Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Game Wrap 9/20/2017: Giants 4 Rockies 0

Matt Moore did not allow a run for the first time this season as a SP while Joe Panik continued his hot  hitting to lead the Giants offense to complete a 2 game sweep of the Rockies.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 3 for 4, 2B, 3B.  BA= .291.  Panik has been en fuego since he started choking up on the bat.  Is it too late for him to make a run at .300?  Will this hotness carry over into next season?

Brandon Crawford SS- 1 for 3, HR(14), BB.  BA= .246.  Crawford leads the team in doubles and is second in HR's.

Pablo Sandoval 3B- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .212.  Sandoval is 7 for 11 with 2 doubles and a dinger in his last 3 games.

Matt Moore LHP- 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 5.20.  Moore has a 2.84 ERA in September.  I'd say that bodes well for next season, but he was pretty good down the stretch last year too.

Steven Okert LHP- 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.88.  Okert came in with 2 runners on base and no outs in the 7'th inning.  He struck out the RH hitting Pat Valaika and got Charlie Blackmon to ground into a force out.

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The Giants win coupled with a win by the Phillies(over the Dodgers) and a loss by the ChiSox leaves the Giants 1 game ahead of the Sox for the #1 overall draft pick(2 in the loss column) and 1.5 games ahead of the Phillies and 2.5 games ahead of the Tigers, who also lost.

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The Giants get a day off before heading south to Dodger Stadium for a weekend series against the Dodgers with Jeff Samardzija facing Rich Hill in game 1.

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Brandon Belt appears to be feeling better and was running on the field today before the game.  He won't be playing again this year as he was moved to the 60 day DL to make room for waiver pickup RHP Pierce Johnson.

Game Wrap 9/19/2017: Giants 4 Rockies 3

Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval led the Giants offense in support of a QS by Johnny Cueto ending in a walk-off win and a Sac Fly by Pence.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence RF- 1 for 4, HR(12), SF.  BA= .260.  The dinger was a long one for the Big Guy that landed halfway up the screen over the herb garden in CF.  The SF came with no outs and the bases loaded in the 9'th for the walkout.  The rally started with a squib hit by Pablo Sandoval followed by an attempted Sac that turned into an IF hit for Ryder Jones, then a slap hit by Kelby to set up Pence.

Denard Span CF- 1 for 4, SB(10).  BA= .265.  Span gets his second consecutive 10-10 season.

Buster Posey C- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .315.  Posey's season keep chugging along.  Maybe a questionable pitch call on the double by Parra off Hunter Strickland.  Maybe it would have worked without a location mistake but it sure looked like that was the pitch Parra was expecting.

Pablo Sandoval 1B- 3 for 4.  BA= .207.  Pabs is 5 for 7 in his last 2 games and hit the ball hard twice in the game before that.  Not sure it that is good or bad for the future of the Giants.

Johnny Cueto RHP- 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 4.49.  Cueto started this game off like he ended his previous start, throwing lots of pitches.  He had 50 by the end of the second inning.  He settled down and threw just 55 more over the next 4.2 innings and looked a lot like the Johnny Cueto of last year.  If he's not going to opt out of his contract, at least Giants fans can have some hope that next year will be  better and the rest of his contract won't be a sunk cost.

Steven Okert LHP- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 6.04.  Okert has a 2.25 ERA in 8 appearances, 4 IP, in September.  He's allowed 1 ER and and 1 unearned run.  He's allowed baserunners in just 2 of those appearances, mostly as a strict LOOGY.  Ideally, Bochy will want 2 lefties in the bullpen next season and Will Smith is not a lock to be ready at the start.  The Giants could acquire one in the offseason, but Okert may be taking some of that pressure off with his September performance.

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The Phillies beat the Dodgers, so the Giants remain 1.5 games ahead of them in the race for the #1 overall draft pick.  The ChiSox lost and are now just 2 games behind the Giants. The Tigers lost and are 3.5 games back.

