Thursday, March 5, 2015

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/5/2015: Cubs 8 Giants 6

The Odd Year Curse struck early and with a vengeance taking out Hunter Pence for 6-8 weeks with a fractured ulna in his left forearm after being hit by a pitch.  The bad news about Pence overshadowed some nice performances by some of the Giants young prospects in camp.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence(DH)- 0 for 2.  BA= .250.  Pence tried to get out of the way of an inside pitch from a Cubs minor league pitcher, but took it on he left forearm just above the wrist.  Of all the places he could have suffered a fracture, that was probably the least damaging.  The fracture was non-displaced.  Pence should be out no more than 8 weeks which would put him back around the first of May at the latest.

Daniel Carbonell(LF)- 1 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .200.  Carbonell put a nice swing on the ball and put quite a charge into it.  I am going to dissect this a bit more here.  Carbonell swing was harshly criticized someone named Eric Longenhagen in Fangraphs after the Arizona Fall League.  Longenhagen referred to Carbonell's swing as "stiff, weak wristed and without good bat speed or any semblance of weight transfer."  He posted video of Carbonell's swing from he AFL, I suppose to illustrate his point.  Problem is that is not what I saw in that video back then and that is not what Carbonell showed today when he hit the dinger.  Here's the thing.  It is true that Carbonell does not really move his front foot except for a very small heel lift.  He has very little load, simply bringing his hand straight back and up to begin his swing.  He does, in fact transfer his weigh and gives a quick hip turn.  With his natural strength and the leverage his gets with his long arms, he generates plenty of power.  He does not NEED the load, leg kick or weight transfer.  Since all of those components added split seconds to the swing time, Carbonell is able to start get his bat quickly to the ball and thus start his swing later.  Advantage Carbonell.  At least that is how I saw it then and that is what I saw today in the video of his HR swing.

Adam Duvall(3B)- 1 for 2, E(throw).  BA= .375.  Rough day for Duvall as he misplayed a ball down the line in addition to the throwing error.  He did get a hit, but was nailed on the basepaths trying to stretch it into a double.

Mitch Delfino(3B)- 1 for 1, BB.  BA= .667.   I believe Mitch Delfino is the Giants 3B of the future.  Terrific spring, what little of it we have seen so far.

Jarrett Parker(RF)- 1 for 2, Assist(1B).  BA= .400.  Parker has an arm, I tell you!

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 2, 2B.  BA= 1.000.  Arroyo's job here is to win a spot on the San Jose Roster.  He took a big step toward that with this 2-hit performance.

Ryan Vogelsong(RHP)- 2 IP 3 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 18.00.  After a 1,2,3 first inning, Vogey gave up a grand slam to uber-hitting prospect Kyle Schwarber.  Vogey was hampered by the 2 miscues at 3B by Adam Duvall, but you gotta get out of those situations.

Chris Heston- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Very nice outing by Hesto Presto.  He may be moving up the Giants SP depth chart, maybe 8'th after Vogey and Petit?

Jean Machi- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Machi has kind of been forgotten because he did not do much in the postseason, but I'm pretty sure the Giants don't make it that far without his heroics in innings 6 and 7 throughout the season.

Hunter Strickland- 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K, HR.  OK, this is getting just a bit ridiculous.  Maybe he is working on his breaking stuff, but both dingers this spring have come off the fastball.  Forget about the triple digit stuff.  The FB is hittable!

Erik Cordier- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Not a pretty line, but it is important for Cordier to show he can pitch his way out of trouble.

The Giants travel to Surprise, AZ tomorrow to take on the Texas Rangers with Yusmeiro Petit getting the start.

Who plays RF for the Giants for 2-4 weeks in Hunter Pence's absence after the season starts?  Gregor Blanco?  Justin Maxwell?  Daniel Carbonell?  Gary Brown?  Juan Perez?  Mac Williamson?  Trade?  Oh, and thank God it is not for longer than 1 month barring any unexpected setbacks.

Sounds like the Houston Astros are being run by a bunch of used car salesmen(sorry if any of you readers are used car salesmen.  Nothing personal).  Jon Heyman is reporting that after agreeing to a 1 year/$4M contract, the Astros came back with a lower offer after viewing Vogey's physical report.  Sound familiar?  That's exactly the same stunt they pulled on first round draft pick Brady Aiken that ended up blowing up in their faces, costing them the signing of not just Aiken but 2 other draft picks they had apparently made promises to contingent upon signing Aiken for the lower amount.  If this report on Vogey's situation is true, the Commish needs to get involved and come down on those scam artists down there.

Around the League:

Yu Darvish left his start for the Texas Rangers after 1 inning with "triceps tightness."  Darvish insisted that the injury is not serious and his exit was more precautionary than necessary, but he did miss the last 7 weeks of the 2014 season with elbow inflammation.

