Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring Training Game Wrap 3.29/2015: Giants 11 Dodgers 9

The Giants mounted a 21, that's right, a 21 hit attack to outscore the Dodgers 11-9.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik(2B)- 3 for 3, 2 2B, BB.  BA= .200.  That's more like it!  Hopefully this signals a turn in his BABIP luck just as the season is about to start.  Do we really have another full week of spring training?  Ugh!

Ehire Adrianza(SS)- 1 for 2, GIDP, Error(5).  The pressure from Duffy may be getting to Adrianza a bit.  5 errors in spring training is a lot, even for a SS.  More on the roster battle later.

Angel Pagan(CF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .185.  Pagan missed quite a bit of time early.  Hopefully he is getting his timing down for the start of the season.

Buster Posey(Catcher)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .278.  Posey also threw a perfect strike to Panik to nail Joc Pederson on an attempted steal.

Brandon Belt(1B)- 2 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .352.  I hope we see a bit more power from Belt but at least the shifts aren't killing his BA.  Oh, and if he keeps hitting .352, that's OK too!

Brandon Crawford(SS)- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .234.  Crawford started a DP that I am not sure any other SS makes just because his combination of release time, arm strength and accuracy is as good as it gets.  The ball was scorched to his right and took a big hop, but he read it perfectly and made the backhand grab.  He then transferred the ball to his throwing hand, pivoted and threw all in one motion from a long distance to 2B all while his momentum was carrying him toward the OF.  It was an absolute seed that Panik did not have to move for enabling him to easily complete the relay to 1B.  Absolute magic and Crawford made it look effortless.  Please look up the video on sfgiants.com!

Matt Duffy(3B)- 3 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .383.  A huge day, and the fact that he played 3B may be telling us something.  Is it just me or has Joaquin Arias pretty much disappeared from the lineups lately?  This is going to be verrry interesting.  The big thing working against Duffy here is he has options while Arias and Adrianza don't.  Another thought:  I'd be tempted to say this is a Randy Elliott spring for Duffy, except that he has been absolutely raking it since his first full pro season starting in Augusta in 2013, so he has been red hot now for over 2 full years!

Justin Maxwell(PH-LF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .316.  Don't be surprised to see Maxwell's name in the Opening Day starting lineup.  They need his HR potential in the lineup, at least until Pence gets back.

Matt Cain(RHP)- 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 K.  ERA= 8.22.  Obviously not great pitching conditions today so I'm not going to worry…..yet.

Ryan Vogelsong(RHP)- 2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 7.45.  Again, the conditions may well mean this was a pretty good line.

George Kontos(RHP)- 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.40.  This may have sealed Kontos' fate given that Machi followed him with a Save, albeit not a clean one.

Jean Machi(RHP)- 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, Save(2).  ERA= 3.75.  I've thought Machi had the edge in this battle all along and this may be the clincher.

Travis Ishikawa came out of the game with back tightness which raises the spector of the DL coming into play in the roster battles.

Giants hit the road to face the D'Backs tomorrow.  No word on who is pitching.  Huddy?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/28/2015: Giants 9 Mariners 8; Giants 2 Giants Future Stars 2

The Giants stormed from behind to nip the Mariners in an away game while a team of Giants prospects battled a squad of mostly big leaguers to a standstill in Scottsdale.  Key Lines:

Away Game:

Gregor Blanco(CF)- 2 for 3, 3B(3).  BA= .326.  Very impressive spring for Blanco.  Stay hot!

Kelby Tomlinson(2B)- 1 for 1, 2B.  BA= .167.  Not all the prospects were in Scottsdale.  Tomlinson's double drove in 2 of the Giants 9 runs in this game.

Justin Maxwell(RF)- 2 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .302.  The dinger drove in 3 runs.  The Giants have a deadline of March 31 to put him on the 40 man roster or he can opt out of his contract.  Gotta think this performance all but guarantees him a roster spot, not only for the 40 man but the Opening Day 25 man.

Jake Peavy(RHP)- 3.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 8.22.  Let's hope Peaves was just getting his work in.  You'd sure like to see more by this time in spring training.

Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla and Hunter Strickland all pitched scoreless frames.  Romo and Strickland had 2 K's each and Strickland got the Save.  I'm starting to wonder if Strickland just might ace out both Kontos and Machi for that final bullpen spot.  I don't think the Giants would want to erode their bullpen depth that much as both Machi and Kontos are out of options while Strickland is not.

"Futures" game:

Austin Slater(2B)- 2 for 2, HR.  Verrry interesting that Slater got the start at 2B here.  As if the Giants don't already have a ton of 2B in the organization!  Slater drove a Yusmeiro Petit cutter the opposite way for a HR over the RF fence down in the RF corner.  Slater said he knew Petit threw a lot of cutters and was looking to take it the opposite way.

Kelvin Beltre played and got a hit in 2 AB's.

Yusmeiro Petit(RHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  Petit gave up both of the runs the Futures scored. He as followed by scoreless frames from Chris Stratton, Keury Mella, Chase Johnson and Luis Ysla.

