Friday, January 19, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #43 Bryce Johnson

Bryce Johnson, OF.  DOB:  10/27/1995.  B-S, T-R.  6'2", 180 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 6

2017 College:  .350/.453/.433, 12 2B, 5 3B, 33 SB, 34 BB, 41 K, 322 PA.
2017 SS:  .329/.400/.369, 5 2B, 2 3B, 25 SB, 6.8 BB%, 20.8 K%, 250 PA.

Bryce Johnson fits the mold of a CF/leadoff hitter who got off to a nice start to his pro career with an aggressive initial placement in Salem-Keizer where he kept right on doing what he did in college, hit for average, get on base and steal bases.  What he hasn't shown so far is any sort of power, even gap power.  I mean, Kelby Tomlinson has more power than Johnson has shown so far!  It's hard to see him surviving at higher levels unless he can add at least gap power to his game.  He's a switch-hitter who you might expect to have better results from the left side(it's a couple of steps closer to 1B), but his L-R split, while significant, is not catastrophic, .289 R, .339 L.  It should be noted that he played mostly corner OF in S-K while Malique Ziegler got most of the innings in CF.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fantasy Focus: Breakout Candidate- Byron Buxton

Bryon Buxton, OF(Twins).  DOB:  12/18/1993.  B-S, T-R.  6'2", 190 lbs.  Drafted 2012 Round 1(#2 overall).
2017:  .253/.314/.413, 14 2B, 6 3B, 16 HR, 29 SB, 7.4 BB%, 29.4 K%, 511 PA.

Byron Buxton has been a breakout candidate for so long and has disappointed so many times, he almost qualifies as a post-hype sleeper.  His time may have finally arrived.  That line is already a not bad fantasy line, but look at what he did in the second half:  .300/.347/.546, 8 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 13 SB, 228 PA.  Project that to a full season and we are well into 30/30 territory.  His GB/FB ratio is close to 1.00, so the power should be sustainable as long as he continues to make contact.  The K rate is worrisome, but that's just the kind of hitter he is.  A fractured rib suffered in the Wild Card game should not be a problem, even in spring training.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #44 Camilo Doval

Camillo Doval, RHP.  DOB:  7/4/1997.  6'2", 185 lbs.  IFA  2015.

2016 DSL:  2-0, 1.66, 21.2 IP, 9.97 K%, 4.57 BB%, GB/FB= 3.25.
2017 R:  1-2, 3.90, 32.1 IP, 14.20 K%, 3.62 BB%, GB/FB= 2.33.

Camilo Doval is an average sized pitcher with a pair of the longest loosest arms you'll see.  He pitches with some flair and if fun to watch on video.  The windup doesn't look like much but then he reaches way back with that long right arm, reminiscent of Madison Bumgarner except Doval brings the arm more straight back and released high 3/4 whereas Bumgarner haas more of a horizontal and circular reach back and delivery.

Scouting reports have Doval sitting in the 89-93 MPH range and occasionally toughing 95.  He also has a sharply downbreaking slider which is his only real secondary pitch at this point.  He misses bats bigly, needs to cut down on his walks and he has an elite GB tendency.  He's pitched esclusively in relief so far and that's probably his ticket unless he can develop a 3'rd pitch.  He may have a bit more velocity in the tank as he fully matures physically.

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #45 John Gavin

John Gavin, LHP.  DOB:  10/10/1995.  6'6", 230 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 8.

2017 College:  8-2, 2.67, 104.1 IP, 34 BB, 90 K.
2017 R:  2-1, 0.00, 16 IP, 7 BB, 22 K.

John Gavin is a big LHP who caught my eye during the college season pitching for Cal State Fullerton as he seemed to get stronger as the college season progressed.  I was hoping the Giants would draft him.  I don't know much about his stuff, but love the size.  He went on to have a couple of dominant starts in the college playoffs.  The Giants took it easy on him after the draft probably due to the extra college work.  Found one scouting report that gives him a FB that ranges from 88-92 MPH.  His second pitch is a changeup and he also has a slider.  San Jose would be an aggressive but reasonable assignment.