Mike Minor of the Atlanta Braves has shoulder pain and is going to get an opinion from Dr. Andrews.

Rumors surfaced that Cuban 2B Hector Olivera is a TJ surgery waiting to happen.  This was vehemently denied by Olivera's camp.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/4/2015: A's 9 Giants 2

Things did not go any better for the Giants in their Spring Training home opener in Scottsdale.   The A's teed off on several Giants pitcher and the hitters were listless for the second game in a row.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey- 1 for 1, 2B, BB.  BA= 1.000.  Buster seemed to be in midseason form.  The double drove in Pagan and Adrianza for the Giants only 2 runs of the game.

Casey McGehee- 2 for 2.  BA= .667.  So far McGehee is living up to his nickname from Miami, Hits, with 3 in the first 2 games.

Ehire Adrianza- 1 for 2.  BA= .250.  Adrianza got another start at SS with Brandon Crawford DH'ing due to a sore shoulder.  This is why Adrianza needs to be on the Opening Day roster.  Crawford has been very durable, but if he were to miss an extended number of games, Adrianza is the one guy in the organization who could take over the position defensively.

Jake Peavy- 1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  A veteran getting his work in.

Ty Blach- 1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  A non-veteran trying to make an impression.  Rough outing!

Joan Gregorio- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  Breakout candidate.

Adalberto Mejia- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.  Very nice outing for a kid who will serve a 50 game suspension to start the season.  Nice to see the Giants give him a vote of confidence on the suspension front.

The Giants get away from the A's for awhile and send Ryan Vogelsong to the mound to face the Cubs.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fantasy Focus: 2015 Fantasy Prospects- Jose Peraza

Jose Peraza, 2B/SS.  DOB:  4/30/1994.  B-R, T-R.  6'0", 178 lbs.

2013 Low A:  .288/.341/.371, 64 SB, 6.7 BB%, 12.7 K%, 504 PA.
2014 High A:  .342/.365/.454, 35 SB, 3.3 BB%, 10.5 K%, 304 PA.
2014 AA:        .335/.363/.422, 25 SB, 3.6 BB%, 7.7 K%, 195 PA.
2015 ZiPs:       .259/.289/.330, 43 SB, 3.5 BB%, 15.1 K%, 538 PA.

SB is one of 5 standard offensive categories in fantasy baseball.  Like HR's, SB's have declined over the past several seasons.  Dee Gordon led MLB last year with 64.  There were just 11 players with 30 or more and 26 with 20 or more.  There were just 5 20/20 guys, so it has become extremely difficult to get both HR's and SB's out of the same player.  Obviously a prospect with 60 SB's in each of the last 2 seasons is of fantasy interest if he has a chance to play at the MLB level.  The Atlanta Braves are rebuilding from the ground up.  Peraza has a chance to break camp with the big club despite not having played above AA.  That's what can happen when your team is rebuilding and the competition at 2B is Tyler Pastornicky and Phil Gosselin.  Peraza's 2015 projections are better than both of those dudes. It's more likely that Peraza will go to AAA for the first 6 weeks of the season for the obligatory arbitration clock re-set, but once he comes up, it is probably for good and he will be worth a roster spot in most fantasy leagues on the strength of his SB potential.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/3/2015: A's 9 Giants 4

The Giants understandably seemed a big flat in their first game after winning Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, and Marcus Semien made a terrific first impression on his new employers going 3 for 3 with 2 dingers.  Key Lines:

Adam Duvall- 2 for 4, HR.  Duvall certainly has the toonder in his bat.  It's just hard to see where he fits on the active roster.  He DH'd in this game.

Madison Bumgarner- 1.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  A big Mulligan for Bummy as the last thing in the world you want him doing in his first spring training start is getting out of bed throwing his postseason stuff.  That is a great way to end up on the DL for a big part of the season or more.  Just get your work in and don't get hurt!  You can ramp up next start.  If he's putting up lines like this in his last spring training start, I'll start to get a wee bit worried.

Tim Lincecum- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.   Timmy reportedly looked sharp.  I like the 0 BB's and 2 K's.  Don't care about the rest.  FB was 88-92, sat 89, but with good command.

Erik Cordier- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  Anybody else think Cordier may be moving ahead of Hunter Strickland on the depth chart?  Cordier is out of options.

Hunter Strickland- 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  Strickland pitched in a bit of bad luck and should have been out of the inning by the time Jason Pridie took him deep to RF, but giving up a dinger was hardly the way Strickland wanted to start spring training after giving up 6 in postseason play.

