Thursday, October 27, 2016

Giants 2017 Depth Chart: First Base

The Giants are well covered at first base at the MLB level as Brandon Belt is in the early stages of a longterm contract with 1B serving as a convenient place for Buster Posey to get some easier innings as a sub and Conor Gillaspie having experience at both 1B and 3B.  There is also a nice progression of prospects in the minors which would fall nicely into place if the Giants feel Chris Shaw is ready to move up to AAA in 2017.


Brandon Belt, 29 yo.   .275/.394/.474, 41 2B, 8 3B, 17 HR.  Belt had the 9'th highest OPS of MLB first basemen and the 4'th highest fWAR.

Buster Posey, Conor Gillaspie- stats covered with other positions.




Chris Shaw, 23 yo.  .246/.309/.414, 16 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 232 AB.  Struggled to a .208 BA in the first month after callup to AA, but then slashed .279/.322/.505 in August.  I could see Chris Shaw eventually making Brandon Belt tradable, or he could be trade bait himself.

High A:

Jonah Arenado, 22 yo.  .254/.286/.422, 36 2B, 17 HR, 516 AB.  Arenado was an XBH machine for San Jose, especially after taking over at 1B full-time after Chris Shaw's promotion.  Critics don't like his OBP, but has time to improve his plate discipline.

Low A:

Dillon Dobson, 23 yo.  .273/.328/.465, 27 2B, 5 3B, 13 HR, 396 AB.
Skyler Ewing, 24 yo.  .241/.331/.410, 10 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 261 AB.

This was Dobson's first full pro season.  Ewing found some traction in the second half.


Ryan Kirby, 22 yo.  .265/.345/.397, 16 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 204 AB.  First pro experience after being drafted out of Univ of San Diego.  Seems to have more gap power than dinger power.


Beicker Mendoza, 18 yo.  .272/.300/.316, 114 AB.
Robinson Medrano, 21 yo.  .222/289/.352, 108 AB.

Converted OF's from the DSL.  Mendoza is 3 years younger and has room to grow.  Medrano needs to find some traction.


Angeddy Almanzar, 18 yo.  .294/.373/.438, 17 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 235 AB.  Best hitter on the 2016 DSL Giants squad and not close.  Should be ready for an Arizona assignment in 2017.

All of these domino pieces fall into place if the Giants think Chris Shaw is ready to move up to AAA and then everybody else moves up a level.  Nice clean progression of prospects throughout the system.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fantasy Focus: 2016 First Base Rankings

Fantasy baseball first basemen by OPS:

1.  Joey Votto, Reds- .985.  More OBP than SLG%.

2.  Freddie Freeman, Braves- .968.  Tremendous season for Freeman.

3.  Miguel Cabrera, Tigers- .956.  Is Miggy on the trading block?

4.  Anthony Rizzo, Cubs- .928.

5.  Paul Goldschmidt, D'Backs- .899.  Down year for Goldy in power, but the 32 SB's help is overall fantasy value.

6.  Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays- .886.

7.  Brandon Belt, Giants- .868.  Only 17 HR's, but a .393 OBP.

8.  Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox- .866.  My friend won our league's championship because Hanley got red hot at just the right time.

9.  Carlos Santana, Indians- .865.

10.  Chris Carter, Brewers- .821.  Dingers!  Gains a ton of value in an OBP league vs BA.

11.  Jose Abreu, White Sox- .820.

12.  Tommy Joseph, Phillies- .813.  Projects to about 35 HR's in 600 PA.

13.  Mike Napoli, Indians- .800.

14.  Will Myers, Padres- .797.  28 HR's, 28 SB's.  Still getting better as a hitter.

15.  Chris Davis, Orioles- .792.  Another guy who benefits from OBP vs BA.

16.  Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers- .784.

17.  Brandon Moss, Cardinals- .784.

Sluggers with very low BA's but average OBP's will become much more valuable as my league switches to an OBP/SLG% format.  Goldy and Wil Myers give extra value with the SB's.  Myers is a riser with Tommy Joseph a potential breakout.  Adrian Gonzalez is in decline and I probably would not bet on Hanley Ramirez again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Alex Faedo

Alex Faedo is a big college pitcher for Florida.  He stands 6'5", 220 lbs.  Scouting reports have his FB sitting at 92-95 MPH with a slider and changeup.  His windup and delivery are fairly simple, over-the-top with not a lot of wasted motion.  He comes straight toward the plate.  One scouting report mentioned that his delivery shows the ball early which may need to be altered in the future.

His stat line from 2016 is everything you would want in a college pitcher:  13-3, 3.18, 104.2 IP, 21 BB, 133 K's.  He played on the Collegiate National Team this summer and went 3-0, 0.56, 16 IP, 3 BB, 21 K.

He reportedly underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees in September, but is expected to be fully recovered for the 2017 college season.