The Futures got scoreless innings from Ty Blach, Tyler Beede, Kyle Crick, Michael Santos, Sam Coonrod, Donald Snelton and Tyler Rogers.  Matthew Gage and Rodolfo Martinez combined to give up both runs the Giants scored although Gage was charged with both runs and Martinez pitched 1.1 innings with 2 K's.

Tyler Beede made some noise by unveiling 2 new pitches:  A 2-seam FB and a cutter/slider.  He gave u up a loud out to Belt then a single to Crawford and a walk, then got out of it with 2 pop-ups.

Can't wait for the minor league seasons to start.  I have a feeling that several prospects are going to make big moves this year!

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/27/2015: Giants 8 Dodgers 4

Chris Heston pitched a Quality Start against what could well be the Dodgers' Opening Day lineup while the Giants hitters were roughing up Zack Greinke and several other Dodger pitchers.  Key Lines:

Justin Maxwell(RF)- 1 for 2.  BA= .286.  Maxwell has an opt out clause for 3/30 which is coming right up.  At this point the odds would seem to favor him making the team and opting in.  So far his K rate is a manageable 22.6% in 63 PA.

Joe Panik(2B)- 0 for 2.  BA= .154.  Panik's bat continues to be quiet, but he also made a spectacular diving stop and throw on a ball hit up the middle to nail Yasiel Puig, a very fast runner, at 1B.

Matt Duffy(PH-2B)- 1 for 3, 3B(2).  BA= .385.  Duffy continues to rake.  He has been on a continuous hot streak for over 2 full seasons now.

Andrew Susac(Catcher)- 1 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .222.  Susac's HR was a monster shot that bounced into the trees up on the berm in CF, just to the left of the batting eye which is a long way from home plate.  Man, is this some kind of battle for reserve catcher between Susac and Sanchez or what?  And do the Giants have some kind of depth at the position or what?

Gregor Blanco(CF)- 2 for 3, 3B(2).  BA= .302.  When Blanco is in one of his hot streaks, he is one of the better OF's in all of baseball.  If he could just stay away from the slumps!

Chris Heston(RHP)- 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, GO/AO= 11/4.  ERA= 2.40.  Wow!  Hesto Presto went up against the Dodgers "A" lineup and had them killing worms all night out pitching Zack Greinke in the process!  No K's but that must have been quite a sinker he was serving up there tonight!  With his spring performance, Heston positioned himself to be first in line for a callup if a SP is needed in season.

Javier Lopez and George Kontos had a scoreless inning each while Jean Machi gave up a late run to round out the pitching lines.

The Giants play a game against the minor leaguers tomorrow in Scottsdale with Yusmeiro Petit pitching for the Giants.  Tyler Beede will reportedly get the start for the "Futures".  Jake Peavy pitches for the road squad agains the Mariners.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/26/2015: A's 6 Giants 4

Watched this one on MLB TV.  Tim Lincecum had an uneven start while the Giants offense had some nice hits here and there.  It wasn't enough against the A's, but at least it wasn't the usual blowout.  Key Lines:

Nori Aoki(LF)- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .214.  Aoki looked confident at the plate and put some good swings on the ball.  He is fast too.  Between him, Pagan, Panik and Crawford, the Giants may set an all time record for team triples this season!

Joe Panik(2B)- 0 for 4.  BA= .160.  Panik made contact, but looked off balance on several of the batted balls and just did not look comfortable at the plate.  It was weak contact.  His starting 2B job is not in jeopardy and there is still time to for him to get comfortable.

Brandon Belt(1B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .354.  Belt continued to pepper the field, shift and all.

Hector Sanchez(Catcher)- 1 for 2, SF.  BA= .250.  Sanchez left early after taking a foul tip right at the top of the chest protector.  The fact he got the start with Timmy pitching and did well at the plate tells you he is, by far, in the lead to be the backup catcher over Andrew Susac.

Tim Lincecum(RHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 6.92.  Early on, Timmy had nothing. FB 86-88.  Threw a few good splitters but hung as many.  Everything up in the zone.  He seemed to settle down over the last 2 innings and got his pitches lower in the zone.  The velocity still has to be a concern, though.

Steven Okert(LHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 2.70.  Okert throws from an odd angle. He sets up with his back foot on the extreme right side of the rubber then adds an extreme crossover step.  It's effective against RH batters, at least those who have not seen it before.  It must be a nightmare for LH batters!

Hunter Strickland(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 6.75.  FB was hitting 96 MPH.  Seemed to have better command of his pitches than I've seen before.  Pitched more to contact.

Sergio Romo(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.93.  I think Romo faced 3 LH batters.  I don't  recall seeing him throw the slider, but it didn't matter.  Unlike last year when he was working on his 2-seamer and changeup and got hit around, he dominated batters with those pitches this time getting both called strikes and swings and misses.  As long as he can stay healthy, I expect a big season out of Romo, possibly reclaiming his closer role.