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Matt Moore tries for the 2 game series sweep this afternoon facing Giants Killer Tyler Chatwood.  BTW, Chatwood is a FA after the season.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Down on the Farm: 2017 Augusta Greenjackets Season Review

I was going to write a post about Ryan Vogelsong but I could not think of anything to say I haven't already written 10 times.  You all know the story by heart anyway.  You have probably already passed it on to your children and possibly grandchildren to be handed down to future generations of Giants fans into eternity.  So, back to the grindstone!

Low A ball is where good HS draftees are assigned the spring after they are drafted.  It's a big jump and many struggle at this level.  The SAL is generally a pitcher-friendly league and Augusta might be the most pitcher friendly venue in the league.  Many a young hitter has foundered there and others have had to take a step back before moving forward again.  You may recall that both Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones washed out completely and were reassigned to Salem-Keizer before jumping going to San Jose the following season.

The biggest story line from day 1 was Sandro Fabian a 19 yo international OF who gained some national recognition as an 18 yo in the AZL.  Kelvin Beltre is a bit older than Fabian but he had lost the major parts of 2 seasons to injuries.  He desperately needed a full season's worth of AB's.  Minor league veteran Skyler Ewing decided to try to revive his career by taking up catching, a position he played a bit of in college at Rice.  Three 2017 college draftees, Jacob Heyward, Michael Bernal and Brandon Van Horn were also assigned to Augusta along with an assortment of minor league veterans.

On the pitching side,  lefty Dominic Mazza was a holdover from 2016 while college draftees DJ Myers, Steven WoodsGarrett Williams, Caleb Baragar and reliever Patrick Ruotolo got conservative assignments for their first pro seasons.  Hard throwing international signees Melvin Adon and Raffi Vizcaino rounded out the pitching staff.  

This collection of talent, like several other Giants affiliates, finished with the worst record in the league at 55-80.  Here are the statistical leaders of the 2017 Augusta Greenjackets:      

AB:  Fabian- 486, Beltre- 423, Heyward- 359, Jose Vizcaino Jr.- 309, Ewing- 297.

Hits:  Fabian- 133, Beltre- 107, Viz Jr- 81, Heyward- 80, Jean Angomas- 77.

Doubles:  Fabian- 31, Beltre- 24, Ewing- 21, Viz Jr- 17, Heyward- 16.

Triples- Angomas- 3, 7 players- 2.

HR:  Ewing- 13, Fabian- 11, Heyward- 10, Beltre- 6, Frandy De La Rosa- 5.

SB:  Cristian Paulino- 30, Beltre- 15, Dunston Jr- 13, Ashford Fulmer- 13, Van Horn- 11.

Runs:  Beltre- 65, Fabian- 51, Ewing- 48, Heyward- 40, Viz Jr- 34.

RBI:  Fabian- 61, Ewing- 47, Heyward- 45, Beltre- 37, Viz Jr- 34.

BA:  Angomas- .292, Fabian- .277, Paulino- .271, Bernal- .267, Viz Jr/Van Horn- .262.

OBP:  Ewing- .359, Bernal- .349, Paulino- .343, Angomas- .338, Carlos Garcia- .331.

SLG%- Ewing- .455, Fabian- .408, FDLR- .372, Paulino- .371, Bernal- .369.

IP:  Mazza- 119.1, Barattar- 114.2, Woods- 110.0, Adon- 99.1, Myers- 78.1.

ERA:  Conner Kaden- 0.47, Ruotolo- 1.66, Nolan Riggs- 2.13, Williams- 2.25, Woods- 2.95.

K's:  Woods- 113, Mazza- 97, Adon- 89, Baragar- 81, Vizcaino- 74.

Saves:  Ruotolo- 17, Riggs- 3.

DrB's MVP:  Sandro Fabian!

-Mazza pitched a perfect CG early in the season.  Finally got a late season promo to SJ.

-Garrett Williams tamed his control/command issues and made a successful midseason jump to SJ.  

-Skyler Ewing's career will probably live to see another season, possibly in San Jose.                          

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Game Wrap 9/17/2017: Giants 7 D'Backs 2

Chris Stratton honored Ryan Vogelsong's retirement with a Vogey-like performance and the Giants avoided a sweep by the D'Backs.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 2 for 4.  BA= .289.  Is there enough time left for Panik to hit .300 on the season?