Marcus Semien(A's)-  3 for 3, 2 HR.  Hello Marcus Semien!  Semien is a guy who I think could be a  smart, sneaky play in your fantasy baseball draft.  He already had eligibility at 3B and 2B, but probably won't be drafted for those positions.  He is the guy the A's want to win the starting SS position.  I mean, they traded Jeff Samardzija for him and also traded their two top SS prospects, so he BETTER win the position.  It will take about 10 games to gain SS eligibility, but then he not only can play SS on your fantasy team, he will retain his 3B and 2B eligibility.  Steamer projects him to have the 9'th best SLG% of all starting SS's and 2B in MLB yet is going completely undrafted in early Yahoo league drafting.  Pick him up at the end of your draft, stash him until he gains SS eligibility then trade the SS you started with and move Semien into the position.  You not only have a solid SS who will help you in 5 categories, you have some position flexibility to go with him.  On the other hand, if he keeps hitting like this, he may not remain a fantasy secret much longer and start to take on helium in drafts.

The Giants and A's meet again tomorrow for the spring home opener in Scottsdale with Jake Peavy starting off on the mound for the Giants.  Buster Posey, Angel Pagan, Brandon Crawford and Hunter Pence are scheduled to make their spring debuts.

Spring Training Update: Play Ball!

The Giants start playing games against real opponents, even if they don't count toward another championship.  This is an away game against the Oakland A's in HoHoKam Stadium(the Cubs aren't playing there anymore?  What is the world coming to?)  At any rate, here is the lineup for the first exhibition game of 2015:

Nori Aoki, CF
Joe Panik, 2B
Casey McGehee, 3B
Justin Maxwell, LF
Brandon Belt, 1B
Andrew Susac, C
Adam Duvall, DH
Juan Perez, RF
Joaquin Arias, SS

Madison Bumgarner takes the mound for 1-2 IP with Tim Lincecum expected to also pitch.

Discuss.  Game Wraps start up again tonight!

Fantasy Focus: 2015 Fantasy Prospects- Peter O'Brien

Peter O'Brien, C.  DOB:  7/15/1990.  B-R, T-R.  6'4", 225 lbs.

2014 High A:  .321/.353/.688, 10 HR, 3.4 BB%, 24.4 K%, 119 PA.
2014 AA:        .245/.296/.555, 23 HR, 5.4 BB%, 26.2 K%, 294 PA.
2014 AFL:      .256/.393/.512, 5 HR, 15.9 BB%, 27.4 K%, 107 PA.
2015 Steamer: .231/.265/.458, 3 HR, 4.9 BB%, 27.2 K%, 54 PA.
2015 ZiPs:      .241/.281/.487, 26 HR, 4.7 BB%, 31.6 K%, 469 PA.

The catcher situation in Arizona is one of the more intriguing stories of the spring.  Over the winter, the D'Backs traded Miguel Montero to the Cubs leaving them with Tuffy Gosewich and a Rule 5 draft pick as their #1 and #2 catchers on their depth chart.  Everybody expected another move to add a catcher like Dioner Navarro, but when the added catcher turned out to be Gerald Laird, everybody knew Dave Stewart had something else in mind.  That something else turns out to be catching prospect Peter O'Brien who Stewart says is the reason he is not bringing in another catcher.  Peter O'Brien has not played above AA in the minors, but look at those power numbers!  Steamer came out before Big Stew made that pronouncement, so isn't buying the playing time, but look at those ZiPs projections!  I mean, I don't care what his BA is going to be, 26 HR's out of a catcher is a very good think in fantasy baseball.  Here's the think about O'Brien:  Nobody but apparently Dave Stewart and the D'Backs coaching staff think he can actually play catcher in the major leagues, but the D'Backs opinion is what counts here, because fantasy baseball does not care if he is a terrible defensive catcher, unless it costs him the position.  So, imagine a D'Backs lineup with Paul Goldschmidt, Mark Trumbo and Peter O'Brien hitting back-to-back-to-back.  Get those righty specialists cranked up!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Scouting the 2015 Draft: Austin Smith

Here's another good sized, high ceiling HS RHP for you.  Austin Smith goes 6'4", 215 lbs out of HS in Florida.  He has long arms and high hips but already has some bulk to him and looks like he weighs more than 215 on the videos I saw.  His FB sits in the low 90's but has hit 96. He is already working on a 4 pitch mix with a slider, curve and change that are all projectable.  PG's scouting report says he has a "easy, low effort delivery", "very physical, athletic build", "projectable."  BA has him ranked as the #44 draft prospect in their early ranking while Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs likes him a bit better at #31, which just happens to be where the Giants draft in the supplemental first round.  Kiley's comment was "smoothest arm action in the draft."  Add him to Ashe Russell, Beau Burrows, Donny Everett, Mike Nikorak and Cole McKay in the list of big, hard throwing, high ceiling HS RHP's in this draft.  Love it!