Madison Bumgarner will pitch in a minor league game today with Chris Heston traveling to Glendale, AZ to face the fearsome Dodgers.  Should be a nice challenge for Hesto Presto.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/25/2015: Rockies 5 Giants 2

Tim Hudson pitched a Quality Start, but it wasn't enough as the Giants offense continued to sputter.  Key Lines:

Nori Aoki(LF)- 1 for 4, 3B.  BA= .204.  Aoki has what?  6 hits in his last 4 games?

Buster Posey(Catcher)- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .231.  Posey left the game after 5 innings due to pain in the right scapular area.  It is not believed to be a serious injury. Posey will play 1B tomorrow.

Brandon Belt(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .341.  Belt continues to Belt.

Justin Maxwell(PH-RF)- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .277.  I would say Mazwell is winning the race for the final(temporary) OF job.  After that it will depend on who hits better, Maxwell or Travis.

Tim Hudson(RHP)- 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  Very Huddy-like performance.  It's the offense's job to score more than 3 runs in a game.

Around the League:

Carlos Rodon struck out 9 batters in 4 IP, for the ChiSox.  I have him targeted for a bench stash for my fantasy draft.

Remember Keon Barnum, draft prospect I really liked from a couple of years ago?  Well, I watched him put a charge into a ball pitched by veteran lefty Franklin Morales.  The ball went out on a line drive and landed beyond the RF bullpen.

Another rookie pitcher to watch out for his Anthony DeSclafini who was traded to the Reds over the offseaon.  He is having a sensational spring and pitched a gem tonight with 9 K's.

Forbes magazine says the Giants are worth $2 B, just $400 M less than the Dodgers.  The Giants were also the 4'th most profitable team last year clearing a cool $70 M +/-.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/24/2015: Indians 9 Giants 5

Ryan Vogelsong had a dishearteningly terrible start and the Giants were never able to catch up.  Key Lines:

Nori Aoki(LF)- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .200.  Aoki is now 5 for 11 with 2 BB's in his last 3 games.

Daniel Carbonell(LF)- 1 for 1.  BA= .333.  Carbonell is quietly having himself a nice little spring training.  A good season in AA would put him in the conversation for top Giants prospect.

Justin Maxwell(RF)- 3 for 5, 2B.  BA= .267.  Maxwell is coming on strong as spring training starts to wind down.

Ryan Vogelsong(RHP)- 4.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 7.41.  Brandon Moss hit a 3-run dinger in the first inning and it all went downhill from there.  Jerry Sands capped things off with a blast over the batter's eye in CF 410 ft away on a 3-0 pitch with 2 outs and a base open.  Bochy was just a bit steamed.  Odd on Vogey finishing the season with the Giants?

Adalberto Mejia(LHP)_ 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 1.42.  Another kid who has had a nice little spring training.  Too bad he has to start the season with a 50 game suspension.  That should be done by early June, so we should get to see him pitch in the minors this year.

Sergio Romo(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.45.  Romo has really settled down to gave a good spring training.  Is he the closer?

Matt Cain pitched 5 innings and threw 75 pitches in a minor league game, then admitted to having some soreness in his arm which is probably to be expected.  He reportedly sat 90-91 MPH on the FB and threw sliders for the first time this spring.

Angel Pagan played 5 innings batted 4 times.  He reportedly felt fine afterwards and is slated to play tomorrow against the Rockies.

Around the League:  The Dodgers signed Cuban 2B Hector Olivera to a 6 year/$62 M MLB contract.  The Dodgers already have Howie Kendrick, Justin Turner and another Cuban named Alex Guerrero.  They can only play 1 player at each position at a time.  I think this might have been more about keeping him away from the Padres than the Dodgers really wanting him themselves.   Was it Grant Brisbee at MCC who likened this to lighting a cigar with a $100 bill?  Yeah, pretty much.  Olivera is an impressive looking athlete with a nice offensive resume out of Cuba, but is already cresting the 30 divide, has an extensive injury history, reportedly currently has a slight UCL tear in his elbow and is also reportedly not great on defense at any position.  Of course, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, who is on the Dodgers bandwagon because he's already written about their unbeatable combination of statistical analysis and monetary muscle, proclaims this a great move even while admitting that it does not help them this year.

Remember Yoan Lopez, the Cuban prospect who hits triple digits?  He kind of had a rough start going 3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 2 K.  He now has a spring ERA of 8.38.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Scouting the 2015 Draft: Jose Vizcaino, Jr

Jose Vizcaino Jr. is a junior at Santa Clara U.  He is the son of former MLB SS and Giant Jose Vizcaino.  Pops played just 1 season for the Giants but put up the best slash line of his career that season.  Junior plays SS, but at 6'3", 220 lbs, probably moves to 3B as a pro.  He's gotten progressivey better at the plate since hitting .244 as a freshman in 2013.  He improved to .323 in 2014.  This year he is slashing .386/.486/.702 with 4 HR, 4 SB, 11 BB and 12 K's in 57 AB.  I have not seen his name on any draft prospect lists, but he looks like a great pick for somewhere in rounds 3-10.