Austin Slater LF- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .282.  The Giants could do worse than simply handing the LF keys to Austin Slater for 2018.   He keeps doing good things.

Jarrett Parker RF- 2 for 3.  BA= .250.  Do the Giants see Parker as a strictly platoon player?  Kelby Tomlinson PH for him in the 7'th with no outs and the bases loaded and lefty TJ McFarland on the mound.  D'Backs countered with RHP Jake Barrett and Kelby hit a SF.  It worked out, but I find that whole sequence odd.

Pablo Sandoval 1B- 2 for 3, HR(7), SF.  BA= .197.  Sandoval was the hitting hero of the game with 3 RBI's.  He hit the ball hard in game 2 of the series so maybe this is a true breakout from his epic slump.  If so, I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing for the Giants future.

Chris Stratton RHP- 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.94.  This was an important start for Stratton.  His last full start on September 4 lasted just 4 innings and he gave up 3 runs.  Then he faced just one batter in the rain delayed game recording a K.  This game showed some resiliency which I think bodes well for the future.  BTW, Stratton said after the game that Vogey offered some words of encouragement before the game.

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The Win coupled with the Phillies loss reduced the Giants lead in the race for the #1 draft pick to 1 game(2 on the loss column).  The ChiSox lost so they are 3 games back while the Tigers beat the ChiSox and remain 5 games behind the Giants for the worst record in baseball.

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The Giants get a day off at home tomorrow before starting a 2 games series against the Rockies with Johnny Cueto facing German Marquez.

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In a fitting ending to one of the greatest baseball stories I know of, Ryan Vogelsong fulfilled another long held dream to retire as a Giant.  He took the mound wearing his #32 uniform with his wife, Nicole, looking on, just as she did the first time he walked off the mound at AT&T Park to a standing ovation.  This time his son, Ryder, was at his side and he got another standing O.   There will be more of those at 2012 and 2014 team reunions, but this one was special, just like the first one.  More on Vogey and his career in another post.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Game Wrap 9/16/2017: D'Backs 2 Giants 0

Madison Bumgarner gave up a 2-run HR to Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning and that was the difference in the ballgame as the Giants offense could muster just 2 hits against Zack Greinke and Fernando Rodney.  Key Lines:

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.48.  A much better performance than his last game, but still a loss without a whiff of run support.  At least we know Bummy is OK and the poor start in Chicago was an isolated event.

Zack Greinke RHP(D'Backs)- 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 2.87.  Greinke is a very good pitcher having a  very good season so it's not surprising he would shut down a moribund Giants offense.  Giants have their work cut out trying to figure out how to improve this lineup for next season.

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Chris Stratton will hope he has better weather than he did for his last start which lasted 1 batter(he struck that batter out). He will face Taijuan Walker in the series finale tomorrow afternoon.

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The Giants extended their lead in the race for the #1 overall draft pick to 2 games over the Phillies and 4 over the White Sox and remain 5 games up on the Tigers who have the 4'th worst record in baseball.

Down on the Farm: 2017 San Jose Giants Season Review

High A is an appropriate placement first full season placement for top college draftees and is thus a nice early barometer for how well those draft picks are working out.  The 2017 San Jose Giants started the season with a nice contingent of 2016 draftees including a trio of OF's, 2'nd rounder and top pick Bryan Reynolds, Heath Quinn and Gio Brusa as well as IF Ryan Howard and P's Matt Krook and Conner Menez.  Aramis Garcia was a holdover due to an early season-ending injury in 2016.  Promotions from the 2016 Augusta Greenjackets included IF's Dillon Dobson and Jalen Miller.  Last year's team MVP Jonah Arenado stayed on in 2017 as he was young for the level and deemed not ready to handle AA pitching.  At 20 yo, Miller was one of the younger players in the Cal League.  The rest of the pitching consisted mainly of minor league veterans who pitched for Augusta in 2016.  Later additions included LHP Garrett Williams and several big hard throwing relievers including Dylan Rheault, Will LaMarche and Michael Cederoth.