Thoughts on Bobby's Big Gamble

As I was digesting the trade for Andrew McCutchen, the thought occurred to me:  There is one guy who Bobby Evans and the Giants are making a huge gamble on, Chris Stratton.  When Evans traded Matt Moore and his $9 M salary to get the financial room for this trade, he suddenly put Stratton in the #4 SP hole with a safety net consisting of Ty Blach, Tyler Beede, Andrew Suarez and Joan Gregorio.  Not only that, but the #5 SP spot would need to be filled out of the latter 4 pitchers.  Now, with just $4.5 M of CBT cap space to operate with and marginal SP's commanding $8-10 M/yr, that roster spot is not going to be filled by an obvious upgrade.  Yes, the Giants will probably bring in at least one SP on a minor league deal.  The word I've read is they are talking to RHP Scott Feldman, but even at that, Stratton is the guy they appear to be counting on to run with the #4 SP slot.  So congratulations, Chris Stratton!  The 2018 season rests on your right arm.  No pressure on you or anything!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Hot Stove Update: Giants Land Cutch

When the offseason began, the Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean, Bruce Bochy and Larry Baer laid out an offseason agenda that appeared to be a conundrum, a Gordian Knot if you will.  A defensive upgrade in CF, adding power in the OF and at 3B all while staying under the CBT threshold and not giving up draft picks seemed like a plan full of contradictions and mutual exclusions.  Well, my friends, it looks like Bobby Evans just pulled it off and how about that?

Today, the Giants acquired OF Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Kyle Crick, OF Bryan Reynolds and $500 K in international bonus pool money.  In addition, the Pirates send the Giants $2.5 M in cash to partially offset McCutchen's $14.5 M salary to keep the Giants far enough under the CBT threshold that they may be able to make 1 or 2 smaller scale acquisitions before they are done. Cot's has the Giants currently sitting $4.5 M below the threshold.  They could also stand down and let Steven Duggar be the defensive upgrade in CF and still accomplish all of their offseason goals.

What may be more important than who the Giants gave up in the trade is who they didn't give up.  In my mind the Giants untouchables were Heliot Ramos, Tyler Beede and Andrew Suarez.  Ramos was off limits because he is the highest ceiling prospect the Giants have had since 2010 and possibly the highest ceiling OF prospect since....well....since Willie Mays!  Beede and Suarez provide SP depth that isn't coming from anywhere else.  I am not saying I'm thrilled to lose Cricky and Bryan Reynolds.  I just did not consider either of them untouchable and the Giants were not going to get McCutchen for nothing.  And yes, I would rather have the #2 and #5 draft picks next summer than Cricky and Reynolds and I would rather give up $500 K of international bonus pool money than $1 M.

Like the evening after the Evan Longoria trade, the Giants are a better team tonight than they were last night.  If Cutch plays CF, he should be a significant offensive upgrade on Denard Span and no worse on D.  If he plays a corner OF, he'll still be a significant offensive upgrade on last year as well as a definite defensive upgrade.

So, Bobby Evans deserves some serious kudos for his work this offseason.  He started the offseason by whiffing on Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani, but that may have been a blessing in disguise.  Since then, he played the market almost to perfection with several deft moves that not only added talent to the MLB team, but kept them under the CBT threshold and minimized damage to the farm system.  Very nicely done!

DrB's 2018 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #46 Jose Marte

Jose Marte, RHP.  DOB:  6/14/1996.  6'3", 180 lbs.  IFA 2015.

SS:  2-5, 5.33, 54 IP, 7.00 K/9, 5.67 BB/9, GB/FB= 1.44.

Marte has gotten a bit of national ink.  At first glance, his 2017 performance was disappointing, but there are some mitigating factors.  1.  Going from the DSL to SS in one year is a very aggressive placement.  2.  10 of his 34 BB's came in his first 3 appearances covering 5.1 IP.  3. 12 of his 32 ER came in just 2 starts totaling 4.1 IP.  He was dominant in a postseason start for the AZL Giants striking out 9 while allowing just 1 ER and 1 BB.

Marte reportedly has a mid-90s FB.  Not too much info available beyond that.  I would expect to see him in the rotation for Augusta in 2018 and I'll put a Breakout Candidate on him.