four that theoretically could not have been chosen in the second round with their second round pick (assuming they still had that and depending on how many supplemental picks are awarded).
What the hell, I checked their actual Round 2 pick positioning and half of them could have been picked in the second round. The other half would have been missed, and one of the two misses missed by just 12 picks so he could have possibly fallen by that much and actually gotten picked.
So while losing their first round pick could hurt them about a quarter to half of the time, saving the money in 2005 allowed them an extra $1.5M per 1st round pick, $0.6M per 2nd round pick, $0.45m per 3rd round pick, or $2.55M to basically spend on Vizquel. So instead of 3 draft picks and Deivi Cruz as starting SS and Cody Ransom as backup SS, we have Omar Vizquel as starting SS and Deivi Cruz as backup MI, and, most probably, they will miss the guy they would have drafted in the first round but most probably would be able to pick their 2nd and 3rd round picks in later rounds.