Reynolds, Howard and Garcia hit well all season long with Garcia finally getting the promo to Richmond later in the season.  Arenado came on strong in the second half.  Quinn was slowed by injuries.  Brusa hit for power but struggled to make contact and in the field and ended up mostly DH'ing by the end of the season.  Miller hit in the low .200's all season but improved modestly at the end and most importantly got a second full season's worth of pro AB's.  Don't give up on this kid.  He has some tools and is still very young for the level.  As a whole, the team struggled to a Cal League worst 62-78 mostly due to lack of consistent pitching.  About the best we can say of the pitching is Garrett Williams and Matt Krook both made progress in controlling their pitches which is not nothing as both are believed to have high ceilings.

Here are the team statistical leaders for 2017:

AB:  Howard- 526, Reynolds- 491, Arenado- 488, Miller- 431, Dobson- 428.

Hits:  Howard- 161, Reynolds- 153, Arenado- 131, Brusa- 101, Dobson- 100.

2B:  Arenado- 36, Brusa- 28, Reynolds- 26, Miller- 25, Howard- 21.

3B:  Reynolds- 9, Arenado- 4, Miller- 4, Ronnie Jebavy- 4, Dobson- 4.

HR:  Brusa- 17, Garcia- 17, Dobson-15, Arenado- 13, Reynolds/Quinn- 10.

SB:  Jebavy- 15, Howard- 7, Steven Duggar- 7, Miller- 6, Reynolds- 6.

Runs:  Reynolds- 72, Arenado- 67, Miller- 61, Howard- 59, Brusa- 58.

BA:  Reynolds- .312, Howard- .306, Danial Carbonell- .304, Garcia- .272, Duggar- .270.

OBP:  Reynolds- .364, Duggar- .361, Howard- .342, Carbonell- .338, John Polonius- .327.

SLG%- Garcia- .487, Carbonell- .486, Duggar- .470, Reynolds- .462, Arenado- .439.

IP:  Menez- 114.1, Mark Reyes- 101.0, Jake McCasland- 101.2, Michael Connolly- 94.2, Krook- 91.1.

ERA:  Ryan Halstead- 1.11, Williams- 2.45, Carlos Dias- 2.47, Rheault- 2.70, Cederoth- 3.20.

K:  Krook- 105, Menez- 99, McCasland- 95, Caleb Simpson- 80, Grant Watson- 69.

Saves:  Rheault- 21, Halstead- 8, LaMarche- 2.

DrB's 2017 San Jose Giants Team MVP- Bryan Reynolds.

Game Wrap 9/15/2017: D'Backs 3 Giants 2

Jeff Samardzija threw another Quality Start but also lost again as the Giants offense could not get over the hump.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .287.  Panik is hitting .438 through the first 15 days of September.

Hunter Pence RF- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .260.  Pence is showing he may have something left in the bat, but he had a rough night in the OF.  In fairness, those were tough balls to catch, but it seemed like Gorkys Hernandez had no trouble getting to one that looked similar.  Pence took a stumble on a close play at 1B and came up holding his right hand or wrist.  He later exited the game but reportedly with back spasms from a tumble in the OF.

Gorkys Hernandez RF- 0 for 0.  BA= .251.  Hernandez entered the game to replace Pence minutes after Amy G reported that he was unavailable.  After the game, Bochy clarified that he was not available to hit, but could play D and pinch run.  Jarrett Parker PH for Hernandez when his turn to hit arrived.  Which raises the question:  How deep is Mac Williamson in Bochy's doghouse if he didn't even get the call when Pence was injured?

Which raises another question:  Who are the two players who squawked to the press about feeling like they can't do anything to please Bochy?  When Bochy was asked why he put Gorkys out there with a sore wrist, his response is he wanted to keep a couple of guys on the bench- to give him options.  Who were the guys still on the bench?  Did Boch add the "options" phrase as an afterthought when he realized how the keeping a couple of guys on the bench might be interpreted?  Are we parsing words a bit too much here?

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 8 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.42.  That's an 8 inning QS that went for naught.

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Madison Bumgarner tries to bounce back from his last start this evening facing Zack Greinke.

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With the Loss, the Giants remain in first place in the race for the #1 draft pick leading the Phillies by 1 game(2 on the loss column), the ChiSox by 3 games and the Tigers by 5.