He projects as a top draft prospect in 2017, possibly as high as #1 overall.  I see him as a big-bodied innings eating 3-4 starter in the pros more than a dominant #1 or 2, but that's just me.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Giants Depth Charts: Catcher

We'll start our yearly depth chart analysis.  Remember, this is based on players who would likely take the place of an injured or traded player ahead of them which is way different than their ranking as a prospect.  You may have a top 10 prospect playing in low A ball, but that's not the guy you are join got call up to the majors to replace in injured player, usually.

The Giants have one of the best catchers in baseball and a capable backup in Trevor Brown, but beyond that, they are working without a net.  You have to go all they way down to high A ball to find a serious catcher prospect and the guys on the AA and AAA rosters aren't going to make anyone wish injuries on Buster Posey.  So, here we go:


Buster Posey, 30 yo.  .288/.362/.434, 33 2B, 14 HR, 6 SB, 539 AB.  Undisputed starter and one of the top 3 catchers in baseball.

Trevor Brown, 25 yo.  .237/.283/.364, 5 HR, 173 AB.  Backup catching is thankless.  They only get an occasional start and don't get used as PH very often.  Hard to maintain your timing in that environment.  Trevor Brown has his detractors, but he does about a well as you can reasonably expect a backup catcher to.

Tony Sanchez, 29 yo.   .200/.317/.340, 50 AB(AAA).  Signed late in the season, Sanchez got a callup in September to give the Giants 3 catchers on the expanded roster.  He didn't make an appearance.  Not sure what happens next, but I don't expect him to be on the Opening Day 25 man roster.


Miguel Olivo, 38 yo. played most of the season at age 37, then got passed over in favor of Sanchez when September roster adds came due.  He's still listed on the Sacramento Roster for what it's worth.


Jeff Arnold, Steven Lerud and Eliezer Zambrano split playing time for Richmond.  I don't expect to see any of them in a Giants uniform, ever.


Aramis Garcia, 24 yo.  .257/.323/.340, 2 HR, 144 AB.  Garcia is a legit prospect, but lost valuable development time after getting hit in the face by a pitch.  He's trying to get some of that back with an AFL stint.

Ty Ross, 25 yo.  .224/.289/.340, 4 HR, 259 AB.  Ross is a defensive catcher with occasional pop.  I could see him being a backup catcher someday.


Matt Winn, 24 yo.  .230/.325/.393, 13 HR, 331 AB.  (AA:  .250/.288/.411, 2 HR, 56 AB.)  Giants reportedly really like Winn's maturity and leadership behind the plate.  Kind of an all or nothing hitter with some pop.


John Riley, 23 yo.  .274/.369/.404, 3 HR, 146 AB.  Riley is a project who may be starting to get some traction on his career.  Has some toonder in the bat, but needs to cut down on the K's to make it usable.

Zack Bowers, 23 yo.  .226/.335/.342, 2 HR, 155 AB.  Probably not a prospect.


Jeffrey Parra 19 yo.  .275/.370/.375, 1 HR, 70 AB.  I'm pretty excited about this 2016 draftee out of HS . Nice numbers in a SSS in Arizona.  Has plenty of time to develop.

Cody Brickhouse, 20 yo.  .271/.417/.292, 48 AB.  A total of 7 players logged time at catcher for the Arizona League Giants.  Parra and Brickhouse were the two who appear to be true prospects.


Ricardo Genoves, 18 yo.  .256/.342/.333, 13 2B, 1 HR, 207 AB.  Genoves got a nice 6 figure bonus out of Venezuela.  Got off to a great start in the DSL before fading a bit.  Should graduate to Arizona in 2017.

The depth of the system, at least at the upper levels, took a hit when Andrew Susac was traded at the deadline.  Giants may need to scour the waiver wires and minor league FA lists for catchers this winter.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fantasy Focus: 2016 Catcher Rankings

The commissioner in my fantasy league announced at the end of the season that he plans to go from a standard 5X5 format to 6X6, replacing BA with OBP and SLG% while keeping R, HR, RBI, SB.  On the pitching side, he replaces W with QS and adds K/9.  The reasoning for OBP, SLG% and QS is fairly obvious.  His reasoning for K/9 is it potentially adds value to non-closer relievers making them rosterable in some cases.

The new changes significantly devalue leadoff hitter types who maintain a high BA and SB's but struggle to draw walks because of their lack of power and position at the top of the lineup.  Using using OBP and SLG as 2 of 6 categories also makes it easy to figure out who has value.  You simply have to look up OPS as a single category.  You can keep 1 eye out for SB's but since they are now 1 category out of 12 instead of 10, it makes it much more palatable to just punt the category.

With that background let's dive into the final 2016 catcher rankings.  I have simply listed the catchers with 200 or more PA's in order of OPS:

1.  Gary Sanchez, Yankees- 1.032.  How does a guy go from hitting 10 dingers in 313 PA's in AAA to hitting 20 in 229 PA's in the major leagues?  As a RH hitter in Yankee Stadium, no less!  I think Gary Sanchez is likely to be overvalued on fantasy draft day next spring!

2.  Jonathan Lucroy, Rangers- .855.  Big bounceback season for Lucroy.  Solid bet for 2017 too.

3.  Wilson Ramos, Nationals(FA)- .850.  Ramos had a great season that ended a week early due to torn ligaments in his knee.  Probably won't be read for the start of 2017.  Worth drafting and stashing on your DL.

4.  Sandy Leon, Red Sox- .845.  Leon was a surprise and likely a flash in the pan.  Stay away on draft day!

5.  Wilson Contreras, Cubs- .845.  Unlike Leon, Contreras is the real deal.  With David Ross retiring, he should be the undisputed full time catcher for the Cubs next year.  He will be valued highly on draft day and likely worth the investment.

6.  Evan Gattis, Astros- .826.  Gattis caught about 50 games last year so will retain Catcher eligibility for 2017.  Who's doesn't want 32 dingers out of their fantasy catcher?

7.  Yasmani Grandal, Dodgers- .816.  If he can stay healthy, Grandal may be just getting started.  Tremendous offensive potential here.

8.  Buster Posey, Giants- .796.  Down year for Buster.  Remains to be seen if he can find his power stroke again.  Still not a bad option.  Ranking here is more of a testament to how much deeper the catcher position has become in the last 2 seasons.

9.  Yadier Molina, Cardinals- .787.  How many more productive years does Molina have left?  He looked like he was about done in 2015 but had a nice bounceback in 2016.

10.  Tyler Flowers, Braves- .777.  The question here is how many PA's he'll get in a season.

11.  JT Realmuto, Marlins- .771.  The only MLB catcher with double digit HR's and SB's.

12.  Nick Hundley, Rockies- .759.  Any starting position player for the Rockies is going to have fantasy value just on the basis of the park they play in.

13.  Cameron Rupp, Phillies- .750.  Rupp had a nice season, but is he the Phillies' catcher of the future?

14.  Brian McCann, Yankees- .748.  The OPS is not so great, but still good for dingers.

15.  Welington Castillo, D'Backs- .745.  He alway seems to kill the Giants, but apparently not the rest of the league.

15.  Salvador Perez, Royals- .725.  Hits dingers but doesn't draw walks.

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Jeren Kendall

We'll try to get an earlier start on the draft coverage this year.  The Giants currently hold the 21'st selection in the 2017 amateur draft.  They are likely to keep that pick as Kenley Jansen is the only potential FA target who is likely to get a QO.  I don't expect the Giants to pick up any additional picks as they do not have any departing FA's who are worthy of a QO.  They could move up from the 21'st pick by a slot or two, but there are not a lot of QO worthy FA's this year, so I don't probably not much higher than that #19 or 20.

Let's dive into some scouting reports:

Jeren Kendall is a true 5 tool CF prospect who plays for Vanderbilt.  He goes 5'11- 6'0", 180-190 lbs depending on which report you read.  He B-L, T-R.  He committed to Vandy in 2014 after not playing much in HS.  He was  considered extremely talented, but raw.  PG had him with a 6.34 60 yd dash and under 4 secs to 1B.  His FB velocity off the mound was just 82 mph, but he was clocked at 93 on an OF throw. He gets high marks for his intelligence, even temper and hard work.  Here are his stat lines from his first 2 seasons at Vandy:

2015:  .281/.394/.530, 10 2B, 6 3B, 8 HR, 19 SB, 21 BB, 60 K, 185 AB.
2016:  .332/.396/.568, 16 2B, 8 3B, 9 HR, 28 SB, 25 BB, 62 K, 250 AB.

He projects as a true CF with more gap power than HR power, although he probably has 20 HR potential, with 20+ SB potential.  Downsides are he still needs to work on his plate discipline, he has not performed that well in the Cape Cod League and his power upside is limited by his size.  He is currently projected to be drafted in the top 10 picks, so it is unlikely the Giants have a shot at him.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Scouting the Offseason: 5'th Starter

This one probably doesn't even need to be written up.  The Giants have SP slots 1-4 locked up for 2017 with Bumgarner, Cueto, Samardzija and Moore.  They are not going to spend good money on a 5'th starter no matter what and they have a couple of in-house options with more waiting in the wings in the minor leagues.

Make no mistake.  Matt Cain will get his chance to win back a rotation slot, but he will have a short leash as the Giants seem to be itching to give Ty Blach a longer look after his spectacular late season and postseason success.  They also have Clayton Blackburn and Chris Stratton waiting for shots and if Tyler Beede starts the season strong in Sacramento, he'll be knocking at the door.  I think they will probably also find a way to keep Albert Suarez who did a pretty average 5'th starter's job last year when he was needed.

Oh, the Giants will probably bring in a guy or two on minor league deals just to keep people honest.  They always do.  Just who that might be would be like finding a needle in a haystack.  Last year it was Suarez and he had a terrible spring training, but ended up spending most of the season in SF.

So that's it for the offseason.  Barring a complete makeover of the team which there is not hint of coming from the front office, the Giants have a very short offseason shopping list, most likely beginning and ending with Closer.